I went to an AA meeting last night. I started to fall asleep half-way through. I’m not sure if I was bored, tired, or simply too comfortable. I don’t like the meeting I’m attending, but the place I’m currently working has very few options and I needed to get out of my motel room and be around people – human beings. I didn’t care for the discussion topic either, and as I listened to everyone speak, I was thinking about how alcoholic I am. Am I REALLY that bad?
I know, without a doubt, that I was drinking too much. I was averaging 3 beers on a dialy basis every day for almost the past 6 months. Previous to that, I had spent almost 90 days trying to be sober. I had a sponsor, or a closed-mouth friend, as they are sometimes called (the AA book never uses the word sponsor) and I was working through the 12 steps of “the program”. But before that excursion into sobriety, I was drinking quite a bit too. I knew why I drank – to numb all the emotional pain I felt. I had given up on life, I had given up on positivity, I had given up on motivation, I had given up on financial matters, I had given up on trying to be healthy, I had given up on being a father, I had given up on being a husband, I had given up on friendships, I had given up on my career, I had given up on my passions, I had given up on God, I had given up on my religious faith, I had given up on so much and I had given up on everything. I was simply existing, and that existence was becoming unbearable.
If you read the book on AA (Alcoholics Anonymous, just in case some of you are unaware), I was experiencing everything that “The Big Book” indicates are characteristic of being an alcoholic. Almost a year ago, I was working with a therapist that was helping me in tremendous ways and it was her prompting that sent me to AA in the first place. I took he advice, because I was suicidal at the time. This isn’t just a blatant, over-exaggerating, pay-attention-to-me attention seeking action. I literally tied a noose in my basement, stood on a chair, slid my head through the noose and considered jumping off the chair and ending it all, because the constant arguments I had with my wife were unbearable. Something hit me to convince me otherwise and I began seeing the therapist that eventually told me to go an AA meeting.
I was reluctant, but went anyways. The thing I recognize is that I was doing pretty well while I was doing it, but I have some hang-ups about the whole thing. For example, there is a chapter that starts out suggesting that people don’t fail when they follow the suggestions in the book. To me, that’s akin to saying high school abstinence programs work well when teenagers don’t have sex. And after mentioning that on someone else’s blog, yesterday, I really began to think about it. It’s the idea that you can live your life the way someone else says you should live it and then everything will be alright. Honestly, talking about drinking so damn much makes me want to drink.
I also have some major issues with God. I’m struggling with this concept and I fear that believing in him or her might mean I have some responsibility in things in my life. And some of those things, I’m not so sure I fully understand. AA suggests that there needs to be an active relationship with God “as you understand him”, but this means I will have to take responsibility for some things that I don’t truly believe are right. My understanding of a Higher Power is troubling to me, because I feel so conflicted about that understanding. On the one hand, I know that my life’s choices can be forgiven and I can be fully invited back into the folds of the faith I once knew. On the other hand, it means that I am doomed to the same feelings I’ve always had. For me, I feel like I have to completely reject the God of my understanding in order to progress.
I’m starting to ramble and I know I’ll need to reconcile this eventually…
I can’t stop thinking about a cold beer today, but I am well aware it’s pulling at me.
I’m on Day 12 and I will make it today.