In the beginning…there was me

I love Mondays. Isn’t that funny? Most people hate them, and I used to be that person. But Mondays are my favorite day of the week anymore. Because I love my career, getting up for work on Mondays…well getting out of bed any day is difficult…but on Mondays in particular I love to start my day.
Why? You might ask…
Because Monday nights are my home group. On average we have about 80 people in this meeting. This was the first meeting I ever went to in recovery and when I walked in for the first time back in July of 2010, I was a mess. I sat there at the corner table with my back to everyone week after week, never speaking to anyone and the tears just rolling down my face. I was alone and confused and angry. I intently listened to each person as they spoke, feeling their pain and their experiences in mine, but still thinking I was different than them.
I didn’t believe I was an alcoholic. I just thought I had a situation. I was in the midst of a divorce. I was adjusting to being a single mom. And I was dealing with being date raped.  Life was rough.
Week after week I would go. I would sit at the same table, mostly with the same group of guys. I started chatting with them a little but walked in and out with my head down, being careful not to make eye contact for fear someone would know me or want to know me. I just wanted some tips on how to cope with life. Because I wasn’t an alcoholic, my life was just unmanageable and alcohol just added to it.
The first month I couldn’t get sober. A day here or two there. I even came to the meeting once having had a few glasses of wine. My cousin was in town at the time and was confused why I would be drinking before going to a meeting. I didn’t see anything wrong with it…I mean, everyone else there drank at some point, right? My time just happened to be right before I walked in.

The change in my ability to control my urges to drink came when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior into my life. Prior to this and for many years, I had this relationship in my head but never in my heart.

When I picked up my 30 day chip, it was the first day I actually spoke during the meeting. Someone passed me something I had to read aloud and I was put on the spot…really? And then when I got my chip, they asked me to share my experience. I remember saying “Hi my name is Amanda and I have a situation…” and then saying it’s been hell and I only made it this far because God is faithful. I couldn’t believe I had been in the room for a couple months and never said a word but this day I got stuck speaking twice in one night! Incredible.
The following week while walking in, a girl stopped me and invited me to sit at her table…with all girls.
I kindly opted out and sat where I was comfortable…with my guys and my back to the room.
A few weeks later the reading was about determining if we are alcoholics. A man on the other side of the room talked about if people don’t believe it, they should just go out and try controlled drinking and see how it works for them. I knew I had a situation, was sitting on the fence with the whole concept of labeling myself but certainly didn’t want to throw away the last 30+ days…they were hell and were starting to get easier.
I was confused because I never got into legal trouble. I didn’t lose my family or my job from it. But I almost life my life because my sanity was slowly slipping through my fingers.
So during this particular meeting, I spoke for what was really the first time, as it was done voluntarily. And I said exactly what I thought “Why is it so important to label ourselves as alcoholics? Why isn’t the fact that I’m not drinking enough?” Only if I’m going to be completely transparent, I’ll own the fact that this “tirade” went on for like 3 minutes. It was real and raw and filled with emotion.
The guys I had become “friends” with from my table got me tissues to wipe my tears (aww who would know they are so sensitive) but quickly after the meeting, laughed at my confusion, and in fact someone new to my table that week stopped me on my way out so he could meet the “non-alcoholic”. Well okay, so everyone is a comedian. It was within two weeks I received the answer from God that I needed to move forth. Clarification. Alcoholism was a disease I had. Now to deal with it…
The first time I ever introduced myself as an alcoholic was when I was receiving my 90 day chip. You should have heard the cheers from the people in the room. Remember, these are all people I would keep my back to, keep my head down and didn’t want to be associated in general with. So the fact that they were cheering for me or saying “Yeah you are!” after those words actually rolled from my lips humbled me and made me laugh at the same time. Why were they so nice when I spent months alienating myself from them…scared to become them?
The denial didn’t end there, but that was the start of my journey of recovery. The start of letting go and letting God.

Tonight is Monday. I was able to go to my meeting and sit at a table with women that I love, facing the room with my head held high. I spoke in my meeting tonight because as I grow, I have so much to share…and a testimony God wants to use.

I love Mondays. I look forward to my day so I can spend my night with my second family. A family that isn’t defined by race, sex, religion or socio-economic status. It’s defined by what we have in common…a life free of the bondage of addiction.

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