I’m in New York again. I went to a meeting on my first full day here and was asked to speak. In AA, they pretty much tell you there is no other option than to say yes when this happens. So I did, though I did it for more than that. I did it to stay sober and to be a part of my recovery. I spoke for 30 minutes and I was not nervous. I hadn’t told my story to a room full of people since rehab.
I talked about growing up never feeling good enough for my dad – of crying for hours before he came to pick me up, of wearing different clothes to his house and changing in the garage when I got back. I talked about never drinking a drop until I was 19, because I knew drinking was illegal and bad for you and I wanted to be perfect. If I was perfect, I might have been lovable. My dad might not have even been able to argue. I talked about feeling like I had arrived when I took my first shot. I talked about fitting in and coming out and blacking out from the start. I said I thought I was in control of my drinking because I would plan for the blackouts, so the mere fact of them could not indicate that I was out of control. After I finished and people starting sharing, what they seemed to mention most was my willingness to ask for help.
What I had said about asking for help was this: when my drinking became increasingly unmanageable, when I would black out sooner and sooner, after 3 or 4 beers instead of 15 cocktails, when I quit my job to write and did not write at all, not even a little, when I woke up in March and my wall calendar said January and was completely empty, when I cheated on my boyfriend and we broke up, for so many reasons more than that, because we were clearly stuck in our own shit and addictions, when I got the call that his roommate jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, after much consideration, after never reaching out to anyone, not to the closest people to him, never asking for help, and saying in his note that he felt he didn’t belong in this world, after seeing how precious life is, after seeing everyone lose him, after seeing what not asking for help can do, after knowing what it’s like to not belong, to not want to tell anybody about it, after my therapist said it seemed impossible for me to stop drinking without help, I asked for it. I checked myself into treatment. I came here.