Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In a meeting

One of the requirements for nursing school this year is that I attend an AA meeting or other substance abuse support group. I did this last night. The meeting itself was fine, and everybody was nice to the nursing student. I had trouble finding the location, which turned out to be a shed behind a house on a dark and somewhat scary block of Market St. After driving up and down the same block, and not finding the correct building, I parked in the street and started out on foot. Did I mention how dark it was?

Eventually, I came upon a house, and a man just coming out the door asked me if I was going to the meeting. I said I was and gratefully allowed him to lead me around to the shed in the back. I never would have found it on my own. So the man was very friendly, and as we approached the shed he said, "Hey, let's trick these guys and pretend we're together." Then he told me about how he lived in the house (a rehab center, I learned later) and had just cleaned the kitchen and someone had thrown little bits of toilet paper all over the place, and it would be a good joke on them. Before I had time to register what he meant by "together" he had grabbed my hand and before I knew what was happening, I entered the AA meeting walking hand in hand with a completely strange man. I am not good at being assertive, but I did quickly extricate my hand and find a seat.

The meeting came to order and while I should have been paying attention, I was going over the events of the last two minutes, in ever greater horror. I had allowed a complete stranger to lead me to a shed out back of a house in an iffy neighborhood, on the flimsy pretext that we were both going to "the meeting." I had somehow not anticipated that he might try to hit on me. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?

I had been given a worksheet to fill out after the meeting. At the bottom was posted the following warning:

You are not allowed to provide any direct patient care during this observational experience. If there is an emergency situation, you can contact the course coordinator: Ms. Instructor at--(434)-555-1234 or (434) 555-0000.

I spend considerable minutes wondering, a.) in what situation would I ever be tempted to perform "direct patient care" at an AA meeting, and b.) What sort of emergency might arise at an AA meeting in which my FIRST action would be to call my instructor at home.

I also spent a not inconsiderable amount of time planning how to get safely back to my car, which was parked some distance down the street, without the hand-holder wanting to escort me there, which turned out not to be a problem.


  1. I kinda wondered about the guy you headed around the house with... and was relieved when you mentioned wondering why you would walk into the dark behind a house with a guy you don't know (who is talking about blow-up toilet paper?!)... "Yikes!" to dark places and strange guides.

  2. Glad you made it home safe--I hear you about irrational thinking. I too have not fully comprehended a situation until smack dab in the middle of it!