As I write this story, I've been going to meetings for the past 2 1/2 years. I came to treatment and thus, into AA/NA following "moderate" drinking that later led to full-blown maintenance addiction to opiates. I had been fired from my job, arrested, released, and threatened with a slew of felony convictions that would fuck me up so badly I wondered if minimum-wage jobs were all I'd be able to get forever. I went to tons of meetings at first, and the first year I was so afraid of losing everything & going to jail I didn't care about "being comfortable in my own skin." (what skin?) I was just trying to save what was left of my ass.
My marriage collapsed, I moved away & divorced, and been living on my own & never regretted that decision. The legal issue was resolved and those felonies didn't happen. The program has brought me huge rewards, but I still feel most of the time like I don't quite belong. I've been to all kinds of meetings, seen both kinds: the angry loudmouths who are pissed at the world and the flip-side—the holier-than-thou types who thump the Big Book & have the world convinced they shit Tiffany cuff-links. My first sponsor belonged to such a group—THEIR way was the ONLY way. I tried to see their point of view, but just couldn't. One member said: "There aren't any bad days, just varying degrees of self-pity." Okay, so normies can have bad days once in a while but us alchies & druggies can not because it isn't spiritual? Come on! Gimme a damn break! I was called on one time & for the next 10 minutes I talked about some personal struggles I was facing. I managed to get some huge laughter out of the group. I was told they were laughing WITH me because they understood & had all been there before, but I don't think so. I was not asked to share again in that meeting for about 3 months. They weren't laughing with me, they were laughing AT me.
When I talked one day with my first sponsor about emotional abuse that may have caused me to drink/drug in the first place, he lambasted me & made me feel like I was some kind of wuss. Then he went on to say his father beat him as a child & he still called to tell his dad he loved him. The sponsor then ORDERED me to do the same. Excuse me? You never TELL me what to do, you aren't my commander, my boss, my father, my master. I dropped his ass as a sponsor that evening. Other times whenever I've had a problem I just get met with slogans like: "You're where you need to be" or "Just turn it over." Gee that was helpful. Can I learn to parrot phrases too?
I've always held dear to a belief my grandmother told me, that Lord helps people who help themselves. I simply don't hang out in bars. I don't fake injuries to the doctor. I don't keep contact with my old stoner friends. Half of them are probably dead or in jail anyway. In my recovery I've seen loads of people relapse or come through the doors a few times never to be seen again. They are the ones I wonder about. Did they go back out or decide early on AA was full of nutheads? The same sponsor I mentioned always says he's "sick." After 26 years you're still sick? What a lot of hope that gives me! Shit, old man, you oughta run for prez!!! (LOL)
I just like having a clear head today, I have a zero desire to get drunk or high. My obsession with drugs & booze is lifted. I'm not drunk today, and I won't be tomorrow either. I am aware of the consequences if I do, because I'm an addict and an alcoholic. I have seen enough pain. I choose not to, and that is a choice that I made.