Sunday: 20.November.2005

First Support Group Meeting

Attended my first support group yesterday. I'm not supposed to divulge which, but they never said I couldn't reveal which one it is not.

Not AA. Never had a problem with drinking. Heck, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire still sits in the freezer. Been there 4 or 5 years now. Never opened. I prefer non-alc beers. Brain stays sharp. I dislike the fog of alcohol.

Never understood the disease. After a certain point, the stuff starts tasting nasty. If you're hungry, for example, *any* food will taste dee-lish. But once full, even your favorite dish becomes unappealing. "Please, no more lobster."

Same concept applies to alcohol -- or so it would seem. Friends in "recovery" have tried to explain it to me, how a person can continue to drink, even after the stuff starts tasting nasty. They say, "You just power right past that. It's not about taste."

If I do have an addiction, it's cappuccino. Love the amperage. Vrrrooomm. No support group for that, tho.

For me, the notion of attending a support group is uncomfortable. I've always placed high value on self-reliance. Cuz people, as I'm sure you know, will let you down .. thru apathy, ignorance, selfishness or whatnot .. even those with the best of intentions .. causing me to set my expectations for others low .. to minimize disappointment.

My folks told me, "We raised you to be independent" (whatever that means). So going to the meeting wasn't easy. Damn near hyper-ventilated on the drive over. Two things got me there. First, I am pretty desperate. And desperate people will do things they won't normally do.

Secondly, I received what I would call "a sign". (Queue up theme music to the Twilight Zone.)


For weeks, I'd been seeing the vision, in my mind, of the monologue where the stewardess instructs passengers, "in the event of a loss of cabin pressure," to place the oxygen mask over the THEIR OWN face, before doing the same for their children.

Not sure why I kept seeing that vision. Haven't been airborne in years. Heck, I never even listened very closely to the stewardess's instructions (boring). But, for some reason, that monologue kept playing in my head.

So I'm at the Film Society meeting a few days ago (see entry for 18.November), where these two people recommend this certain support group. I say, "No, no, no. You got the wrong person." They are persistent, ganging up on me. I am equally adamant: "I don't think that applies to me, ladies."

Then one of them uses, as part of her argument, the example of the stewardess's instructions upon loss of cabin pressure. It's like somebody slapped me with a cold piece of beef. Very weird feeling. Made me woozy, but in a good way. Lights in the art gallery got real bright. Sound of people talking became an echo. Wondered for a moment if I would go down.

Things improved soon as I said, "Okay, I'll give it a try. Can't hurt to try." They continued to say things that rang eerily true, telling me things about my life they couldn't possibly have known. So they had my attention. Never met them before.

At the meeting, I sat way in the back, dressed plainly as possible (jeans, t-shirt, hiking boots). First thing they do is ask for first-time visitors. Hesitantly I raise my hand, not too high. I am the only noobie. Hate being a noob. They ask my name. Everyone turns and welcomes me, all 50 or 60 of 'em. There goes my anonymity.

Then I noticed one of my neighbors. Ugh! I was mortified. I moved to the side a little, where she couldn't see me, shielded behind someone else.

But she had noticed me, and was very cool. Came up afterwards and welcomed me with a hug. Said she'd been attending 14 years. Now we send each other the secret wave when we see one another on the street. =)

Mostly women attend. Which could be cool, but I'm not ready to start dating again. Still don't trust my own intuitions.

In fact, the thing that sealed the deal for me, was when the girls who convinced me to go gave me their number, but never asked for mine. I asked if they wanted my number. They said, "No, that's okay."

If they were looking to provide more than just group support, they would've accepted my number. When they declined, I knew I'd made the right decision. Made me more comfortable.

I am however looking for support, and it's easy to see these people are experts at rendering support. I also seek understanding, but most of all, SKILLS. So I am reading the handouts: Information for the newcomer, which provides remarkable insight. Feels like a breath of fresh air.

At the close, they asked if I'd like to say a few words. Politely as possible, I declined. "Perhaps some other time." They re-welcome me.

I'd like to share more, but my web site is being scrutinized .. by those not interested in technology. You understand.

So today I'll be reading handouts, trying to gain understanding and learn skills. Maybe tonight I'll watch Fight Club, a flick about support groups gone wild.

Much of what was said at the meeting rang surprisingly true .. like somebody had been reading my mail. So I have new hope.

For more info along these lines, here is a Google search pre-configured for the query: support group meetings

Posted by Rad at November 20, 2005 05:45 AM


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