Sunday, October 15, 2006

Heresy After 20 Years Recovery

There are a few things that we begin to say to each other when we meet someone else who has double-digit recovery. We test the waters a bit and then we gently admit to a few things and after a while you realize you are speaking AA heresy. Here are some of the heretical beliefs I’ve come to after 20-plus years.

We come to AA so we never have to drink again. Yes, there is truth there but it’s only partly true. We now know that AA is one of the methods or strategies or things you can do to stop drinking. But it’s not the only way. Those of us to stick around like AA and we like not drinking and we like the lives we get from not drinking but--by this time—we know a number of people who stopped on their own, or through a faith program or through therapy or –ye gads! Even modifying their drinking! Those are not my choice but after some years I no longer am so scared that I need to bash what other people choose and what many other people find effective.

Related to this is: AA is about alcohol. Well of course it is. It was in the beginning. Today, as we say, I go to AA for my thinking as well as my long-ago drinking. But now I don’t want to go to one meeting for booze and another for drugs and another for food and another program for relationships. I want to go to a meeting for my RECOVERY!
So that stuff about “We only talk about alcohol here.” No, I talk about my recovery here.

And let’s end on this heretical note today:
Before: If you leave AA you will drink again. After: When people leave AA some of them drink again and some of them don’t. Some move onto richer spiritual lives, some become nasty mean spirited people because that’s who they are and they would have stayed nasty in AA too. People do leave AA and never drink again. We know them, we’ve met them and after some number of years in recovery we are no longer afraid of them so we don’t have to make them wrong or bad. I stay in AA because I like AA and I like what I learn and how I grow and change and how my spiritual work deepens. The fear that I do have today is less about drinking and more about not growing and changing. I like what I’ve seen happen to me in AA and I want more. I don’t need to criticize anyone else who makes a different choice.

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