Meeting #2 – I Belong Here but It’s Hard

I truly and really wanted to go back this morning, and what’s more, I decided to really shake up my morning routine by throwing in a 5:30 AM class at the gym. What the hell? I haven’t worked out that early in…at least a year. Because God forbid, I always knew I would be up late and drinking and no way could I ever even dream of committing to something before 10 AM. I never even scheduled calls before 10, let alone thought about going to the GYM.

So I PLANNED things out last night. I mixed up my diet cranberry with greens so that all I had to do would be to grab it while going out the door. I laid out my workout clothes. I did watch all of the Bachelor, but skipped the “After the Rose” ceremony (I’ll watch that on DVR sometime this week!!!) I set my alarm and voila – 5 AM was not horrible since I had a decent night’s sleep and I was not hungover. The class was perfect – all weights (like Body Pump if you are familiar with that) and the reps coincide with awesome jamming music. After a year of the treadmill, my body was excited about this new venture. I was smart and did not overload my bar with weights, not even bothering to look around me to see what others had on their bars. I got in a good sweat, finished my greens, and headed home.

First things first, a PROTEIN shake for breakast. My body is not going to know what to do with all of these good things in it. My liver is probably singing hymns of thankfulness as we speak. I then got in about 20 minutes reading and then time to wake the daughter up for school…and then I headed to meeting #2. The gal I know was sweet and texted me from the parking lot to see if I wanted her to wait for me – so we walked in together.

The leader was a bit “dry” for my tastes – on the borderline of bitchy, but it’s the middle of the meeting that I consider as the “meat”. The sharing of the stories. All of the things I could SO easily relate to. Some that I had a quick “I’m not so bad” reaction and then jerked myself back to reality. I don’t know at what point I’m “supposed to” share – is it when you get that white chip? Because I didn’t get that today either. Personally, I would like to accept it next Monday, when I will have one full week of sobriety. I do already feel committed, but somehow feel funny about getting that chip. And that brings me to my bigger dilemma.

I really have a problem with the word alcoholic. I am NOT denying that I am one – I just don’t like the word. I would like to say a few words next Monday, but I don’t know the “protocol” for introductions. In my perfect world, I would like to say “Hi, my name is XXX and I have a desire to stop drinking. I understand that there is a word that starts with an “a” that I am supposed to use to introduce myself with. And it’s not that I don’t think I am one – I just truly have an issue with the word and would like to only use it when I am comfortable saying it” And then share a brief snippet of myself. Will I get kicked out? Will eyes roll and heads turn? I asked my friend about it afterwards, and she giggled saying that she usually mumbles the word. I would have no issue saying I am a “problem drinker” or a “drinker who would like to stop” or even a “person who has issues with alcohol”.

But something about THAT WORD makes me feel powerless and weak. I know – that’s the first step – that I AM allegedly powerless over alcohol. And though part of me gets it, I just SO prefer the enthusiastic and EMPOWERING statements of WFS (Women for Sobriety). It has already been announced in the meetings that all literature etc for these meetings must be AA related, so I know I would not dare to bring up the statements of WFS. I guess part of me wishes that the group would get into open discussion every once in awhile. I enjoy hearing all of the stories, but sometimes I would like to see a more open forum – with Roberts Rules of Order of course – but talking WITH each other instead of only TO each other. Maybe they do – I’ve only been to 2 so far, so who knows what else might happen. But when a few stories in a row related to reality TV, the leader shrieked “what is happening to my meeting?” in a half joking way.

That being said, there were some new faces in the crowd, a few whom really stuck out as “relatable”. By that I mean that this group for the most part is truly a cross-section of folks that look and feel like people I am used to hanging out with. The county I live in is very diverse – I happen to live in the much more suburban part, but up north, it can get (for lack of a better word), much more country. I am not saying that anyone is better than anyone else – someone with a drinking problem is someone with a drinking problem. But I do feel that I’m in with “a crowd that feels like me” if that makes any sense. These people have similar interests. We are not folks living under bridges and drinking out of a paper bag in a gutter (how cliched is that?!?) These are everyday people who have full time jobs and kids and who play tennis and who are trying to live in a world where alcohol is glamorized, making it very difficult for someone who has a drinking problem.

The last story told really touched me. I am not sure of all the facts as of course I am so new to this group. But from the sounds of it, the person telling the story relapsed yesterday after 28 years. They did not come out and concretely say it – but the context cues etc led me to think that. Again, I don’t know if this is the full and true story, but this person stating that they would be looking forward to getting their 30 day chip in the next month led me to believe that is what happened. It made me sad and angry and scared. That after all that time (again, not positive, but that’s what it sounded like), it can happen just like that. And then we were told “Time’s up…meeting is over.”

As much as I have some issues with some of the philosophies etc of AA, I am really digging the “face to face” aspect of it. Though it was initially freaky to see a face I knew, it’s okay. These real life everyday stories of all of the challenges that people face are inspiring and helpful. I’m thankful to the gal who took time out of her day yesterday to be there to bring me in – not forcefully – but with love and compassion. We text here and there and I know she is truly there for me. I’m thankful for my blogging community – folks I will never meet, but that I learn from every day.

AND – I am PROUD of myself. A lot of accomplishments these past few days. Fear that has been overcome and limits that have been stretched. It’s all good 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Meeting #2 – I Belong Here but It’s Hard

  1. Many many many maybe even most of us felt that way about calling ourselves alcoholics too. Then eventually we get it and embrace it and end up saying something goofy but true like I’m GRATEFUL to be an alcoholic. I love the way you want to say instead “and I have a desire to stop drinking” which of course is all that’s required. Yay you.

    • That’s ironic because yes…a few have said how lucky they are to be an alcoholic. And I’m like WTF?!? Oops. Pardon the language. But in all seriousness. Do I HAVE to use the “A” word early on in my intro?? If so I might not be talking for awhile.

      • Heck no! Being honest is what people love. Don’t use the A word for months if you don’t want to. AA people really are the most open minded intuitive understanding people. It would be rare to encounter people in the meetings who don’t get where you’re coming from on this.

  2. Lots going on there…but I am glad that you have been getting to the meetings. It takes time to navigate your way through them. Your sense of things is way beyond what mine were on my second meeting. I was still vibrating and shaking in my first few meetings…practically detoxing in the back row.

    Identification is something that AA tries to focus on. “Singleness of Purpose” as it’s called. It keeps the meetings from becoming a free for all on any topic (they still do, sometimes…lol), and focusing in on AA material and program. Having said that, you don’t have to use the word Alcoholic. You can say you have a problem with alcohol. no one is going to roll their eyes or kick you out! People understand that some people have trouble with that word over all. I never did, as I knew I was one long before I got into the rooms. But you are right, it’s just the beginning and will be something that is up to you , and you will come to see. There is no shame in it – that is something that holds many people back. Number 9 nails it in saying that we learn to embrace it and call ourselves grateful alcoholics. I may not be completely proud of my drinking past, but I am proud of my recovery, and how I have been put in a place where I am of use to others and getting my spiritual life in order. It’s something many people don’t get to do – have two lives in one lifetime.

    How groovy is that? 🙂

    Great post – love reading your experiences.

    Blessings,
    Paul

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