This week’s HTYH is a continuation of the late Sandy B’s story; a retired USMC pilot and Credit Union Lobbyist: There are two parts to my childhood story, what I thought happened and what actually happened. If you would’ve listed to my childhood story years ago you would notice it was much worse than it is today. This is what Bill Wilson called old ideas and many of them were frightening, but nevertheless invented; they never happened. When Bill said, “Our old ideas availed us nothing,” imagined ideas are the ones he was referring to.
When I came to A.A. and worked the steps with a sponsor, my old ideas faded away and were replaced by the truth. My childhood, in reality, was very good. My perception about life changed while the facts remained the same. This is the power of spirituality; it gives us the power to see that our problems really don’t amount to much and it gives us the power to see that fundamentally everything already, is all right. But there’s no way of knowing this while our young minds are fabricating scary ideas.
As a child I felt lonely, scared, and apprehensive of an imaginary boogieman that was out to get me. I was a good student and a fair athlete during grammar school. After grammar school my father enrolled me in a prep school that fed into Yale University. I was confused about life, but wouldn’t admit it. I didn’t want to tell anybody, that I had no clue what was going on. People would say, “What’s going on,” and I’d say, “I know what’s happening, I’m very cool and all of that.” The truth was that most of the secrets I learned about sex were written on bathroom walls. Bathroom philosophers gave me hints about what was going on and some of that stuff was scary, but I believed it was true? I ended up in our hometown college in New Haven, Connecticut and people came from all around the country to attend school there.
I worked for a local contractor, wore dungarees to classes and was a typical town-nee. All the other guys who came to class were dressed well and it seemed like they had everything and I had nothing. They all seemed to know what was going on and they drove expensive convertibles. I suddenly realized that I must be in the wrong place; I do not belong here. I had a phobia that the dean was going to call everybody out into the courtyard and say, “Gentlemen, we have discovered an imposter in our midst who doesn’t belong here,” and then point directly at me.
My roommates were already drinking alcohol, but I didn’t until a campus social event happened where we were supposed to meet other students. I started across the room to meet the others, but I was stopped short by their eyes. I thought I could tell what they were thinking by looking at their eyes. The four guys I was walking towards said with their eyes, “Don’t come over here, we don’t know you, we already have enough friends; go away.” I changed my direction and headed towards some other guys whose eyes said even worse things. I couldn’t meet anybody because their eyes told me I didn’t belong there?” I noticed a table with bottles of whiskey on it and there was a friendly looking bartender serving drinks. I thought, “Perhaps my roommates are right, I should try a drink of alcohol.” I drank one drink and nothing happened, I took another and nothing happened, but halfway through the third one something happened. And, when I looked at the people in that room again they suddenly became the friendliest looking guys I’d ever seen. Their eyes looked at me and said, “We’d like to meet a guy like you, come on over?” I suddenly walked into a totally different world where everybody was warm and friendly. Everybody seemed to like me and I thought, “You should’ve started drinking alcohol in grammar school”… To be continued.
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