I never thought I was a meetings person. It goes without saying that AA and the like work for a lot of people. But I tried the addicts groups and I found them abrasive. Plus I’ve had a lot of trouble with the whole ‘higher power’ concept that’s so central to the twelve step approach.
The first time I went to a CoDA meeting, I knew immediately that it was right for me. It was clear that the group philosophy was one of healing and nurturing. There’s no finger-pointing or blaming. Just a handful of like minded women who have the courage to share authentically and the compassion to listen.
Almost without me noticing it, CoDA became an important part of my life. Until I found Saturday meetings, the weekends felt interminable. The days with no work – and more pertinently – no therapy, felt long and empty. I had to struggle through each one, counting the moments until my routine, my comfort returned.
I am truly grateful to have stumbled across CoDA. It offers me a little sanctuary, some space to breathe, just for an hour on a Saturday morning. I’ve even started thinking about embarking on Step One.
If you’re not familiar with it, this is the general definition of the first step to recovery:
We admitted we were powerless over others – that our lives had become unmanageable.
I can’t help but see this as a simple step. But then I break it into its two parts. And I suddenly see a major obstacle.
It isn’t the ‘unmanageable’ bit. I admitted to myself that my life was unmanageable a long while ago now. It has been for some time and continues to be totally unmanageable. I know that often I don’t manage. Instead, I suppress and withdraw. I self-harm and fantasise about suicide. I use drugs and alcohol to avoid my feelings. My life is textbook unmanageable.
The other part; admitting I’m powerless over others – that is much more challenging. I can occasionally apply this logic. When I do, it is really liberating. But those moments are fleeting. The rest of the time, I work very hard to control others. I strive to influence and manipulate them into being who I need them to be, behaving how I want them to behave.
Giving up on the belief that I have power over the people that matter in my life would be excruciating. It would mean having to focus inward and consider what I need to change in myself. That thought terrifies me, because I don’t want to be the person responsible for my recovery. Essentially, I’m still looking for someone else to do it for me.
Photo: Fabio Gaglini, Creative Commons.