I’ve been writing here for 15 months now. It’s been brought to my attention that I have some new readers, and some others have come back. I imagine that approaching this blog as something new, it would be difficult to make sense of it, and I doubt anyone would want to go to the beginning and read through.
I’ve tried to keep the categories making sense, though if I try to look back for something, sometimes I can’t find it easily. And I wrote it. I didn’t read any blogs regularly when I started writing, and the order of the last latest thing coming first is hard to get used to, for me.
But I started writing 15 months ago because I was having difficulty connecting with oldtimers in any form. In person is the preferred way, and I do know some oldtimers, but they can be few and far between, and that’s a problem that only gets worse.
In writing, the oldtimers turn out mostly to be the first AA members. Their experiences and thoughts are something I will study for the rest of my life, and studying those things helps my sobriety, but that also isn’t what I was looking for.
I’ve embarked on another formal working of the steps, beginning with Step Six. Writing it in a public manner is interesting.
Honestly I have mixed feelings. I want to write as if no one is reading, keeping in mind that everything I put out there is very public. I want to be a good example of a life well lived in AA. I am a good example of that, but that makes describing my struggles difficult. Part of why I’m writing it is because at meetings, I am aware that I represent long term sobriety. I can be unhappy or worse, but I may not communicate well the fact that I am still there, in AA, because it works, and that as unhappy as I can get, it is nothing compared to the misery of drinking.
I’m apologetically pro-AA. I am, at 25 years sober, seriously attending at least one meeting a week, usually two. That’s the number that works for me. Any less, and I think I wouldn’t be an active part of AA. Many, many, many people drift away. I wouldn’t drink. I’m as certain as I can be. But I wouldn’t be an active part of AA, and I want to be an active part of AA.
I don’t know why it doesn’t work for everyone. There may or may not be something wrong with the person or with the program. In most cases it is not a good match and it doesn’t work. I’m sorry for those people, if they continue to suffer, and I’m grateful it worked for me. I needed the people who came before me to keep it alive so it was there when I needed it. I will do the same for those lucky few of the future. I’ll continue to share my experience. Part of my experience is that I couldn’t stop drinking and was likely dying soon when I couldn’t accept the program of AA.
I can understand that some people object to courts sentencing people to AA. I think they have a valid point. Thing is, I think the courts do that because there aren’t any other options. Medications and therapies are expensive and alcoholics are very non compliant. Personally, I’d be glad for something else that works. Not for myself, but for the people who can’t get it through AA.
I’ve thought about Tradition Ten, and I’ve decided that stating my personal views on things like religion or politics does not violate it. The long form of the tradition says
No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues . . .
I am NOT implicating AA. AA has never told me where to go to church or who to vote for. It’s within AA that I learn best to tolerate those with different views, since we are all a special kind of family.
I’ve thought about Tradition Eleven, which says
Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not to be broadcast, filmed or publicly printed.
I do not use my real name or show my face.
I’ve read that people feel we shouldn’t mention AA at all. If I drink tonight, and come back to the blog tomorrow and confess, this would not be a failure for AA, or a bad reflection on AA anymore than someone drinking and coming back to a meeting would be. My life and my history till now can count as a success for AA, even if I do drink again and meet a terrible end.
I feel sad when I hear and read about people in AA doing the wrong thing. My experience has been that mostly they don’t. In my opinion, they are the best people in the world. I’m also abundantly blessed to have always lived in areas where there are many different meetings and no rigid rules for AA. I know that not everyone can have this middle class, liberal, American experience of AA.
The thought that by sharing my experience I can actually help someone else is thrilling to me, but maybe that’s why I was able to be successful in AA, because that’s the kind of thing I value. I did need to be broken down first, but it wasn’t AA that broke me, it was alcohol.
I’ll stop by saying that still, what most people come to this blog to find is AA meeting discussion topics, and it still tickles me. I’m having fun trying to collect as many as I can without being silly about it. I hope that those people as well as everyone else who comes here finds something useful.