What would I say when it was my turn? “My name is Laura, and I’m an alcoholic?” or “My name is Laura, and I’m in long-term recovery?”
That’s all I could think about, over and over. I attempted, somewhat futilely, to quiet my mind and listen to the other women reflecting on the first step.
Quiet my mind? Um, yeah. That’s kind of hard to do when you have a constant barrage of mental repetitions (OCD), heightened by the anxiety of being back in a familiar yet totally foreign land: AA.
Yep, I went back. Just as promised in “Rent-a-Program.” I felt like a fish out of water. A ginormous fish in a tiny tipped-over fishbowl, water whooshing. Luckily, our very own Jo sat on my right and helped me feel a little more centered in what I was sure was the “Laura Circus,” a chance for everyone to stare right through me to the depths of my soul. Ego, ego, ego. It’s not all about me, but to me, sometimes it just is. I’m the one in my head, I’m the one living my life. I was just another gal sitting in another chair, but I swear to all things holy I thought everyone was scrutinizing my every move, my every word. The Laura Show, on every channel.
Look, I ain’t no Sarah Hepola. I’m not Koren Zailckas or Sacha Scoblic or Kristen Johnston or Laura McKowen. I’m not going to be able to make you laugh while making you cry as you read the words that make you say ME TOO.
Or will I?
The whole point of this haphazard post it to let you know I delivered on my promise. It was a promise to YOU, to keep me accountable, but also to me, because part of my recovery is (at least claiming) to be open-minded to new possibilities. Life through a slightly adjusted, slightly crisper lens.
And I am grateful I went back. I heard stories from women who are just like me. Or I’m just like them. I was able to compare in and not out, as I was taught from my time in the program. I may not have ended up in alleys smoking crack, but the end result of said “extra-curricular” is likely guilt, shame, horror, pain. And I knew those feelings well from my own carousing.
At the very end, no one said I *had* to find a sponsor or *had* to work the steps. No one bemoaned my “long-term recovery” epithet. They just hoped they’d see me again sometime, no pressure. And maybe, just maybe, they will.