Relaxed (past) – “Don’t quit before the miracle happens.” – phrase used in AA.
I distinctly remember the first time I decided I wasn’t going to go to meetings for a while and didn’t know if I was going to come back after I gave birth.. I was VERY pregnant, sitting in a meeting with my legs spread wide open and a human being beating the shit out of my insides. I was done. I was done being pregnant and I was done with AA.
My meeting attendance in early recovery was relatively consistent due to the fact that I needed signatures. After A2 was born, I went on my terms. I was now 3+ years without a drink and back to my recreational usage of MJ. I still harbored the same resentments towards AA and remained one foot in, one foot out. I simply wasn’t ready to work on myself because I didn’t think I had to.
I was self-will run riot and unwilling to accept what I couldn’t change (people, places and things) or have the courage to change what I could (myself!) and God wasn’t having it. My relaxed recovery was about to get an overhaul and I had no idea it was going to look how it does today.
But God did and stuff had to happen first.
In August of 2017, I hit a wall that brought me to my knees, only this time, I wasn’t drinking. In the months that followed, I was living in a perpetual emotional hangover that gave me the desperation I needed to hand my will back over to God.
You wanna know what happened, don’t you? I know, I know, I would too. Fine, I’ll tell give you the condensed, vague version in the form of…that’s right…a list:
- Certain aspects of my existence had become unmanageable.
- I started to pray and meditate like my life depended on it…because it did.
- I saw the need for change and decided it was officially time I defect from AA, announced it in a private recovery group on social media, and sought professional help for my outside issues that had nothing to do with drinking.
- Considered drinking AT my issues a couple of times and went to a meeting right away instead.
- One of those times was when I decided to tell a bunch of strangers one of my BBS’s and walked away with a glimmer of hope for my place in AA.
- Confessed to women I DID know in a house meeting and walked away with even more hope; enough to compel me to seek out a temporary sponsor while I “figured it out.” The woman I asked said yes under conditions I wasn’t willing to adhere to.
- Attended meetings off and on, getting more and more annoyed at the “all or nothing” mentality, suggesting that people in recovery are not really sober if they are using marijuana – medicinally or recreationally – and that they would need to start their date over if/when they decided to quit.
- Started this blog and was doing recovery without a sponsor or meetings, using all the tools I had learned in AA the past 6 years (as of March 30th, 2018) and was still in therapy.
- Found a private FB community and support group for people who also use cannabis in recovery – recreationally and as a harm reduction tool.
- Things happened that would not allow me to close the door on AA for good. For example, I found out that the maid of honor I talk about in Skeletons 1.9 had been reading my blog and that she’s ALSO in the program. Are you kidding me!? She instantaneously became Birdie #6. B6, you know WTF you are.
- Was met with nothing but support when I told her about my BBS. That same day, B3 strongly encouraged me (again) to stop judging myself and come back to the rooms.
- 2 days later, after a long sabbatical from meetings, I got honest in my former home group and claimed my seat; offering to be of service in any way that I could and that I was praying for a sponsor.
Can you guess what happened next?
I’ll give you a hint…
Reprimand for Misdemeanor #2 – 2012: My sentencing required a lot from me over the course of the next 18 months and, as previously mentioned, one of those things was spending 2 weekends on lock down. I find it hard to hold back telling you everything about this experience so here’s a sub-list of the moments that stood out as particularly memorable:
- The seasoned inmate who called me “ma” as she consoled me in the depths of my emotional breakdown after waiting HOURS to be assigned a bunk and my name not being called. Fun little fact: “ma” was a nickname I shared with a couple besties in high school and it stemmed from a mean-spirited joke about someone else. Oh the irony.
- The two other “weekenders” whom I befriended and at one point shared my hopes to get (or already be) pregnant. I became FB friends with one of them and I still am to this day. Coincidentally enough, I saw her 3 years later and locked eyes with her as I led a meeting telling my story. I was also pregnant with A2 at that time and she had gotten her 3rd DUI. Now THAT’S a trip!
- Being solicited to smuggle drugs back in when I returned for weekend #2. I asked her, “do I look like someone who would know how to score hard drugs?” Where those balls came from, I have no idea and the fact that I escaped a lunch room beat down from challenging a broad like that is beyond my comprehension. Another bullet dodged.
- My bunkmate the same weekend. My first impression of her gave me no reason to feel intimidated or think she was in for anything other than drugs, like the majority of inmates. That is until she nonchalantly tells me she had just done heroin for the first time the day before and later threatens to kick the ass of the person who had just farted in her general vicinity. Confession: it was me and I remained unscathed. (so many bullets!!)
- The one and ONLY email I received from a loved one those two miserable weekends. Yes, I still have it and no, you can’t read it. But you CAN read excerpts from it right here:
(To the author of the above hilarity, if you are reading this, I still laugh at your humor in this email. You’re still funnier than me, but man of man do I have some new material!)
- The wasted woman puking up blood in the drunk tank as I waited to be released. I was far from accepting my alcoholism but I felt compelled to give her the hard word and told her if she didn’t stop drinking NOW, she was going to die. She proceeded to tell me she was already dying from esophageal cancer. Several months later, I saw the same woman at a rehab facility where I attended a handful of “after care meetings.” In that moment, I wanted to run up to her and tell her how happy I was to see her alive and getting help to improve the quality of her life for as long she had left. But I didn’t because I knew there was no way she’d remember me.
As the ex who traveled with me to the aforementioned foreign country where I EASILY could have become a cold case victim would say: fun times…fun times.
Like I said before, this series has been mostly for me; it serves as a “purging” if you will, much like what I talked about in my very first blog post. However, I’ve beat myself up long enough for my choices with the opposite sex and my recovery journey. I think enough time has passed that I’m ready to be fully free from all of that negativity. God keeps doing for me what I could not do for myself and has relieved me of the desire to publicly shame these lost and damaged souls, therefore, I have removed the DUDS page from my menu, as well as deleted their “letters.”
I have totally forgiven all of those dudes who didn’t deserve me.
Thank you, God!
Revealed: It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. (BB, pg. 85)
I remember the first time I learned that smoking pot was a no no in the rooms of AA. I was sitting in a meeting watching a woman take a 1 year token after “smoking a little weed” when she had 11 years of sobriety. I distinctly remember a part of her share when she received the coin and it went SOMETHING like this:
“I really don’t want to be taking this token but my sponsor is making me.”
I thought it was ridiculous that a woman with long term sobriety would be “told” she had to start over. I still do and that’s why I kept my “marijuana maintenance” a secret for so long.
Revealing my chosen recovery path here isn’t the first time I have “outed myself.” I came clean to 3 friends a few years ago and their response was this:
“So? The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.”
I couldn’t believe my ears and was really happy they were so accepting. It was a game changer for me and I started going back to meetings. But not regularly. Even though no one else in the program knew, I still felt like an outcast and “not worthy” to be an active member of AA. Down deep, I really did want to be “a part of” but I was convinced I wouldn’t be accepted if I fully “got honest.” I felt like a fraud and it was killing me inside. I could NOT let go of the idea that I didn’t belong because I WAS doing it “my way” and if they knew, they’d shun me. Why?
I was IN self and entering the danger zone, distancing myself further and further from the program.
I’ve heard countless times that people who smoke weed in recovery end up leaving AA altogether and eventually turn to the drink when life gets really hard. And guess what…
…it did. I left AA and then shit got real. And guess what…
…the thought to drink DID occur to me a handful of times. But did I?