Saturday, June 30, 2012
Dear AA: How Do I Hate You, Let Me Count the Ways
I just stumbled out of an AA meeting in tears. Why was I there in the first place? Because my NP asked me to go, and I would do anything she asked me to do, even if it was jump off a building. Unfortunately, she won't ask me to jump off a building.
I'm trying, I really am, but i juat hate AA, I hate AA, I hate AA, I hate AA. Do you get the impression that I hate AA? Good.
What, you might ask, do I hate about AA? It might be simpler to ask me what I like about AA.
Just take today's meeting as an example. I showed up all showered and shaved and nicely dressed. And there were all these aging Bikers, people in tee-shirts, tank tops and shorts. Waterville definitely needs a better class of alcoholic.
Everyone was all happy, milling about, waving, socializing, saying hi, shaking hands, making small talk, smiling. . . being happy. I just found a chair in the farthest corner pressed my hands between my knees, turned my face down and did my best to bite back the tears that were already starting to come.
It was just like being back in elementary school.
I hated elementary school.
The meeting got off to a start and as has happened more than once or twice before at these affairs I couldn't hear or understand a damn thing the main speaker was sayng. Mumble mumble mumble. Fortunately or unfortunately, he soon passed it off to a guy who knew how to speak to a room.
I have to say "unfortunately" because the first ten minutes of an AA meeting are always the same. You always get the Commercial Message about How Great AA is and how all you have to do is follow the Twelve Steps. That would be (barely) tolerable. But the writers of the Dogma (and it is Dogma, no matter how you slice it -- AA is a CULT, folks, pure and simple) had to go one step further and dump all over people for whom AA doesn't work. Every meeting I go to, I have to listen to what a sad, worthless failure of a person I am because AA just simply Isn't Working for me.
Well, from there they recite the Twelve Steps and here is the heaviest dose of AA hypocrisy on the meeting's menu, because if you ask any one of them they will tell you, "It's not about God, it's not about God," but dang it all, it's RIGHT THERE in the Twelve Steps and it BLOODY WELL IS ABOUT GOD. Anyone who tells you otherwise is giving you a snow job.
God is everywhere in AA and the meetings are even structured like church meetings.
I do not believe in God. And if I ever came face to face with that low-down SOB I would first punch him on the nose and then strangle him, not just for what he's done to me, but for what he's done, or allowed to be done to so many innocent people over so many millennia. So much pain, all in the name of a bloody evil god who obviously hates us all.
And to you, CD, my NP, whom I think the world of, even you said to me, "God doesn't make crap."
Well, yeah he does. I'll just say "George Bush" and stop right there.
Anyway. Back to the meeting.
Around this time, a woman that I actually know, used to work with, and have had some issues with in the past, walked in, late. There were no chairs. I gave her mine, and from a close side room pulled out another and sat at the farthest edge of the room. The preliminaries over, the man running the meeting took over, and once again it was mumble mumble mumble. There were words and the litany of responses but when you can't understand what's being said you can't be expected to join in on their cultlike behaviour. I caught S_____'s eye and gestured at my ear; she shook her head.
I was so frustrated. I thought, It's just plain rude to waste people's time like this. After several minutes had passed, I got up and slipped into the next room. There were windows looking out out onto the street, and across to the hospital where I'd spent the last week.
And suddenly I was sobbing. I went and buried myself in the farthest corner of the room where I hoped that I couldn't be heard in the meeting. There was laughter and applause from the next room, and I thought, That's another Universe in there, that's not something I can ever be a part of.
Eventually, I calmed down to the point where I could go quickly out the back way, There's no sneaking out of one of these meetings, or I would have snuck.
My favorite AA story is one that I heard at one of the small AA meetings held at 4 East this last time. The guy running it was one of the Biker AA types. He mentioned that he had three sponsors when he started with the group. And oh, by the way -- they're all Stone Dead now. So AA really doesn't work so well for a lot of people, does it?
I want a solution as much as anyone. But why is everyone married to AA as the only solution? Isn't there anything else out there? Something with a little less Jim Jones, a little less Elementary School and a lot less Jesus? It's just like what I was trying to say to that snaggle-toothed bag of bones Romper Room OT teacher before she officiously "corrected" me: we're not all cut out of the same cookie mold. If it works for you, I'm HAPPY for you. But stop insisting that it's the only hope for me. 'Cuz I do need hope, I sure do. But it's got to come from somewhere else.