AA

I almost went to a noon meeting today. I actually went to my local county website and looked up meetings in my area. The only reason I didn’t is because I hadn’t planned on it this morning and wasn’t sure how I would also be able to eat lunch. But I am on the verge of going. It is almost a certainty now that I will find a place near me for an evening meeting this week.

I have been very hesitant to go to AA. There are a number of reasons for this, not including the most obvious one – i.e., admitting I am an alcoholic, feeling nervous or ashamed to go, etc. That wasn’t the case. I grew up in the clubs. They still feel like home to me, or at least they did last time I was in one years ago. No, it had a lot more to do with my ideas about god (or lack thereof) and my stubbornness.

I am such a know-it-all. No one can tell me anything new. I was always like this to some degree or another, but it got worse this last couple of years of drinking. I spent a couple of years in 2005, 2006 pulling myself out of a dark hole created by unresolved grief over my father and major problems with Steve. I feel like I saved my own life. I did it by filling myself with spiritual knowledge, with the tools to heal my mind and my heart. I had no help at the time from my husband and I had no friends to speak of, so I did it all on my own. I was so proud. I still am, but…

For all my knowledge of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, of meditation and self-examination and self-awareness, for all the brutal honesty with myself, to the point of ripping myself apart and putting myself back together again… all of that didn’t keep me from being an alcoholic. It didn’t keep me from descending right back into a dark hole this last two years. I can walk into a meeting thinking I know so much about how to help myself – and maybe I do “know” a little bit. I’m not going to stop feeling good about the fact that I figured out how to help myself stand on my own two feet once upon a time.

But knowledge doesn’t equal wisdom. And maybe it’s time I listened to the wisdom of others for a change. Change. That’s really the key, isn’t it? I learned so much, but I stayed stuck right where I was and haven’t learned anything new. I’ve stagnated. Now it’s time to move forward. Now it’s time to admit that I don’t have to stand solitary, that I can draw upon the strength of others to help me grow, to mend. What a relief that would be. I’m tired of trying to be so strong all the time. Support… support sounds really wonderful right about now.

Of course, I wish like crazy that my dad was here to talk to. My throat forms a lump and tears start to form just typing that. It’s an understatement. My unresolved grief over my dad remains unresolved. I have spent the last 7 years forgetting him so that I wouldn’t miss him. Drowning my grief. I know that’s part of the “why” of alcohol for me because every time I stopped drinking, I would start grieving. And I couldn’t take it. I loved him so immensely, his absence still hurts so hugely, I don’t even know how to begin to truly move through it. It’s just such a depressing irony that I started drinking when he died. I mean, really started drinking.

Why a depressing irony? Because my dad was 33 years sober – all 33 of those years spent in AA – when he died at the age of 60 in April 2003. He was helped and loved there and he helped and loved so many others in return. 200, 250 people showed up to his funeral and I can’t even guess now how many were program friends. More than half? His funeral was run like a meeting, like he wanted. And everyone who got up to speak about him talked about his astonishing humility. He always knew he had more left to learn, even though from his admiring daughter’s perspective, he knew everything.

I hope I can learn to be humble like he was. I hope I can be half the wise person he was. I miss him so terribly. I think if he were here, he would be sad at what I let alcohol do to me. But I know he would also be proud of me for walking into one of those rooms. I want so much to talk to him right now.

I’m choking up and tearing up too much now, and I’m at work, so I’ll end here for today.

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12 thoughts on “AA

  1. It's so understandable to want to avoid grief – it hurts. Big time. But boy can it help sometimes too.

    Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful person. If you go to AA, I hope you hear some of his words there. xoxo

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  2. Mel- we all have something in our lives that we say is the hardest thing we've ever dealt with and we don't know how we made it through, but we did. You will get through this. And you will look back and be so proud of yourself, and hopefully wonder how it all worked out so well. I've known you a long time, and you are a fierce woman! (And I mean that in the best way!)

    I can only imagine that you are in a (mentally) overwhelming cloud right now. But I am reaching out for you, as are all of your friends and family. We will all be here to support you in whatever way you need. And for those who are judgmental… well, this being a public blog, I'll keep those particular thoughts to myself. πŸ™‚

    I know that you and I have different spiritual beliefs, yet they are so very similar at their cores. You (and Steve) are in my daily prayers, as always. I don't say it often, but I love you. And I have faith in you.

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  3. I love your honesty, M. That's the first step to recovery.

    I think at AA you will find many others who need to grieve as well. And good for you for going into it with an open mind. We can all learn.

    “Sorrow makes us all children again, destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.” – Emerson

    Proud of you, M, and glad you are my friend.

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  4. D – Thank you so much honey. *Hug*

    ~~BRB Queen~~ – Thank you!!

    Mel – He was wonderful. And he was definitely with me tonight. Thanks for reading. xo πŸ™‚

    Julie – I love you so, so much too. Only you know the way I miss him…

    Kerri – You don't know how much I value your words and your support. I'm feeling pretty positive, but definitely overwhelmed. I'll get there. And I love you too. Very much.

    Cary – Honesty, yes, it's hitting me how important that is. And I am going in open. I really am. That's a great quote. And I know I always say this, but thank you for being my friend.

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  5. mel – i hope it's okay that i'm here.

    your dad would be so proud of you. with all that time in the program, he knew very well that we all fall down, that sometimes life just kicks your knees out. it's the getting back up, however many times it takes, and continuing on your journey that matters.

    you know very well that humility and giving up control are struggles for me, too. πŸ™‚ i've gotten my ass kicked really hard in the last several years in ways that taught me why pride is a sin. self-respect, pride in accomplishment, these are good things. but the toxic kind of pride that has kept me too trapped in my own pain and too afraid of losing whatever was at stake to reach out – that has held me back in big ways for so long. it's so freeing to let go of that.

    i'm deeply glad for and proud of you for taking these hard steps. regardless of time or distance, i hope you know that you always have my love, respect, and support.

    *hugs you tight*

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  6. Honey, even when you were drinking you never forgot about your Dad. Do you know how much I learned about him from your calls to me? How you love just shone through your words? The pain was there too, but I remember the love most of all. How proud you were of him. I think that's why I never minded listening to you even when I could tell you were pretty toasted. It was something you needed to get out. You needed to be heard.

    I am very proud of you for admitting you need the support. I know he is too.

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  7. Thanks Jess. I did need to be heard. Unfortunately, I don't remember any of that. I can imagine though…

    Carrie. Oh Carrie. I certainly do not mind you in this space. You are welcome any time. You who have known me for so long and also know what all this means to me. *Hugs you tight right back*

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  8. So we're both ripping open old wounds right now! I feel like we're experiencing so much of the same thing. My dad is about to have 24 years, but he's ill so hasn't been able to go to meetings in years.

    I think the only way is straight through the feelings. Which hurts like hell. But it looks like you have a lot of people in your corner. And you can count me in there too.

    Feel free to email as well if you feel like it (link in my profile). Big hugs to you!

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