Saturday, December 29, 2007

History - Part II - The AA Years

The AA Years

The AA years were 1988-1994. These years served a valuable purpose in my life and I wouldn't change them for a thing. I came out of my 30-day inpatient treatment program a changed woman, certain that I had finally discovered what was wrong with me and just exactly how to fix it. Well, of course, how could I have missed it! I was an alcoholic and drug addict and the 12-steps were to be my key to liberation and fulfillment.

There was just one tiny problem. The 12 steps never proved to be a positive force for change in my life. I especially had difficulty with the 4th Step which states: "We made a searching and fearless moral inventory." The initial process of this step begins with listing all your resentments. Only I'm not a person who carries around a lot of deep-seated resentments. So if I couldn't even get started, how the hell was I ever supposed to finish? Still, I gave it my best shot and attended lots of meetings, which were a fantastic social outlet, had sponsors and worked the steps even though I tended to sink into a deep morass of self-pity by focusing on my character flaws. I was already painfully aware of those things!

It's my belief that the steps are a great recovery model for the personality type described in the Big Book of AA:

Selfishness - self-centerdness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.

Here I was, a young woman with a stunted if not fully crippled ego structure, who was all too eager to take 100% of the blame for my troubles. Why, it would just be way too painful to think that maybe there were other circumstances and people in my life who may actually have contributed to the state I found myself in. So I found the perfect venue to fly right over all that painful stuff. At what cost to my soul I am only now making friends with.

But, remember, I was a changed woman, sure that I had found the answer to my problem. And so forge forward I did. And you know what? I did it sober. And sober was a whole new ballgame in this little girl's life. So despite myself, I grew up a lot during these years and another great thing happened. I got really healthy physically. Which maybe kept me alive through the relapse years - which will comprise installment #3, and maybe even 4 and 5 of "History".

I'll be on retreat for a couple of days, but will be eager to read your responses when I return on Monday. This is hard work! A girl's gotta get a little break now and then.

Peace to you all.

13 comments:

thailandchani said...

You've spoken for me as well with this post. AA was wonderful for the social outlet and it provided me with my first chance at being a part of a "crowd". That part, I loved.. and I still think AA does that really, really well.

The only problem was that I seem congenitally incapable of assimilating the Calvinist mindset at the root of the steps.

The truth is... and I honestly believe this... most people are there for the social network more than the Steps which most people (if they are to be honest) don't find very meaningful.

:)

bella said...

Interesting and thoughtful.
I love that you can honor all that this brought you, even if it ended up not being the thing that truly worked for you.
We are all complex and layered people, finding our own way.
I look forward to hearing more.

Joe said...

Angela,

Might I suggest that all of this would make an excellent book!!! Think about it, and if you're interested I'll help you in any way I can. You'd be amazed at how easy the process is to get a book from your computer to Amazon. I'm on my 8th!!

Your story deserves a wider audience. Think it over!!!

In the meantime it is very interesting reading.

turtlegirl said...

soul digging.. you are working hard girl!

Mich said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I hope you enjoyed your retreat!

mich
x.

lovesitc said...

I feel honored to be witness to this difficult soul work you are doing. thank you for sharing and know that you have inspired me greatly by your strength and courage.

Tamara

Diva Carla said...

Grateful for the gifts here. See you upon your return!

Anybeth said...

You're blog is very interesting. I think we have a few things in common in recovery. I'm looking forward to how things will continue for you.

CB said...

I am really enjoying your posts. You have inspired me to start a blog/diary of all that I am going through and have gone through in the area of addiction. Thank you.

miss*R said...

I am sending you blessings for a peaceful NYE and may all your wishes, hopes and dreams come true in 2008... and I look forward to keeping in touch next year xo

by the way, I am sending out the invites to the faery land party soon, and I desperately need your email address...can you email me through my blog profile please? pretty please with sugar on top xoxo

Angela said...

Well, I seem to be finding my tribe. :) Thank you for all your comments. My retreat was absolutely divine and I'm looking forward to watching the Bulldogs whoop up on Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl tonight.

Happy New Year.

Angela said...

Joe,

I guess I've been wondering the same thing myself and thinking the blog would be a good way to see if there would be enough interest - and if I have enough talent! I'm beginning to think yes on both counts. I will write you privately. I'm really impressed with your body of work and am beginning to think it was no "accident" we have run across each other.

Thank you for your encouragement.

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing this journey with us! Hugs to you and wonderful wishes for 2008.