In AA it is unanimously agreed that if you surround yourself with your past demons they will once again claim your soul. But it’s nicer to say it like this, reminding a newly sober gal not to be too cavalier in her behaviors, “well, if ya hang out in a barbershop long enough you’re gonna get a hair cut.” I suppose it’s good advice. I mean, yes. It is great advice if you white-knuckle it. Another AA euphemism for a drunk holding on a little too tightly to his precarious sobriety. Of course with 62 days under my belt (I am a grateful recovering alcoholic), I am beginning to question these warnings. It is in my nature to believe and do (or try to) the unconventional. An Aquarius if there ever was one, I can’t get behind conventional wisdom. Sometimes (nope, a lot of times) AA feels too conventional for a free-thinking, rebellious, water bearer. I am not crazy about these “character defects” we keep insisting upon. I’m having a good day so maybe I believe my defects can be reframed to be attributes. But in AA that would be delusional thought. Trust me, I am very aware of and grateful to my Higher Power. Especially the force that has kept me alive after horrible car wrecks, driving while drunk, many nights of dumb careless behavior. The grace that has not yet abandoned me after countless lies I’ve told myself to keep drinking.
But here is my problem. Well, an internal conflict or dilemma. My rebellious heart wants to know why I have to play by these rules. The 12-step Big Book doctrine my sponsor lives by and encourages me to do the same. Encouragement, little bits of advice, and group-think/speak…well, I’m struggling with it. It’s not my style. I will not quit going to my lady’s meetings, I will complete my 12 step work. But I’m already doubting my ability to become this soldier for Alcoholics Anonymous. Because I don’t believe it has saved me, like so many in the program. I SAVED me. I made this choice, am making this choice every moment of my long days and quiet nights. AA did not serve me my sobriety on a silver platter. The credit for my salvation lies within. As I believe with all. AA is a church and its congregation can sometimes remind me that I am nothing without Him, or AA , or the 12 step program. Not unlike any church organization that reminds its members “you are a sinner, you must repent, accept your inferiority and take what we offer you…” No thanks. I like to feed myself. Dress myself. Make my own decisions. Of course, being an alcoholic I haven’t always made the best ones. But the best one I ever made was getting sober. She is a gracious, loving, forgiving and accepting God and She is inside me, as A. Burroughs says “we are the same stuff stars are made of” . My heart beats with the pulse of the entire Universe.