Recently, I had a discussion with a new friend. Upon hearing that I was sober, he asked, “Isn’t the whole AA thing a bit ridiculous? I mean, why bother?”
It became clear as he continued that he thought that attending meetings on a regular basis, often for years on end, was unnecessary. “Go, do those Twelve Steps and just stop drinking,” he remanded.
Well, this wasn’t the first time that I had heard such opinions. A close relative had asked me during my third sober year. “You’re not still going to those meetings are you?”
Meeting Makers Make It
In both cases I answered along these lines…
“I’m an addict you see. It is not only that I drink too much, but that I am obsessed with drinking. I drank to alleviate all my stressors and to not have to look at the reasons behind those anxieties…
When the time came that my choices were sobriety or death, prison, or institutionalization, I figured that sobriety certainly seemed to have the best outcome. But attaining that new way of life after years of being numb was something I could not do alone.
I needed others who could guide me. I needed others who would not judge me. I needed others who had ‘seen the forest for the trees.’
Sobriety is more that not drinking, in my opinion. Sobriety is a lifestyle. Here’s an example; if you diet for a period of time and lose weight by eating less and by eating healthy foods, you will get trim. If after a year of dieting you say. “Gee, I’m thin- I might as well eat what I’d like now- chance are you’ll gain weight once again. To keep the weight off, you must permanently maintain those changes.
I know that I must never drink again or my addiction will once again take over. I know that AA teaches many HOW to keep from drinking again and WHY to keep from drinking again.
I have the Twelve Steps as a manual of sorts and as an addict, I need time to accept and put those steps into play. I need to sort through years of dysfunction. I need to come to terms with the harm that my addiction has caused and I need to learn that my stressors are manageable in healthy ways.
Importantly, I also need to embrace a Power greater than myself. My higher Power walks with me day and night and listens to my prayers at any given time. I believe my higher Power knows that I’m trying and helps to carry me through difficult times.
Meetings: Shared Experiences, Help for My Journey
Alcoholics Anonymous guides alcoholics through all these experiences. Why would I want to figure all this out on my own when I can have support and compassion from others? When I can learn from the experience of those who have walked the same road. And, why in the world would I rather sit home alone when I can share with a fellowship of others?”
I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, sobriety is a journey not a destination.
Author: Katie H. is a writer, recovering addict, and mother based in Connecticut.
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