I’ve never liked groups.
I don’t like huge birthday parties. I don’t like team sports. I don’t like knitting circles or coffee clutches.
AA and rehab are/were the only groups that I’ve ever fit into. And, on some days, even those places are a place for me to get lost on my own. While I feel that I’m a part of those groups, I still hate that feeling of weaseling my way into a clique. It reminds me of middle school. That invisible ladder that everyone just expects you to want to climb.
At tonight’s AA meeting, our chairperson talked about “the things we can do together that we can’t do alone.” I still struggle with that concept. Even though I know on some level that there’s no way I, or anyone, can be completely autonomous, I still like to try. I still get in zones where I want everyone who’s trying to help me to just go away. Because, in part, I sometimes still find myself believing that to rely on others is weak. Especially in sobriety.
The truth is, you can get all the help in the world, all the help that you think you need. But, at the end of the day, if I drink, that will be my doing. That will be my decision. My weakness. And, no one can save me from that. No one can save me from my own mind, except my higher power.
While many will say that the power of the fellowship has saved them over and over again, I can’t. Mostly, because I don’t really participate in the fellowship. I have a few close friends in the the program and in rehab. And, they’re the people I rely on, if I rely on anyone at all. I still don’t really see how having breakfast every day with the AA cool kids is going to make me feel better. The few times I have joined my home group after the meeting, I felt awkward and out of place. It wasn’t the welcoming feeling that I got in the meeting itself. So, I went to a few more breakfasts, and not much changed. I guess I thought I’d be absorbed into the fellowship amoeba. It didn’t happen, so I stopped going. I’m bright enough to see what works for me.
Groups, well, they still don’t work for me. AA is cliquey, even after the group had taken me under its wing, I could see the social hierarchy that exists. The “popular girls” with their smiles painted on, hugs for everyone, kisses blown across the room. It’s not for me. I can see what the fellowship brings to the table. The options it gives us sober folks for interaction, when interaction is a hard thing for us AA’s. But, I still like to keep a low profile. And, even though some people have said that I’m doing myself a disservice by not taking advantage of the fellowship to the fullest, I also know that I don’t need to add meaningless relationships to my social schedule just to keep me sober. There are other things to accomplish that don’t involve me trying to fit in in a way that, perhaps, I can’t.
My higher power is the saving gift that AA has given me. Without AA I don’t know if I would ever have found my way back to a spiritual path. And, one that’s growing all time. My idea of God has changed so much in the past few weeks alone. That’s the world that I’m willing to explore because it yields meaning beyond putting the drink off. I want to grow within myself more than I want to be part of a group.
I’m glad the fellowship of AA is there. I’m glad it’s there for the people who need it. I’m glad it’s there for me too. And, I’m not going to turn a fellow member down for coffee if they ask me to go with them. I’m here to keep others sober too. I’m not lost on the concept of giving back to the AA community. I know the deal, I know what it takes to hold on to this program, and, I know that I need to share the hope that I’ve so happily received. But, groups aren’t for everyone. And maybe that’s the tidbit I’ll have to offer the newcomer who needs to hear it.
Sometimes, it’s a fellowship of one. And, that’s OK. I just need to remember that being lonely isn’t the same as being alone.