Life shows up. Sometimes it shows up with no warning, while you’re cruising along under the belief that everything is peachy. That happened this week with a vengeance.
Let me be clear – as I have in the past – that AA saved my life. Combined with other forms of evidenced based treatment, everyday contact with a network of people who had traveled a road similar to mine was invaluable. I went to 7 meetings a week for 5 years. I worked the steps. I read the big book. I had several excellcent sponsors. (Long story). My sponsor had a sponsor. Her sponsor had a sponsor. Then I moved to Houston, struggled to find a home group and lost face to face connect with AA. My personal program of recovery has remained strong and with this move to Greenville I’ve had a desire to reach out to a community once again.
During those five years one of our kids came into sobriety. As someone who found AA so important in early recovery I wanted that for this kid too. Those steps felt like the key to learning how to live for me and who wouldn’t want that for thier child? So much of my present life wouldn’t be possible without the program and I wanted that for them.
In a college environment with a heavy schedule the infrequent meetings just weren’t on the cards, but when summer came and there was a move to the new town they decided to attend meetings. For the first time the reports back were really positive.
Even with about 21 months sober 4 weeks in AA is pretty new. Having grown up around the program there is lot of indirect knowledge but getting a sponsor and working the steps is a whole different enchilada. In just that short month a 49yr old man with 11 years of sobriety befriended our kid, who is essentially new to the rooms, and 13th stepped them.
Being away for so long I had forgotten about the people who aren’t highly effective and supportive of recovery. Those people who are deeply imperfect and remain very ill – no matter the group’s good intentions.
It’s not surprising when people with shared goals, and experience, are together regularly there can be a certain amount of flirting. It’s human nature. However when that becomes a more experienced member – male or female – pursuing a romantic relationship with a new member it’s called 13th stepping. In early sobriety, recovery and/or step work one should always be working to create the strongest foundation for lifelong recovery. Needless to say, the 13th Step rarely offers that foundation. Or erodes what has already been built. The behavior, in my opinion is also damaging to the reputation, goals and purpose of individual groups along with the fellowship of 12-Step groups as a whole.
When life showed up our kid was behaving out of character, making changes to life that seemed extreme and worrying the crap out of us. Using empty buzz words and lashing out when questioned. Ultimately packing a bag and moving in with a stranger who is old enough to be her father.
For the first time Martin and I realized we need to head to Alanon because our child is the qualifier. Not to support recovery but to detach with love.
Life showed up and slapped me in the face. I don’t want a drink. I want to cry. I will. I have. Because in recovery I learned how. I got taught in the rooms because noone interfered. My hand was held. I was given guidance. I will also be present in my life – laugh, run errands, eat and get on with the business of living.
Today I will let go and let God because what the hell else can I do.