8 months, 12 days / trust

4pm I think the reason why I had to go into so much detail last night about why AA isn’t a cult, is that I needed to convince myself. When I was involved in that long and drawn out discussion on the internet, where I felt personally attacked by the anti-AA remarks, I was really terrified because my belief in AA itself was brought into question. For a second when I was down on my knees praying to my higher power before going to bed, I asked myself why I was doing it. What am I praying to? Why?

What this is really indicative of is my innate inability to feel secure in my own beliefs. Whenever somebody criticizes me on anything, I feel personally attacked, and no matter how often I’m told by loved ones not to take these things personally, I still do! With regards to this specific case, it could be said that I’m right to question my beliefs. The success of AA hasn’t been scientifically proven; spirituality and higher powers by their nature require faith without reason. AA advertises them as such.

Having only been in AA for eight months I suppose it’s natural for me to continue to have my doubts. It’s a bit worrying that I didn’t realise I had these doubts until yesterday, though if I dig deep and think back, they were probably there on the edge of my consciousness for months.

I have my faith back today because, as I said last night, of all the benefits that I know AA has brought to my life in the past eight months. For the first time ever, I’m not just doing real things to boost my confidence, I’m also beginning to question the negative beliefs which have always held me back. I’m beginning to trust that things will turn out for me all right in the end, and most importantly of all, I’m not drinking.

10pm I’ve just been to two very inspiring and powerful AA meetings. The two meetings that I’ve gone to every Thursday for months. I’ve always liked them, but tonight they both seemed extra special. The two chairs were given by two very different people, both of whom I could identify with; all the sharing was spine-tinglingly relevant. People talked of honesty, of trust and of faith – things I lack sometimes but which I’m getting more of each day. A couple of shares really stood out for me. Someone talked about the job that he’d just got, his first job in sobriety. It’s only a menial cleaning job but the man had nothing but gratitude to express for it. He said that sixty days ago he’d never have believed it possible. From living in the gutter he is now working full time for a wage. Amazing! It struck a chord with me because I know I have that job search coming up very soon. I’ve talked about it to death and here in meetings, and I’ve got to keep talking about it, because I’m continuing to experience a lot of fear around it.

Another sharer talked about crying. This was a typical middle-aged heterosexual man, not someone you’d expect to burst into tears at the drop of the hat! He said that he can cry whenever he needs to – and that’s quite a lot – thanks to the program. “Why did God give me tear ducts if He didn’t want me to cry?” That man’s words touched me deeply because I know I don’t cry nearly enough. In fact, I think I’ve only cried once in sobriety. That was last year, when I was about a month sober, and I’d just had a blazing row with my mum. My sponsor came to meet me and I was in a worse state than I’d ever been in. I could hardly keep the tears in. Since then, not a single tear has passed my tear ducts. Not because I don’t want to cry – I simply can’t. I must have learnt a mechanism a long time ago to keep the tears in. Now I know how harmful that mechanism is to me, and I can’t stop it. I really want to cry tonight, to let go of this fear and anxiety, but yet again, the tears won’t come!

When I was drinking, boy could I cry. I would cry over anything when I was drunk. Since drinking isn’t an option now, I have to learn how to cry sober. God, how strange does that sound! I wish it wasn’t this way but I fear it’s going to be another big part of my journey. There’s so much to cry over, and it all comes back to fear. Not only am I scared that I won’t be able to find a job in the summer and support myself. I’m still scared by that conversation I was having the other day, where someone accused AA of being a cult. I’m terrified that I won’t be able to ignore those attacks any more, that I’ll lose my faith in AA and that I’ll die. It’s become clear tonight that without AA, I can’t survive now. I really need AA. I never knew how desperate that need was before.

I will have to pray for my higher power to restore the strong faith that I had only a few days ago. The saddest thing is that I was listening to everything said in tonight’s meetings. I took it all in, and I love both of those meetings dearly now. But still, all the while I have this doubt in my mind. People outside of the fellowship just don’t understand how important it is to alcoholics. People outside can be so mean. Telling me there’s no such thing as alcoholism, that it’s all in the mind. What do they know? Yet I still hang around with these people, I still go onto these internet discussion forums and subject myself to the same torture, day in and day out. I’m spending more time on the internet than I ever did, and I’m not enjoying it. The people I interact with on this one website aren’t in the fellowship, they’re drinkers, and I think the longer I spend with them the harder it’s going to get. But I can’t leave. I’ve tried before, but I ended up going back every time. No, it’s not driving me to drink, but I’m starting to think the internet itself, or at least online social networking, is an addiction all on its own.

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