Sunday, November 6, 2016

XVIII

It's a bit of an anticlimax when it's so far past the actual clean date, but I got my medallion tonight for 18 years. Presentations aren't the big deal they used to be to me, but it's still nice to be the center of attention for one night a year, and it does serve as a litmus test of where I stand as a recovering person at a given time. This year, I had Aldo give me the medallion, because Mark was working tonight, and I thought it went all right.
A couple of people there made reference to the fact that I have been and still can be a bit of a difficult personality to deal with. But I'm glad a couple of people pointed out some things that aren't generally known, either, and while I'm not going to write this long paean to myself here, it's always nice when you realize that some people do pay attention, too. I've had some major fuck-ups over the years, and I've gotten into conflicts with virtually everyone with more than a couple of years clean at one time or another. But I've also done a lot of good things, too, things that have been done under the radar, without the whole world watching or knowing, and one of the people there tonight recounted one of those instances tonight. I do those kind of things because they are the right thing to do, not because I want to be recognized for it by the world--but all the same, it's nice when, once in a while, you do get cited for the good you do. Kind of rounds out the picture, especially with a few people in the room that have been very vocal about their disagreements with me in the past.
I talked with someone I've spent a lot of time around the last couple of years after the meeting was over, and he asked me about what was happening with Lauren. I told him, taking a few minutes, sharing that while there are still major issues between us, we're talking and much is still possible. and he said something that told me that he, too, pays attention. "Whatever it is between you two, it's not about sex. It really wasn't 13th stepping." And I thought to myself, "Finally, somebody freaking gets it." I've never been a serial predator on women in general or newcomers, and when I first started spending time with her a few years ago, I really hoped that I would get more credit for the 14 year-track record I had than I did. Sometimes, attractions just happen, for whatever reason. And sometimes, the person on the other end of it needs to work through their own baggage and their own histories and their own disease of addiction. I am not going to tell you that it's all been worth it because three years from now, we're going to be living the fairy tale ending. But I can tell you that I know I've made a positive difference in her life, and I can tell you that she knows it and appreciates it, too, and that as bad as some parts of her own journey have been, it might have been a lot worse and gone on a lot longer if not for my presence. I have no illusions about what has happened, and I do not know what the future holds, as I've been writing here recently. But it's not a simple, good-n-evil, advantage-taken scenario. Elements of it, sure; it's part of the journey for both parties. But it's evolved, and changed and is changing, and it's, against the odds, been revealed to be durable and legitimate. I've learned over three years that people tend to graft what would be their own motivations in a similar situation onto other people, and to see other people's affairs through the lens of their own experiences.. It used to make me angry, and I still don't like it, but that outrage is tempered by the knowledge that I have often done the same thing. And I do think that it's a measure of my progress in my journey that I don't usually rush to judgment now, and that I don't feel compelled to share my opinions when I am not directly affected, and I don't automatically assume hypocrisy when I see something that seems out of character or out of sorts.
Because in the long run, character tells, almost always. And my character has been shaped by the journey I've been on for nearly two decades, and while some aspects of the personality aren't necessarily all they could be, the essential goodness of character within me is there. I believe that now, and more importantly, I live that way now.

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