I guess I could answer a question some of you have asked me over the last year or so. "Mary Christine G., what have you got against rehab?"
Well, kind readers, I didn't really have anything against rehab, per se, until about a year ago. One of those fancy pants places by the sea stole my blog and posted it on their website. The whole thing was sitting there. As if I was sitting at their treatment center-by-the-sea, waiting to charge people tens of thousands of dollars to pass on what I was freely given in Alcoholics Anonymous. I wrote them and told them to remove my blog. I called them and told them to remove my blog. I started posting stuff that was very negative that I knew they would not want on their website, and at about the same time, a very smart techno-savvy reader came along and told me about RSS feeds. Well, I had no idea. I made my blog unfeedable - which also made all your little links on your sidebars not work anymore for my blog. But it got my blog off their website. I really should go back and make sure they haven't put it back.
Let me back up a second and just reiterate that I am not speaking for AA, I am just speaking for me, one little member of AA. One little blogger. I just didn't like my blog being hijacked. It wasn't the first time it had happened either (but I do hope it will be the last).
So, I sit in AA meetings. And over the years they have changed. Dramatically. In my current location, at the current time, we are doing a bunch of crazy s**t. And it comes directly out of treatment centers. And that is what I have against rehab. We pass around those damn coins, as if we are magicians, putting magic spells on objects. We chant favorite parts of the big book, whole rooms of people chanting in unison - "God could and would if he were sought!" and "Keep coming back, it works if you work it! So work it cause you're worth it!!!" Etc. It is nutty. It makes us seem like a cult.
We have a whole new generation of AA members who have either gone through rehab or are sponsored by people who have learned at the knee of rehab - and their answers are no longer AA oriented. They are all about finding the right medication. Finding the right therapy. Who needs a 4th step when you can get hypnotized? Who would like to make amends to someone you have hated when you can take sleeping medications instead?
I am so grateful for the people and places of my early sobriety. It wasn't all warm and fuzzy. They were often close to cruel. I would prefer that kind of cruelty to the "killing them with kindness" kind I see today.
I remember running to the club one day in tears - and telling some guy I wanted to drink. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar and handed it to me. I asked him what it was for, he said "for your first drink." ouch! But it taught me that I was responsible for my own sobriety, that it wasn't up to them, it was up to me. Did I want it or not?
When I whined to an old guy about "guilt," he said "if you are feeling guilty, maybe it's because you are.... guilty." ouch. But he was right. If I wanted to stop feeling guilty, I needed to stop acting like a jerk.
They taught me that I wouldn't have improved self-esteem until I improved my behavior. I couldn't feel better about myself until there was something to feel better about. The cart wasn't before the horse.... ever.
And they told me to get busy. Not to wait around for someone to spoon-feed me sobriety. I was told that if I had 24 hours of sobriety, I could help someone who didn't have 24 hours of sobriety, and that they probably could relate to me better than someone with 24 years. I was told that I had to give it away to keep it.
I am so grateful for those experiences.
And I am grateful that my daughter is sober 15 months today. Her homegroup has a lot of those same folks I got sober with. She is already sponsoring someone. She is busy, busy, busy being sober. So, I guess it is not totally generational. Maybe it is geographical?
Faith, I must have faith....