what to expect at your first AA meeting.

As if going to an AA meeting didn't feel like enough of a boring, put-me-in-a-box-I'm-done cliche (although, how is this more boring than just continuing to fail at "drinking in moderation" I ask you completely rhetorically), I came back feeling something like buoyancy (struggling for properly oblique reference, should just mention Jay-Z), lifted by a surprising, hopeful recession of my usual weighty cynicism about the whole endeavor. I told a couple of people "how it went" (amazing how quotes destroy any honest emotional content), putting some real effort into "conveying the details", etc. 

Then, (surprisingly, still) somewhat content, I slipped into wondering if I'd had a "normal" experience or not. Cinematically tapping my pencil against my brow with a (surprisingly?) hollow sound and/or nibbling lightly on one of the arms of my glasses (is this enough adverbs? I'm never sure) to indicate thought (Editor's Note: physiologically possible? Sounds awkward, doing both), I spent a little time on the Google, which revealed that not only was my experience completely "normal", it was "normal" enough to where (thank you Mysterious Higher Power) I didn't even get the opportunity of struggling through writing creatively about the basics in an original way: several hundred other people had already uncynically included all the pertinent hopeful surprises. I guess this is the most representative of them. In terms of the uncynical facts of what happened, my meeting was pretty much exactly like that. Maybe it'll be easier to say something original about my second meeting.

Then another helpful friend sent one of DFW's rather mercilessly bleak summaries of what I guess is "one way to look at" the cliched AA cycle:
“....the Crocodiles say they can't even begin to say how many new guys they've seen Come In and then get sucked back Out There, Come In to AA for a while and Hang In and put together a little sober time and have things start to get better, head-wise and life-quality-wise, and after a while the new guys get cocky, they decide they've gotten `Well,' and they get really busy at the new job sobriety's allowed them to get, or maybe they buy season Celtics tickets, or they rediscover pussy and start chasing pussy (these withered gnarled toothless totally post-sexual old fuckers actually say pussy), but one way or another these poor cocky clueless new bastards start gradually drifting away from rabid Activity In The Group, and then away from their Group itself, and then little by little gradually drift away from any AA meetings at all, and then, without the protection of meetings or a Group, in time--oh there's always plenty of time, the Disease is fiendishly patient--how in time they forget what it was like, the ones that've cockily drifted, they forget who and what they are, they forget about the Disease, until like one day they're at like maybe a Celtics-Sixers game, and the good old Fleet/First Interstate Center's hot, and they think what could just one cold foamer hurt, after all this sober time, now that they've gotten `Well.' Just one cold one. What could it hurt. And after that one it's like they'd never stopped, if they've got the Disease. And how in a month or six months or a year they have to Come Back In, back to the Boston AA halls and their old Group, tottering, D.T.ing, with their faces hanging down around their knees all over again, or maybe it's five or ten years before they can get it up to get back In, beaten to shit again, or else their system isn't ready for the recurred abuse again after some sober time and they die Out There--the Crocodiles are always talking in hushed, 'Nam-like tones about Out There--or else, worse, maybe they kill somebody in a blackout and spend the rest of their lives in MCI-Walpole drinking raisin jack fermented in the seatless toilet and trying to recall what they did to get in there, Out There; or else, worst of all, these cocky new guys drift back Out There and have nothing sufficiently horrible to Finish them happen at all, just go back to drinking 24/7/365, to not-living, behind bars, undead, back in the Disease's cage all over again. The Crocodiles talk about how they can't count the number of guys that've Come In for a while and drifted away and gone back Out There and died, or not gotten to die.” 
Not having gotten past the first 59 pages of IJ myself, it's hard to say how much of that is complete fucking-with-you sarcasm, I mean, is this the author's voice or a character's voice, etc. Devil's advocate and whatnot. Or reverse Devil's advocate. Author hangs self, strongly suggesting that he "may not have had all the answers". Do I really have to find the book and start over again I ask uncynically.


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