Hi. My name is Maddog and I’m a _________________.

I love fighting on Facebook.  Today I’m fighting with Sam.  If you’ve been reading my blog for more than three minutes you’ll know who Sam is.  If you are new, do a search for Sam.  It will tell you a lot.  When I met Adam I told him that Sam would always be the one that got a way.  I’m glad he did.  I have something so much better now.

Sam was not in my life for a very long time.  In the late 1990’s he developed a nice little crystal meth problem, that escalated.  He eventually OD’d in NYC and almost died.  It was that incident and his behavior toward me after I cared for him for a week in the hospital that led me to cut him off completely from my life.

He was resurrected about three years ago when he sent word that he had gotten his life cleaned up, was in recovery, and was finally trying to fix the things he’d allowed to become broken.  I’m very proud that he has almost three years under his belt.

That being said.  He’s becoming what I refer to as a recovery diva.  He knows all there is to know about recovery.  He knows how it’s supposed to be done.  How the meetings are to be led.  etc.  etc.

I know all of these things.  I sat in 12 step rooms for almost five years being one of these divas.  I think when I look back on things I was a much nicer, much better person using, than I was being a diva.

Yesterday Sam, complained on Facebook that the speaker didn’t stay on recovery.  She spent too much time on “the mess” and not enough time on the message.  I heard in him, who I used to be.  And I didn’t like it.  And I said as much.  Here is our exchange:

    • Sam: Here’s a question…how do you feel about a speaker that shares their story and just five minutes before the end they mention the program and how they are living today.

      Greg:  Almost as good as I do about the one who gives an intellectual dissertation on each step in order sprinkled with literature quotes. Whatever happened to people who just sat in a room talking with each other like old friends? When did everyone start sharing for the benefit of the “audience?”
    • Maddog: Hmmm. A little less judgement Mr. Sam. The speaker shared what he needed to share tonight. If it kept you sober today then I’d say he said the right thing.

      Sam: I wasn’t judging, I was speaking the truth. Ask anyone and they’ll say a speaker should spend the vast majority of their time on living clean today and not war stories from the past. (Since I don’t have all the answers, I asked several people with a lot of time and thats what they said.) As for me staying clean another day, that person had nothing to do with it…thats was me and God.
    • I’m not telling you how to live your program. But I do know from experience that when spending time at a meeting becomes about judging the content of the meeting then more often than not you’ve lost sight of why you are there in the first place. And don’t forget that although you didn’t like what you heard look around the room and see if anyone else did hear something good. And if its only you and god.that keep you sober then forget the meetings and stay home and watch glee.
      Sam: I wasnt judging. Im stating a simple fact. The woman spent 40 minutes speaking about her drug use and 5 speaking about recovery…those are the facts and I simple asked people (IN RECOVERY, which your not) how they felt about it. Now, you want me to judge…let me judge…she did a horrible job of carrying the message. (See our literature to find out what that message is.) And I asked some other people there as well “What did you think” and they said the same thing I did….less mess and more message.
    • Matt: Short Of Being Entirely Ready. Thank God Sam’s not sober. He’s clean.
      Maddog: Sam. I’m not trying to piss you off. But the fact that you are so fired up about this speaks volumes about what I’m about to say.
    • No. I’m not in recovery. Now. I attended meetings for almost five years in a 12 step recovery program. Not for drugs, but the foundation is the same. It’s all based on the same 12 steps whether you are addicted to meth, cheeseburgers or dick. They are all the same. I also know that one of the reasons that I stopped going to meetings was because of people like you. I sat around the room and listened to people talk. I sat at fellowship and listened to people talk. And I soon realized that it wasn’t recovery they were talking. They were no longer letting the meetings lead their lives, they were leading the life of the meeting. For me, I eventually realized that I was much happier, and in many ways more sober (call it what you want. A friend of mine who’s been sober off alcohol for damn near 25 years says he’s sober I think he knows what he’s talking about) out of the rooms than I was in the rooms. The reason I had come into the rooms had stopped and I no longer experienced all the drama that came along with going to meetings.

      And trust me I know all about drama. It took me about three weeks to find myself on the A list. I went to all the right meetings. I sat with all the right people. After I got 90 days I was asked to chair meetings and speak. When I had two years I was the go to man when you needed a “real” speaker to stay on topic. I’ve spoken in meetings with almost 150 people in attendance. I think I know about speaking. But as you know getting sober leads you down a path that can be very eye opening, and one night I was sitting at fellowship at a very happening Chelsea restaurant and I looked around me and I realized that I didn’t like what I saw. No one sitting there was talking recovery. They were talking about how crazy Harvey is. And can you believe that Sean has slipped once again. And that fucking speaker, going on and on, and on, and on. Will someone please just tell him to shut up before he even starts next time. And I don’t give a fuck if you wanted to pick up because you burned your toast. If you’ll pick up over something that stupid than you deserve to go out. As you can see, serious recovery talk.

      With in a week I stopped going to the meetings I had gone to. I stopped going to fellowship with these people. I got a new sponsor. And you know what. In about three seconds I was on a better road to recovery. And you know what else. Within a month not one of those so called A list friends was calling anymore.

      As for not judging. You ARE judging. The woman who spoke at your meeting said WHAT SHE NEEDED TO SAY TO STAY SOBER. That was the reason she was at the meeting. She was asked to do service. She stepped up to the plate and did it to the best of her ability. She is on a much different path than you are. And you are on a much different path than she is. Whether you liked it really isn’t the point. In fact it’s never the point. Did she share her story in an effort to keep you and everyone else in the room from picking up. My guess is she did. You didn’t like it but she did. The fact that you ask others in the room if they agreed with you and they confirmed they did doesn’t make you any more right and doesn’t make it any less judging. Of course you found people to agree with you. When I was going to meetings I always had people to agree with me. That’s what friends are for.

      As for less mess, more message. The thing I miss least about recovery is all the little slogans. I found them to be annoying then I find them to be annoying now. You know. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of where you’ve come from. Three short years ago I wouldn’t even have been your friend on Facebook because of they way I’d been treated by you. I know you are changing. I can see it every day in your posts. And that’s why I’m happy that you are in my life again. But sometimes, not every time I agree, it’s good to be reminded of where you’ve been. I doubt very seriously this woman romanticized her years of using. It would be my guess that she spoke about the things that she lost as a result of using. Lost jobs. Money. Friends. Lovers. Or perhaps wrecking the car. Or waking up in strange man’s bed for the third night in a row. Sure it would be nice if she eventually got to recovery but trust me, I bet she reminded more than a few people in the room last night that picking up was not a good idea then and it will definitely not be a good idea now.

      Here’s my challenge to you. The next time you find yourself in a meeting not liking what you hear. Ask yourself is it them? Or it you? Most of the time it’s going to be you. It really is what you are bringing to the table. Also ask yourself if your response is helping you stay sober or helping you work your program. Ask yourself if your response is helping the other people in the room stay sober. Program is a two way street. You have to look out for number one, but if you aren’t doing all you can to help everyone else then the whole thing falls apart.

      And I’ll end on this. No matter what you thought about last night’s meeting. Whether you agree with me or not. Complaining about it on Facebook is NOT the way to discuss it. The rooms need to be kept safe. For everyone. You assume that she will never know about these comments. You assume a lot. You should never cause people to fear sharing by posting your thoughts about their shares on Facebook. When you do you’ve ceased to keep the rooms safe for everyone. And as innocent as you think it is, people have gone out for less.



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