Doctor Lawyer Indian Chief
Last night I had the opportunity to speak at a commitment. It's
only about the fourth time I've ever done this and only the second time I've been on a
This particular meeting was around the corner from my office. I have
never attended any meetings near the office out of fear of being
seen going in, knowing folks when I get there, or God forbid, someone from my
job whom I do not know recognizing me (I'm known to folks in my company that I
would not not necessarily know or recognize). But I went to this meeting,
because the fear of being outed is leaving me as I out myself. Also, my sponsor and group members were coming into town from the suburbs for it and we had made it a date.
The meeting was the biggest meeting I have ever attended. It was
enormous. And when my turn to speak came, I was fairly terrified by the crowd of about 100 people. (I am a terrified public speaker, a
major career handicap for me.) Well, I get up to the podium and don't you know
but that smack dab in the middle of the second row was R., a very influential
partner at the law firm I used to work at up until a couple of years ago. I'm
pretty sure he recognized me and I'm also pretty sure he was uncomfortable about
being recognized by me. Something about his being there galvanized me and I was
able to speak about my alcoholism and my recovery in a way I have never been
able to before--comfortably, with acceptance, and with a real desire to have
what I say make contact in helping another alcoholic know it's okay, we are all
in this together. Whether we are respected professionals or streetwalkers. Big
shots or bums. It happens to all kinds of people.
I ended my piece with a description of how I'd been nervous to attend a meeting
so close to my office in case someone recognized me. And then I said I said
"well, if you recognize me, I want to say hello. I am one of you." And you know what? I meant it!
I just didn't care if R. or anyone else knew that I was a member too. I had a
feeling of the collective "we" that I have never really experienced before. Not
even when I was drinking trying to get that "part of" feeling.
Anyway, R. took off before I had a chance to speak to him after the meeting but
a lot of people came up to me after the meeting to thank me for my share and one
guy mentioned how the lawyer who sat in front of him at every meeting had paced
the sidewalk outside for several weeks before getting up the nerve to go in, he
was so afraid of seeing someone he knew. He was speaking of R, it turned out.
I don't know if R. left quickly to avoid me but I do hope I run into him again.
Gee, I'm not terminally unique after all.
Today I am grateful for:
Waking up hangover free today and many days before this
That I finally got the good sense to get into the program rather than do it on my own
That I am not terminally unique after all
That today is a gorgeous day
That this weekend is a long weekend