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.