We each have our own unique story and our own particular needs. What happens when an alcoholic goes to a meeting and the discussion causes pain or distress? What happens when the place that is supposed to be building us up actually tears us down?
Out of the corner of my eye I see her shudder and her face crumple. I want to take her hand, comfort her. But what is the etiquette? I have not been to enough Meetings to know. She leaves before the closing prayer. I want to follow her, give her a hug, comfort her. Seeing an alcoholic walk out alone with that much pain in her face is very troubling. Why does’t someone follow her? Why don’t I? Group Think? Peer Pressure?
Meetings are supposed to be safe, supportive places. Why didn’t She feel safe and supported? I admit, I also did not really feel safe and supported yesterday but it did not break me down. I entered the room from a different place than She did.
Each of us has our own journey but the farther I walk the Path of AA the more I question if it is the right Path for me. Don’t get me wrong, I AM an ALCOHOLIC. Each evening when I had a glass of wine, I poured another, and another until I felt enough buzz to pass out. I drank from 5:00pm on. I did not drink all day, but had I kept drinking I know I would have started earlier and earlier in the day as my life allowed. Had I kept drinking I would have again retreated to the darkness and quiet of my drunken brain when life hit me in the face with a stress I felt I could not handle. Had I keep drinking I would have missed all the beautiful days and joys that life has to give me.
I stopped. I gave control to God. I surrendered. I am an Alcoholic, but I did not walk down the path of alcoholism as far as most of the women in yesterday’s Meeting had. I did not loose my marriage, my children, my job, my dignity. The Rules say there is No Judgement in AA. Well, there might not be in AA, but it feels to me like there is in the minds of the women in that room. I feel them judging me by the phrases they place in their sharing, how important it is to go to meetings, to get a sponsor. It seems like they look right at me when they say these things. I feel like they question if I really am an alcoholic. Well, I am. I just stopped drinking sooner than they did.
This is my journey. With God leading the way, I’m finding my path.
FOOTNOTE: It’s been a little over a week since I wrote “Finding my own path…”. In that time I’ve attended other Meetings, talked with AA members, and gone back to the Meeting I referenced above. I now view AA in a new and more positive light. I can see the important role AA will play in the rest of my life. I also have a new perspective on my “home” meeting and look forward to learning and growing along with the meeting itself as it evolves in the years ahead.