My name is Danny and I’m not an alcoholic.

Here’s a note I wrote in my journal during the days I covered in my new book, A Kiss B4UGo, about wishing I could be a drunk so I could share in the kinship of  recovery. These words never made it into the book. Probably just as well as they are a bit nutty.

This page never made it into my new book.

I have become very attracted to AA recently, though I dont drink enough to qualify for membership. When I attended a meeting with T____ in LA, I discovered the power of kinship, shared suffering and resolve, of having a step-by-step guide to overcoming a lifechanging obstacle. The peace recovering alcoholics seem to find in honestly sharing their stories and admitting their shortcomings was very inspiring. They accept each other as they are, know how deeply they have failed and sharing their common experience to support each other. The daily attendance, the community of broken toys, is something I wish I had.

T_____’s meeting was just men and I realized how rare that is, for men to be together and share of themselves, not just doing (watching sports, camping, working on cars, drinking) but being open and frank. It’s so rare to get advice and example from men like that. In a business context, people must be guarded and in any other context they are just drawn together by a single common interest and are less likely to share. As I get older, I share more and more with my friends as women do but it was moving to be in a room with 200 men all just laying it out there without reserve or competition.

I have tried to get to similar meetings here but most seem closed to people who aren’t actually alcoholics. I’ll have to keep drinking alone.

13 thoughts on “My name is Danny and I’m not an alcoholic.

  1. Danny, your reflections on the fellowship which saved my life make me feel deeply grateful. I recently celebrated 26 years sober. I hope you are able to find some open meetings of AA in your neighborhood. You would be welcomed here at ours. Thanks for this post.

  2. Danny, in a sad way this is funny and resonates with me, brings back a memory of a time when I suffered a loss (now I realize it was NOT a loss) and I thought, if I were just an alcoholic, I would have a place to turn every time the pain became too much! So I bought a bottle of GM (I didn’t think I wanted to bother drinking enough beer to get drunk…I was in a hurry) and dutifully drank a shot every time I felt stressed out. Eventually I got bored and something else came into my life, and I still have that one bottle of Grand Marnier (empty) atop my shelf. To remind me.

  3. I love the reverence for and love for life that drives your drawing. It inspires me to celebrate the details of my own places, my inbreathing and outbreathing. I lead a prison ministry in a spiritual center here in CA. It used to be called a church, but words like “church” raise hackles. Working with the folks who are locked away, I see that we as a society need grief recovery groups, grief recovery activities for people of all ages. Many incarcerated people suffered some loss or trauma in childhood and the adults in their lives did not know how children’s sadness shows up, so they did not recognize its signs. No one helped these young people understand and process their grief. They acted out more and more–crying out for help. The only fix our society has is prison and look how many of us are locked away now: one out of 10.
    People in the women’s movement used to say the personal is political. The word “political” might be as troublesome and “church” but for some folks. The personal is rarely only one individual’s experience. That is the basis for the power of all your work. The longing you felt for a support group of committed collaborators spotlights a societal need, unrecognized and, as yet, unmet.
    My small prison ministry group will attend a conference in April that will show us the need, its relationship to incarceration, and how two Oakland CA groups–RJOY (Restorative Justice Oakland Youth) and the Native American Health Center, heal the individual and encourage greater understanding and better communication in the community.

  4. I am just rsponding here to the grief comments. here is a place, here in L.A, that is devoted to grief and helping move through it ..it is called Our House. It is on-lne and it saves lives.

  5. I’m so hoping that future generations of men will enjoy groups that have that understanding, that trust, that lifelong bond of intimacy that sometimes women find easier to form. A place where soul-baring is okay, goes no further than that meeting and releases a lot of pain and anger that so many men ferment inside as a result of being taught (by fathers, peers, mentors, coaches) that it’s pretty much not okay to be yourself…. just tough it out. Maybe your son will find that in his peers one day. I hope you find that, too.

  6. As a longtime member of AA, I can assure you there are many “open meetings” where anyone can attend. Just look at the online meeting list for your area and see how many are “open”. I know what you mean about AA meetings and the folks in my local meetings are now my family of choice. I always say that everything I know about right living, I learned from drunks!

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