In the recent past I made a very personal decision, to quit going to meetings and being part of Alcoholics Anonymous. I continue to abstain from drinking and will do so for the remainder of my years on earth, I just couldn't in good conscience continue to be a member of the program.
I spent the past two years grasping on to the good parts of the program. But the more I went, the more I noticed less and less good, in relation to my recovery, and it just got to be a bit too much. I respect that the program has helped so many people, and that it is there for those who need it. I just can't be a part of it anymore. I can only focus on the positive of something for so long, until the many negative aspects start rearing their ugly head and poking me in the eye. I did it for way longer than I usually do. Holding on and attending regularly for three years was a huge accomplishment for me.
I am lucky to have a very large support system of friends and family, to help me in those times where I get down and blue and need to talk to someone. Even through my years in the program, I rarely turned to program people when I was in need. I always called on a friend to help me through my issues, or I turned inward and dug deep, doing what I needed to do in order not to drink.
I was afraid when I told my sponsor, that she would be angry. But she just said, "I understand completely." She has known all of the struggles I have with dogma, blindly following any sort of structured regimen, and most of all, a program that encourages people to ALWAYS be at meetings and interacting with other folks in the program. I think a program of recovery should equip you with the tools necessary to remain free of whatever drinking/drug/eating problem you have, and then send you on your way with the confidence that you can now make it on your own. There were very few people I saw with many years sober who I would look at and go, "I want what they have." It just stopped happening. I want so much more than most of them have.
I am not in any way knocking the program or people in the program. It just doesn't fit my life philosophy. And I'm glad the folks I know who are still in the program haven't been talking about me the way I see program folks talk about SO MANY sober people who aren't part of AA. "They're a dry drunk." "They aren't living to their full potential if they don't have the help of this program." So much judgment being made, that I just can't abide by.
I am thankful for the program because I know for a fact I wouldn't be sober without it today. There are so many great tools I was able to take from the few years I spent going to meetings and working with other alcoholics. I will continue to be here to support my alcoholic friends, in any way that they might need me. An ear to bend, a couch to crash on, a great meal to be shared. I will continue to seek out others like myself, so that I can have someone who understands me, around when I need support.
I haven't talked to my mom about it yet. She's the only one close to me who doesn't know. I am going to tell her this Sunday when I take her to brunch. I hope she doesn't take it personally, or think this is a decision I made so that I can start drinking again if I want to, because that's not the case. I have my chips on my altar to look at when I need that reminder of where I am in life. I will keep my AA books to look through now and again and find strength in prayers and words. I am a sober alcoholic who is no longer participating in a specific group of alcoholics, and that's an okay choice.
I would like to thank all of my friends who have been with me through the years, and stuck with me through the tough times. You are all amazing and I love you more than a simple sentence put out on the internet can express. I feel like a weight has been lifted, and I can now succeed in more of my life goals, and I'm pretty excited about it. I no longer have to feel like a portion of my life isn't 100% true to me being my authentic self. It's a relief.
Happy picture of the day: I love wearing this shirt to work as it is completely inappropriate, but no one knows it. I think everyone just thinks, "Oh, a bald guy with a beaker and a test tube." I love you Bryan Cranston, and I love this Breaking Bad shirt. Best.shirt.ever.