i’m wondering if i’ve totally stalled out, or if perhaps i’ve finally been chemical-free long enough to have returned to “normal life”, the place where there is continual struggle and frustration mixed with moments of happiness, and where every single second is not an epiphany. maybe i needed that epiphany period to get me through the bumps of early-early sobriety, and now that things have settled down (ie-the craving/urge to drink is entirely gone), i can go back to dealing with the business of daily life.
in 2 weeks i will have 6 months; that’s half of a year!!!! this was unthinkable… no, impossible to me a year ago. then i had “slowed down” and was no longer drinking daily, but still “going out” and binge-drinking/blacking out on a regular basis (ie- “i’ll only go out on the weekends, only on tuesdays, only after an exam”, or whatever the fake rule was that i made up for myself). two years ago i was still drinking on a daily basis. i would promise myself not to drink, and then at the slightest thing i would… i wouldn’t have imagined my life today as being possible. getting through even one day without drinking (or smoking weed, my fallback plan when i tried to quit drinking) seemed impossible, let alone 5 months’ worth of days in succession. so i am grateful for this.
AA is a puzzle to me at this point. on the one hand, it has really helped me to learn about my addictive thought patterns, and has provided support at key junctures where i may’ve relapsed without it. on the other hand sometimes i feel like people are too rigid, and they get dogmatic and power-trippy about sobriety, how to do it/not do it, and claim that because you are “new” (or new relative to them/their sobriety date), then your input is invalid and a manifestation of addictive thinking. if you disagree with the way they do things, or if you have a different way of doing it that works for you (and they feel threatened by that difference) then you are an object for attack (subtle or open) and people have said/implied that i do things the way i do because i’m fighting to hang onto my sick/addictive personality/thinking.
it’s the worst of middle school clique/conformity mentality… this is why i have always been a “lone wolf” sort of person, who may participate in a group but never really becomes a part of it… there are things a group can do that an individual cannot, but i do not like what groups do to incorporate the individual into the body… erasing all traces of who/what you are/what you think, usually linked to a power hierarchy where people with more seniority get to decide what traits/ideas are to be eliminated… regardless of whether they’re right or wrong.
i’m not trying to put down AA, especially if it works for others. it works for me, too in a lot of ways… but i have to relocate to some new groups and make some new friends. i’m kind of an artsy type, a writer, a political activist, etc… and apparently most of my peers are not getting sober. so i still feel isolated. although recently i stopped going to the really obnoxious meetings and only kept the one discussion group, mostly young college folks, where it’s a little less close-minded… and i’ve also started going back into my original community: going to poetry readings, and gallery openings, where there is almost always wine/other alcohol… and yet i’ve enjoyed these events without alcohol and without the feeling that i’m “missing out”/being deprived. and it’s been nice. i have not gone to any shows (to see my friends’ bands play) because they are always in bars, and i don’t really feel comfortable in bars, plus i don’t feel confident about being in a bar and not relapsing, since bars are where i did 99% of my drinking (i wasn’t one to drink much at home)...
my new sponsor… i really admire her. but i’m also kind of intimidated by her. i’m realizing that i have serious problems trusting/forming relationships with women. most of the women in my local meetings are hard for me to relate to, and they shun me because i’m not very feminine or demure, i am domestic in the sense that i have children, but otherwise i’m pretty intellectual, etc and they seem really threatened or alienated by that… my sponsor (who is from a nearby city, not my immediate area) is also an intellectual, a professor in fact… i look up to her but i feel like her approach to me is so cerebral and so lacking intuition that she gets an idea in her head, and that’s it. if you don’t do it her way, it’s because “you’re not serious about staying sober”. um, really? she barely knows me…. so i’m obviously building up some resentments. ugh. more of those! :)
i guess in AA men and women aren’t supposed to mix (for fear that sexual tension will undermine the goal of recovery)? this hasn’t been fully explained to me, but i’ve heard it over and over again as a warning. i guess there’s some sense to it, but it makes me feel isolated since most of my close friends have always been men, because (i’m going to generalize a little bit here) they seem less intimidated by me, more comfortable allowing for personal differences, and less upset by a direct/assertive approach (which women seem to take offense to or perceive as a personal attack)... recently a guy in my homegroup gave me his # and said to give him a call if i need/want to talk… he has a lot of the same interests (he’s an artist as well) and is intelligent (ie-i could have a conversation with him)... and i am very clear about not getting into a relationship/sexual entanglement, because my last relationship (2 years ago!!!!) was very abusive and i have promised myself not to get involved with anyone until i have 2 years of sobriety and have gone through intensive therapy (which i’m in); i have a list of goals that i will complete before i get involved with anyone/consider myself ready to be on the market… so, can i be friends with this guy? i don’t see any reason why not. but i guess i have a big fear of judgment from the group, because i get the impression that it’s frowned on. comments? (to those in AA who may know more about it than me?)
my sponsor is pushing me to rush through my step 4 (moral inventory), whereas i feel like i need a lot more time to do it. i really want to go through all of my old journals to help me do my inventory, because i have a habit of blocking things out almost as soon as they happen… so the memory is all but lost, while the bad feelings remain. that is why i’ve kept a journal every day since i learned how to write complete sentences… because i knew my life would disappear without them. on top of that, i can’t remember most of what i did while i was drinking because most of the time i was blacked out… but i wrote consistently, even then, even literally with a drink in my hand at the bar… (i know that’s a little weird). anyway, i want to go through all of my journals, piece by piece do my inventory using the journals to help me, and then burn them all: journals, inventory, etc. i’ve been wanting to do this for years, to burn them all and take the ashes and throw them in the ocean. writing is very therapuetic for me, so i think going through them and writing about it/doing an inventory with help me alot… but she expects me to get it done in a week, because she wants me to do one step per week… and i’m thinking, is it really necessary to arbitrarily do it like that, just because she wants to? isn’t this my recovery? i don’t think that it’s my addictive thinking trying to talk me out of sobriety… it’s not like i’m refusing to do an inventory… it’s that i want to do it differently, in a way that makes sense to me.
thoughts? should i go ahead and do it my sponsor’s way, just for the sake of… (i don’t even know what it would be for the sake of?) or do i try to talk to her and explain the way i want to do it? if she rejects my plan for step 4, what do i do then? if she won’t support me in it, do i drop her as a sponsor? do i do my inventory my own way, separate from her, but still maintain the relationship? ugh… i’m getting ahead of myself here. :) i guess we’ll see what she says… but i think i am doing it my way, no matter what. (“that’s just your addictive thinking…” LOL)