5 months, 2 days

A better day than yesterday over all; I haven’t done much, but I just feel better, as I always do after a good sleep. The main highlight of the day was this evening’s meeting. After four days without one, I knew I needed one today, so I attended the step meeting in town which I don’t normally attend. I’m glad I went today as this week it was focused on step 12, a step I personally find fascinating. It strikes me as a very hopeful step, not that all the other steps aren’t hopeful, but it is the end of the program; the step upon completion of which one can look to the future and be totally confident in one’s achievement. After we’d read the step out, the meeting settled on a philosophical tone, with people sharing about their conceptions of a higher power and their own personal takes on the program. I heard a lot of things which I felt were very relevant to me. The great thing about AA is that you can go to a meeting you don’t normally go to, and still fit in comfortably.

Though I’m nowhere near step 12 in my own program, I really enjoyed tonight’s meeting and I think I will continue to go back every time it comes round to step 12 in the cycle. The meeting focuses on a different step every week, and when it starts back up after New Year it will be back to step 1, rather aptly. I’ll probably attend each week up til step 4 or 5 in this cycle; it’s good to hear how people talk about the steps in general. I feel like I’ve been on step 4 for so long now, it would be nice to be part of a meeting that actually focuses on it,  which will perhaps help me to move on from it. Although by the time the cycle comes round to step 4 I may already be lucky enough to have moved on; I think the last time the meeting came to step 4 I was only on step 2 or 3 myself.

I’ve had time to think about what happened yesterday, and I guess I was so strung out because I was tired. I had to work very hard in the morning to get through that voluntary work shift, but I couldn’t appreciate that hard work because it had resulted in me not being able to show up for my greeting commitment. I spent the afternoon wallowing in misery and, dare I say it, self pity, simply because I am still a relative newcomer to the program and and I don’t yet have all the tools to hand the negativity over.

As I said before, I feel better today because I’ve had a good sleep, and I can see that yesterday wasn’t so bad. It could have been better, obviously; all of last week could have been better, really. I can appreciate that I made some mistakes last week. I went on a date when I should have known better; I put my name down to greet at a meeting on the same day that I had voluntary work in the morning. There is hope in those mistakes, if I can learn from them.

If I’m sounding excessively philosophical, it’s because of tonight’s meeting! People talked of learning and growing from their mistakes; the alcoholic habit of making life difficult for ourselves when we always have the choice to make things simple. I realise that in the past week I made things tougher for myself than necessary. Many people tonight also spoke of the infamous ‘miracle’; most of them had years of sobriety, and so had all apparently experienced their miracles already.

I know I haven’t experienced my miracle yet because I’m still making these mistakes, still finding life tough when it shouldn’t be. But after five months, I can safely say I’m closer to knowing what my miracle will be than I was in the beginning. I know what needs to happen for my life to change. Well, at least I know what I’d quite like to happen. I’d like to be able to walk into a room full of people and not instantly feel as if they’re strangers who all dislike me; I’d like to share in every meeting; I’d like to feel comfortable with doing more service in the fellowship; I’d like to start forming healthy, loving relationships; I’d love to get a job in my life outside AA which I enjoy. All these things are covered by the Promises, I think. So, I soldier on with the programme.

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2 thoughts on “5 months, 2 days

  1. I feel so sorry for you. I attended twelve-step meetings for a few months and got fairly brainwashed.

    I hope you can use my posting this message as an opportunity to research some alternatives to twelve-step. Twelve-step is not the only way (or by any means, the best way) to recover from substance abuse.

    If you haven’t had anything to drink in five months, stop attending. Twelve-step programs do not enrich your life or enhance your chances of not relapsing. YOU, and YOU ALONE, not your higher power, prevent yourself from drinking.

    Were you even a religious person before attending twelve-step? You do realize that you’re being converted to Christianity, right? The later steps actually say “We prayed to God…” – that isn’t just any “higher power.”

    Another thing that’s ridiculous about twelve-step is the canonization of those who have years clean. WHO CARES IF SOMEONE’S BEEN CLEAN 20 YEARS? That’s like celebrating someone who hasn’t had a reckless car accident in twenty years, or someone who hasn’t had promiscuous sex in twenty years. It shouldn’t be a defining characteristic of your life that you haven’t engaged in what is essentially an antisocial, self-centered act in X amount of time.

    Check out http://www.rational.org, Jack Trimpey, and http://www.morerevealed.com. It’s about time you moved on with your life. Feel free to email me to continue this discussion.

  2. Don’t feel sorry for me. As I’ve always said, it was my choice to go to AA and it has always been my choice to stay there. I’ve never said the twelve steps are the only way to get better. What I believe is that they are the only way for ME to get better. I tried not drinking on my own willpower, and it didn’t work. As far as I’m concerned, the twelve steps have provided me with a hopeful alternative to the dark life that I was leading before.

    Five months of sobriety is not a reason to stop attending meetings. You don’t suddenly wake up one day cured of alcoholism. Whatever you choose to do to stay sober, you’ll probably have to do it for the rest of your life. You wouldn’t stop cleaning your teeth every day just because they feel healthy now.

    AA may be more religious in America than it is over here – I don’t know. The meetings I go to certainly aren’t religious. Many of my sober friends have a deep mistrust for religion and the church which would probably be scandalous in America. My higher power is not a Christian God, it is the Universe. Simple as that. I pray every morning using the word ‘God’ as a symbol because it is easier and quicker to say than ‘Dear Universe’. Anyone who really studied the AA program objectively would know that it is not a conversion course in Christianity.

    What’s so good about staying sober for 20 years? Well, considering alcohol is one of the world’s biggest killers, I reckon being able to avoid it for that long when you used to drink alcoholically every single day is a pretty impressive feat. The idea that ‘liking one’s drink’ is somehow a healthy, normal, social kind of behaviour is a lie. Unfortunately we live in a society that tells us it is pleasurable to get drunk and lose all sense of one’s morals and personality. That, I believe, is true brainwashing. For years I was brainwashed into thinking that daily hangovers and embarrassing drunken incidents were a healthy part of a young person’s life. If AA has brainwashed me out of that way of thinking, then good. I am not lying or exaggerating when I say that my life is fuller and far more enriched now than it ever was before. Who are you to tell me to move on with my life? If you don’t like AA, that’s fine, you are entitled to your opinion. But I suggest you learn more about me before you tell me what’s good for me.

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