Today is Tuesday and it has been a successful week so far. I want to also celebrate the fact, that besides that funk I found myself in early on, this summer has pretty much been free of depression. This tells me that I am nurturing my soul and living in a way that makes my heart happy. Summer is typically a time that it is easy for me to fall prey to a slump.
I made it to two meetings yesterday!
The first was the noon AA meeting that I attended occasionally last summer and really liked. I was on a mission to find a sponsor and when an older lady sat at my table and we started to make small talk, I asked her if she sponsored and if she would sponsor me. She said yes!
I took a chance and I’m glad I did. We will start working in about 10 days when she is done with her probation. I also had a chance to make small talk with a woman about my age who just accomplished her first 30 days. I had shared about my recent relapse and she asked for details after the meeting. I was very open with her about my experience. She also works for the schools and is nervous about going back to work and not having time for so many meetings (she is currently in an outpatient program). I can totally relate but told her that in my experience, summer is the toughest time to stay sober because of all of the unstructured time, freedom and generally people doing a lot of partying. It is so nice to connect with local people who are in recovery.
The 2nd meeting was a little bit of a shit show. It was a Refuge Recovery meeting and the location yesterday was at a Cat cafe. If you don’t know what this is, it is a cafe where rescue cats are free to roam around. It helps to socialize them and also to help find potential adoptable families. If you are not familiar with Refuge Recovery, it is Buddhist based and mediation is a big part of it.
Since two of my favorite things are cats and meditation, I thought this was absolutely PURRRRRFECT! And even better was the fact that it was an open meeting, so I asked my hubby to go with me. My hubby is a very reserved and quiet man. I’m pretty sure that accompanying me to this meeting nearly killed him, but he is sweet so he did it anyway.
The meeting started off well. Cats were everywhere and the 10 people attending the meeting included a diverse crowd of about ages 20-50.
We started with a guided meditation, which I have to say that I really enjoyed. Near the end, I heard a woman crying (or laughing?) and some commotion. I learned after the meditation was over that one of the cats urinated in the donation money basket and also on the facilitator’s shoes! It was really pretty funny.
Next, we read a section from the Refuge Recovery book. I enjoyed the reading and could relate to the topic.
Lastly, each person had a chance to share. This is where things got strange. It was very different from AA– where you have a mix of people who have just begun the program and are struggling and people who are years sober and who still work and believe in the program and promote it–but for the most part is positive and optimistic.
This was entirely different. Everyone who shared seemed to be in a really dark place. Sharers included a couple of young men who often had to fight the urge to kill themselves, a doctor of philosophy who expressed her “rage” from all of the negativity she felt at the meeting and the bad cats while we were meditating and that she was so tired of the families she worked with who didn’t understand that their loved one isn’t the only one in pain and the fact that they made her “rage” (she was a scary one, I noted the quickest way out while she was sharing because it appeared that she may start to “rage” at any moment), and a young woman who recently relapsed and was high on drugs. She was at the meeting because she was a few days free from alcohol and once she was 8 days free from alcohol she was going across the country to rehab. She was hitting all the meetings she could to hit that 8 days, but it was so strange to be at a meeting with someone who openly admitted to being high.
An older gentleman approached me after the meeting. I had shared that it was my first RR meeting and he reassured me that last night was an anomaly. He told me that I should try going to the temple and that it would be a much different experience, and that meditation had done wonders for him and his chronic pain (which was strange because RA causes me chronic pain, but he didn’t know that). He also defended the meeting and said that people felt like they could be 100% authentic and real. I appreciated his insight.
I left feeling so drained afterwards and sad that my hubby’s first and probably only meeting was so negative. We talked about the sadness we felt on the way home and that each person that shared at the meeting could easily be a friend or colleague. I left feeling like if I ever wanted to go to another RR meeting, I would try a different one and would never go back to the cat cafe.
After a full night’s sleep, I had a different opinion. Maybe hearing people share from the pit of addiction is beneficial for me in some ways. I had regretted taking hubby with me, but maybe it was good for him to see this– to help him understand some of the demons that I’m facing. I might actually go back to that cat cafe! At the very least, I definitely want to check out a large group meditation at the temple.
Well, that’s my update! I’m happy to write a positive post and excited about my progress <3