I went to my first AA meeting last night and am feeling pretty confused by the whole experience. It was interesting in a lot of ways, and I think I am still processing everything that I saw and heard. It was a relatively small women’s discussion group, and the women I met were very kind and welcoming. It made me extremely anxious, however, and I craved a drink and a cigarette more than I have since I quit. After the meeting it took me an hour or two of relaxing at home to feel calm again.
I am an introvert- this seems to be the case for many alcoholics- and being put on the spot makes me nervous. I was not forced to talk, even though I did introduce myself briefly, but it felt like the women were speaking directly to me the whole time. This was both compelling and extremely intense, both good and bad. Many of the stories were very sad and some of the ladies were still drinking, or had drank the day before, which was depressing. I like the fact that the group seems to be accepting of imperfection, but I really need to feel like drinking is not an option in my life anymore. I am sure that many members of AA feel that way, and I just need to get to know them better. I felt very drained by the end of the meeting and was glad to get the hell out of there, even though I appreciated the effort to keep me engaged, as well as the honesty of the group.
I am going to go to more meetings, but I am not entirely sure that AA is for me. I know it will get easier if I keep going, and could end up being a valuable part of my sobriety if I give it a proper chance, but it felt like I had to expend a lot of mental energy to be there. Maybe that is the case with most people’s first meetings? I am relieved to know that it is available if I need it, and now I have a list of phone numbers of recovering alcoholics that I can call if I need to talk. That might come in handy.
Getting to the meeting was ridiculous, though. I think I texted my husband five times telling him I was going, not going, maybe going, maybe going to try a different meeting this weekend. He came home from work a little early to watch the baby while I was gone, and probably thought I was losing my mind by the time I actually left the house. He is not a huge fan of AA (he knows some of the members in our town and is not religious at all) but practically forced me out of the door to give it a chance.
I am going to continue to explore support groups, and different methods for recovery, in the meantime. I like the tenets of Women For Sobriety better than AA’s 12 steps, but there are no local meetings that I can attend, only an online presence. I also like the ideas behind the group Rational Recovery, but I don’t think they have any type of support groups. They believe in a self-recovery approach that does not include any “steps.” It is kind of confusing, and people in the recovery community seem to believe strongly in one approach over another, to the point where they say that you WILL FAIL if you don’t follow them. That is pretty scary. I don’t want to fail, but I also don’t want to feel intimidated.
Maybe a mismatched approach would be best while I figure out what I need to stay sober. This weekend I am going to check out a book about Rational Recovery at the library, attend an online meeting of Women For Sobriety, and think more about AA. Maybe I will call one of the women that I met and talk a bit more about it. I feel open to doing whatever it takes to change my life. The weekend is hard for me, as drinking has always been front and center, so having a few different plans is helpful. I am also going to spend LOTS of time snuggling with my baby and my husband, and maybe getting outside for a hike or a yoga class or something. Life doesn’t stop just because I am no longer drinking (it helps to remind myself of that). Happy Friday.