One of the rewarding results of writing this gratitude blog has been the conversations with people who are curious about A.A.. Some have questions about the program itself, others want to talk about why they don’t like A.A., and others wonder why A.A. worked for me.
It has been interesting to see why some people can’t connect with the A.A. program. They generally fall into one of three groups:
- People who don’t believe they are an alcoholic/addict.
- Feminists who struggle with the idea of “forgive and forget” that is often said in A.A. meetings.
- People who can’t connect with “God,” perhaps because of their background or their past experience with a formal religion.
If you fit into the first group, you are not yet ready to get sober. Everything I have heard and seen in my almost 26 years of sobriety has made it clear that getting sober starts with the alcoholic. In Step 1, the person has to be ready to admit they are powerless over alcohol (or drugs), and that their life has become unmanageable – that is a big hurdle for many people. I remember going to an A.A. meeting when I was trying “controlled drinking” not long before I sobered up, and being very upset to realize I should have been there for myself, but I was not ready …
I think most people know at least one person they would call an alcoholic, but that person does not acknowledge their problem with drink or drugs. I’ve also seen people come into A.A. meetings who are trying to sober up to save their marriage or for their kids, but it just doesn’t stick if they can’t do it for themselves. As I mentioned in an earlier post, having a baby when I was just over a year sober was a big incentive to stay sober, but it would not have been enough if I couldn’t admit that my life had become unmanageable as a result of my drinking and drugging.
Over the years, I’ve spoken with many women who have trouble with the ideas of “forgive and forget” and “let go and let God” that are so central to A.A. Many who experienced child abuse or child sexual abuse say that they cannot or do not want to forgive the people who abused them, and I think it is important to respect their decisions and what they say about the impact such abuse had on their lives. Some people, like me, can “take what you want and leave the rest” – another A.A. expression I heard a lot – and draw strength and support from A.A. Others might need to find other groups such as Women for Sobriety or other types of support groups or counselling to help with their addiction issues. For anyone struggling to get sober, it is important to seek support, to find what works for you, and to remember that getting sober is what is important.
And the last group are those who have trouble connecting with A.A. because of the central place of “God” in the program. Check out my posting from April 17 (https://thinkingaboutgratitude.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/step-11-attempting-to-live-a-spiritual-life/) for my experience and suggestions about “God” and A.A.
In any case, I’d encourage you to give A.A. a chance because you may find “it works if you work it.” I am so glad and grateful that I did!