So it’s 4.38 pm, the anxiety is starting to kick in because by this time I’m already preplanning a drink, even if I knew I had to go to the gym, or have something on, I always know that I will be getting a drink at some stage in the night. Tonight I’ve committed to going to a meeting with my husband. I want to go to the gym first because I know that this will help me keep distracted and burn off some of my anxiety. I’ve spent my entire day trying to be healthy. I started off with a green smoothie, I had my normal pain killer for my. Back (yes I have chronic back pain) but I haven’t needed to have anymore pain killers today which is surprising for me. Normally I would have had to at least have another pain killer as my back would be starting to play up.
My heart is beating hard, I will admit I’m better able to deal with my girls today. Tonight will be 3 nights alcohol free, the longest time I’ve been alcohol free since I quit alcohol for a month last year.
The meeting I had decided would be going to was at 7.30 pm at Preston, from the moment my hubby came home I was clock watching. Determined to subsidise my drinking with something positive, I made sure I went to the gym, I smashed out an upper back and shoulder workout, trying to go hard and fast for fear of running late for my meeting.
I was lucky, I got home with enough time for dinner, but I was so anxious that I was going to be late for my meeting that I could barely eat, my heart was palpitating, I was pacing the house, I was space and distracted.
It was finally time to get to the meeting, I followed the AA sign into the community hall that had been designed the facility for the meeting. Out the front was at least a dozen people standing around, the majority smoking cigarettes. Some people knew each other, I knew noone. I stood there, even though it was dark and I was wearing all black, I felt like a crazy person and where I was standing out like a sore thumb. I finally found someone who I felt comfortable to approach, the only thing I could think to ask was ‘can I buy a cigarette off you’, the universal code for engaging with a conversation.
This chick was so lovely, but like me, a soul broken by alcohol, we introduced ourselves and compared notes on our sobriety. Mine was 3 days, hers was a relapse a few weeks earlier. She took me under her wing, told me how the meeting would go and said I could ask her anything if I was n’t sure.
I was quite surprised with how the meeting started. The space we had was quite small for the sheer number of people there. Some people looked like the ‘typical alcoholic’ whilst others looked like normal people, there were some that looked like junkies, young people, old people, middle aged people and even a child of an alcoholic.
We all had to introduce ourselves by our name and that I am an alcoholic and I am sober. For most of the meeting I was quite nervous. We were given 2 laminated pages, one had the constitutions and the 12 steps, another had a series of questions or topics. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, where we came from and if we wanted to discuss a topic.
As a newbie there was a topic I wanted, it was topic 21, how do you sustain sobriety at the early stages. I didn’t know how to address this topic, but basically I wanted to know how it worked. The group chair directed a response to this question to a sober member of the group, and their response consisted of lots of meetings, allow yourself to succumb to cravings and basically do a meeting a day (whilst also drinking a lot of caffeine). Whilst the answer was good for them, I couldn’t quite correlate how I would be able to fulfil 30 meetings in 30 days as a wife and mother of two children under 3, with a husband who works full time in a busy job.
I was blown away that at the end of the meeting that people could be awarded ‘chips’ for their sobriety success. I was able to Get a chip for being between 24 hours and 1 month sober. Not a massive feat, but it made me feel proud of myself nonetheless.
After the meeting we were introduced to literature, all new members were entitled to a welcome back, and there was an opportunity to buy a book. The alcoholic bible. Apparently it’s got some good content and lots of relatable stories in it.
It was perhaps after the meeting that I learnt the most, I met with three ladies, all older ladies who were in different stages of their sobriety. One, clearly still in the throws of alcoholism, another a recovering binge drinker and a third, who was 7 years sober but was still coming to meetings.
The drive home was somewhat rewarding I am ready to be home, I am ready to do the work and embark on the steps that are essential for me to become a sober and a better person, the only problem is I’m tired, need to get to sleep and be a better support to my husband who is also going through a rough time.