I’m old. And some of my friends are, well, older. It was brought to my attention today that some who read this may not even know what a blog is. So I looked it up. It’s an online diary, typically updated daily, posted in chronological order, often about daily thoughts, sometimes written about a hobby. I’ve read a few blogs over the years. They are being written by people who post on the same message boards as I do. Most of them are daily stuff, and sometimes it surprises me how little and boring the daily stuff can seem, to me. A few are about hobbies like knitting. I’ve started reading a few being written by others in AA. Two of those are being written by newcomers, and one is an anti AA blog. The only other blog I read regularly is being written by a friend about her daily stuff. When I sent her this link, she sent me hers, and it seems that we started at practically the same time. I’ll have to offer to comment on hers if she’ll comment on mine.
I decided to do this because my searching around for the meaning of the oldtimerishness was coming up mostly empty. I spoke with a few oldtimers who have more time than I do, and I was surprised that at times, they are not well and wonderful. I mean beyond the daily badness that happens to us all. Some feel that the oldtimer experience is not a continuation of things getter better and better. I have to say, though, that I’m talking to people who are still sober and who still go to meetings. Most of the people who were at meetings when I began have died, gone off to the home, drank, or stopped going to meetings. This is not and will not be my experience. I’m more grateful and dedicated to AA now than I ever have been. As years go by I see more clearly all I have gained and all I have avoided by never stopping the meetings.
I also never want it to stop getting better. I want to stay involved and growing, but the sign posts aren’t as clear at this point as they were early on. The people are not there. They basically often literally do not exist. When I go to a meeting I am often the one in the room with the most time. If someone has more than me, it’s one or two people at the most. This in no way endangers my sobriety. I could never talk to anyone ever again about this, and I would not drink. But midway through a rough year it occurred to me that there are few people on the path ahead of me who I can ask for help. There are always newcomers galore, and they are more important to my sobriety than oldtimers. I need the newcomers. I’ll get by without the oldtimers.
In years past when I had a rough time, I turned to the steps, and I did a first fourth and fifth, and years later, a second. Now instead of jumping into a third, I thought about the fact that I really stopped after that last fifth step. Although elements of all the steps are woven into my very soul at this point, and I try consciously to practice all of these principles in all my affairs, I thought that before doing a third formal fourth and fifth I would look at six through three. There’s really no one person I can do this with, although I do it with all the AA people I come in contact with to some degree. I thought of writing it down and I do love to write. So here it is.
So much of the sharing at meetings involves “when I was drinking” and “when I first stopped drinking.” As it must. When I was drinking I was almost 22 years old, at the oldest. When I first stopped drinking I was 22 and 23 and 24 and 25. Now I have children that age. It was a life time ago and it has less and less to do with who I am today as every year of sobriety passes.
I will not forget those experiences and I know I cannot. That’s part of still going to meetings after all these years. Still at times, I wish I heard more sobriety talked about. My own story has less and less to do with the drunken teenager I was as now I’ve spent more than half my entire life sober, in AA.