Saturday, July 30, 2016

An Unexpected Tribute

Last night was one of the biggest pleasant surprises of my life. I went to the candlelight meeting because it was my friend's celebration. The surprise was that he wanted me to speak on his behalf; I did not know of his wish until the emcee called my name.
It's never hard to talk on someone's behalf. I used to get all huffy at times over people that got up there to speak on behalf of someone at celebrations and talk about themselves for ten minutes. I still think it's pretty self-centered, but self-centeredness is, after all, a characteristic of the disease of addiction, and as such doesn't bother me quite as much as it used to. Some are sicker than others. But when I am asked to speak at one of these things, or give sponsees a medallion, I try to keep it short and I try to limit what comes out of my mouth to the celebrant--and also, only positive things about the celebrant, too.
Because the biggest reason I changed sponsors a couple months ago was because of precisely this issue. My then-sponsor got up to present a kid with a one-year medallion, and proceeded to rip the kid a new butthole because he hadn't been working quite as hard as the sponsor believed he should be with stepwork. There's a time and a place to have that discussion--but giving someone their first medallion in recovery, in front of everyone that matters to them, isn't it. It is nothing more or less than the guy telling everyone there, "His clean time is a fraud, because he is not recovering in the manner that I, the Great Gazoo of Recovery, think he should be." It was mean-spirited, it was selfish in the extreme, and it had the opposite effect of what was intended-- the guy had another sponsor almost as soon as the meeting was over. I never have understood why, at a celebration, anyone would not be positive about the celebrant--it's a celebration, not a critique, and not a chance to stroke the sponsor in front of everyone.
And no one goes to a celebration saying excitedly to their friends, "Hey, I hear so-and-so is going to be one of the guys speaking for Joey at Joey's celebration. Can't wait to hear that!" I've always kept that in mind, and I've also learned not to hold the room hosage talking for ten munites about pretty much everything that enters your conscious stram of thought. Just say a few nice words, and sit fown. Which is what I did last night. And what I wish more people would do when they are asked to speak for a celebrant.

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