AA’s All Over This One

Bookmark IV

“We can laugh at those who think spirituality is the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength,” (Big Book 68).

I was in conversation with a friend of mine a couple of days ago. Her father passed away last week, and though I should have been the one to call her, she called me. She called me, not to receive strength but to give it. She called to offer me hope. My parents are of an age that hospital visits are becoming more frequent. While understandable, and on some level expected, it is none-the-less emotional business when we are faced with our parents’ mortality. My friend reached out to me in the spirit of offering hope to say, that when the worst does happen, it will be okay, “Because AA is all over this one.”

“AA is all over this one.” I thought about that simple sentence for all of yesterday and most of today, because, here is the thing, my friend did not really explain what she meant by that sentence. But here is the other thing, she didn’t have to.

I often think back to a conversation I had with my parents about ten years ago. I had just moved from Boston back to Houston. I was sitting on the couch in tears over my inability to handle life. It wasn’t the big things like death that had be so beaten down. No, forget about the life altering changes. I had no idea how people managed the small, everyday things. I didn’t understand how people had jobs and paid bills and cleaned houses and washed clothes. At the end, I needed a cocktail just to go to the grocery store. Life was one continual tidal wave of chaos. I couldn’t deal with people or responsibility or sunny days. I couldn’t deal with laughter.

I really like the concept that AA is not about the not drinking. I mean it is. First we have to put down the bottle. But it’s the everything else that really messes us up. Causes and conditions.

I’ve thought a lot about whether one can be sober through means other than AA. I mean not me, but someone out there has stayed sober through church, Bikram yoga, horse therapy, or cross addiction. I had a friend once that was sober through good, old-fashioned willpower. She told me, she wasn’t like me. She didn’t need AA to say sober. What I didn’t say, what I should have said, is I don’t need AA to stay sober either. I went to a meeting today, but had I not gone, I’m 99.9% sure I would still be sober. AA doesn’t keep me sober. It keeps me sane. It keeps me happy. My fear is not that I will stop going to AA and drink. My fear is that I will stop going to AA and become unhappy and fearful and crazy, and then I will drink.

What my friend didn’t realize then, still probably doesn’t realize now, is AA doesn’t make us weak. Dependence on the group, the program, has made me everything I am today: it’s given me the courage to write, to be myself, to have faith, to be a daughter and a friend. AA has taught me how to have priorities and do laundry. It’s taught me how to get the stickers renewed on my car.

I think anyone that has given recovery a real shot knows what it is like to have the strength through the program. Alone I am but just one individual plodding along in life. But as a group, I have a wealth of strength and support from which to draw.

Yep, AA’s all over this one.

 

There’s Zen and the there’s Zennnnnnnn…

On page 72 of the Twelve and Twelve, it says, “Whenever we had to choose between character and comfort, the character was lost in the dust after what we thought was happiness. Seldom did we look at character building as something desirable in itself, something we would strive for whether our instinctual needs were met or not.”

I keep re-reading this page. It was the impetus for starting this website. My whole life, I have thought of myself as a writer. And yet nothing was ever good enough or finished enough to be shared. Then, a few weeks ago, I was at a retreat. It occurred to me, through the help of my women, that “practicing principals in all my affairs” included having the courage in all my affairs too. That night, I came home and signed up for WordPress before I could chicken out.

And so here we are. And all is good.

Except… WordPress keeps track of all the numbers for every single day. How many people have read your shotgun writing. If they clicked on the “About Me” page. It even tells me what country people are from. (Not surprisingly, it says my readers are all from the United States.) And this whole numbers mojo is messing with my headspace. I’m sure other writers must know what I’m talking about. It has become almost obsessive when I get the rare email that someone has decided they like my writing enough to “follow” it. Reminiscent of Veruca Salt, “But Daddy, I want them to follow me now!”

So, yes, here’s the thing. I would like to tell you I’m all adult and Zen about this thing and that my recovery is so strong that I will continue to expose the ridiculous nature of my life as an experiment in self growth regardless of who follows me and who does not. And that’s all true. But I kinda need you to follow me too. Five people. There’s like a hundred billion people out there and I would like five to scroll to the bottom of the page and click the follow button. Five would make me happy. Nine would be like crazy train. Okay, nine people (one from a foreign country and who is not a spambot) and two comments. That’s the most I dare ask for.

 

And yes, I get it. I’m chasing after what will make me happy. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow. Thank you for indulging me.

Love,

Ann Gabriel Kroger