Meetings = Mild Form of Torture

     Sorry, had to do it. I had to write a blog or two during this little hiatus. It’s like when food builds up in the disposal and that sludgy food water starts building up in the sink and you just can’t wait to flip that switch and churn it up so the water can drain out. And yes this is a meeting rant, so if you are particularly defensive about your meetings, you should either click away or start rehearsing your angry troll response now 😉

     Before we get started, a recent email from a reader/incredible mom suggested I write a book to free parents from the shame and guilt they feel about their addicted children by exposing the fact that our addiction has nothing to do with them and is 0% their fault. Sounds like a great idea to me, and I’ve already thought of a title: “Blameless POAs“. Until then, I guarantee you that about 99% of these posts will also free you from unnecessary and unfounded guilt and shame 😉

     So I sucked it up like a big boy and actually hit a few meetings with my uncle. Torture. It was like attending community theater. I gotta stop going to meetings. It’s bad for my health.

     I said one, entirely non-aggressive thing about my experience the other night and the next guy says something like,

     “Steps? Like I should be crucifyin’ myself when I get sobah! The only important thing is just physical sobriety. Just bring the body! This ain’t no moral problem. This is a disease and it ain’t my f***in’ fault!”

     Then the next guy goes,

     “I don’t mind the steps but I ain’t no pusher.”

     Then the girl next to him says something like,

     “I just hate everybody. So needed a meeting. It’s been like two or three days since no meeting and that’s what happens. There’s really no other way to curb the resentments except to go to a meeting (um, write some inventory?)… I’m just not okay without meetings.”

    Let’s just take it from the top.

    1) Yes, you should be “crucifying yourself” and yes you should be taking Steps right away after getting physically sober (which is not an achievement). You are not indulging in self-pity by taking Steps and assessing your demented self with rigorous honesty (and perhaps just a speck of humility). Too much to ask? Oh, okay, sorry. I’ll never walk into a meeting again and have the audacity to talk about the Steps.

     ‘Resenting oneself’, on the other hand, is indeed quite selfish, as it actually is a form of self-pity, so we don’t go there. But we do shred our delusional, manipulative, dishonest, rude, selfish and destructive addict selves so that we are not empowering the wrong Self. We must rip the addict self apart at the seams to build the authentic self back up properly – based on the spiritual principles of honesty, courage and other-centeredness.

    2) No, just staying sober and “bringing the body” is not a solution, and I’m quite sure your family deserves more than that (if they still talk to you). Remaining in a state of misery and mental torture when the Steps are laid at your feet is just about the most selfish thing I can possibly imagine.

     3) Yes, it is a moral issue. While you drank so much that you now have an abnormal reaction to alcohol, um… how do you think you got that way? The entire point of getting sober is to change who we are, as that is why we drank so much to begin with. Selfishness, the primary cause of alcoholism, is most certainly a moral issue. Plus, good luck trying to stay sober, live a productive life and give to others while gleefully remaining an absolute douchebag.

     4) Yes, you should “push” the Steps. It is your responsibility to carry this message and tell all of the people around you who are clinging desperately to physical sobriety about the solution (which is actually the program that you guys are supposedly engaging in).

     5) Not okay without a meeting after two days in long-term sobriety? Trust me, I would have “double-dipped” (such an annoying, stupid term) if AA types didn’t become demonic at the thought of telling the poor thing that none of those resentments need to bring her down when we are given the solution of writing inventory to dissolve them (which, by the way, is not only suggested but described exactly by blue book sitting right in front of you 😉


     Sorry that I don’t embody that cliche AA persona and talk in a really low, melancholy voice while staring down at my chair, wallowing in misery and self-pity. Sorry I’m not a victim of “my disease” of alcoholism. Sorry I’m not standing on the edge of a cliff 10 years into sobriety. Sorry I don’t “get” your watered-down, do absolutely nothing form of AA. Sorry I don’t base my program on my favorite bumper sticker slogan and make my Higher Power the handle of the coffee pot. Sorry I dare to commit horrible and offensive micro-aggressions (lol) towards everybody by talking about my relationship with God, a relationship that taking the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous elicited. Sorry I don’t have that Holier Than Thou AA asshole vibe thing goin’ on. Sorry I don’t need a social club and a ready-made identity to make friends. Sorry I don’t succumb to your insecure, fraternity-like pledging protocols.

     I had some troll one time tell me that instead of “judging people” (believe it or not, I’m actually trying to help), I should be going to these poor meetings and trying to share my experience. Okay, well, that’s what I tried to do, which I’ve attempted a thousand times before, and guess what? You could literally quote the Big Book in the meetings around here and people still have no idea what the Steps are or how to take (do) them.

     Anyway, this is why I stopped going and stopped caring about meetings years ago. One, because nobody wants to hear about God and the Steps in AA. And why is that?! Because two, the truth is that most alcoholics in “AA” aren’t alcoholics at all.  

     What?!!! How could it be?!

     Because they can all stay sober on their own power, without having any obsession removed, and without ever pausing the complete shithead act for an amount of time that can be measured.  Ooooooo, don’t step on our AA toes! Don’t talk about the Steps in here boy! LMFAO. Sad to see what this program has devolved into, especially when the most popular slogans in AA – “Just Don’t Drink”, “Bring the Body”, “Meeting Makers Make It” etc. – contradict the very principles and fundamental truths that the program was founded on.

2 thoughts on “Meetings = Mild Form of Torture

  1. Hi Charlie, I am a parent of an addict and alcoholic. I read both of your books and see you as an inspiration to many people. I agree with you that AA meetings can be better, but for many people who can't afford private treatment center or are waiting for bed to open up somewhere, they are the only thing left to get some moral support or meet people who don't drink or use anymore. I attended some as a guest and there are a lot of good people who want to make this world better.

  2. You know, I really don't disagree with you about meetings as a resource, although regarding a lack of access to private treatment, I don't see any reason for the Steps not to be adequately illuminated and taught in AA, as after all, it is the same free program to which I speak, not private treatment. Nonetheless, point taken.

    The above rant was really about a certain brand of AA I personally experience in this region, and more specifically, a few local meetings in particular, though it may not have come across that way, admittedly. AA varies dramatically in strength and quality across the country, so I'm quite sure there are a slew of excellent meetings out there somewhere;)

    Also, thank you for the words and for reading my books. I am tremendously grateful.

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