I’d like to start by thanking Ronald for his comment on my post yesterday. All of his advice is helpful and, of course, correct. As soon as it got to the point when we had to start rationing literature to newcomers at my home group, I should have known there was a communication problem with the other members of the ‘committee’. I DID know there was a communication problem, but I didn’t know what to do about it. The fact is, O has not been communicating with the rest of us about what’s happening with the literature order, and I’ve been avoiding asking him about it. The old, sick part of me has been happy to blame O for the problem, to hand all the responsibility over to him because he’s the one who took the reins in the first place and therefore he should be doing everything for me. In reality, that strategy hasn’t worked for me because the meeting is now running out of vital resources, when the situation could easily have been resolved weeks ago.
I have no idea why O isn’t communicating with me any more. Whatever the reason, it’s up to me now to get the communication going again. I’ve asked C for O’s number, and I’m going to make the phone call tomorrow. I can’t bear to wait until next Tuesday for the next piece of news. I need to make things happen now. I’m not saying that all of this is my fault. I’ve simply avoided having important discussions with O so far because I’ve been so terrified of confrontation. In my alcoholic mind I’m convinced that by asking O to rectify the situation I will be causing a confrontation. I can’t believe that the conversation will go the way I want it to go; I’m imagining the worst case scenario, where O accuses me of getting on his back and hangs up the phone on me, which causes me to feel so guilty and embarrassed that I never want to go to my home group again. Already I’m feeling that guilt and shame, before we’ve even had the conversation.
These are my character defects in action; this is my part in the problem. I haven’t done anything wrong as such. I’ve done all I can to serve the meeting and fulfil my responsibility. But now is the time to stretch myself, to learn some new adult skills. I’ve had a very long chat with my sponsor about this, and he’s said to me pretty much everything that Ronald posted in his comment yesterday. We as a group need to get together now and sort the problem out, and in the scheme of things, it’s really a very easy thing to sort out. I already know things that can be done. We can call the literature office and read the order out to them over the phone if we have to! I don’t know if part of the problem is that this is one of my first big commitments in AA. I’ve never done anything like this before – I’m new to such responsibility. As I think I’ve said before, this is the kind of situation I dread when going to work. My sponsor has made it clear that when I do find a job later in the year, I’ll be facing situations twice as hard as this all the time. That knowledge puts the fear of God into me, I can tell you – but I know I need to face that fear at every opportunity. I don’t like it, but I’m beginning to accept it, by talking about it so much I suppose.
Surely I’m not the first alcoholic to have ever faced this kind of difficulty with service in AA. Surely the commitments are designed to test us, to make us stronger. There is no doubt that if I manage to successfully resolve the literature situation by this time next week, I will become a stronger and more confident person. As a test of character it’s come in the most unexpected of ways, but I’m viewing it as a character test nonetheless. My character defects want me to burst into tears, to throw my hands in the air before things get really difficult; they want me to ignore everyone’s advice and reassurances, and to avoid next Tuesday’s meeting so that someone else deals with the mess and I never have to face it. Eventually, my character defects want me to stop going to every meeting where things are a little difficult for me, to isolate myself completely and finally, to drink again. That is why I need to persevere at this little test, to see it through until it’s finished. It’s tough, and I hate it, but I cannot give up now. I have the tools to get through this now, thanks to the program. I will be OK, I am a strong person, I am not a failure.