Friday, July 25, 2003

The Beatles Had A Song About It

Help, I need somebody... I can get by with a little help from my friends... there are probably others but I'm not a big Beatles fan so I don't have their ouevre memorized.

So after my little paroxysm of autoflagellation on Wednesday, I felt a lot better. As I've often noted and often pointed out to others, the emotion Shame is best cured by exposure. Guilt is cured by forgiveness (especially forgiving oneself). And inadequacy is often treated by getting help.

When I got to the General Service District meeting, I apologized individually to the new GSRs whose contact information I had failed to forward to the Area registrar, and promised to do so ASAP so they could get their information packets from World Service. Then during my agenda time for Officers' reports I apologized to the group for dropping all my Registrar duties for the month. All (or most) were completely cool about it, not thinking a thing of it, many hadn't even known they were supposed to get something from World Service and so had no expectations, and quite understood that I was tired. We all have these little lapses after all.

The best part is, when I started in to apologize about failing to send out the newsletter in time, someone pointed out that I am supposed to be chairing a committee to do this, not doing it all by myself. I remember talk about a committee when I volunteered to chair, but in my usual I'm a big girl I can do it myself attitude, I didn't really think about it. But after that was brought up, three people volunteered for the committee, and so now I have help.

As I've discussed in this diary on a couple of other occasions, I have a terribly hard time asking for help. I foresee that it is going to be difficult for me, in the future, to ask my committee to do specific things, but perhaps this is just the training I need to get me over my asking-for-help issues.

In another "is it odd or is it God" vignette: I have been struggling about doing some ninth-step writing to my former best friend Kevin (I wrote here about that, too) having difficulty not only setting aside time to do the writing but difficulty considering what I should write. I put him first because he seemed like the most difficult project, and I always like to get the hard part over first.

But just as I was beginning to despair over having both the time and the willingness on the same day (and complaining about it loudly), I received a card from another long-lost friend, Becky. Now, I had fallen out of contact with Becky shortly before falling out with Kevin. Becky went through a family upheaval that seemed far too dramatic (and I don't mean Shakespeare drama, I mean Jerry Springer drama) for me to understand, much less handle; at the same time, she had a falling-out with Kevin (before I did), so I felt that maybe I shouldn't try to stay in contact with her (in fact, now I think about it, I was offended at the time because she had come here for a visit and didn't tell me, she was come and gone before I even heard about it). So I sort of "neglected" to write to her or try very hard to keep in touch with her when she moved from Montana to Florida.

When I was doing my fourth-step writing year before last, where I made a great deal of progress in addressing some of the emotional wreckage I had created while in sobriety (which is often harder to admit to and redress than the wreckage of our drinking days, because we no longer have the excuse of "well, I was drunk"), I addressed my wrongdoing in letting Becky slip into oblivion... or, more specifically, failing in friendship: Becky went through a tough time, and I withdrew from her because of it.

What makes it worse, guilt-wise, is that Becky has attempted to keep in contact with me all this time. She sent me a postcard with her new address when she finally settled down in Florida, and she has sent Christmas cards for the last two years. But by some bizarre twist of weirdness, I could never find her address when I wanted to write to her (because I never transcribed it into some permanent form, like in my computer address-book). Cards would come when I didn't have time to sit down and write a full-length letter (though I most certainly could have jotted off a note, if I'd really wanted to), and then when I did have the time the card would have disappeared (though I'm sure I could have gotten her address from Fred if I'd really wanted to pursue it... you remember Fred don't you?) and I would then forget all about it again.

Well, anyway, I've been a little worried about this, because I owe Becky an amends and I still couldn't find her address. And then Wednesday night when I got home from the General Service meeting, lo and behold there was a letter from Becky sitting at my place! She was worried about Fred, hadn't heard from him since he went to Iraq (he's in the Marine Reserve), and wanted to communicate and condole with someone who might also be worried about him (fortunately, I can set her mind at ease, since Fred managed to contact me during his brief leave between being sent home from Iraq with a broken finger and being assigned to other active duty stateside).

So this weekend, my main task is to write to Becky... filling her in on what I know about Fred, catching her up on all my doings, and apologizing for failing in friendship all those years ago and continuously since then, offering to do anything in my power to make up for that failure.

I was telling my sponsor about all this when I finally picked up the phone and called her yesterday (and after I apologized for not calling on Tuesday when I was supposed to, she told me she'd been out of town anyway and wouldn't have gotten the call), she became very excited about the timing of this letter. Since the amends I owe to Becky is very similar to the amends I owe Kevin, but not as difficult to get through because my relationship with Becky wasn't anywhere near as complicated and because Becky made the first overture of communication, this would be a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone... having gotten Becky off my mind, I will be able to concentrate better on Kevin and will also have already had some practice in writing such a letter.

So anyway... I think I've written enough parantheses for one day. Thanks, my wellwishers, for your words of encouragement... your support helped a lot. I can get by with a little help from my friends (and speaking of which, does anyone know of a good auto-donation program? The company used by the Alzheimer's Association wouldn't take Miss Marjorie).

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