I’ve been trying to get to as many meetings as I can. Already, I’m starting to recognise a few faces and am working out which ones I like best.
On Saturday I went to a meeting that was so packed there were at least ten people standing. There were three new people there and I wondered whether they felt intimidated by the size of the group, because I did. It was a meeting of contrasts. After going to great lengths to welcome the newcomers, the chair also presented one guy with a card to celebrate his 29th year sober. I don’t know what the new people thought but personally I was torn between admiration and horror. After 29 years he still has to go to AA?
Yesterday I went to a women-only meeting that was much smaller and I actually felt comfortable enough to share, voluntarily! This time I did manage to say all the things I’d tried but failed to say last week. It was a really good meeting and everyone was so friendly. Two more people gave me their numbers. I am going to try to share more in meetings. How are people going to get to know me otherwise?
If there’s one thing I’m struggling with it’s my tendency to compare war stories in meetings. I’ve been told – several times – that you should try to identify and not compare, but sometimes I can’t help thinking “Oh, I never did that.” That kind of thinking leads me straight down the “maybe I wasn’t that bad ….?” route. It turns out there are quite a few things that I never did. I never got caught drink driving, I never woke up in a prison cell. I didn’t lose my job. I didn’t drink everyday and I never drank in the morning.
Until this year I would’ve also been able to say that “I never missed work because I was hungover” but near the end I did call in sick. Ten years ago I’d have thought drinking alone was weird but near the end virtually all my drinking was on my own. So perhaps I would’ve ended up doing some of those other things, eventually.
At the meeting yesterday one lady was talking about a local man, who’d died after falling down the stairs drunk, but no one found him for days. It really made me stop and think. I’d always thought I was quite safe drinking myself into oblivion, so long as I was at home. But what if I’d had an accident whilst drunk? When would anyone have found me? Fortunately I never seriously injured myself, although I did burn my hand quite badly and I was forever passing out with the oven on, burning the hell out of whatever I’d shoved in there. I’d do things like stagger to the corner shop wearing my coat over my pyjamas, clutching my purse in one hand and keys in the other, virtually asking to be mugged.
Anyway – I think I’m rambling here. I feel AA has brought up a few issues I thought I’d already dealt with. Why am I still questioning my alcoholism? It’s not as if I’m going to go away and start drinking again, just so I can do something really bad and say: “Yep! Check! I crashed a car AND I lost my job. Yippee. Now I’m definitely an alcoholic.” I guess it’s that cheeky devil on my shoulder again, returning just as I start to think it’s gone away.