Sunday, October 19, 2014

Step 2: Part 2

Step 2:  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

One night last week, when I fell asleep, the idea of telling my mother and my ex about AA filled me with cold terror. This morning when I woke up, it was gone. There was still nervousness, but a normal kind of nervousness, not the crippling, heart-pounding dread I felt when my sponsor first mentioned the idea.

I was texting the other day with a friend who is four years sober, and he said, "You can't be anonymous with your family." I suppose not.

I came to terms with the idea that I needed to tell my kids, which I didn't mind -- or didn't think I minded -- but which meant telling adult family members who tend to be judgmental and not very empathetic. I was afraid they would judge me, criticize me, even if not to my face, then behind my back or in their own minds. And that bothers me why??? 

Because I am a craven, pathetic creature who cares too much what other people think, and is ashamed of caring so much. I hate that I do. I hate myself for doing it. I know self-hatred is bad and I want to stop hating myself, but I can't seem to manage it.

Instead of spiraling down into the darkness of overthinking and obsession and self-criticism, I forced myself to do it. I told my kids, emailed my ex and another relative, and will give my mother her letter when I see her today. I thought telling the kids would be easy, but it was hard. My eldest insists on clinging to the certainty that I am not an alcoholic, that I stopped before I got as bad as those people, so I wasn't really an alcoholic, just concerned about my health and being a good mother and not spending money on wine. If that's what she needs to believe about me, then I guess it is. She will probably come to accept it eventually, once the shock and the newness wears off.

It was kind of reassuring that my kids were totally surprised. People often say (rather smugly, it seems to me sometimes) to alcoholics that even though we thought we were fooling people, we really weren't, and everybody knew it all along. Well, my kids didn't. When they wouldn't believe it, I even mentioned a party where I know I'd had too much, and they remembered the party but said they didn't know I'd had too much to drink. Only one friend said, when I told her, "Yeah, I was starting to wonder. It seemed like you had wine just about every night." She had never seen me have too much, just had concerns about frequency.

I don't know if this is the end of Step 2, if my sponsor will say, yes, you trusted your Higher Power and prayed and lost your fear and did the hard thing. You have come to believe that a Power greater than yourself can heal you. I don't know if she'll say that. Part of me thinks she will, but the paranoid nut case part of me is sure she'll come up with another goddamn Survivor-style test I need to pass before I can move on to the horrors that await me in Step 4. Yes, I know I skipped 3. She said once you do Step 2, really do it, then Step 3 follows immediately on its heels and you're on to 4.

The speaker at the meeting I went to yesterday morning said something that helped me, something I needed to hear. That happens a lot at meetings, I'm realizing. He said that when he was newly sober, his sponsor told him to pray every day for his mother, for whom he had a lot of resentment and with whom he had a bad relationship. Even though he wasn't even sure he believed in God, he prayed for his mother (who really was a bitch, he assured us) morning and night for three months, and at the end of that time, something had changed. Not everything, but something, for sure. 

So yesterday I started praying for my mom and for my ex. It's only the second day of it, but you know  what? It feels right. It feels like what Jesus tells us to do, and we usually don't. It's easy to pray for my children, since my heart positively overflows with love for them, and when they irritate me it's just the ordinary bullshit that kids do and the irritation is just a drop (okay, sometimes several buckets, or even a small swimming pool) in the sea of my love. But praying for people who have been so judgmental and cold, people with whom I have such difficult relationships, that isn't easy. Only it is, strangely enough. And it feels good. What do you know?

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