Now, I'm not saying there aren't people who have made AA a whole 'nother codependent place to be unhealthy. There definitely are. There are assholes in AA just like larger society. There are bible thumpers, and people who I most certainly don't aspire to be like. It is a microcosm of society in general and as such, there are going to be people in the program that I just don't get. The difference is, that even the biggest asshole in AA, is better than most people I encounter outside the rooms.
I have often said that everyone would benefit from a 12 step program of some sort. If you really do the work, it does so much more than just keep you from drinking. I have grown in so many ways with my involvement in the recovery community. Ways that I never would have imagined when I was out there drinking.
I am way more honest than I ever was. I simply don't lie. I think that lying is an energy suck and a waste of time. Keeping up with lies requires a skill and effort that, although I was good at it, I simply don't have the time to spend on it anymore. So I simply don't do it. Often times when a friend asks a question or for advice I first say, "Do you really want to know the answer to that, or what I think? Because if you're just looking for someone to agree with you, or a yes man, feel free to retract your request for advice." I don't sugar coat things, and I'm very up front. I don't lie to my boyfriend, or any of my friends about things relating to our relationship, or how I feel about them. When they make me mad, they know it. I also am working on not giving unwarranted advice. If someone is venting to you, don't tell them what you think unless they asked. No one cares what you think about their relationship situation, unless they've specifically told you so. This I find, is the hardest one to do. When I catch myself saying, "Well, I would do this..." I try to then say, "How arrogant of me. Who cares what I would do? What do you think your next steps will be?"
In the program is where I found Buddhism and meditation in ways which I was never able to explore before. Because of this my anxiety and OCD issues have improved drastically. If I want to skip a week of mopping and go do something on a Sunday, I can do so and not freak out the whole next week about how dirty the floors are. I can go to a crowded store to shop, whereas before I would almost stop breathing if there were too many people in the space around me.
For me, AA is a place I can go and be 100% myself, and know that I will be supported. Although I feel that in the outside world on occasion, I ALWAYS feel it at a meeting. Last night I drove out to Elk Grove to my old home group, and it was exactly what I needed to adjust my attitude. It helps me realize that as humans, not just as addicts/alcoholics, we have far more similarities than differences.
I am totally honest about the fact that I occasionally go to bars, and have even been known to take friends on pub crawls to places they usually wouldn't be able to get out to, because they can't drink and drive. I used to be a huge drunk driver. I did it 100s of times and it landed me in jail. I am hoping I never drunk drive again. My friends that drink are really fun to be around when drinking, and I know that they are not alcoholics like I am. I enjoy occasionally hanging out at bars and places where most folks in recovery think you should not go. It works for me. So I'm workin' it.
I like that I found a place that will help me to stay sober. I know I can't do it alone. The thing I'm working on now is really reaching out when I need help. I have a hard time with it. I feel like at this point I should be able to self soothe. I should be able to handle stuff without having to burden those around me when I can't stop crying, or I am so mad I want to rip someone's throat out. (Ooh, I just thought of Mortal Kombat when I wrote that. I miss that game). I know my friends and my sponsor are there for me if I could just pick up the phone and utter the words, "Hey, I need you right now." I'm working on it. I'll probably be working on it 'til the day I die.
I am not ashamed that I am an alcoholic. I don't blurt it out inappropriately, but I do bring it up when conversation warrants. I think it's important to let people know that I'm not just not drinking because I'm the DD. I'm not drinking because I CAN'T drink. This made me very angry at first. I felt like a first grader wanting to stomp my feet and say, "This isn't fair!" But life's not fair. The things that I have achieved in the last two years and ten months have surpassed anything I ever thought my life would be like. I honestly thought I'd be dead by now, and the sad thing is, I was totally okay with that. Now I'm happy that I get to stick around to annoy people for many, many more years.
Happy picture of the day: I took this on the walk in to work the other day. It just looked so pretty. It also reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock.
Please don't poop on my head.