M(3), 6/22/15: Bungee Jumpers, Horses, and Recovery
So it’s officially summer, and the meeting attendance has dwindled. Incredibly, though, we ran out of time today for discussion, even with only 8 people sharing. I’m thinking that this post might be continued into another, because I am sure that I will be unable to tie into one post all the insights shared in today’s meeting.
There was so much, in fact, that we read only two chapters from the literature selection. For the record, we read from As Bill Sees It, and the topic was acceptance. I jokingly chose the topic because I walked in on the dot of the meeting start time, which is late for the chair of the meeting to arrive. So I selected it lightheartedly, hoping the group would accept my tardiness, but it seemed to touch a nerve with all present.
The first topic of discussion centered around the feeling of anger, and how to satisfactorily handle angry feelings in sobriety. I’ll give the example I threw out to the group: this past weekend I travelled out of town with my daughter’s basketball team for a weekend-long tournament. The weekend, overall a wonderful time in a beach town spent with delightful people and watching my daughter socialize and challenge herself athletically, had some issues common to travelling with a group. Specifically, finding the balance between going along with the group decisions in terms of eating and recreation (much more on the latter in another post) and doing what we as a family wanted to do.
As an aside, I would often watch the other parents and wonder if they were struggling with all this togetherness as much as I was. Is it possible to want to do things as a large group every minute of the day? If so, I must be an introvert, because I was getting a little nuts in the head by Sunday.
The culmination of my angst played out over the last night (for my family, some of these other diehards were extending it into a mini-vacation where they could spend even more time in one another’s back pockets). We were on the boardwalk of the beach town, which of course is a wonderful place for all of these teenage girls to be, but not so much for the parents. We had all gone out for a team dinner beforehand, and due to alcohol consumption by some of the parents, my husband and I volunteered to split up and be designated drivers. A job I was happy to do, in driving from the restaurant to the boardwalk.
Fast forward a few hours, and I was not nearly so happy, because now it’s 10:30 pm, we’ve been milling around this sensory overload of an environment aimlessly for hours, plus we had decided as a family to go to an adorable ice cream parlor near the motel. But we can’t leave the boardwalk without taking people with us, because we are part of a caravan. I tried everything I could imagine to coax enough people to come home with me; not a single plot succeeded. It was only at the point that I was sulking like a 4-year old, on the verge of a tantrum, when my husband looked at me with disbelief and says, “You’ve got to get a grip,” that I recognized I was truly about to have meltdown, the likes of which I have not had in sobriety.
To my credit, I will say that I simply got quiet (ish) after his remark, breathed for a few moments, and finally took back what little power I thought I had by walking to the car and waiting for the group to be done milling around aimlessly.
Overall, though, I was displeased with my emotional reaction to the situation: shouldn’t I be better than this? With a few years of sobriety, shouldn’t I be better able to deal with these situations as they arise?
I will again rave about the power of finding the right 12-step meeting as a saving grace. Although I told the story this morning more or less to confess a situation I wish I had handled better, I wound up receiving more than I could ever write down in blessings from my group. Each person that shared after me told a story where they felt intense anger on the inside, which is why the title reads as it does! The ultimate point each person had, though, in sharing their most recent experience with a similar situation was this: our sobriety does not make us superhuman. Resentments will pop us, as they do for every human being on the planet, but in sobriety we now have a choice: we can handle it the way we have in the past, the kind of decisions that ultimately led us back to bitterness, anger, and ultimately, to drink, or we can choose a healthier option.
One attendee who related his recent story of inner turmoil spoke of the discomfort of knowing there is a choice: we see the 2 paths clearly, and it’s almost painful turning away from the choices to which we’ve become so accustomed. And when he said it, I pictured myself stiffly walking off the boardwalk that night, and discomfort was exactly what I was feeling! I wanted so badly to lash out and argue with my husband why it was okay for me to be self-righteous, as I had a laundry list of reasons to be angry.
That same attendee spoke of giving ourselves the proper credit we deserve. In his story, he griped and complained about his situation… in his mind only. He rose above his resentments and did what he needed to be done. So while he would have liked to have thought more gracious thoughts, the reality is he did what needed to be done. I wish I could say I only complained in my head. However, the only person with whom I vented was my husband, and even then I cut it off light years more quickly than I would have in the past. Progress, not perfection.
And that was one story, one small set of exchanges! There is more to tell, but I am on summer schedule, so I’m going to get back to this more later in the week. To be continued…
Still marvelling at seeing Paul McCartney last night in concert… that’s man’s talent and energy is a miracle!
Posted on June 22, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged 12 step program, 12 steps, AA, Acceptance, Addiction, Addictions, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, As Bill Sees It, fellowship, Meeting, Recovery, Resentment, Sobriety, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.