Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Sober Job.

The title is an inside-joke for those in recovery. It refers to the certain knowledge amongst recovering drunks and druggies that "God is our employer" and that He has only one job for us which is "to stay sober and to help another alcoholic to achieve sobriety."

Accepting that as a given, our real job then becomes that of trying to find the best way to fulfill God's intention for us, given our own individual talents... and limitations.

I'll tell you why this has been on my mind. This past weekend I was at a LGBT 12-Step Roundup in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Roundups are weekend long (generally) events wherein hundreds of recovering lesbian, gay, bi and transgendered folks get together for workshops and for a lot of sober socializing and fun. This year a friend from my Friday night 12-Step group decided to tag along. He has about 4 years of sobriety. As the weekend progressed it became increasingly clear that he had a very hard time socializing with other people there. Every time I'd turn around, there he'd be, either directly at my back or elbow, just this short of being stuck up my ass like a clingy, needy, bashful, socially-inept 4 year old... or else he'd be way off in a corner, all by himself, looking lost and forlorn.

It started to really annoy me that he wouldn't "play well with others." I kept saying things to him like, "Would you like Daddy to arrange a play-date for you?"

Eventually it became clear that that's exactly what he was hoping daddy would do.

My whole childhood was one spent hoping and praying that one day my own (real) daddy would finally come along and rescue me from the clutches of the Evil Queen (my alcoholic mother). He never did show up and by the time I got to know him, as an adult, I realized that even if he had shown up, he wouldn't have been much of a prize for, it turned out, that my Prince Charming had issues of his own.

So, in light of my experience with my friend over the weekend, and based on my own past experience, it slowly started to dawn on me this week that maybe my role in sobriety is supposed to be that of a sober father-figure. That lacking any childhood father-figure of my own, I was perfectly free to create myself as the sort of father I'd always wished I'd had when I was a kid. And that I could share that "uber-papa personna" I'd create with other men in recovery who were desperately seeking a daddy, too.

As much as it annoys me (and let's face it, God's will is almost always annoying), maybe it's time for me to start paying attention to what my real job is in life.


p.s. I'm aware of the high degree of codependency this could lead one into. Still, it does make a weird sort of sense to me.


Bev Sykes said...

Was there a potted palm involved?

JoyZeeBoy said...

There might has well have been.

He and I have talked since then and he agrees he probably needs to seek outside help in overcoming this little problem.

He sees it as shyness. I see it as incredible self-centeredness... the certainty on his part that it's the WORLD'S job to beat a path to HIS door and to do all the heavy lifting regarding relationships, rather than vice versa.

He'd be shocked if he heard me say that. But I know that selfishness comes in many disguises, for I wore quite a few of them in my day.