Today I have 28 years of sobriety.
There’s so much I could say about it, and I’ve thought about what to say, but someone posted a comment to an old post and I think there’s no better way to mark my anniversary than to try and answer this.
From How Did You Replace the Alcohol? Sharon writes:
Hi. I’m new to AA, and constantly hear people say as you did “I relapsed many times before I “got it.” But no one ever says what “got it” means. Over 30 meetings in 30 days, I have tried to figure out the purpose of the meetings (my group just sits around sharing horror stories of their drunken past). I learned someone asked (behind my back) to another group member if he thought I would ever “get it.” I don’t understand what I need to do because no matter what I do seems to be wrong. I shared every meeting because I copied what I saw others doing. Since I have no horror stories, I instead shared things I was learning from the Big Book and my journey to recovery. No one ever talked about moving forward. And on and on. I’m absolutely baffled at how others’ behavior, words, etc are all correct, but I “don’t get it.” What don’t I get? Other things happened that made me feel humiliated and isolated from the group, to the point where I spiralled into depression. For now I have stopped going to meetings. Can you please help me understand?? Thanks!
What “getting it” means to me is having a spiritual awakening, becoming a “reformed” alcoholic (and actually re forming).
Unfortunately, this takes much, much longer than 30 days.
- having the humility to accept that, even with all of their glaring faults, the folks at an AA meeting have something more than I do, they have a way to stay sober, and I don’t
- working the steps, all 12, but especially (at the beginning) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- identifying, not comparing, and seeing how much we all have in common (these folks have, along with me, survived a metaphoric shipwreck after all)
Sharon (and others who are struggling) “it” is a way of life, and it takes time to learn this way of life. And it’s difficult. The only reason I “got it” was that I had no other choice. Most people I know will not truly do the tough stuff of the program unless they have been driven to their knees, or lower. It was only when I lost all hope of a drinking future that I could really accept a non-drinking future.
I know that most people won’t “get it,” partly because they won’t work for it. If you want what I have then you’ll do what I did, and what I did was hang around far, far beyond the first 30 days. It is the biggest blessing and most important fact of my life.