Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why no AA for me?

Every now and then people post comments here (usually after I've talked about feeling like a lonely non-drinking loser) that I should get myself to an AA meeting to feel the love from a group of like-minded soberistas (I made that word up).

And I had a lovely comment recently from someone who said they thought it was 'amazing' that I was doing this sober thing on my own without the support of a group or sponsor.  That was very nice to hear.  I do feel proud of myself, definitely, that I am doing this.  But not proud because I'm doing it alone.  I think I'd feel just as proud if I was going to meetings every Tuesday and calling a sponsor when I needed or having coffees with other group members.

Because whether you do it with the support of a group or do it with just the support of friends and family ultimately you're just doing it alone aren't you?  We all have to find our own inner strength to stop boozing.  At the end of the day no-one else can stop you from lifting your arm, bending it at the elbow, putting a glass to your lips and pouring alcohol down your throat, can they?

I have actually looked at the local AA website and seen where meetings are in my area and there's one at the church opposite where I go to the gym.  But I've never contemplated going.  Yes I feel a bit nervous about parking and walking in, I'll be honest about that.  But more to the point is that I don't feel like I need to bring other lovely strangers into my world to help me do this.  That's it really.  I know those strangers could quite easily become friends, and believe me I love meeting new people, but I'm ok with who I've got round me right now.

And BIG TIME blogger has played a HUGE part in my recovery.  Writing this blog, thinking of it as a diary to chart my feelings and emotions has been REALLY helpful (use of caps to emphasise point!).  Thinking about things that happen, or what I am feeling at any given time, then writing it down into words is a very powerful tool for me.  Those words linger with me for days, my own words. And then... the words of others commenting to me!  What a joy!  And I can comment back! Reading about other sober bloggers struggles and victories is also very helpful and reassuring.  I don't feel alone.

So that's why I don't do AA.  But I tell you what.  If I relapse, or if I stumble or falter on this path of staying sober, I will be running to that church and camping on the doorstep until the next meeting starts.  I'm not a complete idiot and if extra support and the addition of local like-minded sober battlers is what I need to make sure I stay a non-drinker then an AA member I'll become.  You can hold me to that.

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. I'm proud of you too! I have a very close friend who quit drinking last November. She doesn't go to AA either. It's up to you, and like you said we are all alone. The thing AA did for me was it let me set all my baggage down. I needed to accept my past before I could be in my present. I needed to learn some survival skills so I could understand why, or what led me to drinking. So for me it worked, and it still works on a daily basis. It is always an option for you. Like you said, you know where that church is....:-)

  2. Our hope is that we will find what works for each of us individually. Even in AA no personal program is alike. I am glad you are sober and finding your life more fulfilled because of it. For me it was realizing I had a problem. Finding support and inner strength to change is indeed an inside job. I'm grateful for what I have going for me. I'm grateful for what you have going for you too. Keep up the good work sista!

  3. Your doing just fine. I just celebrated 2.5yrs and havent been actively in AA since I was forced to during my 30 day out patient rehab :)

    It just didnt work for me. I didnt feel it I guess!

    I blogged my little heart out my first 2yrs which helped me immensely. Now, I dont blog as often other then to bitch and moan once in a while! LOL

    Do what works for you is my motto. I used to get grief for not being an active member of AA and what do ya know, I am STILL sober and moving forward. (some didnt think that could happen without AA)

  4. I totally understand that. I barely went to meetings for my first 2 1/2 years until I felt I was ready for that kind of help. Until that point, I lived on recovery memoirs, journaling, and really, really long runs! (My poor knees!) Eventually, I hit a wall of solo-recovery and just needed a community of people who 'got it'. It has taken a while, but I now have a regular meeting which I am slowly falling in love with. It's really nice, but I had to do it on my own time. Listen to your heart and pay close attention to your moods ~ mine got SO bad and meetings have definitely lifted me back to a more normal place. Thanks for your post!

  5. I was lucky enough to be able to go to AA in my first year and it was for me a way to do my growing up in public -- I could ask questions, identify, make friends and I didn't have to work it all out alone, on my own, sitting reinventing the wheel without a clue others have gone through this before.

    Since then (four years) I've been geographically isolated, stuck on a hillside in rural Africa, and make do with forums and blogging, the occasional meeting (a five-hour drive) and hone calls with AA friends. It is certainly possible to stay sober on one's own but for me somewhat pointless if you have a resource like AA on your doorstep. One thing about meetings (and coffee chats after meetings) that helped me was the very smart and funny women, perhaps eight or 11 years sober, who had worked through all kinds of issues and were so generous with their time and insights, who were sounding boards for me on the kinds of more intimate or troubling issues you can't post about. That helped me to what I would call 'fast-track' through early sobriety, think more clearly about what I was doing and get confidence in taking risks and living more fully.

    You don't have to wait until you relapse to get to a meeting -- relapse is not inevitable in recovery and the processes leading to relapse are frightening and usually a great surprise to the person experiencing them.

  6. I had the same journey as LuLu (above). I spent the first two years of my sobriety going it alone and being just fine. I'm still just fine as far as sobriety goes but I've found that I also need people around me who "get it". I can't tell you the feeling I had the first time I sat in that room and realized that everyone around me had had the same experiences as I did (more or less). But the biggest thing was that I didn't have to feel shame for the first time in my life. There's no judgement and therefore no shame.

    Listen to your heart, you'll know if and when you want to go to AA. May be never! But don't wait for a relapse...if you hear that quiet whisper from your HP (mine's name is God BTW) then listen.

  7. Like you, I did not choose AA. There were a lot of reasons in the beginning why I didn't go, why I chose to fashion my own design of recovery, most of those reasons are gone now, but I feel that I've built up an adequate wall of support within myself and with my friends, both in the real world and the virtual world. I think it is important, that people know there is another way, other than the AA way or the rehab way. Because if people feel those are their only means of support, they'll keep trudging along alone in their misery. Like I was. But now I have you and others walking along side of me and I am thankful.

  8. I meant to say "if some people feel those are their only meant of support"

  9. I got sober in the AA rooms.The sober people helped me by sharing their experience ,strength and hope with me.Now for 30 years I have been helping others by doing what they did for me in the beginning.I am told that I need to give it away to keep it.
    I I forget where I came from I might go back.Hugs and Blessings

  10. I applaud you. For myself I needed AA meetings, but writing in my journal and my on-line blog were VERY important to my sobriety. I'm sober 15 years now. I still go to AA once a week, but my on-line friends and honest communication with them, are essential. Everyone is different. Some of us just need to find our own way, rather than be told. My name is Gary :)