Oh, AA… Don’t make me hurt you!

2 Dec

11:04 pm

The past few days have been great. My “desire” to drink is subsiding, and I have to say, I’ve either pushed it WAY out of my mind, or I’m actually realizing that No, drinking does not change anything and is simply not that much fun. It does not work anymore. It really doesn’t.

In fact, these days, I feel safe. Early days, back in June, I did not feel safe — best word I can think of. I felt unsafe in my day-to-day world. Around every corner was an unknown: would I be able to resist the craving, and would I be able to sweat it out without, I don’t know, breaking my teeth or exploding into a thousand pieces? That’s how…existentially challenged I felt. I think they call it, *crawling out of your skin.*

Today, almost six months later (not six months sober, but counting all the days since June 13th, pretty close), I feel safer in the world, with the world, with passing time. Somehow, I’ve created this room of my own inside myself where I can now go and sit and wait and just chill, instead of drinking, when I feel existential anxiety (like, What to do? When will I die? What is all this?). I’ve been eating better (trying to, at least), swimming in the mornings (trying to, at least); my sciatica is mending, which is a HUGE relief. I’ve been getting my work done, hitting the beach with my boyfriend, and in general, settling in and feeling significantly more at home in my skin here.

YET…

AA has been a dark spot. It agitates me. The worst part is, it doesn’t have to. Why do I think that AA is the only way? Hmm. It’s also like a challenge that’s been presented…and now I HAVE to go for it, beat it, win and not lose. That’s ME; maybe it’s precisely the wrong program for someone whose reasons for drinking include an overly competitive nature?

Anyway, while it helped at first, it’s now become a sort of thorn in my side. I’ve felt judged — I was harassed the other night by someone I would call a “Big Book thumper” and had to hold my tongue (I ranted to my boyfriend for hours after I came home, though) — and like, I’m doing it wrong. The egos, the neuroses; the cliques, the male peacocking and female…who knows what! It’s overwhelming sometimes, mainly because I don’t want to deal with 50 other drinking problems! I HAVE MY OWN, thank you very much.

And — I stand my ground on this –I don’t have to. Neither does anyone! I have a friend who relapsed, who seems to be trying, and her sponsor told her that if she’s unwilling to commit 100 percent, she’s wasting her (the sponsor’s) time. Jesus. Fuck off, is what I’d say.

So, I’ve decided that yes, I like the meetings, but no, I don’t like everything about them or the program. And, I don’t have to. I don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water, in other words. I don’t have to share. I don’t have to like everyone in the room. I don’t have to get a sponsor, take this Big Book nonsense all that seriously, or do the steps. All I have to do is stick to my sobriety and my ideas of how to not drink, which to be perfectly frank, I don’t believe to be all that unenlightened.

Hmm…

It’s a shame, really. BUT, I don’t have to drink over it! I don’t have to let it push my buttons, which include a perfectionist bent. I can NOT CARE — and make up my own mind — and this is a good thing. I’m taking it as a form of additional therapy: practicing NOT caring when I tell myself I SHOULD; practicing letting go of the “have to be a good student or I’m worthless” mentality, which has gotten me a lot of degrees and high-paying jobs but which came at a huge psychological cost!

(On the bright side, I’ve discovered that a/my “higher power” does not have to be a deity, or deity-related. This higher power, I’ve concluded, could very well be a literal HIGHER thinking — like, ABOVE both rational and irrational thought. This, then, I can understand, and it means that I can also grasp the meditation step (#11) as a way to commune with it — *I* am it. I am of the divine, I am the one who I can access, I am the god-voice within. Of course, a very Buddhist mentality, but I’ve connected with this in the past a lot more than deity-based religions anyhow.)

I’ll keep plugging; I’m not giving up. I’d like to finish the Big Book — and keep going to meetings — so that I have some ammunition to throw at these people! I do feel like I NEED to distance myself a bit, though (maybe attend less meetings, maybe try some non-AA recovery programs); it’s not worth drinking over because I feel agitated at meetings. It’s not. And, I won’t. There is NO WAY I’m drinking before 90 days. One 90 days at a time. 😉

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21 Responses to “Oh, AA… Don’t make me hurt you!”

  1. belowhermeans December 3, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    For many of the reasons you described, I’ve never been to an AA meeting and don’t plan to. I fully believe people can (and do) get sober without it. I plan to be one of them.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 4, 2012 at 4:16 am #

      Me, too. I don’t understand how one can get sober WITHOUT doing it on one’s own, in essence. Sure, I can talk and whine and connect and whatever when I want to drink, but all I’m saying is that at the end of the day, it is ME who’s declined the urge to drink, yes? AA is good for what it’s good for, which is the face-to-face, I think…

  2. Mrs D December 3, 2012 at 4:25 am #

    Me too, never been .. however I have always said that I’ll go in a heartbeat if I think I’m about to decide to start drinking again (like, how dumb would that be?). Just treat it as a social experiment/observational exercise and try and let it wash over you a bit more if you can. Surely there must be a couple of lovely low-key people in there who might become sober buddies ..? xxx

    • Brad December 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      I’m not sure aa claims to be the only way. I hear people in meetings say its the only way, but the book does not say that. People in the aa fellowship have mixed opinions. The book is clear. I only need aa because I fit aa’s description of alcoholism detailed in the book. If I don’t fit that description of my problem, then I don’t need to follow the proposed solution for that specific problem. I fit aa’s description of slcoholism. So, I choose to follow the directions in the book. As far as thumping it goes, some people think they are being helpful by doing that.

      • Drunky Drunk Girl December 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

        Hi, Brad,
        Thanks for your insightful comment! You’re right: AA works for many who fit the description in the Big Book, and who follow their solution. I find the sheer number of cases–the proof, I guess you can call it–that their research is based on to be quite convincing, too! I guess I am just not ready for it, or feel a bit overwhelmed by the necessity, it seems to me, to be doing anything but staying sober right now — and enjoying it for what it is.

        -DDG

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 4, 2012 at 4:18 am #

      I guess so, but most of the people in AA seem a bit…sucked into it. It’s like trying to talk to people who have already made up their minds. Eh, I’m over it! I mean, I’ll go for the social aspect, continue to observe, and see where it goes from there…on my timeframe, no one else’s. Thanks for your comment!

  3. mishedup December 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    ya know….

    it occurs to me if I had been keeping a blog during my early days of sobriety it probably would have sounded much like yours…the anger, the indecision, the idea that I could do it alone, the whole “fuck off” AA mentality, the god issue (which I frankly still have not completely figured out), the cliques…all of it.
    But I am still going to AA meetings because the face=to=face help is essential to my recovery, and that includes giving back, helping others. And the only way I can help others is to know WTF I am talking about, so I have taken the steps, I do have a sponsor, I do have sober friends i hang with, I do go to regular meetings (and only the ones I like…i don’t waste my time on drunk-alogs and such…I am looking for recovery).
    AA works for me and that’s how I can help others. If you are working a different program, or no program, that’s the way you can help. But I have to admit i get a little twisted when I hear people say they won’t go to AA, that they don’t like it and they’ve never gone. What are those ideas based on, seriously?
    You don’t like a lot of it, ok, but you are trying to make it work for you (though I’m not a fan of learning about it for ammunition). You’ll either get it or you won’t…whatever.
    But it does work for millions of people. And you saw your friend come back..defeated once more by the disease….but she came back.
    There is no right or wrong way to do AA, any reasonable person will tell you that. It works how it works for you. But there is a WAY to do it…steps, sponsorship and, MOST importantly, sharing with other drunks. Going to meetings and listening and taking what i can has been great, but until I really started giving back I had no idea how great it could be to be sober. I was miserable, I’m not now.

    Alcoholism is a disease. I believe it can be treated. AA is my treatment plan. There are things I don’t like or agree with, but I do them anyway, and reap the rewards in a sober life, free of the obsession to drink that drove me for years. If I could have stopped on my own I would have..i tried many times. I am sure there are other paths to sobriety, AA is not, nor does it claim to be , the only way.

    I applaud your open-mindedness, your willingness to explore, and enjoy reading yur blog expressing that.

    • JB December 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

      Ditto.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      Hi,
      Thank you so much for your insightful, thoughtful comment. Hooray for AA helping so many, for one thing. And, I would never bash it without having gone, that’s just selling your options short. I LOVE the group therapy aspect, and I think everyone should do the 12 steps as a self-improvement class! 🙂 I wonder why AA has such a strange reputation; I mean, it’s not really about God, it’s about community and service, right? That’s my take so far.

      Anyway, I don’t know why I’m being so stubborn and simply not opening up to other, “rational” paths! Whatever…more to explore and I’m excited.

      The steps, the sponsor, the talking–it feels too much for me right now. I just want to be sober! I don’t want to talk about it, especially when I feel like drinking. I don’t really want to get close to a sponsor, and I don’t feel emotionally willing to do the steps right now. I wish I didn’t get the feeling at meetings that I’m sitting on the fence, which is a bad thing in my mind. But, I’m letting that go and realizing that it might just be the meetings down here.

      The important things are there, and I thank AA for that!

      Thanks for sharing on my blog…!

  4. Belle (Tired2012) December 4, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    i think you’re doing fine 🙂 you’re questioning stuff, but you’re not throwing out the baby with the bath water. the sober car keeps rolling. some people will be irritating. that’s not different from real life! i can assure you if you had a 9-5 job wearing nylons, you’d come home ready to kill someone daily … (i have avoided this kinds of jobs, myself, and i suspect you have too). some people are idiotic. but they’re sober. so they know something. they’re holding on to a life raft and so good for them. it’s working. you don’t have to share or do anything. except continue on your pledge to stay sober. and that, my friend, you seem to be handling JUST FINE 🙂

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      HAHA. Thanks, Belle. God, I remember wearing nylons to work a few times in the 90s at some of my first jobs in crusty downtown Chicago. I’m pretty sure I started guzzling beer after work because of those…things. NO, I feel VERY fortunate that at this moment, I can work from home, next to a raging blue ocean.

      I agree with you in that there are a LOT of AA people who sort of internalize the structure of the program–they like it because they don’t have to find their own path/way/program. Like, if I went back to school right now, I would SO dig an interdisciplinary program, that’s just me!

      I can’t seem to shake this feeling after every meeting–the more I get to know peeps, the stronger it gets–that I’m “flailing” or “floundering” (exact words used by someone) the longer I keep coming to meetings and don’t get a sponsor. But, eh, I let it go. Happy, busy, sober times! My way! Yay!

      GREAT work on your sobriety; hope you kicked those pangs you were having in the butt and told them to take a flying leap! 🙂

  5. waynemali December 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    I didn’t take the AA route, but I didn’t do it alone, I walked into Church on my own and found a new family waiting there ready to help, I’ve prayed at my low points and reached out to friends from Church in my darkest of nights, but ultimately it is our own will to rise above the urges and cravings and keep going. I count everyday day of my sobriety and celebrate everyone, 251 today and still counting, if I ever stop, the I have a problem, so I never intend to stop, whatever life throws at me.
    Stick in there, you can do it, if I can then I’m sure you can.
    Wayne

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Congrats on your 250-something days! GREAT news. And, thanks for your comment–totally helps to hear others people’s success stories outside of AA.

      -DDG

  6. Al K Hall December 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    It seems i’m in the minority! i got sober in AA, have been going to AA regularly for 22 months and *love* it. Although i’m not a religious person, i found it easy to adopt the belief system that the group is my Higher Power. Do i love everyone i meet in the program? No, but then i’m not crazy about everyone i meet at work, parties, or at family reunions either. That said, i would never push AA on anyone. i realize AA doesn’t work for a lot of people and i would never criticize them for however they choose to maintain their sobriety. The best program is the one that keeps you sober!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      Thanks, Al! I find a lot of great things about AA, especially the group therapy aspect–I learn a lot at meetings, and get a lot of insights and new ideas about not just drinking, but life! So, right now, that’s why I keep going to the meetings. I don’t like the fact that at every meeting here, I feel like I have to confront my “flailing” around by not having a sponsor yet (I had one initially, but had zero motivation to call her every day; even when I did, it was awkward, and she had very little to say to me either!), but such is life. I like AA, and I will keep going to meetings (every other day is feeling right) and reading the Big Book…

  7. belowhermeans December 6, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    I had a post of yours in my reader, “Am I punishing myself by staying sober?” and I excitedly clicked over to read but it was gone! 😦

  8. Sibyl January 3, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    With 25 years of sobriety now, I am truly convinced that I could not have gotten sober without A.A. I went to at least one meeting a week for three years, as well as doing a side program of A.A. (Novelco, not officially sanctioned) in the first year, and also helped set up and run a Women for Sobriety group for 3 years. After about 5 years of sobriety, I only went to the occasional meeting and now only go rarely.

    But I did stick it out in A.A. for a number of years because I needed the 12 steps, the Big Book, the support of the group (even though some people drove me nuts, other people’s attitudes tried my patience, and I definitely had to “take what I want and leave [lots of] the rest”), and the chance to be with and share stories with people who were actively working on staying sober. I am so grateful for being able to find a meeting any day and anywhere in Canada on my journey to getting sober.

    So hang in there drunkydrunkgirl. Take what works for you in A.A. and don’t let anyone pressure you to do more/differently than is comfortable. But be open to the gold that you will hear in the stories in those A.A. meeting rooms … And do anything else that helps you stay sober and look after yourself.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 3, 2013 at 3:53 am #

      Thanks for your comment! Lovely…and informative.

      Yeah, I don’t know all that much about AA, I guess; all I know is that it does click and work for some, and that is obviously a GREAT thing! I am learning that I can choose my methods, too, and AA can be just one of several ways of helping me to continue along my path of sobriety!

      Happy New Year!

  9. Sadie January 5, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    You probably know about Women For Sobriety, but just in case you don’t: http://www.womenforsobrietyonline.com They have face-to-face meetings in many areas, but the online community is a great place for women to share all sorts of things about addiction, whether it’s past stories, current triumphs & challenges, or just being there to support one another. Definitely worth a look if you are still exploring options for support:

    Congratulations, you are doing great and helping others along the way.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 10, 2013 at 5:17 am #

      Thank you!!! I have heard of WFS, and I plan to go online right now to check it out. How are you doing? Are you getting sober now?

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