Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Everyone Looked So Happy

My first attempt at sobriety was an outpatient treatment in June of 2007 (see, I forget this stuff and this blog makes me think about it). I went there three nights a week for 12 weeks. I was able to remain sober during those weeks. I was in awe of how good I felt.

One of the rules of the treatment was that we had to hit one of those "meetings" on our own time. Those meetings always interested me, but terrified me too. It seemed like once you committed to THAT, there was no turning back. Well, that is true, whether you remain sober or not.  If you are an addict or alcoholic, something in those rooms will strike a nerve. At least it did for me.

I had a friend, who had a sister, who offered to take me to her meeting. It was right in town, not far from my house. I was afraid of seeing people I knew.  Never did I guess at THAT moment, one day I would be blabbing my addiction to the world.

Walking in there was freaky. It is a women's meeting and there had to be about 50 women in that room. All ages, and I mean ALL ages. Lots of different lengths of sobriety, lots of backgrounds. But the thing that struck me was the smiles and the snazzy clothes. I thought that "this must be a fucking cult" and that they were going to try and suck me in.  I figured they were all trying to give my soul to Jesus.  I was NOT going to fall for that shit.

Within a few moments of being in that room, my friend introduced me to some of the snazzy dressed cult followers. They seemed alright. No one mentioned Jesus.  They were very nice to me, but then again, most cult people are nice...at the beginning.


I figured that they wouldn't understand the horrible things I had done.  That they would put me down or try to break me down with shame.  I thought that those together women couldn't possibly have gone as low as I had gone.  Man, was I wrong.  After listening to them, I knew I was in the right place. 


I think because I am motherless, their attention felt good. They seemed to generally care about me, and of course they told me to "keep coming back."

Since that day, I have kept coming back to that room. They have seen me through my worst, and loved me hard through all of it. They never shamed me for relapsing, and accepted me when I was out of my mind. To say I am grateful is an understatement.

I've said this before, there is not much about my path that I would change, except maybe the hurt I've caused my loved ones.  I have many mothers now. I have such good friends.  I have people who love me.  And I love them back.  We have so much fun.

The best part of listening to them,  is not to focus on what they (or we) had done to qualify for those meetings, but to listen to how they live today.  Life doesn't magically become rainbows and butterflies when we get sober.  It is still life.  I've watched these women lose their husbands, their children, get divorced, lose their homes, and lose their jobs, all while sober.  But it is how they deal with it that I pay close attention to.  There is so much strength in those rooms.  I have learned so much, I really feel so lucky.

It isn't so much about learning how to stop using drugs and alcohol.  It is learning how to live.  If that is a cult, then I am in.

You can read this article also at RenewEveryDay.com

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