Do I set an example? What kind of example do I set?
I went to a meeting last night, and the young man who lead posed the question, “How does God influence your sobriety?” It was his first lead, given after he had just over a year sober. He was someone who, I think, had a God consciousness all along, and the program gave him a focus and a way to get back to his religion and church.
As the discussion proceeded around the room, most people spoke of experiences that made God obvious to them. Some of the people had very specific examples of times they should not have survived some terrible situation, but did, and they often gave credit to God. Not everyone there was well and wonderful with a super higher power, but lots were.
I have an ongoing problem with crediting God for the good things in the world. It only makes sense to me that then, when bad things happen, God needs to be blamed, for causing them or for withholding the escape. I don’t feel firmly certain about any of this, though, and it’s not something I feel compelled to solve in this lifetime. I do know, and I said, that’s it important for me to see my escapes from disaster as luck. I don’t feel chosen or blessed above any other person. The gifts of this lifetime are not evenly distributed, and often very good people suffer tremendously.
That’s not what I meant this post to be about, though. What I’m trying to understand is if I actually influence people or serve as some kind of example of long time sobriety. I’ve been told that when the discussion turns to sponsorship, I can actually be a bad influence on the vulnerable newcomers. Can I really be? Can’t I be a good example just by being there?
When I began to feel uncomfortable last night, I looked around and I saw that I had the most sober time in the room. That happens more and more often, and it’s partly why I began this blog. After me, I think Carole had the next most, with twelve years. I thought of our home group members and our friends and often, not always but often, we are with people who are new to sobriety.
So part of the fear is that if I say something stupid, some newcomer will think, “Gee, if that’s what 24 years is like, I might as well drink.” Or that they will take my example as some excuse for bad behavior. “She doesn’t have a sponsor, I don’t need to have one.” And I guess there’s a small possibility it could go that way, but I don’t know.
I ended up briefly touching on that dilemma when I spoke. I didn’t want to take the chance that I could talk some spiritually fit person out of their understanding of God, which of course I can’t do. Like, “Gee, that’s nice you think God saved you, but I don’t think so.” I said and I believe that it’s possible the newcomers who spoke about being blessed and saved by God have it right, while I, in my cynicalness, have it wrong.
I could have possibly been a good example to other oldtimers, that I can wonder and struggle and still be sober and go to meetings. I could have been a good example to them had any been there. But they weren’t.
I probably should have just said my piece and been done with it. I don’t really feel like I give any kind of example of anything, and probably I don’t.