That Feeling of Uselessness (promises)

I have been attending AA meetings for over 30 years and I have heard the promises too many times to count.  And I did skip over these two, as I’ve been trying to write and comment on them from memory:

That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

I wonder from time to time if the folks who can quote the books accurately and with page numbers set out to memorize that, or if I’m just slow with the process of osmosis.

I have a few thoughts.  I don’t think there’s been a time in my life when I’ve felt consistently useless and I’m not much for self pity.  In my darkest hours I’m aware I am privileged and blessed.

When my kids were young, I was certainly very useful, but I did call them into being on purpose, so it was only right that I care for them.  Since they were young I’ve been working in the field of  intellectual and developmental disabilities, aka mental retardation, and it’s difficult to be useless there.

I drove a client from my program to another he will be attending soon.  His mother is terminally ill, and she has kept him home with her as long as she is able.  He has three brothers who love him and are involved in his life, but they do not want him to live with them.  He got a placement in a community residence that is too far from my program for him to attend.  He’s moved, and now he will transition to the new day program.

I seldom take folks out of our building and it was unusual for me to be driving one on one.  I sat him in the front seat next to me because the back is full of dog hair.  It may seem like a no-brainer as to where he should sit, and like any adult passenger in my car he should sit next to me, up front.

But I know the back is safer in a crash.  And I know how precious this man is to his family.  And I know how much trust they’ve put in me and it humbles me.  And really, the front of my car is not all that dangerous.  I haven’t yet had an accident.

Today I read in Dave Hingsburger’s blog about the trust people put in us.  Every day at work I am useful.  I know I’ve said to people in the past that it’s nice, at work, to know if they Lord should come for me right then, he’d find me doing something worthy.  It’s less certain for me now, that I’m more away from the actual care of the people, but I have a chance to do even more good, and I hope I’m up to it.

I read the blog of a young man who has under two years sober, and he’s often quite miserable.  I can’t help but think that part of it is that he spends too much time thinking about how he’s feeling.  I’ve never known anyone to do that who ended up healthy and joyful about it.


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