Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to Let a Summer Go

Here is an essay I wrote an an undergrad.  I was often obsessed with how to let things go, as I as in AA, and trying to work both the program's steps and suggestions.


How to Let a Summer Go


"The days are bright and free, bright and free."  -Jane Kenyon

Start early, at the beginning of August.  You will know it is the right time, as you will being to feel the kind of anxiety so acutely that you cannot eat, cannot sleep.  Go running every night so you will not have to sit with the pain.  Wear a tank tops, shorts; pull your hair into a long ponytail if it's long.  Forget stretching, and just run.  Run down the dirt road until you get to the stop sign, then go left.  You will pa run past a Christmas tree farm, a pond, horses, a cornfield, and an apple orchard.  Fireflies will light the way.  They are no gone yet.  Run until you can barely breathe, then run faster.  Think about how your mother;s friend, Ed, had an affair with a twenty-two year old woman, and was thus alienated by his friends.  H trained for the Boston Marathon a a means to deal with the isolation.  Go five, six , seven miles, make sure you run right through the pain. 

(Unfinished, but saved and posted)

I adored this poet, Jane Kenyon when I was a young woman.  You saw her books of poetry everywhere, as she had just passed away.  I even used to go listen to Donald Hall read her poetry.  I craved her.  I almost went to her grave, but then did not, but fantasized about leaving her the one sand dollar I'd found in my lifetime.  She wrote with astounding articulation about the tyranny of melancholy.  At this time in my life, I needed a working anti-depressant; however I was thick into AA, believing I needed to be "squeaky clean" to be any sot of success.  I thought my success would buy me a head seat at the community of AA's table.  I thought wrong, so wrong.  FTG, in some ways, became my new Jane Kenyon while I was reading the S.T. blog; ultimately, I need to find a Jane Kenyon or ftg in myself.  


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Who Is Violet?


Here is what I wrote on Gunther2000's new ExposeAA site.







Hello, I am pleased to meet or know you: 

It has been a trip and a half to meet all of you in this fragile, but intense Internet community. Some members of this site may know me well enough, but for those of you who are just joining this community, I am including some personal information (with caution, of course) and a description how I think and believe.

I desperately want to resolve the AA questions and my hatred of its ideology that remain, with murder, in my heart. I believe in reading with passion and with intensity that mimics any escape artist. I love the whole entire forest and getting lost in its labyrinth of light and dark; and mostly, I live to understand, speak, and make peace with what is the truth. I might disagree and even hatefully argue with some of you, but mostly I want to feel as though what expelled us from the rooms joins us in a way that is powerful enough to keep us from going under again, that horrible feeling of hitting the ocean's bottom, that feeling of despair and affliction that is so ugly that AA looks like it might in fact save us. It won't.

Believe in yourself now, this moment, and the moment after this. Of course, there will be times of questioning, doubt, for you are human. You are not; no matter how loud the AA voices might be in your mind, powerless. You have the power, if only a tiny germ or whisper, in the knuckle of your mind. Reach, and you will find it. Listen to yourself and trust this voice, no matter how shaky or faltering, for it is yours. The more you listen and believe in this voice, the fiercer it will become. I have left AA successfully. I am trudging the road of happy destiny and truth. I no longer look to a fictitious Higher Power, waiting for the miracle that will change my life, all the while looking for where I was wrong. I look first, to see where I was right. And in the words of Ntozake Shange, “I found God in myself and I love her/ I loved her fiercely.” It is my hope that you will also believe enough to look inside and find your voice, your truth, and your power. It is important to listen, to read, to absorb as much information as you can, but it is also important that you speak, and that you question all things. Please, let us hear that perfect sound that is inside of you like a lark singing through the night. xo

Miss Violet

My blog, which is awesome, or, will be awesome the day I can stop being so utterly verbose and can figure out how to get to my point:  Out of the Library and Into the Night @ Blogger or Blogspot.  Link: http://outofthelibraryandintothenight.blogspot.com/


Note: I write for this blog and with other anti AAers  in a sort of affected way, not of an intellectual, but more like a valley girl who would actually look somewhat like a 1970's, vintage Blythe (my avatar), but the heart of my message, and who I am, is the spirit and fucking outrageously smart words of Ntozake Shange.  




"I found God in myself, and I loved her/ I loved her fiercely."  Amazing words by this amazing poet and play write. I have been whispering these words to myself since I was maybe nineteen-years-old.  Sometimes, while in the cult, I would not believe them with conviction, but underneath this, I still had courageous wonder and hope... My belief in both myself and the truth was a whisper under the lie that was 12 step religion.  It is this whisper, thank you Ms. Shange, that saved me. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why I Left



It is a difficult to express why I left AA without going into why I entered AA.  The two are intensely intertwined, impossible to separate.   I got to AA when I was 21.  I was insanely depressed, dreaming every night about going completely and wildly insane, dreaming of being stuck in basements, or the “playroom” of my childhood.  And the worst dream, the one that still plagues me, is the one where I was in the car with my mother, happily in the front sit chatting, and then there is nobody driving.  I am stuck in the back, and it is clear she’s left the car without as much as a thought.  This dream represents my mother unlike any other description of her, literal or metaphoric.  And with my vulnerable personality type, having this type of mother, who never had the decency to just leave if she was going to leave, has nearly ruined me.  She has left me in the back seat of the 70’s Grenada, appearing often not to help drive, or to get me out of this fucked up, deranged car, but to use my son as a prop.  It is something I struggle with still, but it now is better, I am older, and so is she.  It seems like such a digression to my story about AA, entering and leaving, but it is not; it is the most central piece of this story.

When I was 21, just about to enter AA, I was living in a basement apt. by myself.  I’d dropped outta college, not b/c I was a poor student, but due to depression, anxiety, and decided social awkwardness.  I still have this social awkwardness, which has always been such a mystery to me, as I was so popular as a middle schooler (the age of my son, now).  Ppl . do not think I am that socially awkward though, when I meet them, but I digress (and I will do so often).

I was in my basement apt., depressed, few friends, and without many options.  Though I was a “drop out, ” I was taking a few classes and could hardly speak to ppl. in my classes.  I realize now I needed good therapy.  Or, I needed a supportive family member to urge me out of my own way.  But I did not have this.  After a series of tremendous nightmares, I called my mother, crying.

My abandoning mother had frequented Alanon (due to her Daddy’s drinking) like a feathered hair slut frequents bars, sent me to the Caron Foundation.  The Caron Foundation, briefly, is a sort of retreat Center that is steeped in 12 step ideology and rhetoric.  If you’re normal going in, you’ll be a victim of alcoholism or an actual alkie on your way out.  An aside to put mymother's 12 step obsession in perspective: I also had a tooth that was rotten @ this time.  I really needed help.  My mother (who has an obscene amount of money) decided she would send me to Caron, but at age 21, the rotten tooth was my problem. 

After partying a bit too hard in both high school and college, I sat in AA, knowing on at least some level, that it was bullshit.  I knew I was nuts and amazingly unhappy, but I also knew that I was not an alcoholic and that it was even more nuts that I was rotting in “the halls.”  Yet I was paralyzed, unable to make any sort of move.  I openly discussed this issue about the authenticity of my “disease” to people, old timers, mostly.  It was decided, collectively, that I was an “alcoholic of sorts” and that nobody, but nobody winds up in AA by accident.  I now realize that there are many, many ppl who are sitting in the halls with imaginary diseases, some who have scarely picked up a drink ever their lives. 

The energy and social way of AA was poison for me from the beginning.  Though I have a needy, over dependent side to me, I mostly like to be alone.  I like to read, and I like to watch television while crocheting.  I like taking long, solitary walks in the woods.  I loathe crowds.  Bars made and still make me feel ill, not so much b/c of the alcohol, but b/c ppl. compete for conversation that is completely ridiculous and boring.  I hate being on teams.  The only team I’ve been on that did not leave me feeling suicidal was cross country running.  I am at least kind of a misanthrope.  And there I was, trying to stay off the edges of AA.  And I knew I was was mentally ill, at least a little, but not really an addict.  But get this: I became one in AA.  I entered AA with a sort of fake alcoholism, constructed by my mother and the Caron foundation.  And the school of thought that is the 12 step religion.  And I left AA an addict, not of alcohol, but as a narcotic addict.  But I am getting ahead of myself as I often due with expressive writing. 

In AA, before I was addict, with my fake fucking disease: I was 13 stepped countless times.  I think on some level, I might’ve enjoyed the perverse attention, having always had a lame-as-fuck daddy complex.  But I was not getting better in AA and with this creepy attention.  Almost immediately, I started living with a street musician (this totally gives me away if anyone ever reads this from my old meetings) who was about 20 years my senior.  My parents expressed some concern, but not much.  People sort of looked at me weirdly, but he was so in AA, as he was obsessively writing his fourth step in a big book step study. The sponsor I had felt that I wold learn about relationships from this man.   I really loved this guy. There is a tiny part of my heart that misses him today; it is like a distant lullaby from my childhood still echoes in a way I can hear, but hardly.  A distant music box in a far away room.  A tiny dancer that was once in the palm of my hand.

But, as you'd prolly expect, he was horribly abusive.  I was so fucking adorable back then, but he had me believing I was hideous and stupid. He wold read my papers for school and tell me it was like reading scrambled eggs.  There was a concretely crazy chick, Bethany,  in the rooms who would talk at length about S and M and ritualistic abuse via her parents who then stole her child.  She had wild eyes and zero protocol for personal space. She would come upon you and another person after meetings saying huskily and desperately, "Am I interrupting a private convoe? Is this a private convoe!"  You'd want to rescue her form her crazy, twisted mess of a brain, but you had to get away from her even faster.  He would often tell me, "You're acting like Bethany, Violet, you're just like Bethany."  I started seeing her eyes in the mirror.  And I was too ashamed to ask anyone what they thought. I hid the Bethany secret in a sick, rusted part of me.  I think that part of me was so tiny back then, but then it oxidized quickly.  And the longer I stayed in AA it finally becoming the biggest part of me.  I worry sometimes about this, as once a car is rusted through it is only destined for the junkyard, no matter how perfectly and accurately the engine is fixed.

When graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, and he said, “Jesus, so what?”  Fucker.  I cannot not blame AA completely for this relationship, but I can say this with certainty: I never would have thought this man was normal on any level w/o AA.  AA normalized the most insane ppl. on the planet.  We’ve talked on the S.T. blog about pedophiles in AA.  I think there was a time when I would have opened up my heart to a person of this ilk, as this was/is the AA “way.”   For years, I believed that the most sociopathic, mean fuckers could get sober and become good humans b/c of “the grace” they’d receive a la the blessed transmission line.  Once, my stepmother (who hated me, btw) expressed some concern, telling me that I was losing perspective, saying, “Violet, seriously, yer meeting the lowest common denominator of people in that place.  And how much did you really drink anyway?”  It is difficult to look back on this time and see how vulnerable I truly was.  AA teaches us we can restart out lives at any time, but I know better now.  what ever harm we do to ourselves, and whatever harm other inflict on us, causes injury that is, at least in some way, permanent.  Treat yourself, and others,  well today.  There are no do-overs.  There are second chances, but they are always more expensive and more difficult that first chances.  I learned this. 

I continued in AA, and after somehow ditching the street musician, I met a former heroin addict.  He was abusive ,too, but in a different way.  Without digressing to the point of ridiculousness, I am still with him (we've had our on and off times), and I will give him this decided credit:  I have always been at least in part a borderline anorexic.  He is the first man I've felt that I could eat around.  This man gave me permission to eat.  We had a child together. Astoundingly, this child born from insane, misguided fucked-up-edness, is PERFECT.    I learned about pills from my husband and doctor shopping.  And after a horrendous labor and c-section, I was released with a baby and a bottle of percs.  I relapsed.  But really, I think now that I am no longer in AA, what I did was not a big deal.  Taking a pill or two over what was directed.  It is insane and puritanical to feel otherwise.   I eventually drank  b/c I wanted to make it certain that I was, indeed, on a relapse.  One only thinks in this way, this land of black and white “relapse” and “sober” thinking, while in AA.  It is a world where minds are permanently shut.  The idea of thinking openly is not accepted; it is feared and shunned. 

My marriage to this former heroin addict was crazy, my parenting was less than stellar.  My relationship with AA was nuts.  I went, and I wanted my life to be all about AA, but it made zero sense.  I’d moved out of the middle class, intellectual area where I’d “gotten sober” and into a rural town with lotsa rednecks.  I prolly do not need to go into too much detail about what these meetings looked and sounded like. Fitting into that AA scene wrecked me.  For years, I drove an hour sometimes to get to a “real meeting,” toddler in tow.  It sickens me that I put my son through this.  I have just asked him about this, punctuating this writing and he has agreed, saying, "Mom, it was EVERYDAY of my life."  Often, I’d get to a meeting only to play with him and other children out in the hall, as other parents seemed less interested in their kids, and more interested in what their disease was doing to them on that day.  Yes, I am making myself sound better than them, but I was and am.  I relapsed a lot.  Before I’d initially relapsed w/ my c-section, I’d had about four years.  But really, four years of what?  Being “sober” from a “disease” that I did not initially have?  

I could get into the minutia of the relapses, the lame meetings, the pit my life became.  But I will not.  Things got worse, and I believe that my membership to AA exacerbated my addiction (I never could shake the desire to be half out of reality on pain pills after the c-section) and my mental health issues.  AA made me feel like complete shit about myself.  I never believed like I should have and I never felt like "they" said they were feeling.  And mostly, ppl really grossed me out.  Nobody had what I wanted.  Nobody. The loneliness that I eventually felt was noting like I’d experienced out of AA.  But in my mind, I believed that there was a perfect life for me, just beyond the horizon, where I’d be “happy, joyous, and free.” In part, I believed that AA was going to be my ticket to this happy world, but at the same time I knew it was bullshit.  And then, knowing it was bullshit, I’d want to leave, yet, I feared I would be fucked completely via “jails, institutions, and/or death" as the AA the rhetoric promises you, if you dare think of leaving "the rooms."

Years later (now in my early to mid thirties),  I was  overly extended.  The economy, as we all know, was falling apart.  The heroin addict husband kept getting laid off.  I was in a master’s program I hated and was commuting a million miles away to a job where a boss wanted me GONE.  I was out of my mind.  I wanted to die.  I fantasized about driving off this bridge on my way home from work.  I’d try thinking in that trite AA way to assuage my desperation. I was asking that nebulous hp to deliver me from my own thinking, that wretched neighborhood of shit.  I realize now that characterizing myself and my thinking as a bad neighborhood is a form of self hatred.  You cannot save yourself if you hate yourself.  

This is confession is even more trite, but I think listening to NPR’s “This I Believe” essays in the car during this commute, might’ve been what saved me.   My memory delivers: Violet is zooming over those dark, seacoast waters, the idea of veering her little beige car, shiny in its newness (her first new car and could she even afford the payments?)  over the edge of the bridge.  And from her car’s tinny stereo she hears words from Kay Redfield Jamison: “I believe that curiosity, wonder, and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers; that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways less intense emotions can never do.”  She thinks, just maybe, she can keep going a teensy bit longer.  And she loves that boy of hers, the one who looks just like her, except for his wide, Polish face, moony cheeks.  She loves him with every iota of her body, his cells still inside of her, as they will be for as long as she will breathe air.  She cannot end her life, as his cells inside her; she cannot do this to him.  And then she remembers something, her mother explaining depression to her, what it feels like.  It was an idea so foreign to her, at six, seven or eight, that she feels as though it was invented by a famous  storyteller, an idea from Grim. She listens to her mother explain that some people would drive their cars off a bridge.  And they would do sick things, too, like rip up a picture in their daughter’s backpack.  And Violet wonders about her mind then, what is memory, what was her mother’s voice, and what might have actually happened. 

Around this time, the time of dark waters in my mind, I got a call from an old sponsor. It is still unclear if she saved me, or pushed me deep underneath the waves.  (Without equivocation though, she suggested rehab, not AA meetings, but rehab. ) -- Do I need to say this? Dunno?

In rehab, they put me on Subutex.  This is a drug designed, sort of like Naltrexone, but it is specifically for narcotic addicts.  It is kinder, more gentle Methadone.  It is a drug that allows addicts to live their lives like normal ppl., as they deserve to do.  One can take this prescription@ home, and not in some urine infested, creep zone, littered with con men and hookers and low lifes.  A prescription for Subutex  is the beginning of a promise that ppl. believe in when they’re young; it is the light at the end of the tunnel.  It is the beginning of the ever after.  

I’d heard of this drug from a fellow AA, interestingly and ironically a 13 stepper who I actually slept with in his home while his wife was at work. Another memory delivers:  Violet is puking out orange juice into this guy's wife's tacky trash can with painted gel flowers while she is naked in his bed, their bed. On the wall above this bed, a thickly made, wooden crucifix.  It is not ironic art, but evidence of the way these ppl think or at least pretend to.  Weirdly, Violet thinks, they are not Catholics, but misguided born agains, clinging onto a drug store sold idea of Jesus like teen girls would worship Justin Timberlake.  This man, who is, in a word, old, is kissing her.  Waiting for her to puke, and then kissing her.  He empties her trash can and then gives it back to her so she can puke again.  She knows he is wondering about how she'll blow him with the puking, and then he no longer has to wonder.  

They say the thing that saves you can also kill you.  And I imagine this works the other way around, too.  I stayed on this drug while I divorced my husband, lost my house, and lived, with my son, in a fellow AA’s house.  We were controlled in a way that I could never articulate in this tiny space.  I add this experience to my many, AA experiences that loose their shape in my shitty memory, but remain, rusty and chafing, creating the person who I am and who I will become. 

It is hard for me to have a lucid handle on AA and how it has truly affected my life.  I wish I’d never heard of AA, but w/o it I would not have my son.  And I never would have heard of Subutex.  But of course, I feel like AA might’ve edged me into the narcotic addiction I did actually develop, the one that made the Subutex necessary.  But perhaps, I developed this addiction in the realm of safety, which I would not have had w/o AA.  Though my marriage and relationship with my son's father has been a nightmare, it has also saved me, as I feel this man has kept my addiction manageable.  He has done much worse things than I have in terms of using;  thus, I can and have experienced these things vicariously through him.  But then I wonder, did I become an addict to become closer to him? As Rilke suggests to us, I continue to live these questions.  Unlike people in AA, I am growing comfortable with a life that does not demand immediate answers.

And then there is this: I  feel like this Subutex has saved me, as it not only works as a deterrent for using, but as an anti depressant.  No other anti depressant has ever worked like this before for me.  Subutex made it possible for me to say hello to people, where before I would have looked at my toes.  It has allowed me to walk through the woods and notice the treble sound of leaves and the color of moss against soil.  I can look at sunlight with out feeling angry. 

I would not characterize myself as a low bottom addict, though I went through the most terrifying times in my twenties and thirties, after entering AA, not before.  I blame AA in some ways, but I also blame PTSD from my abandonment issues , and of course, I also blame bad luck.  I know that staying in AA would have wrecked me.  It made me feel like utter shit about myself.  That voice, sing-songy and evil in a way that mirrors an eighties slasher film, I would have heard in my mind, forever, “But where were YOU wrong?”  I've made mistakes, and I try to hold myself accountable when I can.  But mostly, I forgive myself.  And try to love that small, still anxious creature that is within me.  She deserves comfort.    

I left AA, and thus the 12 step religion, finally, as I ended up having a full-fledged affair with the married 13 stepper who’d introduced me to Subutex.  The one with the fucking crucifix bolted to the drywall in his bedroom.  I’d known this guy forever.  And I was so na├»ve and stupid and trusting.  I actually believed that this guy, older than my mother, loved me.  He was @ every meeting that I was.  I am not sure if he’s sober today, but he was one of those chronic relapsers.  I used to feel disdain for these releasers, as an early twenty-something, a not truly addicted young girl fitting awkwardly into AA b/c she had nowhere else to go.  Now, I get it.  AA fucks you and it turns you into this relapsing person; the cure is worse than the disease and it is designed to make you fail and it is designed to keep you there, hostage to its bullshit.   Mostly, these chronic relapsers are junkies who seriously need medical attention.  And AA deters you from this, offering you a free “spiritual” solution.  The idea that a junkie who is fully, and physically addicted can get squeaky clean through either the steps or life coaching is the fucking lames idea ever.  It sickens me to hear about it.

About this guy, as the “situation” with him is what finally pushed me out the door, or, got me to get up and get the fuck out… This dude was in AA to get his wife to let him stay at home.  She said that if he were “trying,” he was ok.  He was “trying' @ AA by hitting on new and vulnerable women.  This wife of his, a probation officer, btw, is essentially sicking her creepy old man husband on the women in AA.  This funny little Christian, 12 step couple is keeping AA sick.  But this is just one little, tiny, sick story out of a ga-zillion.  This AA life, especially here in the sticks, has been stranger than fiction. 

I was pretty shaken up by the affair, and about being on a drug as severe as Subutex.  I wondered how much being on Subutex defined me; was a different now?  I desperately wanted to get my life together.  I was from a nice town.  My parents were shits, but they were shits who raised me to be a reader and to go to college, and to not say "anyways" as a plural.  And getting my shit together while sitting across from a lecherous, old man with a shit eating grin that said, “I FUCKED YOU,”  while every woman in the room was not supportive of me, but pist that they did not sleep with him (he was pretty hot) was too, too much.  Ppl. seriously spent HOURS trying to help this guy who was and is, I know now, a con artist of epic proportions.  There is a part of me that empathizes with him, one addict to another.  But there is a decided difference between us; I am not a predator.  And I really was trying to get sober.

This dood kept following me to my car after meetings, trying to “make an amends” in a loud voice for all to hear.  I tried to protect myself, but nobody would listen to me.  They all insisted, especially the unattractive, over weight women, insisting, and “He is TRYING.”  Have you, if yer a chick, heard in AA that the women you meet there are FINALLY yer friends and that when you were drinking, you could never find a chick friend?  I heard this millions of times. Yet, I felt like sisterhood was a lot more powerful OUTSIDE Of AA; my female friends in AA being the phoniest, most manipulative bunch of chicks I’d ever met…

It was not until I spoke with a worker from a domestic violence type place (about a completely separate issue) that told me, “Listen, do not go to those meetings.”  I felt like it was my right to go and that he should go to a different meeting; he was the predator.  But the woman who spoke with me made an analogy, “Well, if you were being stalked, you prolly would not find it fair to get an unlisted number, but you would for your own safety, right?”  And her reasonable voice struck something in me.  It awakened the sleeping, smart, little badass in me.  I needed to fucking protect myself; I need not worry about my relationship with AA. 

And it became clear to me then in a wild, deep way: it was no fucking wonder that there were not more middle aged, smart women in AA.  THEY HAD LEFT TO BE SAFE.  THEY DECIDED TO HELP AND SAVE THEMSELVES.  They had looked ahead, at the happy life waiting for them just beyond  that horizon, the life AA promises you.  The looked around and looked towards their future and got up out of AA to find it.  It was not fair, but it was how it was.  And it sucked for me (and still sorta sucks) that this is not spelled out.  Ppl. do not break this down for you.  They want you there, in AA.  They need to feed off of yer normie blood.  And I think they know the truth; they are too sick to leave though, and they do not wanna be stuck there alone. 

And it was then that I left.  I have gone back a few times, punctuating sanity with creepiness, but I never wanted to be there again.  I’ve missed it sometimes, as I love feeling like I am not the only fucked up person around.  But “normies” man, they are fucked up too.  However, they aren’t articulating their mental illness that in scripted bullshit.  I used to cry when I’d read that part about trudging the road.  And I would feel a decided kinship to those “AAIOU” mobiles on the highway.  Not anymore.  I am a “normie” now.  I am still taking Subutex, which sometimes makes me feel weird and vulnerable, but other days I accept it.  I have, to be totally honest, drank.  I have had like two beers on maybe three occasions.  I felt maybe three percent weird about it.  I did have a slip of sorts with pills, but it is a nonissue.  I am bringing up the drinking and the pills only b/c of the way I was raised in AA to be utterly and unapologetically overly confessional.  And b/c I am looking at life in a more open way, and seeing these slips  for what they are, not emergencies, but small things to be parenthetically noted, and b/c of this, I feel like I am more glued to this world.  That horrible, horrible loneliness I felt predating AA, and felt esp. during AA, I recognize is from being abandoned as a kid.  And if I live the truth and accept myself for who I am without equivocation, I am mostly OK. 

Like Kay Redfield Jamison explains about her own life, I “have come to see how important a certain restlessness and discontent can be in one’s life; how important the jagged edges and pain can be in determining the course and force of one’s life.”  I keep going, and I keep going for myself and for my little guy.  I no longer rely on any dogma, but on my own  inner voice.  I am trudging, but I am trudging on a different path than I had initially thought.  We are all trudging our own road to whatever destiny has either been predetermined or created by our own hard work.  I am beginning to hear my own voice after years of speaking in 12 step script.  If you are reading this and want to leave AA, you can do it.  You are not powerless.  I wish you all of the best in this world.  You will not meet me in a meeting and I not there, on some level, to help you.  I am now walking in the footsteps of that blessed transmission line that you will not see in AA.  This is not the line that you met in AA, the one that told you to wonder about your own thinking.   I am one of the women who knew we were unsafe in meetings, believing in in 12 step dogma.  I got up and got out.  You can, too.