Some Liquor I Planned
I used to hear it said quite a lot in Meetings that
Ok. Wait. When I was new I used to hate it when some crusty oldtimer would rant about how they "never hear this" and they "never hear that" in meetings anymore. I used to sit there and think, "I'm new -- how the hell was I supposed to be saying this all along for you to be hearing? I've never heard this before you just brought it up! You're the one who heard it all the time and then stopped saying it. What the hell are you wagging your finger at all of us for?"
Let me start over.
One of the things I used to hear that made a big impression on me (much better) was the phrase, "some liquor I planned" in the context of discussing a slip.
(For the new kids, a slip is when someone who has been sober drinks or uses again. Personally, I prefer the word "relapse" -- slip sounds a little coy, to me. But I don't know of any cute slogans who's initials make up the word "relapse." No doubt some tortured alcohol counselor somewhere, in a fit of Power Point presentation authorship, came up with something clever, but I've not heard it yet.)
But the idea behind the sentiment "some liquor I planned" is that putting the drink to your lips (or the straw to your nose or the pipe to your mouth or the bump to your ... you get the idea) is actually the last stage in a slip -- that the actual drinking or using is just the culmination of a process you started well before you actually picked up. Over the years, watching people come in and then, either quickly or after some time sober, relapse, I think there is a lot of truth to this.
In fact, I can even say in my mind it's almost become kind of a countdown, watching people go through this process -- that they are, in fact, working the Steps backwards on their way out the door:
(12)They stop going to meetings -- because you really can't carry the message of AA if you're not going to meetings -- face it, when the bag boy says "paper or plastic" he doesn't want to hear about a spiritual solution to the problem of alcoholism. People in meetings do, but when you stop going, you get to stop carrying the message. Who has time for meetings anyway? My God! AA is supposed to be a bridge back to life! I don't want to spend my nights sitting around a church basement or some preschool rec room with a styrofoam cup full of crappy coffee on a folding metal chair listening to a bunch of people complain!
(11) I don't have time to meditate. You don't understand, I can't sit still. I'm not a morning person. I fall asleep when I meditate. I don't have time to pray ... well, sure, I pray, I mean, I say a prayer in the car on my way to work most days. Well, usually.
(10) Promptly admit I'm wrong? I'm not wrong. Besides, you can't look weak, people will judge you -- or worse, take advantage of you. And I can't be bothered to write every night -- well, I mean, I forget. Whatever.
(9) I didn't do anything to them that wasn't totally justified.
(8) Apologize? To that asshole? You gotta be kidding me.
(7) I don't need to change -- I need to get smart.
(6) Listen, it's a tough world. That's not a defect, that's how you get along in life.
(5) I could never say some stuff to another person -- then they'll "have it" on me.
(4) Morality is all relative anyway. Besides, anyone would be angry after what they did to me. And screw writing -- I didn't come here for some bullshit homework assignment.
(3) God? Right. If I depend on God nothing will get done -- besides, have you even got clue one what is going on in the world? No God has anything to do with this life.
(2) AA is nice for people who really need it, but I've gotta have practical answers. And I don't have time for all that going-to-meeting stuff -- in fact, if it comes down to a Yoga Class or a Meeting, I'm going to Yoga. I feel better there. (A guy actually said that to me, kids. When he said that he was driving a really nice car. Years later I saw him on the street in San Francisco. Literally. On the street in San Francisco. Lotta things could have happened to him I suppose, but it sure looked like alcoholism at work to me.)
(1) My life is fine, and yes, thank you, some wine with dinner would be lovely.
My favorite thing about AA is that we're not selling anything. You want to work the Steps forward? Most of us will kill ourselves trying to help you do that. You decide to work 'em backwards? We're going to reach out our hand, we're going to share our experience, we're going to perhaps in a clumsy or arrogant way try to suggest that what you're doing is dangerous... but ... go ahead, if you really want to. But If you want to stay, if you want a solution to your alcoholism, and all the other "ism's", we're here for you, if you want it.
If you want it.