Step One: Admit You Have a Problem
I must admit, ever since high school, I hate 12 step programs. I was sent to one because I went to school drunk. I still, at 44, do not think I had a problem then, not the one they sent me in for. I was sent to PDAP (Palmer Drug Abuse Program) because the school could not understand I got drunk at school for kicks, and in rebellion of the rat maze teaching system america calls schooling. I went on the first day of my senior year, because it did not matter, because it was unimportant, in the whole scheme of my life. I was going to a 9th grade beginners english class, and that was followed by a 12th grade gifted and talented english class. I was unimportant to my parents, the school, and to be totally honest, the entire system of america. I went drunk because it was fun, and it would let me fly my flag for the first few minutes I did not get caught. I had a very successful day. I threw up on the new tight ass vice-principal. I was outed by a friend who would later betray me again. I was picked up from school after passing out, where upon I slept for the rest of the day. I enjoyed that day, I enjoyed it to the fullest. My punishment was a suspended suspension to hang over my head, and 8 weeks in PDAP.
Based directly on AA, PDAP is a 12 step program for “young adults.” I am always directly suspicious of anything using the term young adults, and extremely suspicious of anything held in an old church. PDAP did both, and continues to this day. I don’t really care so much now, hey, if you need help, get it anyway you can, but back then, when I was into punk? I am still a punker, still thinking of how capitalism ruins us, still suspicious of governments and authority. I would not speak out against it now, but knowing what I knew and thinking how I thought, ugh, an AA program run by christians. Oh this should be MUCH better than high school.
Much to my surprise it was. The PDAP councilor was lesbian and atheist, well-trained, and she saw what I said was true. I was not an alcoholic and had never been one. She actually was extremely helpful to me, helping me understand to keep my rebellion low, stay under the radar, get past high school, then go live my own life. My grandfather was the only other person who had ever said such to me, and in a lot of ways, that councilor reaffirmed my beliefs in myself, my grandfather, and my choices in life. Well I was completely baffled and impressed, and from that day on my battles against the straight edge community and the “experimenters” was over. I still thought most of the people in the room outside of my and her conversation were nuts, and probably needed more than a 12 step program to help them, but she gave me good advice and I learned to keep my mouth shut. Sort of…
Fast forward to now, and how that all didn’t help me gain anything. I discovered I am a compulsive eater from a sad but apparently needed exchange between my fiance and I last week. I instantly went to the 12 steps of healing as a guide, and damn, what an idiot I am. I don’t need confrontation if I have discovered it myself. I don’t need affirmation if I am doing the changes I need to do. I am not really in the room with the other compulsive eaters, except for the fact that I am one. I need to continue what I have been doing all along, and stop paying lip service to old american traditions. I do not need to yak on endlessly about my “problems.” I simply need to get on with it.
We americans have a lot of mental memes pushed on us time and time again. We are not very clear when it comes to what we understand about ourselves, and it is painfully obvious to me at times here in Australia. I tend to harp on and on about shit that doesn’t matter, and it is mostly because in america, most people had no education, and did not understand half of what I say, while here, most people are educated, and it is reflected back at me to keep my uneducated mouth shut. I have way to many opinions on way to may things that just do not matter. I do not need to fight to have my opinions known here, as a matter of fact, most people here share similar ideals and opinions. People here do care about their neighborhood, and they do say nice things about each other. Being a backwoods idiot is frowned upon, not celebrated, and life is decent if you want to work for it.
I see other things to, being an american in Australia, but the negative here is just not as reinforced as it was in the states. I see the power grabs for the government, I see the business world shitting on it’s own workers, but it is just not as bad here as it was where I am from. I am far to negative I think, a lot of the time, and it really is just me looking up from a prone position that I am used to. I am sort of hobbling all over the place here, because there is so much more for me to say, so I will just get on with it.
I’m fat. I’m fat because I ate too much in the past, and now I am middle aged, so it is hard for me to lose the weight and get back in shape. I do not have a problem, I have a solution. I am done with the “I am so hurt” rhetoric, because I am much better than that.
It really is that easy.