Scary, isn’t it?


Drunkeness and despair...

It can be pretty frightening to walk into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for the first time. Or for the second or third time, for that matter.

At the very first meeting I attended, there were all sorts of scary creatures. Weary-eyed old men. Worn-out women. Sullen 20-somethings. Holy-roller housewives. Flip-flop-wearing frat boys.

Equally scary were the stories I heard. Tales of arrests, violence, drug addiction, neglected children, lost jobs, broken homes…you name it.

The thought of standing up and telling these people I was an alcoholic (which would mean admitting I was just like them) and then sharing some bit of my true self was fearful beyond words.

I didn’t go back to another AA meeting for a year. When I finally did venture out again, I only attended two meetings before I decided, yet again, that I had nothing in common with these alcoholic creatures and there was nothing at AA for me.

I wasn’t down on my luck. I hadn’t “hit bottom.” I wasn’t haggard and in bad health. I wasn’t religious. Heck, I wasn’t even really an alcoholic. After all, plenty of my friends told me I didn’t have a drinking problem – I just went a little overboard sometimes.

I talked myself out of it. Again. And again. And again. I could control this thing. I was a successful career woman. I was a mom. I was a multitasker. I could manage.

Until I couldn’t.

Two weeks ago, feeling nervous and very afraid, I walked into yet another AA meeting — about 13 years after I sat through that very first one, the one where I saw all those frightening creatures.

And there they were. Again.

The old men. The weary women. The young ones. The housewives.

But something was different.


I had come to realize that I was just like them. I was an alcoholic. I was out of control. I wanted what they had. I would do anything to get it – even if it scared me beyond belief.

And so I went to that meeting, holding within me the one requirement for AA membership: a desire to stop drinking. I was welcomed with open arms and hearts.

Turns out it wasn’t so scary, after all.

7 Responses to “Scary, isn’t it?”

  1. Welcome home. I’m glad you’re here.

  2. 2 C

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Which is far better than the bottom of my wine glass, where my sentiments used to originate not that long ago…

  3. 3 Sue

    You are a beautiful brave talented artist and friend. Your blog and photography rock. You are an inspiration.

  4. 4 anon819

    The most frightening hour of my life was my first AA meeting nearly 3 years ago. What a horror! Admitting that I had a problem didn’t give me any sense of relief, but seemed to turn everything upside down. But I stuck around and now can see how good life can be, sober, today. Thanks for your post.

  5. 5 C

    So glad you found this. Thanks for your comment, and keep coming back…

  6. Wow, I just stumbled across your blog after having undertaken a similar resolution 11 days ago (just about exactly a year from when you started yours…) I don’t know if I can pull it off…but your blog is certainly encouraging. 🙂

  7. 7 C

    Thanks for your comment. Please understand, though, that I didn’t resolve not to drink for just a year. As an alcoholic, I needed to stop drinking forever, and the way for me to do that, I discovered, was one day at a time — and with the help of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. I couldn’t have done it any other way. I tried many different methods of moderation and regulation, but none of them worked, so it became clear to me that I needed to give AA a try. Thankfully, it did work, and after one year, I am resolved to continue for another year. And another. And another. Always taking it day by day. Good luck to you in your endeavor.

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