Hi, My Name is Emily...

posted on: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

...(in unison) Hiii, Emily.

I went to AA yesterday. No, this is not a confession. I am--really--not an alcoholic. I went because my preceptor suggested that I do so, to be able to see what goes on in those meetings so I can more appropriately recommend them to our alcoholic patients. My doc is an Addictionist, and sees LOTS of drug and alcohol addicted patients. She's also an Adolescent Medicine specialist and sees lots of teenagers with STDs, but that's a story for another day.

So I'm in my AA meeting, and naturally, I'm looking around. There were definitely people there who you could just tell were alcoholics. They had this rode-hard-put-up-wet look to them. But others, including myself, just looked like an average person walking down the street (in a nice part of town...here in Chicago, it definitely depends on which street you're walking down).

But people's appearances are not what I'm here to write about. I was most struck by the language of the 12 Steps. Being raised in a religious home, I was taught to believe that a certain religious tradition, and a certain religious tradition ONLY, could be termed actual truth. I'm not here to debate religious tradition either, but it was incredible to me to see a room full of people UNITED by their collective dependence on a Higher Power..."God as you understand it to be", to use the 12 Step language. They weren't there to talk about which god was the true God. They were just there acknowledging that this alcoholism was bigger and more powerful than they could manage on their own, and that they NEEDED God to get them through it. Whoever he is. To be honest, I felt more of a unification of spirit in this AA meeting than I have in a church in a very very long time. There was such a sense of dependence in that room...it made grace seem like such a real and beautiful thing. These people could do literally nothing to pull themselves out of the mess they were in. No amount of going to church, or being good, or doing/saying the right thing would make them any less of an alcoholic. They just had to trust that God and other people would love them anyway.

That's grace.

Five Months Later...

posted on: Monday, March 1, 2010

I've been a bad blogger. Absentee blogger is more like it. Forgive me. I warned you about this in the beginning.

Hopefully, the beginning of March and the beginning of my Family Medicine (translation: cake) rotation will both help me boost my frequency to weekly blogs at the very LEAST. I've always been a fan of beginning at the beginning. For example, even though I'm not Catholic, I like to fast from something for Lent. It reminds me to pray daily, and builds discipline. However, for the past two years, I've missed Ash Wednesday. I mean, I lived through it, but just forgot the significance of the day. And having missed it, I decided not to fast for Lent. For me, fasting for 39 days just doesn't carry the same significance as fasting for 40, so I'd just rather not do it at all. Same thing with all my habits. I have this thing about wanting to wait for a day that MEANS something, so that I can begin something fresh on it. Be it journalling, or working out, or...blogging.

We'll see how this goes.

A lot has happened in my life lately. I finished 3 more rotations and am now beginning my LAST rotation of my 3rd year of medical school. I got engaged. Ya know, little stuff. Speaking of getting engaged, the start of this rotation also holds another small bit of significance. This rotation lasts 3 months. And on the last day of this rotation (May 21, to be exact), Nick and I leave for Italy to get married! I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Excited doesn't BEGIN to cover it.

So, I'll try--really, really hard--to keep up this time. If only for the catharsis that blogging provides.
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