Monday, March 28, 2016

I'll Get The Non-Alcoholic Drama Please

I celebrate 30 days of sobriety tomorrow. I’m feeling pretty grateful for my strength and determination. I literally take it day by day and I find it to be a lot easier to handle that way. Life has certainly challenged me, though. If I didn’t have this gorgeous child to focus my attention on, I may have lost my shit a few times and been a little more tempted to say “fuck it, dude. Let’s go drinking.” 

My meeting tonight was interesting. The topic was God. Or as many people in the program look at it, Your Higher Power. I quietly chuckled to myself... such a sense of humor your so-called Higher Power has... 

The sharing began. One by one, I heard stories of God. Some women shared about growing up in religious households. Others shared about having very little exposure to religion in their lives. A few talked about being God-fearing women. But everyone came together in giving their God credit for their sobriety. 

It’s a good sized group and with under an hour designated for sharing, not everyone has a chance to talk. As the time winded down, it looked like I was in the clear. I mean I could always pass but that's not really my style. But not getting picked to share to begin with? I was probably better off this week...  

As one woman finished, it was announced that there was only time for one more share. 

“You know who I’d like to hear from?” the last sharer announced, “Tina.” 

Guess I should’ve seen that coming. 

* * *

“Hi, I’m Tina. And I’m an alcoholic. I’m also an Atheist. 

“I’m laughing because it’s so appropriate that this subject would come up this week. You see, I made the cardinal sin of social media this week: I gave my opinion on something. Even worse, it was on religion. A work colleague, who has recently been exploring a newfound love of religion, called me out on my beliefs and after a conversation that started out as fairly adult turned snarky and passive aggressive, things ultimately ended in an unfriending. 

“Probably the worst part about being an Atheist is that when a situation presents itself where it’s appropriate to announce my beliefs, I typically get looks of sympathy. Like people feel so sorry for me that I don’t believe in God. 

“I grew up going to church off and on all the way into my early twenties. My parents weren’t overly religious. My alcoholic grandmother was very religious. She said I was going to hell because I wasn’t baptized. That was some of my earliest exposure to religion. And alcohol for that matter. 

“The older I got, the less church and its teachings made sense to me. I studied a few different religions but it all seemed to be one big made up story designed to make people feel better. And that wasn’t enough for me. So I turned away from religion and put my faith into things I could see, feel, touch and believe. Science made sense. Proof made sense.

“At the risk of sounding cold, there was really no love lost in this unfriending situation although I’ve had to run some interference at work as there is now a suspicious rumor going around that I ‘hate Christians’. Luckily, people I am truly close to have more respect and understanding of my beliefs and vice versa. However, it reminded me of the concern I had when I first considered attending these meetings. I avoided them because I figured everyone would ‘God’ me to death and I would feel alienated. Not only has that not happened, but this particular meeting has been one of my favorites and I’ve genuinely enjoyed listening to everyone’s shares. 

“I may not believe in God, but I think I can understand the concept of a Higher Power. For me, it’s my son. He just turned six months old. He is definitely the reason that I started coming to these rooms. However, what I’ve come to realize throughout these past 30 days is that the reason I keep coming... is because of me. Because I deserve it. 

“So thank you all for sharing and for being here. It makes me proud to have chosen the same path. 

“And no, I don’t hate Christians.” 

* * *

I drove home with a smile on my face. A real one. Which felt nice as there hasn’t been much to smile about lately. Home is rough. I’m sad about our situation and am not sure we can recover. I’m already working on a budget so that I can afford to stay in the house by myself. I have a shared-baby plan in my head. I’ve moved into the nursery and have been sleeping in there. Yeah, that kind of rough. 

But I’m still celebrating 30 days tomorrow. And there is still a lot to be happy and hopeful for. My son is still my everything and I know every decision I make is for him, even if it’s hard for me. 

I still don’t believe in God. But I do believe that my son was given to me for a reason. I was too stubborn, angry and depressed to do anything productive with my life before him. Now, I have every reason in the world to be great. It’s way more difficult, but that usually results in higher rewards. 

But I know I can't please everyone. And as far as those that don't like me or are uncomfortable with my beliefs, with 454 friends still left on Facebook and countless more in the real world, I don't believe I'll be missing that particular drama.


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    2. I'm reading that life winds a difficult path, and leaves little room for error, but you'll be god-damned if your every move isn't made explicitly considering your son. I love this for that aspect, but sorry to hear of the challenges. Chips don't fall where they shouldn't, and burdens aren't issued to those ill-prepared for them. You are vastly prepared, it seems, to face the bumps in the road that lay ahead. Do what you think is best for ONE person at all costs, and that person isn't an adult yet. Anything else is part of the learning curve. All the best, your friend. :)

  2. I hate hearing stories of Christians judging and attacking others based on their beliefs. If it's worth anything at all Christian myself, I'm sorry on behalf of that person. I know you're tough as nails but that's so rude and not a proper representation of the faith she claims to practice.

    Anyways, you're awesome. And your son is so so cute. He's proud of you and so am I!