I want to start with letting people know that Alcoholics Anonymous is a great 12 step program and fellowship! It works if you work it! And it has helped millions probably billions of people. Therefore I don’t want to discourage anyone from going there to get help with alcoholism. Everyone’s path is different though, and for now AA is not something that is in my daily, weekly or monthly schedule. I’ve been sober for 9 years now and in my first 3 years I was in the AA rooms regularly.
After my ‘Rock Bottom’ year in prison where I started meetings, I continued to attend frequently once I hit Toronto pavement again. I’d go to meetings at 7 am everyday while I stayed in the halfway house. Sometimes twice a day when I’d hit a night meeting as well. Weekends I was in the rooms soaking up the stories of other alcoholics as well as meeting like minded people to have fellowship with.
As I exited the halfway house I started living outside of downtown Toronto in Scarborough. There was less meetings to attend but I was there when they happened. I attended meetings that were predominantly seniors and most of the time was the youngest one in the room by decades. However it was still very helpful in my sobriety.
I finally found a home meeting downtown called ‘Stepping Stone’ and a great sponsor names Mike. I worked as an Emcee at clubs and was around alcohol constantly with zero urges. Then I finished my parole and started smoking weed again. Then came the guilt.
As my life was released from the invisible shackles of my federal parole conditions, my meeting attendance dwindled. I’d either be too busy to stay for the whole meeting or feel guilty for smelling like weed, since I rekindled my insatiable marijuana smoking habit. Maybe I would trigger somebody that weed was one of their gateways to alcohol. Maybe I’d be looked at as a hypocrite? What my old AA buddies think I feel off the wagon and is coming back in. A lesson AA strongly recommends “Keep Coming Back!” So technically that wouldn’t matter even if it were true. It all sounded like excuses to me.
Now I realize that everyone has their own path and every Alcoholics story is different even though we share one common problem substance. I strongly recommend AA or any other 12 Step programs or rehab if you feel alcoholic has taken control of your life. If you stop and fall off the wagon, after that shame, pick yourself up and try again. In my case I had to stop feeling the guilt of not attending a meeting that no one knows me personally at anyway. Nobody losing sleep at Stepping Stones because I have shown up in a few years. If I ever feel like my personal program isn’t working then they’ll see me again. Until then I still remain alcoholic free on my own.