Whenever sobriety is discussed, the topic of “meetings” is always brought up. Alcoholics (or Narcotics) Anonymous (AA/NA) is the most well-known path to sobriety and meetings are a huge part of their program. If you have any problem, the solution is always to attend a meeting and/or work the steps. In theory, that is a great idea. However, that doesn’t work for every situation.
In my four and a half years of sobriety, I have been questioned countless times about not being in a 12-step group.
People are always so surprised and confused when I tell them AA did not work for me.
Many people that belong to AA will tell me to “get to a meeting now,” because my life depends on it. I don’t need to attend AA meetings to stay sober. As a member of Sober Mommies, I have a large group of women who support me. But more importantly, I have an even closer group of friends with me all the time…on my phone.
We call each other “pocket besties.” We don’t all live near each other, nor have we all met in person, but they know me better than anyone else. We have a group chat going all day, every day. It is our safe place. We can (and do) discuss everything going on in our lives.
In AA, they have a rule “what is said here, stays here.” But people are imperfect, so you can never guarantee that your secrets are safe. Many of my high school “friends” shared private details of my life and used them to bully me. Even a few of my closest friends from college have repeated things I had told them in confidence. This has led to me hesitating when opening up to women. It is different with my pocket besties. We know we can trust each other.
I know that anything I say in our chat is safe with these women. I never have to worry about them turning on me and spreading hateful gossip or sharing my secrets.
Another thing I love about my pocket besties is that, while we do have similarities, we are also very different. We all do different things in life and have a wide range of knowledge. If one of us has a question or problem, it is almost guaranteed that someone in our group has the answer. If not, we know someone that does. We have different strengths, so we are able to help when one of us needs it.
Going to an AA meeting can be difficult for many people. You may have to arrange childcare or find transportation. If you don’t live in a big city, you may have trouble finding a meeting that fits in your schedule. I can reach one of my pocket besties within seconds. I can immediately get that feeling of community and support. Also, cravings, emotions, and problems can occur at any time, day or night. If I wake up at 4 AM and need support, my friends are there.
We are always supportive, but we’re also honest with each other. I know I can count on them to give me truthful feedback, not just say what I want to hear. But the other side of that is they are still able to be supportive and kind. In 12-step meetings, sometimes people are rude in the name of being “honest” to “save your life.” It is not difficult to be honest, while also being kind.
I can always count on my pocket besties to tell me the truth while being loving and supportive.
Every benefit of an AA/NA meeting is surpassed with our group chat. My besties give (and receive) unconditional love and support. They have taught me to how to trust, love and how to love myself. They give amazing and thoughtful advice. I am so grateful for my pocket besties and our chat.