Like a zillion other people I know, I’m on Facebook. This is neither a secret nor surprise (I’m a big, big fan of Web 2.0), though I do recognize that many people my age (and certainly many more who are older than I am) just don’t understand the whole thing. In fact, my boyfriend is one of those people, and I’m constantly having to remind him that, at age 48, he’s not exactly the target demographic for Web 2.0 — and neither am I, really. I just happen to “get it.”
What I don’t get, though, is what happened to me yesterday. I went to my normal Friday-night meeting, and after the meeting I ran into a woman I’ve known for a little over a year. In fact, when I was going through a rough time in early sobriety, she was quite kind and helpful, and I’ve never really had a problem with her. Until last night.
This woman is much older than I am, though I can’t say her age exactly. What I can say is that she came up to me and asked me about sending email on my phone during the breaks of the meeting. I didn’t quite know what she was talking about, but she did say that she thought I should get a new sponsor because — her words — I was doing “distasteful things.” Given that I try to conduct myself with grace, dignity, and class (these days, at least), I was even more confused. Then she started talking about how I was asking people for money — which, again, confused me, because while I am holding a fund-raiser to raise money for my tuition downpayment, I hadn’t invited her to the party.
At this point, I said, “what does this have to do with the program?” because I wasn’t quite sure why she had approached me, what I’d done wrong, or how it at all related to her. (I still don’t know any of those things. But anyhow.) So she asked me to sit down, and she pulled out some sheets of paper from her purse. On those sheets of paper? Were printouts of my “wall” on Facebook, including status updates, friends’ comments on my updates, and various things I’d posted on my wall (links, articles, etc.). And on those pages? Sections were highlighted to point to things I’d said… none of which were (a) remotely offensive or (b) in ANY way related to my sobriety. That being said, the thing that shocked me most was that someone would print that out and then share it with someone else… I mean, who does that?
At this point, I have my suspicions — I had set my status so that only friends and friends of friends could see my wall and postings, and there’s really only a couple of people whom I know who also know this woman, and… well, they’re only suspicions — but this woman wouldn’t tell me when I asked. She’s also foreign, albeit someone who’s lived in this country for three decades (or more), and when I asked who gave that to her, she pretended as though she didn’t understand. And when I said, “this is an invasion of my privacy”? She said, “oh, I don’t understand your big English words” and waved me off. And then she offered me an Altoid. (Because everyone needs fresh breath under such circumstances, apparently.)
In the aftermath last night, I was quite upset. Poor J. had to drive me to a different part of the neighborhood, where I called my sponsor (who didn’t answer) and a good friend (who did, and who met up with me, and we sat on a stoop and she helped me put this in perspective). We — J. and I — were supposed to see The Time-Traveler’s Wife last night, and that was ruined… I really was upset. And not so much at being confronted/accosted by this woman, but the idea that someone would DO that. And it isn’t as though I have said anything inappropriate or embarrassing — I have family members on Facebook! and potential/prior coworkers, bosses, and business contacts! — but rather that my online behavior was monitored and, then, apparently distributed. For what reason? I have no clue.
I’m not sure what the individuals’ motivations were in doing this, and chances are good I’ll never know. I do know that I immediately came home last night to change my settings to “friends only” on EVERYTHING, and I also deleted the couple of people in question whom I think might have been the people to do this. It isn’t that I’m embarrassed, but I do feel as though my privacy has been violated (big English words or no), and I’m still shaken about that.
The woman who confronted me? She acknowledged before, during, and after this incident that I would be upset and probably not want to talk to her ever again.
[Which reminds me: any time you say, at the beginning of the conversation, “this might hurt, but…” or “I know this is going to make you angry, but…” or anything similar? DON’T SAY IT. That should be a sign that whatever is about to come out of your mouth is going to be inappropriate. Unless you’re a doctor, police officer, priest, or someone else who delivers bad news to people… just keep your mouth shut. Unless you like being hurtful, in which case go right ahead and be an ass. Just stay away from me. But I digress.]
It’s true, though. I have no desire to talk to this woman or the one (or two) people whom I’m fairly certain passed this information along. Nope. And not because I’m mean or hold grudges or whatever… I pray for the people who hurt me, that they will find the things in their own lives that I wish to find in my own. But I will not open myself up to them again, until I’m certain I won’t be subject to such idiocy. And that’s a big “until” as far as I’m concerned.
This woman is someone I see every Monday night. She’s part of my home group, someone whom I once looked up to, as she has almost three decades of sobriety. This week? I’ll feel sorry for her, and I’ll still probably be confused WHY any of this happened. In the program, they tell us to look at our own motivations and to make sure we are clear on our role in what happens. As far as I can tell, my part in this is that I trusted people to act like rational human beings. The only difficult thing now, as always? Wondering whether I should stop being so trusting/gullible, or learning to accept that being betrayed from time to time is the price I pay for trying to be kind and open-hearted to most everyone I meet in sobriety. What I do know? I’ll figure it out eventually, and it’s OK to be confused about things sometimes. Namaste.