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Proud Like Hell

Hug It Out, Brah

Once upon a year, many times ago, i was riding in the back of a bus and reading a book. The seats at the back were arranged facing each other but my head was buried in my book when i felt someone’s foot encroaching on my foot space. He was pushing my shoe with his even though my foot had clearly been there first. i nudged his tennis shoe back to reclaim my territory—these inches of corrugated rubber bus floor were rightfully mine and i’d be damned if i gave them up just because some twat thought i wouldn’t hold my ground.

After ten minutes of this back and forth, i finally raised my head from the pages and saw i was engaged in a turf war with a 15-year-old mentally handicapped boy sitting next to his mother. In that instant, i learned more about fighting for my rights than i ever would at any other time in my life.

Unfortunately, at times i also forgotten more than i’ve ever known about fighting for my rights.

A few years back, a drinking buddy of mine committed an unforgivable affront. As it was totally unforgivable, i’ve never forgiven him (hence he ‘unforgivable’). However, as we work together, i’ve seen him pretty much every day since his heinous act. In the last 2½ years, i’ve spoken to him twice and i was drunk both times. Since entering recovery on January 11, 2011 i have not even acknowledged his presence when we are in the same room together.

Today, i read the following in the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book.

When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. They will be done.”

We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn’t treat sick people that way.

–Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, page 67 (Emphasis is mine)

Reading that, i was taken back to the petty fight with a disabled teen over 6 inches of dirty bus floor. i may not be better than any other person, but i can be better than our conflict.

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About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home. http://about.me/AlKHall

Posted on November 14, 2011, in AA Step Work, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hi … stopping by to read a little of another kindred spirit’s schpew. My gosh … the “space” war. I could see you claiming your space … and that poor little guy just thinkin’ (don’t know for sure) … but he probably thought he was going to fall over and he didn’t want to hurt anyone. Man, i can relate to that major pissed off attitude; then the slap of humility. Meantime, my blood is boiling, and i’ve convinced myself someone is pushing me around. Foiled again!

    Didn’t you want to hug that poor kid? Tell him to put his feet anywhere he wanted … on your back perhaps … ?

    Sounds like the issue with your pal in group is a bigger “footspace” issue. Not so easily overcome … but maybe you can borrow that knowledge learned from your sneakers … maybe there’s an inkling of humanity in the one who did you wrong …

    Booze mixes up a lot of weird drinks and situations. Outta there!

    Be strong!!!

    Mel

    • Hi Melis!

      A lot of weirdness indeed. A for the guy i work with, my next step is to stop ignoring him. A nod of the head and a simple “hey” in recognition of his presence i a big step for me. i’ll start with that.

      Keep coming back!

      Al K Hall

  2. Since we seem to be ships, passing in the night, in so many respects, I have not actually had a chance to speak to you about this. This is a huge step. I, for one, think the guy is a complete schmuck, and think you have absolute reason to keep on ignoring him. But I also know this kind of poison — the poison of carrying unforgiveness in one’s heart. In the end, it does *nothing* to harm the other person and only winds up making us toxic; it only hurts us.

    I think the guy of whom you write has really big issues — addictions of his own. In fact, probably they are the same ones as you and is why you two bonded in the first place, huh. But he is a “fellow man” — and like you write, a very sick one. To avoid retaliation, argument, harboring further anger for what has been done by a handicapped man — yeah, I see here that there is no point, and in the end, will only hamper your own progress.

    Good luck with this one, though. I know that even a nod is not going to be easy. But I do hope that you will be able to get there with him.

    • Thanks M’dear!

      Yes, he has the same issues as i do to varying degrees, so how can i be accepting of myself if i’m not of him? But you’re right, even a nod is hard so i’ll have to keep working these baby steps.

  3. I figure even THINKING of a nod is a big step forward! Man! Just ‘visualize it dude’ as they say in Boulder, CO. I actually believe that shit and figure just considering a nod AND remembering the kid on the bus is a HUGE deal. BIG huge baby steps (not actually a big huge baby, per se, though that would be both cool and creepy to see; oh, you know what I mean…)

    Peace, J

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