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Monday, March 3, 2014

Struggling With Meetings

It is normal for many of us to struggle with going to 12 Step meetings.  There are a number of reasons:

1) I don't like talking about my problem.
2) I like talking about my problems too much.
3) I'm not all that interested in change right now.
4) I hear a lot of crazy stuff from other people trying to talk about God but describing something very different from the 'Higher Power' of the Big Book.
5) I see a lot of people in meetings who really don't have an addiction problem, but rather severe emotional retardation which mimics addiction but really isn't.

Of course, the problem is with the 'I' in each of these cases.

So, how do we deal with our resistance?  First, I would say that it is time to get honest: are you really an addict?  This is the million-dollar question.

Addiction is now one of the most trendy and over-diagnosed problems in America.  Everyone loves to be addicted, because it sounds so much better than just being weak-willed and immature.  Yet, most addiction acting-out is precisely that.  So, the professionals look at the behavior and say, 'Well, look at what you are doing... you must be an addict!'

Then comes the prescriptions and trips to rehab.  All of which are billable.

Then, there are do-gooder judges and legislators who send flocks of wobbly drivers to AA meetings even though they are just substance-abusers rather than real addicts.  Some of those people stick around for a myriad of reasons, none of which have to do with genuine addiction.

So, it is no wonder why so many AA meetings are something of a disaster these days.  The trick is whether we can see ourselves as clearly as others.  Until you can, you might just have to stick it out.  We have to understand that we must put up until we change, rather than demanding others change as well.

Second, if you can find another way to get sober, then by all means go do that.  There are plenty of new therapy programs, such as Cognative Behavioral Therapy, that word quite well on modern malaise and flat-out dysfunction.  Drop the meetings and work the extra hours to afford some sessions.  You may find that to be your solution.

Some people don't handle meetings well because they really don't have an addiction problem and so everything there is gibberish.  If you don't identify, then it makes no sense to stay.  No, I do not believe you can force anyone to admit they have a problem, no matter how many meetings they attend.  And, very often, 'fake-it-until-you-make-it leaves you as a well-practiced faker who never makes it at all.

Go ahead and do something else.  Stop banging your head against a wall.

When you are ready, and all of a sudden all the stuff you heard in meetings makes sense, then go back.  AA began with members fishing end-stage alcoholics out of hospital beds and jail cells.  That's the kind of alcoholic that is willing to do anything to get sober.  If you ain't there, sitting in a meeting being bored is not going to help you. 

Third, try to remember that half the people in the room are probably annoyed with you as well.  Extend a little bit of patience to those you are annoying...

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