New to AA
I just moved to a new town and I'm going to meetings every day. I had to do something because I couldn't get much sober time together where I came from. I'm starting to meet people in the program but still have lots of down time to sit in my head. I have five months now.
I wish it was like the old days when sponsors essentially spent time with newbys on a regular basis. I've asked three women to sponsor me and one was nuts and barely acknowledged me, the other just didn't have it (nice lady but not ready to sponsor - we are still friends) and now this one has only met with me one time in a month. I am so restless and starting to think that my drunk friends might be out for themselves only, but they're easier to pin down! lol I live alone for the first time and lately I've started actually thinking about giving up. It scares me. I know I want to be sober.. I had 20 years once! But now I'm struggling to stay sober and I NEVER thought that would be me. NEVER. Anyway, I'm staying sober today and I want to thank AA very much. Pam
Of the 201 words in the twelve steps alcohol is mentioned twice God or a Higher Power six times. Your post included the word I seven times in the first paragraph alone . What would a good sponsor do besides telling you that they found the answer to their problem in the Big Book. We're good a picking out what we want, not so with what we need.
I'm new to AA although I have been sober for over 14 years on my own. I enjoy the meetings but I don't know how to follow the 12 steps. I have a deep rooted hatred of Religion but I am a spiritual person. Am I supposed to just read the 12 steps and figure it out for myself or are there people or resources to guide me? Thanks.
we do not travel this journey alone . Go to Big Book Meeting and if u can say u would need and want a sponsor to take you thru the steps as written in the BB.
Hi, It is a suggestion that you get a sponsor, ( another Alcoholic), who has experience in helping others with the steps. You don't have to go it alone. I worked them with a really good sponsor and now live and work with others to achieve sobriety. I understand that you may hate religion. AA is not about any particular religion. AA is about clearing the wreckage away of your past. Finding a new way to live in service of others. Getting outside yourself for the sake of another sick person.
This thought occurred to me in AA about finding a power greater than myself to help take the obsession and the compulsion for alcohol.
If a man is drowning, does he try to analyze the life line thrown to him? Does he say: "I don't like that rope. Throw me another". Or turn his back on the life line and continue to drown? No. I think he grabs the line and holds on to it for dear life and gets pulled safely back. After being pulled to safety, might the man show gratitude to the source that saved him?. How might he show his thanks for being saved?
Your self will is strong if you have been sober for 14 years. But is your self will letting you be happy? I'll let you think about that and cheerfully await your reply.
I found a person in AA who had worked the steps and seemed to have his life together and asked him to guide me. How did I know he worked the steps? He talked about them when he shared.
My first group met in the library of a recovery house. Whenever this guy was asked to share, he'd walk across the room and pull a pamphlet off the bookshelf. I thought he was looney but later learned he was grabbing a Grapevine which had the steps on the back cover. He always liked to have the steps in his hands when he shared so he could refer to his solution.
He helped me build a SOLID AA foundation based on the steps that has carried me through many years. There are many wonderful people and groups in AA that can help with the steps.
If you can get a AA meeting guide or call your local AA Central office and ask if there is a Step Study Meeting or look for 1 in the AA Meeting schedule.
www.xa-speakers.org has Big Book study workshops and guides such as Joe & Charlie, Chris & Dave also laced thru the list of speakers at the site some Big Book studies are laced in, I like the 1 by Paul F ?
Start going to meetings, if you haven't already, and find someone that you feel you can connect with, someone who really inspires you, or someone with whom you feel you could share easily with and ask them to be your sponser. I am new to this too and I just got a sponser last week. You need a sponser of the same gender as you and he or she will help you and guide you throughout your 12 step process. Good luck in your journey friend:)
I had the good fortune of attending a group that had step meetings 1 2 3 in rotation. The big kids were in other rooms. We read from the 12 & 12 and people talked about how they had or were taking the steps. I didn't get anything out of religion either but I did some outside reading on spiritual matters. That helped a great deal with Step Two. Read closely, Step Three is simply "made a decision" about a hundred words later in the Big Book explains exactly how to turn our will over to the CARE (not control) of a Higher Power by doing four through twelve.
They are in the Big Book but I prefer the 12 & 12. There are some audio speaker "tapes" online about the steps. No affiliation, just individual members sharing their experience.
Just search for aa talks and a number of sites should come up.
"Am I supposed to just read the 12 steps and figure it out for myself or are there people or resources to guide me? Thanks."
I'll pass on a suggestion I got when I was new. "Use your Big Book and a Higher Power."
Nothing was said about going to church or praying to any particular higher power, just use whatever Higher Power I might trust.
Notice, I was told to USE the Big Book, not just read it or study it or discuss it, but use it. Beginning with Chapter Five it contains simple details of what the founders did and what many thousands still do to get and stay sober.
I have been thinking about AA for the last 6 months know. I know I have a problem...but I am very much against any sort of religious aspect or teachings (at least what I have read).
Please do not think I am selfish, but I do believe that change has to come from within a person without spiritual guidance.
Just asking and looking for some guidance...thank you.
The word "spiritual" can be tricky and has different meanings for different people.
One fall day while riding my bike up a canyon in Idaho I stopped at a particularly beautiful spot to look at the changing trees and the leaves floating down to a small stream. My "spirit" soared and I felt like the day and the world could not be more perfect. I remembered a poem I'd read on the Hemingway memorial in Sun Valley that he'd written for a friend who had been killed in a hunting accident...
Best of all he loved the fall
The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods
Leaves floating on the trout streams
And above the hills
The high blue windless skies
…Now he will be a part of them forever
It suddenly hit me that I was a part of this forever. It was another step in my ongoing "spiritual" awakening that was made possible and is nurtured in AA.
The word Spiritual is OK. It is when a group of people or organization says that Spirituality is a prerequisite for becoming sober.
I have been sober for years and years and I am not Spiritual, religious or believe in magic. I have not died a alcoholic death.
Many of us come to AA with similar reservations. Some groups and individuals lean more to spirituality than others. You are not required to believe or do anything and many of us attend meetings for a while before seeing what is working for others before we take action. Some never take any action and simply attend meetings.
Our literature spells out "God as you understand Him". That leave a lot of latitude. For some - Good Orderly Direction for others Group Of Drunks. Personally I have God of my understanding who wants nothing but helps me improve my life if asked. If my life is good, I don't want to screw it up by drinking. It's been good for over thirty years so far.
I just can't swallow the idea that God needs or wants anything from me. What, God's going to feel disappointed if I break some rule. Is he going kick some of his furniture like we do and mope around for days? He's God for God's sake. He doesn't put me in charge of his happiness.
I think you are the first drunk in history to include the words "thank you" in your first post. Thank you! I hope you test an AA meeting. I've never heard anyone say "It's exactly what I expected".
I went to my first meeting today. My last drink was May 30. It wasn't what I expected. I do have a faith in God and I am a practicing Catholic. I was a bit late as I went to the wrong door. Nobody talked to me and I didn't initiate any conversation either. I sat in the back so i didn't have to crawl over people. I just sat and listened....took it all in.
The fact that nobody talked to me was a bit surprising and unexpected.
Hi my name is Sanjeev.I am an alcoholic.I love the way you say"took it all in".After many attempts to stay sober I recently realised that a soaked sponge doesnt absorb much however the contrary applies if its dry.So dont worry about conversations with others some of the best you will have is with yourself and your Higher power that I believe exists within us all.Just keep at the meetings and the magic will duly unfold.God strength.
Andrea, glad you made it to a meeting. I remember it being difficult to head in to my first meetings. I felt like I needed a drink to calm my nerves.
In my home group, if you introduced as a newcomer, you would definitely receive special attention which includes a newcomers packet of AA literature, a meeting schedule and phone numbers. YOu would be asked to share during the meeting and would be surrounded after the meeting by those offering support and help.
However,if you arrived late, folks might not know you are new and you might get lost in the shuffle as group members socialized with their friends. Our group is very social and we tend to gravitate to those we know.
Keep coming back, try different meetings and arrive early to introduce yourself. Also, if you volunteer put away chairs, clean cups or whatever after a meeting, I can guarantee you will meet people and make friends. There is nothing like getting in to service to break down social barriers.
Some AA meetings have greeters, some have newcomer packets and some as you experienced just have a meeting. My suggestion is to try going to another meeting or go to just a women's meeting. If you want some attention, raise your hand if they ask " are there any people here for their 1st meeting/"
The Gift of Desperation opens doors to meeting new people.
The personalities of AA groups and meetings vary as much as the those of the next one hundred people picked at random at the shopping mall. The same meeting next week may be quite different. Don't be afraid to ask. The rest of us are there looking for a solution, sometimes we get tunnel vision and don't notice a new member. The vast majority will do their best to be helpful, a few are too scared to know what to do and a few are just plain nuts. If you have had the guts to face a life with the pain of alcoholism just apply the same for recovery. Listen very closely to the readings that open the meeting. Good members live by those words so its easy to spot someone blowing smoke.
Let us know what happens.
Thanks to all who posted to my experience. I went to the same meeting place the next day....early and introduced myself. I met a few other women and got some phone numbers. I went to a different meeting yesterday and this group had greeters. I saw someone that I met at the previous group and had someone to sit with. I plan to continue to go to different meetings to see what other groups are like and find a sponsor. Onward and upward I go
The program of AA offers a spiritual program that if practiced as a way of life can expel the compulsion to drink and usually makes you feel useful and happily whole. I suggest reading the book "alcoholics anonymous" at least the first 164 pages that describe the program and also there are many personal stories in the story section. I think you will find the "vicious cycle" fitting. The book is free at www.aa.org
Hello. I'm not driving and need to get to doctors appointments and shopping. How do I find a like-minded person in my town to help me?
Our primary purpose is to stop drinking and help others recover from alcoholism. Join AA if that is what you want. If transportation is what you want, many of us have lost our license for a while and learned to use public transportation or paid for taxis. It's part of the high cost of drinking for us.
I have been sober for over two years now after drinking on and off (mostly on) for 30 years (the last 15 years drinking to get drunk 3 -4 times a week). I have never been to an A.A meeting although I considered it many times.
Here is my dilemma. My husband of 17 years continues to drink every single day until drunkenness. He has always been an every day drinker but it has gotten worse. We once quit for a year together and it was an awesome year of sobriety. Then we fell off the wagon together and remained so for a couple of years. Since then the alcohol takes more and more of him and never gives anything back. He has taken to keeping a case of beer in the back seat of his vehicle to drink a few on the way home from work. I am tired of the drinking and having no sober adult in my house to count on or talk to.
I have tried to talk to him about his drinking and he just doesn't take it to heart. He says he can't sleep without alcohol. I tried talking to him this morning about giving up drinking and how it is affecting our marriage. By 2:30 PM he had popped the first can of beer. By supper time his eyes were rolling in his head, slurred speech, staggering, passed out by 8:00 PM.
He keeps beer in the house and it used to bother me, but I thank God I haven't had to struggle with an urge to drink in quite some time.
I don't know what to do. Would I benefit from A.A meetings?
I would go to an AA meeting and share exactly what you posted, I too have a spouse that drinks which at times makes me go through the emotional side of my disease. I hang with my wife til the drunkenness gets irritating and kindly excuse myself and say a prayer for her. They have to want to stop and after seeing me working my sobriety she MAY cut back or just want to do something that does not include alcohol. Hang in there and work your sobriety,let Gods will handle the rest,others with your particular situation will give you much better advice then I will as I am 2 months sober, so AA meetings are a must plus fill your library with the books offered Bog book, 12 and 12 etc... It's not the most intelligent of the species that survives nor the strongest but but the ones most adapt to change. God bless
Alcoholics Anonymous can help the alcoholic but those dealing or living with an alcoholic will benefit more by going to Al-anon meetings.
Reading the first 164 pages of the Big Book (especially chapters 2 & 3) will give you a very solid idea of the illness of alcoholism and our solution (cure).
Reading the Big Book you can determine for yourself if you are an alcoholic or not. Pages 20 (last paragraph) to page 26 are the qualifiers were we can self diagnose ourselves.
Hopefully your husband will also read the book so he can recognize if he is afflicted by alcoholism. Problem is, a person with alcoholism must determine that for themselves and decide whether they've past the point beyond human aide.
The Big Book is free online and will tell you everything you need to know about alcoholism and the cure. There is hope for you and your husband!!!
I'm not so sure you should be posting the word cure when posting about AA. AA is not a "Cure" for alcoholism. It's good to share our experience, strength and hope with other alcoholics. One is never cured until they reach the grave.
You would benefit from the shared experiences at AA. Your situation must be very challenging for you. To stay sober while your partner drinks is probably not an easy task. My heart goes out to you. I don't know if an ultimatum will work with your husband but it has worked for some in the past they call it Tough Love to be nice about it. My grandmother was in the same situation and AA helped her through it, she stayed sober too like you. Good luck to you and god bless.
Wow! That sounds really tough. AlAnon could help too. That is where the family and friends learn other ways of dealing with their problems with the alcoholic.
Only you can decide if you want to benefit from an AA meeting. I would suggest a woman's meeting if there is one available. You will probably hear someone else who has gone through the same thing and stayed sober.
I would suggest getting a copy of the Big Book of AA at a meeting. You could read it and maybe leave it out where he can see it. You already know he can't hear you and won't take advice. So quietly taking better care of yourself could plant a seed of an idea in his head. And, you might need some insurance for the day when the desire to drink hits you again.
If you are an alkie like me, it will.
Go online and read the book "alcoholics anonymous"
Particularly the chapters more about alcoholism and to the wives. It answers your questions specifically.
Good luck and God bless!
Thank you. I will read it ASAP
Bill wrote that we ought not underestimate the value
of the stories in the book. Whenever I give a new person
a copy, I recommend that they read some of the stories
and then begin reading the preface and the forewords.
About two thirds of the Big Book are the stories.
One thing I would NEVER do is to tell a newcomer to
open to Chapter Five and read How It Works". Bill concealed
this information (Truth) in chapter five for a special
timed effect. We want to offer the suffering alcoholic
approaching A.A. with an equal amount of Grace. ANONYMOUS
You may not be a member yet, but you certainly meet all
of the qualifications for A.A. and Alanon. Don't delay.
Call today. Don't give up until you get in touch with someone from both fellowships. Find meetings and attend.
Give A.A. a try. You have nothing to lose. No dues or fees,
no membership sign-up forms. I believe a great majority of
our members readily identify with you. Been there, Done that. Keep in mind that you cannot control his drinking.
Neither can he, by himself. Remember, he is very ill. Treat
him accordingly. I have a very positive feeling of hope
for both of you. Pick up the phone and call. ANONYMOUS
Thank you. I am going to call to find a close meeting. I will go alone. Thank you for the reminder that he is ill. In my frustration, I sometimes forget.
I recently moved to a very rural area. Because of my work schedule and location, the only meetings I can get to are on the weekends and 1 hr and 15 min away. I'm struggling with this drastic reduction in meetings. I'm at seven months and where I first started going to meetings I usually went to one just about every day. Plus, cell phone reception is super spotty in the area, so sometimes I have difficulty calling my sponsor or other AA friends. I know that when I pray, meditate, and do my step work that the days go a lot smoother than days I don't regardless of whether or not I get to a meeting or talk to my sponsor. I guess this whole living situation is just really new to me. Anyone get sober in a really remote place like this? What things helped you? (oh yeah, I'm also living in communal housing with 25 or so other field biologists so finding privacy to make calls, meditate, and such can be tricky). Thanks guys
There used to be a group in Alcoholics Anonymous called "Loners International". It was for people just like you that had a hard time getting to meetings for whatever reason. They would write and send letters to each other. I know in the time of technology, this might be a little outdated, but you might want to check into it. Hey, it can't hurt.
thanks so much guys, i really appreciate all the input. i've never known any others getting sober in remote areas, but now i do. once again, it's always good to know i'm not alone.
I worked in a remote area and couldn't get to meetings either.
I read my Big Book every day. I made sure to pray through the steps every day and whenever I got frustrated. I prayed for the folks around me and always someone in particular that I know is having trouble getting sober. When agitated or bored, I made monster gratitude lists with every small detail of what is right in my world. I had tapes then, but now we have CD's, the Grapevine, and online meetings. If you can get online, you can search AA online and find a lot of resources including meetings and sites where you can download speaker's at various conventions and meetings... usually free. Headphones and an MP3 could give you privacy to listen to the big book or speakers. Even a half hour a day will feed your spirit.
At one year sober I moved from Chicago to a very small town in the Pacific Northwest. It was different. I learned that a "meeting" didn't have to be a huge hall with coffee and snacks. People dropped in on each other or met for coffee. There was one lady in town and another out in the country who were housebound due to illness. People regularly dropped in on them and it was understood the door was open pretty much 24x7.
Other guys I knew went off on fire duty or fished during the summer where meetings were non-existent. They'd take a BB, writing materials and their HP and always seemed to return in good shape.
I also learned that I had a few recovering guys on my work crew. We'd have mini meetings during lunch or breaks on the side of a mountain. It was awesome.
Good luck out there and remember that if you are willing, solutions will appear.
I got sober while on active duty with the US Navy, before the advent of cell phones and computers. At three and a half months I was sent on temporary duty at a station in New England. As soon as I got checked in I did what I had been told, looked up AA in the phone book and called to find out about local meetings. I was told that there were no meetings anywhere near my location, that there were't even any known AA members nearby. The answer to my question, "How do I stay sober?" was, "Use your Big Book and a Higher Power." It took nearly a week to remember I was told to use the book, not to read it or study it or memorize it.
I have used the Big Book and a Higher Power since then without having to drink.
Please don't fall for the urban legend that says an alcoholic can't get sober without regular meetings, a home group and a sponsor to hand carry him (her) through the steps. The foreword to the First Edition states, "To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book. For them, we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary."
Some online AA meetings suggestions:
www.staycyber.org forum type of AA with lots of postings by it's members.
wwwintherooms.com has video AA/NA/CA meetings all thru the day & night.
If you just listening would work for you www.xa-speakers.org has over 1000 AA Speakers telling their stories, sharing their experiences and there are some Big Book Studies and Workshops also there.
PS I live in a small town with only night meetings and I work nights.
There are many online AA Groups, some are in the form of email, there are some that are forum type such as www.stayingcyber.org. www.intherooms.com has video meetings during day and night times. Some meeting members listen to the meeting with head/earphones and cover their camera if they share.
I'm sure if you google online AA meetings you'll find some that fit your needs.
If you can download or just listen to AA speakers or AA Step workshops these can be found at www.xa-speakers.org over 1000 AA speakers to listen to or download.
Youtube also has AA speakers also.
Like you I live in a small town with only night time AA meetings and I work nights.
I've just gotten out of prison after 12 years. I've been sober for almost 9 of those years (yes, we sometimes have relapse in prison, too). I've been locked up almost my entire life because of my alcoholism. I took a bus from Little Rock, AR. to Portland, OR. to get to my halfway house. On the way, there were plenty of opportunities to drink one or one hundred w/o anyone knowing but me (or so I told myself). I decided not to take a drink each time I passed the aisle or store w/the alcohol there. I know this program works because it continues to whether I'm inside or outside. I'm so grateful to God and AA for showing me this new way of life....I've got a feeling the best is yet to come if I keep coming back.
I am so grateful that you stayed sober. I want to share with you that every time I see a liquor store or the booze isle in the grocery etc, I talk to HP and say "Thank you that with your help I don't have to drink today."
Welcome back to the world. AA is privileged to have you here. Halfway houses can be a challenge so, you probably already know, surround yourself with those who are IN the middle of the boat. That's what I have to do.
I'm back after three years of my own self-imposed prison. After a long period of sobriety I am back and beaten into desperation to get this for once and for all. I see now how selfish and egotistical I have been even before I drank the first time.
I say I was in a self-imposed prison which doesn't compare to your experience, I'm sure. I'd like to say it was worse because it happened to ME! lol But I respect anyone who can maintain a day of sobriety in such a difficult situation.
I'm just so grateful I have a God of my understanding who believes, even celebrates, second, third, fourth chances. We are His people and he needs us to carry his message of hope, love and forgiveness.
Portland AA is amazing. You have no reason to stray. But if you're a real alcoholic like me, we don't need one. It's God's grace that follows me through each day and the result is that I crave more of this program every day. I'm excited for you. Be well and hope to cross your path one day. Pamela, LasVegas
Thank you for your share and your honesty and for passing on "taking that drink" Like you I too had to avoid going near or down the Beer Isle even when it was calling my name or pulling me in that direction.
Lots of meetings in Portland and some good AA Clubs also. We do hope you do Keep Coming Back.
Over the past 12 months I've quit for 3-4 weeks at a time, inevitably becoming complacent with my control, and then starting to drink again, whether openly or otherwise. If alcoholism is a disease or an illness, I have it. It's kills me to admit it, but if I don't quit drinking I'm going to lose everything that matters to me.
I am not a member of AA yet but I will be by the end of next week. I am going to join mostly for my husband who continues to drink. I have been sober two years.
Like you I started short term. Three days, a week, two weeks. In 2012 I gave up alcohol for lent. It was a struggle at first but doing it for a higher power gave me motivation. At the end of lent I told myself the lie that I could have one or two and stop. I drank a six pack, and a bottle of wine. I woke up with a brutal hangover and that is when I realized I was done.
I took it one day at a time. I look at alcohol as a substance I am allergic to. One drink and the cravings will return and great harm will come to me and the relationships I hold dear.
I pray that you will find what motivates you to abstain. Alcohol can add nothing to our lives. It only takes and it will never give anything positive back.
I was lucky in connecting with my sponsor and getting a homegroup almost immediately. So far so good. I hear it all the time and suspect it must be true. Sponsor. Steps. Homegroup.
Admit it. It's WAY easier before you've lost everything than after. Don't be stupid like I've been. I didn't listen to what the world was telling me, and I've lost most everything. No friends, lost job, losing house. Wake up and get help.