After so much anguish I went to my first meeting. It was the scariest thing I have done in a long time, even scarier than quitting drinking. I cried a lot yesterday and this morning before going, I didn’t sleep well and woke up too early. I talked with Husband about it last night and a good friend this morning. It was even hard to talk to them about going or not going. I wasn’t able to fully articulate my fears, I can barely do that to myself, but I felt supported by my friend and my husband if I decided to go or not. At some point this morning I turned off my brain and just started to get ready.
So I went. It was at a coffee shop, just some tables put together in the main room. At the end of the meeting I heard how it is hard for foreigners to rent a space for some privacy, but they are working on it. It was so much better than I thought it was going to be, there was 8 of us total and I guess there usually aren’t so many people. There was a range of people with a variety of lengthens in their sobriety, there were people from all over the world: New Zealand, England, America, China, Indonesia and an even split of men and women. I was the newbie and so they held a newbie meeting for me and shared their stories of what has happened and where they are now. All I could muster to share was that I had 2.5 years of sobriety when I moved to China and quickly relapsed and now I have two weeks since my last drink. And like I feared and liked I hoped: I related to something in each of their stories.
Another fear was true too: I knew someone at the meeting. But by the end of the meeting, I felt okay about it, actually comforted by his presence. And that was my biggest fear: running into someone I know. But he has been going to this meeting for years and he said there are others from our school from time-to-time, and in those many years the anonymity has never been broken and he feels safe at school.
After the meeting I went with two guys out for some Schezwan noodles then to get some ice cream. They gave me “the books” and apologized that they didn’t have a 24-hour sober chip on hand to give me. Next time. There will have to be a next time for that.
I came home completed wiped out and had to take a nap. I feel wrung out by all of this, still anxious about what it means. I am drained and still have a big knot in my stomach.
But one day at a time: I went today. I was afraid and walked thorough it to get to the other side of my fears. I let people know that I needed a seat at the table and they welcomed me in. The meeting helped, facing my fears helped, those people helped. I will have to go back. I hope I can get myself to go back.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. My life is so much better for it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp