Does anyone ever say anything bad about AA? Or, how I despise the peacocks in the room

14 Nov

9:37 pm

Yes, I’m annoyed.

I mean, WHY, oh why, does it feel like I can’t express my quickly declining interest in the steps, the thinkin’, the analyzing, the “learn to live” aspect of AA? Oh, right, because NO ONE in the room seems to allow it. I guess it might just be a matter of get on board or drown, but… That’s just not how it’s supposed to be! Quitting drinking is a process, and AA is simply not the only way.

Tonight’s meeting was the usual: five long-term sober males spouting off their “words of wisdom” and nearly getting off hearing themselves talk (to each other, basically) while the rest of us just sat there. Sure, I could’ve spoke up, but… It doesn’t feel right. I can hardly stand it anymore. Time to find a new meeting, methinks.

I’ve told my women friends that I’d LOVE to share my current thoughts about the program, which are: I don’t want to think about drinking even more than I have been doing. I don’t want to replace one set of “should’s” with another (I drank to escape self-imposed “should’s” and now I SHOULD follow the steps?). I don’t want a sponsor (well, not really, except to answer my questions and let me complain). I don’t want to look at my “denial,” my “horrible character defects,” my “lack of spirituality,” which is, of course, a result of not living AA (cough cough). I don’t want any of this, and I don’t want to feel guilty — or worse, like a wallflower, or like someone who is simply refusing to engage because she’s being a prick — about not wanting it. I just want to not drink.

I just want to not drink. Isn’t it OK to Just Not Drink?

Sigh.

This whole AA thing is fucking with my head. Maybe because I’ve done some of this work, maybe because I do analyze my drinking and the reasons behind it — a LOT. I mean, every single one of the old men rambling on about their drinking tonight talked about how selfish they were and how they never knew it, or how they never even considered that they had character defects.

Huh? The reason I drank — drink — is because of my “defects.”

I bought a bottle of wine on the way home — the first purchase of booze on the island this time around, 34 days later. As I was getting ready to walk the dog (which includes rubbing an inordinate amount of tiger balm all over my left leg, buttock, and hip = frustration nation, but I have faith that this sciatica flare-up has got to subside soon), I realized that today is day 34, which means tomorrow is 5 weeks.

I caved after 5 weeks the last time.

NOT AGAIN.

Still. Sometimes I can’t help but think, Come ON, DDG, isn’t this all a bit much? I mean, the abstinence, the black and white, the “never drinking again EVER?” It’s just a bottle of wine! It’s just grapes! And, then I have to remind myself that I don’t have to demonize the substance; I need to analyze my relationship to it and how I USE it. (I also have to remind myself that if I drink it, it’s my choice. Just like going to meetings. It’s all my choice, and none of this, including the rambling old white men, are meant to make things worse.)

I GOT THIS. 34 days sober and 13 out of 90 meetings in 90 days. NO STOPPING ME. (As I think about that cheap bottle of red in my bag…)

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12 Responses to “Does anyone ever say anything bad about AA? Or, how I despise the peacocks in the room”

  1. sswl November 15, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    DDG, you’re certainly not alone in your aggravation with AA. It works just fine for some, not for plenty of others. Why not look into some other possibilities? There’s Smart Recovery, Women for Sobriety, or–my personal favorite–LifeRing secular recovery. LifeRing has a Delphi forum, several email lists, chat rooms, a social forum, and participants in many parts of the world, so there’s somebody to talk to almost any time of day or night. You really do not have to commit yourself to 12-step recovery to get sober! LifeRing has no sponsors, no steps, just peer support and a belief that we have the power to change our lives. Unfortunately, there’re no LR meetings in VI.

    The key thing is to decide whether you are able to moderate your drinking or, like so many of us, trying over and over without success. Read back over some of your posts in the last month or two, maybe they’ll help you figure it out. There is a group called Moderation Management if you decide that’s the direction you want to go. (I don’t know much about them, only that they exist.)

    And there’s this: rejecting AA’s approach does not necessarily mean you’re looking for an excuse to drink again, but it’s a possibility to consider. While you’re figuring it out, you might want to get rid of that cheap red and not blow your hard-won 34 days!

    Hugs to you,

    Susan

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 15, 2012 at 2:15 am #

      Oh, thank you, Susan. Such great words. I have someone I can call, but…I need to let myself whine a bit first.

      Yes, I will look into all. There is this thing in me that says, If you can’t do AA, then you’re not really getting sober. Maybe it’s my preconditioning. I haven’t looked at any other programs, AA is so ubiquitous.

      Yes, I think there is an element of rationalizing going on here.

      Thank you again, I appreciate your support so much… Love your insight! xx

  2. runningonsober November 15, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    I think the staunchy stuffy old dudes are turning you off… You sounded like you were really digging the program a little while ago; try a new meeting. Each meeting and home group has a different feel, a different vibe. You sound like you’re in a strict, sit down and shut up, listen and observe and don’t talk back type of group– there are others, keep looking. You shouldn’t feel hesitant to share your views or thoughts at all. It’s okay to disagree and verbalize it. Hell, that’s how you solidify your beliefs. I think all new folks start our with some hesitation…

    And girl, let me just say… THROW OUT THAT WINE! The pain, the craving, the shitty feelings are temporary. You’ve got to break that cycle. Just sit those feelings out and wait and see how you feel tomorrow and the next day. Drinking is always an option, sure, but don’t let it be a reflex reaction to your frustration and bad day. Take control back. You got this.

    *Hugs!*

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

      “The pain, the craving, the shitty feelings are temporary. You’ve got to break that cycle. Just sit those feelings out and wait and see how you feel tomorrow and the next day.” I thought about this comment all last night, and it really hit home. You’re right: sit with them, feel them, let them pass. Wine is not going to make it better, but it will most likely not do anything OR make it worse. Plus, I don’t want to not get to 90, to see what all the fuss is about. I don’t want to give in, to let “others” (whoever they might be, maybe my multiple personalities living inside my brain) get the better of me! So, thank you so much, RoS, for your thoughtful and caring comment. I needed it! Major hugs back. x

  3. facingfactsaboutmyself November 15, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    Ditch the wine. DO IT NOW! And then call yourself a goose for playing games with yourself, games you’ll only lose because you play against you (to steal a line from Dr Suess).

    I hear about the monotonous drone of the elders! They just say what they said yesterday, although in my group they don’t get close the getting off, barely animating themselves out of a coma. And in the end they tell us how happy they are to have the program (yawn) and just to be here (yawn) and how great life is (yawn, double yawn). But at least I’ve more than a few others that mix it up. Having said that, I’ve missed three weeks, what with the accident and everything, so who knows what my meeting looks like now.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 15, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

      Thanks, Paul! What a great comment, and it really helped me to see it for what it is: games! Mental games with myself. I have not yet ditched the bottle; I think I’m going to video it and then post it to my blog. LOL Better to just get rid of it and move forward. Otherwise, it’s going to be sitting there, like the other bottles that I eventually taunted myself long enough into drinking. I want to win, more than anything; I also know that I won’t ever get past this unless I don’t give in this time. THANK YOU. And, hope you’re feeling OK and healing well… Hugs. x

  4. onetoomany1 November 15, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    Thanks for your welcome in the other comment 🙂

    Once again, I relate to a lot of this. I haven’t gone to AA yet – although I haven’t entirely ruled it out either – because I have some fairly big issues with its most fundamental principles. It clearly helps many; it is also clearly not the only way. But that’s a huge topic for another day…

    For now, to that bottle of wine in your bag, for whatever it’s worth from a stranger across the internet and across the world, I hope you don’t drink it. You must have very good reasons to be here – to have gotten this far, again. Is what you’ll get out of that cheap bottle more than whatever you have gained through sobriety? Is it? (If it really, truly is then, hey, go nuts! But I feel safe guessing it’s likely not and there’s likely a lot of big down sides to drinking for you too.)

    What are your reasons for being here? What is it you hate about drinking? What is it you think you will really, truly get out of that bottle? Maybe answering those questions before you drink it might help stave off the urge?

    Because, when you say here..

    Come ON, DDG, isn’t this all a bit much? I mean, the abstinence, the black and white, the “never drinking again EVER?” It’s just a bottle of wine! It’s just grapes!
    I know it’s exactly that kind of thinking that always trips me up and leads me back down into the bottle, and then I end up feeling miserable again and remembering exactly why I’m worrying about ‘all this’.

    Btw, I haven’t explored it fully yet myself but from what I have the Women for Sobriety website seems to have some great articles and active forums.

    Stay strong.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful, carefully worded comment! I thought about it a LOT this morning, after the urge passed — but not completely passed; I still have the bottle:

      “Is what you’ll get out of that cheap bottle more than whatever you have gained through sobriety? Is it?”

      You know what? It really isn’t. When I think back to everything I’ve accomplished in the past 5 or so months — and how I felt when I fell off the wagon after 60 days, then again for a month after 5 weeks just before starting again in October (this run) — it’s so not worth it. I’m thinking long-term, too, and really considering your comment about how that kind of thinking lets us drink a bottle, sure, but also puts us right back on that path, which we all know where it leads: two bottles, then two more, then drinking every night, feeling shiteous and depressed and out of control and worse, slacking and losing out on our hard-won goals and accomplishments that we only got done because we were sober and clearly thinking/living, moment to moment.

      So, thank you. From across the world, or wherever you are, hugs your way. x

  5. Lisa Neumann November 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    DDG …Great post and (not) to top it … the responses were spot on. There are many paths to recovery. If you can’t have just one, if you can’t stop thinking about it when you’re not with it, you’re one of us. “Ditch it” … love that line. Here is my take: I encourage people to get on with their life (fully) the drinking will fall away once you get engaged in LIVING. The fact that we desire to drink (at all) is a sign that we wish to be somewhere else other than where we are. You have a rockin’ life. Start living it. Stop just surviving with your wine. Anything that plugs us in is an opportunity to grow. The question isn’t does AA bug anyone else (btw is bugs a lot of people) the question is … What’s really plugging me in. You have so much to offer the world. Find what works. Susan presented a beautiful comment.

    ps. I like my online community better than my 12-step community because I too was tired of the same old abc-xyz. But for a new comer they are the words that save a life. They saved mine. I am grateful they are willing to sit there for the new comer. I know I couldn’t do it for 20+ years. Hell I couldn’t even do it for nine. Lots of love.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      GREAT insight, Lisa. I find that when I am fully engaged and feel full of purpose, I guess I don’t really think about drinking. As much. I like the buzz, though, I cannot lie. When I boil it down, I like the buzz. And, I *really* miss the buzz. I need to “re-train” my brain to not want outside, chemical “reward.”

      Getting that bottle last night reminded me of my “power” to choose, which I felt AA was depriving me of. It’s my skewed perspective, though, and probably just a “stomping of feet” reaction to the inevitable: I cannot drink because I choose not to/do not want to. At least right now.

      Anyway, yes, I’m going to ditch the wine right now…with sadness, and a sigh of relief. (At least I only spent $10 on it; still, I could have spent that on something else! Maybe I should give it away?)

      Hugs! x

  6. Al K Hall November 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    So glad you didn’t go through with it! Congratulations on your courage and strength.

    Speaking as someone who loves AA, i get there are people who it doesn’t work for. Just because it works for me doesn’t mean it would work for everyone. i’m not sure i could get into the format of your meeting. Where i am we have 1 person share for 15-20 minutes (and it doesn’t have to be someone with a lot of sobriety) and then people share by raising hands for 3-4 minutes. It’s nice because “themes” develop spontaneously, usually related to things i’m working through, and everyone is free to express their joys, frustrations or fears.

    Anyway, i’m with sswl, up there. No program is worth losing your sobriety over and if you feel AA doesn’t fit your needs, another program probably would.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      THANKS! Yes, that’s sort of how it goes at meetings down here, but…the community is small, feels like everyone knows each other, and frankly, I get tired of hearing the same soundbites! There are a lot of people with over 20 years sobriety, and while initially I appreciated their insight, it’s not really meaning much to me right now. I wish there were more newbies like me, simply trying to decide if their problem merits the severity of examination that AA seems to demand… On the other hand, I have learned a lot and IDENTIFIED a lot, which has helped me not take this problem so seriously — or rather, not internalize it to the point that it’s making me feel less than human. It’s a common — and solvable — problem! I like the “meeting after the meeting,” actually; I’ve met some great new acquaintances, which for someone who is new down here, helps a LOT. I will, though, start looking at different programs — don’t know why I fee like I HAVE to do AA… xx

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