Normal Drinkers

If I could drink like a normal person, I would be drunk every night. -Quote from a member at one of my meetings

I am involved in a therapy group, and the members are all people who struggle with the concept of a 12-step program. They go (or at least say they go) at least once a week, mostly because they are required to do so. But each one of them feels, for various reasons, that they “don’t belong” or they “get nothing out of it” or they “are too much of a loner” to really reap the benefits.

I believe that many are quick to dismiss the advantages of a 12-step program. They walk into a meeting, see a bunch of people who all seem to know each other, are laughing and having a good time before the meeting starts, and from there the disconnect begins. Then they sit and listen to horror stories and think, “wow, these people are so much worse than I am.” And they can’t leave fast enough to get back to their own lives.

Like most new things, it takes time to assimilate a 12-step program into a daily routine. Finding the right type of meeting, and the type of people with whom you can identify, takes trial and error, and it takes patience. There may be some who have had a lightning bolt strike the minute they walked into a meeting and realized that they are home, but they are in the minority. Most of us went to meetings because we had run out of options, and, as recovery took hold and our lives improved, realized that we wanted to go to meetings, rather than the other way around.

I can relate to the feelings of not belonging, I strongly felt that way in the beginning. I listened to the stories, and judged myself to be “not that bad.” Then I went home and allowed my addiction to progress, I continued the behaviors that had me searching for an answer in the rooms of AA, and as a result life got worse, not better. Finally, when I hit my personal bottom, and ran out of options, I gave the meetings a real try. It took time, and attending a lot of meetings when I didn’t want to, but I came to find out I am just like everyone there, and their simple 12 steps really could improve my life.

I also found out that “normal drinkers” never think about being normal drinkers, and the fact that I do, means I am not!

Today’s Miracle
Back to school after a 4 day weekend… enough said!

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Posted on February 19, 2013, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Great post. I felt the same way about AA for a long time. Why did I have to go to meetings to stay sober. I’m an isolater and am comfortable and happiest being alone. And while the God thing in AA was great for me, I wanted nothing to do with the fellowship. I like you gave it another go after hitting my bottom. Then I went to 90 meetings in 90 days. This was just right. During that 90 days I found a home group and really started listening to the other people’s stories. I found myself through their courage to live the sober life one day at a time. What I never wanted (the fellowship of these women in recovery) is exactly what God knew I needed.

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  2. Wonderful – this should be handed out to all newcomers. I too had a hard time with coming into a room full of people who seemed to be best buddies, hugging and handshaking, laughing…and I felt completely alone. And to feel alone with a bunch of people who used to isolate? Talk about feeling like the runt of the litter. Boom – ego jumps in and tell me “you don’t need these people!!”. That is how I felt, but luckily didn’t act on wanting to drink.

    Like you say, it’s a bit of trial and error. It took me a while to find the rooms that I now find comfortable. And even then, I look around still, because I don’t like to get *too* comfortable. It’s important that we identify with a group, and some like a larger group, others a smaller one. It could be a woman’s group, or a men’s group. It could be one with lots of old timers, or a young person’s group. So many kinds of groups out there, all spreading the message. How amazing is THAT?

    I too isolated. I didn’t think I needed any one. There are times my little ugly voice tells me that now. Go away bad, bad wolfy voice! I realize I need people, whether I like it or not (ha ha). I know because when I start to isolate in recovery (and I do), I can just *feel* it in my gut. Things aren’t right. I need to be connected at all times.

    As for the normies, well, you’re bang on. It’s great to be a normal drinker, but that will never be me. And that’s fine, my life is much richer than it was when I did drink.

    Thanks for this wonderful post!

    P.S That opening quote had me *laughing*. I may have to steal it…lol

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  3. You nailed it for me. I am a lot of things, but being a normal drinker isn’t one of them. I’ve proven that to infinity. Love the daily miracle.

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  1. Pingback: In Recovery Remember “MY WAY IS THE GET HIGH WAY!!!” « Wade H. Recovery Net

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