No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

Earlier today, I was returning home the back way, a seldom-traveled, narrow, lightly-populated road. I came around a curve and saw a tractor mower laying on its top, with the top half of a person visible. I stopped and ran over, and discovered the person was conscious, but pinned beneath the tractor. I was able to lift it off him long enough for him to pull himself out. I checked him for injuries, and other than being banged up and out of breath from his struggle to free himself, he was not too much the worse for wear.

He told me he had been pinned for what he thought was ten or fifteen minutes, and had been screaming for his partner who was working on another part of the property. The partner was operating a weed blower, and thus was unable to hear the shouts for help. I drove over and got him, told him what had happened, and we both returned to the man who had been pinned. Three of us were barely able to lift the tractor, but we did manage to right it.

The pinned man was understandably grateful for my assistance, and was beside himself thanking me for finding and helping him. His partner, who I did not recognize, was also quick to offer his thanks. Shaking my hand, he then asked, “Hey, aren’t you Mike B. from the AA meetings? I only attended a few times, but I sure remember you.”

  • disclosure

    Good for you mike, it feels good to just help someone out of the blue. As for the guy who saw you at meetings, at least he only went a few times.

  • It was a good deed I could have done without. Never mind what I thought when I first rolled up, other than to say it was not good. A good way to look at the well-intentioned AA, I reckon. I had not thought of it in quite those terms. Thanks for the different perspective.

  • Sally

    MBD, i like the picture! Wish the kitty quotes were a bit bigger.

  • Elisa

    I wonder what he meant? “I only went a few times….” Well, what, in comparison to you who he thought was a hard core lifer? “I sure remember you….” Well, why? Did you have green hair that day? He remembered your name and last initial??? Kinda makes you wonder if he’d had a conversation with you or about you. It does sound a little AA cryptic. Strange. Maybe he was prodding you to say if you were in or out, drinking or not, hoping for some kind of drinking blues tale or rehab yarn to make his day more exciting???

  • Sorry, Sally, I stuck the kitty pic on there… The letters are small.

  • Sally

    He was being VERY inappropriate imo. Aren’t you supposed to ask if you’re a friend of Bill’s?

    ilse, I still love it.

  • SoberPJ

    I think it is something people need to be aware of. Once you show your face in that community, you are marked. Even after you leave and even if you absolutely hate it. They know you were there.

  • WOW. Right on for the good deed though.

    Sally, they’re SUPPOSED to ask appropriately? I didn’t know that one. I got nabbed by the new cashier at my favorite grocery last week. Also at a festival on Saturday. Most times they just out with it, you know, “Don’t I know you from _____ (name of TREATMENT CENTER half the time, at least meeting names are less well known outside of recovery circles….)? Isn’t your name ___ _.? ”

    Maybe I’m just too honest, but I feel I cannot say no until I get the name legally changed….lol….many might think that extreme, but I have an inkling people here will understand. Is this usually because so many are told early on to “embrace recovery”, etc. and they assume that everyone’s really out about it all? (Sorry, I’ll try to stop trying to make sense of these people soon enough. Still, way to go Mike with at least being the good guy.)

  • Elisa, most people who attend AA do so only a few times, so their impression of AA is lodged in that limited experience. The outspoken people with lots of time in the program tend to be the ones they remember. For them, we become squarely fixed as the faces and voices of AA.
    I had another guy in a restaurant today address me in the familiar. I acknowledged his greeting, but had absolutely no idea who he is. After he left, I asked the waitress his name, and I still didn’t recognize him. Based on past experience, AA is most likely where he knows me from.

  • Sally, Most of them don’t stick around long enough to learn the language and rules of engagement. I’m sure he had no idea whatsoever how distasteful folks like us find our previous association with the movement.

  • Persephone, I was an actively-attending AA member for about sixteen years, and have not attended a meeting for nearly two years. I left AA once before, for thirteen years, after a much shorter 12-step career. Even at that, it was a couple years before the association with AA dissipated.

  • Very true, PJ.

  • Betty

    I was outed early one morning as I stopped by the local convenience store to grab some coffee. “Hey Betty! (shouting across the crowded parking lot) Where were you Friday night? You didn’t come to the meeting! You missed me celebrate my 6 year anniversary. I got to tell my story!” Same frickin’ guy approached me on the street months later while I was with a group of co-workers. Luckily, I was able to cut him off before he said more than “Hi.”

    Then there was the time I was weeding in front of my house and some guy from a meeting walked by and loudly stated that he hoped he’d see me at the meeting on Tuesday. Can’t believe he knows where I live now.

    On the flip side, I’ve run into a number of people on a number of occasions (I live in a small but densely populated place w/ a lot of meetings so AA folks are literally everywhere) who simply smile or nod or say “how ya doin’?” as they pass on by. Not everyone is socially inept, I suppose.

  • Betty, Generally, the true believers give the widest berth to those of us who have left angrily. Our heresies toward the program are a topic they wish to avoid. The ones who don’t know any better are the ones who make the proclamations to us publicly.

  • Yet again, I’m reminded of a now-deleted Sober Recovery thread: Someone posted her concern about having been loudly outed in public — at the grocery store — by another AA member. SR community responded uniformly, chiding her for her ego, lack of humility, resentment. I remember one in particular announcing that she doesn’t care who knows she’s in AA, implying that the original poster should aspire to her level of spiritual enormity.

  • Ben Franklin

    I had a bicycle tire fixed recently. The guy that owned the shop asked ” aren’t you a friend of Bills” I was taken aback. I have not been to a meeting in 6+ years. I didn’t recognize him. I said I haven’t gone for awhile. I guess that means I am drinking.


    When I first entered AA, we asked, “Are you a friend of Bill W.”? I was so new I had to say “NO, I didn’t know who he was”. Members corrected me; they are good at that. People still think they can still AA hug me. I don’t know if it’s instinctual, that stupid or perverse? I believe it belongs in the category of roboticism.

    Gods honest truth: A cross dresser from my ex group saw me across the store; in high heels he is screaming my name out as he’s running through the store towards me—holy shit. He stopped right in front of me and whispered, “I won’t hug you, because I respect that you don’t like to”. He whispers that and the rest is at the top of his lungs, skirt flying, cart dodging and high heels clunking and then he is quiet? Only in my weird x-stepping world.

    mikeblamedenial, Good for you!!! Pretty strong too!!

  • SoberPJ

    Ok, so it’s the last house on the block. The last place anybody would want to be – by their own admission. But they are proud to be known to be there. Lunacy? You bet.

    I’m in AA ! I used to drink too much and act really crazy. Now, I just act really crazy.

  • Elisa

    true mike, the longer one has been a member the harder it is to get out. They need people to play certain roles in their recruitment games. The oldtimers lied and said I was just going to other meetings. Even after I told a couple members they should read the Orange Papers. Even after I publicly chucked my “time” out the window. Someone asked nervously “You’re still sober right?” as if whether or not alcohol had touched my lips would validate or invalidate the fact that AA is a sick cult. “Even if I wasn’t (sober)” I answered. I’m sick of people who just assume it’s any of their business if I guzzle tang, piss or a bloody mary. I am not a member. What I do is none of their business. Never was, but that’s another rant. Those people are so arrogant.

  • Elisa, all very true.

  • Elisa

    The bit about how I was just going to other meetings was bizarre. It’s like finding out an ex-husband never mentioned the divorce. I had no idea anyone even thought that. But who knows, maybe they were just fishing. I guess I was supposed to fall sobbing into the rooms/tombs begging them to take me back and save my miserable life. not. Really, what do you have to do to un-join? As other people note, to them, you’re just “out” “relapsed”, etc., haven’t hit bottom. They trust divine intervention will bring me back. I wonder what stories they will make up after I’m dead. I imagine whatever suits them.

    So many people in the rooms drink and keep counting forward, it’s just too bizarre. No accountability. Delusional. All of it. Really just the watered down Oxford Group.

  • Betty

    I actually guffawed and snorted a bit when I read your last remark. Fantastic.

  • Jill

    before I sentenced to AA meetings..

    I knew a several people thru the years that were in AA. They all seemed almost proud to declare (in public) “I’m an alcoholic! I’ll always be an alcoholic! ” And I always wondered what the Anonymous part was?
    Then I went to my first meeting and found it was a religious cult. “OH! That’s the part that they don’t want mentioned…I’d be embarassed if I held their beliefs,too.”

  • causeandeffect

    Mike, nice job rescuing that man. Glad he wasn’t hurt.

    When steppers see me in public, they just pretend they don’t know me at all. Guess since I never started spouting slogans, I’m a non-entity. I really like being a non-entity.

  • Elisa

    you are lucky cause. Once they have pulled some misdeed on someone, or someone becomes aware of the criminal activity, they are paranoid the rest of their lives about the former member c–k blocking new recruits. (pardon the expression) They try to keep the member in or stalk them if they don’t come back.