It’s often said that the times we really don’t feel like going to a twelve-step meeting are the times when it’s most important to go. This tends to be true for me. I wish I could say that when this happens, and I find the willingness to drag myself there anyway, I always leave spiritually refreshed and happy that I went. But that wouldn’t be the truth.
Sometimes it is. I see someone I’ve been missing, or the speaker is really on fire that day, and I know fate threw something good my way as a result of me being there. Other times, the meeting’s just okay, and I find it hard to sit through, and I leave with only the modest satisfaction of having done some small thing to show my commitment to recovery that day.
There’s a third type of result for me, and that’s what happened at last night’s meeting. This outcome of bringing my reluctant self to a meeting is that, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, I don’t get what I want but I get what I need.
This is moving week for me, and I’m very stressed. I’m dealing with baggage around the concept of home, and I’m juggling my tasks of self-maintenance–which I cannot afford to let slip too much–with the need to get things done on a deadline. So when I carved out the time to go to this meeting on the general principle that I’m an addict and I don’t want to let too much time lapse between meetings, I wanted to get something for my trouble and time. I had an agenda.
Refresh me, I was asking the meeting and my God. Give me strength and confidence to help me this week. Excite me about my recovery and my future. Get me in touch with gratitude. Fix my crappy attitude and loosen the strangling hold my character defects seem to have on me lately. Calm me and help me stop being afraid.
When I got to the meeting, the first thing I saw was a high ratio of unknown faces. It was the night that the population of a local treatment center gets brought to the meeting. The speaker was great, but I had just heard her four days ago, and the second half of the meeting was dominated by the newcomers, who, quite understandably, tend to be chaotic and need patient listening. So it turned out to be a meeting I sat through quietly, not feeling connected.
And this, apparently, was what I needed, because the longer I sat there, not distracting myself with a task or my iPad, the sadder I felt. As tears started to come up, I got in touch with the last thing I wanted to face. I got in touch with how lonely I feel. Underneath all of my worries and fears and resentments, I found a pool of loneliness that made me ache.
Moving is pushing many buttons for me, but I didn’t know loneliness was such a major one. It makes sense, though, now that I am open to seeing it. Going through old stuff deluges me with reminders of friends unseen and things undone. Worrying about moving day reminds me of how socially crippled I still am: that there are people who would probably help me but I haven’t asked because I am so fucking afraid and I still feel different all of the time. Donating my old too-large clothes reminds me of how much depends on my ability to keep my weight off and not screw up in general, and I feel lonely because part of me still has trouble believing that I don’t have to do all this alone.
Enough of analyzing it. It’s hard to stay real in this moment, but I want Not This Song to be a place of truth. Everything I write–the passionate stuff, the symbolism, the humor and satire, the intellectual stuff, the geeky playfulness–I want it all to be diverse bits of my truth forming the weirdest mosaic ever. So today’s piece of truth is that among all of the other incarnations of myself is someone who wants to feel comfortable with other people and is afraid it will never, ever happen. That she’ll be lonely in a crowd forever.
Tomorrow a different fragment of my truth will probably step to the front of the line, but today I give you the truth of these tears. There’s one on my keyboard at this moment; let me put aside my pride and offer it to you. Mix it with the next one you shed and see if it turns pretty colors, or hang it up like a crystal to remind you that tears won’t destroy us.