It's last Thursday night. I am sitting in my AA meeting gleaning ideas for my mental health support group. "I don't want it to be religious and I don't want some damn twelve steps to slog through to get help for the group," I note mentally as I sit there thinking. "We will draw strength from each other by our company, fellowship and conversation."
My deep thoughts are interrupted as Sandy, a man who I don't much like, talks. He is a holy roller.
"I asked my higher power this morning to do with me what he will," he says. "I let God guide me through my day. But for the grace of God, I stayed sober today."
"Each to his own," I try to think open mindedly as I mentally cringe at the thought of this poor, deluded soul having to bow down to some mythical being to get help. "Each to his own."
Sandy is a bitter old lonely man who is sober, but seems and acts so unhappy. I would rather have a few last years of drunken bliss than a lifetime of miserable sobriety.
The meeting ends and I quietly escape out the front door to find George waiting out front on me in his Buick. I get in the car as I buckle up and then drive off.
"You know about you always calling AA a religious cult?" I tell George.
"Yeah, what about it?" George says as he sips on his beer.
"You're right," I say. "Some of those poor people are completely brainwashed. They are like automatons."
"But they are sober, right?" George asks, playing Devil's advocate.
"They are sober, but with a very high price to pay," I reply. "They don't even have control of their own lives. The program has overtaken them. Twelve steps written by some drunken doctor in the 1930's rules their lives."
"Are you going to quit going?" George asks.
"I don't know," I say, pensively. "I really don't know. I enjoy some of the camaraderie. I enjoy having something to do every night. It gives me purpose."
"You're starting to sound like one of those cultists," George says, rightly.
We grow quiet as I think and drive George through the drive-thru at McDonald's to get his usual bag of cheeseburgers. We leave the restaurant as I watch George crack open another beer as he eats a burger. "If I could only drink like George," my alcoholic mind thinks. "He can handle his liquor." I realize I don't have any answers. I don't know if AA is right or if AA is wrong. I do know there is something terribly distasteful about it to me. I finally take George home and walk back to my house. As I walk, I echo Sandy's words in AA that night leaving out the God reference. But for the grace of ME, I stayed sober today. I am one step closer to finding the answers I seek.