Written By: Fiona Stockard
Articles are the sole work of the individual author and do not express the opinion of Sobriety for Women.
Same Sh*t, Different Meeting
I wasn’t involved in twelve-step recovery twenty years ago. Hell, if we go back twenty years, I was still in diapers and raising hell! I’ve heard old-timers talk about what meetings were like back in the day, though. It sounds awesome as f**k!
Imagine a twelve-step meeting where addicts and alcoholic are sharing about the solution! Imagine a twelve-step meeting where there aren’t any treatment centers rolling in fifteen minutes late. Imagine a twelve-step meeting where Jane Doe, still spiritually sick and only a few days sober, is offered hope, instead of dope! Yeah, sounds better than most of today’s meetings.
So, who’s to blame for the watering down of AA and NA? That’s a complicated question with no easy answer. However, it’s my opinion that these stupid f**king sayings play a part.
Easy Does It? Come on! How can I get better, how can I recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, if I take it easy? I need to get into the work, into the twelve-steps, if I want to recover.
But Easy Does It is in The Big Book
I hear this all the time. Someone doesn’t like me trash talking Easy Does It and points to AA’s Big Book. Well Ms. Big-Book, can you tell me where Easy Does It appears? I didn’t think so.
Easy Does It appears on page 135, at the end of the chapter “The Family Afterward.” It tells the recovering alcoholic’s family to be easy on him (or her!). So, Easy Does It DOESN’T mean take years to work the steps. It DOESN’T mean to only go to meeting. It DOESN’T mean anything other than to treat situations involving family with great consideration and care.
Easy Does It? How Am I Supposed To Get Better?
Up to now, I may have been ranting. Okay, I was ranting! But why? Why do these cheesy slogans get me so worked up? Because they’re killing alcoholics, that’s why.
The idea behind Easy Does It is the same idea behind grateful alcoholics don’t drink, meeting makers make it, don’t drink no matter what, and countless other sayings. The idea is a watered down version of recovery, which doesn’t give alcoholics the proper chance to get better.
To put it another way, if us alcoholics don’t take our medicine (the twelve-steps), we don’t get better. If we don’t get better, we drink and drug ourselves to death.
See, I have a three-part disease. It’s physical, mental, and spiritual. I have a physical allergy, which means once I start drinking, I can’t stop. I have a mental obsession, which means once I start thinking of booze, I can’t stop until I drink. I have a spiritual malady, which means I have a bunch of crap inside which makes me turn to alcohol in the first place.
Through working the twelve-steps, the mental obsession and spiritual malady are removed. God as I understand God removes the mental obsession. It can return, but doesn’t as long as I stay connected to God. God also removes my spiritual malady. Through working the steps, I’m put into contact with God, who then “fills the void” where my spiritual malady was.
I’m always going to be an alcoholic and an addict. The physical allergy never leaves.
My body will always process alcohol and drugs differently than normal peoples’ bodies. If I take a drink after twenty years of being sober, I won’t be able to stop.
What I have done is recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. I’ve recovered from active alcoholism. I’ve recovered from active addiction.
It’s important to note that I’m speaking in the past tense. I’m a recovered alcoholic. The problem of active alcoholism no longer exists for me. That’s straight from the Big Book. Look it up, pages 84 and 85.
What the twelve-step and God as I understand God offer is a way to get better. Upon coming into a twelve-step fellowship, alcoholics and addicts generally don’t have that much time to recover. The mental obsession is tricky, insidious, and powerful. Without God, it comes back fast.
Case in point – how many times have you seen someone pick up a white chip, do no work, and relapse a month later? I see it almost everyday. If us alcoholics and addicts want to get better, we can’t wait around. We can’t take it easy! We simply don’t have that luxury.
So, What Should I Do?
Don’t take it easy! Get a sponsor and call your sponsor. Get into the twelve-steps. You don’t have to do them in a week, but start them right away. Write a fourth-step and share it with your sponsor in a fifth-step. Start making amends (with direction from your sponsor and sober supports!).
If you’re new in recovery and take it easy, chance are you’re going to drink. This is true for women with some sober time, too. We can’t let up on our program of action. If we do, we drink. If we drink, we die a spiritual death. It’s as simple as that.