Do whatever helps

Last week I mentioned that I rarely go to A.A. meetings these days. When I first sobered up, I went to meetings regularly. Some people have found going to 90 A.A. meetings in 90 days a great way to get sober. My work life, including regular travel, was too busy to make a commitment to a meeting every day.

What I did was to go to at least one A.A. meeting every week, and often more. My home group (in A.A., that means the specific A.A. meeting you go to each week) was on Friday night at 8pm. Even if I was on the road for work, I could make it home in time to go to my home group meeting. That was really important in those difficult first weeks and months of sobriety.

When I was drinking and using, I used to look forward to kicking off the weekend by a good few drinks, a party, a long night at the bar. But that led to a lot of crazy behaviour and bad decisions, decisions that hurt other people and definitely hurt me.

Once I started sobering up through A.A., I started to look forward to my home group at the beginning of each weekend. There, I would hear stories from other alcoholics/addicts, talk about my own struggles, work on the A.A. program and share friendship. I started to really enjoy and appreciate my weekends in a new way. And I began to live the thoughtful, Spiritful, intentional life I hoped to have.

However, after three years of sobriety, I moved from one region of the country to another. There, I found that the A.A. meetings were much more Christian-based rather than Spiritual-based, and I found it harder to handle the smoky meeting rooms (I had quit smoking cigarettes in my first year of sobriety). So, to keep working on my path to sobriety and to help other alcoholics/addicts, I helped start and run a Women for Sobriety group (see http://womenforsobriety.org). We met weekly and worked a similar program to A.A. but founded on feminist principles. I was involved in that program for three years, while still going to the occasional A.A. meeting.

After six years sober, with very few people coming to the Women for Sobriety meetings, the group folded. I still went to the occasional A.A. meeting, but less and less often. But that did not mean I was not working on my sobriety. I continue to draw on the 12 steps of the A.A. program, and still go to a meeting once in a while.

Another important and invigorating part of my sobriety has been this past almost-year of writing a gratitude blog. I have been able to reflect on my sobriety journey, acknowledge the important role A.A. has had in my sobriety, and share my experience, strength and hope with other alcoholics/addicts and the people who love us.

My heartfelt thanks to people who have shared some parts of my sobriety journey – in A.A. meetings and elsewhere. I could not have gotten sober and stayed sober without you.

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