What’s the Deal with Alcoholics Anonymous?

SO FAR THIS IS WHAT I KNOW:

I’ve been to maybe a total of 6 or 7 AA meetings. Not including the one that I was guilted into attending by some pill-head that I met in detox. If you wind up in detox, unless you’ve been before don’t go to the detox AA meeting. You will have a bad day. If you’re in detox, you got some bigger issues to tackle such as making sure your psycho roommate doesn’t touch your shit while you do some laps around the hospital floor to keep yourself from going fucking crazy.

I had never been to AA before and going to my first AA meeting in detox was a horrible idea. Don’t do this to yourself. Give yourself a little bit of time. Don’t give your addiction any excuses that may be triggered by indecent exposure. I’m guilty of this. After my first detox AA meeting I walked out going, “Sweet Jesus. Those people are FUCKED. Maybe I don’t even have a problem…” No. Rich Homie Ted (that’s me) does have a problem. And the biggest problem is the pathological denial.

The first problem that I saw when I started thinking about going to AA meetings was that I knew that I would automatically compare myself to other self-identified alcoholics.

It’s taken me forever to realize that I’m playing with a very different deck than the majority of the population. I’m mentally ill. And I’m an alcoholic/addict. It’s really as simple as that. As much as I’d love to over-complicate the whole thing and pretend to be “normal” I know that this is dangerous. Trying to pretend that I’m something that I’m not is exactly how I got here. But in this newfound honesty with myself, I’ve found strength and self-empowerment. Sounds like corny bullshit. It’s not. I used to think this was stupid but I realized the truth was that I was being stupid. And what I’ve learned is that it’s ok to be skeptical. But there is nothing that is more dangerous and mindless than cynicism. If you don’t think there’s a difference between cynicism and skepticism? You’re reading the right article. There is no way that at any point in your life that you’ve been a bigger dickhead than me. So at least you got that going for ya! Let’s jump right in, son.

LAST NIGHT I GOT MY 3-MONTH CHIP!

Last night I went to my weekly go-to Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Tuesday nights in a church down town in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The only reason that I’m plugging this info on the internets is because I would hope that if you are a young alcoholic like myself and you live near me or you’re just in my hood and you’re looking for a meeting then this is a good meeting and you should go.

I missed the 3-meetings that I frequent in Dover, Portsmouth, and Manchester, NH. I’ve been fighting off migraines and eating too much candy has turned me into a gingerbread-man. The only reason that I missed these meetings was because I felt like ass and did not want to be ralphing all over my fellow alcoholic homies. HOWEVER, one thing that I’m not tooo tooooo down with is that when I tell my new AA amigos that I’ve been just not feelin’ too great and had to chill out, these bros seem to immediately give Rich Homie Ted the side-eye and kinda give me the, “uh-huh…right.” I might just be paranoid and over sensitive (I have been guilty of this in the past–comes with the territory) but I still don’t fucking like it. As my brother once said to our varsity high school baseball coach when interrogated harshly about whether or not he had tagged up on a pop fly: “I literally have nothing to gain from lying to you.” This is an amazing line. And it’s all that I’ve got to say when someone is raising both eyebrows at me. I literally have nothing to gain from lying to these people that I’ve only just met in my short time going to Alcoholics Anonymous.

I’m going to chalk it up to 1. my own over-sensitivity and 2. addicts are addicts. Everybody’s lied and been lied to but nobody has ever made a career of it quite like and addict or an alcoholic. This is what I love about being in the recovery community and going to AA. You can’t bullshit and addict. Some people have heard every one in the proverbial book. But that proverbial book was written by addicts and alcoholics. This is partially why we shouldn’t throw addicts in jail but rather rehabilitate them. Law enforcement, the FBI and the CIA would greatly benefit from rehabilitating addicts and making use of these people’s near super-natural skill at problem solving. If nothing else, addicts and alcoholics are wicked good at telling when someone is lying. But the one problem with this is that addicts and alcoholics just assume that everybody is full of shit. I know this for a fact because that’s kinda how I am! I don’t fucking trust anybody. So why should anybody trust me? The recovery catch-22…oh how shitty it is.

Anywhom, it was great to be back into a recovery focused environment. Some of the dudes I’d met when they saw me back didn’t think they’d see me again. Look, anonymous alcoholics, I get it. Homies miss one meeting and then next thing ya know they’re dead. I appreciate the concern and that it all comes from a place of love, but I’m not that guy. Everybody is different and everybody’s addiction is different because individual brain chemistry is unique. I’m not the kind of dude who taps out for a week and winds up dead. That’s one of the only shitty parts about coming clean: nobody just gives you the benefit of the doubt. When I was lying and drinking and using and abusing, everybody gave me the Drake treatment! Oh, he’s just doin’ him! He’ll be ok! Look and him dance! Cool jacket, bro. But the second I came clean and raised my hand and said I was an alcoholic and needed help? OH FUCK! HE’S A MONSTER HE CAN’T BE TRUSTED!!!! THE BOY NEEDS JESUS!! No, fuck you. I’m three months sober. I’ve got a license to ill. This is what happens in early recovery. The benefit of the doubt all of the sudden becomes nearly impossible to get from other people. Alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike. No good deed goes unpunished and that’s people would rather be lied to that told the truth. I don’t know why but for whatever reason people seem to buy lies whole sale but the truth? It’s almost as if nobody wants to ever hear the truth.

The upside of this is that I know what the truth is because I’m being honest with myself. Even if some of the AA dudes were kinda skeptical of me not coming to meetings (only been there for a month, guys, chill the fuck out) it was good to be back and it really did make me feel good.

WHAT’S GOOD WITH ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS?

I’m a raging alcoholic. I’ve finally come to terms with this because I’m sick of my drinking controlling my life. It’s really not living. The last 22 years of my life? I wouldn’t not really call that “living”. I’d call it just barely hanging on and keeping it together. Denial has not worked. Putting my alcohol addiction on the back burner has not worked. I need to always be thinking about it or else I lose control.

I’ve never felt like I’ve been able to easily relate to other people. I’m an extrovert and kinda shameless. But I’ve always felt like an alien. Since I was very young–this is probably from depression and anxiety issues–I noticed that I didn’t have a whole lot in common with others my own age. I loved talking to people but I didn’t have a lot in common with anybody. It sounds douchey but my hierarchy of values has always been a little different from that of everybody else. Even my family. I can’t explain it a whole lot better than there is some shit that I care about deeply and then everything else I find it difficult to care at all. I either can or can’t do something. If I care about it, I know I can do it. If I don’t give a shit, it’s not getting done. I’m not lazy. I never have been. Call me a coward all day, but don’t call me lazy. If something isn’t life or death, it does not matter to me. It does not register. My radar does not pick it up. But this kind of difference is something that I’ve found in common amongst myself and the people I’ve met in AA. I’ve only been at it for just over three months now but it’s become clear to me that the only people who I can relate to are other addicts and alcoholics in recovery. I can relate to the friends that I’ve grown up with who have known me all my life. They love me and I love them and we’ve grown up together. But I literally just meet people in AA and instantly feel like I connect with them. It’s like Harry Potter finally figuring out that he wasn’t just some nerdy nerd, but actually a CRAZY POWERFUL WIZARD! Am I comparing my experience thus far in AA to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Yes. And that makes my sponsor Dumbledore. I’m sure that if he reads this he’ll be happy to hear that. YOU’RE A WIZARD HARRY! And Ted, nah, you’re not a wizard, yer just a dumb alcoholic. I may not be a wizard but I used to drink so much I definitely felt like I had special powers! Now, I’m just a sobered up muggle. At least Voldemort isn’t coming for my nuts. Fuck that.

So it’s been awesome to get involved in the sober community. I’ve met a bunch of great people and I’m finally fucking making friends. You have no idea how proud my mom is, man. People in recovery are great people and if nothing else, when I feel like I’ve got no other reason to stay sober, I find that my will to stay in recovery with these people is strong. Also, getting chips REALLY activates my latent Irish-Catholic boner. Oh my god. Physical trinkets? Clapping? GOOD BOY POINTS!? It gives me an epic god-gasm. There’s a lot of good stuff that just kinda comes with staying sober and staying in recovery. The people, the helpfulness, the community, the CHIPS BABY!! GET DEM CHIPS! And it’s nice to have something to do.

QUESTIONS ABOUT ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS:

Now, for all of the good stuff that I’ve highlighted above, there is some stuff that I’m still trying to figure out about this Alcoholics Anonymous program.

At first, I thought this shit was a cult. It’s not a cult, grow up. If you think that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult, you’ve got bigger issues that drugs and alcohol, brother. Is there some god shit? Yes. This program was invented by white American dudes in the 1930’s during some of the worst times of the Great Depression. There’s gonna be some god shit. But how about instead of bitching about AA being a cult you get on the American justice system’s dick for making people swear on The Bible? AA doesn’t recruit. AA doesn’t convert. And guess what? AA has no specific affiliations with any single church, religion, or other organization. If you’re like me and a cynical fuckface then take it from me and trust me when I tell you that it is about as much of a cult as your high school’s marching band was. It’s not a cult. There’s some weirdos for sure. But it’s not a cult. Get over yourself.

As far as organizations go, AA is pretty innocent. There are stories of people being harassed but I personally think that college is way more fucking dangerous and sinister than AA. AA doesn’t have promote rape culture unlike American institutions of higher learning. However, these days? If you’re my age (22-years-old) and you go out for the night and you tell your family that you were at a frat party? Nobody bats a fucking eye. You could literally drink and rape your way through the night and everybody will give you a “boys will be boys” pass for absolutely no good reason. But tell your parents that you’re off to AA? Oh my god. Everybody goes ape shit. Especially if your family HATES GOD!

Being from “progressive” liberal family blows. It’s cool to be gay. It’s not rad to be a dumb alcoholic. That’s not horrible though. I’d really rather not be from a family of racist, homophobic white trash but good lord. Don’t tell nobody that your ass believes in god. Or Vishnu. Or Allah. Or Jewish god. Your ass will get judged. And for whatever reason, AA’s got some kind of wicked fucked up stigma. AA gets the stigma that college should get. The cult-ishness accusations? The “those are bad people” bullshit. All of that. I honestly think that everything bad that I’ve heard about AA is 90% applicable to college and college culture.

But you wanna know where AA differs from college? People actually read the fucking books in AA. People in recovery not only read the books, but they also discuss them intelligently and can give some very insightful thoughts on the topic. College kids? IS THIS GONNA BE ON THE TEST???? Fuck you. Have fun getting your stomach pumped after your shitty D3 football team gets creamed by State. If you ask “will this be on the test?” then fuck you with a rusty shovel. People who ask that–especially in college–can eat a bag of dicks.

The one thing that I’m struggling with in AA really is the commitment to the whole thing. I can commit to sobriety. Even if I “don’t want to” I’m committed and I’m doing this. But AA is a lifestyle. Or at least that’s how it seems to me. And that makes sense. I was in a relationship with drugs and specifically alcohol. My life revolved around drinking. It was an obsession. It pervaded every single aspect of my life from the first drink. It makes sense that the AA program is designed to fill that void.

There was in my psyche when I quit drinking and doing drugs. Sobriety isn’t the rigid dictatorship that full blown alcohol and drug addiction is. Alcoholism is an emotionally fascist regime. There is no freedom and one thing that I’ve struggled with is the slavery of freedom. Foucault came up with this concept of the “slavery of freedom” and what that is is when you have a bunch of different choices it’s wicked hard to choose something. For example, you have two choices: chocolate or vanilla. How fast do you pick one or just say fuck it and decide to get nothing? But you give me a bajillion different flavors of fuggin’ ice cream?? I will stand there in the ice cream aisle like a wonked out lunatic on Thorazine and I will be a slave to my choices. See? In sobriety, I keep asking myself, “ok, so what now?” It’s like Iraq after they ripped down the statue of Saddam. It makes for a good Vine, but it’s not going very well otherwise.

Drinking wasn’t a choice for me. Yeah I drank. I chose the first drink. I was a 17-year-old American dudebro who just wanted to party. And then something in my brain exploded like a Tijuana firecracker. I thought alcohol was the answer to all of my problems. School. Girlfriend. Family. Depression. Anxiety. Friends. Co-workers. FUCKING  SPORTS. Everything. I thought that my inability to handle the shittiness of life would be solved by drinking. A lot of drinking. And if something wasn’t working? I wasn’t drinking enough. You know how it goes. This is all a cliche. This is addiction 101. And it ended the same for me as it does for everybody else. I fucked up my whole life. I hit rock bottom. I hit rock bottom fuckin’ twice, dog. That’s one thing nobody tells you. There isn’t just ONE rock bottom. You can go lower. You can go way lower. And as bad as ending up 6-feet-deep is? As Tupac said, the greatest tragedy in life isn’t death; it’s what dies inside while you’re still alive.

AA offers a replacement to the void in one’s life once drugs and alcohol are taken off the menu. My question right now is whether or not I want this new lifestyle. Is this AA program the only way to stay sober? No it’s not and AA doesn’t pretend like it is no matter what anybody tells you. But that’s what I’m trying to find out. I want to know if AA is the right fit for me because my way has not been working. I’m open to it and it is a good way to keep my cynicism in check. If nothing else, I do truly believe that one of the best ways to find out who you really are is by taking yourself out of your comfort zone and seeing what’s going on elsewhere. Nobody can make me do anything I don’t want to. So why not give AA a try? There’s no harm in trying and whether or not AA turns out to be a good fit for me, at the very least I’m trying and no matter what I’m staying sober.

I got my 3-month chip last night and it felt good to be back in a meeting after being sick and missing some meetings last week. A cool bonus was that I got to keep my 2-month chip! I thought that you had to turn your chips in to get an upgrade but as it turns out you get to keep your snazzy chip collection! That’s kinda rad.

I’m gonna get to the bottom of this thing and report my findings because I think it’s important. I’m asking questions because I know there’s other people out there who suffer from the same shit as me who are also asking the same sort of questions. I’m readin’ the book, I’m rackin’ up chips, and I’m gonna start workin’ the steps with a sponsor. If you got questions feel free to hit me up. I hope I can give you some answers!

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