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Annoying People.

31 May 2017

Ok, I understand that I am one. I have personal quirks and mannerisms that a lot of people don’t like. I can be obsessive and impatient. I can take things excessively personally even when I know they’re not. I need attention and affection. I like to be the center of attention. I talk too loud. I boast. And I could go on and on, but that’s another one.

But at the moment I’m dealing with an annoying person I have no real right to complain about. There’s a new guy at my men’s meeting. He’s not obviously an alcoholic. He never shares during the meeting. But he likes to come out for dinner with us after. I’ve only been out to dinner with him once. He didn’t bring enough money, and he asked a bunch of questions about what AA was. He didn’t discuss anything about himself.

He seems to be homeless, but of course I can’t tell for sure. He’s very soft spoken. He asks a lot of questions. He says strange things like, “Feel free to start conversations with me. I’m a little shy about starting them myself.” But he isn’t. He talks and talks. He claims to have PTSD and “trauma” but has never said about what.

I gave him my phone number because I give lots of new guys my phone number. Now he’s texting and asking me questions, calling. He wants to hang out, be friends. He doesn’t seem to understand how friendships start. And he seems to see the AA meeting as a place to go find friends, rather than as a place of recovery.

I have rebuffed his efforts at friendship because I find him peculiar and off-putting, as well as disingenuous. He seems guileless, but at the same time he doesn’t seem to be in the rooms for the reason they’re there. He comes across as mentally ill and lonely, not alcoholic seeking recovery. And while that seems like a sad thing, I’m not the person who can solve that. I’m not looking to be a tool to correct someone’s loneliness, especially when I have nothing in common with him.

He seems to think making friends consists of saying, “Let’s hang out and be friends,” rather than building a base of shared experience. I can be, and have been, friends with homeless, mentally ill people in the program. But they’ve all been alcoholics who were there to recover first, and we gradually got to know each other. But really, I only have three or four people from the rooms that have become what I would really call “friends.”

There are plenty of people I like and am friendly with. But only a few I’ve met outside the meetings or dinner after. That’s just not what I’m there for, nor is it usually what they’re there for. We’re there to recover. I’m not looking for friendships among the recovered, generally. And I’m really not looking for friendships among people who don’t need to be there for alcoholism.

I feel like my space has been invaded. By someone too simple to realize he’s invading. I’ve told him some of this by text message. I said, “Sometimes people become friends over years of sharing in the meetings, and if that’s what you want then you need to start sharing.” But then he just says he can’t talk and moans about his “trauma”. He’s perfectly capable of talking and reaching out. He’s not willing to talk about himself.

But of course I don’t know him or what he’s dealing with. I just know that I’m there to connect with alcoholics working on recovery, and if he’s that I’ve seen no evidence of it. He’s strange and disquieting. I don’t like him. And I don’t have to.

But it’s an open men’s meeting. He has as much right to be there as I do. So I need to just chat with my sponsor about it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. JohnnyBee permalink
    31 May 2017 09:19

    They must be really off putting questions because usually questions show an interest. It often can be to establish a guideline for what is acceptable for a given group. I asked a ton of questions about AA when I first came around. My saving grace may have been I had fully surrendered that I needed and wanted sobriety. The latter being the most important. Your assumption that he does not want OR need the program may be accurate. In 21st century AA outside forces have conspired to raise the bottom to the point that it isn’t even a bottom by anyone’s definition. Many people come and fall in love with the fellowship and stay around. Unfortunately while this would seem harmless enough what it does over time (a few decades) is redefine what AA actually is. Unfortunately this catch parties such as yourself in the predicament of operating under the definition of AA that you experienced when you came to meetings. By the way according to various AA pamphlets non alcoholics are welcome at open meetings but are not supposed to share anything because it is confusing to the newcomer. That newcomer is supposed to be there to find out what AA is and determine for themselves if they want to try the AA method of recovery for THEIR alcohol problem. When they hear shares from people who do not admit they are alcoholic and who have not chosen to join AA to address their alcoholism they can not learn what AA is. This is another subtlety that gets lost in today’s the let’s welcome (sometimes even let’s demand that they go) everyone instead of the let’s invite everyone to learn AA so they can make up their own mind if they want to JOIN AA. We give AA member status to individuals who don’t join.

  2. 31 May 2017 09:23

    The ONLY requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, which assumes one is an alcoholic. If he is not there for that reason, he really does not belong. I always find comfort in the first paragraph of pg. 96 of the bb. You only have so much time and energy, you may be depriving someone else of the help that only you can uniquely give if you spend time with him. My opinion. And I don’t think we have to like everyone either. So there!

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