For ~9 years, I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting just about every day. I did the deal—steps, sponsor, home group, service, you name it. I was a true believer, and it was the main priority of my life. My identity as an alcoholic in 12-step recovery was central to how I saw myself, and I didn’t anticipate that changing, ever. Around this time last year, I started teasing out some cognitive dissonance I had been experiencing around the fellowship. And now I don’t go.
I’ve mentioned this in tangential ways here and there, but until now, I haven’t told the story of why I went and why I stopped. But it’s time now.
For the last few years, I’ve been chewing on the question of how to be a writer off the page—how to share the work, how to be in the world, how to relate to that question in a way that makes it possible to write in the fullest and bravest and most open-hearted way possible. How to not be bitter or envious. How to take risks that are just the right amount of risk. How to let go. How to work from the bone and not just approximate what honesty or truth typically sound like, the sentimental forms they often take. Oddly enough, that process—finding the daring to let myself be exactly myself and let you be exactly you—is what led me to unravel the beliefs that I had cast in myself over hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours in church basements.
So this is that story—or the first part of it, anyway.
I probably don’t have to say this, but: What I’m sharing here is my own experience. If you don’t like anything that I have to say about AA, you don’t have to tell me about it. You can just pray for me instead. <3
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