First, I want to congratulate you again on taking another “action” to do something different than using alcohol or drugs! I’m glad you’re here with me today to read about what it was like for me to attend my first ever AA meeting.
I’ve told myself that I need to let out my raw emotion when I write. I feel it’s the only way I can express myself and try to connect with you. You may have had a great day today, or maybe you haven’t had a good day. Either way, both of us are here right now in this moment.
Personally, I haven’t had the best of days today for whatever reason. I’ve had some depressive feeling and thoughts. I haven’t had these in a long time. It’s weird that I’m sharing this with you because I really don’t want you to know these things. I’m willing to put myself out there for you and the world. Some people might say I’m crazy to share personal things about how I think and feel. But you know what? You do need to know these things! I could write each blog post like I’m setting the world on fire in my life and things are absolutely fantastic! However, some days aren’t as fantastic as you may think. Many people in recovery know this all too well. I’m human, and some days just aren’t clicking. I don’t have anything to complain about really. I’m not scared, or sad, or angry, or whatever at this moment. I just am. I’ve experienced enough days with depression to know when I’m “off”. I know what things I need to do to try and break the mindset of having depressive thoughts, but it can be a monumental task sometimes. I’m pretty damn sure the people with depression who are reading this right now know what I mean. However, it’s getting easier for me as time has gone by without using alcohol.
(Ok, I just realized I need a cup of coffee!) – Go brew yourself a pot if you need to and we can enjoy a little love from Columbia!
“Aaah! Got my coffee heated up and a little caffeine in me. I’m good to go now, lets’ continue on.
It’s not easy sometimes to open up a computer or turn on your smart phone to read something that might help change your life. I know what it’s like to have good intentions to do something, then say screw it at the last second. What I’m saying is, “Thanks for still being here with me. Not for me, but for you!”
I never thought I’d be writing about what it was like for me to attend my first ever AA meeting. But I think it’s important to do so, because maybe you haven’t ever been to your first meeting. You’re wondering what it will be like and who will be attending. You might be thinking you don’t need to go to a meeting. Or, that you’ll “be ok” if you don’t go to one. Yeah, I’ve had all those same thoughts before too.
Thank God for cell phones in this day and age! It sounds corny, but I owe a little bit to cell phone technology for my sobriety and recovery. I also owe the person who called me that night before my first AA meeting in 2005. I won’t name the person who reached out to help me, but he’s in my heart at this very moment. I’m going to use the name Jon for the purpose of my story.
- I want you to key in on how wonderful people (other alcoholics) are in the program of AA. What they will do for those who are still suffering like I was that very night. The lengths they will go to help another.
I was lying in bed. It was around 5:30pm that night and I was severely depressed. I was afraid of the phone ringing at this point in my life. I’m pretty sure Jon called me at least three times before I finally picked up the phone. I think he left a message saying he wants to invite me to go to an AA meeting. I didn’t know what to think? I was scared, hopeless, my marriage was on the rocks, and I knew I had crossed the line with alcohol. There was something amiss in my life. I couldn’t explain it at that moment, but I definitely felt alone in the world more than any other time in my life. Things were only getting worse, not better. I had yet to declare myself a “true alcoholic”. I needed to talk to someone. I just didn’t know “tonight” would be the night of my first AA meeting.
I answered the phone. Jon said hi, and he hit me head on saying that he’d stay on the phone with me until I arrived at the meeting. I thought he was out of his mind! Did he really mean this?! – I thought. He was serious as a heart attack. I fought a little on wanting to go. Actually, I really struggled with wanting to go. In all honesty, I really didn’t want to go. I just wanted to hang up the phone, crawl back into bed, and hope that tomorrow doesn’t come. But Jon stayed on the phone with me and asked if I was dressed. I said no. He said, I’m going to ask you to put your clothes on one piece at a time. Then I’m going to ask if you’re in your car, and if you started your car, and so on until I see you at the meeting. Somehow I found the strength and agreed.
My mind was tired, very tired. I couldn’t see brightness, or hope. All I could do was barely find which socks to put on, which pants to wear and make sure I looked halfway presentable once I got to the meeting. I remember pausing for a second when I was going to my car. I had another wave of fear fall over me. I thought to myself – “What’s the point? What difference will a f***ing meeting do for me?!” Jon was still on the phone and pretty much read my mind. I was too quiet for a moment when I was on the phone. He kept me talking all the time by asking me questions. He must have known I was starting to overthink things when I went silent. He asked where I was and if I was in the garage. I said yes, I’m in the garage. He told me to get in the car and start the car. I wouldn’t have gone if he wasn’t on the phone with me and made me do this. He helped me break through the thoughts I had in my head. – (That wall we all have when we overthink things)
So there I was, driving down I-494, wondering if life will ever amount to anything again, and if I could be happy again. I couldn’t believe I was actually driving to go to my first AA meeting. I’m mean, really?! This isn’t how I thought life would turn out. How I’d turn out. This is bullshit that I’m having to drive to an AA meeting. I mean, I was really pissed for most of the ride! Yet at the same time, I felt (at least) a little better knowing someone cares enough about me to stay on their phone and get me to a meeting. 20 minutes had passed and there I was driving into the parking lot Jon directed me to. I felt a little relief getting there and seeing his face. I was scared, I was hopeless, I was a broken man with false pride. I’ve been living a life of denial thinking I can drink like other people and not have any problems when doing so. I had my initial perceptions of the AA program and the people in it. I’m mean, I’m perfect (in my mind) – ego will keep me sick and always had. I don’t have problems like the people that must come to these type of meetings. There’s no way I can be as bad off as these people, right?
I walked down the steps to where the meeting was going to be held. Jon showed me where the coffee was. I looked around, most likely with that “deer in the head lights” kind of look. I don’t know what I probably looked like? Hell, I just woke up out of bed 45 minutes ago experiencing severe depression. Wanting to never been seen again and not wanting to see anyone as well. I made a cup of coffee that I really didn’t want at the time. But I needed something to wake me up and give me a little pick me up. Jon took me over to meet a couple people he knew. I was judging them even as I was shaking their hands. The meeting was about to start. I took a seat, the chairs were set up in a circular format. I still couldn’t believe I made it, but I did. It was the first meeting, the first step of many, that would lead me to where I am today.
So I say to you, – “Don’t be afraid to put on your pants and get to your first meeting. It may save your life!”
Yet, I had never declared myself an alcoholic in front of anyone at that time. This next step was a thousand times harder than getting to the meeting!
(To be continued – I’ll be writing a post on what it was like to declare myself an Alcoholic at my first meeting)