I attended my first meeting last night, it was kind of what i expected in both good and bad ways. I went in with the assumption it would be just like what you see on TV. A dingy basement of a church, people gathered in a circle talking about their struggles with recovery and their ultimate salvation by God. Praise Jesus!
It basically was exactly that but i decided to go in with an open mind and embrace whatever was going to happen. I didn’t hate it though. i am a frequent intervention viewer and it really felt like i was in an episode except Candy wasn’t their to bluntly tell people the hard facts of addiction. First off i went to a meeting in the local hospital on a detox floor. i decided on this meeting mainly because i had overlooked that the one i picked the day before was only on Tuesdays and there was very limited availability for Tuesday at 8pm and i worked at this hospital before so i knew exactly where to go. It was strange because a lot of the attendees were actually just in detox and had to either stay for the meeting or go into their rooms. So there was a lot of trickling in of people that were not alcoholics but schizophrenics and a few others that did not wish to identify but seemed to have more mental issues than substance abuse problems. I felt pretty on edge at first mainly cause mental illness scares me and there were people there that seemed very volatile, they probably weren’t but to me i assumed someone was going to strangle me.
One man, I will obviously keep them anonymous, talked for 35 minutes about his struggle. His story was really heartbreaking but it was really difficult to listen to a man getting 6 DUIs in under 2 years and still not being able to identify as an alcoholic. In some ways this makes me think about how people with out alcohol addiction feel listening to my sob stories. Like get over it and get your shit together. I was shocked at how many people that spoke had been committed to that hospital before for attempted suicide and one ladies comments about how she didn’t really want to die but she really didn’t want to live touched home for me.
They went around the room and for some strange reason i said Hi my name is Renee, I am still deciding what I am. I don’t know why i identified this way. I KNOW I am an alcoholic and can not control my drinking, I guess i just felt like they would judge me or make me speak since i was new and I wanted to just observe this time.
Things I liked about AA:
1. i enjoy the social aspect, and it feels good to know that people of all walks of life are struggling too.
2. It used up an hour of my long day and even though we were talking about drinking, I never had the urge to drink or even consider it during or after the meeting.
3. I was very proud of myself for going. I was really concerned about the judgment and the overall vulnerability of it all but i didn’t feel any judgement, just a lot of sadness.
4. I felt “high” afterwards. I think i have been feeling this way a lot actually but i have been mistaking it for anxiety and panic attacks. I felt this way many times after writing and editing my life story but i am starting to feel like this feeling is not negative but more of a pin prick from my inner self saying “wake up and start fucking living”
5. The honesty. Everyone was brutally honest. It was unnerving at first because I’m not used to people saying “Hi, my name is… and here is a list of my insecurities and shortcomings.”
Things I didn’t particularly enjoy at AA:
1. I did not care for the overall location of the meeting. A few people who were detoxing were obviously not into it but just wanted to entertain themselves for an hour and there was some snickering and just not a very positive vibe from the people that did not actually come to the meeting of their own accord.
2. I 100% will never follow or say the serenity prayer. I do not believe in the first step. I am not powerless over addiction and I DO not believe I should throw up my hands and just say fuck it something larger than me needs to take care of this. I feel like the whole reason people are in this mess, myself included is because they identify as victims, so why make yourself even less accountable by saying its out of your hands. Seems like a cop out.
3. I figured it would be more of an open ended meeting to talk about struggles as of late as opposed to outlining your entire life. Only 3 people were able to speak because they spoke for so long.
4. It was very unstructured to me. I don’t really enjoy going into an hour of my life without a game plan or a checklist and a few times no one spoke for what felt like forever.
I guess the Pros outweigh the Cons and i told myself that if they did then i would make it a weekly event. I can always go to different ones and try them out and i think as long as i work the system minus the first step then i will get some benefit from it. I do feel like I’m not alone fighting this and that feels like a giant burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I can’t say I won’t do step 1 actually last night as i was falling asleep i had so much chatter going on in my head and i finally just decided to resign myself to the universe, to help me help myself. Then I fell asleep. There was a resounding talk about Grace. i decided I really don’t know what they are talking about or what it means in this context. I think my next post will be about grace.
I will not drink today and that makes me happy.