8 months, 17 days / commitment

I’m sorry, but most of this post will probably be confusing or boring to anyone who isn’t in AA. I’m going to talk all about service in AA, something I wouldn’t recommend to anyone who hates responsibility. The saga with my weekly literature commitment continues – this week the new literature which we ordered for the Tuesday newcomers meeting still didn’t arrive. It’s been nearly THREE months since the meeting’s treasurer, O, allegedly sent off the order form. I say ‘allegedly’ because everyone else I’ve spoken to tells me the books should only take a week to arrive, and if O really did send the form off to the right address three months ago, it should have been sorted out a long time ago. The fact is that this has become an urgent problem, because the meeting has all but run out of the most important literature, such as the vital ‘Where To Find’ booklets which tell newcomers where all the meetings in London are. At the end of the meeting tonight a newcomer with just a day’s sobriety wanted one of these booklets, and I couldn’t give it to her because we ran out of them months ago. I felt so guilty telling her this, I was close to tears. I almost don’t want to go to the meeting next week, because I know the literature probably still won’t have arrived, and I’ll have to confront O about it at some point.

He is the one who has taken responsibility for this issue and therefore he is the one I need to confront. He was at the meeting tonight, but I was too scared to go up to him, because I didn’t know what to say. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to say to him next week. I’m going to have to say something, because this simply can’t go on. He’s failing to do his job. He should have been on the phone to the literature office weeks ago, and the problem SHOULD have been resolved by now. It’s not like they’re in Outer Mongolia, they are in this country. And by all accounts, they’re generally reliable. Which is why I can’t believe it’s taken three months. I don’t want to have to tell O what to do, but it looks like I’m going to have to! I’d send another order form off myself and take full responsibility, but as treasurer, O is in charge of the money, so he’s really got the power here.

There is one major character defect of mine being tested here. This is my people-pleasing instinct. Firstly, I’m terrified to even go near O now because I know it’s not going to be an uncomplicated, friendly conversation when I do. My logical brain is telling me that he can’t possibly be annoyed with me if I do confront him – he should know that there’s been a failure somewhere along the line and it’s my JOB to ask him about it. But I’ve never confronted anyone about anything before. The words aren’t even in my vocabulary. The other reason my people-pleasing instinct is being tested is because there are people in the meeting now who probably think it’s my fault this has happened. I’m the literature secretary, my name is the one that gets announced every week when the meeting’s literature is mentioned. In reality, the situation isn’t my fault, but most people don’t know that it’s really O who has taken responsibility for sending this order off. As far as most people are concerned it’s my responsibility, and the thought of having to go up to all those people and explain to them that it’s not been my responsibility so far is very tiring. I know that if I did that I’d then have to explain it’s O who’s really at fault, and that makes me feel even worse.

At the end of the day, I can see a confrontation coming up soon, and I hate it. I’m still close to tears now because of this. I’ve spoken to both my sponsor and C on the phone, and they’ve reassured me that no one will think I’m to blame for anything. But I cannot escape the knowledge that to get this bloody mess sorted out, I’m going to have to confront O and tell him to pull his finger out.

This is the exact situation I dreaded when I started taking commtiments on. It’s the situation I dread every time I get a job, and the very reason why I’ve lost so many jobs in the past. I always run away from the responsibility when it gets too much. I’ve never stuck around to deal with situations like this in an adult way. I’ve never believed that I had the resources to deal with it. Now that I’m going through it, I’m sure I’ll end up learning something valuable about being an adult. I’m sure I’ll end up grateful in some way, but right now, I don’t feel grateful at all. I feel fucking angry that this is happening to me right now, while I’ve got so much other fucking shit to deal with in my life. That’s right, I’m not just angry, I’m fucking angry! I’m an alcoholic – it has to be as dramatic as possible!

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3 thoughts on “8 months, 17 days / commitment

  1. I don’t have their number. O has taken full responsibility for this and therefore he is the one who has to phone them. I’m going to try and call him tomorrow to get this sorted out. I’m not looking forward to it, but my skills at being an ‘adult’ are obviously being tested, and I can’t run away from this.

  2. Early in recovery and even today, I have a problem with confronting people about things that I think need confronting. The first six years of my recovery, I was involved whole heartedly in some sort of service work and in that time, there were amble opportunities for confrontational behavior to pop up.
    What has helped me the most was my understanding of the 12 steps and 12 traditions of the program – The 12 steps for my own personal growth and the 12 traditions for how the group operates. ‘Group’ being a key word here because the group is a ‘we’ program. That means it doesn’t have to be done alone. It’s not all your responsibility.
    My experience was, that if I had a problem with another homegroup member, one that needed confronting, I would call for a group conscience. Remembering that for our group purpose, there would be a loving God involved. Next, I would remind the group, not just the individual, what our group’s primary purpose is – To carry the message to the still suffering… At the moment you felt bad that the new comer was unable to get a meeting list, is the moment you should have spoke up and called for a group conscience. It is the responsibility of every home group member, even if they are not on the 12th step, “To try and carry this message to the ones still suffering”.
    The money that was supposed to be sent for literature, is group money, that is what the basket is sent around for. And even though each group is autonomous, any member has a right to question where that money is going.
    I beat myself up for too long in recovery thinking that everything that didn’t go right in a service commitment that I was involved in, was my fault. If it was, I learned from it. If it wasn’t, I let someone know so it could be corrected. But what I’ve come to find out is that the newcomer is the most important person at any meeting and if their needs aren’t being met, then there is something wrong with the meeting. The meeting being the group and not just one individual. Think ‘we’ and bring the things that bother you to your homegroups attention.

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