The expert

Last night was my home group meeting. It’s the only one I go to these days. I guess I need to change that, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to give up precious weekend time to sit in a meeting anxiously waiting for my turn to introduce myself as “Kristen…alcoholic“. I hate the meetings that force me to speak, even if it’s just to share my name.

Anyway, it was an okay meeting last night. The speaker was interesting and sharp and he said something I’d never heard before that amends doesn’t mean apologies…that amend actually means to change something. I’d never thought of it that way, though I’m still ages away from doing step 9.  Just something to take away and store for later.

A lot of people who shared last night were angry about this thing or that thing. They were valid things to be angry about, but I get nervous when more than one person presents a certain way because I worry I’ll pick it up. I’m highly suggestible and I hate that about myself. (does it make me angry, perhaps?)

After the meeting, I spoke to another regular at the meeting and remarked that I love her positive-ness and energy and that it was nice to see her start to notice the changes of early sobriety. She had just shared about them at the meeting, but the way it came out of my mouth it sounded like I was this old-timer praising a newcomer. The woman has like 4 months less sobriety than I do. Sheesh. This is why I tend to keep my mouth closed at meetings.

Then I was talking to another woman I’ve struck up a friendship with and I really like her and she’s got this beautiful spirit, although she’s dealing with some shit in her life that I’d have no idea how to cope with sober. She started to talk about losing faith in god and I heard myself giving her permission to feel a certain way or do a certain thing and then thought “who the fuck do I think I am?” It’s like I have this need to smooth things over and I can’t just be in the moment and listen and do nothing at all.

I hate when I feel like that…like I feel what they’re struggling with and need to tell them it’ll all be okay. I might know what I would want to hear, but everybody’s different. Our stories before we stopped drinking are so different. Our lives after we stop are no different.

In moments like these I want to retreat to a comfortable life where I won’t mess with anyone at all. I won’t feel awkward and I won’t struggle and I won’t hurt. I will sit on a log all day and watch the sun crawl slowly into the sky and then back down again. I will feel comfortable and in control but restless and sick. This is how my recovery works…I have to keep moving.

I’ll start working on step 4. I’ve never felt more ripe for change, and besides, I really need it. This much, I know.

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4 thoughts on “The expert

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  1. I like that version of Step 9 – at first I thought it was about apologizing… so I went and totally screwed that up. there was a guy who I had a big resentment about, he was highly praised for something at work that I thought was unjustified, I didn’t think he’d done that great etc. It became a major resentment – there he was on my Step 4 list. So I hear he is retiring because he’s had a heart attack. I see him the next day – he barely knows me btw – I say I need to say something to him. I buy him a coffee, explain why I had this resentment that I was a recovering alcoholic and that I was really sorry. He said “Don’t worry about it”… I walked away feeling elated I’d done the right thing my conscience was clear. With every step came the realisation I’d got that all wrong. He didn’t need me to tell him all that, I was apologising for something he had no knowledge of – goodness knows what he must have thought of me “complete fruitcake” probably. I nearly went back to apologise for apologising but luckily a moment of clarity swept over me and I just learnt from that one.

    I make amends to my family everyday at the moment since I don’t drink, I don’t steal money from them to drink, I don’t steal time from them for drinking, I do my best not to disturb their peace of mind though not drinking. Being different that is true amends… I hate to hear people say “Oh and I’ve a resentment against my neighbour because of x or y – but it is ok I’ve done a step 10 on it”… what you wrote it down? What the hell? Change your perception / attitude – if it is something you need to stand up for yourself have the courage to do that, ask for support in doing that, if it is something you can avoid through changing your behaviour do that – that’ll be easier than changing them… Serenity Prayer – it has it all in there.

    Now in only I’d practice what I preach to others… 😉

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    1. If it’s any consolation, anyone who shared last night about step 9 had a similar story. I think it’s a mistake we all make because our intentions are good and we are not perfect. Besides, your honest apology may have helped that coworker more than you’ll ever realize.

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  2. There’s something in your post that I feel all the time. It’s like I can’t say anything right in a meeting (I’ve only been going since January). If I follow my gut then I’m trying to soothe them or make them feel better or take care of whatever they need taking care of. I can’t help it – it’s what I do…I mother EVERYONE and some of these people need mothering (including me).

    But that’s not what I’m supposed to do. The problem is I don’t really know what i’m supposed to do besides mumble platitudes and listen. Is that it?

    I’ve done my Step 4 and I’m about to move on to my Step 5 but I’m still confused about protocol in the meetings. So, like you, I tend to keep my mouth shut and I hate when I’m “called on”.

    There…I said it. Thanks for listening. 😉

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    1. Yeah, exactly. I guess the only way to learn what to say is to make mistakes along the way. And I don’t think the kinds of things we’re saying are harmful, just maybe not as helpful as we’d like to be. We’ll get there 🙂

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