Today, I was walking out of the noon AA meeting I like so much. A fellow followed me to my car. He had heard me share and said he took a lot of solace from my life experiences.
"I have a mental illness, too!" he told me very animatedly. "Bi-polar."
It is not often someone will blurt out such a thing to a stranger. My "normal" person persona defensively went on guard.
The fellow went on to talk for another 30 minutes about his life. I couldn't help but keep watching my watch. I was hungry and thirsty, and just generally wanted to be home.
"Thank you," the young guy said as he closed his conversation. "I needed someone to talk to."
I wished him luck and we exchanged phone numbers. I was glad I had stayed and listened to him instead of making up some excuse to drive home. I could see us becoming friends and he seemed like the aggressive kind of person that someone with social anxiety needs to bring them out of their shell. I keep reminding myself that by helping others in AA, that I am helping myself as well. I hope I helped that fellow by lending my ear.