Another landmark day here. There was no Everest climbing (learn why) or apocalypse happening (no link, thank goodness). Yet one enormous occurrence did take place.
I went to my first AA meeting.
For six months I’ve resisted going to a meeting for all kinds of reasons. That’s not me. I won’t like them. Those alcoholics. I’m just a person who quit drinking. I’m tough enough to handle this myself.
Blah Blah Bla De Blah Blah.
I am reminded of some of the lies that kept me drinking. My favorite? Life would be too easy without hangovers. (Yup, really. I said that to myself. A LOT!) The list of justifications, excuses, bargains and falsehoods was as long as the equator. That’s about 24,902 miles.
This morning I met people who have overcome their own lists to live more honestly. In real defense of my reluctance to attend this particular meeting — which was highly recommended by a pal — is the fact that it starts at 8 a.m. Usually I’m still sipping coffee in my pjs at that time because my energy is so low from Hashimoto’s.
But today, I forced myself out of bed at 7 a.m. Then, oddly, I decided to clean the toilets (really) while my coffee was brewing. And then off I went. I was so groggy that I couldn’t even second guess myself — or make up a lie about why I should turn around and go back home. Or, better yet, use my thyroid as a legit excuse to get back into bed.
As authenticity flowed among members throughout the hour-long meeting — in which I
felt welcomed but not suffocated — I thought about how drinking breeds dishonesty. I will admit now that I have used writing as an excuse to drink and, drinking as an excuse to write: I think I’ll starting writing early tonight!
Six months into recovery, I like the process of writing much more and I like the product much better. Oh, let me put this lie to rest too: LIFE IS NOT TOO EASY WITHOUT A HANGOVER. It’s tough as hell, but turns out that I love facing the difficulty with my eyes and heart wide open.
During the meeting, I actually said the words that I silently and secretly swore to never, ever utter. You know, that big truth. Hello, my name is Nancy and I’m an alcoholic. And guess what? It has been a lot harder holding those words back than letting them roll right off my tongue.
I was fascinated by the hardships and laughs shared by people in the group. I even coined a phrase (only in my head) to capture their articulated truths and consequences — A Comedy of Terrors. I listened hard, realizing with every word spoken that I am one of them.
I walked away at 9 a.m. with a blue chip for my 6 months of sobriety, as well as a welcome package with lots of phone numbers and resources. Before today, I never ever in my whole life wanted to have one of those $*@&?! chips. But I held that precious thing in my hand all the way home, as if it were the Holy Grail, realizing that I never ever had been willing to do the work to earn a chip until six months ago.
I decided to tell my son about going to my first AA meeting. He was curious, and glad. He also delivered the painful truth of how it felt when wine seemed to be more important to me than he did. I hated hearing it and I hate writing it.
But because I love him as wide and long as all the equators in the universe, I’ll face it.