AA and me
Saturday, July 14, 2012
I read a blog from a spark friend who needed to get sober but thought AA was too religious - it made me think about me and AA - I have been a member for seven years and sober as long. I sometimes joke and say that I am one of the few alcoholics that joined AA even before I became one... which is true in the sense that I only had one "yes" -answer to the twelve questions that AA has on their website to "rate" your problems with alcohol - they say if you answer yes on four or more, you are likely having or going to have problems with alcohol. All I had was my own anxiety that it was going the wrong direction that I might be in trouble some day if I did not do anything.
I live in Sweden that is very secular so the concept of God is not easy around here... but there is nothing like a little cancer if you want to become religious.. joke aside I entered AA and could not believe that it would help me because I just couldnt understand how. But I had tried so many ways and I used to succeed for one week, two weeks, sometimes months, but inevitably started to drink again, telling myself that I had no problem really, that I was exaggerating and fuzzing over nothing...Still I was not in big trouble but I could see that it was slowly progressing and I knew that I needed to do something before I passed that point of no return where I would no longer admit that I was having problems...
So I went to AA - and from that moment I was sober. I did not understand how it worked, I did not believe in the texts, I did not particulary liked the people, I felt awkward and strange and I was filled with doubt all the time - but I was sober and I did not have to put any effort into that.
And then the miracle happened that I had not counted on - I also changed inside. Very slowly I started to feel better about everything. I started to feel hope and trust, I started to be grateful for being me. That was a gift I had not counted on...
I still have not truly learned that lesson - for the moment i have not been to an AA meeting for two months - I have been to Acoa but I know I need the AA too. And what happens when I don´t go to meetings is that I start to change a little inside again. Not fast and I am very far from wanting a drink. But I start to get some of the old anxiety back and I know that if I don´t get myself to a meeting, I will sooner or later be back in the mental state I was before I joined AA.
As AA worked for me I went to other twelve step programs - OA and ACOA. OA has not helped me to get abstinent - I still overeat and binge. ACOA has been great lately as we started a studygroup and really started to talk about our "Inner children"
I have - of course - tried to analyze what it is that helps, it is certainly not the people as such or the strenght of the message or even the program of the twelve steps. Maybe it is the security I am getting from the meetings and the program. I can trust it even when the people being there does not "behave". I can share whatever I need without the fear of being commented or adviced or rejected. Maybe even more important for a codependenant as I - I can listen to other people sharing problems and fears without having to advice them, help them or even comment. It is SO relaxing, not having to "be there" for anybody, I just have to be there at the meeting.
And I learn that I am not alone, I get reminded that all my feelings have been felt by other people and even though we are not the same, we share the difficulty of balancing our lives in a healthy way.
The experience of AA meetings has helped me with ordinary meetings also. I have become a better listener, I am not as eager to interrupt or prove myself and my opinions as I used to be. As I write this I realize that I need to be more active in using twelve step principles in all my affairs...