(I wrote this e-mail to an AA friend/sponsor, after waking up at 4 am from out of the haze of several very tricky victim dreams. I have used tricks in the past to deal with these types of dreams, but this time they were so tricky that none of the tricks I’ve used, to neutralize them, worked. This is why I decided to get up and write this e-mail to my AA friend.)
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My Dear AA Sponsor and Friend,
Before I go into this tirade I want you to know that I love and respect you and hope you don’t throw me out of your life because of what I’m going to say right now.
Do you know who you’re dealing with? Do you really know me and know the insanity I’m up against now that I’m not using or obsessing over anything? If you do, and you’re are still willing to sponsor me, then this is a warning up front. Working with me will mean you’re going to have to get dirty up to your shoulders. If you’re still willing, then I request that you carefully re-read this post which I have linked to below. Please give it much thought before answering this e-mail. If, after you’ve read it, you decide I am too much for you to handle, then it is my hope that we can still be friends and love each other as much as we both can.
Through these last 34 years without any alcohol, I have been desperately running from demons through the use of… cigarettes… alcoholic foods… compulsive behaviors… some of the AA slogans (Easy Does It, First Things First, Think It Through to the Bitter End)… and honesty. Although, with 34 years under my belt, I have a rudimentary understanding of the Steps, the insanity that goes on between my ears as prevented me from really being able to work them. They mostly don’t make sense to me. I haven’t been able to see how they can be applied so as to fix the problems that pushed me to drink so much.
But, for the last nine months I haven’t been using anything to run away from the demons that haunt me. It’s not in my timing that I can no longer run… that I finally must face them. No. It’s God’s timing. He has set it up this way and at this time. Apparently, He knows I’m ready. I can’t run to anything right now, no matter how much I might even want to. In fact, at this point I’m powerless to even want to. Whether I like it or not, right now God is having His way with me. He’s set it up so that I’m powerless to even ‘want to’ addict. Do you understand what I’m saying? I can’t ‘addict’ to any behavior, or to any thing. I can’t ‘use’ now, to run from myself, in any way, shape, or form. God is insisting I face the horror that’s been my life… and, seemingly, He won’t be denied.
It’s only been because of trying my best to be honest, and because I’ve been using secondary drugs, that I’ve been able to stay clear of the alcohol these last 34 years. And, even with the use of all these secondary drugs, sobriety has meant a lot, a lot, of stress and pain for me. I know you already know this. But now, as if this is possible, things are getting even hotter. I have no way to run away from my demons now. The only weapons I have left in my arsenal are… begging for God’s help (and He is helping me – vigorously) … and resorting to brutal honesty. This is why I’m writing this e-mail. I am being this brutal because, at this point, I have no other choice. I can’t use or drink. It’s just not possible.
Up to now, I’ve always thought that, in AA, I’ve been an outsider looking in. No one comes up to me after meetings to talk to me. I’ve always had to go up to them. No one, except Angie (who was only using me to get her kids back) has ever asked me to sponsor them. I don’t know why I’ve even kept going to AA for all these years. They don’t want what I have, and I don’t want what they have. Actually, I really belong in the group that dies of alcoholism, not in the group that gets sober. The one’s that die… those are my people. But somehow I managed to squeak through to sobriety, although I’m truly baffled has to how this happened. Did God gave me a good constitution? Was it because He gave me enough strength stand up under a lot of stress? Was it because He made me able to be honest about my weaknesses and insanities? I’m baffled. Why did He choose to give these qualities to me and not to someone else.
But now that I’ve completely stopped running to other addictions or obsessions, I think I might have a purpose in AA after all, though I don’t really know if I’m right about this. Only time will tell if these sneaking suspicions (of having some purpose in AA), are correct or not. But I think I might be useful to those who come to the program that are so damaged, they just can’t get and stay sober the way your ‘supposed to’. For those who’s only capacity to understand the program, is in their ability to get and stay… honest.
“There are those too, who suffer grave emotional and mental disorders but many of them do recover, if they have the capacity to be honest.”
(Alcoholics Anonymous ‘Big Book’, page: 58)
You nicey-nice, light-weight, alcoholics in the program make jokes about this sentence. You don’t take it with the seriousness it deserves. There’s a whole book that could be written from just this one sentence. You joke about being this type of person, but I’m speaking about us, who are the ‘real deal’. And I’m speaking in dead earnest. I’m one of ‘those’. One of those who are… incapable. Incapable of grasping the meanings behind the steps and who are incapable of carrying any message to other alcoholics. You sponsors pass us off as just being ‘unwilling’. That we are just not “trying hard enough”. That we are just unwilling… “to do the work”. Fuck that and fuck you. Fuck all you people who try to beat on us this way. We are people who are dieing by the hundreds because none of you nicey-nice alcoholics want to soil yourselves by being around us. Who sit around drinking your coffee and telling each other what failures we are. No! You are failing too. You nicey-nice, light-weight alcoholics are not willing to ‘do the work’ either. You are unwilling to go into the black places we have no choice but to go into, in order to stay sober. Maybe you’re not honest enough to go there yourselves (?)
Maybe this will become my job in AA. Now that I’m finally having to face my own terrible demons and are seeming to now be – through God’ wisdom and help – (hopefully) able to overcome them. I might be a trail-blazer in AA for those who are also incapable of understanding the steps but who can somehow muster up enough courage to be honest about the demons they uncover while scrambling sober through the black, scary maze of their lives.
It’s 4 am right now and I woke up giving a fuckingly honest speech at an AA podium – complete with swear words and with all my fullest intensity (and you know how intense that can be). The first thing I said (at the podium) was…
“I’m not going to talk to you nicey-nice, sweet, light-weight, alcoholics. Nor am I going to address you tightly close-minded book-thumpers who tell those of us other alcoholics that, if we’re not working the program, it’s because we aren’t ‘willing to do the work’. Fuck you. Who needs you. At 34 years sober, I’m a heavy-weight. I’ve stayed sober over the long haul. That makes me proof positive that a person can stay sober even if they can’t grasp how to make these sugar-coated steps, for nicey-nice alcoholics, work for them. I’m also not here for those of you who just can’t muster up the ability to be honest either. I’m not going to kid myself about that. I don’t have any experience with what you’re up against, so I won’t be standing as judge over you. All I can do is to pray that somehow God will find a way out for you, from under this very serious, life-threatening problem you’re must face in order to stay sober. Even I, with all the problems I’ve had to deal with, do not have as grave a problem as you. Getting sober without having the ability to be honest about where you’re at, is probably the hardest thing any alcoholic could ever be faced with. For you, I can only offer up prayers in faith on your behalf. I know that God loves you too and that He does have the wisdom and power you need, to help you overcome this type of illness, plus alcoholism… an almost insurmountable load to carry. For those of you, who have been able to overcome this even graver problem than I even have, I am truly in awe.”
I continued on from there, but this post, as it is, is long enough.
The next post in this series is here: Steps 6 & 7 of the 12 Steps of AA