All in all, I’ve had a glorious birthday week; not that I’ve done anything crazy or amazingly wild. I had lunch with Mum (on the actual day) and hosted FB and her gorgeous little man the next day, so it’s been pretty ordinary, I guess – but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Last year, I hadn’t spoken to Mum since March (let alone seen her), was still pretty estranged from most of my friends. And had just broken my leg. And was trapped with an absolute c*nt. What a difference a year makes!
Anyway, it was back to business on Thursday with SMART group. SMART basically stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, and approaches recovery from a more secular, science-based angle, using cognitive behaviour techniques and motivational methods to help you work towards long-term recovery. My Foundations group coordinator had encouraged me to give it a go as a possible alternative to AA – which incidentally, I’ve struggled with no end.
So far, I’m finding this style of recovery structure more relatable and comfortable than the AA meetings. I’m very much of the mindset that I am responsible for my own actions, and I am ultimately the only person who can fix me. Of course, I need the support of the recovery-services, peers, friends, family etc. along the way, but I’m struggling to get my head around the concept of surrendering yourself to a “higher power” that AA teaches. Yes, the 12 Steps framework was established in a very different time, and the idea of “God” as the only “higher power” is no longer relevant within today’s society, but I’m still not comfortable with the notion of handing over control…
Who exactly am I handing it to? For someone like me (who doesn’t really know what to believe in), who on earth (or not) is supposed to be my higher power? Shouldn’t that actually be me?
I get that it’s nice to have that community feel of AA, a sort of camaraderie and sense of belonging… but I get that in groups like SMART and Foundations, and through the wider Recovery service. The difference is, in Group, I actually get to unpick theories, question them, debate them and bounce ideas off others who are looking for a solution to the same problem. Sometimes in AA I feel like I’m sat awkwardly listening to one person after another talk about how the “fellowship” has helped them cope with life’s challenges, when all I want to ask is: HOW?! There’s no structure, no discussion and no outcome.
I went to an AA meeting last week – with one of the girls from Group – and promised myself that I’d give it 6 weeks before I made a decision (even though someone tried to shove Jesus down my neck – again). Tonight, I didn’t go because I had a deadline with my freelance work, and I’m really stressing about whether to go back at all. I should go – I think? Or am I just trying to take on too much?
Ughhhhhhh!!! I thought I was getting better at making decisions for myself!!!