“I’ll shut myself off from everyone to the point of insensibility. Make an enemy of everyone, speak to no one.” Franz Kafka (Diaries)
This is how I handled my alcoholism. I didn’t want to be with other people with problems. In 2004 when I reached out for help I was asked what would it mean to me if I were an alcoholic. My answer was “It means that I am weak.” After all these years of going in and out of my 12 Step recovery program I still didn’t understand the importance of the fellowship of other alcoholics. I attended meetings, I somewhat worked the steps, I was friendly to the people at the meetings, I shared, I listened, but I kept my life and my recovery separate. I thought they were mutually exclusive. I didn’t want to get to know my fellow alcoholics and I didn’t want to rely on the fellowship. During holidays I would not attend meetings because I didn’t think I needed to be with my fellow alcoholics. I had always been taught how important the fellowship is, but I thought I was different. Over the years I have shut myself off to others. This is a dangerous place for me to be. When I don’t listen and learn from those who have gone before me I get drunk. Today, Christmas Day, I attended two meetings. I went to a 5:30 p.m. meeting and stayed afterward to talk to the group and then we all stayed for the 8:00 p.m. We laughed, we were honest about the struggle we face over the holidays and we shared our experience, strength and hope. I believe experience, strength and hope is the lifeblood of a recovery program. This is where this alcoholic can identify and see that I too can live a contented life. I have done the research and I know that I cannot stay sober without my higher power and without relying on other alcoholics. These other alcoholics are the fellowship. I need this fellowship; tonight I enjoyed it and being a true part of it.