CrossTalk is based on the premise that recovery life is polytely: frequently, complex problem-solving situations characterized by the presence of not one, but several, endings. This writing represents decades of recovery and its application to life and how to get over it, into it or through it with spunk, levity and a good dose of reality. What? You want more than happy, joyous and free? Get over it. Just sayin’. – Mollé
Ms. Mollé: I am having fun in Alcoholics Anonymous; and for the most part I love my life. My kids are wrecking it. I really like playing on a softball team, going out to dinner after meetings and having friends over to the house. There is even a girl I want to ask out (sponsor says wait awhile); but my kids are so resentful, I don’t dare. I feel badly about wanting to go out and do stuff. I don’t want to feel guilty, so why do I? Should I feel guilty? It makes me angry at my kids. What am I supposed to do? Just stay sober and shut up until they leave home? — Guys Jus’ Wanna Have Fun
Dear Mr. Fun,
I hear you! This may not be as bad as you think. It sounds like you’re in your first year of recovery and starting to come alive – maybe for the first time, right? Sounds like you’re also a single dad. Well, you are right on target.
Often times we’ve been in the dark with addiction so long that we feel like the walking dead. Then sobriety brings in the sunshine, and we want to run and play like a kid. It’s exhilarating, but not always practical. Because of our self-centeredness, some of us have children who have been neglected. Of course, they are resentful; wouldn’t you be, too? Dad is gone due to drinking; now Dad is gone due to Twelve Step meetings and socializing.
I am thrilled to hear your recovery group is so active – many are not. Talk openly to your fellows about your brewing resentment. Find ways to bring the kids with you. And when you do spend time with them, pay full attention and learn to have fun with them, too. There are ways to bring together both the desire to have fun and the desire to be a good dad. Watch the other dads; talk to them. They found a way; and you will, too. You can play like a youngster and still be responsible. It works; it really does.
How old are you, Mollé? People in the meetings constantly talk about their “inner child”. It makes me want to puke. Sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes I just want to bolt from the meeting. I was told this is not group therapy. I can’t take the psych talk.
Dear None of Your Business,
I am not a therapist, and Twelve Step meetings are not therapy. With that said, many people in recovery seek outside help for emotional and life needs which cannot be adequately addressed in meetings, through the Steps or with a sponsor. The Steps help us become honest enough to more accurately address any underlying issues with a counseling professional.
Many of us were raised in an alcoholic, abusive home, or worse. Growing up in harsh environments can cause us to put aside the “little kid” in us because we had to survive life rather than live it. When we start recovery, the world opens up and we come alive for what feels like the first time. Unfortunately, we may be emotionally stunted. Learning to “let the kid out” can be exhilarating and threatening all at the same time. I encourage you to view your fellows as individuals who are growing up. Some need more help than others.
Another option is to find other meetings that better meet your needs. You might want to seek outside help yourself. That’s okay, too. Whatever works – just don’t drink.
Hey, Mollé: “Young people in AA.” I hear those words, but I don’t see ’em. The ones I have met are strung out meth addicts, and I didn’t do drugs. Or they are just plain boring. I’m like stuck cuz I can’t leave, but don’t feel good staying. I don’t want to leave or get drunk, but old people don’t get me either. — Young and Not Feelin’ So Good
I see you in my meetings all the time. You will find your way as long as you stay sober. “Seek and ye shall find.”
Not every town has an active young people’s group, but many do. You obviously have a computer, so use it. Try doing a search for “young people in AA” or “young people in recovery”. As with any online search, beware of predators.
That said, I dare you to ask for your Higher Power’s help as you seek out others your own age. When you find them, maybe you could put together a young people’s group yourself. Use the Twelve Steps and Traditions as your guide, and you can have an absolute blast!
Please stay in touch with me. I’ll be happy to help you find your people. Until then, there are great stories and helpful information in the Twelve Step literature about young people in recovery (see Too Young and Young People and A.A.). Peace out. I know, old people are so weird.
The viewpoints shared or any implied actions suggested by Mollé, are the opinion and ideas of the author only and do not represent those of In Recovery Magazine. The implied action is offered openly and is never intended to replace the advice of a health care professional. If you’ve got a question for Mollé, use the following form!