Up and Down and All Around: Dealing with AA
I have been in and out of recovery since I was fifteen years old. I’m twenty-one now. My life has been up and down and all around. I have trudged through darkness and floated through light. Honestly I feel like I’m a footstep away from a drink, and yet a thousand miles away from one at the same time. It’s like I’m being dragged along by the seat of my pants by some Divine Hand. Sobriety can often be uncomfortable, but it sure is exciting.
Even after all these years, I have to say that every AA meeting I go to seems to get better and better. Or maybe I’m just becoming clearer and happier. I love the feeling of walking into that room and instantly feeling at home and understood. Everyone is so kind and attentive, they’ve all been through what I’m going through, and they’re willing to go to any lengths to help.
I remember one of the first meetings I went to when I was eighteen after I tried to get sober the second time. The topic chosen that night was about what early sobriety is like, how it changes and improves with time and how the “noise in the mind” is replaced by serenity as the program is worked. When I look back I have to smile, because even though I have had some periods of darkness in the past few years, I have experienced joy beyond what I could comprehend at that time.
I remember I cried at that meeting. The first time I cried in front of strangers since I was a small child. I explained that I had tried to tell my dad I was in AA and he screamed at me that I wasn’t an alcoholic and I was just being brainwashed. It was one of the most awful feelings I’ve ever felt after talking to my dad. The tone of voice he talked to me in was like I was a freak or something. I’ve never wanted to drink so much as I wanted to after I left his house that night. But I didn’t.
The older men in the meeting that night were very kind to me. They told me to give my dad some time and keep talking to him. That advice seems small, I know, but it has stuck with me through the years.
I realize now that working the 12 Steps means I’m going to be constantly growing, expanding, and changing. It means that I can’t rest on my laurels and accept the status quo if the status quo isn’t helping other people and in line with God’s will. This sort of existence can be uncomfortable for other people. Personally I know that my mom has trouble accepting who I am.
She actively abuses drugs (and her credit card), and I have spent a big chunk of my life desperately trying to get her to change and start living her life the way I think would be best for her. So really my mom and I are even. She thinks I’m being too rigid with my life in AA and I think she’s being too careless with hers.