Thursday, February 09, 2006
4th Step Superbowl
Why they schedule the Superbowl during a 4th Step workshop is beyond me. I had to double-check with the alano to verify it was still being held. The games started the same time the workshop ended, which is convenient for those living in Minneapolis, but an hour bus ride away for those living in her twin city, the capital.
I had concerns that day: Would I miss the game? Would I miss watching the game with June? Would I watch the game in an Irish pub in Uptown? I missed those football games with my then wife June N. She was the only woman I loved that said she watched football and meant it; die hard Greenbay Packers fan all the way. When they won, she was happy. When they lost, she was depressed. I miss watching football with June.
I had to call someone, but everyone I tried was not available. Not my sponsor, his sponsor, nor my best friend who hated football. Enough phone time wasted trying to hail a shoulder. Time to leave.
Preparation is key to avoiding lapses. I’ll simply bring a radio to listen to the beginning of the game on my way home. However, my radio only gets FM. The games isn’t broadcast on FM band. No problem, AM radios go for $2.87 at Target and it’s on my bus route; just add an extra 30 minutes to ride time. But a trust-funder at The House over-hears my plight and offers to sell me an AM/FM/TV/Cassette portable with digital display, station presets, and equalizer for five bucks. If only I had real estate in a Florida swamp.
It was a beautifully sunny winter day for the ride. I took this opportunity to snap off a few photos for this posting. Minneapolis is so much more progressive to the eye than Saint Paul. I want to spend more time there this weekend.
The photograph I chose for this posting was taken just as Christine A. drove up. She acknowledged me with a smile and I waved. That’s odd: enemies don’t wave. Oh, that’s right, she doesn’t know she’s the enemy. Beautiful, but still the enemy.
Surprised not to find her sitting in the same spot, or even in the room for that matter, I took my seat in the usual place. After feeling completely dehydrated from the previous day’s plasma donation, I broke out a bottle of water, which drew a look of concern from our host seated at the head table. I smiled and lightheartedly quipped, “Absolute.” This started a rolling conversation about Vodka in the freezer, drinking it straight, hiding bottles, sneaking them into theaters, work, etc.; the usual A.A. war stories. At the height of this tête-à-tête in walks Christine who sits next to me, but is noticeably uncomfortable with the discussion. I let it continue for a while, interested in her reaction, until finally noticing that our host is not enjoying the dialogue either.
I interrupt, “Okay, I started all this.” Removing the lid from my water bottle, “See, it’s only water,” as I offer it to the only non-alcoholic in the room to smell. She predictably backs off, then realizing the embarrassing position she’s been put it, and not wishing to escalate it, sniffs it with an approving smile.
Christine’s uncomfortable around alcoholics. Wait, I made her feel uncomfortable around these alcoholics. Actually, more like annoyed. I still gotta know who’s the alcoholic in her life. However, she definitely doesn’t appear to want to hang around afterwards for fellowship. She wants to get in and out as quick as possible, not hang around the alano at all. What is an al-anon expecting to get out of a 4th Step workshop? The Wax may never know.
I’ll try again this last weekend of the workshop, but I doubt she’ll want to chat with me.
What were we talking about? Oh, the workshop. These are things I’ve learned:
When working through your grudge (or resentment) list, think of it not as a mechanical process, but an emotional, spiritual experience. Put yourself in the place of the one you harmed and ask yourself how it really affects that person.
If you’re reliant on yourself, you’re fearful. This statement blew me away. I mean I was noticing this when I was relying on total strangers’ help and compassion, but didn’t realize that there was once a time when I thought self-reliance was the key to life.
Work the list across the columns first, then down the rows. In others words, complete a grudge before moving onto the next. If you get stuck on an item in the list, put it aside and move onto the next item in your grudge list. (I like calling it a grudge list because the Big Book refers to it that way.)
And I love the host’s humorous advice, “Find a sponsor whose a worse alcoholic than you, take his inventory, and sign your name to it.” I’d definitely get more out of this workshop if I was currently working the 4th Step. For now, I’m just taking good notes. The workshop comes to a close and Christine bales immediately, as usual.
The Superbowl starts and I head on home with radio in my ear. I’m safely on the bus heading home. No worries. Wait! There’s a Cost Cutters. I have an interview tomorrow and desperately need a trim. I’m glad I did. This is very embarrassing, but because of financial difficulties, I haven’t had a hair cut in three months. The company I keep didn’t seem to mind. It turns out very well and for the price of $11.95, right in my budget. With radio back in my ear, I spot my bus just pulling up and run for it. I’m home free.
I’m a little jostled while sitting down (was that a turn?) I ignore it and get into the game; Steelers are up! Settled in for an hour long ride, I relax in the thought that I’ve made it through all the difficulties of this football day. Ten minutes into the ride, I hear over the game playing in my headphones the bus driver announce, “End of line. Everyone disembark.”
Panic sets in. “Excuse me, is this the 21A?” The “A” bus is the only one that continues all the way from Minneapolis to Saint Paul.
“No, sorry Sir, this is the 18. You must’ve got on the wrong bus back at Lake and Nicollet. You have to leave the bus. Another 18 will be along shortly. You can take that back to the bus stop your originated from to catch the 21A by crossing the street,” the bus driver states.
I step off the bus only to face an Irish pub, the screams of football fans emanating from within. I’m Irish, but to an alcoholic I could be Swahili and it wouldn’t matter. I think to myself, “Why not just watch the game then leave for home.” No, that’s my daemon thinking. But I stick to the plan and back-track my way home.
Safely back in Saint Paul, I walk back home thanking my Higher Power for whatever got me through this evenings test. And the Steelers won!