I think the strangest thing about getting sober, aside from the fact that I have done it at all, is that I haven't yet been to an AA meeting.
That hasn't been deliberate, necessarily. I haven't ruled out AA as a form of support; in fact, I really want to start going if for no other reason than to make sober friends. (I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but my sober social life is essentially non-existent.) But for whatever reason, or reasons, I haven't been able to get myself there yet. Let's look at why:
When I first stopped drinking, going to AA seemed like something I should probably do, but didn't feel called to it enough to go. It was very overwhelming trying to find a meeting near me at a time that made sense, and I wasn't dying to walk into a room full of strangers to announce that I was an alcoholic (as movies and TV show us people do). I was taking good care of myself and my sobriety in other ways - journaling, reading recovery books and blogs, getting outdoors on the weekends - and the idea of getting in my car and finding some anonymous room by myself felt unnecessarily stressful when, for the most part, I was doing just fine.
I also wasn't sure about the language. I'd read the first step online and couldn't get past it: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable." Um, no. This was the first time in my life I had power over alcohol - I wasn't drinking it! I wasn't powerless at all; I quit drinking by myself after 20 years and I was damn proud. To say otherwise was infantilizing and demoralizing and turned me off. Not to mention that my life had never been unmanageable; perhaps AA was for people with bigger drinking problems than my own?
I've since listened to the episode of the Home Podcast where the girls analyze Steps 1-3, which enlightened me to a more relatable interpretation of the above, and that all the Steps, in fact, may be more nuanced than they appear. The episode sparked a new interest in attending meetings for this reason - a desire to learn, to look deeper into myself - though interest hasn't quite manifested into action... yet.
Twice, I almost went. The first time, I found a meeting on my way home from work, and circled the block looking for parking before the phone rang and I chose to take the call and drive home instead. The second time, I found a meeting in my old neighborhood, where I knew the location had plenty of parking and likely even a spot I could scope out the attendees in advance. As I drove up, I saw 10-20 teenage/early-20's-looking guys chilling out by the building - skateboarding, smoking - and I froze. Were they waiting for the meeting? They looked too young to be in AA. Perhaps they were just good kids hanging out at church? I circled the block, hoping they'd leave.
As I pulled around again, they were still there, though some had migrated inside. This was not what I was expecting. Not that I knew WHAT I was expecting - the cast of Mom, maybe? - but not 15 skater bros who all knew each other already. For some reason, this made me terrified. Like they were all going to sit at the cafeteria lunch table and catcall as I walked by.
I drove around again, and again, and again, hoping either that some of the guys would walk out, or that I'd see someone more Mom-like walk in. I finally just drove home, frustrated, in tears.
I gave myself a break after that for a bit, but I find myself ready to try again. I spent two hours tonight looking for meetings near me, telling myself I should go, but never getting off the couch to get ready and do so. And I think that's okay. I quit drinking when I was ready. I'll get to AA when I'm ready, as well.
115 days today.