Part of me wants to start recording the 12 step meetings I’m forced to attend almost nightly. So I can show my parents the “treatment” I’m being offered to battle my crippling substance addiction. I know that’s like unethical and against 12 step traditions, but I don’t believe in their propaganda, and ethics have never been my strong suit so I may still do it. It would just be hard to edit down the 60 minute transcript to highlight the craziest or most delusional things I heard. There would be SO MUCH material.
Almost immediately following the introductory readings tonight, an old woman shares about the murder suicide at her work yesterday but leaves out all of the interesting details. She talks about how she was sober and could deal with it today and blah blah blah. But she didn’t mention who the shooter was…was it a man or a woman? Why were they so disgruntled? Did she see the bodies? She ends with “I’m just so grateful to AA”. Fuck lady, you’ve said the first intriguing thing I’ve heard in one of these meetings all month and you’re not even going to expound? And it’s not like I can accost her after the meeting and demand details because she will be surrounded by all of her followers offering empty words of support that she will suck up like a black hole of empathy.
The topic of the meeting, like most meetings, is about turning your will over to the care of God. After the first ten people speak I am seething with hostility. What is wrong with all of these dead eyed cows? Almost every single one of them has professed a blind faith in a higher power for keeping them alive during their addiction. “I should be dead” has been said with utter conviction at least four times. What makes these people so special? Why has God chosen them to live yet let entire villages be ethnically cleansed in Myanmar? The answer is simple – there is no reason because we are not special. We are not God’s chosen people, as their propaganda would lead one to believe. The sad reality is that we are born alone, we will die alone, and we are certainly alone right now. To believe that one’s life has been spared over anothers thanks to God seems like the most egocentric delusion you can sell yourself.
After we close with the Lord’s Prayer (remember not religious), a middle aged man corners me in the church basement. When I say corners, I literally mean corners me. There is nothing behind me but two solid cinder block walls. I consider puking on him but there is nothing in my stomach but Gatorade and Antidepressants that never seem to actually be working. Both had tasted like urine going down so I can’t even imagine what they would be like coming back up. With nowhere to go and nothing to spew at this creepy old man I look up from the ground just in time to see him coming at me with two flabby chicken arms. My whole body stiffens as he swoops in for an unsolicited hug. What the fuck is wrong with these people? Now my Burberry pullover smells like Drakkar Noir.
Satiated after molesting a complete stranger, the man introduces himself as Buckknife (no that’s not a typo) and asks me if I have a sponsor. Luckily, I can honestly answer yes to the inquiry, or no doubt he would have appointed himself my sponsor on the spot. “So let me ask you Nick”, I curse myself for giving him my real name and take a solemn oath not to give him my real number when he inevitably asks me “has the obsession to drink been lifted yet?” It’s an interesting question I suppose, but I know almost exactly where he’s going with this, having been surrounded by these types of people for the past decade. “Um yeah…most of the time I guess” I mumble, scanning the room for my friend who drove me. He’s high on Xanax and I’m afraid that the 12 step zealots have kidnapped him and are using Big Books to stone the demons out. “Well, I can tell you one thing young man, it’s going to happen”. “Oh, and how is that?” I say, vaguely interested for the first time that night. His beady eyes light up and he opens his well worn big book to a page near the front and holds it in front of my face. “Because it says so right here!”.
Fuck, now I’m actually scared. His eyes are still opened unnaturally wide, and I can see now that they are glossed over. Brainwashed, no question. I start shuffling to the side and mumble something about having to pee. I try not to run as I scan the room desperately for my friend. He’s nodding out at a table near the door and I grab the back of his coat as I walk by. Safely inside his Lexus, I tell him what happened.
“We really need to start texting a sane adult the time and location of these meetings in case we actually disappear” I tell him.
He solemnly agrees, and we both lament the sad state of addiction treatment in 21st century America.
DISCLAIMER: Recovery friends, this was written many many months ago, and portrays how I was feeling at the time, do not immediately get offended please