I never planned to go to AA. I wasn’t that bad (ha ha…silly me). I really felt I just needed to get myself under control. To find the right combination of rules and restrictions to ensure I could drink enough to get buzzed, but not pass out on the couch. And perhaps to make it through a Sunday afternoon without drinking.
When I started this that is exactly what I did do. I decided zero alcohol for a year. A gift for myself. A non negotiable break.
For me, that was enough to get things going…it somehow got me through the hysteria, anxiety and then sever depression that followed in the first months of sobriety. That,and the immediate recognition that somehow life without alcohol was better,even if it felt scary and hard.
Eventually I started looking around for support. I was lonely and sad. I was still afraid to admit I had had a real drinking problem…after all, I had a professional job, a lovely home and family, a life that looked ok from the outside.
Jean from Unpickled gave me some good words of advice. Be open minded. Try different things. Stop trying to solve the problem with the same thinking that created it.
So, I tried AA. Going to a meeting is a intensely scary and exhilarating experience. Everyone should try it! Don’t worry. No one will make you do or say anything!
And there I heard my own story told back to me from people I never expected. Stories of drinking compulsively. Of loneliness. And of dispair. Followed by a brilliant realization that there is another way to live, and that it is not only not bad, but full of joy and happiness and comfort and contentment. Honesty and personal responsibility.
The most powerful idea I have learned at AA is step one. Admitting I am powerless over alcohol, and that my life had become unmanageable.
I “do” this step every day. I know that the only way to take back my power is to not add alcohol. So I don’t. And life remains very manageable.
I spent many days reading about habits, diets, metabolism, changing behaviour, etc. In the end, I just had to let go of the clearly mistaken belief I had that alcohol added anything to my life. Or to anyone’s life, for that matter.
I still have the same job, family and life I had before. But Now I am able to see past my own self focus. A drinkers eyes are always turned on themselves. It is selfish and self destructive .
Sober eyes see the world. And the unending beauty and potential available.
If you are struggling, take the risk and go to a meeting. You never have to go back, but perhaps you will hear something that will change you thoughts.
Stillness and peace .