I’m certain that many of you have had a similar experience, but since 2014 I’ve had a guy I met in a meeting where I used to live continually slide into my DM’s with messages like (in order over the last 7 years):
- “Hanging by a thread”
- “I don’t even want to be awake now. Things are off the charts wrong.”
- “I’m signed up for entering rehab. This BS has to stop. I have been all over the place for 3 years since picking up and my reputation has become non-existent. I can’t even face anyone anymore. Including you.”
- “A question. Do you think getting back into meetings is enough, as opposed to vanishing off the planet in rehab for 4 weeks? There are things I need to take care of that could be more damaging if I’m not around. Like working, etc.”
- “I’ve been to treatment twice, albeit for the wrong reasons. Going to meetings and tricking myself into believing I was working the program has had the longest lasting success. I need to work on why I choose to escape drink in the first place. Before I discovered alcohol, I used other things to run from pressure. Music, sports, sex, etc. When I don’t like things, I take off. Drinking turned out to be a quicker and more effective escape option. It always worked—and worked fast.”
- “I crashed and need to make a plan. Out on the street. I just pulled a 4.0 in college and now it is, the good strides, going up in flames.”
- “I did some real damage here. I am out of my home, relationship, new kitten, my base to conduct business. All because I left to do solitary drinking.”
- “Rick, what drives you, when you wake up in the morning?”
- “I’ll be 57 in a few weeks. It has reached the point where I am looking at life goals and being pressed to achieve them.”
- “Burned bridges with a drunk FB post (deleted) 2 days ago. Any suggestions?”
- “I’m cornered. It’s going to take a super-human (solid) effort to recover.”
- “I remember one night at a meeting, where you recounted going hundreds of miles to make amends. You had dinner with the people, and they said they could not forgive. That went right through me. You did what you could, and that share stuck with me. I’m kind of in the same place. I’ll never make things right with this person, but if I could I would send them a lot of money.”
- “This goes deeper. Do you believe the steps work? I am hearing it is cult like. I’m looking for direction.”
- “The farthest I got was writing a huge inventory, and that was in 1996.”
- “I’m coming back, Rick, because during the time periods I was an active member I DID NOT DRINK and was a better person with a positive outlook. I guess I chose ‘popular’ sponsors, who I wound up not trusting to go further with. Then, when presented with extreme stress, I cracked and drank.”
- “Rick, do you REALLY REALLY believe in the AA life? The whole powerless concept does not sit well with me. You are a successful guy. What do you think?”
- “Rick I am going down in flames here.” I responded, “You know what to do. Get to a meeting, reach out, get a sponsor, take the Steps!” His response, “Right. I am not thrilled with the answer.”
- “Hi Rick. I’m very much struggling with the start-stop drinking, my friend. 2 months off, 2 week binge. I make videos each day unless I am too far hung over. Touching base to say hi. Not asking advice. I hope all is well and best.”
- “How do you start over at 60?”
After I left the city we both lived in, in the 7 years he has be reaching out to me – I’ve always had the same answer (which is only MY experience), “You get to a meeting, raise your hand, pick up a new chip, get a sponsor, and start taking the 12 Steps.” I hooked him up with a man I know where he lives that works an amazing program and…. nada. He wasn’t willing to do the work. It’s been my experience that when I got busy, I got better.
I know I have no power over his alcoholism and I cannot get him sober, but it does sadden me that he can’t seem to embrace twelve simple suggestions. There are so many people in this world who need it but don’t want it. Our literature reminds me that there may come a time where I need to move on if the new guy doesn’t want to take the suggestions – move onto someone who DOES want to take the suggestions and find the life I have found.
I loved the question he asked above, “…do you REALLY REALLY believe in the AA life?” I haven’t looked at the compilation of his DM’s in a while and when I read that question, a big smile came over my face because I really, really DO believe in the life saving suggestions I have taken from members of A.A. because they have given me the most amazing life – not perfect all the time – but nonetheless amazing!
I will keep this man in my prayers and continue to offer the only solution that has ever worked for me.