Nerd in Transition: Climbing Back on the Wagon
Feb25

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Nerd in Transition: Climbing Back on the Wagon

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a blogumn by Kelly Kaboom

lightingupBack in November I started attending AA meetings. Truthfully I don’t have a problem with alcohol and before you go calling me out on denial being more than a river in Egypt, please allow me to explain. Currently there is a bottle of tequila and brandy sitting on my bar at home. I’m not sure how long they have been there, but they sit collecting dust daily. I don’t drink through problems or uncomfortable emotions, nor do I drink to excess every time I do drink, I have also never blacked out from drinking.

My reason for visiting these meetings had to do a different addiction, one I’ve been struggling with since my early 20’s. Marijuana. Yes I am addicted to marijuana. Oh don’t roll your eyes, it does happen. Happens to lots of people; ever meet an aging hippie? So after many failed attempts to just say no on my own I finally broke down and walked into AA.

AA wasn’t my first choice. There are Marijuana Anonymous groups, but I wasn’t able to find one that fit my schedule. At the time I was finishing up a demanding season with the Derby Dolls. The Tough Cookies were facing our stiffest competition twice in three weeks, one of those games being the championship, so I was at the track constantly. It seemed that every MA meeting I found was at night or during the middle of a Saturday, all times when I was at practice. Broken and desperate for help I dragged myself to the first AA meeting I could find in my new neighborhood. I landed in a welcoming and colorful place. My first time there I was in such an emotional state that I stared at my shoes the whole time while slurping down tasteless coffee. I did manage to share that day. I also got lots of sympathy hugs with the words, keep coming back repeated time and again. So I did, I went back.

During the second meeting I started to look around. In case you have never been to an AA, or counterpart meeting the walls are usually covered with posters of the 12 steps and 12 traditions. There are often little posters with inspirational phrases such as “One Day at a Time”, “Let Go and Let God”, and so forth. This place happened to have some extra decorations going on, lots of rainbows in fact. So many that I began to really look around at the rest of the people, picking out stereotypes. I also listened closely to the sharing and there was more than one relationship story being told. It dawned on me that I had stumbled into a gay and lesbian recovery center. Suddenly I was very aware of my short hair, tank top and comfortable shoes.

I went back for two more meetings. The people were nice and the meetings did seem to be helping. Still I couldn’t shake how uncomfortable I felt, not because every one else was gay, but because I was straight. I felt like I was intruding on a private place. My personal understanding of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” reached a much deeper level. This was their space and I was not like the others. I was the one thing that didn’t belong.

As I sat through those four meetings I also began to notice that the life of an boozer is much different from that of a stoner. There were some horrific stories being told, it was intimidating. All my shares became about emotions, never once did I touch on life experiences. It all got to be too much and I bailed. Days later I was smoking to forget once again. Moments after lighting the first joint, my addiction and I reconnected. Taking each others hand we ran off into darkĀ  corners and hung out alone again. Immediately I was right back where I had left off. I stayed there smoking and hiding from the world, letting responsibilities fall away with potential friends I ignored.

Once again I am at the breaking point. Too much money spent; too many smoked up opportunities; too many days lost hiding from the world. Depression and anger have been choking my thoughts for long enough, and the paranoia is something I could really do without. Going back to the MA website I finally found some early morning meetings not too far from me.

malogoGreat, I get up at 7 every morning so 7:30 should be a piece of cake. Of course I missed the Monday morning one, but it’s Monday — that day is a trial in and of itself. I did make it the next day. It was a chilly Tuesday morning outside so I bundled up with extra layers figuring it would be cold inside wherever I was going. With the cost of meetings being paid for by donations, comforts such as heat in LA often go by the wayside. Of course I got there about 10 minutes late, walking in right during a group reading of the Big Book. I took a seat and the gentleman next to me handed over his book, pointing to where I would have to pick up. Well, no time for second guessing I would not be running out the door unnoticed. I read. I listened. Eventually I shared. When it was over I walked out with a new chip on my keychain and a smaller one on my shoulder.

You know what else I walked out with? Hope. For the first time in 10 years I have hope. God it feels good.

Top Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smokershighlife/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0