Sunday, August 9, 2009

Even the diehards long for something ...

A friend from Montreal writes:

Now I have received a phone call from D___ who is responsible for community activities such as the substance abuse program at the C___ who has arranged an "interview" on August 31 when she and other management personnel return from vacation. At that point I would be expected to explain LifeRing to the health professionals at the Quebec government run C___.

D ___ is already very impressed with the brochure and says I don't need to bring any other materials, she would very much like to have LifeRing at the C______ and finds it all the more interesting in that it would be new to Montreal. That's what she said when I told her somewhat sheepishly, that, well, I've never experienced LifeRing, personally, yet....except for that first rush of self-empowerment.

I have discussed the matter with 3 other friends from N.A. Virtually everyone who has read the brochure (the same one I was criticizing and picking apart) falls in love with LifeRing and asks me "where's the meeting, when's the meeting?" One of these friends requested more LifeRing literature, he's thirsty for more LifeRing literature. ...

Others suggest it would be quicker to just find some other venue, like some church basement somewhere. But I had it in mind to put down some solid roots. If it gets approval at the C___ I intend to approach the Referral Centre of Greater Montreal (which is funded by Centraide, sort of like Red Feather or United Appeal). To get a listing on the CRGM would mean there would finally be an alternative offered to people calling up there (I was referered to N.A. through the CRGM).

Marty, I need to know, what am I supposed to be doing now? Go on a convenor's blog? Wait until the final nod which won't be until the first week of September. (After D___, it goes to management).

So there are no less than 3 friends from N.A. my sponsor, and at least 3 employees of the C___ who are interested in attending the first LifeRing meeting. Not counting myself.

By the way my sponsor phoned up California and put me on the phone with Bob B., the oldest surviving member of N.A. whose own sponsor was Jimmy K. the founder of N.A. and I told Bob B. that I believed that freedom from the disease concept of addiction and self-empowerment were the wave of the future and he said "Make the most of what you have".

I somehow had the feeling that even diehards long for something unnamable that is out there.....that can't quite put their finger on it. By the way virtually all of these N.A. members, unlike myself have no gripes whatever with N.A., don't feel like 5th wheels everywhere, but are impressed with LifeRing just the same.

So I have to establish a time-line and start figuring out who does what. One of these people offered support and even to accompany me to the interview if this is a good idea. So, is it a good idea? He doesn't have access to the internet.

Any input would be appreciated as I have felt alone with all this "pipe dream" for a while now, and now it looks pretty close to getting done. The first meeting would be in English, from what I can see.

I've boldfaced the line, "even diehards long for something unnamable that is out there," because it expresses something that I'm hearing from other people in other places as well. I've mentioned in the previous blog post the phone call I got from a 20+ year AA member who read Empowering Your Sober Self and felt stirred to call up and get a LifeRing meeting started. This past week I got an almost identical phone call from the same state, same county. This caller had got Empowering Your Sober Self from his local library. He has spent the past four years in AA, and he was so motivated by his reading that he phoned to see if there was a LifeRing meeting nearby and, on being told there was not yet, enthusiastically volunteered to help get one started.

Listening to these voices, I get the impression that they feel a certain emptiness at the core of the 12-step approach, and although this feeling is unauthorized and implicitly subversive, and therefore must be repressed from consciousness, it nevertheless erupts to the surface, irrepressibly, in certain times and places.

As for the nuts-and-bolts questions of what to do until September -- well, September will be here very soon. There is quite a bit of reading that could be done in the interim. If people are in the mood, they could get together in a coffee shop and discuss the readings, and become acquainted with the LifeRing concept and format, so that by the time the flag is formally raised and the doors open to the public, there will be the beginnings of a core group.

Should you take another person to the interview? If the person is familiar with the LifeRing approach from reading, and makes a presentable impression, then by all means take them. Whenever possible, I always try to take at least one other person along when I go to an interview or give a talk; it helps me evaluate the session afterward, and it helps the person get familiar with the subject matter and become comfortable giving the talk next time, when called upon.

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