I've been on hiatus from 12 step program meetings for almost a month now, maybe a little bit more, as I've been in a bit of a "get the fuck away from me" phase where I just don't have the mental & physical energy to deal with interacting with anyone. However, I may be coming out of that phase, and am feeling like having some friends around would be nice. This brings up a few problems that I've had running through my head lately, as well as some things I've seen happen to other people.
One of the suckiest things I see among people in 12 step programs is the tendency to shun people who aren't actively doing the same things as everyone else is doing. If someone stops going to meetings, people tend to stop calling or hanging out with those people. This happened to a couple friends of mine down south recently, I've seen it happen to people up here, and it's definitely happened to me here and to a lesser extent in Savannah as well. It's like the biggest scare tactic there is, to warn people of what happens when someone stops going to meetings, and I don't buy it one bit, or at least not as a blanket statement anyway.
So that's an issue that seems to be one of a few areas between the two conditions that seem to be diametrically opposed to one another, and this is causing me an incredible amount of stress in my life. I'm not 100% sure about this, but I don't think anyone gets what this is doing, not even people who know about my AS.
Sometimes I just am absolutely in need of a breather, and need some downtime in isolation for a little while. It may be from any number of sources, but I think a lot of it is coming from trying to pretend to be normal around people, and that is incredibly exhausting. It's even worse when I'm failing at it. The problem here is that from an AS angle, this is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged. From a 12 step angle, I've been told it's the worst thing in the world that I could do. I hear that "isolating isn't healthy" or "a problem shared is a problem halved", amongst other things that are said to encourage one to stick to going to meetings. There are other much less tactful things I've been told, like you're being immature, hiding from everyone, not being accountable, et cetera. With friends like these...
I recently realized that with this one particular meeting, if it wasn't for a few of my friends going there, there is no fucking way in hell I would go to this meeting (especially if it means driving as far as I have to to get there!) I've pretty much been going to this meeting (at least until I stopped going) solely for social reasons. I'm not going there to help someone, not at all. I want to, but there are some things going on that are making it nearly impossible from a subject matter standpoint (that I don't have any relevant experience with), so I can't share much of anything, and that makes me feel useless. So... from an AS perspective, I'm going to at least attempt to be social and build some relationships - definitely a good thing. From a 12 step angle, I'm pretty much being about as selfish as one can get. How the fuck do I rectify this in mind, especially when I factor in the converse situation (when I don't want to go). It's like I'm damned if I do go, and damned if I don't go...
To top it all off, one of the biggest stumbling blocks over my entire time in sobriety has been my sleep issues. Thankfully that's largely been resolved over the last 7 months, but it caused me to miss all sorts of important early morning 12 step related functions as well as get fired from a slew of jobs at a time where I "should be" coming into my own, career wise. According to the party line, I should be accountable to people and show up when I say I'm going to be somewhere. I understand the mentality behind that sentiment, but it doesn't apply to me, due to things beyond my control. If I need to isolate, I'm gonna have to cancel. If (in the past) I overslept, it wasn't intentional, but I would get a bunch of grief about being irresponsible (if I did so now that might actually be closer to the truth.) If I try to explain that somehow I'm different, then I end up facing the line of BS about "terminal uniqueness". I don't think I'm all that different, but in this regard I definitely am. What I've learned in this deal is that I should feel bad about thinking I'm different, that it's a bad mentality to have.
Basically I've been feeling like these 2 conditions don't seem to want to co-exist together, and a recent feeling is that I've worked the 12 steps to try to help alleviate a number of "symptoms" over the years, and many of these things have faded away, either gradually or almost instantly. However, the symptoms associated with AS are still here. This has led me to believe that maybe I've been going about it backwards, that I need to work on AS issues first, and then maybe I can be a little bit more effective in the 12 step arena. I don't expect my friends in the 12 step program to understand nor approve of what I am doing, but they're not the ones living with this - I am. I gotta do what seems right, because what I have been doing clearly isn't working. Trying something new seems to be the next right thing to do.
Wish me luck!