Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Time to Give, A Time to Take


I’m celebrating 90 days of sobriety today. For some reason it feels like a much bigger accomplishment than 60 days. I’m not sure why.. maybe because 90 days might actually be the longest I’ve ever gone without alcohol since I first started drinking. Even when pregnant, I did have the occasional glass of wine... convincing myself it was “good for the baby”. But these days, I’m not even cooking with wine. My how the times have changed. 

I won’t be celebrating my accomplishment with my twelve-step program, however. I’ve decided to continue my journey on my own. Well, not on my own, exactly. I still have tremendous support from my friends and family. And, of course, this little face is my biggest cheerleader, even if he doesn’t know it.


I’m not saying I’ll never return to meetings. I can definitely say they are beneficial and I certainly appreciated the additional support while I was getting the ball rolling. However, there are some things about the meetings that I’m just not incredibly keen on. And believe it or not, it’s not the religious aspect. That’s easy to look over. I mean, shit, I scroll pass tons of “pray for this” and “amen to that” posts on Facebook every single day. 


A woman at one of my meetings shared a pretty humorous story one night. She talked about being out with friends and when the waiter brought over the Rusty Nail someone had ordered, the woman knew immediately that the drink was prepared incorrectly. It was missing Drambuie. She could tell just by looking at it. She then went on to talk about how she used to finish everyone’s drinks at the bar, incredulous that someone would actually leave alcohol in a glass. It was a funny story. Also sad, and very real to alcoholism. It was memorable and a good share.

Two weeks later, at the same meeting, that woman had an opportunity to share again. Without missing a beat, she told the same exact story. Word for word, with the same inflections in her voice, the same pauses for laughter. I subtly glanced around to see if anyone else was visibly reacting the way I think I was. No... still engaged. Still laughing. Did it only bother me? 

In the other meeting I attended regularly, everyone shares every time. One man in particular has been a part of the program for over 20 years. He got sober very young, before he was even legally able to drink. After he shares, he always finishes with the same proclamation: that his life just keeps getting better and better. I remember thinking, when I first started going to this meeting, about how awesome things must be for him. He must have such a wonderful life. Through more shares, I found out that he’s been married and divorced multiple times, he’s lost a child to drug addiction and has another that is currently addicted to heroin. But his life just keeps getting better? I don’t understand... 

The sponsor thing has always been a bit of a hot button for me as well. I was told by someone recently that her sponsor was upset that she wasn't being in service enough. She wasn’t attending enough meetings, offering up herself as a sponsor and, in general, giving enough back to the program. You know what that reminded me of? Church. One of the reasons I stopped attending church was because I was always being asked to “be in service” which I never really liked doing. Okay, maybe that makes me a bad person. A “taker” instead of a “giver”. But are you saying I don’t deserve the benefits of either organization because of it? I mean, there are countless people who can’t wait to donate their time. Is it so bad that I’m not one of them? After all, I thought the only real requirement to be a part of the program was simply a desire to stop drinking. Am I to understand that the longer I attend, the more likely it is that it won’t be enough?

Like I said, I’m not saying I’ll never attend again. There are things I really, really like about going. I love the support, the camaraderie. I love the sharing, as long as it’s genuine and not scripted or practiced. I love the fact that people have chosen a different path in order to better their lives. I love being a part of that. But I don’t want to sponsor someone. I don’t want a sponsor myself. I don’t want to sit on a committee. I don’t want to show up early to hug everyone as they walk in. And I don’t want to attend a meeting every single day, or multiple times a day. 

I just don’t want to drink. That’s it. 

There is one lady that I met who checks in with me from time to time via text. I guess she’s the closest thing I’ll probably ever have to a sponsor. I hadn’t been to a meeting for a couple of weeks and got a text from her asking if I was staying sober. She was concerned that by missing meetings, I had a higher chance of relapsing, which I’m sure is common and therefore, a genuine concern. I explained that I had surrounded myself with friends and family that were supportive of my goals and that I was focusing on my move and getting the next chapter of my life underway. I also promised that if I felt the urge to drink, if the pull became very strong, I would definitely go to a meeting. And I meant it. 

But here I sit, after packing more boxes for my quickly approaching move, and I’m looking around the room with sadness. I’m getting ready to move me and my son out of the house I brought him home to. Not really “taking him away” from his dad, but taking him to a different home where he won’t be with him every day. While I’m not exactly going to be a single parent, since I know Johnny will still be incredibly active in Xander’s life, we will be co-parents, not a cohesive family unit. We will share decisions, but not each other’s lives. I will live my life and he will live his. And I know it’s the right thing to do. But that doesn’t mean it’s the way I wanted things to work out. It’s not how I pictured things. And it makes me sad, it makes me lonely, it makes me frustrated. However, it does not make me want to drink. 

So, meetings or no meetings, here I am. 90 days sober. I’m waiting for my life to start getting better but as long as I stay the course, I can’t see it getting worse. I don’t miss the drink, I really don’t. But I do miss smiling and the meetings have not brought that back into my life. I hope maybe I can find that somewhere else down the road. Luckily, my sweet boy does plenty of smiling for both of us right now.


I will still celebrate today. It’s still an important milestone. And I don’t ever want to discourage anyone from doing whatever they think they need to do to move past their addictions. Meetings, therapy, exercise, meditation, family, whatever. Everyone’s journey looks different. It’s the end result that is the most important. My new life is more important than my vice. I don’t know if that means it’ll get "better and better"... but it is more important.

And knowing that makes all the difference.


2 comments:

  1. Congrats on 90 days.

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  2. Congratulations on 90 days! I've experience my share of the Anonymous programs and I feel the same way. It's a great tool to have but I found myself thinking "I'm done with the rose colored glasses! I want to hear the healed shit! I need to hear it because I don't want to be in this position and I don't want to be fooled into thinking it is going to be easy." Then it dawned on me. A lot of people need to hear the positive more than the negative hard shit. And a lot of people aren't comfortable with the hard shit. For me I needed someone to listen to my hard shit with out giving me pity or sympathy, just understanding. So, I understand where you are coming from. If you ever need a friend or mommy time, I'm here to help at any time!!

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