Regular readers will know that I have been wrestling with this one for a while. And whenever I mention AA in a post, even in passing, it causes much debate, so I guess lots of you have been agonising over it too.
I always tell the children when they have to make a big decision to write a list of the pros and cons, so that's what I'm going to do.
To those of you who are AA experts, please forgive my obvious ignorance! This is a totally personal list based purely on hearsay and reading, not on any actual experience.
I confess. I am a coward. The idea of even walking into 'the rooms' fills me with terror. I'm scared of seeing anyone I know and I'm terrified of confessing to myself, let alone others. that 'I am an alcoholic.'
Like Wine Bitch (www.thewinebitch.blogspot.com) I worry about the whole language of AA. The 'disease' stuff (see Is Alcoholism a Disease?), the turgidity of 'one day at time'. The prison sentence of forever being 'in recovery.' The endless re-telling of horror stories from the past.
Instinctively I prefer the positive language of Jason Vale - 'addiction to an addictive substance', rather than 'a disease called alcoholism', looking forward, not back, 'recovered' rather than 'in recovery.'
I'm sure that, in listening to people's stories there'd be loads of 'ah ha!' moments and lots of similarities, but I'm scared of the differences.
I know how easy it is to hear people talking about their rock bottoms - drinking whisky for breakfast and losing their homes, jobs and families and to think 'that's not me, ergo I am not an alcoholic'. I don't need to go down that cul-de-sac again.
I've also heard stories (which I'm sure are not at all representative) of people being mocked for their 'bottle of wine a day' habits by the 'two bottles of vodka' brigade.
I've always hated rules. And I hate the idea of 'doing the steps'. I also still feel horribly uncomfortable with the concept of 'surrendering your will,' to putting myself in the hands of anyone, let alone a 'higher power.'
I prefer to see myself as someone taking responsibility for their own actions, and doing it my own way. (It's only now that I've typed that that I realise it's terrible pride holding me back. I am definitely not humble enough for AA!)
HOWEVER, over the last few months, I keep returning to the idea of AA over and over again. I'm obsessed by Bill Wilson. I love the serenity prayer. I have The Big Book under my bed. So here are my....
1. Some of You
People I admire and respect hugely keep urging me to give it a go. People like P, Anne, Wendy (www.tipsynomore.blogspot.com) and Melanie (my e-mail buddy from Boston), to name just a few.
2. A New Tribe
One of the many truths that I've quoted from AA is that you can't do this journey alone. To date, with the exception of Mr SM and my friend P, all my confidantes have been virtual. Increasingly I feel the need to meet people like me IRL, as the kids would say (in real life).
Anne (from www.ainsobriety.wordpress.com) keeps telling me 'they're your people', and I think she may be right. I'm wondering whether I can find the same sense of belonging and solidarity that I once found in the smoking sections of aeroplanes, around the next bottle of wine at a party and dancing in fields in Hampshire in 'The Rooms.' Maybe that's where my tribe are now.
So, because I'm boring myself, and you, with my endless prevarication, and because I'll never know if I don't try, I promise that I'm going to go. Once the kids are back at school, in September - by when I'll be six months sober. It seems like an appropriate way to mark that milestone.
(But I'm not doing the steps. Or surrendering. And I can't guarantee that I'll be able to say 'I'm an alcoholic'. One step at a time, as they say)
So, if you're still reading my blog by then and I don't mention having gone to a meeting, please call me on it!
Love to you all