Alone/not alone

I went to another online AA meeting tonight. I’m still going every few days or so. I wrote a huge long post about Saturday’s meeting but didn’t end up publishing it for a bunch of reasons.

Anyway, there are different online groups at different times, based on different towns throughout my local area, and like last time I went to this same particular group’s meeting, I didn’t really enjoy it. I think I would’ve enjoyed it if I hadn’t spoken, but since I was called upon along with everyone else, and I wasn’t sure if not sharing would seem ungenerous or non-participating somehow, I rambled on about whatever came to mind based on the topic.

The topic was boredom and loneliness. I am never bored, having either a lot to do or a lot I want to do, and I was not having any trouble not drinking, so I rambled on (for about 3-4 minutes) about my tendency to selfishly want to be “alone,” and writing and blogging a lot (which of course, isn’t really alone). It’s a kind of escapism for me and I’m not proud of it.

I also (still) did not say I am an alcoholic (as is customary when introducing oneself). I said Hi, I’m Nadine, and I have trouble moderating alcohol to my own personal satisfaction, and I prefer sobriety. But I guess I wasn’t clear and concise enough, nor confident-sounding (though I am confident about all that, in my mind at least), so later a man in the group who had obviously misinterpreted me started explaining (I’m tempted to say mansplaining) to me how good the groups are, that there was nothing to be ashamed of in calling ourselves alcoholics, and that I should still keep coming back!

Until he’d said that, I had *completely* thought the groups were good, that there was certainly *nothing* wrong with calling ourselves alcoholics—IF we thought that would be helpful to us as individuals, in maintaining our sobriety—and I had *fully* planned on coming back, just like every other time. But realizing I had been totally unheard or misunderstood made me believe/realize my communications skills are as lacking as I assume them to be… and it made me want to give up trying. (I am not looking for pity on this. I’m just venting.)

Another man in the group (not a new member) spent his share time talking about how drunk his friends had recently got, used some very politically incorrect language which honestly jarred me (it had the word date-r*pe in it, but was said jokingly) and, ironically, how awfully his friends tend to talk about women.

I don’t judge that, and understanding that we all come from different angles, I still managed to appreciate his share, as he was blunt truthful from his own point of view. It takes all types to make a world, and to help other people who want to practice sobriety too. What works for me, might not work for him or you.

But though I don’t judge those guys—or rather, of course my brain makes its analyses like anyone’s does, to process and sort information—but I understand where each of them is coming from, and yet I did feel judged—by both of *them.*

I feel judged for not being alcoholic enough, or not thinking of myself as alcoholic enough, or not being devout enough to their particular choice of lingo. Part of this is due to online format. There is no room for natural back and forth feedback.

But I came to the group willingly. I came there on my own. No one ever told me I was alcoholic or that I should go there. In fact, I was told the opposite. I finally went anyway. I have loved the Big Book since I first laid eyes into it, like it’s some kind of heavenly basic self-improvement instructional manual with outdated gender-and-higher-power terminology. Which it is. I do truly believe that book, and the spirit of AA, is a gift from god/universe/creative-power/great-universal-goodness/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I really do.

I looked forward to every time I showed up to these groups to meet with others who believe the same, though, like me, they have trouble talking about spirituality, trouble conforming, maybe; trouble fitting in, maybe; trouble being alone with themselves, but also trouble being with people, maybe. We all unanimously came to (or returned to) god as skeptics, it seems. I looked forward to meeting others who were like me in these ways, and listening to their stories. I just don’t feel comfortable sharing my own. I haven’t found the right lingo.

To be honest, all I really want to do is talk about my higher power. My connection to something good, anything good, a goodness that moves through different people at different times, many different types of people.

I saw it in two of the other men at the meeting tonight. They were brief, but they were balancing, and in their moments to share, they were brilliant. It had nothing to do with background I thought, which is different for each of us, but with experience (practicing sobriety), awareness, sensitivity and compassion. I hope to emulate them next time. Keep it positive, keep it grateful, and above all, keep it short.

Everyone has off nights, off hours, off moments. Tonight I’d thought, “That’s it. AA’s not for me after all. Yet another place I don’t fit in.” But now that I write it out, and feel more relaxed, I think I still might try going again.

I think I’m getting deep into some emotional shit again. I can’t believe I have to do this all over again. I think it has to do with my newfound re-dedication to sobriety. That just occurred to me before I started typing this post.

I’d been sober a lot during my experimental moderation period, but being dedicated to sobriety is a whole different story. It’s a mindset switch. And for me it had to do with a beginning renewed faith in goodness; in spirituality.

I’m pissed off at myself for cycling and “recurring” and going through old shit again. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. But in a way it’s “good” tears. It’s tears of realization that though the pale pink cloud is sadly already over for me, something deeper is coming. I’m actually starting to feel something. I mean something very very deep and not just minor cloud-hopping.

Fuck.

It’s all good though. Please don’t worry.

Lots of love, thanks for reading.

xoxoxo

39 thoughts on “Alone/not alone

  1. “Fuck. It’s all good though. Please don’t worry” Yes. Yes. and yes! 1. I’m 65 and I “have” to keep going through “it”. We all do until our graduation into eternity! BUT… we learn in sobriety how to ride it out. Not let “it” consume us. The emotions. The tears. It’s all good. Just doesn’t feel it, sometimes. Be gentle with yourself – welcome the “shit” because it leads to ever expanding freedom and growth. 2. AA a. The desire to stop drinking is all that’s “required” for membership. You do not need to call yourself an alcoholic- until you come to that conclusion- if you come to that conclusion. 2. b. AA is a microcosm of the world- it takes all kinds! Just stick with the meetings (and people) you find helpful. In the beginning, AA helped me enormously in learning more about sober relating and relationships. And boundaries. 2.c. Experience. Strength. Hope. I try to remember to keep my sharing to those. AND, btw, you don’t need/have to share unless you really want to. Remember: What other people think of us is none of our business! (I first heard that in AA!) You rock, girlfriend! 👏 Just keep comin’ back!! I wish I could give you a big ol’ bear hug right now! 💜

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Elizabeth, thanks to your opening lines (“Yes. Yes. and yes! 1. I’m 65 and I “have” to keep going through “it”. We all do until our graduation into eternity! BUT… we learn in sobriety how to ride it out. Not let “it” consume us. The emotions. The tears…” I loved it all. Tears for fears gal. 🙌 And to the rest I say exactly, exactly, and exactly. Thank you so much for being here. I feel a real kinship with you. 🤗👯‍♂️💕

        Liked by 1 person

  2. this is great Nadine..i love that you are coming straight from the heart. No one experiences AA in the same way. I have written stories about it in my personal journal and maybe once or twice of here. Some i vented about ( also feeling judged) and others i quite enjoyed. Fortunately i had gone back prior to the plague so was in person..i don’t think i could do it now.Hell i cant even figure out zoom for my tribal meetings and i am on council..lol..But, at any rate, i can relate to a lot of this, having had the relapse November thru january. Theres that crushing feeling of failure, having to “do it all over again”, followed by a deeper sense of commitment..Big hugs and good to hear your words:)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You said it all perfectly Lovie… thank you so much. Tribal meetings? As in First Nations/Native American? As for Zoom, I am “accepting the things I cannot change” in that department, and just trying my best to have “the courage to change the things I can.” :)) Lots of love to you and thanks again. xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes, i am Native American..This year was honored to be appointed medicine woman of my tribe, which is part of council. While i am able to take part in most meetings because they are done on messenger, there are some committees that only use Zoom.hopefully i can get one of the young people to help me with their tech savvy..lol

        Liked by 1 person

          1. i only use my laptop so that is encouraging! I tried once though and totally failed..dont understand the links and how to even get started.. lol..sigh..feeling my age i guess…hugs!!

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            1. Well I tried from Windows laptop and also failed… so it might not just be you. There is definitely some trick to that, which I didn’t end up having to get through. On a Mac it worked fine for me. Hugs back. :)) xoxoxo

              Liked by 1 person

                  1. yes i downloaded the app first, then the vice chairman of the tribe sent a link and such , i was unable to access it. Honestly i need someone to show me in person..it was taht ways with a bunch of things, like new emails and file access…le sigh

                    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had some issues in AA and I nearly left, but in the end I realised it was doing me more good than harm, so long as I remembered to only take from it what I need, and not be manipulated by other people and their problems.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m so glad you shared this with us and happy you may give it a go again! Encouraging there were a couple other men at that AA zoom that you want to emulate! Try not to be hard on yourself, I really think things happen for a reason! I’m really feeling for you and also excited for you as well. Everyone says you have to have that click in your head or that mindset for complete Sobriety. I think that’s what I’m lacking. I go long periods but if I want to drink at some point I do. I don’t overdo it to the point of feeling it the next day. That’s something I learned I cannot stand. So I’m here still in limbo land. Maybe something will click with me soon and I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us. You’re very inspiring! Sending you a big hug! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always, always love your encouragement Jackie, and your way of deep listening. Thank you so very much. You’re right, things do happen for a reason, I do agree with that. Sometimes the universe steps in when we can’t seem to figure things out ourselves. The more we follow that voice the “lonelier” the road gets, since we meet with the disapproval of others who don’t want things to change. I love chatting with you! I think that when the time is right, if it is, you will just get that “click.” I think we all do. Till then, if that happens, what you’re doing is already perfect. :)) Lots of love ❤️💗🧡

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, I’m Nadine, and I have trouble moderating alcohol to my own personal satisfaction, and I prefer sobriety. I LOVE THIS. IT sounds like what I would say. Or “Hi, I’m Jeff, I have OCD and it manifests itself in obsessive thoughts of alcohol.” In this age of zoom, I’d think groups would be popping up that are quite specialized to interest and personality. “Liberal Elites” or “People with Good Grammar” or for my brother ” Deadheads for Sobriety.” Then you could get away from mansplainers and d!cks, This seems to be your first actually bad experience. Please stick with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love this entire comment. There’s just so much good in it. Also it cracked me up. Just brilliant. I was definitely thinking along similar lines (branching out into an online side group). Actually since nearly the first week I started attending meetings. “People with Good Grammar” —omg that’s my fave. But those people would probably drive me crazy. ;)) 😂 Anyway thanks Jeff. Very sincerely appreciate it. :))

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Do what works for you. If you feel AA is not the right fit try something else. I’ve gone to a few AA meeting in the past and they weren’t for me. I’m also an introvert and public speaking does not appeal to me. As far as how alcoholic one is, I don’t really like that label. Not everyone h

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Whoops above posted before I could finish…. anywho my drinking was never so severe I faced job loss or legal issues But it could have got there and I wanted to change, everyone has a different bottom. Hugs!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The truth is there should be no back and forth feedback at AA. That is the power. People just share how they feel, not how you should.

    Considered whatever he said was to himself. He probably felt judged by someone not wanting to use the alcoholic term. That is his issue. Not yours.

    People should not say anything beyond, I relate or thank you.

    Remember, there are just people, with their own baggage and flaws and quirks.

    Great job. Keep doing whatever it takes to find you and happiness in your life.

    Anne

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Anne is right, there is no back and forth in meetings.
    I have had some people make some comments that are not something I would say, but as Anne said, that’s them.
    Not you.
    I only use alcoholic in my meetings.
    Some people in my meeting, would say something like “ unhealthy alcohol use”, or “grateful alcoholic “.
    I went to AA for 5 years, haven’t felt the need since the pandemic.
    I was always taught to Take What I Need and Leave the Rest.
    Much love Nadine.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes sense totally. By back and forth feedback I meant more like nonverbal feedback, when is far more easy to feel and see in a real life room, I imagine (with masks off anyway) than on a screen full of little “hollywood squares” on a Zoom. :)) I always love your input Wendy, thank you so much. Love hearing about your experience with AA.
      “Take What I Need and Leave the Rest” — that is major, and was a key saying we used in a different grass roots support group I used to attend and then lead, back in early motherhood days. It’s really perfect and helps everyone feel at ease at the beginning of a meeting. Good one to remember if I ever end up chairing an AA.
      Lots of love and thanks again
      xoxoxo n :))

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I admire your honesty, Nadine. Decades ago I used to date a guy who was in AA and I was so codependent that I went to a few AA & CODA mtgs to support him (it was his suggestion). I was always impressed with the raw emotions and stories that were shared at mtgs, it felt very much like a church service (the good aspects, not the bad). But I guess I misunderstood the concept of humility in AA, it seemed like self-abuse when I heard people constantly define themselves as alcoholics and addicts (as an identity). It seemed like that “sinner” label was necessary as a humbling element, to admit that they were powerless against alcohol, freed them from the burden of responsibility, and only their higher power could remove the addiction (it reminded me of what I disliked about Christianity which I interpreted as a form of self-hatred/victimhood “I’m a sinner, deserving of hell but by faith in Jesus I’m saved”). My ex said that my intellect held me back from understanding what AA truly was. I don’t know for sure because I’ve never tried the program myself. I think only you can know if AA is right for you. I think if the message is loving and empowering—keep the good you find and leave the rest behind. I wish you much peace in your sobriety, I can see how kind your heart is and I wish you the best💖😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah wow what a lovely comment, Judy. Yes, “it seemed like self-abuse when I heard people constantly define themselves as alcoholics and addicts (as an identity)” — that’s how it feels for me sometimes too… exactly. To each ourselves (and our concept of god/higher power) we have to remain true… which is actually what fits with the AA book. Thank you so much for all your kind words. 💖🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hope is the magic ingredient, IMO, and that can come from spirituality. Hope is the reason I don’t even think about grabbing a drink; not that I’m totally free from bad habits or anything. You also hit on why I don’t do meetings and haven’t since my 2nd month sober… the people are just… idk I don’t want to say awful haha. I feel like there’s a big part of sobriety that they’re just not mentally equipped to “get”. Like how you said you didn’t call yourself an alcoholic and the guys response, in my mind, was totally defensive like “oh here’s another newbie who thinks they can do it without our magic book”. Fuck those people. Some day you’ll be free and clear and won’t even be able to remember the last time you thought about a drink and they’ll still be desperately trying to not go to the bar after work every day. That’s no way I’d want to live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha!!! I love your honesty, man. It rocks. Actually the majority of the people are like this I believe (honest and aware)… it just takes one or two “dry drunks” in the bunch, especially for me, if I’m feeling kind of unsure/fragile, to sour the pot… ;)) but mostly it’s a very good lot. :))

      Liked by 1 person

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