Monday, September 12, 2011


This picture, with "Jesus is coming back" in the window, is representative of this to enlarge

Although San Luis Obispo County is rather a nice area to look at, it is a whole different thing to try living there when your name is Bobby Jameson.

It is, in fact, an old ranching community, for the most part, made up of a lot of people who migrated from the central valley of California, from places like Fresno and Bakersfield.

A lot of stout Christianity, agriculture, and military people, just to mention a few of its attractions. Trying to fit me into this backdrop from hell, is exactly what I was faced with the moment I arrived in 1985.

My mother lived in a place called Grover City, if you can believe it, which sounded to me like East Of Eden starring James Dean. It is a small community in between a number of other small towns, known as the Five Cities.

Pismo Beach, Shell Beach, Grover City, Arroyo Grande, and Oceano, a mish-mosh of agriculture, beach towns, and Christian zealot good-ol boys. I fit in about as well as a black guy moving into a Ku Klux Klan stronghold.

I looked like I came from Hollywood. I did not look like I belonged in the Five Cities area. As soon as I hit the street, I was eye-balled to death by the locals, who did not try whatsoever to hide their disenchantment with me.

It was, "Watch your ass, Jameson," from the moment I arrived. Every street fighting instinct I had went on red alert from the first day. You know, like finding yourself in the bad part of town all of a sudden.

I felt like I was in hell as I drove around the area trying to get my bearings. Whereas L.A. offered endless opportunities for everything, this place offered nothing but the evil eye. The vibrations felt like concrete, a thick heavy feeling of, "We got our eye on you, boy!"

I knew I had to establish myself as a member of AA, and find the local meetings, but Jesus Christ, this place was scary. I truly didn't believe I could take it, but knew I had nowhere else to go, so I stayed, "a day at a time," literally.

For a long while, I would go out and sit in my car in the evening, because I felt so out of place and lost. I would try and coax myself into going back to L.A., but in the end would stay for one more day, and then one more, and one more...

My sense of longing for something familiar dogged me for a long time, and the feeling of being a fish out of water would rule my life for years to come. But in the meantime, I would have to make do with my new surroundings and seek out what good I could find.

I drove by a few of the local AA meeting places and sat in my car afraid to go in. From outside I could see a lot of cowboy hats and big bodies, indicating to me that I was gonna fit in here like a fart in a diving helmet.

Finally after a week or so, I made myself go into a meeting in Arroyo Grande called the Firehouse group, because it was held in the fire station. It was bigger than the others so I thought I could lose myself in the back of the room.

"Now don't say anything, Bob, just keep your mouth shut and sit down and shut up," I said to myself, "don't do anything to draw any attention."

I slipped in the door and stood there quietly for a moment, looking around for an empty chair, finding one a couple rows up. I made my way toward it, but as soon as I did, heads began to turn around and eye-ball me.

"Aw shit!" I thought, as I watched one head after another turn in my direction. Smiles crept over their faces as they nudged the person next to them, saying, "Get a load of this guy."


  1. I know the feeling...sounds like a New York City "rich girl" (which i am not, but try convincing these people of that) coming to AA in rural farming community in PA - but you know what: I love my hick AAers even more!!!!

  2. when I decided to follow some bibble studies, it was to find how and why some things went down in the family was for me to understand some of my parents their past and the main stream of our society. We took one of the most feared sideroads...even cut me hair and even went from door to door; but always on my terms and a lil' dif.
    One of the first private encounters was a turn down for me: it went like "have some more wine, brother....but don't light a cig cause you'll burn in hell" That and a rare gift of sensing the outcome well in advance made me hard in remaining myself... I guess the AA is the opposite way: "light a cig but don't drink the water"....
    Truth is we don't need either to be used as a cure for the load of this world...they where mend to be used more ritualistic in a native way imho.
    But a short encounter with AA or in my case the the Jehovah's cleanes out the rangs...but the trick is not to let them overtake yer freedom !

  3. I am very pleased that you have decided to revisit this segment of your experience. Like the rest of your story, it is both interesting and instructive.

    I wonder if your picking up the story again was prompted by the comments of those ridiculous, vicious, christSTAINS (sic., pun intended) who were crudely attacking you "for your own good"?

    Your narrative, as unflattering as it is of "that type," continues to offer insight for those seeking to fight addictions who will inevitably run into discouraging and disparaging "helpers."

  4. Bullseye Tim! I now have a reason beyond just telling this part of the story.....Those you refer to have instilled in me a new sense of purpose and clarity.....Their own words signify what I ran into when I got here...and obviously still have to cope with.....So they can thank themselves for my renewed interest......