Meeting for “Meetings”

My ex boyfriend was obsessed with going to meetings about sobriety. It got to the point where he wasn’t even hanging out with me as often as he was attending meetings. Maybe I was jealous, but I told him he was addicted to meetings and maybe he needed a meeting for the meetings. I don’t like the word meeting for this sort of thing….it sounds so corporate. Gatherings would be nice, rendezvous, get together, huddle, clambake…something else. Having now gone through the process of getting sober I can see how the meetings are helpful, but I still have my grievances. Here are the good and the bad of attending these groups.

The Good:

When you are an alcoholic it is hard to connect emotion to the degrading effects of alcohol because you were numb to those feelings while you were drinking. I call it “It’s all good amnesia”. Maybe you had a really horrible night, went to jail and swore off drinking forever. A couple weeks later you feel healthy and fine, but still would like to take the edge off and you convince yourself it’s okay to drink again. It’s no different than going back to an abusive spouse, “Oh, he’s not that bad.” Meetings remind you why you are not getting back into that relationship. It’s like having a group of friends that knew everything you went through and can say, “But he did this and this and this” while you try and defend him. At the end of the meeting you’re like “You’re right, he sucks.”

The Bad:

There’s conflicting opinions about how people should “Work their program” and people “In the program” take this very seriously. The thing is it’s not any one persons job to enforce conduct. It’s a democratically run program so when someone tells a new person they should “Take the cotton out of their ears and put it in their mouth” which is a really cute way too say shut-up, it can offend people that are new. Many people who have been sober for long periods seem entitled to let people know what’s up and it’s obnoxious. It’s not a perfect program and when people aren’t doing the prescribed work, they are just the same assholes they were when they were drinking.

The Good:

It’s free. It’s so hard to find anything that is supposed to help you for free. Monetized therapy seems like such an oxymoron because how can anything that is stressing you out financially really be in your best interest. When getting sober there is already an air of skepticism, paranoia, mistrust…when some of the stuff people say finally kicks into gear in your sloshy cogs you actually feel like it’s coming from a genuine place. There are no statements like “I’m paying to have them listen” or “yeah, they just want my money.” It ends up having the effect of making you want to donate, which in term gives you a greater sequence of karmatic events in life in general.

The Bad:

It takes time to find a good meeting and it’s hard to hold onto that time when you are struggling not to drink. I’d tried to get sober for ten years because I hated the meetings I would go to. The people seemed lame or they were intolerant of my kids or one person would ruin the whole bunch. I went to a meeting where an eighty year old woman told me my kids weren’t allowed. I had the shakes and wanted to ask “why the hell are you sober?” I’ve been pissed off by a women’s group I go to cause it doesn’t seem like they actually want to help people get sober as much as they like the Oprah’s Book Club-esque dynamic they’ve comfortably had going for thirty plus years. There are absolutely lame groups out there and it can take time to find genuine alcoholics who are enlightened, ready and willing to help.

The Good:

There is a community of resources there. Help with moving, finding a place, detox centers, rehabs, jobs, food banks, other meetings, places to hang sober, etc. In a previous life many of these people were drug runners and hustlers so that mentality is still there and when put to good use these meeting places are problem solving incubators filled with creative and knowledgeable sources. All you have to do is ask and/or spread the word about your needs AND have a burning desire to get sober.

The Bad:

Damn it, staying sober is a lifetime process. I hate that! Why can’t I just take a pill and be sober? Take a drink and be cured? For people who have taken the easy route this seems like a lot of fucking work. It is.

The Good:

However, the law of economics says “You get out what you put in” and if you ask anyone who has any substantial amount of recovery they will say this is true. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be there. You put in work, but you get a lot out in return.

Drinking Johnny Bootlegger on a Champagne budget. Editor @ www.DIYrrhea.com and www.realfakepersonals.com