Gimme Twelve Steps
I don't have secrets. But there are things I don't tell everybody.
Like the fact that I studied acting for a while, though you would find out if you Googled me.
I did some good stuff, too—Antigone, Taming of the Shrew—and once (I definitely don't tell people this), even an indie short film for a local festival, called “Gimme Twelve Steps.”
It’s a funny little movie. The premise is a guy trying to join a twelve-step group because he’s addicted to karaoke. When I show up, it’s in a flashback, as his young mom, driving with the child version of him, and singing along to Karen Carpenter on the radio--apparently, the root of his addiction.
It was silly, but a fun challenge. I had to act, sing, drive a vintage car, and work with a child actor, his adult flash-forward counterpart, with a cameraman in the front seat—all at the same time.
It’s ironic. Just a few years later I would seek out a twelve-step group myself. And it saves my life, every day.
I came to Al Anon because my beloved’s drinking was out of control and I was miserable and scared. I learned in that program to recognize that alcohol abuse in my childhood home had also shaped me, that there were many alcoholics in my life, and that I was powerless to save any of them. It was time to focus on saving myself.
It’s funny. We share our sufferings, and work hard together, but we laugh in those twelve step meetings. There are tears, and bursts of anger, but warmth and humor as well, hugs and words of affirmation and support. More than anything, there is a sense of solidarity. We’re all in the same situation, though our circumstances may differ widely. We are all suffering the toxic effects of someone else’s drinking. We are all using a spiritual-but-not-religious program to find healing and recovery.
Slowly or abruptly, we wake from the fog of denial. Slowly, we mourn the death of our dream family. Slowly, we learn again to connect to ourselves, and to the divine in the present moment. We learn again how to trust, and whom to trust. We learn to be patient with ourselves and with each other, to be patient with divine timing.
Ah, but the journey of healing is slow, and painful. But we are not alone.
These are a few of the things I don't tell everybody. Things I hold close, that aren’t a secret.