Monday, July 8, 2013

Is it my disease or what?

I've been skipping my meetings lately.  I rarely go through this, as I think I've mentioned before, but it happens.  It has gotten me into trouble before and it usually leads me down the wrong road.  I am almost at three years of sobriety, I can't decide what my deal is.  I seem to find excuses upon excuses not to go.

It could be said that it is my disease or "slick" as they called it in treatment, trying to lower my defenses and my mind will tell me, "hey girl (I like to say "hey girl" in my head, I use Barry White's voice) you can skip that meeting today.  You have too much shit to do and you know you don't need it."  My deep rooted desire to use drugs will do this to me, so that I become vulnerable for relapse. Because I am, after all, a disease filled recovering addict.

But I'm wondering if its something else this time.

I have been know to also act like a complete asshole without going to my meetings.  My old behaviors creep back in.  I don't feel good inside.  Something feels off.  But lately, that hasn't been happening either.  I don't feel crazy.  I'm feeling pretty good.

I've been terribly busy with sports, kids being around, and all the things I wished for while they were in school.  (Oh my god, bring back that yellow bus.)  The new camper has been taking up plenty of my time and I do still have to find a second internship.  My house is forever messy, and my excuses for missing meetings are plenty.

And then there is this whole movement regarding anonymity going on right now.  What it means, how it is used, and how it can hurt. Mostly how it is misunderstood.  How sharing our stories are so important for those who are in the grips and especially those who aren't in the grips of addiction.  How it will help normalize this disease so that more people can get help.  So that everyone understands that this can happen to anyone. I feel weird about the majority of the folks there being ashamed of their disease. So ashamed that they keep it a secret. I don't live like that, and I don't want my kids to ever feel ashamed of me. So I am hung up a little.

I'm not getting close to renouncing AA.  This is to not say that AA isn't important.  Because so many of us get sober through the 12-steps and stay sober through it. I met people there who don't use drugs at a time where I needed to learn how to do that.  It saved my life.   Plus, most, if not all, of my friends are there. That's who I hang out with. If I left, would they still want to hang with me?  And the steps are a blueprint for a way of life that could benefit not only those who struggle with addiction.  It could benefit everyone.  It is brilliant shit.  

Another problem I am having with AA at the moment  is that I hear over and over in those rooms about ANYONE else who sobers up without AA, "well, they are a dry drunk then." Or "You can't be happy, joyous and free without AA."  I basically hear over and over again that the  12-steps are the ONLY way to lead a fulfilling life after one stops using drugs, alcohol, or whatever. That is just not true. In fact, it can be damaging.  And for those folks in those meetings who DON'T succeed in AA,  they might not understand that there are other roads to recovery. That they are not a failure. And that this isn't the end all program. If it doesn't work for you, then try something else. 

I always want to cross-talk when someone says something like, "he never went to AA so he is hanging on by a thread."  Shit, I've said it about Bob. It isn't always true. 

For me, these rigid rules, and maybe even the blinders that it's the ONLY way, were very useful in me staying sober.  I needed to believe that this was do or die. I didn't have time to fuck around with a bunch of other programs or bullshit. It worked for me. And it works for me. 

So I guess, while I'm learning about other paths to recovery, breaking our silence, and being super busy having fun with my kids, my meetings are becoming less important. Maybe not less important, but easier to miss. 

This week I will go to my meeting, out to lunch with my friends, and appreciate all of it.  But I do feel different about it. Hopefully it's my education and not my slick. 

For now, I'll keep coming back.  


  1. Betsey, GET TO A MEETING!!! I know you're crazy busy but you've said it yourself on countless occasions that these meetings work.
    Go with open mind and hope that you hear someone's story or a different piece of advice or anything not to feel in a rut.
    Your friend here in Dallas!

  2. I cant think of a way to say this, without sounding all douchey-enablerish, so im just gonna say it.

    Is it really necessary to go to all the meetings, all of the time? I understand the importance, and the benefits. It seems to me however, that some people tend to cling to the program almost like they did to addiction. Some people need that. If thats what keeps them on the right track- by all means- more power to them. But is it possible to NOT need it as much? Now, of course, this is not to say im encouraging this... im not even sure what to call it. Independence? Slacking off? Neither are quite right. I hope you know what I'm trying to say.

    I remember when my aunt went through the program. She immersed herself in it with burning passion. She volunteered, she sponsored. She went to meetings three or more times a week. It was great. But between her program and work, she was able to escape reality. Had other people taking care of her kids, her home, her life. It was like she replaced one addiction with another. And eventually, she was using again to keep up the pace. She became a functional (barely) addict. Now, she's just an addict. It bothers me when i hear stories of groups looking down on people who grow away from the program. Everyone who moves on is not always using, just like everyone who sticks around is not always 'not' using.

    I guess what im trying to say (or ask for that matter) is is it ever possible to just not need all of it, all of the time? I think you've been around the block enough times to recognize when you're headed for trouble.

  3. Please get to a meeting if not for yourself,then for the someone who will see you there and realize that they can get what you have. I go to meetings and I am very shy but I get strength from seeing the same faces every week.

    1. I am not saying I'm quitting meetings. I'll be at mine this week. I just struggling a little lately with some of the stuff that goes on, and what I'm learning about recovery. I LOVE AA. Really, I do. I'm glad you get strength from seeing the same faces. I do too:).

  4. Personally, I haven't found a better way than NA.

    I don't think that sitting back and judging other people for their path is in line with the program's principles. I share my personal experience, strength and hope. That's it. Sharing my opinions or passing judgement on others? Nope. Does it happen? Yup. Because I'm a work in progress and a human being.

    I don't know about "rigid rules". Where I got clean, it's about guidelines and suggestions. It's suggested that we go to meetings, get a sponsor and work the steps. Those aren't rules. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using. I don't even have to be clean to be a member of NA.

    I'm not a member of AA, so I don't know what your literature says. I wonder if it's not what the program says, rather what you're hearing from the fellowship that is rubbing you the wrong way. ?

    You're in charge of your recovery. You will figure out your path.

    Regarding meeting attendance: When I got clean I did 90 in 90. Spending that much time at meetings and with people that weren't using was really helpful until I could get in the habit of not using and learn some new coping skills. There have been times in my recovery when I went to as few as one meeting a month. That didn't work for me. I need at least a meeting a week. Your mileage may vary.

    1. It is absolutely what I hear that rubs me the wrong way. And I also know that what rubs me the wrong way is my own shit. I love AA. I love NA. I love the 12 steps. As I grow and learn, my thoughts come in, and I write about them here. Someday, maybe I'll do 5 meetings a week. But for today, I might hit one a week, If I'm able. And I'm feeling pretty damn good. I agree though, at first, they saved my life. I needed to learn what those other people had and how to do it sober. I still need to learn too.


  5. Betsy, I love your blog and have followed you for awhile. I'm going on my third year of sobriety, and I've found that the tools, I needed in the beginning aren't the tools that I use as much today. As an outsider looking in, you haven't forgotten where you've came from and you continually build your sober toolbox. As you said above, this blog is instrumental in helping you stay on the straight and narrow. Another tool is your education and career goals. Recently you went to the screening of Anonymous and were very enthusiastic in the message. All of these things together signal to me you're
    still on your journey just deviating slightly from the first path you were on. Getting sober and staying sober is different for everyone of us. The important thing is to always make our sobriety our first priority and stay away from the first sip, hit or whatever your vice is..

    I've used a variety of methods to get and stay sober...none involving AA. Do whatever works for you, and I doubt it will always be the same thing.

    1. Exactly and THANK YOU. You explained it better than I did. I appreciate your support in all of this and this blog. Just thank you:)

  6. I am recovering meth addict, I have been sober 2 years. I was a IV user for 10. I dont look anything like the poster and so thankful and blessed for that. People dont even see me as ever using. I am truly Inspired by youf story. I moved from a busy city where na/aa meetings were everywhere to a small town that doesnt have any. I did find out hard to go to meeting because I would get the itch to use. I got sober by leaving my "playground". different things work for different people.

    1. I probably belong more in NA. But I'm also an alcoholic, so I stick with AA. NA always made me feel triggered. Maybe I'm avoiding something huge. Or maybe I just stick to what works. Either way, good for you AND me!!!

  7. I am recovering meth addict, I have been sober 2 years. I was a IV user for 10. I dont look anything like the poster and so thankful and blessed for that. People dont even see me as ever using. I am truly Inspired by youf story. I moved from a busy city where na/aa meetings were everywhere to a small town that doesnt have any. I did find out hard to go to meeting because I would get the itch to use. I got sober by leaving my "playground". different things work for different people.

  8. The big book in Bills story page 15 third edition says
    "we meet frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek "
    I go when I want and when I don't want to a womens meeting weekly. I go for the person who may want or need what I have received so freely from others who were and are there for me. There are no rules. I feel this is a spiritual principal of giving to life not simply taking. I thank God I have learned this in sobriety. Best to you and your family.

    1. Right on. I'm back into the swing of it.