Jewish Journal

I Don’t Go To That Many Meetings

by Beit T'shuvah

February 7, 2013 | 1:06 pm

By M. Alexander

One of our blogs from last week entitled, “Can you judge other people’s sobriety?” got me thinking about how my own sobriety is judged by others.

Those devoted to Alcoholics Anonymous ask me a variety of questions. They ask how many meetings I’ve been to this week.  They ask if I’ve worked all of the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  They ask if I have a sponsor.  If my answers don’t match their expectations, then my sobriety— and therefore my character— is judged negatively.

They don’t ask if I’ve been honest this week.  They don’t ask if I’ve been productive at work.  They don’t ask if I have been kind and loving to those around me.  They don’t ask if I have lived in accordance with spiritual principles.  They don’t ask if I have worked to become a better person this week than I was in the week previous.

To me, these questions, the ones that are not being asked, are the ones that should hold more importance.  Going to meetings is a good thing; for many, attendance is essential to their sobriety.  Working the steps and reading the text of Alcoholics Anonymous can provide a spiritually transformative experience.  However, I do not believe them to be necessary prerequisites to the redemption of my soul.

Living decently, active engagement in redemption and the other metrics by which success is defined here at Beit T’Shuvah— these are the necessities.  So, be my guest, judge my sobriety.  But I suggest that you use different methods in your measurement.

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