Today I’m up & about, it is the day after I attended that NAMI meeting out in Bothell and all the trouble it took to get me there as I had to take a few buses then I had to actually find this Church which was physically arduous to say the least. Good thing I knew how to dial up Metro Transit for directions.
Today though I am going to do my best to head out to someplace else which is called Circle Of Friends which is a hangout of sorts for people with mental illness held at a Church out in the University District across the street from the campus. On Thursdays they have an arts class and today I think it origami a Japanese art of making birds out of paper. I have to take a bus which I don’t feel like doing but I’m going to try. Its a way to get me out of the house at least. Because I usually never like waking up at all. Never look forward to another day of the same thing. Just a reminder of another lonely day. So I’ll do my best, to make the best of things.
In this blog I want to talk about inequality and how some people get treated differently for example ones that get all the attention & personal attention while others get for the most part ignored or just plain scoffed at. This came up for me just a few minutes ago & in light of my going to my first EVER supportive NAMI group out in Bothell the previous night. It got me thinking of all the previous times that I’ve tried to reach out for support and just really got nothing. After awhile I gave up trying.
Its this reason that I gave up going to 12 step meetings A.A. in particular. After a 15 year relapse, losing my Father, and once again getting the cold & distant treatment from my Mother I decided to return in 2008. Oh boy was that a big mistake. I was treated like a pariah. I was ignored, and when attention was paid it was usually in the form of coldness, sarcasm, or someone who had an underlying motive e.g. trying to fix me up with someone of the same ethnicity without talking to me first. Then there was the stereotypes of me which drove me crazy!
But the biggest one of all that still really bothers me to this day was that no one wanted to be bothered with me! That really breaks my heart. You all know these excuses: I’m busy, I’ve got the baby, or one particular old timer who of course was popular in the AA program sort of passed me off onto someone else which really hurt my feelings, I’m not borrowed piece of Tupperware to be passed over for someone. Ouch! But what really bothered me was that there was a woman who came back from a relapse she had been in six months before I had come back & everyone gave her the A-list treatment. I have to say returning back to the program was like being back in the high school environment much like being a freshman in High School only much worse. Try as I might no one wanted to be bothered. Most were pretty phony, and worst of all no one cared how much pain I was in 2 years after I lost my Father to Cancer. The overall mentality was: “I’m sorry” then these folks would return to their significant other or their friends probably having forgotten what they said to me in the first place. Wow what a way to make a person feel real good about themselves. I called one woman and she lied saying she was at work, and perhaps she was but she was one cold fish. Didn’t hear anything like “I’ll call you later, nothing! This was from a woman’s group out at a Church in West Seattle the most snobbiest place to go to when your a woman of color. Pretty segregated in my opinion.
They biggest stab to my self esteem was the time I had called a well respected member she had something like 20 years or so, she got sober back in College & who gets ENORMOUS support from everyone, she gets treated like royalty..which I feel is pretty unfair because she should at least try to give back to others who are struggling and hanging on by a thread. Anyway I placed a call to her one night early when she did answer she was upset her little girl was sick then she abruptly hung up on me. I was pretty devastated. But once I came down off of the hurt I did understand her panic. What really bothered me is that she didn’t come to me the next time I saw her at the meeting to talk to me about what was going on & just say sorry about the phone hang up. Remember all of you I had & still have a self esteem that is so low that you’d have to have a team of archeologists to dig it up above ground. That incident sort of made me feel like I didn’t even matter, and yes I do understand it was her toddler Daughter but I felt like I just didn’t matter or even warranted an apology of sorts. I would have even settled for a talk over coffee about what her ordeal. I am a good listener. This incident made me feel just awful.
This so called group is supposed to be support? Could have fooled me. And more examples are the time I shared with the group about a real dangerous ordeal that I had with my neighbors when I lived out in the town of Burien where my neighbors got drunk, were fighting intensely because they had been drinking, then one threw the other out of the apt then had locked her out, causing the woman who was locked out to rapid succession to kick her door in. This all happened at 2AM. When I asked that she quiet down then the barrage of horrific insults were screamed at me through my door. Got called a whore so many times that I felt sick to my stomach. Then the next day I was greeted by vomit all over the stairwell. That made me feel so degraded as a human being. I mean how much more can a person take?
I shared this with the group & basically got next to nothing in support. Nothing. The same woman who had hung up on me when I tried to reach out to her came to talk to me after the meeting, the only one who did. She says to me “I’m sorry about what happened” or something along those lines, she went onto say that although I couldn’t have called her at two am because of her toddler, that she was sorry. I’m sorry but that was just terrible for me to hear. I mean I felt she was offering up an excuse. What about her cell phone? There is such a thing as vibrate.
To sum it up these 12 steppers just don’t care about the newcomer. I mean what if I wanted to bolt to the nearest convenience store to get a drink or a drug. I feel that it is the duty & a human compassion to just BE THERE for someone experiencing a crisis. She does have over 20 years. She surely didn’t get that all by herself. I’m so sure someone talked to her in the wee hours when she ran into trouble. Otherwise she sure wouldn’t have got those 20 years in the first place. Isn’t that why the group does? Or is it just for a chosen few?
After more humiliating treatment, excuses, being ostracized because of jealousy, bigoted, and sometimes misogyny I decided to leave the groups altogether. A person can only take so much abuse, being ignored, or treated like you just don’t matter before you just say “To the hell with all of you” I left. I’ve had a few relapses after I left which was in the Spring of 2009, but I’ve been sober now almost nine months. I now don’t like the stuff and its all around me, now the state passed a law where you can buy liquor just about anywhere. When I go grocery shopping the sight of all the liquor is as disdainful to me as seeing someone spitting on the ground, then I just all together ignore them. I sure can’t credit any 12 step group for that! If it wasn’t for the constant all around hate & cold, distant treatment I still might be going to meetings today.
The favoritism really bothers me too. Some folks get so much better treatment, are better respected, get listened to and are all around treated like human beings. The abusive treatment was something that I could never get used to either. Hey I already have suffered severe abuse from the age of 8, all through my teens (With Mom’s screaming , throwing stuff, then threatening me with bodily harm if I didn’t act the way she wanted me to act) that is all I can take you know? I’m looking for a refuge from all the bullying suffered, and some support, caring fellowship, being invited to do things.
These days I expect very minimal from people. I expect the majority of folks not to care anything about me and the feeling is mutual. And most of all I just keep on keeping on to whatever the task is at hand.
It’s just like a woman who was answering a prayer line that I had seen on a TV evangelist show one morning, I was feeling the lowest despair ever. She had said to me over the phone:
Don’t put your faith into any man. For me I felt that she should have included women as well as I feel both equally let you down in the support & compassion department.s The absolute last straw regarded how I was treated at a treatment facility, I arrived late due to the bus so when I arrived the room where the meeting took place was packed. There were no chairs & no one in the room offered me one. I ended up having to sit on the floor like a dog. The kicker was a young white woman attractive of course had these women fall all over themselves to get this woman a chair. When I said something all I got were hostile stares. When I finally got up to go to the bathroom I got this really dirty stare from a woman who had a Farrah Fawcet hairdo who said a disparaging remark, told her where could go which didn’t bode well with the group. Aah unequal & mean spirited I get my daily dose of cruelty spread out like my magarine on my toast! m
All I can do at this point is just to keep on keeping on seeking refuge in prayer & listening to my favorite radio station KJR FM that has the oldies from the 70’s. Great station and as far as I’m concerned the only station worth listening to.
Well that’s something at least I have those two. Better than nothing.