is for

I made flyers for the blog: a photo and a URL and a quote. I thought I’d leave them at dedicated meeting places, maybe only outside my hometown. My friend suggested leaving them at bars. I said I didn’t want to be preachy; the blog isn’t here to recruit people. I don’t know if leaving them at bars would necessarily be a recruitment effort, but I also don’t know exactly why the blog is here.

The blog just happened. I put it off for a long time and then I didn’t and then people started reading it. I don’t feel like I had a whole lot to do with it.

It’s here, in part, for addicts and alcoholics and people who know them, which means everyone.

It’s for:

  • addicts and alcoholics who want to get sober, but want to read something anonymously, something behind the scenes, something approachable, in order to get started.
  • addicts and alcoholics who have been sober a long time, but want to remember what early recovery was like.
  • people who are not addicts or alcoholics, but who connect with literature, stories, and hope about living life honestly and without control.
  • addicts and alcoholics like me, in their first year of recovery, using every resource they can to stay sober, and wanting to sometimes hear from someone like them.
  • people who are not addicts or alcoholics, but who know someone who is and want to know more about what they might be going through, or what recovery is like, or how they might be able to relate to them.
  • writers and those interested in writing.
  • me, to take an active role in my recovery, to remind me to pause and remember my addiction and my recovery, and to process what’s going on for me as I gain more time sober.

I went to a meeting in New York at one of those places that only has AA meetings. One of those places with “Think, think, think…” in script, framed on the wall. This particular place used to be an after hours club. It’s transformed. Here it is now. It’s that place, in SoHo, where I spoke last time I was in New York. I’ve come to love it.

I asked the secretary after the meeting if there was a place I could leave the flyers for the blog. I was scared to ask. I was ready to defend myself, ready to hear no. I said that I don’t attach my name to it, that I don’t make any money from it, that it isn’t a promotional thing. It’s about my experience. She didn’t seem to need to all that. She gladly showed me a bulletin board where I could post them. She thought it was a great idea.

This meant a lot to me, because I already admired her after hearing her speak for 10 minutes at the beginning of the meeting. She had been talking about not having control over her partner’s illness, her partner’s suffering. She talked about needing to put recovery first in order to show up for her partner. She chose a reading about addicts and alcoholics having an ego, an obsession to be the master of their own destinies. I listened and remembered. I was obsessed with being the master of my own destiny because it was the only way I could possibly survive my circumstances as a child. No one I knew was looking out for me. I needed to make it to 18 and needed to leave and needed to make a name for myself. It’s how I could be safe. Could be saved. It stopped working. Now that obsession takes me to really dark places. Now I need help. Now I listen and remember and ask questions. I write about it.

I could have figured that my blog was a selfish act and that it was inconsiderate and audacious for me to post a flyer about it and could have left, but I asked a second opinion instead. That was something I did not often do before I got sober.  It made me think of all the things I give up when I decide I can’t make a meeting. All the things I miss when I don’t ask questions, when I don’t share, when I don’t post. It made me happy to be here.

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2 Responses to is for

  1. Riversurfer says:

    I too grew up under difficult circumstances during my childhood. Like you, I had only myself to rely on. Yes, I cried for help – but there was none. The incredible emotional pain sometimes became to great to bare and had me eventually repressing emotions. It had me inflicting physical pain on myself, just to relieve the emotional one.

    I became a very determined and incredibly strong woman to actually eventually succeed against all odds.

    And as you wrote, this strength became my worst enemy. How in the world do I let go of something that has been what has kept me alive? For years I’ve listed to the words “let go” or “acceptance”. I have not understood until recently. It was so very hard for my mind to grasp that I had to do the opposite to what I was doing and had always done.

    Letting go of the obsessive control that I have tried so desperately to hold… is a blessing. At last I can breathe, at last I can let go of all fears. I truly was a creature all bunged up with fear and now I have found spiritual freedom. That fills me with an immense gratefulness.

    Good thing you did not figure your blog as a selfish act. But to see that you wish to share your wisdom, your story and help yourself as you will help others.

    I find you to be very creative making those flyers and I hope they bring the helpseeking and curious to your blog. Because it really is very worthwhile reading.

    Take care dear E, thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you for sharing, too. This comment really resonated with me.

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