Situations that Used to Baffle Us.
Today, my house in St. Louis was broken into. My tenant was robbed, and several doors and windows were damaged. She’s shaken up, but ok. She wasn’t home at the time of the robbery. She called me crying and apologetic, though for the life of me I can’t imagine what she’s apologizing for. But I know that often when we’re violated, we feel sorry for something, even when we’re not sure what.
I have never been robbed as an adult. When I was a kid, our house was robbed, but my mom handled it the way my mom handles everything. Somehow, things were cleaned up, repairs were made, and it was all fixed in a day or two it seems. So I don’t really know what to do. It’s my house, but it’s my tenant’s home.
But when I took the call, I figured immediately what I should do. Tell her it’ll be taken care of. Call the cops. Call my insurance company. I did those things. The neighbors are assisting in boarding up the broken doors and windows. The adjuster will call tomorrow, schedule a visit. Contractors will be called and paid. I will be reimbursed.
I know how to handle these things now. It’s a pain in the ass but it comes intuitively. That’s one of the promises of AA. That we will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us. If I lived in a house that was robbed while I was a drunk, I’d have probably done a shit job boarding up the doors and windows and left them like that until the city issued me a citation.
Now, as a sober person, I have the faculty to manage these things. I know what to do and I know how to behave and I don’t need to drink at it. I’m an alcoholic, but I’m not a drinker anymore. I’m basically a useful member of society. I can figure out how to go forward. And I get the added bonus of congratulating myself as if I’ve done something exceptional. Because as a drunk, I get to feel effective for fulfilling the least of my obligations.
The promises have come true, and I am leading an enviable life. I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. And I know how to do things that used to baffle me. Ordinary things. I have the privilege of leading an ordinary life, in a way that feels extraordinary to me. The mere act of living sober is a source of daily gratitude. Because even in all the difficulty of the past couple of weeks, the lowest I can get is nowhere near the sloughs I’ve risen from.