Something in my meeting this morning reminded me of this exchange with a sponsee from several years ago. I shared about it this morning -- so it seemed only natural to dig it up and share it with you here as well...
SPONSEE: ... and then they said that thing I hate.
Mr. SponsorPants: That thing you...? Ooooh. You mean...
SPONSEE: Yeah. 'Don't drink No Matter What.' It sounded so smarmy and bullshit to me. I swear, I could hear them capitalize it. Sometimes the AA sayings make me want to...
Mr. SP: It's funny.
SPONSEE: What, that I hate that?
Mr. SP: Well not funny Ha-ha. It's just that, when I was new, that really helped me.
SPONSEE: Really? It did?
Mr. SP: Yeah. I used to say it out loud to myself. Looking in the mirror. Or driving. I think I said it out loud a lot in the car, for some reason: 'I don't drink no matter what.' And then I would list all the 'no matter what's' I could think of.
SPONSEE: Wait, a car?
Mr. SP: Yeah.
SPONSEE: I thought you got sober when people were riding around on dinosaurs or something.
Mr. SP: I did. At my first meeting, they didn't give out Welcome Chips, they gave me a Welcome Flint Arrow Head.
SPONSEE: D'oh! That was pretty good. I thought you were going to say 'fire.'
Mr. SP: I used that one already.
SPONSEE: Like what were all the 'no matter what's' you would say?
Mr. SP: I used to say to myself (a lot) 'I don't drink no matter what. No matter how angry or frightened or lonely or bored or horny or frightened or how expensive the wine or how free the beer or how important the occasion...'
SPONSEE: You said 'frightened' twice.
Mr. SP: I was often very scared.
SPONSEE: But it makes me so... so angry. I mean... I have... it's... with all my relapses, I feel like I DO drink no matter what. I don't get how that's supposed to make me... I don't know, what does it... like when you were new, it made you feel stronger? More able to say 'no' or something? Made you less afraid?
Mr. SP: Oh God, no! No wonder it makes you... saying 'I don't drink no matter what' isn't about trying to make me stronger... it's not about helping my will. It's about helping my memory. It's a reminder. Like a little pilot light I could keep burning when that infamous 'curious mental blank spot' would begin to form and the brainfog would start to roll in.
SPONSEE: Oh. Well. I guess I never thought of it like that. I always just felt like everyone got it and I didn't.
Mr. SP: I promise, no one gets anything in any way that you don't -- we all just... it's hard for each of us, but sometimes hard in different ways. But all you have to do is...
SPONSEE: ... worry about not picking up a drink today. Yes, yes. Do you ever get tired of telling me that?
Mr. SP: No.