On Sunday I went to Belle’s Team 100 London sober meet up. I have to admit I was a little nervous beforehand for a couple of reasons. I was anxious about meeting new people for the first time and I felt vulnerable and self conscious about ‘outing’ myself as an alcoholic outside of my inner circle. There was no other reason to be there than because I am a person who has issues with booze. If you had overheard our café conversation at any point you would have thought we were a bunch of AA people having a discussion about our drinking problems?! Seriously, we weren’t that loud and it was very discreet….Belle style! There was no way I going to miss out on the chance of meeting Belle, but when I first emailed her and asked if she would like to have tea in London, I didn’t really envision a ‘group’ session.
It was, of course, absolutely lovely and everybody there was so nice. I will chime in too with how perfectly ‘normal’ (what was I expecting?) everyone looked. We were all at different points in our sobriety, varying ages, but with one thing in common, our inability to manage our booze issues on our own. It was refreshing to be able to speak out loud about the problems and the shame and to share in the victories of the solutions we have found, the successes. It was lovely to be amongst people that understood the situation. Like me, they were baffled at how such bunch of intelligent, kind, sane, regular women can end up so desperately helpless when it comes to alcohol??
It was a huge relief to be able to talk openly. I have toyed with the idea of AA, not because I think I am doing it wrong, but because I think my sobriety would be hugely enhanced and my long term chances improved, by having some sober people to hang out with in my real life.
I know that what I am doing works for me. It is keeping me sober. I am happy. I have support. I have a network available to me should I feel the slide starting and I know that I would need to reach out and talk about it if I was having notions about buying or drinking wine. Writing my feelings on my blog, reading others, commenting constantly and giving encouragement is something I do a little of every day. I know that if I slack off I start to feel isolated and the voice comes back. I listen to podcasts when a particular area of the sober journey is bothering me or if I am just feeling stuck. I talk to my husband and he gives me a hug when I need it.
I have my own personal reasons why AA is not for me. I choose this and it works. I am over seven months sober and it’s getting easier all the time. The only thing I don’t think that has eased with time is this desire to have some people to talk about it with in my real life. On Sunday, I realised how lovely it would be to have a bunch of sober friends who you could meet with from time to time. To be able to chat about progress, swap survival tips, unload some of the shame with people who have enough of their own not to judge. How nice it would be to not feel alone anymore, to enhance my sobriety and help others with theirs? Why can’t it be that easy?