Friday, October 8, 2010

Alcoholism, Pain, Autumn Meetings

I have been avoiding writing this week not because I don’t want to but rather because I don’t know where to begin. I have so many things on my mind, going through my mind, and consuming my mind that the act of coherently writing about them is a daunting task.

The biggest problem is that I haven’t talked to my sponsor in almost two weeks but not from lack of trying. She missed the meeting we both attend each week and I get her voicemail every time I call her. I am hoping to hear from her soon.

I am going through yet another medication change this week, which always comes with negative side effects such as sleep disturbances, emotional imbalance, and migraines to name a few. I had migraines everyday this week from Saturday through Wednesday along with the nausea and light sensitivity that often accompanies them.

I spent hours upon hours in bed this week with only intermittent breaks from the headache pain. Wednesday the pain actually brought me to tears, which brought me to my knees begging God for relief. And even though I only got about three hours of sleep Wednesday night, relief came Thursday and has continued through today. I am so grateful. Thank you, God!

Thursday the weather was gorgeous here. I took a walk just to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. I invited God to go with me - I am sure he did. I usually do not go on a walk with out taking my dog along but this time I didn’t want the distraction of looking after him, so I left him at home. I think he forgave me :-)

I took my camera along instead and captured some of Autumn’s beauty.

Today I went to a day meeting, which is rare for me. The meetings I regularly attend are held in the evenings, however, since I am no longer working I have decided to go to more day time ones for several reasons. One, it gets me out of the house during the day now that the kids are back in school. Two, I can be home more at night to fulfill my responsibilities to them (dinner, homework help, baths, bedtime routines, etc.) without feeling as stressed out by trying to squeeze in a meeting as well. Three, since going to a few day meetings, I am finding that there is a whole other group of recovered alcoholics in my community that I get to learn from and become friends with.

I have gotten to know so many wonderful people in the programs over the past six years that I have started to take for granted how much I have in common with them. I remember when I first came into the program how awestruck I was as I listened to people share in meetings about thoughts, fears, feelings, and experiences that I had, too. I remember how amazed I was to find out that I wasn’t unique or some freak of nature.

But over the last six years, after going to the same meetings with the same people over and over again, hearing the same stories, the same opinions, the same old thing from the same people over and over again, I have gotten to the point of: “Yes, I can identify; yes, I do that and it doesn’t work for me either; yes, I do that and it helps me, too” etc, etc…it has become way too predictable. I think some would call this complacency. Not a good place for this alcoholic to be.

Even though the solutions and the stories and the experiences I hear during these day meeting are the same as the ones I hear in my regular evening meetings, to hear them from a whole new group of strangers is so exciting to me. I am finding people who not only have alcoholism, but who also have clinical mental illnesses. I feel like I did when I was new - awestruck and amazed to find out I am still not unique nor some freak of nature.

God is good. He is working in my life. Sometimes I see it, feel it, know it. Sometimes I don’t but not because he isn’t here but rather because I am not here (i.e., mentally in the moment.)

Today, I am here and for that I am so grateful! Tomorrow, who knows? I’m not there yet.

Love you all. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a blessed weekend.


  1. Thanks for the update. It's all about participating in your own recovery. LOL
    I go mostly to day meetings and you're right. There are different personalities to different groups.

  2. I too like to go to different meetings. I generallynhear something that helps me at each meeting I attend.

  3. I do jump to new meetings periodically. You never know where you can find a new very fresh scared and hopeless person who desperately needs the message of recovery.

    Alcoholism by definition is a disease of body mind and spirit. Thank God they said, Outright mental defective, which gave me a very clear understanding that we do suffer from a mental as well as physical disease :) In fact I was to understand it was my main problem that whole mental illness thing!

    This is a powerful blog for me glad you wrote it!

  4. "Keeping it fresh" is really important. For many of us, this is a lifetime gig. Yes, we can get lots out of meetings & going over the same few books a kajillion times, but we can also get a lot out of branching out.

    Around 11 yrs. I made what was then a revolutionary decision to expand my spiritual studies beyond 12 Step literature. I read books & explored paradigms from many different paths and found some that fit well. It really expanded my sense of Steps 3 & 11.

    Another way that I did that was to, around 15 yrs. clean, start going mostly to AA (before I'd been primarily NA). The literature, slogans, and people were similar but different. NA focused more on emotions and working the Steps repeatedly, AA focused more on basic social skills & spirituality. Both, of course, were in total concord (NA having plagiarized most of its message from AA in the 1st place).

    Adding richness -- keeping it fresh -- as the years and decades pass, it's a very good thing. I suspect it also helps slow or deter Old Timer's Disease (too many years, not enough days).


Thank you for sharing!