I was at a meeting on Monday. It's a 12x12 meeting (12 steps and 12 traditions) and we were talking about the 8th step and making a list of those we had harmed while we drank and used. A woman new to the program spoke towards the end. She had gone 24 days without a drink and was recounting with nervousness and a certain ambivalence the blackouts she had been experiencing. The nervousness came across as giggles and a bit of silliness. I recognized that brand of nervousness as my own from the first year of meeting. Covering up my shame with a dramatic joke.
It was her ambivalence that struck me as more problematic. She wasn't sure these blackouts (where she hit and kicked people in a rage) were all that important. She had stayed off alcohol for two months last summer and convinced herself she could handle it. And what I could hear in her share was the fact that she didn't want to be an alcoholic, didn't want to stop drinking, didn't want to be different from her current circle of friends and family, couldn't see the benefits ahead.
And I spoke up after she did about the gift that sobriety is and it's a gift that's not easy to get and not easy to keep and that if we get a chance, we should take it and hang on.