The sign is from a parking lot directly across the street from the AA archives in Akron, Ohio. I took a picture of it because, until I saw it, I hadn’t thought of “short cutting” as a verb. But I know what they mean. Also of course because it’s a direction just so wonderfully full of metaphor. Short cutting just about never saves time, does it? In AA, I think it’s safe to say short cutting is actually dangerous. The elevator to sobriety is out of order, please use the steps.
Anyway today is the second sobriety anniversary of a dear friend. Two years ago, my group meeting was her very first AA meeting, and tonight I asked her to chair the meeting. She has done so very well, it’s truly amazing. I had talked a lot to her partner about how to get her to try the program, thinking that, like most people are, she’d be resistant. But she jumped right in and her life has changed so much in these past two years. People who have experienced this will understand how this is such a precious gift to me, just getting to share in it a bit. There’s nothing that someone with decades of sobriety could do that would mean more.
Today is also that V day. I want to just put this out there and see what happens. I have a dysfunctional attitude toward presents, giving and receiving. I’ve probably written about it before. I think it’s because my mother never ever liked anything anyone ever got her, yet she demanded gifts for her birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas, and she shamed me once to my grandfather when I didn’t get her anything. After that, I felt with total bitterness that she would have her damn gifts.
I like anniversaries, holidays, and recurring special occasions. I like to repeat traditions around those occasions. I even sort of like giving and receiving gifts, somewhat. But when a holiday approaches for which I feel that I must provide a gift of some sort, I dread it and hate it and I just can’t get over it. I hate receiving things that way, having people (or person) watch me open something. I hate the pressure of producing something and honestly, my loved ones are not demanding and it’s not a matter or spending money or even taking huge amounts of time. I hate it when someone doesn’t like a gift I get them, even when they pretend they do.
I’m not sure how to work on this, and I’ve tried some things and I’ve failed. I understand this is my problem, but having named it, it can set loved ones up in opposition to me. Like the less I want to deal with presents, the more important they become. It’s a vicious circle and I can’t just pretend it away.
That issue aside, AA has enabled me to share in the day of love on many, many levels. And when I’m not giving presents I hope I manage to be a good friend, mother, co-worker, employee, AA member, pet owner, neighbor, daughter and lover. Most of the time.