Back Up, Re-group

The AA group had already ran over time, past that one hour mark that usually concludes such meetings. Maybe I should have simply declined the invitation to share given that fact. I’m not exactly comfortable speaking in front of people I know well, let alone those I’ve only met for the first time. Yet, I felt compelled to share a bit of the how and why I ended up at this AA meeting since asked. Abruptly, in mid-sentence, I was cut off, asked, “But why are you here today?” Feeling rejected and a little confused, I don’t even remember how I responded, just that the meeting ended shortly thereafter with the Lord’s Prayer, polite goodbyes, and a foggy sense that I really needed to get out of there. My next moment of clarity came with the realization that I was already about half-way home and every part of me was pissed-the-fuck-off. It’s rare we’re all in agreement. Back-tracking a bit, I filled in the gaps, nothing dramatic, just the usual BS.

Today, I made a decision. No more Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I’m done with it. After 50 days of internal conflict over this program, I’m saying, “No more. I’m done.” It’s neither where I need to be, nor does it reflect my beliefs. Recovery is as much an individual process as finding one’s spiritual path, one that does not require combining the two or subjecting myself to biases that are irrelevant to my life. I also have a problem with anyone sowing a seed of doubt in my already frail sense of self (something I’ve worked very hard to begin rebuilding after years of what feels like a shattered existence). That small amount of faith in myself is precisely what has allowed me to survive as long as I have. I’m ultimately rejecting AA for a great many reasons, the ones listed above and in my previous post being the most fundamental reasons. No amount of social support is worth betraying who I am as a person or the self-acceptance to choose what is best for me. And AA just isn’t it.

Update: I realized after I posted this, there is something else I need to say about my experience at today’s AA meeting. My solution to the mental health issues and addiction problems that I face is to talk openly and freely about my past with whomever will compassionately listen. I hung my head in shame for 17 years due to self-blame and religious persecution from “well meaning” Christians who judged me and criticized my life and my choices. For 17 years I kept everything bottled up inside of me without a voice to express my deepest pain. No one believed I was raped. No one believed that the baby I carried for 9 months was a product of that second rape 4 months later. I learned to shut up after the first rape. I learned never to trust again after the second. I’m only now starting to release that pain, and I truly believe that the only freedom I will ever have from it will be in finding my voice again and talking about my past as often as necessary until I purge it from my system. So forgive me if my solution is not suitable for your little club. I was searching for a place to fit in when I found AA, and I will continue searching until I find a place that accepts me for me!

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6 thoughts on “Back Up, Re-group

  1. I understand your feelings. I finished the 12th Step with my sponsor recently and have dialed back my meeting presence since then. I’ve often said that rehab and my counselors threw me the much needed life-line, and I would have continued drinking if I’d simply gone to AA. It’s part of my toolkit.

    You’re absolutely right about leaving behind anything that doesn’t suit your temperament and doesn’t keep you sober. And if you ever change your mind or just want to go sometime, hopefully there’s a more comfortable AA group you can find that fits you better.

    • I wish I could find an agnostic/atheist AA group, but I’m afraid in my area (rural TN) that’s just not going to happen. There doesn’t even appear to be any in the larger cities of TN. Maybe I’ll change my mind later. For now, I’m using SMART Recovery online for groups and social support; however, there’s not even any of those types of groups (physical rather than online) in my area.

      Thank you so much for your comment and the follow!

      • Let me know how you like SMART Recovery online. There aren’t any local SMART groups around me, either. I just couldn’t get into the online support thing.

      • I’m kinda struggling with it, too. Online support is really no substitute for ‘real life’ socialization. More often than not, I’ll go into a chatroom and just sit there, typing nothing. Kind of defeats the purpose. Blogging helps some, but same problem.

      • I find that blogging helps more than the SMART Recovery website. The thing is, I resonate with the SMART tools. I bought the handbook not long ago, but I haven’t read it yet. If I were in a different place in my life, I might even become a certified SMART moderator and start classes in my area, but that’s too much for me to take on, both in terms of life and also this early in my sobriety.

        I just passed nine months and feel pretty good, but I’m still wary. I also find myself wanting to do things that have nothing to do with AA or with conversations around drinking. That’s OK, too. Even though I’ll always be an alcoholic (I have no problem with the term or the disease classification), there’s more to me than that. For the first time since I was a teenager, I have personal and professional goals; my goal used to be my next drink. Now I can envision a future for myself and my family. It’s a wonderful thing, and I know how precarious it is.

  2. Pingback: Re-Boot | Echoes of My Past

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