Many people would not be able to stay sober without a 12 Step Program. I acknowledge this and accept it. I wish it went both ways. I have often been told that I “would never make it without a program”. I’ve been sober or in remission for over 9 years without a program. It isn’t for everyone.
I couldn’t handle being in a room filled with strangers and feeling their pain plus my own. I’m like a sponge that way. I also wasn’t hearing anyone say anything similar to my situation. No one admitted to drinking because they were afraid of meeting new people, afraid of talking to people, afraid to make friends, or just simply afraid.
No one admitted that at times they wanted to hurt themselves because they felt they didn’t belong anywhere. That they would look around a room and ask themselves “Why can’t I be like other people?” never feeling comfortable in their own skin. Or how much of a failure they felt like because the person that was born with them was able to do everything they couldn’t.
I can’t remember how many times I watched my twin sister and wondered if maybe there wasn’t a mistake made at the hospital. We were so different. Because we are twins people felt it was ok to comment on how different we were in front of us. I was always the fat, quiet one, she was always the thin, outgoing one. After years of hearing this it’s how you start to identify yourself too.
No one told stories of getting wasted and having sex with more than one guy in a night or waking up and not remembering if you had sex or not. There were no stories of hanging out with men who thought it was fun to make you cry or hit you. It was a group of men that for some reason wouldn’t let me go and I couldn’t get the courage to escape from for years. Some tried to help while others made things worse. Yes, I put myself in that situation because I thought I deserved it. I didn’t know I was sick or an alcoholic I just knew that at that time it was the best I could do. Secretly I hoped one of them would kill me and so I drank more.
There were no stories like that. I didn’t feel like I could tell them either. I needed a lot more help than a 12 Step Meeting could provide. I just didn’t know it yet. It would take several more years to figure it out.
Mental illness coupled with self-medicating is one of the hardest things in life you will ever go through. If you actually get through it I’m proud of you because it’s a Hell of journey and not many of us make it. It takes more than one or two relapses before you get it for some reason that’s just how it is. I’m here to say that if that happens don’t wast time beating yourself up. Ask yourself why? After that let it go and move forward. If you don’t you will keep repeating the same pattern.