New to AA
After attending meetings the past few months, I can't help thinking AA is religious. People seem over-the-top with God, prayer and miracles. "Stick around to the miracle happens" I'm a Christian and still became an alcoholic so how is God going to help me? One man said I have to obey the 12 steps or else I will die. Another guy told me, "You know what the difference between spirituality and religion? Religion is for people trying to stay out of hell and spirituality is for people who have been there." I thought "How stupid and arrogant is that? I'm religious so I've never been in hell? Only people in AA have been in hell?" My father was mugged six years ago and was left to die. He now has brain trauma and is limited to a bed. I've cared for him because he doesn't have health insurance and the bills are pilling up. The man who abused me to no end and I am taking care of him. Everytime I look at him I have flashbacks of violence. Is this not hell? But he is my father so I choose to love him. Alcohol used to help erase the memories but, when it wears off the memories always come back. When alcohol stopped working for me, I came to AA for help. I'm not angry with God, Job went through worse. If AA is only about God and miracles why can't I just go to church? Don't know if this makes sense to anyone. Thank AA
Alcoholics can come up with some strange and crazy things to say at meetings. I've got some good news for you though. They mean well. For we are people who would not usually mix. I drank to forget as well. I admire your fortitude in helping your father. You can go to church. The big book tells us to be willing to see where religious people are right. If you go to AA meeting you may hear God speak through another suffering alcoholic. After all you've been through wouldn't it be a blessing to you to have a sponsor to tell your troubles to? AA is a spiritual program and makes no tie with established religions. You must find that answer within yourself. I believe you have the courage to see the truth about yourself. This quote is also in the big book in one of the stories in the back. "It's easier to Act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting."
Thanks for sharing. I sponsored a priest once and after a few years I was curious to why he asked me being I am a atheist.
He said, "I know all about God but you know how to stay sober and I needed to learn how to stay sober". Eventually, I moved out of state and he went on to run a retreat for alcoholics. There is magic in the rooms no doubt. Some say it comes from God others say it comes from human beings. I've always been in the camp of the latter. Just don't pick up the first drink or switch addictions and you will be okay. Although the road ahead is difficult the path is easy. I wish you the best. Anyone who has the strength to take care of his father under those conditions certainly can teach me something about life.
Although, I've been sober for many years, today you were my guide a true light. Thank you.
Yours are questions that I have asked myself for a long time, seems to be no answer to them. One of my best friends in AA is a Nun who prayed incessantly for 50 years to little avail before, as she says, finding God in the smoke filled rooms of AA. Go figure.
The process we refer to as the steps has been around since time began we in AA did not invent them, but they are laid out in such a manner that we who are alcoholic seem to respond and in time they become an outline for living that provides some joy and freedom that was unattainable in any other venue. Maybe it is due to the "language of the heart" we understand one another like no one can.
Spirituality has been discribed as having the abilty to see, do and feel what I could not see, do nor feel on my un-aided will. May the God of your understanding Bless You, Ray
AA is not a religious organization, although through group autonomy, each group can run it’s affairs as it sees fit, provided they have a singleness of purpose of teaching and practicing the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous. We have a book called “Alcoholics Anonymous” after which our fellowship is named. The program of AA is outlined in the first 164 pages of that book. If you want to learn about AA I would suggest you read it. We have another book called the 12x12. It was written by one of our co founders. Bill W was the sole author of the 12x12 and he wrote 24 essays of his view of the 12 steps and 12 traditions. In the 12x12 Bill wrote that the 12 steps are principals, spiritual in nature. If practiced as a way of life can expel the compulsion to drink and make the sufferer usefully and happily whole( or something close to that). The 12x12 also says that the big book is and still is the basic text for AA.
The 12 steps are a program to help an alcoholic find a higher power that will relieve the alcoholic’s powerlessness over alcohol. If you are not powerless over alcohol, I believe you don’t need the 12 steps to overcome drinking. If you are not powerless over alcohol, I don’t believe you are an alcoholic.
If all alcoholics had to do was go to church, there would be no need for AA. If we could apply the spirituality of the church to our lives we would not have become alcoholic. The program of AA teaches us a spiritual way of life that will enable us to believe in the higher power of our choice and we can grow from that point. It is impossible to practice self-examination, restitution, meditation, prayer, and service to others and remain the same. To me AA is the 12 steps. The meetings, fellowship, and sponsorship is just the atmosphere around the steps.
I hope I have been helpful to you. Remember, when in doubt, find your answer in AA conference approved literature. AA as a whole has recognized that literature as AA.
Good luck to you and God bless you
Thanks for sharing. AA is not a religion. Read the Preamble.
We are a diverse group of individuals who have a common problem. The new term I believe is brain disorder-Whether it is that or a disease I cannot say however, when I drink I can't stop. I wind up in bar fights, DUI's, jail and out on the street. I have blackouts and the shakes to no end. My liver has become permanantly scarred and when I came in the rooms I was at an emotional and psychological level of a teenager. Okay, the tone of AA reflects the area the meeting is in and to answer your question people do say stupid things in AA. I personally returned to the Catholic Church but, I keep that separate from AA. My sponsees have no idea of this and its not important for them to know it. AA is about saving butts, religion is about saving souls. Its honorable of you to take care of your father. The person that can reach inside and find that kind of love can surely stay sober for one day. Even though I am a Catholic I like Agnostic and Athiest meetings because they focus on more humanist ideas. They stay with logic and reason. Also its fashionalbe in the rooms to knock religion But, church helps me feel closer to God in a way AA can't. AA helps me feel love and compassion for another human being. It teaches me things the box on Sunday can not. If it was up to me AA should eliminate all the god parts and leave that up to churches. Good Luck and Easy Does It
I just had my 1 month anniversary of sobriety. I woke up Sunday morning and was getting ready for church when my wife said she had something for me and made me close my eyes.
Sha put a 1-month coin in my hand. It was a shiny red coin and it brought me to tears. My wife told me how much she loved me and how proud she was.
I am just getting started, but I can tell you that this coin will remain with me forever in my sobriety. Getting an anniversary coin from a sponsor or a fellow alcoholic is great, but having come from your spouse means so much. I am inspired and motivated to spiritually change my life and my relationships with so many caring people that we often don't recognize but are all around us if we just look, reach out and believe in ourselves.
In this one month I have sparked my relationship with my wife and have remembered how beautiful the mornings are.
I hope this passage helps someone who might be struggling with alcoholism.
One day at at time!
“Stick around to the miracle happens?” Miracles? “Let go let God” “Turn it over to God” “But for the Grace of God” “God doesn’t close one door without opening another.” “God does make garbage” This is the kind of stuff that confuses people and associates us with a religious God. The earlier members were religious not spiritual and AA arose from a religious God. The spiritual language came afterwards to soften our religious underpinnings thanks to atheists and open-minded people. The main problem is the god of the big book is certainly a religious god and this can’t be rearranged into spiritual language. Does anyone know if there is an agnostic and atheist pamphlet available? Has this issue ever been addressed seriously? To me, the problem is not with the foot soldiers but the generals. Until the general clarifies this issue the foot soldiers will continue to remain alcohol canyon fodder.
You can sit in meetings and listen to some pretty strange things. This program would not be here but for alcoholics truthfully and faithfully working the steps to find A God and believeing in A God of THEIR understanding.Do you get that? A God of THEIR understanding. Not your understanding of God, but their own. Would you deny that several million people have turned away from drink and drugs to live purposeful lives because they found, through AA, a god of their understanding? Even if the group conscience is their god of understanding? Have you found one yet? If not, please go back and read step 3, work it and work step 4 truthfully and admit every thing you can think of that you have a resentment for. Tell these things to someone you trust. Maybe to another alcoholic who may have been where you are. Step five is when you give all these resentments to the God of your understanding and forgive yourself while you're at it. For clarification, get on your knees and pray to the GOD of YOUR UNDERSTANDING truthfully. If you have a good relationship with him you will get your answer.Sometimes in a way that will give you pause to think about miracles. Maybe a spiritual awakening will happen for you. There are chapters to the agnostic in the big book. Turn to page 112 and read the first 3 words. Then Do It! Ask your group secratary about the pamphlets. They should be available from your district office. As for me, I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I took a 35 year drinking vacation away from him. He loves me and has never left me. He has forgiven me and is teaching me how to forgive, to love again and help other suffering alcoholics. I was lead to this program by him. I just didn't want to see it at the time. I ask God each day to guide my heart and my thoughts and then turn my will over to him. I'm grateful for the removal of the obsession and compulsion to drink.In the words of the good doctor: " If I keep thinking what I'm thinking and doing what I'm doing, I'll probably never drink again."
Reading the AA pamphlet "The AA Group" will dispel any notions you have about generals and solders. Armed with this understanding, you might consider a study of all the traditions.
Our general clarified these issues. He wrote that the Big
Book was to be suggestive only, and that more would be
revealed. Our foot soldiers need to read and understand
the book. We could start by developing a true understanding
of definition of suggested, suggestion.
Don't quit before the miracle. If a member relapses he
is told he/she quit just before the miracle. The miracle
we seek may never happen. But I am convinced that no matter
what happens in life, drinking is not an answer for the
alcoholic. Trying to help a brother or sister alcoholic
to not drink for a day may be that answer.
Bill W. also wrote a vast amount of information in
later years. He warned us about becoming a religion,
and how this would be unfortunate To A.A.'s future. The
future has come, and we have ignored Bill's warning.
And A.A. today is basically a failure. This is obvious
from the outside. Our present membership are in complete
denial. They chant "A.A. is fine, see nothing wrong here".
Bill's Grapevine writings are filled with warnings
about the future of A.A. He writes about blunders we
might make. One by one we have made all of them. ANONYMOUS
Is e-AA an official on line forum associated with AA or Grapevine?
The following was taken from the AA conference approved pamphlet-A brief guide to AA
How does AA help the alcoholic?
Through the example and friendship of the recovered alcoholics in AA, new members are encouraged to stay away from a drink “one day at a time,” as the AAs do. Instead of “swearing off forever” or worrying about whether they will be sober tomorrow, AAs concentrate on not drinking right now-today.
By keeping alcohol out of their systems, newcomers take care of one part of their illness- their bodies have a chance to get well. But remember, there is another part. If they are going to stay sober, they need healthy minds and healthy emotions, too. So they begin to straighten out their confused thinking and unhappy feelings by following AA’s “Twelve Steps” to recovery. These Steps suggest ideas and actions that can guide alcoholics toward happy and useful lives.
To be in touch with other members and to learn about the recovery program, new members go to AA meetings regularly.
I havn't heard this for a while. I thought we could use a short refresher on AA as stated in our liturature. Enjoy!
I feel fewer people are recovering in AA,and a more appropriate topic should be "How is AA not helping the alcoholic?" If we really cared about the newcomer instead of over exaggerating our accomplishments maybe, we could help more people and increase our dismal recovery rates.
To me, the problem lies in the zealots of recovery who are stuck in 1930's. If we could bring AA into the 21st Century then we could help more people. I care about the fellowship very much. This is not a professional study but, last year, I counted all the new people who showed up at my home group. Out of the 479 newcomers that entered only 12 stayed. Of course, there are many factors evolved but, we should care for and question why the 467 left and not simply washing our hands by saying "They didn't want what we have"
I know from the groups I attend and my own behavior that we can certainly improve our end and you might be surprised how pertinent the information in “Working With Others” is in today’s meetings. I also think that there is another influence in the low “staying” rate. I see many newcomers sent by somebody because their drinking is generating problems, frequently big problems. However, alcohol is still working for them. It’s giving them a feeling that they like, an escape from their problems. I had horrific problems from drinking, some in the very beginning but just like the stories in the big book, it didn't stop me. And, like them, I didn't have the motivation to change until alcohol stopped working.
You are right - anecdotal evidence such as you present is just that. If yours is the only meeting with 30 miles, maybe the 467 decided based on their experience with your group that AA wasn't for them. Maybe they were court (or spouse) ordered and really didn't want to be there in the first place. As I have not been to meetings wherever you are, I can't comment of the tolerance and open-minded of the "trusted servants" who chair meetings. Dr. Bob preached "love and tolerance," though I wonder whether he could have tolerated yet another atheist-agnostic besides Jim B. So while his approach might have turned me away, it might have helped the next person through the door after me. The longer I am around, the less I know about what works for which person, so best I can do is share what worked for me while adding that I wouldn't recommend my program to anyone.
By sharing what worked for me I am offering a suggested
method of recovery. I do not recommend my program to
anyone. No A.A. member recommends anything to anyone.
(in theory of course). We only share our own experience
and allow every member to decide what they want or choose
to do. Bill wrote that the Big Book in its entirety was
meant to be suggestive only. We all know that the steps
are but suggestions. Our real problem is that we do not
know the meaning of suggestion. To say that the steps are
free: the only ones you pay for are the ones you do not
take, distorts the meaning of suggestion.
I certainly would recommend what worked for me. I have
seen it work often enough to know that it works. But at
an A.A. meeting I do not recommend it to anyone. I only
offer it as a suggestion, an idea, a thought to consider.
Your calculations sound about right. 2.5% is shameful.
Numbers and messages like yours are why I keep trying to return our fellowship to its most effective state. I
believe that at its best we could have held on to at
least 300 of those suffering human beings. ANONYMOUS
Our most effective state was early in Cleveland Ohio where they had a recorded 93% recovery rate. How was that done? It is documented that in Cleveland they used personal sponsorship along with the big book to indoctrinate newcomers to the program. It worked so well that many thought AA started in Cleveland instead of Akron or New York. Each prospective newcomer was admitted to a hospital and assigned a sponsor who then took them through the big book is a short time. Then they were brought to the meetings, not before they worked the steps. Read for yourself in AA Comes of Age pages 20,21, and 22. If you want more information search “how it worked” for more information.
Hi Corey, how has AA helped you? You were kind to bring up the topic but never expanded on it. If one is going to take the role of a chairperson here perhaps it would be helpful if they disclose a little bit more about how AA helped them and what their life is like today.
What gives in your recovery? Don't go stingy on us :)
Sincerely, Janielle S. Nevada
Good point about expanding, however I am no chairperson, just an alcoholic who has a little spare time to share experience, strength, and hope on this forum. The reading resonated with me, because it mirrored what I was taught by my sponsor-stay sober one day at a time or even one minute at a time. Attend regular meetings, especially a home group where they could get to know me and I would know who the newcomers are. And last but not least, adopt the twelve steps as a way of life.
As a result, I changed from a jaundiced skinned, 40 pound underweight alcoholic, who had lost the power to choose whether I would drink (mental obsession) and lost the power to stop drinking once I started (physical allergy) to a physically, emotionally, and spiritually sober member of AA.
Thanks for the nudge
Thanks Corey, my group is important to me too. The older women were overprotective of me because I was only 23. Even though I wasn’t a pretty sight in my early days, the women kept me focused on recovery and not boys. They took all my excuses away for drinking again. They even acted like grandparents and mothers watching my daughter when I went back to school and received a nursing degree. Today, I can be a loving mother and a responsible sibling. I show up to work on time and with a smile. I know my parents who died when I was in high school by a drunk driver are watching down on me. I’m okay with being a single mom today. When I was new I wanted to find someone to take care of me. AA helped me get my priorities straight. My daughter and higher power are first and my main focus today. I must say the men in my group have always respected me because they always gave me the space to work on my sobriety. The older men nurtured me as a daughter. The younger men respected me as a mother. I know there are unhealthy groups in AA but, I was blessed with a group that really applies the principals of AA. My daughter and I are moving soon to be with family. At one time my siblings looked down at me but, now they have embraced me again. All of this is because of the love and kindness that was given to me freely in AA. Janielle
Thanks everyone, I talked to my brother who lives out of state. There are hundreds of meetings in his area. I know I can find a good group there. My sister-in-law and him are going to give me a chance to live with them for my first year of recovery. Her father is going to hire me in his garage. I'll do anything to live at this point. I've seen death and it was enough to turn me around. Just when I was at my wits end a little light was around the corner the whole time. Rural Drunk (now headed for the city) Thanks AA Grapevine
I'm clean 43 days and the people said I could not be part of the group. They said I can't be because I don't have a god to pray to and told me to go somewhere else. I'm here for help and now I can't get it because I don't believe in God. Some guy said AA is not religious but, spiritual. So I should be allowed to stay unless spirituality means belief in God. I'm afraid they might harm me if I show up. My therapist told me to go to AA to decide if I am an alcoholic or not. Where else can I go? I live in a rural area and the nearest meeting to this one is 45 miles away and I don't have a car. I'm not trying to me a jerk. I just want help. I can't go on this way anymore. Everywhere I turn the door shuts.
AA is not a social club. You are a member when you say you are a member. Tradition 3 states this very clearly. You can't be thrown out. How dare they! You stated that your therapist told you to go to AA to decide if you were an alcoholic. There are only two questions I want you to ask yourself. Then you decide if you are an alcoholic. I'm I powerless over alcohol? Has my life become unmanageable? If you answer yes to both, AA can help you. If the social club they've formed 45 miles away won't help you, I can and will help you. My sponsor lives 6 states away and we talk all the time. True AA's will jump right in to help. Do not be discouraged by what you experienced at that group. Could you post again and tell us where this group meets? That shouldn't be anonymous. Here's something to consider. Are there two or more people who live close to you who would like to start a group? It only takes two to start. Ask one of your local churches if they would let you hold a meeting in their fellowship hall. You might be surpised at how many will show up. You could start your own group. Big books and 12 and 12 are cheap. Order them here through the GV if it's too far to the nearest big city. Time for action my friend. All we have in this world is each other brother.
I admire you for looking for a solution. I am sorry that you had this experience and unfortunately, ignorance is everywhere. However, so is hope and the fact that you haven't given up on yourself is encouraging for me. I am struggling as well and your story has touched my heart. Don't give up. Use this site for support and start your own meeting for people in your community. there are probably many folks like you who would love to be able to meet with others who are open minded and open hearted.
I was not at that meeting to see both sides of the story, so I only have half, your half. If you were at a closed meeting of AA you may have been asked to leave if you didn’t say you were an alcoholic or that you had a desire to stop drinking. This practice of asking people who are not alcoholics to leave closed meetings helps to protect newcomers anonymity in AA. For your information, AA has only one requirement for membership, and that is a desire to stop drinking as stated in tradition 3 short form.
If you have the book Alcoholics Anonymous, page 573 of the fourth addition has the directions for getting in touch with AA. I assume you have a computer or access to one if you are posting on this site. If you go to www.aa.org; or send a letter addressed to Alcoholics Anonymous, box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163, USA, you will receive a prompt reply from our world service center, referring you to the nearest group. If as you stated the nearest group is not really an AA group, you will be invited to carry on a correspondence which will do much to insure your sobriety no matter how isolated you are.
The book “Alcoholics Anonymous” is also available free online at www.aa.org. The purpose of our book is to show you precisely how we have recovered in AA. You may do what it suggests and start an AA group based on the principals of AA.
I am grateful for your newfound sobriety, good luck to you and may God (as you understand him) bless you in your recovery.
"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking." Any group or person who tries to add more requirements ie particular beliefs is wrong, wrong, wrong. The AA pamphlet "The AA Group" available online is the best source of information.
The second word of your sharing mat be a tip -"clean". AA as a whole has always maintained that problems with drugs should be solved elsewhere, that we have nothing to give these sufferers and are doing a dis-service trying. Many groups have been ignoring this for decades. Many haven't. I've seen plenty of success with it but failures are always invisible. We may be doing that dis-service. I'm not in charge. It is the conscience of my group therefore I support it.
Was it really "the people" or just one jerk that barred you?
If it really was the conscience of the group then they did you a service. They have nothing to give. Despite your isolation, AA is further away than 45 miles. Our book "Alcoholics Anonymous" can be within an arm's reach 24 -7. Costs about ten bucks or much less used, on-line. With AA's program of recovery an alcoholic can compare his or her experience with others and decide how much of their suffering is in the past and how much more is in the future. It's all there. If you attend a good meeting you will be told to get a big book and read it. What's not to understand about that?
Wow...these folks fundamentally don't get it do they? The third tradition says that the ONLY requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. I'm amazed that they don't want you to come. My advice to you is to try to make it to the other meeting, at least once, even if you have to take a cab or hitchhike to get there.
And by the way, I don't believe in God and I've been sober and an active member of AA for 19 years. Good luck and hang in there!
Congratulations for staying sober for 43 days plus the time since this post if you've made it.. Those early days weren't easy for me but with AA's help i have weathered the storm of those early days.. I have been sober almost 8 months so i remember the struggles that go along with those first couple of months quite well. AA has taught me that I am in no position to give advice but i want to say that you are not alone. I struggled with belief in a power greater than myself for a long time but with a willingness to find one and a sponsor to help I have been able to do just that. The beautiful thing about these steps is that you do not have to believe in God. Specifically someone else's. It is your own conception and in the first two steps the only step you have to take is coming to believe that a power greater than yourself could restore you to sanity. Not god just a power that isn't you. Whether that is AA, a tree, a book etc. you get to decide and carry it into the other 10 steps. If you have a desire to stop drinking then no one can turn you away from AA.. Keep going back and not drinking and something good is bound to come from it. You are not alone.
This is hard to believe, but I do believe it. Exactly
who is telling you to leave the meeting? If it is in a church and the minister or priest tells you that you are
no longer allowed on the property, I would assume there
is good reason.
If the meeting is held in a clubroom, the club can
ask you to leave their building, but I doubt that would
happen without good reason.
The meeting may be a closed meeting which is limited
to people who want to stop drinking, or wish to stay
stopped. If it is an open meeting you are allowed to
attend to determine if you are an alcoholic. If you
are not sure just listen and observe.
I suspect that some aggressive members control the
meeting instead of allowing a group conscience. Or do
you identify yourself as an addict and turn members off?
That happens at some parts of the country. The solution
is to respect the group and discuss alcohol.
If you are afraid of being physically abused, you may
have to get other members involved and maybe even the
police if you are assaulted. I was assaulted physically
and verbally by one oldtimer at a meeting at our club.
I did not call the police but wish that I had. I thought
the club would expel him. He has kept up the abuse with
Contact GSO and find out if there are loners who you
can communicate with. There are on-line meetings and
Don't give up, please. Where there is a will, there
is a way. I am grateful to live in an area where meetings
are numerous. I do wish you well. ANONYMOUS
You are a member if you say you are. Read the Preamble or Traditon 3. Remember 43 stays in ain't much but its more than the guy who just walked through the door. Any alcoholic can help another. There is no pecking order to that. Sometimes to me, the new person is the wisest person in the room because they are raw. They are hurting and they remind me where I was and where I will end up if I pick up a drink. Whatever comes you can handle it one day at a time. Nothing stays the same. I'm not sure everyone in your group is whacky. I don't think they will harm you either. That's a bit much. Don't become rebelious towards people.
You can smile and tell them to f...off in your head if you'd like. Sit quietly and do not argue. You don't have to accept everything you hear. Just find the stuff that makes sense to you and don't worry about the God wall. You'll learn soon its okay to not believe in one to live a happy, joyous and free sober life.
I am 3 hours away from confronting my son about his drinking. Public intox /drinking under age arrest in 2011..dwi in april 2012....public intox/underage drinking in September 2012...arrested last night for same, plus assalting a cab driver. Does not drink often, never seen him drunk, but drinks to blackout with his friends.
He says he will got to a meeting tonight. Lets see what happens.
Alanon is for friends and families of alcoholics and can help you get your life Back regardless if your son is sober. There are many meetings. Check their website for times and locations. Alanon has helped so many and I hear many people in AA say they got sober after a loved one went to Alanon. Good luck.
Has he been to rehab? Went I went to rehab It was a great way to get introduced to AA and understand that I wasn't alone. If I hadn't have gone to rehab, I doubt just attending AA meeting s would have worked for me...it is scary and most of the people that attend are older. In rehab there will be people his age and he will be able to relate. If you have the resources...my suggestion is to give him an option to go...out of state...change in people, places, things was the best for me...and it has been almost 8 years and I'm still sober. My husband was more of in the same situation as your son (he finally quit drinking when he was 23 now he is 35). He attended 4 rehabs and the only one that worked was in Florida...miles away from Maryland where he had attended his previous rehabs. I personally, went to The Watershed and it was the best thing that ever happened in my life. I know it is scary, but my husband and I are proof it works.
For the life of me I can't understand why AA members are so quick to recommend rehabs and counselling to newcomers before trying AA first.
Is it any wonder many feel AA has squandered its 12th step work to professionals and treatment centers. Don't get me wrong I am not against rehabs & professionals but why spend all that money for options that have a success rate less than AA?
I for one went the AA route and it worked just fine for me and has continued to do so for 22+ years. Remember, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”.
Thanks for my sobriety.
Mike B. In the early days, alcoholics were at a lower
level, and in many cases needed to be hospitalized just
to dry out. It was a way to de-tox physically, at least
giving the alcoholic a chance to clear his/her head enough
to understand that sobriety is posssible.
That bottom was raised, to the point where drinkers
who had their own homes and two cars in the garage, could
join A.A. I was one of those. I had the best job of my life
and a promising future, but alcohol was destroying me
mentally and physically.
I recently went to a four speaker all addictions meeting
in a local rehab center. The co-pay was $50.00 plus a
larger amount paid by medical insurance. It was a nice
meeting, but not much different than many other meetings
I have attended at the cost of a buck in the basket.
The only real difference was that the group did not
"hold hands and pray" at the closing. The presence of God,
I felt was in the room, but no one pointed Him out. No
one demanded "That One is God! May you find Him Now!
Mike, you are one of the almost two and a half million
members counted in 1992. Today our membership count is
about 200,000 less than twenty years ago. When you came
into A.A. our fellowship stopped growing. Do you have
any idea why that happened? Did the old members just
die off without being replaced. Or was A.A. changed at
its very core? I will answer that question. Dogma and
distortion have all but destroyed Alcoholics Anonymous.
The means of restoring A.A. to an accepted rate of
effectiveness can be found here on this Forum. I
have repeated our mistakes over and over.
We MUST: Stop reading HIW aloud at meetings; Remove the
24 hr book from A.A. rooms; Stop all forms of chanting;
Stop coercing members to pray at meetings, Stop the
"hold hands and pray" ring around the rosy closing.
Stop making a spectacle of newcomers. Stop allowing them
to make spectacles of themselves. Remove the word sponsor
from our vocabulary. Then the true sponsor will re-appear.
We have made other blunders, but correcting these few
mistakes will save many more alcoholics from a life of
misery and death. Members who think like you are few.
Most alcoholics who share your concerns have just walked
away. I have decided to stay until the end. I see that
you are persistent. Continue to stand up and speak out. Bill
w. often mentioned the value of the minority opinion
such as yours. ANONYMOUS
Thanks anonymous for your share on this topic. Your comments encourage me and tell me I’m not alone.
I too am willing to do whatever necessary to turn AA around from its present course. Unfortunately members who are concerned with what is going on in AA are definitely in the minority. The majority seem comfortable with the status quo and don’t want any changes. Human nature I guess.
I am well aware of AA's dismal lack of growth since coming to AA in March 1990 and hope I am part of the solution and not the problem. If AA is not growing it will surely die.
I am grateful for my 4 sponsors since 1990; 3 who passed on sober. All of them taught me what AA is and what it is not through the teaching and practice of AA’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts.
I too am committed to staying and passing on what was so freely given to me. I come from a long line of alcoholics and I want AA to be here for my children and grandchildren as it was for me. This is a multi- generational family disease and I am sure some of mine will need AA at some time in the future.
I pray that AA does not continue to squander its heritage and responsibility.
Thanks for my sobriety.
How It Works was read to me at my first AA meeting four months ago. It meant so much to me and gave me hope. The words still give me great comfort. Sometimes a reader will rush through the words and I feel disapointed because I like to hear them. I will always remember how they made me feel the first time and when they are rushed I worry that a newcomer may not get out of them the same effect that I did. I am new, so please enlighten me. Why do you feel as though HIW should be eliminated?
I am a newcomer, my first 23 days in over 17 years, and I am so grateful for all those at our ER meeting in Santa Cruz, CA who continue everyday to do 12th step work by sharing their stories, welcoming me and hugging me and sharing with me what I need to do to stay sober. I'll take this over rehab any day! Thank you Mike B. for reminding us to pay it forward because it does work.
I would guess that you are in the fellowship. I
wish you the best of luck. I am reminded of my brother.
He was like that. Driving while drunk, Public intoxication
and just a hell-raiser. He resisted A.A. until the
judge sentenced him to two meeting a week and took
away his privledge to drive for a year.
He celebrated 22 years this past april. I wish you
and your son the same success.
This is my eighth day sober. I'm embarrassed that I still don't get how aa works, even though going to meetings, reading big book, etc. I ask questions, but don't understand the answers. Don't feel like I fit i very well. (never have been able to fit in ever, no matter how hard I tried to figure it out). Am socially awkward, still struggle to read body language no matter how many books I've read over the years. The loneliness led to my drinking to cover the pain of being on the outside looking in to begin with. Tonight went to buy bottle of wine, came home with a bag of candy instead. So going to try to study the steps on my own. Is best I can come up with. Don't want to torture the group with my presence, lol... Is there a way to do the study on line? I lost my family before the drinking started, because I can't do normal conversation, baffling to me how people make it look so easy. Went to alcohol after I lost everyone to cover the pain of loneliness. Thank you.
Haven't gotten "It" yet in eight long days? If it takes you longer to learn to live a great life without alcohol than it took you to perfect living with it then you'll have a real problem. Fortunately we have the ability to influence to time required to a large extent. Keep doing what your'er doing (maybe omitting the wine shopping) an you can get there. I know. I'm one of the millions who have.
I am a loner who can't do it alone.That is what sponsors are for:"To show you the ropes in AA".We loners do it the same way everyone else in AA stays sober:1)Don't Drink 2)Go to a Meeting 3)Read the Big Book,or other AA literature 4)Say Your Prayers,or Meditate 5)Talk to a Sponsor.All sponsors are temporary;they either drink,die,or leave town.Had over a dozen.The important thing is:I asked for help.Takes guts.But you don't have to be alone in AA.
new but dense... you guess... Don't be embarassed. No One expects any one to have answers to questions after 8 days. No one ever REALLY has all the answers ever. I am sure someone would be willing to go through steps with you if you step up to the plate and ask them. You're not alone.
Bud you are early recovery.new to the meetings and confusing.we have all been where you are.we say just keep going to the meetings.they need you more than you need them.just take it one day at a time.God bless stick around
SLowwwwwwwwww Down just take it one day at a time keep going to meeting get their 15 min before hang out after ask people how time they have find some one with 5 or more years and get phone number ask ask ask all you want
How I did it as a newbie. Made as many meetings as possible. For two years I attended three meetings...Fri through Sun. Now I do at least 5 meeetings a week.
Feeling like I was a part of and w God's guidance and the fellowship I got involved w service work...coffee maker, treasurer, got a sponsor who taught me the AA culture. My journey went to a new level.
Fifteen years later and I'm on AA fire. I've learned you get what you put into this wonderful AA life. No matter what happens a drink ain't solving a problem. Our researchers tell us that. Stay inside the AA herd.
Hey hang in there. Obviously your learning something since you bought candy instead of bottle. As you stay around (hopefully) you'll find that many people felt and still do fell socially awkward and out of place. Your're in a place full of people that didn't fit in.
The willingness to not let your shyness keep you isolated at this time will help keep you sober long enough to know every day you don't drink is a miracle,
One day you'll take these experiences of awkwardness and help someone else. I promise. In addition, allow someone in the group help you. Tell someone how confused and alone you feel. You'll be helping that person get out of their self-centeredness by helping you.
When i first came into AA, I quickly learned that it is a language of its own kind. Just like when you start a job, you learn the terms they use for that particular job (in time). AA is just about the same. PATIENCE. You have probably heard this but please get a sponsor. Our minds are a too much of a dangerous neighborhood to be taking all this stuff in alone. Life is awkward and soon enough its all just funny in the end. You're not the only one and you're not alone. And now I'm going to run to the store and get me some candy ;)
No, you are not "dense". Even Bill W. wrote in the
pamphlet "Three talks to American Medical Societies",
that even he could not fully explain how A.A. works.
We can only explain what we do and what seems to happen
to us. What we do is to share with other alcoholics
what we were like, what happened, and what we are like
now. When we do that we almost always lose the desire
to drink. The process is only complicated if we
insist on making it complicated.
Keep sweets available to replace the sugar you were
getting from alcohol. Have a thick milk shake or two,
and you will not want to have an alcoholic drink. I
followed my own advice and ended up in Overeaters
Anonymous, another wonderful fellowship. It too, has
developed into a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM, following the
A.A. fellowship, but it is tolerable and helps.
I have always been socially awkward. I sometimes use
the words socially retarded. I still have difficulty
in social settings but no longer have to drink to
be among people and have a good time.
Welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous. You are in for
the ride of your life. Sometimes it may seem like a
roller coaster, but riding the roller coaster was always
thrilling and you will enjoy this new ride. ANONYMOUS