Do I dare write about A.A.? Sure.
In keeping with their traditions, I am going to remain anonymous. I do not consider myself to be a spokesperson of A.A. I am not their poster-child. I am just a cog in the wheel. But it’s hard to talk about my alcoholism without addressing my means of recovery. So as long as we understand each other, I should proceed.
The life I have today is beautiful. I never imagined I would have such a beautiful family, such a rewarding career, such love, such contentment …. I can sit in the room with myself and be okay. My life includes spirituality. I put down the drink a kicking and screaming atheist, so it’s a miracle that my heart has turned.
The life I have today could only be possible with A.A.
I know there are other means of quitting drinking. Personally, I have met people who just …. stopped. They maintain a healthy respect for their addiction and they stay sober for eons. Trust me. It’s possible. But it didn’t work for me. I needed support.
In AA, I was taught that drinking was not the problem; it was the “solution” and the “solution” stopped working for the problem which was me. This is where the twelve steps come in. This is what I needed and this is why I couldn’t do it alone.
Alcoholic’s Anonymous is confusing. They have meetings. They have people “sharing” at these meetings. It appears to be a form of group therapy. Yes. A support group. It IS that, but it is a 12-step program. For a 12-step program to work, one must work the program.
Initially, I got the support – and I still do. Here are the suggestions they offered me that I took them up on (and they say A.A. is “suggestions only”):
1. I have a sponsor
2. I have a home group
3. I attend a step meeting
4. I have a network
5. I go to meetings
6. I work the steps
7. I sponsor people
8. I pray – “please” in the morning,”thank you” at night
This works for me. A little bit at a time, I have “recovered.” I don’t like the term “recovered,” because it implies I became the person I was before. “Recovering” something means to find something that was lost or to restore something to what it once was ….The person I was before was a bitter and angry person who detested herself. That is not who I am today. Thank God.
What I Hated About A.A.:
2. Higher Power / God
3. Gratitude (“What the hell is there to be grateful for???”, I mentally screamed whenever someone used the word “grateful.”)
4. Seems like a CULT (I really thought this, but let me assure you no one asked me to stay away from my family, no one made me do anything I didn’t want to do, and as for brainwashing? Well, I do think differently today and I assure you it’s an improvement. They pass a basket and most people throw in a buck. If you don’t have it? No judgment. It’s not some scheme – the money goes to renting the church basements, buying coffee & styrofoam cups, and to A.A. services such as books for newcomers, etc. )
5. It seemed like a cliche of itself
6. People helping me!!! (I wanted to know everything already, I wanted to be independent and not need people!!! Blehhhh!!!!)
What I Love About A.A.:
2. Friends/Socializing – it’s like what I thought I used to have in the bars, but didn’t really. If I was upset, the best any of them would do was buy me a shot and secretly wish I’d shut up because I was being a buzz kill. In AA? People LISTEN and support! I can’t get over it. And if you happen to get to know people and mention that you’re moving? There are scads of people there. It’s amazing.
4. Gratitude (gag!!! I can’t believe I’ve been converted!)
5. The life skills they gave me (I did not know how to be assertive, how to take care of myself, how to have relationships with other people …. countless things)
6. A peaceful way of life (the chaos I used to experience constantly is gone. I can relax today.)
7. Learning how to have fun without alcohol – and it’s possible!
8. The steps
9. My sponsor who is like a new father to me
10. Getting to know a new me and loving her
I’m just feeling like I ought to talk about my own personal experience with it because it’s what helped, but I want to make it clear that I’m not going to push it down anyone’s throat and I’m not considering myself their spokesperson. I love it and felt like I owed it some more mention.