Yesterday was tough. I went to an AA meeting last night, but that was a last-minute decision. I typically go to the only meeting that my hometown hosts on Friday evenings because it’s nearby and the people there are generally very kind and welcoming. So, I was planning on attending this meeting, known as “The Outreach Group,” for the last few days. However, yesterday was certainly an off day for me. I officially found out that someone very, very close to me has relapsed on drugs. I sort of knew for the last couple of months that that was what was going on with him. And I care about him deeply, so I’d been carrying on living my life, trying to maintain my own sobriety of course, with him on my mind, thinking about his struggles frequently. I’ve relapsed myself, and it’s definitely not fun. Many addicts will tell non-addicts that when you “go back out,” you tend to use even more and you’re basically worse off. It’s entirely true. In fact, relapse can even be tougher, since you’ve become familiar with AA and its teachings, so often times, you adopt a self-defeated attitude and you trick yourself into thinking that this time, there really is nothing positive about sobriety, and you regard Alcoholics Anonymous with an erroneous “been there, done that” philosophy.
I know everything’s must be quite difficult for him at the moment, to say the least. I obviously want him to get help. I hate to see him using, of course. Well, I did attend last night’s meeting in my hometown, but I almost didn’t. My body ached and my mind was dark and somber throughout most of the day. AA was absolutely not in the reigning position of my Friday “to-do” list. Yet, I pushed myself to go at the last-minute.
The chair/speaker of the meeting was a woman that is from Maine but actually hadn’t been living here recently because she had cancer and was receiving treatments out-of-state. Thankfully, she is now cancer-free. Moreover, after she told her story, and also announced that in 2015 she would be celebrating a whopping 40 years of sobriety, (yes), she opened the meeting for discussion. And, also at the last minute, I decided to speak up and let the group know about what was going on with this person in my life; I wanted to let everyone know how & why it was affecting me so deeply. After I said my piece, and honestly, it felt good to sort of liberate my thoughts and get it all off my chest, the chair decided to stop the meeting and speak again herself. This, I actually, surprisingly, was not at all happy about. Now I know why in a great deal of AA meetings at the beginning you will hear someone announce that there is absolutely NO CROSS-TALKING by any means. She preceded to speak to me directly in front of everyone else in the meeting (maybe 20-30 people), and you know, give me advice, which was not what I was looking for in the least. I didn’t want that and it really made me very uncomfortable. This was the first time this had ever happened to me and I truly hope it does NOT happen to me or anyone else again. I wasn’t looking to be verbally consoled when I decided to share. And I don’t think anyone is when they do choose to speak up. Moreover, that’s actually the objective of Alcoholics Anonymous if you think about it. It’s exactly the place where you don’t want to make anyone feel pinpointed within the meeting itself, especially if the person is reserved and timid by nature, since that could irrevocably push him or her away from the program.
I can’t even tell you what this woman said because I wasn’t listening and I didn’t want to hear it. I honestly was upset. Since my mind and body was telling me not to go, perhaps it was my spirit that won out over both in the end by enabling me to actually attend it. I just have to remember, though, that we all have different spirits. And I should appreciate the fact that her spirit saw the need to help me after I spoke up, even if that isn’t what I wanted, and it certainly wasn’t in the correct fashion. In the end, I think I’m still glad I went…
You know, I think I am.