I Hate Gratitude Meetings - Letter from Alexis

Posted by Judith Kastle on

Good morning, Clay!

As the holidays have been coming up,

more and more meetings that I go to have turned away from their normal format to "gratitude meetings".  I hate gratitude meetings. As a recovered alcoholic, one would think that I would embrace being grateful, which I do, through my actions; I just loathe gratitude meetings. I don't know if I'm jaded, annoyed, dealing with spiritual arrogance or what, but I am looking for some guidance from someone with time.


I'm emailing you to 1) ask for help and 2) tell you about what I really want to say about what I am grateful for in a gratitude meeting.


1) With time sober, how do you listen to people say what they are grateful for without showing any action/changed behavior as to why they are grateful? I hear so many people with time, or people with no time, say how they are grateful for their parents, meanwhile they still harass and hound their parents for money to buy them 9th step Jordan's to wear at the meeting to impress the top bunk jabroni. Who needs to make amends when my parents will recover my outsides? 


What I hear in the meeting when someone who is not recovered say, "I am grateful for my parents" and still act like a total nut job, is, "I am grateful that my parents because they still deal with my immature bullshit at 32 and are still desperate and dumb enough to do what I ask because they believe if I am told no that I will relapse". 


When I hear this, I cringe. As I am writing this, it's probably because I am hearing past versions of myself, nonetheless, I want to shake that person and say, "DO THE STEPS! TRUST GOD. CLEAN HOUSE. HELP OTHERS. STOP BEING A PIECE OF SHIT"! Instead I sit with my character assasination assault rifle and text my sponsor about how I hate gratitude meetings. After listening to many of your podcasts, I have had a major change in perspective and stopped giving unsolicited advice. I used to think that I was God's right hand woman, delusional, I know, but I realized that sometimes, shutting the fuck up is better than me giving unsolicited advice.


Returning back to the original questions, how do you listen to people that drive you crazy without wanting to shake them into having the amazing and freeing experience that AA has given me? And you? Any thoughts on this would be unbelievably helpful as I sit through another AA gratitude meeting.


2) I recently went to a gratitude meeting, and everyone was sharing about what they were grateful for, and I didn't know what to say. I am so grateful for my life that I have today, how dare I not be grateful?And the only thing that genuinely came to my mind about what to be grateful for is this --and I refrained from sharing this in the meeting...


I was homeless in Philadelphia during my active addiction and when you are homeless, you aren't really welcome to use a bathroom, or when you are using heroin, you don't really need a bathroom either because you can't poop. But... when I did  have to poop, and I turned into the red, pulsating, vein popping, junkie hulk to push out a rabbit turd for 45 minutes on the train tracks crying the fox hole prayer swearing off drugs and alcohol to be able to poop, that feeling is a feeling most dope-fiends like me, will never forget. Finally, when I got sober and had normal poops inside a bathroom that I was allowed to use, I became unbelievably grateful for the daily shits life gave me --regular and normal poops are a joy. Not only am I grateful for taking an easy sober poop, but I am so grateful to have a job that pays me an awesome salary that allows me to be able to buy wet wipes to wipe my annoying, sober, white ass with a gentle aloe infused wet cloud to take the sober poop away. I say this with such emphasis because I remember getting sober at the Last Stop (glorified homeless shelter/AA/NA Club house in Kensington) using toilet paper that was like 80 grit sandpaper  to wipe my ass when I was detoxing off of alcohol, coke, meth, heroin and whatever else the gangster chemist gave me. I am genuinely grateful for sober shits and wet wipes because I remember the 80 grit sandpaper and the complications it took to get here. 

So, Clay, here ya have it. Is my attitude shitty? Is this normal? Haha.

I love your podcasts, and I also love the Sarcastic Big Book!!! 

Feeling grateful and "shitty" in Philadelphia,

Alexa C.