If AA was a class, would I be failing it?

28 Nov

2:20 am

Gosh, it’s late. I have so much to blog about, but right now, all I can think about is how I’m failing AA.

I went to about 20 meetings in 20 days, and then took a week off. It felt GREAT. To take a week off, that is. I felt like I was skipping class! I see how AA has helped me, as well as the good it can do — is doing — for my fellow alcoholics (these people are my friends now, so I’m not dissing them here), BUT, every time I hit a meeting, I feel like a failure.

It’s like, I’m pretty sure I’m getting something like a “C-” in AA. Worse, I think I’m heading for an “F” if I don’t get my act together.

No one is explicitly saying that I should do this, or do that. In a way, though, they are. And, every time I go to a meeting and don’t embrace the program like “they” do, I feel like an outsider. I sort of dread meetings; not because I don’t enjoy sharing, and not because the sharing hasn’t helped me to vent what otherwise has, actually, made me feel ashamed and eaten away at me, but…AA seems so much less about not drinking than it is about everything else. I don’t want the everything else. And so, I feel like a fraud, like I’m “using AA,” like I’m letting my AA buddies in the rooms down when I keep coming back but refuse to share and/or get a sponsor and/or rah rah about the 12 steps, let alone actually start on them.

I’ve tried to want what they have, but all I want is to not drink. And, I feel like, damn it, I’ve done pretty good at that for the past nearly 7 weeks! Yet, after every meeting, I just don’t feel like I want to become more a part of that clique — it’s a clique, and I simply don’t feel the need, desire, or willingness to dive in and “drink the Kool-Aid.”

No, I don’t want a sponsor. I don’t want to talk about my drinking, I’ve done that ENOUGH. Really. And, I have nothing to really complain about except the program, which in essence, is not necessary to remain sober — meetings do NOT keep me sober; I keep me sober. There is no other way I can understand the concept of a “higher power” except that it’s simply ME doing what I should have done a long time ago.

No, I don’t want to share during meetings. I just don’t. No offense.

No, I don’t want to “work” the 12 steps. In fact, I feel like I HAVE worked quite a few of them. And, there are a few (like all of them that include “God” having a hand in my not drinking) that I simply Just Don’t Get.

I don’t believe in this “god shot” stuff; I really don’t. I believe in something along the lines of embracing the random goodness of the Universe, but attaching significance to events and/or personifying nature just doesn’t seem helpful, in the long run, to a mature understanding of reality. Whatever.

I don’t want to rant about AA anymore, and that’s why I’m thinking of just stopping going to meetings. I really want to keep going, but I feel like if I keep going and keep refusing, in a way, to participate, resentments are going to start building up. There was a woman who admitted during a share how she resented people who just used AA, and didn’t do anything to give back to the organization, like sharing, or chairing, or whatever. Whatever.

(I’m using my newfound “power” to simply not care. Let it go. Yeah, the meeting bugged me — and bogged me down — tonight, but you know what, I don’t have to hold onto my ideas of any of this OR my ambivalence OR the program, even. It’s my choice, and I’ve thrown my “should-ing” and “shouldn’t-ing” out the window with my drinking shoes!)

Off to bed, and can’t wait to swim tomorrow, work on my writing, and just enjoy the passing moments — getting office furniture tomorrow and hoping to start on my juice fast (yeah, we’ll see about that). It’s a full moon tomorrow night, and it should be astounding! I’ll definitely post a picture of the view from our deck of the moon rising over the water, reflecting the sun almost as strongly as the sunlight itself! We are all made up of *star*light, people. Imagine! (Why, hello, Unicorn with Sparkly Teeth! It’s been a while, shy girl…)

Stay strong, soberites!

(For some reason, I have NO problem talking to you all, on a nightly basis. Maybe all this is just an excuse for not wanting to commit, truly, to being sober; to clinging to being a dry drunk. AA makes it seem like if you don’t do the steps, you’re not really sober. I hate that. AA also says that you’re never recovered; I believe in not only solving my problem, but rehabilitating my relationship to booze. I have to.)

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22 Responses to “If AA was a class, would I be failing it?”

  1. mysterygirlloveshernewlife November 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Wow…does this ever hit home with me! I am pretty brand new in the process and truly feel that we each have our own journey. I received a well meaning comment on my blog yesterday that basically said I was doing it wrong – that I needed to go to meetings. At least that’s how I perceived it. I appreciated her honesty, but we are all different and we need to do what works for ourselves. I think you’re doing great, and yes, we keep ourselves sober. Have a great day!!!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 29, 2012 at 2:25 am #

      Thanks!! Yes, I’m finding that whatever works for me right now is working for me. I don’t have to hold onto my negativity toward AA, though, either; tomorrow’s another day…to not drink and maybe crack the Big Book again. 😉 (The thing is, I have to remind myself that I can take what I want and leave the rest, AND, AA is not out to get me, it’s there FOR me, to help me get well.)

  2. Heather Kopp at SoberBoots.com November 28, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Hey girl. Forgive me, but you sound so much like me when I came into recovery. I said every single thing you have here! I didn’t get a sponsor for 6 months. I resisted invitations to coffee. I didn’t want to share–and every time I did I got a bad case of PSS (Post Share Shame). You already know that I don’t feel that way now, so I’m not here to say that you’ll change your mind. You might not. But I think it’s so cool that you’re trying this and giving it your best shot. I think every person’s journey looks different. My son recently left recovery for some of the reasons you cited–feeling like he couldn’t measure up. Which is so ironic, since the program is supposed to be suggestions and the whole point originally was to take out all the shoulds of religion and make every feel on equal ground. For me, I was projecting a lot of stuff onto others and my ego had reared up and decided that it excel and want to be a recovery “star” and then it got angry when others weren’t impressed. (Sick puppy, I know). Anyway, enough about me. I am so glad I stuck around. But I’ve also had to work hard at not turning recovery into just another program of shoulds. I think the great thing about it is that it shows us crap about ourselves in how we respond to it and others. I think you’re an amazing, brave, super-smart, creative and authentic person who will stay in recovery for the long haul and find a way to make it work whichever way you go about it. Honestly, I see that in you. So I just wanted to let you know I hear you, love your blog, love your voice, love your raw honesty. Keep on.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 29, 2012 at 2:35 am #

      Wow, Heather, thank you SO much for all the insight, kind words, and support. I, too, think that I’ll make recovery a long-term process, and I think one can get there — get through the steps, even — with or without AA. I see the steps as a self-improvement course, of sorts, for EVERYONE!

      I do get really frustrated, though; I don’t feel like I want to be that close to people in AA…yet. I don’t want to talk about my drinking anymore, I’ve done that enough! I’ve never really been that closet drunk; sure, there are a select few whom I divulged to, but man, did I ever! Blah blah blah…

      Again, thanks for the support! I feel a lot less…weirded out…knowing that there ARE people who simply wonder about this AA “nonsense” as much as I do! 😉

  3. mishedup November 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    I just found you, and I am glad.
    I appreciate your honesty and your journey.
    I am in AA, but I completely understand your thoughts here. I remember sitting in the back of the room, arms crossed, pissed off and not believing what I heard.
    But, like you said, there is an attraction there…you just have to find the right meetings. You may be in the wrong ones for you. It took me a few months before i was willing to get a sponsor. I still have an incredibly hard time with the whole higher Power thing, because i am an atheist and science worshipper….but when i stop struggling against it, don’t judge it, I’m fine.
    Once I was able to understand the first step, I was ok.
    And the first step, for me, has nothing to do with giving up any kind of power, quite the opposite, actually.
    I have found, am finding my power in AA, in service to others in and out of AA.
    For me, and for many, the first step is only the acknowledgement that I am powerless over that FIRST drink. Period. If I don’t pick up that first drink than I am a powerful, amazing, human, with all that entails, both good and bad.
    Once I could see that I was able to go through the rest of the steps and accept that they could help me not pick up drink #1, which would lead to ALL the drinks, because that is how it happened for me.
    All that said…you’re not drinking. And it’s working for you, what you’re doing. Screw anyone who tells you that AA can’t be “used” without giving back..it can, and it is every day. Their opinions are of no concern to you. You are sober, and that’s all that should matter. Anything else that happens will happen as you change. Just relax and keep doing what you’re doing.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 29, 2012 at 2:48 am #

      Thanks SO much for your great, and insightful, comment! I just assumed I would need to get a sponsor to help me understand the semantics of the first step. Like, what does “powerless” mean? I get it, I am powerless over the first drink…for now. I resist, though, because I feel like I’m committing to a lifetime of being powerless over the first drink, which I don’t want to be and which I don’t necessarily believe I WILL be…

      For now, meetings do help, and I feel like I’ve committed to the point where I don’t want to just stop going. Even though I’ve not shared much and haven’t grabbed a sponsor and/or started the steps, having gone to 20 meetings has really been a good thing.

      I think people need to realize that quitting drinking and getting used to that, AND starting group therapy is a bit much, for crying out loud. Go, us! We deserve a big high five! It’s not easy…

      Thanks for your support!

  4. Lisa Neumann November 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    My beautiful DDG (notice how I am taking possession of you) You are the reason I wrote the book. Don’t let anyone you don’t trust convince you of anything. Here’s my take for me: “It’s my head and you can’t be in there unless I let you.” You have a higher self to your person that will guide you through life. Find your “internal guide” and master your communication with it. There is a whole section in my book on this called ” The Partnership” If you have Skype come find me. Much like Heather said, “I see me in you.” Everyone in 12-step said I would fail. I have not and I’m now in my 9th year of sobriety. Many do not go back and many stay in 12-step. The ones that don’t go back never have the opportunity to say they found their way without 12-step. The catch: Don’t bs yourself about “drinking” like a normal drinker. We are different. I adore you. And I hope I haven’t said anything to offend you. Lisa

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 29, 2012 at 2:53 am #

      Don’t let anyone you don’t trust convince you of anything.

      Oh, I won’t! Haha. I am the queen of skepticism!

      And, I do realize that all of this is probably partly just a way to justify drinking “normally” again, but I stand by assertion that there ARE people — more than a few — who have gone back to drinking in moderation…

      Anyway, really appreciate all your caring and thoughtful — and supportive — comments! xx

      • Lisa Neumann November 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

        You must be tired of hearing from me. (Let me know, please) … There are people who have managed to drink normally. And when/if the time presents itself you will learn if you are one of them. There is never failure. I have “chosen” to abstain and I work with people who have “chosen” but still struggle with actually following through. I love your inquiry, intellect and curiosity. Please know that I never mean to talk down to you. I am still learning the best way to support those who still question their true nature. I love the dialogue between those searching for their truth. And that includes me.

      • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

        Thank you SO much, Lisa! Your comments keep me blogging…and from going crazy! There is a certain part of me that says, The disease aspect to binge drinking (is that different from alcoholism?) can be circumstantial. For instance, I drank for such and such reasons when I was in SF, but my circumstances were out of control depressing/stressful to me. Now, with a much more balanced (and love-filled) life — where I’m doing more what I want and less what I don’t — I DEFINITELY don’t feel like drinking as much as I used to.

        Still, that dysfunction persists — I see it in the way I drink Diet Coke, in the way I drink (decaf) coffee, etc. etc. etc. Sigh.

        Not at all, please keep your comments coming!? Much love and respect…xx

  5. facingfactsaboutmyself November 29, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    You might know I’ve been to AA a bit. I haven’t since before the accident, almost four weeks ago but I haven’t struggled with being sober either in that time. I am starting to miss it and wonder what others a doing.

    I’m not into following a prescriptive rule set. I’m just not bloody well drinking. I still don’t need god today. Reflections are usefl and perhaps important for enjoying and understanding this sober life, and when I share I have the opportunity to reflect which I value, but I haven’t bought into the whole program, step thing. I had a woman at AA tell me I would fail without the program. I don’t think that sort of thing is particularly helpful and somewhat sadly ironically she relapsed shortly thereafter. I was sad to the disappointment in her.

    AA isn’t school, life isn’t a test. You won’t fail. You be you and use whatever tools work. I’m really glad to see how you are progressing, and hope you continue to do so, take care Paul.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks, Paul! What a nice comment — helps to hear that others are not necessarily buying everything AA is selling. 😉 I am looking at it now more big picture-like: yup, group therapy is good, and no, AA isn’t necessarily all about God. It’s more about coming to terms, for me anyway, with the “good angel” and “bad angel” and realizing that quitting drinking for good is likely somewhere above all the voices.

      “AA isn’t school, life isn’t a test.”

      SO true. Honestly, my struggles with substance abuse go back to school — overachieving, fitting into the box I thought I had to. I have to catch myself when it comes to this and dial it back to what’s really going on — is it me, or is it really this outside thing (AA)?

      Awesome to hear about your progress, too — hope recovery from the fall is going well…

  6. Belle (Tired2012) November 29, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    you’ll find what works for you, and you’ll be careful and skeptical. if you’ve got something that’s working, don’t frig with it toooo much. perhaps just being accountable to showing up to the meetings is ENOUGH for now. maybe that structure is IN ITSELF the piece you need now, not the other god-stuff-sponsor-stuff. you know me, you know what i’m gonna say now: if your sober car is rolling, don’t frig with it! you don’t have to love every single aspect of everything. but you ARE sober, and that IS a big deal, and it’s not to be taken lightly 🙂 you can show up and now share. so what? maybe it’s helping 5% but it’s helping. and the part that’s helping might just be the routine/structure part. or it might be the community part. doesn’t matter… hugs from me!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      Thanks, Belle! Such sound advice. I was reading the Big Book today and realized that AA IS sort of like school — and maybe, the people who “do well” in AA are those that need that class-like structure to it.

      I can see myself tolerating going like, every other day; when I don’t go, though, I do sense myself loosening the reins a bit, and then…my thoughts do stray more toward “Well, maybe I CAN have just one or two glasses” and away from “NO. NO, NO, NO, NO.” However, I am at the point where I do NOT want to be hung over, period. And, I am doing almost everything that vexed me (for lack of a better word) to do before without be able to drink through it, so…

      More on this in later posts.

      You’re such an inspiration, and great blogo-friend. Hugs!

  7. Just Some Woman November 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    They say AA is “a selfish program” so you’re entitled to do what you want.
    You’ve heard “take what you need and leave the rest.” The point is to be able to communicate with other alcoholics. Do it whatever way works for YOU and screw the rest until you feel comfortable doing something different..

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Thank you! I really needed this comment!

      I am not getting a sponsor now, I don’t feel like it’s time. I also realized that first, first first first, one has to stop drinking, and get used to that, and get practiced at it — for ME, anyway — long before one has to get SOBER. There’s a lot that comes with sobriety, and for me, it’s too much to deal with AND not drink. And, I feel OK with that, and not having to explain it to anyone in AA.

      That being said, I’m not totally anti-AA! If you can get through the generalizations in the Big Book, there seems to be a lot of truth in it. Like, I’m reading the whole higher power thing differently; it’s seems to be more about getting ABOVE your mind, which includes “good angel” AND “bad angel” (rationalizations, which I have to rely on, but which I’m not 100% sure will carry me through).

      There is the group therapy aspect, too, which is nothing but good, imho. So…

      Thanks for your encouragement…xx

  8. themiracleisaroundthecorner November 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I don’t know how I missed this post, but I think it’s because I am meant to read it this morning. I was just sitting down to write about how most of the time, when agitated, you need to reset by asking the question… why am I doing X, Y or Z, and most times the answer is “for myself.” Therefore, most of the time the things perturbing you need to be discounted, because it is not about them, it is about you. Hopefully I will actually get the post written, so you can read it!

    Back to my reply. When I say I had the exact same thoughts that you are having, I mean it… right down to the “man, if this were a class I’d be failing it…” I honest to God (or the Universe or whatever) thought that! I found everyone a clique, everyone to be judgmental, and everyone was telling me what to do without using the words “you have to do this.”

    Now, the sad part of my story is that I eventually found my way back to addictive substances, but that is my story, not yours, and I truly believe that relapse is not a requirement. But, for me, when my bottom got low enough, I wound up needing AA in a way I didn’t before. And this time, when I came in, I was so low that whether or not people were judging me, or whether they were clique-y, or whether they were attempting to cram God down my throat… it did not matter, because I was in it for me. I was so downtrodden that my priorities shifted, and it became all about the real purpose for being in a meeting… how in the hell do I stay sober today?

    My perspective on meetings has evolved quite a bit, but again, this is about you, not me. I just want you to know that I have truly been where you are, and I’m sorry you are feeling conflicted. Maybe just give it another shot with the attitude “I am not here for any of these people, I am here for me” and see if that changes the perspective. Sorry for the long reply, and I absolutely love your blog. Where’s that full moon pic?

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

      GREAT comment! Thank you…I needed this.

      Glad to hear that you came back, and hope that the struggle was worth it — sounds like it was. It helped me to drink a few times to excess to realize that no, NO NO NO, this unfortunately does not work. What does, is the million-dollar question? Sigh.

      Anyway, I think I have issues with pleasing people. That’s what’s challenging for me when it comes to AA. Not caring what others think, not “doing well” in class — big triggers for me, since I have to really reverse my usual way of thinking (things that got me drinkin’ in the first place, back in my early 20s = FML!) On the bright side, it’s another form of therapy, and I find it to be quite helpful to literally force myself to say “No, I’m not doing this” or “No, I disagree” or “No, I’m not ready” when all my buttons are being pressed!

      OH! Forgot about the full moon pic! I got a few amazing ones! The sheer brightness of the moon is crazy down here, I think due to being so close to the equator.

      Thanks again, really appreciate your helping me see this differently…

  9. belowhermeans November 30, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    I’ve never been to AA and I’m almost 200 days sober. I don’t buy into the God stuff or the 12 steps OR the powerless bullshit. You should check out a SMART Recovery meeting or read Kick the Drink Easily by Jason Vale– both sound more like your speed.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      Hi!
      Congrats on your 200 days. A HUGE deal…

      I’m not anti-AA anymore, mainly cuz I see it as simply group therapy, and the 12 steps as more or less a life improvement course! Really, everyone, I think, could use the 12 steps!

      I’ve revised my concept of AA’s concept of God. I think what they were getting at, back in their day, was more a getting ABOVE the mind, which is limited to irrational and rational thought. Both, in fact, aren’t reliable. Even my best rational thinking (drinking is going to make me feel horrible, drinking is going to lead to me doing shiteous things, maybe even killing myself) has not always overcome my irrational thinking/urges. I don’t trust my mind anymore, basically. Or my thoughts. Especially my feelings.

      Crap! I’m a scientist, have devoted my life to thinking… Now what?

      Anyway, I am not getting a sponsor or doing the steps, but…the meetings have helped me to not feel so bad about myself. Getting it out in the open — we all feel so bad about our drinking — is refreshing, and enlivening. It’s a weight lifted. Even if I don’t share…

      I will check out Jason Vale, thanks! Congrats again, stay strong!

  10. Saria November 21, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    I don’t think I’m ready for aa. Maybe I haven’t hit rock bottom. I know I’m an addict cause when I drink I get drunk, so why can’t I bring myself to participate. You seem to be handling dry sober. I’m obviously not that strong because I can’t get past thirty days, but when I relapse I don’t end up drinking everyday and the getting into narcotics; I get drunk, regret it, and keep going. I’m expecting I’ll get tired of this cycle and then I’ll start participating. Is it wrong to think this? Should I just force myself to participate?

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 23, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

      I don’t think you should force yourself to participate in any recovery support network, on- or off-line, if you are not ready. I don’t know what your definition of “addict” is–I mean, 30 days was awesome for me, and I hadn’t been 30 days sober in like, a decade. (I, like many, would drink, do stupid shit, wake up and feel horrible for 24 hours; then, do it all over again, and again, and again–was I an “addict?” I don’t know, and I still don’t know.) It seems like you want more than 30 days, and maybe you don’t know why, or how? That’s the leap–you have to take it to see what sober feels like. Have you gone to Belle’s 100-day challenge? I think 100 days is a really good “test” to what it feels like to be sober-ish… HUGS!

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