New to AA

580 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2011-12-12
Going to bars

Thanks for your post. I think the decision to go out to a bar and not drink is a personal one. I haven't been sober that long, but my job demands I attend cocktail parties. I have had no craving at these, so it's not hard for me. I think it all depends on how tempted you may be - that's something only you know.

Some friends in the program have spouses that are normal drinkers and even have alcohol in their homes. Others won't go within 10 yards of anyone drinking. For me, having alcohol on hand would be too tempting. As Clint Eastwood said, "A man's gotta know his limitations."

RE: Good reading for newcomers

Try reading the book "Living Sober".
Lots of good tips in there for newcomers and alltimers.


re: socializing

The big book suggests we can go to such places if we have a legitimate reason to be there. I have AA friends who are into music so they will go to bars to listen to same. Still, early in sobriety, that was the last place I needed to be. When I did have functions to attend where there was a lot of drinking going on (wedding receptions, office parties, other parties), I would generally make sure I had my own car so I could leave if I was feeling too uncomfortable. The other issue of course is whether the people I am out with are aware of my drinking problem, that is, really aware of it. Those that are would never offer me a drink. Those who do not are more likely to offer one, and perhaps encourage me to have one. I never turned down a drink in 33 years before getting to AA, so my default setting is to gladly and graciously accept any drink any time. That is why it is nice to be around at least one fellow AA, who can remind me that it would be a bad idea for me to take a drink.

Scared but hopeful

Today is my first step toward freedom. I contacted my local group and I am going to my first meeting tomorrow. I woke up with morning and I had had enough. I went to my doctor and we are working on a plan.
I wasn't expecting this choice to be so overwhelmingly emotional, but it is. Is that normal?

Scared but hopeful

I just started 2 weeks ago. I have had every emotion possible. I experienced the urge to use yeasterday, due to a stressful situation. I was able to work through my feelings. Go tomeetings and listen to the stories. I have been sober for 30 days today. I am scared to death what tomorrow will bring. You hang in there. I will pray for you, as I have others praying for me. Let's pay it forward.


i am a person who has been brought up arround drinking and started at a young age (11) i drink about 2 or three a day when i get off of work and on the weekends find myself drinking a couple of cases and drinking hard liqour to the point that i pass out or black out and dont rember things that i did or said. i have already had 1 DUI and dont know how to deal with all of this i am scared about what is going to happen. i know i need help but i dont know how to go about it.


Get yourself to the nearest AA meeting asap. If you're mind is telling you that it's the wrong thing to do, do it anyway. Go to as many meetings as possible. Ignore the fear and do it. You will find love and support.

re: worried

On this website, go to this page - - which will give you suggestions on how to contact someone in whatever area you are from. From there you can find a person to talk to and/or a local meeting to attend where you will find the help you need. Your brief description sounds like a page from my biography, and walking in to an AA meeting off the street was daunting proposition but ultimately was the smartest thing I ever did.

RE: worried

You certainly have reason to be worried. I, too was very
worried when I found myself where you are now. But I have
some wonderful news for you. You are going to get well. Many
have been just like you and have found a way out. First of
all don't ever give up. It may seem to get worse before
it gets better. Make every effort to find a Third Edition
of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. If you can't find a
third edition (try hard), get a fourth edition at your
local library. Use your computer and you will find our
Big Book. Start by reading some of the stories in the
back of the book. You will find them interesting. I still
find reading the stories helpful. You will identify with
some of the writers of the stories.
Most likely there are meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous
in your area. You can find them easily, and you will be
pleasantly surprised how much help they can be. If you need
a few drinks to get the courage to go, do it. Just please
don't drive to the meeting after drinking. A second DUI
can be very costly and humiliating. Do yourself a great
favor and commit to attending at least six AA meetings.
Some of our meetings are a bit "off the Wall", but if
you go to six meetings, hopefully you will find one that
will work for you. I was just like you, (no DUI), but I
am an alcoholic who struggled with stopping drinking for
a couple of years, until I found relief in the fellowship
in Alcoholics Anonymous. At the meetings, the members may
chant "keep coming Back", etc. I say to you Do Not give
up trying. There is a solution and you are soon to enter
a life you never dreamed possible. Maybe in your wildest
dreams. But as in the movie with Nicholas Cage and that
beautiful actress, It Can Happen to You. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2011-12-21
New to AA

Hello everyone. I am new to AA and I am struggling with feelings of depression and emptiness. The things I did not care about or ignored drunk are hitting me like a ton of bricks now. Any tips??? Thanks everyone and have a happy and safe holiday season.

New to AA

You didn't mention how new. I know a lot of people who are somewhat OK for the first few weeks, but then they get depressed when they start feeling better physically, thinking that they should be better in every way. But really the withdrawal from alcohol takes much longer than the physical symptoms. When I went through it, I didn't relate it to my alcohol use, but I know now that is what it was. By the time I was two months sober, I was going to meetings daily (sometimes two or three times on weekends) and talking to a lot of people, some new in sobriety, some with a long time sober. I had a sponsor. All these things helped me get through. I found out that what I was going through was no different than what other people went through. And I found that talking about it helped. Now one thing that worked for me: I found that comparing notes with other people newly sober was often more helpful and practical than talking to old timers. Also, I found the AA book "Living Sober" to be extremely useful as far as tips for handing early sobriety. It was suggested to me by another newcomer, and I have passed that message on whenever I can.

RE: You didn't mention how new.

Thanks for a very helpful message. I too found that other
newly sober members were somewhat more helpful than talking to the oldtimers. We grew together and stayed sober. I was told by some oldtimers to stay with the elders, but many seemed to be too pushy, and I always had trouble following directions or instructions. Getting sober is not going to eliminate our problems. We still have to become responsible and grown up people, which may take a long time. "Living
Sober" is a useful tool. Just don't take that first drink
as any kind of remedy. It probably never worked before,
and will never again be a solution. Many of us are granted
a "pink cloud stage" to begin our sobriety. My elation
lasted about three months, and cushioned my fall back to
earth. By that time, I was hooked on being sober.ANONYMOUS

New to AA

Hello New,
First, congratulations to you for recognizing your problem.
Second, the feelings of depression and emptiness are not at all unusual. These are feelings that alcohol was blocking. You are to be commended for acknowledging these feelings. Read the Big Book - it contains the remedy for these feelings. Also, keep going to meetings, and get a sponsor and work the steps.
It has worked for me for 5 years.

You are right where you're supposed to be...

Boy, i can't stand to hear that, but i have to tell you, that what you are feeling is what many, if not most of us, felt when we removed the booze from our systems. The Good news is, this is not forever, and it will pass.
We suffer from a soul sickness, and we filled that emptiness with alcohol. Once removed, alcohol can no longer fill that void.
The only thing that really works to fill the void is a higher power.
Alcoholics anonymous is a solution to your problem, and it is a spiritual design for living.
We start off by getting on our knees and asking god to remove the obesession. Then, after a bit ,we begin to ask God to relieve us of the bondage of self so that we may better do god's will.
The bottom line is, when we ask God for help, we receive help. Attending meetings helped me to connect to the message. Over time, i began to recognize miracles that i never could have seen when I was drinking. This affirmed my faith, and kept me going. I continue to ask god for help, and continue to go to meetings, attend step tables, give in the spirit of service, and help other alcoholics get sober and stay sober.
I firmly believe God wants us to help others, and act in love and service. The way to get to that is by taking the 12 steps of AA. That is the path to a spiritual awakening....a psychic change.
We are guaranteed this. The twelfth step promises us this!
Of course, this doesn't happen overnight. Just Keep Coming!

A life beyond your wildest imagination awaits, and it all starts "on your knees". (quote from a great speaker from Boston).
Thou you may scoff, Remain to pray.

Your friend,
Heather A.

Spiritual Help

I believe you are right by going to meetings and asking our higher power for help we get well along with meeting and thePEOPLE in meeetings. I have a hard time asking for help but uncomfortabilit is something I have to deal with . And it works.I'm becoming less and less uncomfortable. I ask my higher power to give the courage to go through with a meeting and to talk to someone anyone even if only for a few minuets. Then when I see them again it eaiser. I'm also fortunate enough to belong to a program that meets everyday . To learn to meet life on lifes terms. I had become very susidal.Today tings are slowly getting better,not perfect, but better one day at a time. So hang in there we didn't get where we are over night, and we won't get better over night. Ask for help. You'll be suprised.

RE: Spiritual Help

For those that don't know it SPIRITUAL is already help - from God alone!

An outside Sponsorship system can enlighten or enslave. Where I live, a cult of extreme sponsorship has caused great disunity. AA suggests we should rely on God (as we understand Him) for guidance, and put AA principles before AA personalities. But extreme sponsors have usurped God and AA principles and set themselves up as tin gods. Sponsorship originally meant paying for a drunk's admission to hospital - not being a lifetime guru.

Am I an Alcoholic?

I am 43 and started drinking regularly about 5 years ago. Now, I am sober all day at work, but I have a 'couple' of drinks every night to unwind after a hard days work, which is very stressful. The couple of drinks equal about a half a 26'er. Am I an alcoholic?

Joined: 2011-07-09

if u are asking the question then chances are that you are.
The only way to really find out is to go to meetings...
If you are trying to control your drinking that means there is a problem...
Alcoholism is not always about the quantity but yet about how it affects you.


Joined: 2012-01-18
Am I an Alcoholic

I too am a newcomer and have a little over a month of sobriety. My drinking, my insanity, was a lot like yours. I never missed work, never went to work drunk, never had any legal problems due to drinking, I had a very stressful job also, but I came to realize that I am an Alcoholic. A couple of drinks a night was generally a pint and sometimes, on weekends, more. Being honest with myself, the saying "one is too many and a thousand arn't enough" is truely the way I feel. Once I had that first drink I loved the feeling.

I don't think anyone can tell you if your an alcoholic and I remember asking myself that question and looking around for an answer when I remembered about a gentleman who called a talk show one night about 2:00a and asked the same question. The reply was from a member of AA who had 30 years sobriety under his belt. He said, "I love green beans, I can eat them morning noon and night. However, never in my 65 years of living have I ever asked another person if I had a problem with green beans!" Only you can answer the question.

Am i an alcoholic

The Web site at has a section for Members to click on, then Click on Literature, and find Pamphlets... P-1, number P-2, and number P-3: Is AA for me? can answer your questions, and P-3 will ask you questions about yourself... these are viewable on a computer in the PDF format so if you cannot view them, download Adobe Acrobat Reader from to your desktop then view the pamphlets... several have more information about alcoholism and AA, but P-3 will give you a general idea about your own needs... Good luck and try to be totally honest with yourself when answering the questions.

Am I an Alcoholic

that is something no one can answer but you now there are some things you can do to help you come up with the answer
if you care to one get a copy of the AA big book two get in touch with AA in your home town and ask were you can find a open speaker meeting no one will hound you they might ask for your address just so they can find either the closest or furthest meeting from where you live its up to you which one you go to a lot of groups will loan you a big book if you ask
lots of hand shakes laughter and good coffee good luck hope this helps ps its free and no membership required

Joined: 2011-11-01
Gift recommendation, please!

I recently began dating a lovely man who will soon celebrate his 25th anniversary of his sobriety. Can anyone help me with thoughtful gift ideas to commemorate this event? Thanks!

re: gift

How about a "One Day at a Time" coin? I have seen fancy coins given for various sobriety birthdays, but as a friend noted on celebrating his 42nd recently, "All I know is how to get through a day without getting drunk," meaning a birthday is just the same as any other day. A humble coin will better express an appreciation for what AA means to so many. But that is just my opinion.

New Comer

I walked inside, but didn't see anything resembling a meeting group; so I asked someone where the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was. I wondered how I should ask. Discretely, but not in whisper; directly, but not like a civilian, as AA members refer to people who can drink normally. The room was in the next building upstairs. One said smilingly, "The meeting's upstairs." A man asked if I was there for the meeting. "Well, yes," I said, "but I don't know if I have a problem."
"Do you want to stop drinking?" he asked. I nodded.
"Then you're in the right place."
I sat in a fold-out chair, part of a curve just beginning to fill up with people. I smelled coffee, got up and poured a cup. The meeting began with formulaic statements read by different people, each one stating their first name and acknowledging they were an alcoholic. The moderator asked if there were newcomers or visitors. I could only sit and say my name.
Soon stories came; and I raised my hand so my confusion could take shape, not one which resolved itself in or through facts, but one which seemed like deeper confusion. As I talked, I noticed people nodding and laughing. I was free falling through sixty-two years in three minutes. The people around me had gained certain invisibility; and that was a leveling like water seeking its own depth and height in light and darkness, storm and sky.
After that first meeting I hung around, and Larry, my sponsor, re-introduced himself. He asked me not to think too much. I had an old baseball coach who used to yell that same advice while I was on the base path, after I'd been thrown out once leading off second base. A woman downstairs turned to me and said, "Nobody comes here unless they need to." This place needs to honor some complexity, I thought; and I fished for my keys.
Six days ago, I first admitted publicly that I am an alcoholic. Periodically I wonder how someone enters "the room," as AA culture knows it, and can automatically simplify things. I argue with a community which has taken residence inside me. I remember my father on the porch, as the R.L. Burnside song says, "an ass pocketful of whiskey." Earlier that day I made a bet -- "yes," to whether he would do violence to my mother; but that actually meant "no" according to my betting system -- everything had to be opposite. I would not be sleeping that night but waiting near the phone to call the police. I never did call. I dialed a few numbers once and threatened to call. But I never heard the voice on the other end of the phone offering to help. Since those days, the reality of booze and its power have attended my imagination. I think about it again; and the way I think about it, the fact that it takes such prominence in my thinking, that it is a complex of my own making that I cannot simplify.
I am lucky not to have perceived my having hit "rock bottom," as I grew up thinking must have happened to recovering alcoholics. I say "grew up," because as a kid in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I attended an organization called "Ala-tots," of all things. I loved my father; I love the idea of him, how he understood his fragility so angrily. I miss his confusion, the way his black hair seemed to shock his face, his vulnerable and dangerous voice.
Nobody says what they don't want other people to hear. There is this question -- Do I want to stop drinking enough to do whatever is necessary to allow me to stop? I'm dishonest in ways I cannot know; I'm willing to do harm in ways beyond my will and knowledge. I'm like everyone else.


When I finally decided to stop drinking I feel alone. This experience made me see that my only friends (so called) were at the bar. Now my desicion to stop going to the bar and begin the process of changing people, places, and things to help me stay sober, I feel alone. I lost everything during this bender and I feel alone. I'm been going to meetings but I see happy people and I'm not happy as I still feel alone. Anyone; any suggestions.
Mando alcoholic

You don't have to feel alone

I stopped drinking just 36 days ago. I completely sympathize with your feeling of being alone. My so-called best friend was my drinking buddy, but now I can't have anything to do with her. I have found much solace in going to AA meetings and working with my sponsor. If you have not gotten yourself a sponsor yet, I strongly suggest that you do. Also, let others at meetings know that you are a newcomer. Ask people during the meeting if anyone wants to go for coffee. I had to do these same things. It's surprisingly easy to find a person or people who are happy to have a coffee and talk to you. AA is a wonderful place where we all have something in common. Congratulations on taking a major important step in your life. I know how hard it is and you are doing the right thing for yourself.

RE: Alone

Welcome to A.A. - A.A. works and works good
what a great start If the second step is taken you will never ever be alone again - If you don't have the willingness there is outside help available call sponsor - If that don't work go back to the personal willingness and trust in God - After you can trust in God the fear leaves and the journey begins.

Go to as many meeting as you can find and your heart will discover what a true fellow ship is but watch out people get easily diverted by people places and things from outside as if they were part of.
A great self discovery program A.A. is.

Joined: 2011-10-06
I feel the same way I also

I feel the same way I also feel very board when I am with these people or at these places. Things are totally different when your sober. But I feel so much better fiscally that I can't let that go. So I guess in time things will become normal again. I hope for you also. I only have 60days tomorrow

where do I start?

I realize drinking is controlling me, I can't control my drinking. It is affecting every aspect of my life, and I want to,need to quit. I tell myself I'm a "functional" drunk, but its not true. I would like to find an online buddy to talk to, because then I can truly be anonymous and truly honest. Can someone help me? I am a 54 yr old woman.



where do I start?

Do not drink today. Pray. Be strong today!

Joined: 2011-10-06
I can

How do we do that does this show my email?

RE: where do I start?

Start with trusting in God and when a sponsor and groups fail you Start with trusting in God and when material goodness fails you Start with trusting in God. We only have 3 pertinent ideas A,B,C

Once you get that down then clean house.
P.S maybe you already started in one form or another.

where do I start?

I too am looking for an "online" buddy but I am not someone who should be sponsor. I received a DUI in April but have found that going to AA has changed my life. I am a little lost as to how to proceed due to being in a small town and not I guess a typical alcoholic. I have been going to weekly meeting and am reading the big book daily. I read daily from the "Twenty-Four Hours a Day" book also. If you decide we might be online buddies please feel free to respond to this thread.


i WENT TO MY FIRST MEETING LAST WEEK. PEOPLE WERE SO KIND. I WAS IN A ROOM WITH PEOPLE , WHO FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, UNDERSTOOD WHAT I WAS FEELING AND GOING THROUGH.I suggest you look up a meeting near you and go. A weight has been taken off my shoulders.When you go to a meeting, you are anonymous, and their is so much support. Please find a meeting.

getting honest

This reminds me how I was early on. When I was going to share my first really honest 5th step with my sponsor, I was thinking I wanted to be in one corner of a dark room with her in the other corner.
Going to a lot of meetings, especially women's meetings helped me to know that I was not the only one with terrible secrets. I heard other people sharing comfortably what I was going to take to the grave. My sponsor shared some startling events that she did in her life and that helped too.
I didn't know that the disease was lying to me and telling me that I was different and the only one who had that secret.
Now, I'm coming up on 22 years and I tell those secrets out loud whenever it will help someone else. The shame is gone.

Joined: 2011-09-28
28 days here, 59 yr od woman

I have 28 days today, have been going to meetings for 21 months. Finally getting it. I originally started AA because my husband was pressuring me, and I knew I had a problem but, I kept sneaking and drinking. I am now working with two women who I call everyday and at 10:00 after the liquor store closes. I had a very high bottom. Didn't lose house, husband, job. Still I felt depressed and scared.
Keep the faith, find some good people and ask them to help you. That finally made a difference for me. I am still fragile but, taking it a day at a time as we say.

One day here, hopefully

Well, I can't drink tonight, as I drank it all.

Joined: 2012-12-25
High Bottom?

A new comer once shared at a meeting that our bottom is when we stop digging. I know a woman who just past away with a little over 20 years of sobriety.
She got sober in her 80s and had a slip after almost 1 year..but lived past 100 sober and happy. Never too late..


Hello congrats

my belief .......forgot to write in, please add

i am still a substance abuser though. smoked for 30 years and still do. now my substances are just nicotine and caffeine.

RE: my belief

It's not who or what you believe in, It's what you rely on God or man your choice always!!!!

my belief

my problem with alchohol is indeed, i cant only take one. i would enjoy then drink more to keep "up" until i would go and fall asleep where i did not have to deal with my various problems. my real problem is that i am a substance abuser. i have throughout my adult life, been and enjoyed getting high on pot. i did it all the time without failing to excel in my work or endeavors. pot became unenjoyable when i developed a paranoia when i used it and i just stopped for that reason. recently i lost my great hands on mechanical job i was lucky to find and was forced to work in a capacity that i could not endure for the same company. then i was going to loose my place to live, all the while i was loosing my ability to work as i had due to various injuries and age related physical failures of my body. as things got worse, i started drinking heavy to get by until i tried and failed to kill myself. before the second crazy attempt i relocated and stayed near a family member and am supported by a wealthy family member who did not help before cause i was living with a family member he hated. totally depressed and messed up i continued to drink heavy until i had to be hospitalized due to a serious and painful medical condition panreitis brought on by the alcohol. i don't drink any more for that reason. i went to a doctor to get medication for various conditions i have blood pressure, cholesterol and was referred to a psychiatrist for the depression and thoughts i was still having about how i would be able to die easily and painslessly, when my time is up in the future. he specialized in substance abuse, and concentrated on the drinking as the reason for my mental condition. he said i would undoubtedly benefit from aa.
my real feeling, or problem one may say, is that i have lived to the age of 55 and have accomplished the things i set out to do. raised a successful independent son, worked till i cant any more. etc. i am a widower for 6 years now, and have no real motivation. life has lost meaning for me. the thing is that everyone tells me things will get better, and little by little they have to a small degree. i don't enjoy any other work accept the mechanical type and there is no market for my skills these days. i don't want to work to learn anything else. my mechanical work was something that i did well naturally due to my abilities in that area. anyway the real fear i have now is to get older, sicker, be in pain, not be able to care for myself and have to live with that as well as be a burden,not me baby!!! i am comfortable and satisfied with what i am and have done, and am not afraid to die. i don't want to, but i would prefer to go than live that way. this world however does not allow that and force you to live as long as possible despite any sickness, pain and suffering. get it??..... lastly i did not particularly like all the references to God in the AA web page. that's my story, and i'm sticking to it :) ok tell me where i am wrong in my beliefs. with out the usual yadah yadah i have heard from everyone so far, (if possible)

my belief

In my neighborhood there is an AA meeting for agnostics. I went a couple of times and people rarely mentioned God, except occasionally to talk about why they had trouble believing in one. Mostly people talked about how things got better when they stopped drinking and why it was better. Maybe there is a similar meeting in your neighborhood? I'm not saying you should go, but I wanted to mention there is maybe an option like that you could check out if you wanted to.

RE: "my belief"

As the other poster suggests, AA is not THE path, rather it is merely what folks like me that could not stop drinking have found to help get through the day without drinking and maybe learn to enjoy life without drinking. It is not for me or anyone else to say what you need or don't need. With pancreatitis, drinking is not a good idea for you, so it you can not drink without AA, great. The "God stuff" in AA always did bother me, but it does to a lesser extent now, and I recognize that if that is what others need to keep them sober, more power to them, as long as they do not try to force their beliefs on me. But I have come to genuinely value something I learned through AA, even though it is something I should have picked up when I was in kindergarten, and that is the benefit to me of helping someone else. I am about to find some charity I can do volunteer work for, drag my self-absorbed 15-year old son along, so maybe, just maybe, he will come to realize that it is not all about him, and that helping others makes us feel better about ourselves and the wider world. As my favorite Pope put it, "In faith and hope the world will disagree, but all mankind's concern is charity."

Respond to "my belief"

One thing AA does NOT do is try to convince someone they should want AA. It's a resource that's available if you want it, but not everybody wants it, and that's fine. There are many paths.

Joined: 2011-09-10
New to member

I just recently had a major confrontation with my sister in law who is clearly an alcoholic. I came to check out aa as I need help in dealing with her and the fallout from being the first in the family who has the strength to confront her. Any suggestions? I desperately need help.

Joined: 2012-09-30
Family Member

Hi, There is a support group for family members that live with alcoholics. It's called Alanon. They can give you the support you need. To find the nearest Alanon group near you, do a search form the internet or check the yellow pages for your area. Good luck and I pray you have patience.

helping a family member

I am a member of AA, have also been to Alanon meetings, and both have been helpful in dealing with my issues as well as how I respond to others' issues. But in AA in particular, I have heard over and over that an alcoholic cannot be forced into sobriety by anyone, that they must choose to do so for themselves. Alanon offers similar comments. And yet I know many people who were essentially forced into treatment by family, job, judges, and they got and have stayed sober. I volunteer for an assistance program for work, where interventions are done for those with alcohol, drug, psychological problems. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't - at least the first time. So there are many resources out there, and whichever one works is best. I agree with the person suggesting attending an open AA meeting as well as Alanon, as it will give you some insight into the nature of the problem and the difficulty you and others face in trying to convince your family member to seek help. But don't rule out seeking other help.

Joined: 2011-08-11

I have not heard much comment over the years about the effect of intervention s in turning people around. I would love to hear your comments on your experience in this regard

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