Sober doesn’t Suck!is a place for people to share their stories of drinking, addiction and recovery openly and honestly. There is no requirement of sobriety for posting, if you’re concerned about your using I want to hear from you too.
If you’d like to tell your story, your feelings about your own addiction or that of someone else in your life please head over to the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. Addiction affects the people around us, I’m interested in sharing all sides.
Thank you so much to Samantha for returning to write more for us, Samantha wrote her first piece in January titled Pickled by Alcohol. **The Julie in Samantha’s story isn’t the Julie from Sober Julie Doing Life**
I walked into my first meeting late. I sat in the back and had no desire to engage. My friend who recommended this meeting said, “You need to get a sponsor tonight.” Being arrogant and full of ego I walked up to the most attractive person in the room, who I felt had the most “authority” and asked if she would sponsor me. She said yes and then presented me with my requirements.
Julie and I met regularly and did real step work. We read each section out loud. We stopped and discussed the reading. We got on our knees and prayed. She even presented me with step work worksheets to complete and then review during our meetings. A few months into this process she said, “You need to have a service position.”
I wasn’t sure what that was. I reached out to someone at the next meeting and they handed me a list of positions. I quickly gravitated to “cookies.” Yes, I will do the cookies. And, so it began, four years of cookies.
In the program you can purchase the least expensive cookies and the group will be thrilled. You can also purchase moderate cookies and the group will be thrilled. You are provided an “allowance” for the weekly cookies. My ego tells me I am superwoman. I love to bake. So, I planned to bake all 100 cookies for this meeting.
The first week on the job I walked through the doors with pride carrying my tray of fresh-baked cookies. The group was thrilled. I was complimented all evening. People raved and raved about the home-baked cookies. I knew I had found my calling.
I loved planning the baking for the weekend. It was fun, it was creative and it kept me from drinking. As long as I had to bake for a few days and go to one meeting I was off to an excellent start. Ultimately, the drinking stopped but the cookies kept coming.
In meetings people would stand to praise me for my cookies. Speakers would begin their lead by saying this was the best meeting with fresh cookies. At least five people at every meeting would stop me and thank me. At this point I realized I was clearly something special. My ego that had hidden away for a few months was coming back in full form. There were nights I’m surprised I could get into my car because my head was so enormous.
One week, my good friend indicated another fellow who liked to bake wanted to bring treats. I was distraught. This was my job. Find another meeting to bring your baked goods I thought to myself. But, I’m accommodating and said that would be wonderful.
That night, this perfectly kind gentleman, who was in a place to give service, brought the most heavenly buns to our meeting. They were disappearing like mad and fresh-baked cookies were picked over. My friend decided to take me over to meet the other baker. Was I kind and grateful to have help? No, I was unusually unpleasant and the first and only thing out of my mouth was, “I see you are trying to steal my thunder.” Then I walked away.
Driving home I felt sick about my behavior. I’m not a confrontational or mean person. How could I have just cut off a fellow like that? A few days later I mustered up the courage to call my friend and ask that he relay the message to the baker I am sorry and was inappropriate. His buns are always welcome at the table with my cookies.
I talked to my sponsor about this. We had serious discussions about my reaction. Was I still performing a service by bringing the cookies or was I simply feeding my ego? Had I allowed my service position to take me over and drive me into a vain, self-centered baker? Clearly, upon reflecting, my service position was no longer meeting the appropriate requirements.
Within a few weeks of this, and about two years into my cookie service, I was approached to be the secretary. While I wanted to keep my cookie role I knew, after soul-searching it was time to serve in another way. Unfortunately, I didn’t embrace that position. Soon after I had surgery and was away from my home group for several months. During that time I had a relapse.
I finally came back to my meeting and admitted my relapse. Because I no longer had more than a year sober I needed to find another position. Oddly enough the cookies were still available. I joyfully took on this role again.
I baked and baked and baked for two more years. I loved every weekend of baking, stacking, prepping my plate. I loved being the “Cookie Lady” and that feeling of ego turned into pride as I watched other fellows stack their napkins and engage in fellowship over my cookies. I paid little attention to compliments and reminded myself of the value of the service.
In February of this year, I suddenly lost the desire to bake these cookies. The passion I had for four years was slipping. I reluctantly baked that week. The next week I purchased cookies. Several more weeks passed and I still didn’t have that excitement or passion for cooking. It was more boxed cookies week after week. Finally, I decided, considering I was approaching year two, it is time to let someone else take this position.
Leaving the cookies wasn’t as sad or painful as I expected. Prior to that my husband and I started a new meeting out-of-town that requires service work. And, I write to women in prison. Instead of feeling full of guilt and remorse, I had relief and joy.
I went to that home group last week. I saw the store-bought cookies at the back table and ate them with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I was nervous at first that the cookies that kept me sober might not do the same if I stopped. However, I’ve been out of the cookie business for several months and I’ve not had a burning desire to drink or fire up the oven. I do have to recognize it is only one day at a time and I only have 24 hours I am required to focus on daily. Cookies kept me sober, honest and let me know when my ego consuming me. I may just have to go have one now…
Samantha is a marketing manager and mother of two daughters and two step-sons. She coordinates local family events, bakes and travels. You find Samantha at justplainsam.com