A few more meetings

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.

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9 thoughts on “A few more meetings

  1. Mental Rollercoaster June 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm Reply

    Great post Kate – I feel as though we’re sharing a mind. I identify with everything you mention, especially comparing myself to others. I blogged about it recently: http://mentalrollercoaster.com/2013/06/08/day-81-recovery-and-reflections/
    Congratulations on sharing freely at a meeting; that’s a tough thing to do. Cheers!

    • soberjournalist June 24, 2013 at 10:16 pm Reply

      Yes I see we share very similar thoughts on this! You’re right about it being dangerous thinking. And I think the truth is every drinker can find someone worse than them if they look hard enough…

  2. Lydia June 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm Reply

    Hi – I have 29 years sober also, and I don’t still need to go to AA. I still want to go to AA. It is the biggest blessing in my life. They say, “Don’t quit before the miracle.” My miracle was that after a time I wanted AA. Now I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

    Also, as far as the war stories and things you haven’t done yet, you answered your own question. You have to follow every one of those things with “yet.” As you’ve proven to yourself, these things will continue to happen. It always gets worse, never better. It is the nature of the beast.

    Congratulations on your sobriety. Hold on to what you have found.

    • soberjournalist June 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm Reply

      Thanks Lydia. I find it reassuring that you go because you want to. Congratulations on the 29 sober years. I am 29 years old so to think that you’ve been sober for my entire lifetime is pretty amazing.

  3. lifecorked June 25, 2013 at 12:57 am Reply

    Oh, I SO relate to this! I love what Lydia said about the “yet” part. I too have yet to do many things, but if I went back out I know without a doubt those yets would turn into dids. I always remind myself to look past the differences to the similarities.

  4. carrythemessage June 25, 2013 at 3:21 am Reply

    You’ve gotten great advice so far in the rooms and in here. Funny how everyone is saying the same things, eh? Hmmmmmm….lol.

    I tell guys the same thing – look for the similarities, not the differences. I have been one of *those* people who have had the pleasure of knowing what police cuffs feel like, who lost jobs, who drank daily, who drank first thing in the morning, who drank at work, who got separated, who lost friends, who lost money, etc. Now, I have heard stories that curl my toes and wonder how they were even alive, let alone in the rooms and doing well. So if I compared myself to them, then what? But I know that it was only a matter of time before I died,or killed someone. seriously.

    Our alcoholism loves to tell us that we’re different, that things are different, that we’re not that bad. Likes to keep us in the problem, and not the solution. but you’re seeing what it’s like to be in a place where you feel connected and the sense of knowing that you are not alone. It’s groovy stuff.

    And yes, meetings are where people with time (I am only two years, so I can’t speak to being a long timer, or even a mid timer!) get to be part of the fellowship, where they can meet newcomers and help them, and get the feeling of being useful and remembering what it was like is all part of coming to meetings. It’s not because we “have” to.

    Great post…keep it up!

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • soberjournalist June 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm Reply

      Yeah I’m sure it’s just coincidence that everyone is saying the same thing, right?! Another thing I like is how unique we all think we are – or at least how unique I think I am – and then you realise that err actually everyone has been through the same thing…

  5. Lydia June 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm Reply

    We call it “terminal uniqueness,” because feeling unique can kill you if you decide you’re not like everyone else, and can’t make it, or don’t need to. At 29, you have such an awesome opportunity to spend most of your adult life sober in AA. Congratulations.

  6. drypril April 10, 2014 at 6:06 am Reply

    Today I am on Day 4. I too have a high bottom and have spent more time than I used to drinking at home alone lately. Which used to seem pretty innocuous to me. Ironic coming from someone who had to drive her mom to the hospital because she broke her ankle tripping over the dog when she was drunk. This was lucky for her for two reasons-1) I happened to come home that night to do laundry. Otherwise my mom would have been home alone and 2) That scared her enough to make her quit drinking before something worse happened.

    It only recently occurred to me that that is the road that I have been on lately. Something needs to change or I am going to seriously hurt myself or someone else. In four days of sobriety, I have been taking a good long look at the near misses I’ve had, such as passing out with the toaster oven on cooking something I drunkenly wanted (I’m lucky the house didn’t catch fire), the nights I don’t remember how I got home (I’m lucky I didn’t end up dead in a ditch or worse)…you get the idea. I am not sure if my goal is forever, I am taking this one day at a time, and I must tell you, your blog has helped me get to Day 5 🙂 So thank you

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