Follow Along

  • I have no illusions.  I can tell when people are calling me out on my shit.  Or are they shaming?  One of my friends died intoxicated on opiates and marijuana, after living longer than any of his immediate family in his bloodline in any recent generation.  This he claimed while also defending his misery.  His last several years included divorce, the loss of most of his friendships, and a deterioration that he self-described as being shamed by others.


    This from a guy who had anchored an AA meeting, brought many angry people into the fold of MA as well.  Yeah, his reputation as a hard drinking, raucous hellraiser came up in nearly every conversation.  His family had had great artists, great thinkers, his wife had worked hard in the airline industry, was generous, outgoing and an outstanding friend.  What went wrong?  The government had every intention of helping a middle-class gent such as him.


    Let’s face it, no one likes a complainer.  He retired early, he had limitations brought on by medical conditions.  He had two mental illnesses, not to mention alcoholism.  And to this day acquaintances and some friends thought he needed to pull himself up and work a little harder.  You’re a difficult case, they told him.  You might think ill of him, or then again, you may think well of him, that he was a protected class, an elder, and early retired, at your expense.  There it is again, he cared what you thought.  What he really cared about is how well you thought of him, not how much.  I’m reminded of this statement, another old AA’er taught me: True humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Does that give a fellow license to envy, point out that someone needs to do inventory, or insult the intelligence of a friend?  Stuck on this, he could have done more, and when you ask for help, know that he was your friend.