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Boston, MA, United States

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Are You There God? It's Me, Rachel G

"The great fact is this, and nothing less: that we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences* which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and towards God's universe.  The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous.  He has commenced to accomplish those things for us, which we could never do by ourselves."  AA Big Book. Forth Edition, There is a Solution, pp. 9

According to AA, no human power can save us from our alcoholism. The BIG BOOK STATES, only "HE" has the power to remove my desire to drink (and in my case, do LOADS of drugs).  SO WHY didn't "HE" or it, or whatever, remove my desire?  I asked often enough.

In fact, it was rare that a day went by while I was in AA, that I did not ask in my prayers for my strong desire to drink/drug to be removed.  No matter how many times I asked, it remained.  I wanted to get high, party, have fun.  I became convinced God was ignoring my pleas; finally, after years of failure, I deduced HE HATES ME.  GOD HATES ME.

Years went by, while I continued to relapse.  I wondered, what is wrong with me?  What did I do to deserve this torture?  I was sure I must have done something really wrong.  Perhaps I was evil in a past life.  Yeah, that was it.  I must have been Beverly Gail Allitor, or  maybe I was Myra Hindley because God was obviously ignoring me.

Just imagine what I must have done to deserve such a complete pass by God.  I mean, I've asked and asked for this one, simple miracle for years, with no success!  I must have been an evil wench before; since this life has been nothing but a hell that I am surviving through. 

Why do I continue to get the short end of the stick?  Seriously.  My father abandoned me, as did everyone else in my family, I moved too many times to count.  I became a total drug addict at 15, got arrested, went to jail, then busted my ass in school for four years to earn a degree that is practically useless to me because of my felony bank robbery charge.

I'm single, have stayed that way for years, waiting for the right guy, then he comes and turns out to be a married man looking for a side dish.  Seriously?  God, can't you just remove my desire to drink like AA says you will?  Are you there God? It's me, Rachel G.  What gives, man? 

For twenty one years I failed in AA because my desire to drink/drug has never left me.  I have relapsed so many times, I could not even come up with a number for you.  This cycle had become a way of life for me.  Periods of sobriety followed  by relapse, inevitably landing me back in AA, where my life experience evaporated while I was the humble newcomer.

I got so used to failing in AA, that the revolving door became a way of life for me.  God Hates Me.

What else could it be? I did everything the people in AA told me to do.  I prayed, went to meetings, worked the steps,bared my soul, stuck with the winners.  Why did my life suck so much?  I blamed God.  He. Hates. Me. He must, or he would fix it.

Fix it, fix it, like he did for so many others I watched get sober and get better in the halls of AA.  As I've said before, I spent years of my life in and out of the rooms, going to their boring meetings, dealing with gross men invading my boundaries like a pack of wild animals feeding on a fresh kill.  I gave those ignorant, lying, cheating scumbags who had NOTHING better to do, except to pull people down while we all sit in those gawd awful meetings, every bit of my power as I turned my will and my life over to AA.

The kicker is that I was teased, looked down on, made fun of by these people and I STILL WENT.  I went to their meetings all the time, took their advice, listened to their stories, tried to fit in, say the right thing.  BE A "GOOD" AA.  I memorized their prayers and actually SAID them multiple times a day.  I got on my knees and  begged "HIM" on many occasions to PLEASE, PLEASE help me stay sober.  Please remove my desire to use.  Dear God, Please.

During the years I wasted in the cult,  I felt like a complete loser because the clock continued to tick while I never moved forward.  I wasn't meeting my goals (i.e. moving up in the world, etc.), mostly because I would relapse, and have to start all over again.

Whatever sponsor I had at the time (and believe me I had more than I can count or remember for that matter) would tell me I had to take some menial job to learn humility because it would be good for me.  I submitted, had the worst jobs of my life, and I thought "HE HATES ME."

You get to pick your own higher power in AA, it doesn't really matter what it is, as long as you are able to believe "it" is more powerful than you.  I was jealous and amazed as I listened to people talk about their relationships with their higher powers in meetings.  I was dumb founded because I did not feel close to a higher power at all.

In fact, I was certain my higher power was dismissing me completely.  I can't.  HE can.  I'll let Him they said.  Try as I did, I could not get it.  I decided I needed to go to Church to explore this idea of "God."

A religious friend of mine encouraged me to go to the First Assemblies of God Church to find my higher power, which is no place for beginners in Religion because these believers take the Bible literally in every instance.

Thankfully, the people there embraced me with open arms at a time when I really needed support.  A group of ladies took me under their wings.  These women kept me alive while they tried to teach me how to live according to God's Will.  I went to Church three times a week and attended small groups on Sundays to learn about the Bible.  I am always a serious student, so I went about studying the Word f God with diligence, the same as I would any opportunity I am given to learn.

After six months of going to Church on a regular basis, I was more confused than I ever had been about God (please forgive me, Church folks).  I wondered how I would ever get into Heaven, since I  have broken all of the rules, at least once.  I set out to make it up to God by accepting Christ as my Savior. I was Baptized Christian in that Church, and hoped that God was watching.

Also, I heard over and over how God does not like Idols, so I threw my life long collection of Buddhas in the dumpster on Good Friday.  I was honest in my disposal, as I tossed every single one of those idols out, including the ones that where expensive (one cost over $500) or gifts from close friends and family members.

My experience in AA prepared me for the ultimate breakdown of the bad girl in me, so it did not take long before I was opening myself for a whole new set of limits.  Surely, God would at least know I wanted to be good, maybe even bless my life now that I proved willingness to submit to his Word?

Time spent at Church took the place of my time in AA.  Hey, you would do it too.  The people at Church had themselves together and were loving, supportive and way nicer to me than I will ever deserve.  My sponsor at the time encouraged me to extricate myself a fast as I could from the Church and anyone I met there.

She said they were sick people who would try to control me.  Ha.  What a hypocrite!  This is the same sponsor who would not let move beyond the ninth step in AA because she thought I should make amends to the people at the bank that I robbed more than twenty years ago!

My refusal to fulfill this absurd expectation meant that I would never be able t to beyond the "I am a piece of crap" part of the program.  I could not sponsor others because I did not have the experience of working all twelve steps.  I was almost three years sober, wallowing in self-hate, as sober people in the meetings made fun of me for not being willing to help others.

My sponsor rubbed salt in my wound as she presented favorites with beautiful cakes and well spoken praises for their hard work in the program.  I was the crazy, rebellious one who was definitely headed for jail, institutions or death.

My third year of sobriety was fast approaching, yet I was stuck on the ninth step.  You wonder why I was crazy?  How would you like it?  I spent every single day of my life during this time fighting the urge to kill myself because I was positively miserable, ashamed and had no idea how to change the way I felt.

Had I been allowed to move onto the next three steps, I believed I might have seen the miracles other spoke about happen in my life.  A major part of AA doctrine is that in order to stay sober, you've got to give away what you've learned from the spiritual experience AA promises will happen when one completes all twelve steps, in a row, with no long breaks.  I was stuck on #9, wanted to get high and fully convinced, GOD HATES ME.

My sponsor's refusal to allow me to work the program as it was laid out by the founding fathers of AA held me under water.  I was drowning in the horrible things I learned about myself while we worked the previous eight steps.  I walked ashamed of myself as I replayed my resentments edited by me taking responsibility for my part in every single hurt I carried with me during my life.

There was no denying my part in my problems as I was forced to look at how it was my fear, anger, self seeking, and self pity had destroyed all of my relationships and perpetuated the scam that was my life.  To my horror, in my writing of the fourth step, I found out I had been a dirtbag all my life where I stole, lied and cheated people, places and things (broken).

I internalized the deep sense of shame and regret this exercise created in me and was forced to spend every day for two more years living with the belief that I was scum of the earth (down) while I continued to perpetuate the horrible way I felt with the same behavior.  I wanted to kill myself and fought everyday not to do it.

Finally, I approached my sponsor to talk about how I felt.  Like the minion I was, I begged her to take me through the rest of the steps.  We made an appointment to meet at her house for the following day.  I felt a sense of relief that I would finally be allowed to move on  from the filthy stew I had been carrying around for close to two years as other people in the program made fun of me for being stuck on the ninth step.

Of course, my sponsor shut down my enthusiasm, as soon as I entered her living room.  She said she just could not let me do the tenth, eleventh and twelfth steps because I HAD to perform the stupid amends she felt I was avoiding.

Anger burned my face, as I walked out her front door and rushed to my car.  Tears stung my eyes while I made the twenty minute drive home.  I knew in my heart I was either going to drink or kill myself.

Praise life, I decided to just smoke weed instead.  I might be dead right now if I started drinking in the condition I was in.  Her convoluted sponsorship had me so depressed that I spent a year and a half fighting the urge to kill myself on a daily basis.

The first nine steps put my self esteem in the toilet.  I wonder how many people this has happened to?  My biggest problem with AA is how people have taken over the simple directions that are laid out in the Big Book.  Sponsors are killing people with their superiority complexes while keeping AA members stuck in bad habits, negativity, depression, and low self esteem.

I returned to AA defeated, once again, by my desire to get high (GOD HATES ME).  My sponsor shook her head in disappointment while she detailed how the ones who make it in AA are the ones who work all twelve steps.  Wait a second, really?  I thought you told me no human power could resolve my drinking problem, and here I thought I was being personally dissed by God himself!

Fortunately, I learned a thing or two from my relapse by talking to other people in the program with more time and experience than my sponsor had.  According to the AA old-timers, God helps us stay sober via the spiritual experience awarded AFTER you have practiced all twelve steps.

Really?  Are you kidding me?  NO wonder I kept relapsing!  Here I thought I was being personally dissed by the All Mighty, but it was the human being I was putting all of my faith in who had continued to fail me.  A ray of hope entered my heart as I thought, maybe God doesn't hate me after-all!

The Big Book strongly warns its followers not to dilly dally while working the steps for it is a "life and death" errand,  My sponsor had no right, or reason to keep me from moving onto the final three steps in AA.  According to the program, she should have taught me how to pray for the willingness to make the amends she expected, while I continued to move through the steps and work the program as it is clearly explained in the book.

She enjoyed the sick control she had over me while she stifled my growth.  I am not alone in my experience here.  Unfortunately too many sponsors utilize control and manipulation to keep people stuck in the most painful parts of the program for as long as they see fit. 

It's been more than a year and a half since I cut back on and eventually left AA for good.  Sure, it has been rocky, and I bet if I was still brainwashed my life would still be the same as it was when I was bored, fat and alone in my one bedroom apartment, feeling like a ball of snot, still trying to make it in AA.

I am happy now and self actualized based on my own ideas and beliefs developed from my own experience, not my sponsors, or the people I met in AA.  I am free from the brainwashing, which has made me realize forever sobriety is not realistic for me, neither is AA.  I don't believe it is possible or healthy to try to live that way.

Addiction is cyclical in that when you have it, it can be a monster or a mouse.  For me, it all depends on where I am at emotionally.  The difference between my life now and when I was in AA is that my people support, love and encourage me, in spite of the fact that I am "out," which directly contrasts the AA approach of shaming a person for an entire month, while they announce their new comer status.

Even after twenty one years of going to AA, when I returned from a relapse, I had to raise my hand as a newcomer with thirty days or less.  Square one doesn't work for me anymore.  With the support of my friends and family, there is no shame, only acceptance and encouragement.  That is what I need in order to move forward from any disappointment.  Not the dogma of AA.  With the slim number of people who ever actually achieve "forever sobriety," my choice is clear.  I'm loving life now.

Are you there, God, it's me, Rachel G.?  Don't worry about removing my desire to use, I am responsible for the free will you gave me.  I understand now that you can't and will never take it away.  As far as the question of if you love me, I will wait for you to tell me.  In the meantime, I will continue to love and believe in myself and remain a productive member of society, in spite of the cult that is AA.

That's What's Up!

Live Like You Mean It!
Go-Go Rach

DeConstrucor's Comment In Response to LETTER TO MY "FRIENDS" IN AA (page above)

"Brav fucking O.....Standing O fucking Vation. Or perhaps the Charlie Daniels quote from the Geico commercial of "thats how you do it son"

That was incredible.

Reminded me a little of "the letter" at the end of the Breakfast Club (perhaps the greatest movie ever)

Keep it up, dont be afraid to kick them in the teeth once in a while.

Always remember that its the misfits, the rebels, and the troublemakers that are the ones that change the world."

He post the following video at the end of his comment.

Thank you, my friend.
I am both Flattered and HONORED.

*This Video is here to support Decon's Words, not OBAMA (or any politician for that matter, since I've never been allowed to vote) Sincerely, Go-Go Rach.