I am 2 months and 20 days into my relapse day count. I am still feeling a bit off about it all. I am trying to feel good about AA, and going to meetings, but some days it just feels like one more thing on my to do list. And not a good thing.

Also, as a perfectionist and being highly competitive, I never feel like I am doing the program “right”. I sit in the meetings, which I do enjoy, when I can talk myself into going, and listen to all these enlightened people speak, and just think to myself, I don’t get it.

I also am deathly afraid to speak in public, and these are large meetings. I spend a lot of my time counting how many people have to share before they get to me, hoping that the time will run out. Then when I see that I WILL have to share, I spend my time thinking about what I am going to say. When it comes time for me to have to speak, I feel the hives forming on my neck, and my cheeks getting all flushed. Then I think that everyone thinks that I am an idiot.

I also am so fascinated by the depth to which people share. I can barely tell my husband or sponsor my innermost feelings, there is no way I can dig deep and lay all my stuff out in a room full of strangers. So, am I getting it? I know that sharing is a huge part of healing, but being blocked in that area, is that going to stop me from understanding this program? Will I ever get to happy, joyous and free?

I know, there is a lot of me in that last paragraph.

My new sponsor is great, but she pushes. She pushes because she knows about my trepidation. She pushes because she knows at any moment I could bolt. She pushes because she cares.

It is all new again. Even though I haven’t had alcohol in over three years, I feel like a newcomer, which I am, as I don’t think I ever really gave this thing a good go. I want to feel comfortable, I want to “get it”, but I have more times where I don’t.

I can’t even get through the first 164 pages of the big book.

I am not sure where my head is.



26 thoughts on “Confusion

  1. The key to “getting the program right is willingness. You don’t have much. In your shoes, I would pray for willingness.

    You asked, “So, am I getting it?” Obviously no, but your willingness to share your trepidation, at least on your blog where you’re safe from someone really knowing who you are, is impressive. Fear is holding you back from doing it in a meeting. Let go of the fear.

    What someone else thinks of me is none of my business. Know that, practice that, and know freedom.

    There was one more thing…

    • Your response is perfection.
      I should know this, willingness. That is what my sponsor is looking for. That is why she pushes me to share, to help me get used to it, and then eventually I may willingly do it.
      What was the one more thing?

  2. Oh yeah!

    “I don’t think I ever really gave this thing a good go”

    You didn’t. That’s okay though, it’s not too late. I quit nicotine several months ago. I haven’t touched tobacco in a long time but I was hooked on stop smoking aids (lozenges). When I was ready to quit, and I mean READY, I asked my higher power to remove my compulsion to seek out tobacco and nicotine. It’s the first time I didn’t hold anything back. It was the first time I was ready to have that fully removed. It is gone, I am free. That’s how it works.

    As for the first 164, try three words. Then first three on 112, and get back to me.

  3. This is one of those times where there is no right way. Which is tough for us type A ers.
    When I start thinking things should be going a certain way I pull out Brene Browns definition of perfectionism. Because it exactly describes what kept me suffering for a long time.

    Just keep trying. Be open minded. Do the unexpected. Pass if your don’t want to share.

    Make things easier on yourself. Enjoy the journey. It doesn’t have to be hard.

  4. Yes!
    “it doesn’t have to be hard”!
    I love that…I am NOT a type A but I do tend to overthink and make things harder than they are…
    and that’s not what I wanted to respond to.
    I wanted to say MMMMEEEE TTTOOOOO!
    I feel so similar to you right now. I just changed sponsors. I’m going to new meetings. I am trying to move back into AA…and I didn’t even drink to be in this position1 So here we are, together. and I needed to hear what Anne said about it not having to be hard.
    Willingness is key, and when I let go and become willing everything gets easier. I fretted over all of this stuff, but when i finally just did it, took the actions i needed to take.,,..well, PHEW!
    I can stress and fret over a lot of things about AA, but the one thing that I know to be absolutely true is that, for me, it works.
    And I know that because of posts like this that mirror my thinking, and cause me to say “me too”, and for all the people in the rooms that do that to my face, and the stories i read in the book that i relate too…alll of it.
    If I do my part, it works, and I am so grateful for that,
    Hang in…it doesn’t have to be so hard,

    • Thanks for sharing your similar feelings. It always helps to know that I am not the only one struggling.
      I need to work on being willing, and letting go, not holding on so tight.

  5. Keep on keeping on, I don’t know about willingness though. Wanting sobriety is much more than being willing to be sober. My path is as different as anybody’s might be. I wanted sobriety so much, the disease was going to kill me and I desperately wanted “sober” more than I wanted anything else. I’m not a HP fan but I knew that I had to find a safe and sober way to figure out the big empty inside of me that I was trying to fill. Five years ago I found the right tai chi teacher for me. She helped me find my way to take a solid step in to my practice and find out what was inside of me. A year after that, I got to a medical rehab center, I’ve been sober and wanting to stay that way ever since. My practice has deepened, I’m able to stand within myself, and to sort out and observe my thoughts and addictive tendencies. I can honestly say that every single thing in my life is better for having wanted to be sober more than anything I had ever wanted. I wish you well, I wish you sobriety, I wish you the inner peace of taking care of your precious self. Namaste.

  6. God that sounds exhausting. Firstly, you’re not drinking… secondly, you’re going to meeting, even if you don’t enjoy them all. Who does? But be willing, open mind, all that good stuff. There are definitely meetings I avoid, if I’m not in great form and I know I’ll get pissed off I find another meeting or pick up the phone. It really is progress not perfection, but I get it. Just don’t drink , be honest with yourself. Remember it really is a cunning, baffling and PATIENT disease. I remember in the early days of my recovery I said to an older member ” I just LOVE ” everyone in AA” she turned to me and said” Well then you’re not getting enough meetings”!!! Regarding the sharing , I only share what I’m comfortable with regarding relationships. I usually save that for women only meetings!!

  7. Well the word “willingness” seems to be the star in that post and in the responses! My willingness came tethered to desperation. My willingness now to continue on the path is tethered to a new life in which I don’t want to bugger up…ha ha. But in all seriousness, I think that there is much truth in the idea that a lot of magic happens outside our comfort zones. I didn’t slink out of my comfort zone – I was damn well catapulted out. I had no choice. I had to do all the things I hated – talk to others, be honest, take suggestions, etc. I hated it all. I hated the meetings. I walked out of countless ones. I never liked going. I had to drag myself to them. But I found that the honesty there helped me on my path.

    I understand the idea of trying to be “Mr(s). AA”. I tried to “give good shares”. I too used to think about what I was gonna say, then say it, then think about what I just said. I was too busy in my head to listen to what others were saying! So I learned to pass when the spirit didn’t move me. I learned to talk when everything in me want to quiet the storm within. The best shares I have ever heard have been the ones straight from the heart. No BS. No trying to sound good. Don’t stress about it. Listening is just as good. There is no “right” way of sharing.

    Just take it for what it is now. Don’t try to project long range and such. Do what is needed in front of you. Be kind to yourself.


    • As always Paul, you have given me excellent advise. I did in fact pass last night at the meeting. There was not topic, and when they got to me, I drew a big ole blank.
      I am taking this slowly. I finished Chapter 3 of The Big Book last night. Letting it digest a bit. I think my last sojourn in AA was just half assed. This time is is real, and it is hard. I also had to finally admit that the pill addiction was an addiction, not just a side sport.
      I will get there, with the work, and the willingness, and not rushing what I don’t feel.
      Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. There isn’t a “talk” requirement in meetings. It’s okay to pass. My sponsor had me sit on my hands and pray for the willingness to listen. Something I still do today. Pray, breath, listen… Help the new person.

    • My sponsor is the opposite, she wants me to speak so that people get to know me. It makes me feel pressure. I want to speak when I have something to say. I don’t want to feel like I HAVE to speak.
      I am willing to go, listen and absorb. I am a sponge. When I get more comfortable I will speak.

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