anonymous Asks ...
I am an alcoholic and I have been to a few AA meetings over the years. I am currently still drinking. It always seems to me that the people at these meetings are as miserable as any you'd ever want to meet. They are healthier without the drink but I do not see them as happier. Do you think it is just people at AA meetings that are like this or is this what 'recovery' is like for everyone? (from a guy that is thinking about quitting but isn't sure he is ready for a crappy life just yet)
Florence Cameron Says ...
You can feel crappy while you are hastening your death as long as you want to. People in AA meetings are just like any group of people, a microcosm of the macrocosm. Meaning you are getting a random sample at each meeting you attend of the general population. If you are going to the meetings to extract happiness from others then you are missing the point. Being happy about recovery first of all is about regaining your self-esteem, your character, and your integrity from the behaviors that alcoholism took from your life. Getting sober is just one piece of it. One still needs to rid themselves of the "stinking thinking" which it sounds like you are stuck in. Happiness lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things. Finding the opportunity 'to be of service' in every situation. To approach every person, place, or thing with an attitude of, "What can I bring to this situation?, what can I contribute? what can I give?" If instead you are coming from a place of, "What am I going to get out of this? Or "Where's mine", then you will be disappointed, as it seems you are. That attitude is one of lack and fear based, while the "giving" attitude is one of gratitude or at least a willingness to act in a loving way.
The beauty of AA is the annonimity, you do not know what stage of recovery anyone is in. When you learn to accept people for who they are and where they're at, you'll find that you'll begin to accept yourself more. Isn't this what it is all about, self acceptance? If you can't appreciate what you have, and who you are then it becomes very difficult to appreciate others. You cannot give away what you do not have.
So yes, you can stay isolated and alone in your disease, or you can go to the meetings to hear the messages of hope and not to judge others. Here is the math to AA:
"Anger x Self Obsession = Resentment
"Resentment + Entitlement = Justification
"Justification -[(Fellowship + Sharing) OR (Sponsorship + Full Disclosure)] = Relapse
Jeannie Cameron, LMHC