Returning to meetings has been awkward. The first one I went back to a few weeks ago felt like I was walking into the rooms for the 1st time. I received smiles and welcomes and at the passing out of chips there was a long pause when ‘Surrender’ chips were offered. Glances in my direction as this ‘new fellow’ has come into the AA fold. I sat with nerves, strange nerves, as if I felt the need to explain myself, and I would just not at this moment.
It never ceases to amaze me how when I need to hear something it has always been presented in some form or fashion. When I walked in I needed to hear something that let me know that all of the negatives I had been stacking up in my mind as to why I should return to meetings were nothing more than my diseased thinking leading me further away from the very ideals, the very principles that helped save my life.
I heard folks talking in a clear and concise manner about the steps, about sponsorship, about experience, about life. I didn’t hear about ‘Drug Court’, and resentments about WSC or how, ‘The fellowship isn’t the same when I first came in’. It never ceases to amaze me to this day how we are reminded that we recover in the here and now…Day to day, moment to moment, and yet we live and feed off of the resentments of the past. Resentments founded in our very own recovery, our own Fellowships.
After the readings were done we went around the room with introductions. The floor was then open for discussion…. I could not wait any longer……
My name is Bob and I’m an alcoholic. I was told when I first came into recovery that if I went to a meeting other than NA, I should respect the house I was in.
It’s been almost a year since I have been to a meeting. It’s not that I have drank or used anything, it’s more that I felt disconnected from recovery after moving here and I just simply told myself each day that I was doing ok. In truth, I felt like I was losing my mind these last few months….So much has transpired over the last 2 years…..
And so I told them what was going on. Who I was, where I had been, and more importantly where I was at today. People listened; nodding their heads and making me feel welcome. I described how my mind is able to convince me of almost anything. The justifications I had been using, the behaviors that were becoming more prevalent, and lastly the loneliness and isolation were killing me.
Some people commented and I found I wasn’t alone. I was told of a man from the area that sober/clean decided that it was a good idea to jump off the Vicksburg Bridge in Mississippi because he was unable to come to grips with the realities of life sober without meetings. This may sound like a stretch but I remember my NA sponsor’s-sponsor telling stories of people who were in recovery for many years that simply just stopped coming to meetings. That they didn’t use, but they just faded into the woodwork of denial and behavior that led them to the rooms to start with.
I truly believe that using whatever substance is merely a symptom of the disease of addiction. That the behaviors, the feelings, the perceptions of self and reality were there long before the 1st drug was ever picked up. The mind is truly an amazing, complex thing. Our abilities to reason and evaluate are somehow not in alignment with what reality it is. The obsession or, ‘That fixed idea that takes us back time and time again to our drug of choice, or some substitute to try and recapture that ease and comfort we once knew’. That ease and comfort is our pillow and blanket from reality and self.
After the meeting people came up to me and told me they were glad I was there and had decided to come back. That they needed to hear what I had said as much as me needing to say it. I am currently going to 2 meetings a week and feel much better about things. My next step is to find a new sponsor which I am dreading to be honest. I have so much respect and love for my old sponsor I am afraid I will allow the comparison game to get in the way.
Our house has been quite and we have heard from our daughter sporadically. I worry quietly and try not to alarm my wife. I miss our daughter but I don’t miss the chaos and drama that comes with her. Our lives move forward in spite of her decisions. We have come to find out she told several people here different versions of how and why she decided to leave, none of which are important because I know what the truth is. I tried calling her today and got no answer. I sure would like to hear her voice…..