Lost and Lonely Expectation
The speaker meeting went very well this morning.
When I arrived, I was about thirty minutes early. My intention was to sit in the car and meditate for a while, which I did, and then go in. I knew the meeting would be pretty big, as I had been told there were consistently at least fifty people at this meeting, and I had been to one about two weeks earlier, so I’d seen the packed room. Although I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be, I wanted to have some extra pre-meeting chill-time.
On cue, the meeting started and the ritualistic readings were read and prayers spoken. Then I was up to bat. Twenty minutes, my life, in a nut shell, expressing: a) where I had come from; b) how it was; and c) where I am at now. I had mentally prepared for this throughout the previous four weeks, and knew what I needed to say, what I wanted to say, and what I thought I would say.
First lesson in speaking – don’t fucking plan.
I sat down and began speaking, and everything I’d practiced saying was out the window; yet, the practice is what made it flow, it just rolled off of my tongue. It was a very odd feeling, so I just tried to imagine that I was talking to a friend. Eye contact was next to nil, and I’d completely forgotten about the clock. I didn’t know when I had started, nor did I know what was an acceptable over-time.
So, I just talked. I explained a brief overview of my childhood and young adulthood, right up to the time I really had my first, real drink. Then I simply talked about what I went through and why I drank, what caused me to continue to drink, how I tried to quit, and why/how I stopped. Then I gave them some hope. I let them know how I did it – briefly, because I didn’t want to go over the time limit.
When I was done talking, I was sure I didn't speak long enough and there would be an extra fifteen or twenty minutes, but I ended it right on time. I'm talking on the dot.
Then came the part I was worried about; how badly did I bore my audience?
Immediately, people started talking about my story. For the next fifteen or twenty minutes, people were jumping in at their next chance and commenting about what parts they could relate to, or how they thought I did. It was cool hearing the good feedback, especially because I didn’t think anyone really wanted to listen to, or cared about, my story; I find it rather dull and boring, quite frankly.
After the meeting was over, I had a few conceptions of how I would spend the rest of my day. I say conceptions because I was avoiding the term expectations. I’m avoiding expectations because – well, in my mind, I don’t want to admit that I had set wishes on how today would go. But immediately after the meeting closed, it became apparent that all the various plans I had hoped for were disappearing. Not a single one of them was going to happen as I had – uh, anticipated.
You see, in my self-perceived ability to control Life’s play, I hadn’t figured on a number of things; i.e. – a newcomer that would need rescuing, who found her first sponsor. This immediately ruled out what I had hoped for, because said sponsor (AF) was someone I’d envisioned hanging out with for a large portion of the day.
Secondly, not much later, I found out that the same sponsor already had plans for her day – which included not me. She was busy, she had things to do.
This left me with my last plan. Surely, out of all those that came to support me, at least a couple would want to hang out, right? Maybe one? Unless they, too, had plans. Which, of course, they did.
This expectation that I didn’t have was quickly coming to head. This left me in a position I didn’t want to be in, and yet found myself there again – alone. I felt completely and utterly lost as I drove home, listening to Right Side and Left Side argue about why everything I did was a failure. I knew my morning was a huge success (personally), but they were beating me down – again! I had no direction or purpose, my day was already done, and it was wrecked from this prediction of how my day was supposed to go. It was unsettling, unnerving, and – lonely.
What to do?!
‘Go to another meeting.’
The Third Inner Voice was speaking. Funny how it is always the quietest of the three, yet I hear it louder than I want most of the time, and I always try to ignore it. But I know it’s right. So forcefully, I begin texting people, and soon – I’m on the phone. What do the multiple texts and a phone call say? “Go to another meeting.” Damn it.
Reluctantly, I headed to another meeting. As I drove, I was feeling something eating me up inside, bothering me, but I didn’t know what it was. As I drove, the combination of the soothing music and the get-away-drive knocked a hole in my eye sockets, draining my head for a minute – I almost had to pull over because I couldn't see.
Now, before I continue with this blog, this is a terribly embarrassing thing for me, so I’m NOT REALLY OPEN for discussion on it. This will be all I’m going to say about this particular subject, probably ever again.
I can’t explain what’s happened to me over the last few weeks. I went from a life-long, dry desert rock to a river soaked, moss-covered one, in a matter of seconds; and then the flash flood was gone, like it never happened. This is becoming a very annoying thing as of late, especially because I cannot explain it or comprehend what is happening, it just happens.
I’ve been to three meetings today now, counting my speaker meeting. It will be four by the time I get home tonight from chairing my favorite one, the meditation meeting. I know that meetings are super important, if for no other reason than just to get out of my head. It’s not so much the number of meetings I attend that is bothering me – it’s the being alone all the damn time that is bothering me. I realize that I can’t expect other people to make me happy, I get that. But goddamn it – some fucking companionship would sure be nice.
The reality of it is, it’s a weekday. People work. Life doesn’t just stop for me. Potential sponsees come into meetings all of the time in search for a better life, and potential sponsors have things they need to do for themselves as well. People live lives! It’s just how it goes!
The noon meeting I hit was rather good. It was about (go figure) dependency and self-sufficiency. Interestingly, we’re told that we have to rely on others to help us realize that we can’t rely on others. In other words, we can’t make it on our own, we have to trust others; and yet, we can’t depend on others to make us become happy and content. That was about the extent of what I got from the meeting, and it makes sense.
"Semi-expecting" others to be where I want them to be, when I wish them to be there, is a disappointment waiting to happen. Disappointments can lead down a sorrowful, self-pitied path, and even become resentments if we let it. How do we prevent ourselves from going down that path? We rely on someone else (ya, I’m discovering there’s all kinds of that in The Rooms – rely, don't rely, rely, don't rely – don’t worry about it, they’ve been doing this three quarters of a century, and keep proving that it works). And yet, we cannot rely on that someone else to be our “happy point.” We have to find a way for us to matter to us. For us to make ourselves happy, and then content. And if we don’t know how, we rely on someone else to help us, to show us, to move us in the right direction – and then step away. Just like learning to ride a bike.
I spent the rest of the afternoon working on some graphics projects, trying to keep the loneliness at bay, but I was taking a beating from Left Side and Right Side, as usual. I didn't want to go chair my favorite meeting anymore, I was worn down again. But there are a couple of friends that I pickup to go to that meeting, and they needed a ride. I couldn't leave them hanging, so I went.
The topic? Loneliness.
If I ever figure out how that works, I'll let you know.
There’s something to this gig. There truly is. Just sit back, listen, and do the work directed by the Big Guy upstairs, and all will go well. Easy? No no no no no. Well? Yes.
I’m learning that the only expectation I can count on, is that it won’t be what I expected; and loneliness is only as lonely as I let it be. Contact someone, and talk.
As for the rocks and the river – I hope that never happens again, although I suspect I won't have a choice the next time around, either.