The folks you find in Overeater’s Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous often mix well. But when they don’t, well…
Mood music: “Dead End Justice” by The Runaways:
I’ve noticed lately that there are more folks coming into OA that have also been in AA. Some of them have been sober for more than two decades. Now they need OA because in the process of putting down the booze, they developed a food addiction.
I know how it is. I’ve gone in reverse. I stopped the compulsive binge eating and at first started to use wine as a crutch. When I realized how much I was starting to need a drink every day, I stopped that, too. But I still like my cigars and can’t exist without caffeine. The cigars will have to go at some point. I know it in my heart. But not today. Caffeine I won’t be giving up anytime soon.
Anyway, I’m mixing with the AA crowd a lot more these days, perhaps because one of my sponsees has been in AA for decades. We have the big things in common. We developed addictions that made our lives unmanageable. Having found recovery, we latch onto each other pretty tight.
But something’s different.
In OA, there’s a tight fellowship in meetings and on the telephone. But the AA crowd really sticks together. It’s more like a gang. Recovering addicts often live together, several in a house. Not a halfway house. They just live together, watching out for each other.
It’s cool to see. But I’ve also found that there are some real animosities among the AA crowd. One of my sponsees, an OA drop-out for now, spent a lot of time telling me about how I shouldn’t trust this person or that person because one likes to tell lies and the other likes to steal money. The lying part didn’t shock me. All addicts lie.
There seems to be an extra level of paranoia that comes with being a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. I understand. Those addictions tend to go hand in hand with getting arrested and spending time in jail.
If anyone has ever gotten arrested for getting junked up on food, I’d love to meet them.
I don’t write this stuff down to complain, or to act high minded. There’s plenty of dysfunction to be found in OA as well. If we weren’t dysfunctional, we wouldn’t need a 12-Step program in the first place. There are control issues and grating personalities aplenty.
But the AA crowd? There’s more of an edge.
I’m not complaining. I learn a lot from them.
There’s a lot of love to be found among the AA crowd. Those who have recovered are among the strongest people I know.
So to hell with it. I’m going to accept it — just as other people have accepted my own brand of dysfunction.
I’m going to start doing a 12-Step Big Book study soon, so I’m going to be spending a lot more time with these people.
I’d better get used to it.