Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I quit drinking and doing drugs on February 3rd, 2002. When I first quit, I was 19 and I thought my life was over. I lived in a college dorm and was the only one who didn't drink. I had never legally sat on a bar stool and downed a margarita (though I had sat on a bar stool and downed a margarita).

Had I only been drinking, I think I would have gone on messing up for a VERY long time. But, I was also doing pills...any pills I could get my hands on: Vicodin, Oxycontin, Lorazepam, Tylenol-Codeine, Morphine, Xanax, Klonopin, Ritalin, Adderall. I smoked pot every hour of every day that I wasn't working or going to school. On weekends, I would trip on acid and mushrooms or take Ecstasy...or snort cocaine or heroin. My parents knew about the pot and they knew I was drinking, but they had no idea to what extent...and they certainly didn't know about the pills or the other "hard drugs."

Getting arrested prompted me to quit using and drinking. I was shoplifting and got caught. I couldn't believe that it was happening to me...I'd always been the nice girl, the girl that people's parents raved about, good in school and good at sports. How could I get arrested? Good people don't get arrested...

But I wasn't good. I was a liar. I stole things and I cheated and I didn't care about anyone but myself.

So I ended up in A.A., going to meetings every day for years. It kept me sober and clean and it allowed me to finish college and get a good job and then decide to go back to college.

I only go to meetings once a week now and I struggle with it, because I have been more or less brainwashed into thinking that I must make A.A. the most important thing in my life. A.A. is like an organized religion. You are indoctrinated into it and suddenly, it becomes The Truth. It becomes The Only Way. I do not like this. It doesn't jibe with my brain. When I don't see someone from A.A. for a while, they always ask how I'm doing, but it's loaded with accusation, as if my absence certainly means I've relapsed. I'm told that I must have a higher power and that if I don't pray, I won't stay sober. If I don't have a sponsor, I'll won't stay sober. If I don't work the steps, I won't stay sober.

I want to call BULLSHIT on all of that. I do not pray. I do not have a sponsor and I do not work the steps as they're laid out in the program. What I do, and I find it works, is try to act differently. I don't drink, do drugs, steal or cheat. I honestly examine my motives and my intentions and my actions and I decide to change them if they're unsatisfactory. I don't blame the rest of the world for my problems.

A.A. was all about making myself better. I am content to accept myself for the most part and change my actions. I can do this without a sponsor and without praying.

I don't hate A.A.. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to stop drinking. It works. What I don't like, however, is the exclusivity...the "we're right and any other way is wrong." I just don't think that's so...


Phyllis Renée said...

Good for you!! I see A.A. as a place where people can establish a support group, get help and accountability. But there are some people who will probably always need every aspect of that and some, like you, who won't. I would say you are one of those we hear little about; the strong ones.

Everyone needs a support group, a group of people who are there for us, who we can talk to and share our lives with. People who will not just tell us what we want to hear, but will tell us when we're being an idiot and we need to pull our head out. And they love us. But I don't think the *only* place you can find that is in A.A. meetings.

But the prayer thing? Well, I pray all the time. Little one sentence prayers sometimes, just to get me through the day without killing someone :)

*Becky* said...

I think you... RAWK!! You keep on with your bad self. Sending you my total admiration.

Have you ever considered reading the book A New Earth by Eckert Tolle? I'm about to finish it and was very impressed. It started slow for me and I had to skim parts. I think this may jive with what you are saying.

Food for thought.

A.C. said...

Phyllis - Thanks...I agree with what you said. 'Specially the part where you say that everyone needs people to tell them what they need, not want, to hear.

Becky - Total admiration received and appreciated :) I haven't read A New Earth, but my mother mailed it to me a month or so ago and it's on my list. I probably haven't read it because my mother sent it to me. Also, I'm working on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.