Monday, July 11, 2016
An ordinary day. Well, no, I take that back...I asked for help. That's ridiculously hard for me to do at all, much less ask my mother-in-law but that's exactly what I did. Middle had the car for his work and wasn't going to be done till 6:30 so my plan was to take the 4:20 bus. Yeah, well, my work ran over so I missed the bus but was done by a hair past five. Choice A was to wait till Middle could pick me up at closer to 7 than 6:30 because he never gets out on time but Choice B was to swallow my pride, call the woman who lives maybe five blocks from my work, have her drive the 6-mile commute and get home in time to not worry ABL (or the dog, for that matter.)
She was only too happy to do it and was gracious besides. Oh she had to slip in one small dig but hey, in the grand scheme of things I can live with that. By the time Middle got home I had the four-legged critters fed and dinner for the two-legged critters on the table. It was actually a huge step in the personal-growth department but like a wild animal on the doorstep I'm trying not to stare at it too much lest it bolt back into the blue. Also like a wild animal I'm not sure it will come back.
Speaking of "come back" let's pull the pin I put in AA last night. I like Alcoholics Anonymous; it's gotta be one of my top three favorite religions. I see that it does lots of people lots of good. I fell in love with Anne Lamott more than two decades ago and followed Mr Sponsorpants for years before I ever tried to quit myself. Mary Karr. Caroline Knapp and her friend Gail Caldwell all speak highly of it. Right before I tried to quit I bookmarked the e-page of local meetings on one of my computers. I work in healthcare and there was a unit on addiction which included going to two separate AA meetings in two different parts of the city where I lived at the time and that was all right enough that if anyone ever said "hey, I was just getting ready to go to a meeting; wanna come with me?" I'd happily say "Sure!"
But. I don't do well with organized religion at all even really hang-loose ones. Anything which has catechism or lists or rules or steps or commandments mentioning any kind of deity right up front is going to be off-putting for me. That's the first part of why I'm personally not heavily into the twelve-step scene. Given that I've been a lifelong agnostic-at-best but attended church (Methodist) throughout my late childhood and early adulthood to sing in the choir I considered trying AA anyhow and just not worrying too much about the godstuff...
...Till I realized that like churches, meetings are in communities and mine is a tiny one. Sure there's the ego issue of not necessarily wanting all the other small-town members to know that I was there at all but that is easily overcome. What is not so easily overcome would be having to pretend like I didn't know those people if I ran into them anywhere else. The town is small enough and my workplace large enough that some people from work tend not to make eye contact or greet each other in the grocery but that's very much Not Me. I tell everyone flat-out "I'm the kind of person that if I know you I'm gonna say hi to you even in the middle of the liquor store." That always gets big laughs though I noticed people seemed awkward there...let's put a pin in "secretive versus open drinking" though or I'll sidetrack myself totally. Anyhow the point is that I wasn't keen on having a support group but not being able to acknowledge it in public. Nor was I keen on having whatever part of the local fishbowl was in the meetings know whether I did or didn't manage to stay sober. Too much pressure.
Lastly I can't get behind the whole "surrender" thing. I know the first step in fixing a problem is acknowledging there IS a problem and everyone who drinks too much is exceedingly good at twisting/denying/changing/ignoring the "too much" part but for me surrendering is taking it too far the other direction. Especially on top of the god-as-we-understand thing. I once read it summed up as "I can't; God can; think I'll let him" and that, at a very deep core level, is also Not Me.
So that's it, really...I could see myself participating from time to time and think any gathering of open-minded individuals with a common purpose has potential to do great good but I can't see it ever being the one primary tool I use to carve sobriety out of this block of life.
I see it's well past my usual bedtime though so I must call it a night. Keep fighting the good fight.