Throwback Thursday 5: AA and the homeless guy

To preface this story, I have to disclose something. I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before in a previous post, but if you weren’t present for that rant, here it is: I used to think I had a drinking problem. For anyone who really knows me, they realize, as did I after nine years, that I simply had a lifestyle problem. I went to AA for a little over nine years till I realized I solidly  am NOT an alcoholic. That is a totally different post, or possibly memoir. This is simply one small snapshot from that time in AA. I made some pretty poor dating decisions, or just life decisions when I was in AA. While it changed my life for the better overall, the early  years were questionable!

Here we go! So I don’t know why I found this guy intriguing, but I did. I couldn’t come up with  a single reason other than he was tall, dark, and somewhat good looking. It’s quite the short story. He and I hung out a few times. I am not sure you would call them dates. He said he had a job. After one AA meeting, I eventually  agreed to let him come home with me. We stopped by ‘his’ house and he disappeared behind the back of the house, but refused to let me ‘come in’.  Odd, but as  I didn’t know him terribly well, I didn’t ask too many questions. We hung out at my place and all was fine. Since I wasn’t about to let him stay at my place, I gave him a ride back downtown when I went to work the next day and asked if he wanted to be dropped off at ‘his’ house. He simply said I could drop him off anywhere as he had some errands and had to be at work early anyway and he’d just walk around a bit. Odd, again….but who knows!  So, one of those fine days of dropping him off at my work, he just took off and it seemed in a different direction each time. Odder and odder. Each time. Where does he go? That morning, we  had decided to meet at the 5:45pm  AA meeting that night.

I met him at the meeting. After that, we went back to my place for dinner and would contemplate the later meeting. At my house, we were hanging out and his keys fell from his hoodie pocket. I picked them up for him. Only there were two keys. Very small keys. Almost like locker keys, but no house key. At all. Did I call him out on this? As I couldn’t find a house key to ‘his’ house where I let him pick up ‘a few things’ that first night? Of course I did! I can’t NOT ask him what the fuck is going on…with the locker keys, nowhere to go every morning…..

“I’m kinda homeless,” he says. WTF? I ask him about the house. He says he had hidden some clothes in the backyard and “kinda knows the guy that lives there”. Everything else explains itself pretty immediately once he tells me that he’s homeless. I tell him immediately, with no charitable blood in my body at that moment that we must go back to AA so I can promptly drop him off where I found him.  I should have been more compassionate. Maybe, just maybe, if he had been honest from the beginning I may have been more concerned, understanding, and/or helpful. No guarantees, but at this point, it was not happening. No sir.  I took him back to one of the big AA  meeting houses in Denver where we first met. We drove down pretty much in silence. What do you say?  I parked my little VW Beetle in the parking lot after unwittingly providing him a home for basically a week (at night anyway).

He says to me as I am getting out of the car, “Can I just stay in the car for a while you go to the meeting?”  Really? “No,” I said. Just no.

In the weeks, months,  and years that followed, I saw him from a distance at meetings and around the meeting house. He bleached his hair, he got a little stranger in his behavior.  I am glad I called him out on the key that night. Not that I wouldn’t  have figured it out sooner or later. Likely sooner. But at least when I dodged the bullet there, the bullet was much smaller.

Have a great day my readers!  I will catch up with you all this weekend!

THINK: It’s the wave of the future (we can only hope)!

I have inherited this bit of wisdom from someone who shared this  at an AA meeting. Yes, I thought at one time that I was an alcoholic; I was dreadfully wrong and that’s a completely different post and probably a book. Stay tuned on that!

When we think we are being honest, we can think of brutal honesty: “Your Christmas sweater is kinda hideous”. We think of rigorous honesty: “I think we should return this lost wallet to lost and found”.  Then we have the honesty that comes with trust.  All in all, these are more or less levels of trust that grow with time.  However, the everyday honesty that flies out of our mouth in the name of integrity could use a little help. I know when I heard this acronym at the meeting, I would  never forget it. I have been honest to a fault. And I don’t mean that false modesty honesty…”Oh, I just tell people all my personal thoughts” type of thing that comes with regret.  I share with rigorous honesty here as I do try to keep things anonymous.
This is the deal; THINK before you talk. THINK before you post on Facebook or Tweet on Twitter. Nike says “Just do it” and I think they are on to something!

T: Is it Thoughtful? Have you formed an insightful idea on why this needs to be said?

H: Is it Honest (Is it really?) or something else with other motives?

I:Is it Important? Does it need to be said?

N: Is it Necessary? Will your statement help someone in a positive way?

K: Is it Kind? Do you really need to make someone feel less than with your intended statement?

 

This checklist was invaluable for a former “little miss can’t be wrong” like my self. It is humbling. It creates an idea of pure humility and intention. We think twice and say it once. We think carefully and it becomes second nature.  This worked for me. I don’t take myself as seriously when I know I am not trying to teach people lessons with lectures that are neither Necessary or Kind. I don’t think that my clothes are better than someone else’s choices when I  am being Thoughtful and Kind. It works if you work it: That’s just one more thing I learned in my time at AA.