(I haven’t posted in weeks. (I’m bad at these things.) I have them written, though! Check back later.)
I went to Alcoholics Anonymous tonight.
Before assumptions are made, I’ll quickly mention that it’s a requirement to attend one of these for Psych. In my pretend career, I’ve already referred handfuls to AA. In my (hopefully) future life, there will be more. So I guess the whole point is, if we’re telling people to do something, we might as well know what we’re telling them to do. I’m so glad I went tonight.
You never know what to expect when going someplace you’ve never been. Even Hawaii. You can see as many pictures as you want, but you don’t know Hawaii til you’ve been there. Same with AA. I certainly didn’t expect the group leader to munch on Cheetos the entire time–both flamin’ hot & regular. And the people. Wow. As one person said to me, “You stick out like a sore thumb,” but many looked like a friend’s parent, nothing screaming “alcoholic”.
The meeting starts off with rituals. The serenity prayer, standard AA readings. Then the leader goes around and asks if anyone’s celebrating an anniversary or birthday this month. Of course, I assume this is some kind of AA language, so I ask my neighbor what “birthday” means.
“It’s the day you were born.”
Oh. By then, I had forgotten I was born on February 25. I missed my chance!
But then the newcomers raise their hands. All except me. Was I supposed to? No worries, since she points at me then loudly commands an intro. “Hi, I’m Jessica…and…?”
“Hi Jessica!,” to the sounds of applause and whispers stating, “It’s okay, it’s okay to be shy & do nothing but smile… but there’s no need. Just be yourself.”
Then the group leader creeps up the calendar. “30 days sober?” She goes around & gives them a hug. “How about 60 days? That’s 2 months!” “90?” “6 months?”, “1-2 years?”, etc etc. All the way up to, “15 years to 75 years sober?”
As it was the first week of the month, we had a speaker. One of the men in the group shared his story. His words apply oh so well to my life. Maybe yours too. Just substitute “drink, drunk, alcohol, drugs” with ____. Here are my notes:
“After that moment, I told myself, ‘I will never drink again.’ But you all know what happened next…”
“It’s okay to sell drugs because someone else would sell it to him anyway.”
“I lived my life based on my feelings instead of a higher power.”
“Spirituality: enables and develops positive and creative forces in a human being.”
“God is against defects/sin because they don’t work. They corrupt what is decent and noble in humanity.”
“Why am I doing this?”
“I heard the bell. I didn’t think anyone else heard the bell, until I came here.”
“… in order to stay alive.”
“Any man can fight the battle of one day.”
“I can’t go to the same places I used to go and expect different things to happen.”
“I came here, and you didn’t let me go. Loving people you don’t even know. I stayed with you people because you called me out on every dopey move I had. You do that for me every week.”
“Don’t doubt God’s work in you.”
“I started like a fire started.”
“The best thing that being an alcoholic did for me was leading me to AA.”
I met some friends there. One woman’s been sober 5 years now and after I replied her question of “Are you in recovery too?,” she said to me, “I’ve been to the state penitentiary five times. And now I work for the state. The only way it worked this way is God.”
Another new friend told me she’s been sober 2.5 years. I replied, “Oh, that’s 18 months?” She thought for a second and stated, “Oh, yeah. You’re right!” As the meeting went on, I realized my mistake. (To think I was once on Math Team.) I later said, “Oh, I miscalculated. It’s actually 30 months!” She grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and said, “Good for you! Keep on going. You are doing so well. See you next week! I hope you come back.” No need to correct her. Because I needed that meeting tonight.
One day at a time.
It’s been a really exhausting week. In all ways. Stressful. Nothing going as planned or expected. But mercies are new every morning. One day at a time.
We ended the meeting in a big circle, hands joined. With hands held and eyes closed, we ended with The Lord’s Prayer.
…For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Forever. Amen.