I went to a meeting on Sunday and it didn’t ruin me. To continue the momentum and make me feel more comfortable more quickly just walking in and sitting down I decided to go a second day in a row. And so I went again. When I arrived there was only the guy who would lead the meeting. We chatted for about a half hour and I thought we were having the “meeting.” At 7:30pm another guy showed up. Then the Serenity Prayer was read among the other parts of starting a meeting. My first thought was, shit, I now have an hour from now and was annoyed by it. I realize how much I allot my time. I was ready to give the meeting an hour (and all the commute to get there) I wasn’t prepared to give 1.5 hours. But I did. The guy who showed up late announced that it was his 1-year sober birthday. He was excited about it but not really as well. He still misses drinking and confessed that he was bummed that on his “birthday” all he had to look forward to was going to this meeting. The social isolation is hard on him since he finds it hard to be around any alcohol at all. He told his story, then it came to me, and talked about how I related to his story and added a bit, then it was the other guys turn. I bring this up because I don’t know what I’m doing when I’m there. I’m not used to launching into a monolog while others listen, not interrupt with follow up questions or to relate and redirect. So for an hour and a half I mostly listened, I didn’t feel comfortable just talking as I pleased for a long period of time.
I don’t know how to tell my story as I want it, for what I need, without catering to an specific audience and to spin the past dark with the positive improvements. These guys, when telling their stories, share the dark parts of their drinking with all the bits that I can’t imagine sharing with anyone. They seemly talk about what has been troubling them, they bring out their shame; they get it out and others listen. It’s not so much of a share but a release. I’ve been guarded for so long I don’t know what that release would look like.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp