The idea of sponsorship sucks. But I’m told it works.
I’ve been answering to myself for a long time. That hasn’t worked out. Quite obviously.
In my past, half-assed attempts at getting sober, I’ve played by my own rules. Haphazardly showing up to meetings, hungover as all fuck. Splotchy cheeks covered by my messy, unwashed hair that hasn’t been more than trimmed since 2008. I’d whimper out a miserable, woe-is-me share, the most wrecked individual in the room, or so I wanted to think.
I scoffed at the steps. I could barely admit I was an alcoholic long enough to get myself into a meeting. But, each morning after a blackout, or a one night stand, or saying something (or forty things) that I regretted, I knew. Something in me is not like the others. And, in that quiet, inward admission I actually became alcoholic, after years of actually being one.
This time, shit is real: I quit my job. I entered a outpatient rehab program. I got a sponsor.
Everyone says: Let your sponsor tell you what do. So, I did. And, I was sent to a Women’s Spirituality 101 Group. The idea of this alone scared the living shit out of me. There is something I find incredibly intimidating about being around other, wounded women. Our petty competition in everyday life can be stifling without the added joie de vivre of substance abuse. I had been to many AA meetings, but, never a women’s group. I hadn’t even considered it. I’d rejected it, in fact.
We sat in a large circle around a shitty folding chair in the center of the room with three votive candles atop it. We read from 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. And, we talked about Step 9: Making amends. The most daunting and heartbreaking of them all, by far, for me. And, that’s just in my anticipation of it, as I’ve yet to work it.
And so, these women opened their souls to the circle, spilling all their victory and their devastation. All these beautifully tragic stories and lessons. All these women that I’d discredited, just because I am one. Because I thought I understood their stories before I’d even heard them. And, in some way, that is the beauty of AA, all our stories are the same and unique simultaneously. It’s the essence of AA. And, I’ll tell you something, it was spiritual. It made me consider, just for a moment, that my girlfriends in sobriety might be just as fun and wild as my girlfriends at the pub.
One said, ‘When you write out your amends, make sure YOU are at the top of the list. Women always forget to forgive themselves.’ And she was right.
I had forgotten.