I had an appointment in Seattle on Saturday with my nurse practitioner. She has a Saturday practice there, which is easier for me to make than her weekday practice because I don’t like to drive so far away by myself. So, I decided to try her Seattle clinic with David so that I didn’t have to worry about driving.
We decided that after the appointment that we wanted to do some sightseeing in Seattle. David and I sometimes do this, especially when we are on trips. But, we haven’t done it that much in the last couple of years due to the cats and my health issues.
After my appointment, we went out to an authentic Indian restaurant. It was in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go, though, (the Seattle waterfront), but we tried it out anyways. It was very authentic, to the point of where the waiter didn’t understand when we asked what food was gluten free. It was very good, but later on, when we got to Pike Place Market and saw all the restaurants there, I wished that we would have eaten near our destination.
We made it to the waterfront by late afternoon, and went to the Seattle Aquarium. I’m not sure if I’d ever been there, and it had more to see then I expected. There were seals, sea otters, river otters, different kinds of fish, birds, and octopus and jellyfish. I particularly liked the seals, sea otters, and jellyfish. I took a lot of pictures and had a lot of fun.
The issue for me, though, was that by the time that we even got to the aquarium my EBV symptoms were already flaring. I had a sore throat, and was already getting chills. But, I don’t get out to do things like this very often, so I just pushed through the symptoms and had a good time anyways.
When I was a kid, we used to love going to the Seattle waterfront. We loved to go to Ivar’s and visit Ye Old Curiosity Shop. We also loved the monorail, the shopping in the downtown area, and riding the ferries. I also remember having fun exploring Pike Place Market. I also have family in Seattle, and because of this we visited quite often.
All the way through college and graduate school, too, I made frequent trips to Seattle. My twin sister attended the UW for a few years, too, which gave me more reason to visit. I got to know the Fremont and Wallingford areas, as well as Ballard. It was always quite fun to visit.
But, as I wondered around the Seattle Waterfront with David, and visited Pike Place Market, I began to wonder why my trips to Seattle diminished when I got involved in AA. I also began to become aware of the fact that compared to my life before AA, I didn’t do things like sightseeing or touristy activities anywhere close to the extent that I had been doing. I also didn’t go shopping as often as I had, or visit people who lived in other towns/cities than I did. And, when I did do an activity like go to a zoo, it was pretty much always with family rather than my friends in AA. It seemed like my life with those friends very much revolved around the fellowship.
As I look back I do realize that me and my AA friends did do activities like hiking, game nights, going out to eat, watched movies together, and sometimes played video games. But, the difference was that we never really left town. There was a big push towards socialization, too, when it came to these activities, and they were called “fellowship”. Although these events were fun, I believe that they also prevented me from living life as fully as I did before AA simply because the fun things that I did were limited and repetitive. It seemed like in AA we were more focused on the social aspect rather than the “having fun” aspect, even though we did fun things… but there was always this thing hanging over my head that it was all tied into AA, and I just didn’t do fun things just to do fun things.
I also know that the us versus them attitude in AA and the insistence by people in it early on that I make a “new group of friends” led me to abandon some very good friendships that I had and to visit my family less often. This, again, limited my activities and my life in general. Then, when I left AA, I found out that I really didn’t have many friends left. I’ve heard that this is really common among people who go to and leave AA, and is one of the reasons why people stay in the program even if they don’t necessarily want to. They keep going back because they lost all of their previous friendships due to their participation in AA. All that this does, though, is isolate them more over the long run. It’s sad to see.
Back to the topic, though, about our trip to Seattle. Even though I’m sick, it felt great to spend the day there. To me, it was just amazing because I hadn’t done something like that for so long. And, it brought back a ton of good memories. We are planning on doing more things like this going forward. I personally can’t wait! It definitely turns out that there is a life outside of AA, and a pretty big one at that. I’m excited to see what life has to bring!
I definitely want to go back to Pike Place this summer, because by the time that we got there, I didn’t have much energy to do a lot of shopping. I also am hoping to visit the Space Needle, and Point Defiance. I’ve found some local whale watching tours too. The issue with me and travel, though, is that I have to make sure that the timing is right in terms of when my energy levels are the highest, and we do things in the afternoon because I sleep late (I need 10-12 hours of sleep).
It’s really nice, too, to be in a normal relationship versus an abusive one. The men that I dated from AA never would have done something like take me to Seattle for a day trip. They got their kicks by abusing and using other people rather than in the way that most people do. This, in turn, limited my activities even more. They just wouldn’t do things that I wanted to do the majority of the time. Our relationships revolved around them and their wants and needs.
But, I am finding again that there is life after all of this, and that I can meet people who are similar to me. Towards the end of my time in AA, I started to realize that I really wasn’t very similar to the majority of the people who went there. I started to relate to David much more than the people in AA and to realize that I had much more in common with him than with people in the program (this began to happen in 2015) and this awareness grew over the years until I felt like a misfit at every meeting that I went to. Today, though, I am feeling like that less and less and am really learning about who I really am and what I enjoy in life. I have a lot of hope for the future.
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