I went to another online AA meeting tonight. I’m still going every few days or so. I wrote a huge long post about Saturday’s meeting but didn’t end up publishing it for a bunch of reasons.
Anyway, there are different online groups at different times, based on different towns throughout my local area, and like last time I went to this same particular group’s meeting, I didn’t really enjoy it. I think I would’ve enjoyed it if I hadn’t spoken, but since I was called upon along with everyone else, and I wasn’t sure if not sharing would seem ungenerous or non-participating somehow, I rambled on about whatever came to mind based on the topic.
The topic was boredom and loneliness. I am never bored, having either a lot to do or a lot I want to do, and I was not having any trouble not drinking, so I rambled on (for about 3-4 minutes) about my tendency to selfishly want to be “alone,” and writing and blogging a lot (which of course, isn’t really alone). It’s a kind of escapism for me and I’m not proud of it.
I also (still) did not say I am an alcoholic (as is customary when introducing oneself). I said Hi, I’m Nadine, and I have trouble moderating alcohol to my own personal satisfaction, and I prefer sobriety. But I guess I wasn’t clear and concise enough, nor confident-sounding (though I am confident about all that, in my mind at least), so later a man in the group who had obviously misinterpreted me started explaining (I’m tempted to say mansplaining) to me how good the groups are, that there was nothing to be ashamed of in calling ourselves alcoholics, and that I should still keep coming back!
Until he’d said that, I had *completely* thought the groups were good, that there was certainly *nothing* wrong with calling ourselves alcoholics—IF we thought that would be helpful to us as individuals, in maintaining our sobriety—and I had *fully* planned on coming back, just like every other time. But realizing I had been totally unheard or misunderstood made me believe/realize my communications skills are as lacking as I assume them to be… and it made me want to give up trying. (I am not looking for pity on this. I’m just venting.)
Another man in the group (not a new member) spent his share time talking about how drunk his friends had recently got, used some very politically incorrect language which honestly jarred me (it had the word date-r*pe in it, but was said jokingly) and, ironically, how awfully his friends tend to talk about women.
I don’t judge that, and understanding that we all come from different angles, I still managed to appreciate his share, as he was blunt truthful from his own point of view. It takes all types to make a world, and to help other people who want to practice sobriety too. What works for me, might not work for him or you.
But though I don’t judge those guys—or rather, of course my brain makes its analyses like anyone’s does, to process and sort information—but I understand where each of them is coming from, and yet I did feel judged—by both of *them.*
I feel judged for not being alcoholic enough, or not thinking of myself as alcoholic enough, or not being devout enough to their particular choice of lingo. Part of this is due to online format. There is no room for natural back and forth feedback.
But I came to the group willingly. I came there on my own. No one ever told me I was alcoholic or that I should go there. In fact, I was told the opposite. I finally went anyway. I have loved the Big Book since I first laid eyes into it, like it’s some kind of heavenly basic self-improvement instructional manual with outdated gender-and-higher-power terminology. Which it is. I do truly believe that book, and the spirit of AA, is a gift from god/universe/creative-power/great-universal-goodness/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I really do.
I looked forward to every time I showed up to these groups to meet with others who believe the same, though, like me, they have trouble talking about spirituality, trouble conforming, maybe; trouble fitting in, maybe; trouble being alone with themselves, but also trouble being with people, maybe. We all unanimously came to (or returned to) god as skeptics, it seems. I looked forward to meeting others who were like me in these ways, and listening to their stories. I just don’t feel comfortable sharing my own. I haven’t found the right lingo.
To be honest, all I really want to do is talk about my higher power. My connection to something good, anything good, a goodness that moves through different people at different times, many different types of people.
I saw it in two of the other men at the meeting tonight. They were brief, but they were balancing, and in their moments to share, they were brilliant. It had nothing to do with background I thought, which is different for each of us, but with experience (practicing sobriety), awareness, sensitivity and compassion. I hope to emulate them next time. Keep it positive, keep it grateful, and above all, keep it short.
Everyone has off nights, off hours, off moments. Tonight I’d thought, “That’s it. AA’s not for me after all. Yet another place I don’t fit in.” But now that I write it out, and feel more relaxed, I think I still might try going again.
I think I’m getting deep into some emotional shit again. I can’t believe I have to do this all over again. I think it has to do with my newfound re-dedication to sobriety. That just occurred to me before I started typing this post.
I’d been sober a lot during my experimental moderation period, but being dedicated to sobriety is a whole different story. It’s a mindset switch. And for me it had to do with a beginning renewed faith in goodness; in spirituality.
I’m pissed off at myself for cycling and “recurring” and going through old shit again. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. But in a way it’s “good” tears. It’s tears of realization that though the pale pink cloud is sadly already over for me, something deeper is coming. I’m actually starting to feel something. I mean something very very deep and not just minor cloud-hopping.
It’s all good though. Please don’t worry.
Lots of love, thanks for reading.