I've been sober 33 days. I have once again been visited by the grace that makes it possible for me to not only stay sober, but to enjoy myself and feel a great sense of gratitude that I have another opportunity to live. I worry about the future, of course. With my history of sobriety and relapse, there's no way not to and I've once again come to the realization that sobriety is the only foundation on which to build my life. It's been a difficult 33 days in many ways, but it hasn't been difficult to avoid the drink; I really don't want it, but I'm pretty sure the day will come when I do.
I'm putting together a plan so that when that day comes, I will hopefully get through it to see another sober day. Here's my relapse prevention plan to date:
Before I decide to drink, I will:
Call someone sober. (I actually have names and phone numbers here.)
Go to an AA meeting.
Post on LSR list.
Optional calls: more names and numbers.
Check what seems to be working and what doesn't.
Go to someone's house.
I want to say a few words here about AA. I said in a recent post that I'd reopened my heart to the value of AA, and I have. It's not lost on me the value of a large group of people gathering together for a common purpose - to stay sober. I think it would be pretty stupid of me at this point to not take advantage of every means available to support my sobriety. But I have no more intention of getting a sponsor, or working the 12 steps, or immersing myself in the AA lifestyle than I have of going back to the Baptist church and expecting Jesus to save me from myself - and yes, I think they are very close to the same thing.
I was disturbed by a post I read recently in which the writer, a long-time sober member of AA, was railing about people that attend AA and don't do it exactly the way it says to do it in the Big Book. She even diagnosed all the rest of us that don't get sober through AA as not real alcoholics and this is not the first time I have heard this drivel. As a matter of fact, it is common enough in AA meetings as is the notion that if anyone veers from the structured program, not only are they hurting themselves but they could actually kill someone else with their ignorance should they speak this blasphemy aloud. I don't know. What happened to sharing experience, strength and hope? It seems more like judgementalism and condmenation to me. When I see a woman (and it's usually women and minorities, ever wonder why that is?) that comes in and out of AA, I don't automatically think, "Well I wonder what's wrong with her. I wonder why she can't get it. Poor sot." I think, "I wonder if a different set of steps or a different approach might be the key to recovery for this person."
I will continue to attend AA for now, while I feel I need it, on the basis of the third tradition which states that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. I've long thought the traditions were more brilliant than the steps and I'm grateful for that third one because until the existing paradigm shifts, AA is still the only game in town for support meetings. Things are changing, they're just changing very slowly. In order to be part of that change, I need to be sober. There are too many people who give up (I know, I was one) because there are too few choices and too little tolerance in the choices that are available. Giving up is no longer an option.