AA: it’s not just about me! Say what?

29 Nov

9:06 pm

Yup. You heard me. Who IS this person, and where did you stash Drunky Drunk Girl? (Btw, I just cleaned my trunk, so no blood stains, please…)

I know, I know; I can be VERY self-oriented. I’m introverted, I’m a writer by passion and by trade, and I’m very analytical. I tend to be in my head a LOT, thinking my thoughts and thinking how awesome they are. Ahem. They are, aren’t they? πŸ˜‰

Today, I went “back” to AA after about a week wondering and ruminating about what purpose it was serving in my sobriety (of 7 weeks today!). Why? Well, after all your comments — which I SO appreciated — I realized that one, I have some great, grounding friends online and that impressed me a heck of a lot more than a few douchebags in AA making it seem like they’re the only game in town; and two, well, as I told L. tonight, as she and myself and two other women were walking up the steps of the church downtown after the meeting, “I missed you guys.”

Yes, I missed my AA peeps! I missed hearing about their lives, what they were up to, whether they were still sober for crying out loud! I missed checking in with them; so far, they’re all wholeheartedly sincere in their desire to help little old me who, up until a few weeks ago, was a complete stranger to them.

Most importantly, one of my favorite women, C. (L.’s sponsee), fell off the wagon yesterday and ended up going to the hospital last night (I think she was seeking anti-anxiety meds and they hesitated and gave her something for her blood pressure. Which is bizarre, imho.). Anyway, she and I met about a month ago at the Tuesday night women’s meeting. We’re originally from the same part of the country, and we bonded over the fact that we were both new to the island, both at our first meeting (relatively speaking), AND, both had about the same length of sobriety when we met.

This afternoon at the beach (rough life, I know), I heard that *someone* had fallen off the wagon via a text from E., another lady friend who has about 17 years and is VERY cool in how practical she is toward AA and sobriety. She gets it, as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, it ended up being C., and it sounded bad. This woman does “John, Jack, and Jose,” and based on a short conversation with her, I could tell that many drinks were drank. Many, MANY drinks.

When she came into the meeting late tonight — we were all expecting her, but I didn’t text her out of respect, I suppose — my heart lurched! She looked awful; haggard, tweaked, and frail. Tired. Hungry. Lost. I actually felt a lump rise in my throat and had to look down, to hide the tears that briefly welled in my eyes. This IS a disease, I thought. It really struck me then: C. is not trying, at least consciously, to do this to herself.

I know that I have been quite childish when it comes to ranting and raving about AA. (Of course, I have; I needed to be.) I realized a while ago that meetings help everyone, and only everyone, if EVERYONE shows up! It was, however, a theoretical concept until today, when I heard about C., and then tonight, when I saw her. I can’t promise to come to meetings for her, but I can promise to come as often as I can. I can text her, call her, respond even if she sounds “OK.” I can make myself more available. I realize that part of my problem is isolating myself; it’s partly my nature as an introvert, partly habitual due to years of doing just that out of feeling insecure and worthless, to a certain degree.

At the beach today, as I was thinking about C. and about my own role in “not getting AA,” I actually picked up the Big Book and started reading it. NO, my friends, I have never even read the damn thing! And you know what? Some of what I read is not unreasonable! Especially holding onto anger/resentments, and drinking over them. I’ve done that. I lived in that, for a long time, even though I thought I wasn’t. I still live in that, even though I’m not drinking anymore.

I could even tolerate the God stuff, mainly because the God stuff seems to fully address the fact that most of us aren’t born with a concept of God, and are sort of freaked out by it. (Jesus freaks need not apply. JUST KIDDING.) However, the Big Book directly addresses the fact that we are humans, on a planet, in the middle of the cosmos, trying to perceive a reality that may or may not exist! There is a creative force, whatever that might be; even if there isn’t, who are we to fully grasp this? Anyway, it’s all sort of written like that in the Big Book. Huh, I thought. Maybe I can dig this? Some of this is precisely why I drank…

I think AA appears outdated; it’s why a lot of people, including myself, shun it. What a horrible thing we’ve been taught, really, which is to disregard the past, our elders, our ancestors. Their knowledge, their having gone before, their practiced living — why do we toss it away? It’s a problem in American society, especially among “white people.” I won’t go too far into that, but it’s a toxic byproduct of our culture, and it manifests in ways big and small, conscious or not.

But, I digress. I hope C. realizes that drinking just fucks EVERYTHING up, and that it is no longer working for her. Unfortunately, I can’t make her not drink. I can’t solve her anxiety problems. What I can do, though, is be there for her if she calls, and show up, even when she doesn’t.

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10 Responses to “AA: it’s not just about me! Say what?”

  1. Mrs D November 30, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    Go you! Great stuff here, really fascinating reading for someone like me who has never gone near AA. Sounds like a place full of wisdom though, and just having that human face-to-face connection must be great. Also loving your articulation of what’s going on. Our addicted minds are tricky fascinating things, and unpicking them is really interesting. I feel like I’ve been doing an MA on sobriety this past year or so! Take care, you’re doing great xxxx

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

      Hi, Mrs. D.,
      HAHA. Totally hear you on the MA on sobriety! Totally…

      You got it: the human, face-to-face thing is key. Like I wrote in another reply to a comment here, having a group where you can admit it, get it out in the open — it makes me feel less burdened, less guilty, to put it in perspective such that I can start letting it go. I got a life to live, I can’t be fricking dwelling on this forever, keeping it all bottled up inside. I think that is one immediate thing AA does… and it’s as simple as people deciding to stop the insanity, get together, and TALK! What is wrong with us, I sometimes wonder? Do other cultures, that invest/invested more energy into building real bonds with each other instead of chasing after anonymity and independence, have less mental problems? Maybe…

      Yes, addicted minds are exhausting! Baffling, but exhausting! πŸ˜‰

  2. Belle (Tired2012) November 30, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    hola-freaking-hooray for you πŸ™‚ i love these insights, and i particularly LOVE how you see C’s relapse… cuz that’s how people who love YOU could (and have) seen you. they die a little inside for you. even me, online, feel kicked in the head when you slip… and i check back here each day to see how you’re doing, to provide a bit of support, to remember for myself to remain sober, to cheerlead and to be cheer-leaded-to. this circle-of-sobriety-support thing is amazing. now you’re bring more to the puzzle by attending AA. you’re doing it for you and you’re it for C and you’re doing it for ‘us’ out here (i.e. me). one hundred hugs.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      OUCH. Yes, it made me, too, think of myself — and all the pain and worry I’ve caused people. I saw it very clearly…and how selfish, literally, drinking to excess actually is. How insane.

      It also felt great to be the strong one, to know that somehow, my staying sober could/would serve as an example. I admit, it made me want to drink (if she can relapse, why can’t I?) a little, but then again, it made me want to NOT relapse even more. I just can’t go back to day 1, again, and I really don’t want to. That’s a big change for me…I don’t really want the drunk aspect to drinking, almost as much as I don’t want the fricking hangover, the nonsense that will ensue, the going back to day 1, the throwing out of my current state of momentum and focus on my actual life…

      One hundred hugs back! Thank you…

  3. sswl December 1, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    Great post, DDG. Horrible seeing what can happen to people when they relapse. At least she made it back. Sometimes I feel like recovery groups are peopled with ghosts, all the ‘disappeared.’

    Big congrats on 7 weeks. You sound so different from your San Francisco posts.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      I FEEL way different from my SF posts. I’m so glad to be away from there — the nostalgia, the “ghosts” of my past that simply needed to die, the weather, everything. I felt stuck there, and will likely never be able to fully articulate why without insulting people who live in the Bay! πŸ˜‰

      Hmm…ghosts of the disappeared? Not sure what you mean by that… Disappeared from the drinking scene? Yes, and what a great thing to disappear from. If my bar fly friends never know where I went, I will be one happy gal.

  4. Lilly December 1, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    I find your thoughts on AA really fascinating to read DDG. I have not gone to a meeting – though I haven’t 100% ruled it out – and I am not keen to. While I don’t wish to bash AA, because clearly it helps many people, there is so much about it that does not sit right with me. To put it in a nut shell, I always think that if you had cancer and there was this organisation that told you that in order to get well you had to admit you were powerless over your disease and find a higher power etc then it would be seen as outrageous cult quackery, no? Also, the endless drunkalogues (I have listened to a lot of AA podcasts and read a lot about AA) do not, to me, seem empowering. I also do not wish to be told that if I don’t follow the steps and go to meetings I’ll relapse and die because clearly many, many people in AA relapse and often.

    So, all that said, what I can see could be incredibly worthwhile about it is the support and solidarity in real life from people who truly ‘get it’, so I suspect it’s largely about finding the right group of people that works for you. I’m impressed by this post and your shift in thinking about it. I think that’s lovely and a great way to be viewing it. Go you!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

      I relate to ALL of your reservations about AA — that’s what I thought/think, too. BUT, having made a few friends in the month’s worth of meetings I’ve attended, and having read a bit of the Big Book, and having STARED down those 12 freaking steps at every single meeting trying to decipher their meaning…

      I’ve given up on truly “getting it” beyond the immediate knowledge that:
      1. Meetings help me, anyway, because of the group therapy aspect: it helps to uncover it, get the guilt out into the light, in order to make it seem less huge, less daunting. It puts your habits and what’s happened — what you did — into perspective. Only then can you really start to heal and get over it/move on. Ruminating on the past is a trigger for me…
      2. The concept of a higher power and God is not necessarily deity-related. And, you can create your own concept. Like I said in other comments, my idea, as I’ve gotten sober, about how to not drink is changing. Getting ABOVE your thoughts is key, I guess, moreso than discovering that there is this God floating around out there, waiting to hold your hand! My thoughts include two categories: rational (do not drink, DDG, or shit will go down; do not drink, DDG, or you will be hung over; do not drink, DDG, or you will end up in jail, crash another car, say something horrible, drown in a pool trying to swim in your blackout) and irrational (oh, fuck it! give me that bottle…). Both, I’ve seen, are not all that reliable! Neither are my feelings, which are so fleeting…

      I love your blog, and your ambivalence! It took me many years to finally just say, one day, I’ve had enough.

      Anyway…

  5. Al K Hall December 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Great post! You made me guy cry a little. πŸ™‚

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