I’m not the most social creature at the best of times. It’s not that I don’t like people, I’m just a bit wary I guess. I often misinterpret intentions or worry that people will misinterpret mine. I often assume that people think the worst of me. So when I was invited by my sobriety counsellor to go to meetings with other people ‘like’ me, I wasn’t sure whether it would be the best idea.
I hadn’t yet stopped drinking, which is a weird thing when you’re trying to get sober, but I’d been told to slowly cut down, rather than stop completely. The amount I was drinking could have caused a lot of problems if I’d just stopped. I was told that cutting down made it more achievable, although it made me feel a bit of a fraud in all honesty, and it added to my confusion about the way I felt. It was a strange old time. I didn’t really get on that well with my counsellor, I just didn’t feel properly understood and I think that’s a really important thing to feel when you’re opening up so much of yourself and asking for help. So although I was nervous and unsure I decided to go to the meetings and see what came of it. It couldn’t harm, I thought.
The first thing was that the meetings were really local to where we lived, which made me cautious, as I worried people I would know would see me, and ‘know’. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so on the first meeting I was early. Two ladies met me and were pretty wary about saying who they were. Of course, I didn’t really want to tell strangers why I was there either, but we eventually worked out that we were there for the same reason. They led the group and seemed so far from where I was. I couldn’t believe that they’d ever had dependencies on alcohol. But they had, and once we spoke about their journeys it gave me hope.
The group was an interesting one. It wasn’t full of any stereo-typical alcoholics, rather individuals, who all had separate reasons for being there. At first, my appearance of having it together made me feel a bit of an outsider, but once we had introduced ourselves we began to understood each other more. No one was like me, and yet they all were. There were people who drank less, some who drank all day, and there were those who did drugs too. Some of their stories were far darker than mine, some weren’t, but we all understood why we were there. Suddenly I had a support group.
Going to meetings didn’t magically fix things for me. At first, I still went home and had a drink, because ironically my counsellor had told me to. But what it did was get me talking, it opened my mind to other possibilities. I remember one conversation, when I told the group I was angry about not drinking because I felt I deserved to. Especially in the evenings. But I was asked why I deserved wine, why I couldn’t deserve something else instead. It didn’t cure me, but it made me think, it made me realise I did have other choices and it opened my eyes to other people having the same sort of battles.
Different things work for different people, I suppose it’s just important to keep an open mind, and try different options, because otherwise, sobriety is a much harder battle.
Next month will be four years. I never believed for a moment that I would be able to say that. I have no intention of ever going back to where I was.
Good luck if you are on a sober journey. Take care all, and thanks as always for reading.