Down in Florida
I went to my first AA meeting in a while, and the best one I've been to in ages. Back in early recovery, the meetings were amazing to me. I'd go in craving alcohol, desperate to get through the evening without getting a drink, and by the end, I'd not only have the hope that I'd make another 24 hours — I usually felt pretty good.
Since then, the past 17 years or so, meetings have been very hit or miss. I go occasionally, but forget about them for years at a time. Sometimes I'd get some relief from my moodiness or whatever was bothering me, but other times, not much would happen. This was particularly true in the Malvern Clubhouse, which was very near where I worked for six years. I know a lot of people love the Malvern clubhouse meetings, but they rarely did any good for me.
Anyway, down in Florida, I stumbled across one of those great meetings. Perhaps it was because there were a lot of people about my age, and there was a nice mix of men and women, and because they were mostly educated professionals like me. For once, I didn't feel alone. I made a couple of friends right away — and walked away thinking, shit, I've been looking like this for a meeting for years, and here it is, and I have to go back home the next day.
It was also a meeting where there was real recovery and real honesty ... and I felt a couple of days of real peace. It's hard to describe what an AA meeting can do to a recovering alcoholic. I go in, often filled with hardened resentments and walk out grateful, hopeful and ready to move on.
I also uncovered something. A desire that I didn't know was there — I realized, after a few days, that I've been denying how much I want to drink. I recognized that I've been relying on myself and my own strength to keep myself sober ... I ... I ... I ... I. But that's not how I got sober. "We" got me sober, and "we" will have to keep me sober. I can't do it on my own and not be filled with resentment and anger and an enormous amount of stress.
So I guess if I have one resolution for 2007 — work the program again. But will I? There's always the self-knowledge trap. Self-knowledge is great, but it's not enough. It doesn't get you better, but it makes you feel a little better. But real change and real growth takes action.