Monday, June 14, 2010

The Poo Problem

I heard something truly shocking yesterday.

I had called an Al-Anon member who had recently moved here from another state to ask him to be a speaker at my Alateen meeting. We had struck up a conversation in the parking lot on the way to my meeting on Monday night.

He was 19 years sober in AA and had 18 years in Al-Anon. The Alateen sponsors in my group had decided on a mix of AA and Al-Anon speakers and, combining both, he seemed perfect. Then he told me he had been an Alateen sponsor. It felt like a God thing.

But that's not the shocking part. What he said on the phone is that he felt comfortable approaching me in the parking lot because he had seen me at other meetings and found me "friendly and approachable."

That makes three times in recent memory people have referred to me that way. They used those exact words: friendly and approachable.

And that's the shocking part. Because I've never been what people call "friendly and approachable." They've always used other words to describe me. Words like "aloof."

I never meant to be aloof, but that was the pronouncement. It's been one of the constants in my life.

A couple of weeks ago, after I shared on the topic of selfishness, a sponsee told me she couldn't even imagine me being selfish.

I was speechless.

So the question is: Who is the person people are talking about? And what have they done with me?

Change has been a lot on my mind these days. Change used to be another constant in my life. I changed jobs, relationships, cities. I liked to say I was born with track shoes on. I was always running.

These days, I'm as settled as I've ever been. I've lived in this house longer than I've lived anywhere in my life. I've been happily married for years now. But it seems change is still a constant. It's just a different kind of change.

It reminded me of a story I heard recently about a zoo. Seems the zoo had a $60,000 problem. That's how much the landfill charged it to dispose of its poo.

Then someone had the idea to compost the poo. It became a hot commodity. People lined up around the block to get bags of composted zoo poo for their gardens. After deducting expenses, the new poo netted the zoo $20,000.

The problem was utterly transformed from a liability to an asset.

And this is poo we're talking about. Excrement. Waste.

So this is what I was thinking about yesterday. I had spent the afternoon listening to a sponsee's fifth step. As is the tradition in my line of sponsorship, I presented her with the gift of a butterfly to symbolize her shedding of old skin in preparation for spiritual rebirth.

Because that's what the program gives us. New life. The old stuff, our character defects, get thrown on the great compost heap of the program and are transformed into something valuable. The liabilities of our past become our greatest assets.

I can't think of anything more remarkable. Shocking, really.


  1. Good morning, Kathy M - from one former "aloofer" to another.

  2. Loved this...I finally have a morning free so I am going to carry on and continue reading back through the weeks of posts that I have missed.

  3. Fantastic story. Love it. Only you could write about poo from the zoo and have it make such great sense. I was never described as aloof I don't think but I always wondered who they were talking about as I did not see myself as others said they saw me.
    New life is so sweet.

  4. Oh this one is priceless:) I may have a new favorite! Talk about turning a negative into a positive.

  5. 'So the question is: Who is the person people are talking about? And what have they done with me?'

    Kathy...what a lovely post...God's transformative activity our responsiveness...simple 'poo' turning into something usable and precious...ha ha love it!

  6. Kathy,
    I know what you mean. Some days, when I tell people about who I used to be. They looked shocked! Almost like I am making it up. I like writing about it to remind me of where I have come from and to encourage others that God can change them, too. If they are willing.

    I really don't know who this person God has made me into. He really does transform us from Glory to Glory.


  7. Awesome! Liabilities into Assets. and all about poo :)

  8. The power of poo! God bless martketing.

  9. Next time I feel like ---- I will look for a transformation from my Higher Power! Thanks for the new perspective!

  10. Kathy - I too have had this kind of thing said to me in meetings. It is amazing. Once I finally opened up and began to share who I really was, it seemed people wanted to know me. Who knew?

    Thanks again for contributing to the blog carnival. I just finished reading all your submissions (rereading, mostly) and they are all really good.

  11. this really touched me b/c people tell me all the time they see me as gentle and friendly..a huge difference than how I see me. thank God for His grace...His touch...without it...I cringe to think of where I would be..Stay strong Kathy. you always inspire. Sarah

  12. God is in the transformation business. He did if with me too. It was overnight. Crying out on my knees one day. Free from all desire for drugs the next. Never touched them again and that was over 20 years ago.

    My son's transformation - just beginning. This one won't be overnight. Oh, how I long for God to captivate his heart. But we all have our own journey. I will trust that his will be God-directed as much as mine.

    Thank you for a beautiful post.

  13. Ahhh love this Kathy. Can relate. In a way glad I started blogging and this will be written evidence along with outward evidence of my transformation. Amen. Blessings.

  14. I still think that I am aloof and a loner. But I too have been told that I am friendly and approachable. However, perhaps I need to revamp my own thoughts about me and be more approachable to myself.