Saturday, September 12, 2009

AA Celebrity

We had a special sort of man in our area a few years ago. At the time I first got to know him, he was an At-large Trustee for our AA's General Service Board. At that time, he was traveling the world over - he was gone from home more than 50 weekends a year at one AA function or another.

So, when he agreed to speak at my home group one of the few Saturday nights he was in town, I was in awe and we were honored.

I was then about 6-7 years sober and was a co-founder of my home group so it was sort of a big deal for me when I went to the church to open up and meet him.

When he came down the stairs, I introduced myself and expressed what a great honor it was to have "someone of his celebrity to speak to our group".

In the 15 years that I got to know him after that (quite intimately), that moment was the only time I ever saw his eyes flash anger at me.

He said "Don't EVER refer to me or treat me as celebrity!!! It will not only be harmful to me, it might diminish a chance for me to be effective in my message."

I gulped and agreed and, as I've already alluded to, a special, spiritual bond of friendship was begun.

Over the years, I saw what he meant. Against his admonitions to me and others, I saw him treated as a celebrity and "guru". (I'm sure, in his heart, he sometimes appreciated his special treatment and position) But, we do diminish the chance that some of our best have to reach those with such a gift to reach others when we create something out of them that they really neither ask for or want. It costs them deeply at several different levels.

I've sometimes wished it were my problem (I've never really been all that popular in any of my AA or life circles), but my friend and others on this path have given me a view of what a price can and is paid for making one of larger than life.

Today, my anonymity might be my greatest gift.


Mary Christine said...

Thanks for sharing this "other side of the story" that I do not know. I agree with him that this celebrity is dangerous, lethal, for all involved.

dAAve said...

Thus, another great reason for the traditions.

Steve E. said...

In my AA life, I am so far down the totem ladder, I have long stopped the huff-and-puff of trying to be "better than" and of certain other stupid habits of old.

Every day is an opportunity to begin again, anew, and ask God for another chance to do His will. And please, God, the power to carry it out. PLEASE!


Syd said...

Sounds as if he was well aware of the danger of having a big ego. Good for him.

Mary LA said...

Anonymity is so precious --

Scott W said...

Terrific post!