Better Fellas

April 28, 2010

Better Fellas

Better Fellas

Greetings, fellow trudgers “on the road to happy destiny”…

I was speaking with a friend about the unique quality women have for sharing intimacy. She told me, “Put three or more women together, and there’s healing going on.” I thought it was remarkable. I told her, “There’s another old saying: ‘Put three or more men together, and there’s farting going on.’ ” “Or belching,” she offered.

Other than gastric releases, suffice to say that we men do not open up easily. Why? That could fill many a book (and has), but the short version is: we were trained, and we learned our lessons well. Given my history, I don’t have compelling reasons to trust men. They have these funny habits of beating me up after school, going into the hospital and never coming out, not listening, stealing my money, smacking me when I disappoint them, leaving and not returning, getting drunk or high, turning abusive or violent, correcting me, outsmarting me, borrowing money and disappearing, taunting me in school, hitting me in the face, embarrassing me, stealing girlfriends, defeating me in sports, gloating about it, ripping me off in business, cutting my car off after passing on the right, and even getting sick and dying on me after I have come to love them.

I’ve been to men’s twelve-step meetings, mixed meetings, gay meetings, and even a lesbian meeting once by accident (they said “You can stay,” and we had a nice time—it was California. We had shared interests). Thanks to the traditions, they have by and large felt safe.

Lately, men’s meetings in particular have made a huge impression on me. It’s been incredibly healing to experience men in recovery who are willing to “lead with their weakness” and take the chance to show a vulnerable side. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity not just to take part in profoundly moving recovery with men, but to come to trust them—and myself—enough to socialize outside of meetings, make calls, go to events and activities, share meals and just get to know these amazing, smart, often damaged, willing and honest, always complex and astonishingly brave creatures—men. Which, I guess, includes me. So today I feel especially grateful…

I have meetings with strong traditions that give me the safety to be open and honest.

I have male friends in recovery who are “serious as a heart attack” about change—but haven’t lost their sense of humor.

I have sponsors who have learned pretty much everything there is to know about me, yet haven’t given up and left.

I have a higher power available who sometimes speaks to me directly through these capable, crazy and courageous men.

I have a program that is there to help me change into a better man than I ever hoped I could be.*

Happy trails!

*PS  In the movie As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt that he is going to get the help he needs to get better:

Jack: “I’ve got a really great compliment for you, and it’s true.”

Helen: “I’m so afraid you’re about to say something awful.”

Jack: “Okay, here I go.” [pause]…  “You make me want to be a better man.”

Helen: [pause] “That’s maybe the best compliment of my life.”

Jack: “Well, maybe I overshot a little, because I was aiming at just enough to keep you from walking out.”

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