New to AA
For a while I had been thinking about giving up alcohol or cutting down. I would have 2 glasses of wine on Thursday night, then each night over the weekends. I started going out again when my kids grew up. It was fun to go to clubs and parties and dance the night away again. At a couple of clubs I decided to smuggle alcohol in as prices were far too expensive. I would go out from 11pm - to 3.30am and also started going to a club from 10 pm - 7.30am at the weekends. I would buy a small bottle of whisky and keep it in my bag. I started having a drink before I went out on quite a few occasions and would buy alcohol and keep it in the house to take out with me. On occasion i would have a sneaky rum and coke from my stash in the bedroom and started drinking at home two glasses of wine a night on days when i was feeling stressed from work. I would often go out and see bands and have 2 -3 large glasses of wine. It seems looking back that my drinking was hidden in social activity and hence harder to detect than most. If I was out at a gig I might have to 2-3 glasses of wine. On the odd occasion a whole bottle. On a visit to a doctor she told me to moderate- she was not at all concerned about what i told her, (another alcohol services worker said his colleagues thought that my issue was fairly moderate). I found this really difficult as when I tried to control my drinking before I was fine for little while and quite regimented then I would have the odd occasion where i would just say that i couldn't be bothered and I would drink what I wanted. Anyway to cut a long story short i started getting paranoid about my relationships and felt that people were starting to turn against me. I felt isolated like people weren't on my side that is the people I care about!In 20 years i have had occasional mishaps like 20 years ago I nearly blacked out a party, I was quite argumentative and opinionated when i drank, I also got a really bad burn . I also suffered from what I called mild depression. I joined AA and have been sober for 2 months this weekend. Before I joined I don't think I could have imagined my life without Alcohol or going out and not taking a drink. I thought I would be in hell but through AA i've hooked up with people who want to stay sober. I now divide my time between AA and meditation. However, I have had to analyse my behaviour and diagnose myself as an alcoholic. No one was aware of my issues. Do I sound like i'm an alcoholic to you?
Yes. Also sounds like you are in mourning over its loss in your life. Not sure that normal people obsess over alcohol's role in their lives.
Thanks i needed your response!!! Thanks for taking the time out. I am an alcoholic you are right. I do mourn the loss of this poison in my life !!!what an idiot I am but I can't help it. It's been 2 months and I am going to keep on going.
Thanks whoever you are for keeping me on track. Much Love stay strong ….xx
Wow. This is cool. No registration required, complete anonymity. Questions, many. I have great ambivalence. I went to doctor last year told me I had very high levels of triglycerides. He put me on some meds. He wanted to see me again in several weeks, wanted those trigs down so I just stopped drinking for 40 days. Diagnosis, fatty liver. Right after the appt, start up again, nightly maybe 8 to 12 oz 80 proof or abit more. My tolerance is high. I'm a robot, get up (usually feel fine, only when I have some 103 do I feel it), go to work, lucrative career, no issues with absenteeism, no lack of focus at work. The only visible issue is my co-workers possibly can smell the bourbon on me every morning. I have a long term relationship with my girlfriend (10+ years), I simply limit my intake when I'm around her. I'm very functional, own my home, pay my bills, etc. Physically, my right side aches/hurts. Is it possible for a liver to actually hurt? Never an issue with appetite, I come home, have a couple of drinks and then eat like a lumberjack. Yesterday, went for a 6 mile hike. I know there are different kinds of alcoholics. Which kind am I?
There is a great line in the AA Big Book that lays out the basis of alcoholism...."If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic."
YOu have to be careful with alcoholics, though, because we are tricky. A doc asked me once if I had any problem controlling my drinking. At that time, I could honestly say, "no, I always have just as much as I want." Of course, I drank a lot and I'd never really tried to control.
I also said that I drank mostly on weekends & holidays. Looking back, I realized that my weekends began on Thursday with our local "PUb Night", and ended back at the pub with MOnday night football or some Monday reason for drinking. Thus, by my definition, the weekend was Thursday through Monday and my week was Tuesday & Wednesday. I chuckle at that now.
Finally, I developed a painful medical condition that required me to "quit or cut down". Cut down meant less than 4 drinks in a sitting. That meant I had to count. This is what finally nailed me. I found that once I started, I had little control over the amount I drank. I'd zip by the 4 drink limit and rationalize with, "well, I won't have any tomorrow".
Having failed at "cut down", I tried to quit and struggled with that. In the face of medical complications, I could not quit and could not cut down. Diagnosis, Alcoholic. That diagnosis had to come from me, though. I had to admit to my innermost self that I had this thing.
I should mention that during those final 4 years of struggling, I finished a masters degree, played Rugby at a high level, was a competitive long distance runner and international marketing manager for a top 100 firm. I guess you could say I was "functioning" as the seeds of my destruction took root and began to blossom. At the very end, it was increasingly difficult to keep up the charade as I declined physically and at work.
I have learned over the years that if any of my many "normy" friends had a medical condition that would benefit from not drinking, they would just stop. End of story. They don't struggle with that sort of thing at all. It would be like me giving up Pepsi...no problem, just a beverage.
Welcome to this Forum. And welcome to Alcoholics
Anonymous where you will soon be. Which kind am I? IMO,
you are one of the high functioning alcoholics written
about by one of our ex-AA members. Even if you are not
a "real alcoholic", you will do until a real one comes
along. Simply you are clearly someone who ought not be
drinking alcohol. You must stop and soon. If you find
that you cannot stop your consumption of alcohol, find
help. Don't stop looking until you find help, whether
AA or one of the other fellowships. I say fellowship
because they are on-going, not just a stop-gap measure.
In Alcoholics Anonymous I found a way of stopping,
staying stopped, and being content without alcohol.
(over four decades now).
Find and attend at least six A.A. meetings. Six different
meetings if at all possible. You will be exposed to all
options. Good Luck! See u in the rooms. ANONYMOUS
Only you can determine if you have a problem with alcohol. I will say that the amount of alcohol we drank did not define whether we were alcoholics. Also, I will echo the other writer who stated that normal people, finding out that they have a liver problem exacerbated by alcohol use, will stop drinking completely. Alcoholics will not.
I found your description of yourself interesting, "I am a robot." That's pretty much what I was in my addiction. I was a slave to a whole host of compulsions. Now, whatever I am, it's not a robot.
Maybe you are, maybe you aren't an alcoholic. Maybe you can take or leave drinking, maybe you can stop without any problem. I was able to limit mine at various stages of my life, including while in professional school, early on in my career. But whenever I started drinking, I drank a lot. Sometimes I limited my drinking because of girlfriend/spousal disapproval, and often when I did I was quite resentful that I had to limit myself. Over time, I lost the ability to choose whether or not to have a drink. Continued with my athletic endeavors - one friend referred to me as an "athletic alcoholic."
I have a friend with pancreatitis. Not caused by drinking, but certainly aggravated by it. So he quit drinking. No problems, no regrets about not being able to drink. That is a "normal" response. As an alcoholic, I would have looked for the loophole.
So you need to diagnose yourself, but maybe go to a few open AA meetings to see if anything resonates with you. And be honest with yourself and open-minded to the possibility that you have a problem. Maybe you don't.
My first sobriety was in November of last year , I relapsed last week . And coming back was difficult but I did , I figured out that my first time I wasn't putting forth the effort in my program that I really needed to . I did manage to make it to the 3rd step with my sponsor and was feeling really good for awhile but having underlying issues of depression and faltering in my program led me back to the bottle . This time I know a little more about myself as a sober person . As long as can recognize what led me back to drink I.E not taking my medication and not going to meetings , I think I can do it . I do know that having a sponsor that you can relate to someone who has had the same experiences that you've had is a must for me . Just both being alcoholic isn't enough .I think for me it is more helpful to have someone who understands issues like mine , I'm not saying that's why I failed but I think it makes a difference . Agree?
There is a good pamphlet available on the AA.org website concerning other medications. The short version is that AA is not a substitute for any medications I might be prescribed, whether for high blood pressure, depression, schizophrenia, whatever. As for sponsors, I guess we all have different needs in same - I need someone to periodically call me on my BS, and generally keep me accountable. My sponsor and I are completely different religiously, politically, socially, but we both have faith in the program, that honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are the key. I have a few "pseudo" sponsors with whom I have more in common perhaps, and I rely on them for help in certain areas of my life as well. Whatever works best for you is best, meaning whatever keeps you sober.
Following the third step prayer in the Big Book where we “MADE A DECISION…” are about ninety words expanding on making this decision. The paragraph that follows “Next we launched out on a vigorous course of action, the first step of which was a personal housecleaning…” spells out EXACTLY how we carry out this decision. Our founders learned that our prior experience and our thinking is not an adequate preparation to develop the slightest idea of how to identify and carry out anything like life on a spiritual basis. That is why there are nine more steps in recovery. If you complete these you will not need to continue numbering your sobriety dates.
I have been clean going on my 3rd day,not the longest I have been clean but I am doing it now because I want to and not because I was too hung-over to drink.I went to my first AA meeting by choice not by force ie. probation or incarceration,I am scared because I want this and do not want to fail,these meetings have some really good messages but could be boring as hell,just need some prayers to go my way because my children and family deserve better and so do I and my liver,I have to say my new way of thinking I already like!!!
Keep the faith and keep believing that you are doing the right think for you and your family. When you have an urged to go back to the past think of how bad it was and think there is a better way to enjoy life. Find new positive ways to spend your time. Once you do, you'll start to realize there are better ways and you'll feel good about yourself.Not every AA meeting is beneficial to you and yes, sometimes boring. But, when you least expect it you'll hear something that you can personally relate to and it will cause you to think I can't go back to my old ways. Put your time into positive actions for you, your children and family. I'm now at 135 days of sobriety and having fun keeping my streak intact. Keep going to the meetings you'll learn alot about yourself and make new genuine friends. Good luck and stay strong. Pray every day!
I really really wanted sobriety when I wandered into the rooms of AA of my own volition, and listened closely to what each and every person had to say out of fear that I might miss the key to sobriety for me. When the Preamble and How It Works were read, I tried to understand what each word and phrase meant to me. So I did not really encounter boredom early on, and you probably won't either. For me, listening led to understanding, understanding to compassion, and once I felt compassion for others, I was able to look at myself with a little of the same. Good luck
Hi, I am at two weeks. I have been in and out of the rooms but this time is different. I am committed to ninety in ninety and am really working the steps, not speeding through them. I am really tired today and just want to hide in bed. Going to a meeting in a couple of hours. Just wanted to say hello.
Hello Two Weeks!
Hang in there and go to a meeting today.
There is one key piece of information that I can’t find in the literature and don’t hear often enough. I couldn’t learn how to sober up and then sober up. I had to stop drinking and learn to live with the consequences. I’ve never seen it done otherwise in over thirty years. If it could, I think that would mean that alcoholism could be cured with reasoning, thinking. “Figure it out and I won’t need to drink”. A lot of really smart people have died from alcoholism before figuring it out. Still do. Alcoholics Anonymous put together a program of action that arrests the disease. Do certain simple, although not always easy, things and the biggest problem in your life will simply be removed as it was for me and millions of others.
We just don't drink, one day at a time. Some of those early days are pretty long. Living Sober gives some tips, but the stories of how we got through those early days is what seems to help newcomers most.
I am 97 days sober and grateful for every minute of it!! I do have a question. There are only 4 women in AA in my country. One has kind of attached herself to me. At first I was very hopeful, but now I find her depressing and negative. Am I allowed to feel this way? She lets me know that I am not being "honest" and that I am led by "fear" and basically need to mind her. She calls me but I don't feel we communicate and I am left very depressed. I am stuck between not knowing if I a doing the correct AA thing and my personal feelings. I feel that there are some control issues with this person that just aren't for me. She is trying to get me to move away from my home and she tries to get me to feel like she feels. It makes me uncomfortable. I have a terrific sponsor, so I am not sure why this person keeps trying to sponsor me. I would love to have coffee or lunch with her, but when I suggest it, she tells me she can't be bothered but then spends hours on the phone telling me I can't get too lonely..... So, is it okay to limit my time with her phone calls? I am sure she means well, I can't handle the negativity right now. An ideas?
"She lets me know that I am not being "honest" and that I am led by "fear" and basically need to mind her."
Ask her to show you in the AA literature where it says you turn your will and life over to another human being.
Somehow you must get through the "fear" and be "honest" with
this controlling AA member. Be as kind as possible. She sounds like a phone person with unlimited minutes. Be pleasant to her at meetings. Detach with love and without
guilt, and do it soon. Stay away from her and all others
like her. There are many. ANONYMOUS
Definitely it is ok to set boundaries and not spend time with her. I would follow my sponsor's advice....unless it was to go ahead and spend time with her. Maybe later when you have a solid foundation you might see her differently or be called on to be of service to her. She does show you that we all have much to recover from.
This is my beginning of my journey to live sober. I want to do this for my health and my family which I love very much. I'm about to be a grandma soon and I want to be there for every moment Sober I'm hoping ill have others to talk to on this road to recovery. New grandma
Hello new Grandma.
I am new at this too, but already know this is where I need to be if I am going to beat this thing. Just one day at a time. You are not alone and I wish you well.
It has been over 80 days without a drink,
Leaving me feeling I'm on a cloud colored pink.
Every day I do not drink,
I feel satisfied that I did not sink.
I awake feeling happy with lots of new stuff to do.
I go about my day positively and do not stew.
I go to meetings and learn so much,
I meet new people with pleasure and such.
Sobriety is where I want to be,
It gives me hope for the future as I can see.
There's no time and reason for a drink,
I'm better off without it so I don't stink.
There are better things to do than pick up a bottle,
By not doing so, I'm ready for life's throttle.
Day by day I live and pray,
For I am committed not to sway.
I really enjoyed the rhyme!
i hope you used the steps to get that much time
use those steps to contact a higher power
to protect you from the insanity that may return in the next hour
Glad you enjoyed the rhyme. I've done many others shown here below. I'm pleased to say I am now at 98 days of sobriety! I attribute it to my rehab, my higher power, AA friends and common sense of not wanting to go back to my unmanageable and miserable life. Being sober is the best thing to ever happen to me. It didn't just happen, it took work, committment and determination. Life is happy and good for me being sober.
THE POSITIVE BENEFITS OF SOBRIETY ARE NUMEROUS. LET ME LIST A FEW:
You are free and a healthy person.
You learn more about yourself.
You have a good relationship with God, family and friends.
You are happy, positive and content with your daily routine.
There are new horizons and experiences by being sober.
There is honesty in dealing with other people.
There are opportunities for creating new friendships.
There is no more lying and hiding to and from loved ones.
There is a great sense of feeling normal.
You are in control of your life and what affects you.
You save money by not spending it on alcohol.
You only have to live one day at a time.
Hi my name is Jim and I am an alcoholic and am just listening.
Welcome Jim. Glad you are exploring the GV and listening. I hope you hear some messages that resonate with you.
When I first came to AA I was stunned that people were talking not just about their problems with alcohol but about all those other problems, fears and secrets that I was silently struggling with alone. I was amazed to hear how people who had drank worse than me and fallen farther than me were laughing and living useful lives full of love and gratitude.
I found hope and freedom and hope you do as well.
As we say in the rooms, "keep coming back".
Alcohol makes you run and hide,
It makes you feel isolated inside.
Alcohol makes you fearful and unkind,
You must not ignore these feelings in your mind.
You may not feel it, but it's true,
Alcohol is not good for you.
There are times when you want a drink,
Do not go there or you'll be on the brink.
The next time you're tempted to have a Miller,
Pass on it or you'll be on the list of a killer.
Aicohol is the enemy,
Which will be battled for all eternity.
Hi all! Bless you all and thanks for my new sobriety!! I'm just starting to understand working my program and if I become complacent and don't do my daily prayers and get involved in service work, I get that obsession back. Yay! I AM teachable! lol It's been an interesting journey so far, without the help of my home group and my sponsor I NEVER would have made it this far, I may have been dead already by now. I'm starting to get a clearer mind, trying to have faith that I WILL find that job, I WILL get friends again, and I WILL get the faith of my family back. This is a complete life changer / saver, it's really not easy to try to change only one thing.. EVERYTHING. But I have the best support team, I have a lot of work to do, but I FINALLY can see the possibility of not only a future, but one that is Happy, Joyous, and free :) Keep coming back, it works if you WORK it. (So I hear :)
Congrats on 60 days of grateful sobriety. A sponsor once told me he'd never seen a grateful recovering alcoholic get drunk. I never forgot that.
I would amplify that in AA I didn't just get a job; my sponsor had me write down my dreams and I got to live them. I didn't just make friends; I discovered true friendship based on love and trust and service. And I didn't just get the faith of my family back; I became an asset to the family, someone who they could turn to for help, who had dealt with a killer disease and was available to help others. I didn't come to AA looking for these things. They are just a few of the gifts of sobriety.
Two months is a great time of discovery about how great an AA life can be. Sounds like you are enjoying it. Keep Comin' Back!
I came into this house, something of a mess -
Sitting there nodding off and falling out my dress.
Gauntly were my features, hipbones jetting out -
I could hardly cry a whisper or scream a hoarsely shout.
Days of sweating in the cold and shaking in the heat,
I vaguely remember my sixth clean day as I rose upon my feet.
In the car they packed me, I melted down to mush -
Opened the door to a smokey room and whispers at a hush.
I slept through my first few meetings, unaware of the time nor place -
Yet distinctly remember that Christmas meeting as tears rolled down my face.
I never felt as grateful as I sat there and I cried -
Realizing if they hadn't brought me, I surely would have died!
My disease is of the terminal kind, progressive as they call it -
Yet I live today by the Grace of GOD in a room filled with Alcoholics!
Being newly sober and living in a recovery house, my financial means are not that where I can afford to subscribe. Soon...very soon I pray - reading and posting on Grapevine is my new short term goal!
Today is a new day filled with hope,
I will deal with the nasty disease and will cope.
I live today in the new year with great zeal,
I love being sober and that's how I feel.
I do not need a drink to make me feel whole,
I live every hour at a time to reach my goal.
I look to the stars and what do I see,
My higher power looking down on me.
For he is the one to guide, help you keep free,
All you need to do is to commit to him and he will be there for thee.
Happy New Year to all!
No more booze, no more booze.
If you drink, you will lose.
Being sober will set you free,
Today is the day to focus on me.
I wake up every morning feeling alive,
I ask my higher power for guidance to keep my sobriety so I can thrive.
Today is a good day because I am free,
From that nasty disease which brought me to my knees.
Now is the good time to enjoy life,
Because I am sober there is no strife.
As a newcomer, what is recommended to read first in the Big Book? I was told the Doctors Opinion & the first 164 pages. I realize it's important to read the whole thing! But I just want to know where to begin.
I'd also suggest beginning with The Doctor's Opinion and reading the first 164 pages. If you are able to pray I'd suggest asking that your mind be opened to see what you need to see, hear what you need to hear, and do what you need to do. Also it is good to begin asking for sobriety as many times daily as you think about drinking.
Simple, start from the beginning.
Certainly not at Chapter Five. That would not be a
good IDEA. ANONYMOUS
I'm also a newcomer, and I asked a few people with long-term sobriety how to read the BB, and they all agreed to just start from the beginning. :) I find that I flip to some stories when I'm in certain moods to help with whatever is bothering me. I hope this helps!
The newcomer is the most important person in the rooms of AA, so welcome! It would be best to read the Big Book with your sponsor or another alcoholic. Most newcomers start at the very beginning and go from there. The stories are also an excellent starting point. And of course the Grapevine stories are a must also.
I when I was a newcomer, I often would repeat sayings I heard at meetings. Early on I started attending a big book meeting. One time, since I was the newcomer, I said “the newcomer is the most important person here”. I was surprised when the oldtimers said where did you get that bs? Then they showed me tradition 1 long form in the back of the big book. In the 4th edition it’s on page 563. It says- Each member of AA is but a small part of a great whole. AA must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.”
In tradition 1, the group is more important than the member. I know many statements are made in meetings everywhere, but where in the first 164 pages of the big book did you read the newcomer is the most important person in the meeting? Actually, besides a grapevine article, can you refer me to any AA literature that make that statement? I don’t recall reading it anywhere. I’m not being sarcastic either, I would really like to read it. Thanks for your post, It brought me back to tradition 1
We come together in A.A. as equals. No one is of any more
importance than anyone else. EGO deflation at depth is
seldom mentioned here. It has a lot to do with recovery;
the reduction of EGO or self importance. I consider
telling a newcomer that they are the most important person
in the room to be harmful. That is hardly deflating one's EGO. It may sound a contradiction but the newcomer is very
(extremely) important. But to tell her/him that they are
the most important person in the room, can be harmful.
I hold the same belief (call it an opinion if you want)
that the reading of HIW at meetings is harmful and
pushes people away. That is how I understand The Doctor's
Opinion. Chapter Five is an important chapter. The first three pages are one of AA's most beautiful readings. But
that reading aloud at meetings has been the major cause
of our loss of effectiveness over the past two decades.
That custom has turned AA into a strange cult-like religion.
Bill W. advised us not to underestimate the value
of the stories in the back of the book. I personally tell
a newcomer to start with some of the stories in the
back of the book, or read Bill's story first. I found
the stories from the first, second, and third edition
exciting. They are contained in the book Experience,
Strength and Hope, available from GSO. ANONYMOUS
By my saying that "the newcomer is the most important person," I am not saying that they are better than anyone, I am saying that without them, A.A. would die. A.A. was started by the newcomer, for the newcomer.
In A.A. we make simple sayings like this often. To pick them apart and analyze them is falling into the trap of making this program more complicated than it is, which is the whole point of the simple sayings.
People that go on and on about how A.A. is failing the still sick and suffering alcoholics are usually casually dismissed unless they actually put their words into action. Anybody can sit around and list what they think is wrong with everybody and everything else. Usually these people have quite a few years of sobriety and they think that they have it figured out, and if you would just listen to them, everything would be much better for everyone.
While some A.A. groups may have gone down the wrong path with some of the ways that they conduct their meetings, that is for them to decide. There is no A.A. police. We are allowed to make mistakes on our own. Nobody likes being told what to do.
My experience with Tradition 1 is that I have to keep my personal ideas, desires and ambitions in check whenever it could damage the unity of the A.A. group. Because, "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
I think that when someone is new, a new job, a new singer, a new dancer, a new parent. Someone who is new is able to bring life and a new perspective. It also reminds those who have been here longer what it was like to be new and unsure and scared and afraid and wanting to bolt out of the door as fast as they can. I have been going to meetings since February 12, 2014. I am still new and when someone says that I am wanted and important it helps build a part of me that has died. The ego can also be threatened when light is shone on a new person, a new baby, a new employee, but instead of tearing someone down, its about lifting them up and in place lifting yourself up.
Very well said
It was suggested that I start with the forwards to the earlier editions in the very front of the book and then move on to Doctor's Opinion and the 164. This method was also followed by all of the BB study groups I participated in over the years. There are great nuggets of information and pearls of wisdom sprinkled throughout the BB.
The stories in the back of the book have changed over the course of four editions. I believe that the stories, like those in the Grapevine, are intended to create identification by giving varied examples of how different people drank and recovered.