My path through addiction is long and the journey is not over. The introduction to this disease came as a child. My dad struggled with substance abuse, as an adult struggling myself. Sober and sometimes not. My first AA meeting was at the age of 13 I believe. We went with my dad, or if we got caught drinking he would sentence us to 30 an 30 kidding, but he did sentence us to X amount of meetings. I enjoyed them too for the most part. Several times when I was about 18 I was in a dangerous place, not using, but had run away and things and when I would get scared I would look for a meeting.
One time I was just so lonely I think, and I was living with a girl I can’t even remember how I met her…oh yeah she was part of this door to door sales team that sold, get this, oil changes from local gas stations. LOL, that is so funny. I haven’t thought about that in a long time. Anyway, so they were all rock n roll and just really seemed cool to an 18-year-old. She did have her own place; oil changes must have been good to her. It’s funny though I don’t remember making a dime.
So I was at the apartment alone for some reason, and I looked up AA meetings. I found one that was walking distance. I took off for the church having no idea how far away this was. It was a straight shot the lady on the phone told me. Now this is way before cell phones were smaller than suitcases and unless you were making one heck of living you did not have one. I am pretty sure pagers weren’t even hot yet. Yeah, I am old. I had walked for a little over an hour and made it in time to smoke. There were people outside sitting at the picnic tables. Yes, I found people, who would kind of get me I thought.
I sit down at the table and remember I am only 18. I haven’t done anything other than smoke a little pot and had a drink, but that had been years before. I had been totally clean of even that since 15. So this guy sits down at the table with me, and a few other people gather around, and I start to tell them how far I just walked so that I could come to this meeting. The guy says that is awesome you know we don’t usually see people ready to admit they have a problem at your age, it is great that you are here. I laughed and said well thanks, but I am not an alcoholic I was raised in these meetings. I was sad and lonely and for some reason, I ended up here.
The guy looked at the people at the table and said well this is a closed meeting sweetheart. You can’t come to this meeting. I almost fell out of my seat. I asked if I could please stay. It was a long walk home and I just really wanted to stay. They all chimed in this time and said no, this is a closed meeting. You need an open one. I couldn’t believe it. Aren’t these people suppose to be supportive, is what my 18-year-old brain was thinking. So I walked all the way back to the apt. and set alone.
I am sure that the guy thought I was rude by saying no I AM NOT ONE OF YOU type thing, but I wasn’t. If they had thought about it, they would have realized I came there, there was a reason. I told them I was raised in these meetings. That was the very last time I ever sought out help from a 12 step program. Now that I think about it maybe there is a connection.
There is one thing I do know. AA saved my dad, and my step – dad so if AA works for you, please go and get healthy. If you are struggling with it, know there are other options. You can also take the good and leave the bad. Just get sober by whatever means.
That is what this blog is about. It is about getting help outside the 12 step setting. I am always free to talk and need more people to help me in my fight against the heroin epidemic. If you are interested, send me a note.