So I went to meeting #2 last night – and while I don’t relate to every single person in the room or agree with every tenet of AA, I will say going there made me feel better after my weepy and depressed day. Hearing other people who are suffering and in as much pain as I am makes things much less lonely. Although I have a ton of people around me who love me and are “concerned” about me, most don’t really understand what I’m going through. The gamut of what people have to give in terms of empathy and true understanding has been widely varied.
There are those who truly keep me at arms length and dial in a, “We’re worried about you.” while simultaneously judging me and believing that an addiction is some kind of moral failing or weakness of willpower. I know they see my continuous struggle to quit as some form of degenerate laziness which is total bullshit. And I get the feeling that many refuse to see or consider there is a root cause underneath the alcoholism. The alcohol is just a way to self-medicate and is not the Problem but a Symptom. I wish more people could understand that about addicts. But we as an American society are built on the Individual. So we marginalize those who need people (or at least those who will admit it): veterans, the elderly, abused and battered women, addicts of any kind – the list goes on. We just slough them to the side because attending to them in any kind of a true empathetic or action-oriented way would distract us from our own god that we’ve created: Me – Me the Individual.
We’re not all like this – there are some very old souls out there who are simply incapable of judging, even if….especially if they have not been through the particular struggle we are going through.
So I’m going to an AA meeting today, hoping to start working this week, and then this evening I’m going to my first of 10 weeks of classes to train to volunteer on a Suicide Crisis Hotline. This is the best way I know to get out of my own wallowing and suffering. I know what it’s like to feel abandoned, so I think part of my healing process will be to let those who are feeling truly hopeless and in crisis and abandoned know that someone genuinely cares and is listening. And that their life – although they feel right now it’s worth nothing, is actually worth everything. Really think why anyone would contemplate taking their life. If someone’s air supply is cut off they start desperately gasping for air. At our very core we want to live. Our bodies and souls want to remain here and relevant. So think about what depths someone must be at to contemplate actually taking his or her life. Well, he must feel that no one cares about him, he must feel abandoned, he must feel like he has not a shred of hope.
Well, I’m going to set out to change that. We all should.