I have been very resistant to thinking about or going to Alcoholics Anonymous, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I hate the word alcoholic, especially when referring to myself. I prefer addict or drunk. I guess it is just my personal preference. Second, the higher power component is difficult for me with my religious beliefs, which are agnostic at best. Also, I have always associated AA with people who are at the bottom of the bottom. Homeless, jobless, broke, and broken.
I have been reading sober blogs, emailing a sober friend, and reaching out to sober people for the last 73 days, and the majority have said to at least TRY AA. It may not be a good fit, but attend a few meetings and listen.
I have gone on line and looked at the meeting list numerous times in the last month. I have picked meetings, said to myself, I am going to that one, and then as the day and time arrive, found so many reasons to not go. That worked until I found a meeting less then five minutes from my house, I really had no excuse.
Other then the fact that we live in a small community and I know a lot of people here, and I might know someone at the meeting. Oh yeah, but they would be at the meeting for the same reason I would be there, so that really wasn’t a valid reason. And there is that whole anonymous aspect to it…
I could not come up with a VALID excuse not to attend.
So I went, with large amounts of trepidation.
I walked up to the classroom and looked in, the moderator said, “This is the place”. It was a small room that had eight men in it. I went in and sat down, and the man to my right said, “Hi kiddo, I haven’t seen you in a long time.” Another man across the table, said hi, and explained to the room we used to work together at the golf course.
At least I got that over with quickly, I knew some people, and I didn’t drop dead of shame.
The meeting started, and the moderator asked my name. Hmmm, what happened to anonymous? I told him, and then asked if I had read the list wrong, was it an all male meeting? No, the women would be there shortly. Nope, not last night.
Because I had never attended an AA meeting before, they changed the format. To help me understand the first step in AA, some of the attendees shared their stories.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
As I listened, I could relate to a lot of what was said, but I also had another feeling, one of comparison. I sat there thinking, well, I am not that bad. I have never gone to rehab, had a DUI, or had my license revoked. I never drank in the morning to keep my hands from shaking, I never hid alcohol in my car for my morning drive to work.
Then some stories hit home. I told my spouse I quit drinking, but hid a bottle so I could continue to mix my drinks. I passed out every night, woke up every day and said, no more. I got in fights with my spouse, said things I didn’t mean, and couldn’t stop drinking even when I knew I should. I belonged there, I was one of them. Maybe not exactly like them, but I have my own story.
I didn’t realize there was hugging and hand holding, and the Lords Prayer. ( I will have to learn the words to that.) These things are not in my comfort zone, but I can work on it.
I did receive a 30 day chip. I was bummed they didn’t give out 60 day ones also, but I will get one for 90 days.
The best part of the evening was the feeling of acceptance, no questions asked. And they had treats, eclairs.
When the meeting ended, and everyone had left, the man I once worked with sought me out. We talked for 20 minutes about alcohol, being sober and getting sober. It felt good, really good, I felt accepted.
I am going to go back next week. Maybe the women will show up.