So today, I did something I have been needing to do for a while – I attended an AA meeting. I used to be very diligent about going to meetings weekly, but I allowed myself to fall into a bit of a slump the past few months, blaming needing to stay home for one reason or another. Any way you slice it, these reasons were simply excuses not to go. I was also ‘tagged’ to speak during the meeting; I also had not been very good to speak up at meetings over the past year. This is selfish because speaking up helps others who are also in attendance. I vowed to myself that this year I would not only get back to regularly attending meetings, but also speaking up and reaching out. This morning’s meeting churned up a lot of feelings and emotions I had not felt in a while, and some I have been feeling a lot as of late. I had flashbacks while people got up to accept their chips celebrating their length of sobriety. Flashbacks to what it was like in those early days, weeks, and months of my own sobriety. Flashbacks to checking into detox and subsequently, rehab. Flashbacks to my behavior and how far down the spiral I had fallen in the months leading up to checking into treatment. It reminded me of how far I have come, but also how much work I still need to do, for sobriety requires daily work.
I realize this is an uncomfortable topic for some, but I strongly feel the need to open discussion on addiction and alcoholism. We are currently facing an epidemic, especially amongst young people. Addiction and/or alcoholism has touched nearly every American in some way, shape, or form – be it your own addiction, watching a friend or loved one, or simply knowing someone who is suffering. I want everyone to know that they are not alone and that there is help when they are ready to seek it. There are many anonymous programs available, and numerous options for treatment, if needed. I plan on writing regularly about ‘my story,’ and share my experience, strength, and hope so that I may reach out to those who are still suffering. Please feel free to contact me at any time. Remember, admitting you need help does not mean you are weak, it means you acknowledge you may have a problem and are ready to take your life back. Alcoholism is a disease that knows no bounds – it affects every race and nationality, every income level, every education level, every occupation, every gender, every age, and whether you are religious or not. Just know that you are not alone.