It’s been too long since I’ve checked in. I spent about an hour the night before last writing a ranting post about how “AA makes me feel bad” and “AA makes me feel like a failure.” Humph. Glad I saved that one to draft.
In the past week, I’ve realized that AA is chock full of neurotic people, and NO WONDER we all drank! However, I can take what serves me and leave the rest, as so many people have told me. And, joining a 12-step group could be done simply for self-improvement’s sake; you don’t even have to be a drunk to benefit from the steps — it’s a way of life, a “moral-religious” philosophy that could be interpreted outside the context of drinking, I believe.
I’ve been to four meetings in four days (I plan to do 90; I said I would, and damn it, I will), and each time, the meeting has helped me. One of three things usually happens: I feel better after the meeting; I’ve met someone new or had a good convo (yesterday, I invited two new women friends on a hike with me after the morning meeting on the beach); or I’ve found yet one more reason to avoid fully engaging in AA, which is probably an excuse to drink (but, it makes me feel safer, so, for now, that’s OK!).
So, I like meetings, generally speaking. Like jogging, I feel better AFTER it’s over. 😉
On the other hand, I dread going. I don’t know why. Wait, yes, I do. I’d MUCH rather be going to an event, a social gathering, a party, to drink wine, ANYTHING but a group therapy session. Therapy is work. AA is work. I dread going, too, because it’s a lot of throwing around of platitudes. People talk in parables and platitudes and it makes me wonder, Do you really have any deeper understanding of these steps and your life sans booze than you did before you got into the program, or have you just adopted the program’s “language?” It’s hard to tell with most people at meetings down here on [beautiful island], as I’d say a good 70 percent are 10+ years sober. Yup.
Tonight, I was particularly irritated by the level of neuroticism in the room. Jesus FUCK, guys. Give it a rest! No wonder you drank! I mean, life is important, but it’s not THAT important. ESPECIALLY YOUR LIFE. God damn. And, the worst: the people who talk seem to have replaced shooting the shit over the bar with shooting it at an AA meeting. There’s a lot of ego in the room, ironically, and a lot of people simply LOVE to hear themselves talk, I guess. (Not to mention, it seems like 80 percent of the people at meetings here are from [cold east coast city], so EVERYONE has that accent…and some particularly [cold east coast city]-y life mantras, like, ‘The world revolves around me and my self-induced melodramatic frenzy.’)
Anyway, the topic was the 11th step, prayer and meditation. The discussion was interesting, but a lot of people subscribed to the idea of God infusing life with a sense of purpose. After thinking about why it vexed me so much, I concluded (for now): as a biologist at heart, I think that is actually short-changing nature! My “god” is nature, is the “is” around us, which consists of us, plants, animals, cells, protons, the galaxies, and all the physical and metaphysical forces within (like, the forces of gravity AND the “forces” of ESP, or synchronicity, or astral travel, or alien abduction). BUT, essentially, I don’t believe that because all this exists, there has to be a reason for it, let alone a sense of purpose for human beings. I think we create a need for one in our minds, and that’s why we also drink. But, that’s the problem with our big old brains, isn’t it?
On a positive note, I came to the realization of how important yoga/stretching is to me, or hiking. Yoga in particular allows me to focus out of my thoughts and into my body, which I also believe (thanks to my acupuncture session back in September — mind-blowing) is the source. The body is the holy ground, and only because you’re a living body can you connect to your higher self, to the higher reality that exists and that some people call God and that I am calling the “is” in this post. I didn’t share this, but wanted to. All in due time.
I could rant on and on, and I can say that I’m really getting annoyed by these meetings. But, I guess I want to see how it ends. I’m giving it 90 days, and then seeing what happens from there. And, I feel really good about that. I also have learned to simply let it fucking go. What happens in meetings stays in meetings, OK? Like passing rain clouds (I ran into one on my hike this afternoon), the meetings pass, the cravings pass, it all passes. And that’s a beautiful thing, actually.