One of the sober bloggers I follow is Annie (A Dappled Path).
I feel like I know Annie really well. Partly because she wears her heart on every page of her blog, and partly because we also e-mail each other frequently. It even turns out we have mutual friends in the real world. I've told her my real name.
Annie's been blogging for way longer than me. But she's on Day 7.
I - along with thousands of others - have followed her heart wrenching struggle from Day 1 to Day 1 over and over again. And we've all been there, haven't we?
My journey has got easier and easier, and more and more miraculous, over the last thirteen months. Meanwhile Annie has thrown herself, courageously, at those horrible first obstacles over and over again, and never made it to the field of bunnies on the other side (see my post The Obstacle Course).
Well yesterday, for the first time in months, Annie made it to Day 7 (yay!). And this time she sounds different. More determined, more confident.
Like most of us, Annie finds Friday evenings the hardest, so she plucked up the courage to go to an AA meeting (she's a braver girl than I am).
Annie has a love hate relationship with AA. The problem is that whenever she hears a gruesome tale of someone's rock bottom, she thinks 'that's not me!' (or, deep down, I don't want that to be me) and she drives straight from the meeting to the wine shop.
(I totally understand that. After all, I still refuse to call myself an 'alcoholic.' It's partly why I've never been to a meeting myself).
Annie blogged about last night's meeting, explaining that she can't associate with the hardened alkies, and a lady called haplesshomesteaders posted a response that I thought so wise I had to share it. Here it is:
Once, early in my sobriety, I told my sponsor that the stories of “people NOTHING like me” I heard in meetings made me feel like I was just fine, and that moderation was more for my sort than abstinence.
She told me I was half right. I was different than they were. I was worse off.
They had been sober longer, understood how serious their problem was, and didn’t use others’ experiences as (yet another) excuse to drink. They were also more generous than I was, willing to share honestly the stories of their addiction to help me get sober.
She had me.
She told me I had to stop looking for differences and start looking for similarities — it was my giant alcoholic ego that kept me from seeing them. I’m glad to hear that you do see some of those similarities.
And one final word from my sponsor (ha ha) — she said that because of luck (financial circumstances, mental and physical health, supportive family, timing) — and not because of any specialness on my part — alcohol had not visited some of those horrors you talk about (losing kids, constant drunkenness) on me.
But the seeds were there, and had I kept drinking, my addiction certainly could have brought down all that and worse. That is one of the many reasons I am so grateful for AA.
If you find this post, haplesshomesteaders, then thank you. For telling it like it is, and for making me think.
And now I am dying to hear if Annie made it through to Day 8. I've checked her blog. I've e-mailed her. Not a peep.
I'm, literally, on the edge of my seat.
Annie and I have agreed to meet up in real life once the kids are back in school. I'm excited about it, but also terrified. It's like a blind date - you're desperate to get on as well as you think you will, but know you'll be gutted if you don't....
So, Annie, whether you're on Day 1 or Day 8, know that we are all willing you on.
Sending you, and everyone else in the same boat, a big virtual hug.