One step at a time, is what I learned in AA today.
I’ve basically been somewhat needlessly blowing my own mind with all the thinking and self-reflection about not drinking, and I’ve decided:
For now, it’s OK to just stop drinking. And, like I’ve been doing, it’s OK to move on, stay busy, and keep working toward tangible life goals.
That’s it. That’s my deep thought.
I went to my third meeting tonight (yay, me!) downtown at a church here in St. Thomas, and it was nice. Good. Fine. I was shouted out twice for being a new person, which is because I actually introduced myself. I mean, it was good. I felt like I was at Mass, and I felt sincere. I already know a few people (it’s a small island), and it helped to hear their stories; it helped to be reminded of the fact that if I drink again, I could end up, oh, falling off the subway platform in a blackout comes to mind…
Overall, AA is…I don’t know. I mean, I really just don’t know. Yet, do I need to? I talked with a potential sponsor for a half hour after the meeting tonight, and if anything I realized just how rambling I can be — and need to be, I guess — with total strangers when it comes to all my “drinking shit.”
Anyway, they picked the third step to share around:
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Hmm. OK. I don’t know what this means, and I don’t know where will/free will and fate meet and diverge, if they do at all. I don’t know how anyone but myself is going to “care” for me and/or help me to stop putting the wine glass to my lips (so far, it’s been sheer will, and this is the only thing I can think of to do; I mean, no one else is making me drink, y’know?). However, I knew I had nothing to offer and felt that my insight is so limited when it comes to this 12-step business, I just listened.
Most of the people said they did experience a god or god-like presence, or something, taking over and starting to guide them through the day, or away from their cravings. Or whatever. I think. I honestly don’t understand what this means beyond realizing that:
1. you don’t know anything let alone everything, so stop listening to your runaway thoughts; and
2. stop overthinking and just DO, even if your thoughts are telling you something else; and
3. life is a trip, and it’s pretty fucking bizarre and amazing (though, as a biologist, I know all of this and it’s always taken my breath away), so why not run with that?
I need practical. This God-stuff is just…weird. Hard to conceptualize. For instance, I can’t explain why, exactly, I quit — and why it stuck — this summer except for that I had had fucking ENOUGH, my friends had had fucking ENOUGH, and I knew that my get-out-of-jail-free card had long since expired. On a gut level, it was something else, some certainty that I had to stop. And so I did. (Well, tried/trying.) Maybe I HAVE encountered the third step already, maybe it’s not rocket science, maybe I’m twisting my head around and should just simmer down?
My entire life I’ve been doing things that displease me, that vex me, all under the guise of “challenging” and “rewarding.” I’ve had little balance, and it’s a result of my upbringing, my nationality (welcome to USA, Inc.), and my own perfectionist and self-doubting/second-guessing personality traits. I can feel a tangent coming on, so I’ll get to the point: I don’t have to understand God — or how to best make amends, or whatever — in order to simply not drink. I can take it easy, one step at a time.
I can take it easy, one step at a time.
Lately, with all the changes and all the drama surrounding my brother and my dad, I’ve felt sobriety sort of crashing in on me. I’ve even found it hard to write about it. I’ve been trying to make amends with my brother’s girlfriend — who is crazy, by the way — and it’s only messed things up more. Messed me up more, in the sense that now I’ve been presented with a whole new set of feelings, obstacles, and choices when it comes to deciding if I want to push it or accept that my apology letter backfired. Do I write them off, as they seem to have done to me? Now I’m as angry with them as they are with me!?
I could go on and on, but tonight made me realize again that, it’s just me. And, that’s OK. And, if my brother’s girlfriend doesn’t like my style, and if my dad secretly hates me because I’m a successful female professional, and if this and that and that and this…Head E-X-P-L-O-D-I-N-G!
YOU KNOW WHAT? ALL I HAVE TO DO IS NOT DRINK, AND THIS IS ALL I HAVE TO DO RIGHT NOW.
(Btw, tonight there’s a meteor shower and the sky is clear! The sky down here is immense: hot, dark, and alive. Silent, but full of far-off noise. The other night, I saw an astoundingly bright, large, circular meteorite (or was it an alien spacecraft?) rip through the northern sky = amazeballs. I can’t wait to just sit outside on the deck, hear the near-constant crashing of the Atlantic on the rocks below, and watch for falling stars. I had, of course, a long talk with myself earlier about wanting/not wanting wine, and now that is over. The cravings come and go, and it’s always a relief once they’ve passed and I can move on, watch the night sky, and listen to the thick croaking of crickets, coqui frogs, and night bugs; all the while realizing that sobriety is turning out to be the strangest, most surreal trip of them all.)