Monday, April 12, 2010

The Blame Game

When I was attending AA meetings with the regularity of a well-run assembly line for Swiss watches, and not in my current, more random, arrangement, I found myself showing up every week at an unusual meeting that met near my house. All men, the meeting featured strong alpha-males -- real Lord of the Flies type assholes with big egos and a continual need for strong coffee to wash away their casual verbal cruelties. These were men for whom the sun and moon revolved around compliantly, men for whom women threw away their souls. It was a tough audience of people who played themselves only when on an elevated stage with appropriate lighting and a cover charge.

And every man that attended the meeting prefaced everything thing they said with this little ditty to god.

I am sober today only by the grace of God and any success I may be having is far more his success than mine.”

The purpose of AA, simplified, is the finding of a way for to figure out to the satisfaction of drunks, that no any one individual is god, especially, and this is the hard part for people so unique and special, them. Usually this happens because the individual involved has screwed up things so bad that by the time they join AA they realize, at least on a meaty, physical level that, they will need to find a bigger boat. This negative affirmation is the real start of the finding of a god, the higher power, and this is the whole end point purpose of the rituals of AA.

It’s a cult for people who would gnaw off their limb if they though they had been trapped in a cult. At the same time, these are also people too self-centered to see the obvious when it’s rubbed into their face like a salted piece of sandpaper.

If I saw people jumping off a tall bridge into cold water, I wouldn’t join them. If I saw people jumping off a bridge, then coming back into line to do it again, and giggling, – I still probably wouldn’t join them – but I might.

Especially if I was on fire, or being flicked around like a paper football for amusement by the giant unseen hand of gods unseen index finger.

I came to accept all this god stuff over time and with the banal repetition of practical experience. I came in broken, followed simple direction, and got better in measurable ways over the weeks and months that followed. I began to feel that I was being cleaned up and being made presentable by forces that I couldn’t begin to understand and that it was all for a bigger purpose – a purpose I could never imagine because I was both too small to see it and truthfully, it didn’t matter if I understood any of it.


OK, I get it. But I’m left with these questions as I begin my daily plunge into the abyss of faith:

“If god gets the credit for all the good in my life, why do I have to get the credit for all the bad? Why is the excuse of original sin evoked to explain my actions, when it’s all part of his plan for me?”

I bring these questions up today because of my writing. I labor daily to put lines on a screen, and at the end of the day, I can see that some of them are good. I then think that I should have a feeling of pride, but I don’t – I feel like a puppy that’s been trained to fetch a newspaper and received from his master a pat on the head and a gentle word in reward. It’s all I can do to keep from wagging my vestigial tale in a no-words-for-it happiness of a meal well eaten.

I feel like a sock puppet of the lord. 


I’d like better answers, but it might be I'm missing the obvious ones, again.









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