The Journey Out of AA – so far

It’s been a little over five months since I published my story “Walking Away from AA” where I talked about my decision to leave Alcoholics Anonymous after almost 22 years. I stated then that I didn’t have a desire to drink, but I had a desire to be more honest and truthful with all aspects of my life.

Being sober – living a life without drugs or alcohol – is for me. It’s a cheaper life, more enjoyable and less messy… things I need and want. Belief in a “higher power” or “faking it until I make it” aren’t for me, I can’t live that lie anymore. I gave it a fair shot – lying for AA, lol.

So what’s changed really?  Continue reading

Learning by Repetition

In college I took Psychology as one of my classes, I didn’t really have any desire to be a psychologist I was just filling up class space with something that I could tolerate. I only wanted to take English classes, but somehow I had to take math, computer science and welcome to college too… It got me on the Deans list so I guess that’s ok.

In preparation for my class I purchased my books ahead of time and then read a few chapters into each class before the first week of school – I wanted to be prepared. For my English class I don’t think we even referenced it the whole semester, but it was still good for me.  Continue reading

What’s Going On In My World

A nightmare woke me up this morning around 1:30 – couldn’t fall back to sleep after an hour or so so I’m up.

Someone was using text messages to hack into my brain – their little profile pic showed it was the Bones villain Christopher Pelant, a very smart computer guy who makes other peoples lives hell. He taunted me in the message a few times, I’d close it and another would open up again. I turned off the wifi and it was there again… pop, a new message from the hacker guy.

I felt as if he was inside my mind trying to erase important data that I needed. I had an image of a tall brunette woman with an axe chopping through walls that were made of magazine paper. “It’s gone, I’ll find it and you’ll never even know it was yours” she said.

I tried to close the chat window again and it just wouldn’t close – Pelant taunted me again, his profile pic laughing at me.

A friend grabbed my hand and said – “shut it all down, shut it all down before it’s too late.” but my other hand went to close the chat window… he squeezed my wrist and yanked out the power cord.

and I woke up

I was kept awake by the thought that maybe someone was really hacking into my brain – like on Johnny Mnemonic and they were taking something valuable. Then I realized I don’t really have anything valuable… so I started obsessing about work…  Continue reading

Unity.. no thanks, I have plans

I don’t like people. (I frequently say “hate” which might be a strong word)

I’ve said that a million times before and it’s still true. One of my bosses says that too – I tell him he doesn’t because he’s so nice to everyone, but he insists that he does. Probably why I like him so much. I guess you could say I’m something of an introvert – I would rather spend time alone than in a group setting. My “fun” time is at home with a good book, writing or watching some TV. I find it very difficult to have “fun” in a group of people… can’t do it.  Continue reading

Thumping the Twelve Traditions

When I was fairly new in recovery I was very involved in two of the groups where I regularly attended meetings. One of those meetings was very Step and Tradition focused and the other was very… entertainment doesn’t seem like the right word.. but they were about the message and the fun in recovery – as it was a speaker meeting you never knew what kind of message you might hear coming from the individual, almost always good though. Both groups encouraged participation at all levels of the group – commitments (making coffee, setting up chairs, greeting), service positions (GSR, Secretary, Delegate, Treasurer), fellowship… well one group was only really into the fellowship when we met every week… lol. Both of those groups encouraged people to be involved in the meetings they went to – the idea is that if you participate you’ll have more vested into your own recovery. Participating means I might get to know other people in my group who are participating and make them a part of my life. It’s a nice little system, I’m sure other organizations do the same things.

They shared with me the idea and importance of the spirit of rotation, encouraged me to read up on the history to see how these things came into being and why they’re so important. They led the way into service – inviting me to see how it all works behind the scenes. I was exposed to the Traditions and Concepts very early on by people who utilized them in the service structure and in everyday life. I consider myself lucky – most people consider me a geek in these regards, that’s ok. They shared what was so freely shared with them, in love and for my own good.

Continue reading

neither endorses nor opposes any causes…

Telling you that I was in attendance at this weekends SRI Roundup because its mandatory as a member of the SRI steering committee would be a lie… I love AA, round-ups, conventions, assemblies and the like… they started me early on service work and it helps me to continue to grow. Round Ups and special conventions like this one are akin to getting injected with great recovery in an intense weekend. We had over 400 people pre-register and more registered on site today and will tomorrow as well. It’s a bit of a big deal (they say there are no big deals in Alcoholics Anonymous… I say hogwash… Fellowship-Recovery-Service all rolled into one… that’s a big deal).

When I hobbled in today (I crashed my bicycle this morning.. long story for another time) I saw my friend and fellow steering committee member Doug outside and he directed me to the registration table – someone was showing him a pamphlet, I didn’t stop to see what it was I just noticed it. When I passed the table again I saw the word “FAITH” and I wasn’t really sure what they were selling or why they were right at the front door. Two gentlemen were sitting at the table without registration badges, talking loudly about what they had there

But it didn’t belong. Continue reading

Going to the Wrong Meeting

Many people say there’s no such thing as a wrong meeting… but I disagree.

Once in San Antonio (SA) I looked for a meeting online and found a meeting near by marked as SAA – which I took to mean San Antonio AA. But when I walked into the room everyone kind of stared at me (more than normally), but it’s ok… sometimes I stare at people I don’t recognize at meetings also. So I sat with my coffee and got ready to attend the meeting – I was late apparently as they were in the middle of sharing already. UGH, I hate being late to a meeting.

A guy leaned over and said “Are you here for SAA?” and I nodded yes, “I’m an alcoholic, glad I found this place”. He smirked a little and said in a whisper “No, this is Sexual Addicts Anonymous”

“Oh” I said and probably turned beet red (which isn’t really a red at all it’s like a dark purple isn’t it?)  and stood up calmly and walked out – at least I hope it was calmly, I probably ran for the hills. Not that there is anything wrong with being a sexual addict… or I guess maybe there is if they’re having meetings…

Anyway… tonight I went to the wrong meeting again… but a different kind. Tony saw me last night at a meeting and asked me to share at 5:30 and I said yes… and he probably told me where but I didn’t pay attention… I assume the 5:30 meeting is at PoP so that’s were I was… early even. PoP is close to home and work.

At 5:25 I still didn’t see Tony so I texted him “PoP?” and didn’t hear back right away… but I asked Scotty “Does Tony come here on Wednesday nights?” nope, he goes to VAC… ugh, I’m at the wrong meeting. VAC is near Tempe, which isn’t far, but far enough that I was going to be late.

So I hopped into my car and started speeding across town. Tony called me after I texted “On my way!” (that just auto corrected from O M W to On My Way!, just like it did on my iPhone… I love tech) and he called and said he’d get someone there already. I apologized I need to learn to pay attention. Tony said it wasn’t a big deal and put me on the calendar for 2 weeks from today. That I can do.

Anyway, I rushed out of work at 5 and I’ll have to do it again in 2 weeks… probably good for me to leave on time anyway 🙂

My Sponsor Wont Shake My Hand

When i first started going to meetings the very first direction I was given by my sponsor was “Shake everyone’s hand before and after the meeting” I wanted to stop going right then, I didn’t want anything to do with these people – I just wanted to learn how to drink like normal people. (surprise, surprise… they don’t teach that – boy was I disappointed) I had made a conscious decision NOT to go to NA because there was too much hugging (I was like 3 days sober when I went once)

I was willing to do that… willing to do anything to stop drinking and have a better life… so I started shaking hands at every meeting I went to. Soon that habit crossed over into the rest of my life and I shake hands all the time with all sorts of folks… it’s a great way for me to get out of myself and think about other people for a minute or two.

When I moved to the Phoenix area I continued my handshaking routines but soon found all sorts of people that just rush in and start hugging you… (I guess it was somewhat true of DC and WI too – but here there seems to be more of it).  Some of these folks I hardly know at all.. I almost don’t feel like the meeting was a success if I can’t shake hands with everyone – I’ve had to settle for fist bumps with a few folks too – see I’m open minded. I will hug folks if they shake my hand also… seems only fair.

My current sponsor won’t shake my hand… I reach out my hand and he smiles his big loving smile and hugs me. If I manage to get him to shake my hand and he realizes it’s me (I try to shake his hand when he’s distracted) he’ll pull me in for a hug and tell me he loves me. He’s a great guy and I love him. So the other week I said “I’m going to write a blog post titled “My Sponsor Wont Shake My Hand” and he kind of frowned at me in that loving way he does… but he stuck out his hand and shook my hand, I think he still managed to get a hug anyway.

Then I managed to fall off my bicycle and sprain my right hand and had to cut back on the hand shaking. I had it wrapped up in an ace bandage and people don’t pay attention and just squeeze as tight as normal. So I kind of had to quit shaking hands, it’s been difficult…. trying… As a result I’ve had to be open minded and let some people hug me that I otherwise wouldn’t have.. life is hard.

Tonight at the meeting someone else greeted people as I was handing out tickets (we do a raffle for people to share). This greeter hugged everyone it was awful… he’d track em down across the room and just hug em up and love em… I hope he didn’t set a precedent.

yes, this was a post about anti-hugging – it needs to be stopped

Obsess Much?

I shake hands at meetings. This isn’t really news to anyone who knows me in meetings – I’ve been doing it a long time. Lots of people look forward to shaking my hand too (or so I tell myself).

Some folks don’t shake my hand and insist on a hug – makes the meeting feel incomplete to me, I’m considering telling them – “no hand shake, then no hug”. It’s all about me you know… usually. A former Green Bay Packer sometimes is at the meeting and insists on the hugs… but he’ll have to be told too.

Tonight a regular member of the home group came in and I saw him coming and couldn’t recall his name. See him every week, shake his hand every week, sometimes we even hug (after the handshake, so you know I actually like the guy) but his name escaped me. Continue reading

New Sponsor, New Work

I’ve asked a guy here to be my sponsor. I heard him talk at a Sunday meeting I attend and could relate to his story quite a bit. He mentioned his home group – a big book step study – and invited us to join him there on Wednesdays. This was right before Xmas and when I thanked him for his share after the meeting I asked where to find it.

Two weeks later I found myself at the Wednesday night Big Book Study and they were on step 9 – the lead referenced the book, the participants did too and it was a good meeting. There was even talk of traditions and a reading from a pamphlet.

The group puts on a retreat in April, I went to the committee meeting about it and became intrigued. The next week i heard they were going to have a business meeting/group conscience so I went to that to help decide – it was then that I decided to make it my home group. I volunteered to be the Grapevine rep and joined a Traditions breakfast committee that we’re putting on in April.

I’m excited to be a part of this group.

I met the guy I asked to be my sponsor on Saturday morning to see if we both thought it would work out. We met for an hour and a half and chatted about all kinds of things. He has some different takes on things than I’m used to but I’m willing to listen and open to change. He has what I want – a knowledgable calm… best way I can describe it.

He says we’re going to look at the steps together around “the big three” in my life right now… and my job is to identify them so we can begin… scary, interesting and challenging to me and foreign ….

We’ll see how it all plays out, but I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to change and grow.