Square Thing

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Square Thing

Post by martin08 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:52 pm

That Square Thing
In A Round Place

To my friend, Ron P : Thank you for bringing clarity to me on a new level.

In AA, as I've noticed throughout my life in the places I've worked and in schools and social groups, one form or another of recurring theme seems to be well ingrained in the culture. The statement, "I just didn't seem to fit in", pops up as regularly as the Seventh Tradition basket is passed. Whether it be in a speaker, topic, Big Book or step meeting, a common denominator among the masses is a misfit stigma of grand proportion. We all felt a void and tried to fill it with alcohol.

I was no exception. I couldn't run as fast, jump as high, speak with confidence, or feel comfortable in social gatherings. But I sure could drink with the best of them - maybe even better. After a few drinks, I could open up, joke around and even get a few things that I wanted, like people calling me to get the 'party' needs, a girl who would make love to me, and the growing sense that I had finally come to be with the 'in' crowd. I had the crux, the magic potion that transformed the unlikeable kid into the wizard of wonder. And sadly, it worked for quite a long time.

It wasn't until I heard it shared in my home group, from a friend who had immigrated from Panama who described a 'square thing in a round place', that the issue of not fitting in really struck home in me. He apologized for not phrasing it correctly, though no apology was needed, because everybody in the room knew exactly where he was coming from. He then told a story that took roots in Rhode Island, careened through the mid-west to California and then crashed back East, about a strong desire to disguise social shortcomings under a mask of alcohol. He told the same story of a boy from Maine... my own. It was my desire, my conviction, and ultimately my nightmare that he described in the epilogue of bars, bottles and wasted ambitions. Another common theme was revealed - I could relate.

I was that 'square thing'. The 'round place' goal that I sought could be achieved with a couple of beers and a shot of whiskey. The drinks whittled away at the sharp edges, and after a few twists and turns, I could slide into the night life with a greased comfort that was just as snug as the affection I yearned. I truly believe that if this elusive state could be honed and maintained through drinking, there would be no need for AA. And speaking for myself, I would still be right there.

But the whittling didn't stop. It continued in a such sneaky fashion that I didn't notice. When either the peg had become smaller or the hole had become larger, I was beginning to bounce off the walls. In the many years of building anger and resentment I was continually trying to get back to that same level of comfort, then taking out frustrations on myself and loved ones when I couldn't find it. My Panamanian friend gave me a clear picture of this state when he told us how his Spirit had vanished, lying in traction in a hospital bed. Likewise, my connection with a Higher Power had become so eroded that my peg.. my life... finally slipped right through and I fell crashing to my bottom. When I had the muster to confront my pride by asking God to dust me off, I noticed that I had landed right where I had begun. I was in a fearful place... alone... and I didn't fit in.

I can only pray that the many like-minded, lost souls out there can find what I did when God led me to the door of an AA hall. This right-angled room was my shape. Square. Nobody in the hall told me that I had to keep searching for that roundness. All I needed to do was to honestly want to be sober and be willing to do the Steps of change. I could fit in just as I was and I like the idea that God now flows out into all the corners of my square.

Sept 23, 2004

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