Iâ€™ve been thinking.
I know there are jokes out there, where â€œIâ€™ve been thinkingâ€ is the set up to some punch line, but for me â€” thinking is serious business. My best, biggest, fattest ideas come out of thinking. Iâ€™m pretty sure I sit and look out windows just for a reason; an excuse to think. Also, long walks exercise my brain as well as my heart and legs.
The last few days, Iâ€™ve been doing some big thinking. Iâ€™m a tad closer to â€œahaâ€ than I was a week ago or even a year ago, and for sure much closer to â€œahaâ€ than 30 years ago.
Iâ€™ve been thinking about why I continue to go to AA meetings. What do I hope to get or give? What is the purpose of my being at these meetings? Like my Tai Chi practice â€” why I began is very different from why I continue.
AA is a spiritual program. Period. AA isÂ spiritual program â€” it makes no bones about that. It is very up front and frank about it. The thing that is great about AA is that it provides a very wide door for any foot to slip into. The opening of the door is so wide actually that if you want help from alcoholism, AA has a place for you. Actually, you donâ€™t even have to be alcoholic â€” just the desire to stop drinking is the only requirement for membership. You donâ€™t even actually have to stop drinking â€” just have the desire to.
The steps, the god stuff, the old ideas, the expectations, the two million excuses any one might use to attend or not, are welcome. But, make no mistake about it, AA isÂ spiritual program.
They donâ€™t care if your higher power is a door knob or a fake man in the sky. They really donâ€™t. You get to invent your own higher power, in fact you are encouraged to. As long as you have a higher power. You must have something or someone that gives you support when you are down, and inspiration when you feel better. What ever gets you through the night so to speak.
All are welcome, all are accepted and for the most part all work â€” if you work it. But AA is not a book club, dating scene, or a place to make friends, it is a spiritual program and they are up front about it.
I feel I spent many years working on a spiritual life to the detriment of other aspects of life.
Iâ€™ve been known to pray and pray. Iâ€™ve chanted and chanted. Iâ€™ve been baptized three times. Iâ€™ve given money, held my hands on the TV, sang in the choir, and had my head dunked under water. Iâ€™ve gone to churches, been on retreats, read books and argued my stance. The I Ching, Ken Kesey, LSD, mushrooms, and Krishnamurti, as well as, AA have been front and centre in my spiritual quests. AA got me sober. I had the gift of desperation and did what they suggested I do â€” and it worked! Iâ€™m sober and grateful. Iâ€™m also different today than I was then.
Several years ago, I said I wasnâ€™t interested in developing a spiritual life any longer. Yet, I continued to go to AA. I would disregard parts of what was offered. I took on the “keep what helps and leave the rest” policy to heart, but not much helped. I did not join in the prayers, and chose not to do certain steps. Yet, I considered myself a member. I was interested in developing an intellectual life, a physical life, an emotional life, yet, I got little support from the meetings. Duhâ€¦. It is a friggen spiritual program!
My practices and exploring have given me the great gift of becoming atheistic. A duster if you will â€” someone who is interested in reality and not higher powers. Today, I am not interested in developing a spiritual life. Yes, yes, I know spiritual is not the same as religious. I gave up religion eons ago. Today, the spiritual life bores me.
I am interested in many other things though. I am curious in nature, in words, ideas, and creative and critical thinking. I am interested in learning about how stuff works and what YOU think about. I am not interested in learning more about myself right now. I have a fairly good grasp on who I am, and what I think about.
All this to say, AA is not serving me. It has not served me for a long time. As someone in long term recovery, some would say I should go there for the new comer. But what I have to offer is not what AA stands for and therefore will not help a new comer. AA is a spiritual program and no matter how wide their entrance door is, if I am not looking for a spiritual program â€” that is not the place for me.
I like gathering with people who discuss ideas; who share their experience, strength and hope with each other. I am thinking I need to find another place with a chair that fits the way I am today. I long for cross talk, I want my thoughts to be challenged. I want interesting discussion and back and forth questions.
I realize Iâ€™ve been sitting on a very small, pointy rock for far too long now; it is uncomfortable and I need to change seats.
They say, “Donâ€™t go to the hardware store looking to buy milk.” I may still browse the rooms once in a while out of habit, but I think, I’m finally understanding what that means.