Notes on an NA Meeting

(Apologies for length. Cross-posted at my dinky little blog;)

Well, mission accomplished. I went back to a meeting at my former "home group", and while I knew it would look very, very different from my perspective of not being even in a semi-chronic state of relapse (rather, from the perspective of being completely clean for an extended period), it was more of a mess than I had thought it would be.

First off, I knew this was a very "sick" group to begin with, it was widely talked about in other NA groups at the time. I was actually "recruited out" of this group by other NAers for that reason. My former sponsor was a disaster, a woman who had 12 sponsees after she and her then-boyfriend rather took over the group a few years ago. At that time she had only 1 1/2 years of "clean-time", which is actually less than I have now, yet was the only eligible female sponsor for this group, which is one of the largest where I live and boasts the largest amount of court ordered members. I say this not to judge her smaller amount of clean-time, btw, but to point out that I feel in no way qualified to try and guide a vulnerable addict through to sobriety at this point in my life, as much as I'd love to help people.

I had no real inclination to speak to this woman, and that feeling grew during the meeting. She finally shared last, a few people after her former boyfriend (and previous sponsor of every male in that group), who revealed gladly that he was now facing homelessness and was suicidal. Despite his newfound interest in suicide however, he kept saying how many people he had called "in the program" to talk to about his "racing thoughts", his hopelessness, etc. Every one of them has told them to "read the basic text, man". And hit some more meetings (he already goes to 1 per day). All I could thing was, "Holy crap, this is your friend, he's effing suicidal, and you're telling him to read the basic text and hit several meetings a day? WTF??!?!?"

But......back to my former sponsor sharing. She stated repeatedly that the only reason she was there was to wish a goodbye to an oldtimer there who was to be moving tomorrow three states away. Then she launched into telling the room how she had had to use every bit of strength she had last night to---keep from "beating the shit out of this bitch and all she was doing was stroking my hair". After explaining about 10 times that she is just a "very, very violent person", she tried to explain that this woman wasn't really doing much, just stroking her hair. But she had a problem--she didn't fully explain this bit--with gauging motives of women and whether or not different women were "that bitch who fucked me up so bad". Therefore, "those newcomer women, those fucking newcomer women" should all just "stay the fuck away from" her. And yes, at this point I was wishing to my doorknob that I had instant replay so I could run it back and record this particularly enlightening drunkologue. Or was it an assaultalogue?

What the HELL?!?!? Who speaks like this? Ever? Let alone to a group that is supposed to be gaining "fellowship" from their words? Needless to say, she was not the first person to share about their problems with previous episodes or even arrests for "violent" behaviors or offenses. While everyone else nodded their heads knowingly at each of these confessions, I sincerely wished to become invisible. I didn't feel terribly warm and gushy inside with the three men who told everyone how they only had to serve anywhere from 20-90 days in jail (for "violent" offenses, unspecified). I was wondering about the five or so 18-20 year olds sitting in there eligible for sponsorship by these people who kept claiming that they'd not only use were it not for meetings but that they'd do much worse ("I'm just a VERY violent person!"). And that doesn't even touch on the talk of suicide!

Admittedly, it does make sense now, that this woman who hates other women to such a degree would've not cared one bit (or even returned a call, though I considered that a blessing, even then) about my life or her other 11 sponsees at the time. After all, she's just a "very, very violent person". I certainly am not going to harbor any animosity towards a woman who is so messed up that she can barely make it through a night without an assault & battery charge, I don't begrudge these people their different beliefs. Not if these meetings are all they have preventing them from killing themselves. That said, people who've been clean for years and years whose daily struggle is severe depression, violent tendencies, suicidal thoughts --well, let's just say that their biggest problem at the present is probably not their experience however long ago with addiction.

Admittedly also, this could be grandstanding. But if the newcomer is the most important person in the room, what kind of hope does it give them in their own "recovery" (and there were EIGHT people there with under 30 days all in the 18-21 age group!) to hear every oldtimer talking about not being able to escape from the destructive thoughts in their heads, the dangerous thoughts of suicide, constant threats of homelessness? If this is "serenity", I must've missed the proper definition.

So, my ex-sponsor ended her share by stating that she was grateful for this county's "finest", who had arrested her (for some previous violent behavior, I was inferring), that that was a blessing in disguise. Then made a final reference to "newcomer women". I had already passed during sharing, even declined to give my name (I didn't want to seem horribly disrespectful because I did NOT go to "crash" a meeting, merely to observe--but I still wasn't about to say that I AM an addict. Oh, no.). After hearing that though, I couldn't much speak at all. I encouraged the newer members best I could, told them not to lose hope, that if I could make it anyone could. I kept free of any other message. I won't deny that I felt much better off in having refused previously to "keep coming back", though. Thank the great doorknob in the sky, my life is far better for the path I chose.

Comments

JR, are NAers less hostile towards AA where you live? Here the animosity on the NA side isn't even concealed.

Every time I hear about the contentious relationship between AA and NA I think of the musical West Side Story. AA must be the Jets and NA is the Sharks. Now all we need is Maria and Tony to come along.

marietta davis's picture

"Perseph’ne
I just met a girl named Perseph’ne
Her meetings are a drag
But still she has to brag
To me

Perseph’ne
She stayed after class just to get me
To see her so concerned
She really wouldn’t hurt a flea

Perseph’ne
Say it loud and it screams "collusion"
Say it soft and it’s naught but confusion


Perseph’ne
I’ll never quit asking Perseph’ne
The most evasive posts I've ever read . . .
Perseph’ne!"

marietta davis's picture

Are you calling Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim the "devil", ben? How untutored of you.

The first 2 notes in that song are a tritone - as in D to G# for example - see diabolus in musica - I think it might have been banned by the Catholic Church at one time

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

How can two notes be a tritone, when a tritone is an interval of three whole tones?

I thinks that finally set him back a pinsh!!!

You don't even know what were talking about - it's music - you know, banjos and things...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

Pretty sure Bela Fleck knows what a tritone is.

All I am seeing is your ass....:)

Tritone is the 3 full tone interval between the two notes - where's your problem?

Addition : Just checked on Wikipedia - they use C to F# as their example.

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

If it was banned by the Catholic Church, how the hell would I know about it? I didn't learn about effective contraception until I was 19.

(Didn't you know that Wikipedia is not a respected source for information on any topic?)

Signed,
"miserere nobis"

I said it was banned at some time. Not that it is banned now. That was some time in the middle ages I think. It was banned from music because it made people have horny thoughts apparently. Bugger Maria (not literally) - should the need arise, I'll put my faith in Viagra I think...lol.

Disagree with your take on Wikipedia too. Anything factual, it's pretty good on. It's just when you get fanatics promoting causes that it gets a bit out there...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

On Wikipedia: just expressing Ironic's viewpoint. I have been roundly chastised by her for using Wikipedia as a source of information.

In my experience, once banned by the Church, always banned by the Church. They move backward, not forward.

Who's Maria?

The one with the tritone to start?

was trying to find this by the Flying Burrito Bros, but YouTube gets sketchy at times if it's more than 10 years ago. Like this version though. Didn't know Steve Martin played.

This should give Danny a wet dream...lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrlqQ1_vZVE&feature=results_video&playnex...

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

causeandeffect's picture

Have you ever heard this song? I found it hard to believe this song never made it to the UK, but my ex said he'd never heard it. And he was a pure genius musician.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27IW08mC3zE

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

Thanks for that C&E - it's been bookmarked for further investigation. Excellent production and one of those ladies has got a voice up there with the best. I love voices but find you have to go to musical theatre to find the really best women. The crap makes all of the money...lol

This lady is one of my favorites of all time. This song just makes me melt...lol (big softy really...lol)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guMMieMwbXU

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

causeandeffect's picture

He was telling me the truth! Heart never made there! I'll be damned! They were huge here in the 80's but then they just sold out, got boring. More kick ass for ya!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27IW08mC3zE

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

That's the same track - I think you highlighted but forgot to copy. I know because I do it regularly...lol.

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

causeandeffect's picture

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

causeandeffect's picture

Ever heard Connie Lush and/or Blues Shouter?

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

LOL

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

causeandeffect's picture

They're a British blues band. No good recordings on youtube unfortunately. Toured a bit of Europe with them when my husband stood in for their guitarist. They're really good. Should check them out if you get a chance. Uh, if they're still around.

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

Late 60s/early 70s blues band. Kim Simmonds is still playing in San Fransisco.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK0I1DED3gY

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

causeandeffect's picture

Good one

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

Heart, Ann and Nancy Wilson joined in 1972 when the band was called Hocus Pocus later in 1974 the name changed to Heart. So maybe your ex was not old enough to remember. They died out in the early 80's. Had a comeback in 1985 (new album) and then died back out again.
Throughout the mid to late 70's they were a hot band to catch live in concert. I saw them in So.Cal during the 70's a few times.

causeandeffect's picture

danny-the-perp!

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

No wonder you have an ex....:)

The authority on trolls conferred with like-minded pudgy squeaky-voiced dwarfs under a bridge and, after obstreperous debate, decided they weren't trolls: got it.

The Catholic Church banned Maria from West Side Story in the middle ages, but has since rescinded the ban: got it.

ben might pharmaceutically summon the gumption to ass-rape some random girl, but any song more complex that Twinkle, Twinkle works too: got it.

Some folks flat their fifths, others drink them.

Man, I love this shit.......billybudd, my Monday fucking hero!!

causeandeffect's picture

Are you kissing billybud's ass with that mouth?

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

Aw ... jealous? You can each have a cheek. Just DO NOT mention 'monkey in the middle' to ben, and never whistle Rule Brittania around him unless you're ensconced within in a protected nook or enveloped in full body armor (he gets randy over "fancy" music).

causeandeffect's picture

Enjoy danny's ass kissing while you can. His days are numbered here. Again.

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

Cause, you are such a tough talker. Why don't you relax and get off this stupid act of yours.

in imbroglios regarding alter-egos and other faint entities, but your languid caresses I'd fain reciprocate.

Every Monday...lol. Jealous?

Why would I answer you, Marietta? There's no point. You'll just twist whatever I say around, insult me and wish horrible fates for my children. This might come as a surprise, but that doesn't make pleasant conversation (or even debate) for normal people.

I agree. Much more eloquent than "Fuck off, troll" too...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

LOL Ben, but don't get me wrong. I'm a staunch supporter of "fuck off, troll" as well.

........ they need to be struck regularly.

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

Yow Ben, I thought you were suggesting we should all bang Marietta.

FFS PIE - I've just eaten...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

Indeed, ben, WHY WOULD YOU answer me? You're not posing as a "normie", are you?

"For threatening my babies, unborn and unnamed,
You ain't worth the blood that runs in your veins"

Bob Dylan

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

"Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. ben?"

What the fuck is that meant to mean? Mad Cow...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

gotcha!

WTF? Comes out with meaningless crap and then says "Gotcha". Fucking mad as a Hatter...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

You didn't make the connection, ben. You didn't understand the purpose or the source of the quote. Oh, by now you've looked it up and all is well. But for just a minute or two there I gotcha, dude.

The "meaningless crap" you refer to is also a Bob Dylan lyric from "Ballad Of A Thin Man". Update yo' tonalities, bent!

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