I’ve noticed a sad phenomena in the halls of recovery. And I’ve had just about enough of it.
A lot of my 12-Step brothers and sisters have a saying: “I’m taking inventory.” It’s supposed to be about reflecting on your own growth and behavior. But it’s really about trash talking other people. One person is doing too much of it lately.
Everyone who walks into an OA, AA or NA meeting is a little crazy. If we weren’t a little bit off, we wouldn’t have to be there in the first place. We’re entitled to our faults. But when someone corners you all the time, pushing the AA big book in your face and quoting from its pages like you’re desperately in need of hearing them recite it, there’s a problem. Especially when it’s clear they’re not coming from a healthy place.
Anonymity is an important tool of recovery, so I’ll keep the person’s name out. The person cornered me after Saturday’s OA meeting after I shared about needing to tweak my program. Me seeing my needs as they are turned into a tirade about me being in denial. He tells me to read page whatever in the 24-hour book and page something-or-other in the Big Book. After awhile, it’s like David Koresh pushing a Bible in your face and telling you what it means, just before the compound bursts into flames.
As I looked at the clock and saw a half hour going by, I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time: I wanted to punch the guy. Hard. That IS NOT OK.
This fella is having a lot of trouble relating to people lately. He walks around asking people for money and then spends it on cigarettes. He tells you we have to bomb the Chinese and the Iranians because Israel is going to be nuked and it’s in God’s plan. He goes on about how this person demoralized him or that one betrayed him simply because they called him to the carpet when he decided to interrupt or speak out of turn.
Most disturbing, God is becoming his excuse for every bad decision he decides to make. It’s an old story, people using God to justify their bad choices.
I bring it up not to flame anyone, but to point out something vitally important for anyone trying to hang onto their sobriety and abstinence. When someone needs help, you try to help. But when someone needs SO MUCH HELP that they latch on and suck the life out of you, calling several times a day and making a crisis out of every little thing, it’s time to back away.
A person like this is not evil. They need to be loved, and we should love them and try to guide them. That’s what God wants.
But in any program of recovery, limits are everything. Limits are meant to protect you from relapse.
And when you let someone bring you down with crazy talk all the time, you’re putting your own recovery in jeopardy.
Relapse and you hurt your family, your friends, your livelihood, and your faith. And once that happens, you’re no longer in a position to help anyone else.
You can’t help yourself, for goodness sake.
To be of service to the most people, you have to cut ties with a few. It may not make sense, but it’s true. That’s what I have to do.
So when someone tells you we have to start bombing China in between reciting direct passages from the AA Big Book, it’s time to look them in the eye and tell them, as politely as possible, that it’s time to grow up.