New to AA

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Anonymous
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.

Anonymous
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."

Anonymous
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.

sisterinlaw
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Joined: 2011-09-10
New to aa...family 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.

captdeep6
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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.

Anonymous
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.

dmobley
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Joined: 2011-08-11
Interventions

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

AX011755
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Joined: 2011-09-13
dealing with the alcoholic

Members and friends of alcoholics tend to be as puzzled by the disease as the alcoholic themself. Please give Al Anon a shot, they are wonderful and understand. The biggest lesson is that you didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it. You will find love, comfort and support in the Al Anon family, I know I have. I have been married to an alcoholic in recovery for over 17 years and even though she was in recovery, I needed what Al Anon had to offer. God bless you on your journey.

Anonymous
family member

There are many like her. You can help the alcoholic. First
try to fully understand that the alcoholic does not drink
by choice. You may think so. The alcoholic may think so.
We drink because we have a need (often a desperate one)
that only liquor will satisfy. We develop a craving for
more after having that first one. We may take that first
one casually, as we see others do. We lose all resistance
to the second, third etc.
Investigate AA meetings in your area. Quietly attend
open meetings to get an idea of what AA is all about. Keep
your eyes and ears open. Invest in a copy of the book,
alcoholics anonymous. Offer it to your family member.
Most important of all don't be critical or condecending,
in any way. A pious attitude can be harmful. The alcoholic
is very ill, although you may not think so. He/she may
not think so. You will get suggestions to go to Alanon.
You can try alanon but use your own instincts. Alanon,
in my opinion, is most helpful to family members who
are or have been deeply affected from living with the
active alcoholic. There is no greater joy than to see
an alcoholic friend or family member get well. It may
happen or it may not. I believe with the proper approach
almost any alcoholic can get well. Try to avoid further
confrontations. Avoid becoming angry if at all possible.
Most of us would not yell at a cancer patient. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
New to Sobriety

I often here well meaning folks tell new comers that no one will hurt or reject you in AA. But how can these folks know what the new comer will consider rejection. The term " my higher power " (THAT I CHOOSE TO CALL GOD) was rejection for me! I have read the AUG 2011 Grape Vine (GV) article regarding the "GOD" issue and hopefully it will open some folks eyes to our potential rejection of folks that are "NOT READY".

I have always been a " non conformist " and have been "rejected" by lots of our well meaning AA folks. No one even mentioned a 12step call to this newbee. What happened to " when anyone anywhere ETC ETC "

BOB P VA

Solutions
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Joined: 2011-06-07
I became willing

I love how the "nonconformist" always seem to decry the rejection of others when they are the ones turning their backs and walking away. I don't know your story but my guess is that you have spent a life time REJECTING others, their social norms, belief systems and any authority other then yourself.

The last paragraph on pg.658 of the BB describes your life's philosophy .

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--
that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

I'm sure you will reject this assessment as easily as you rejected the possibility that there may be a power higher then your Ego. Please try just to be "WILLING"

Dennis D.

Anonymous
You Became willing - in what?

Did you become willing to trust in God and clean house OR did you become willing to run for for comfort to a mommy and daddy you know call sponsor? A.A fellowship or some followship? it takes a lot of willingness to participate in comm-ism. Take a closer look inside instead of outside.

Anonymous
RE: I became willing

The paragraph referred to (There is a principle) is found on page 568 in the fourth edition of the BB. It appears on page 570 in the third edition. I have found that
alcoholics are just more sensitive than non-alcoholics. I
try to limit my criticism. And yet I am being critical.
Can you offer any solutions? ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
RE: I became willing

This article reminded me of my third AA meeting. At my first
meeting I was drunk. I arrived at my second meeting too late to understand much of what was going on. At my third
meeting I was awake and alert listening to every word spoken. During the break I did not know what to do and was
just standing off to the side. An oldtimer approached me
and to this day I remember what he said: He did not shake
my hand and introduce himself. He said, "you're not going
to get this program by standing by the wall." I just
slithered away bewildered. I am grateful that I did
not have my own car. I would have quietly left. Another
elder realized that I was new and introduced himself and
showed me around. We went to the literature rack and he
gave me a couple of phamphlets. I learned a valuable
lesson that night. First impressions are important. If
at my first meetings, I had been told: Joe here is your
sponsor. You will do as he tells you. He will work the
steps with you, I would have been dead decades ago. Our
fellowship is about unity, not conformity. Criticism
of each other can be harmful and has no place in AA.
ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
New to Sobriety

I just started going to A.A. meetings and what I've shared and what I've heard has helped me a lot. I stiil feel lost and alone, how can I open up and share?

Anonymous
Opening up and sharing

I am also new to AA I had 60 days on the 20th of August. I always try to share in every meeting. I find myself rehearsing what I want to say over and over in my head. But I have become willing to make myself feel a little uncomfortable because what I say may be just what someone else suffering needed to hear that day. So basically what I'm saying is It makes it easier for me to share by thinking that I may help someone else with whatever wisdom I may have. If I have any at all. I finally got a sponser and am going to start working the steps on Friday. I am excited. I really want this miracle that the old timers in AA have.

Anonymous
Openip and sharing

I feel the same way!!!

Anonymous
Raise your hand and open your mouth

Nobody will bite you or reject you. That's one of the great truths about AA. Everyone, especially the most lonely and rejected are welcome. There's always an empty chair waiting for the next newcomer, filled with fear and trepidation to occupy. That's how we continue and maintain our sobriety.

If it's any help, I was in the program 9 years and relapsed. When I came back 3 years later to my first meeting, the only thing I could say when I raised my hand was, "My name is Brian, I need help because I don't know what to do." And the first miracle of my sobriety happened. Four people took care of me for that whole weekend so that I didn't need to drink and began to teach me how to live life.

And if you can't raise your hand, turn to the person next to you and ask them how they are doing. Before you know it you will be sharing with them where you are and they will be doing the same for you. You will have begun the marvelous journey of helping another alcoholic. As they say in meetings here, "Keep Coming Back, no matter what".

Solutions
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Joined: 2011-06-07
Share

At your next meeting try sharing what you disclosed here.
" I feel lost and alone." That simple statement will open a floodgate of discussion and at the end of the meeting a dozen hugs.
DennisD

Anonymous
Open up and share?

If you're new to sobriety you probably don't know too much about getting and staying sober, so let me pass on what I heard very often when I was new, but never hear now: "First we should learn to listen, then we can listen to learn."
And something I found out through experience:I have never learned a thing while I was talking.
If you really have a compulsion to talk, get to the meeting early and talk to someone, or stay and catch someone afterward.

Anonymous
Open up and share?

When that and your outside sponsor doesn't work try A.A. simply TRUST IN GOD then clean house and share with one that believes in God not a substitute outside sponsorship system.

Anonymous
temporary sponsor westside club Jacksonville Fl (Help)

I have had an alcohol problem since I was 17 and 30 yrs later I am looking for help, yet very reluctant to ask, my therapist suggested I attend a meeting and admit that I was an alcoholic and ask if anyone would be interested in being my temporary sponsor she wants to make certain the person is a good fit for me, however I only live a few blocks away but I can,t bring myself to attend, I was wondering if anyone could assist?

sherada
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Joined: 2012-01-17
temporary sponsor

Go to the meeting. Your therapist cannot tell you or anyone else they are an alcoholic. Go to the meeting.

Anonymous
Common Sense

Quote: "I am fairly new at A.A. But I do know one thing that alcoholics help alcoholics the best and that they really would go out of there way to help"

I you are already here in A.A. and believe what you are saying why the need for another sponsor?- open your eyes you are surrounded by alcoholics, why the need to have to praise someone?

Anonymous
Temporary sponsor

I am fairly new at A.A. But I do know one thing that alcoholics help acoholics the best and that they really would go out of there way to help so dont be afraid to ask and I am sure you will receive help.Don't be afraid to go to meetings they are all good people just like you.

CVHeather
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Joined: 2011-06-06
Approaching AA for the first time

Hopefully you have attended your first meeting by now.
Personally I doubt that I would have ever had the courage
to enter an AA room alone, without having a few drinks. Since you hopefully have stopped drinking, please don't
resort to this as a solution. Maybe you or maybe your
therapist could contact an AA member by phone. Many phone
directories have a phone contact listed. Meet this person
at a location agreed upon, not just at the meeting. He/she
will take you by the hand if necessary, and will gladly
take you to the meeting and show you around. Most, if
not all, AA members will be thrilled to help you. Expect
some noisy chanting and some list of things you must do.
But there are no requirements to attend AA. Only a desire
to get well. Please don't let anyone push you away by
giving you directions. Choose your own "sponsor". It
may be that you choose your first contact, but please take
your time and don't let anyone pressure you. If someone
approaches you and says, "I will be your sponsor", simply
walk away. The same goes for "Joe, here will be your sponsor
and you will do what he says", quickly walk away. This is
not the way AA works, although many members and groups
are conducted this way. I only want you to have the same
chance for a sober life that was given to me, a life beyond my wildest dreams,indeed! ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
i feel your pain, i'm sure

i feel your pain,
i'm sure you have gotten an answer already but i'm 46 had the disease at 18. out of program for 10 yrs. drank hand ful of times in that time but very infrequently. tonight i'm going to my first meeting because this tricky disease is back in my life. i'll spare you the details. i'm fortunate enough to know what meetings have to offer from the past. get to a meeting,you can't imagine what its like looking into peoples eyes and knowing and hearing they know EXACTLY what you are going through, i'll be at a meeting in an hour in pa. i hope you are too.

Anonymous
i feel your pain, i'm sure

i feel your pain,
i'm sure you have gotten an answer already but i'm 46 had the disease at 18. out of program for 10 yrs. drank hand ful of times in that time but very infrequently. tonight i'm going to my first meeting because this tricky disease is back in my life. i'll spare you the details. i'm fortunate enough to know what meetings have to offer from the past. get to a meeting,you can't imagine what its like looking into peoples eyes and knowing and hearing they know EXACTLY what you are going through, i'll be at a meeting in an hour in pa. i hope you are too.

asande1979
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Joined: 2011-05-09
I have been in AA once

I have been in AA once before, so I can't really consider myself a newbie. Let's just say I am the stubborn one who thought I can handle it. However when I got ahold of the bull by the horns, the bull flung me in the wrong direction.

Depression is what causes me to drink. I am a victim of child sex abuse and a victim of rape and have a hard time being around older men I don't know. I even attempted suicide once shortly after the rape but was obviously unsuccessful. So, I finally decided that I need to get myself together if I truly want to be successful and in love with life.

I am not religous either by any means, but not athiest. So the whole spiritual side of AA is something I will try to get used to! I am sorry to be a little blunt, but honesty is what I treasure most when it comes to meeting new people!

Fleettrade
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Joined: 2011-06-11
You are Not Alone!

I have a similar story as you do. I was raised in a very abusive, negative, shaming home. The only way that I could get love is to let the boys do what they wanted with me. I started drinking at the age of 12. I had black-outs from the beginning.

My virginity was taken and I do not remember, but I know it was a black-out and not a pass out. I don't remember even getting into bed, but when I woke up, I realized that something was different! (If I had passed out then someone would have to have snuck me in and up the creeky stairs in that old house ... and if that happened I would have been beaten real bad.

That was the first of hundreds of dirty secrets that I couldnt' purge until I did my 4th and 5th steps.

Many rapes in black-outs after that. Left in the woods - miles from home. Wasn't sure where I was - just walked and walked ... all the time pretending that nothing was wrong.

I have no shame anymore!!

The best Gift I found in AA was that I was not alone! I learned how to live decently. I learned how to take ownership of myself instead of giving me away all the time to people who didn't deserve me.

Freedom to know that I do count ... and I am enjoying this newfound Freedom SOBER!

You are not Alone!

rmueller58
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Joined: 2011-06-02
Trusting

Unfortunately your story of abuse and relapse is a common one. Some women become hypersensitive when the mood altering substance isn't present. Take your recovery one day at a time. Get a sponsor, and begin working on steps.
Your SA issues will be addressed in the steps as well, resentment from something stolen from you.. It may be something you deal with this portion of the steps with a trusted mental health counselor who is trained in dealing with sex abuse.

My spouse was abused by her father during one of his drunken stupors. She isn't one of us, but struggles with serious depression and thoughts.. It will take a patient sponsor.
Learning how to have a healthy trusting relationship with same sex sponsor can provide you a way to work on things.

Do "pine" for a loving relationship, one will come when you are ready.

On the higher power things most of us take it in piece meal.
Myself a born again agnostic. I was raised in a mainstream religion and found "religion" lacking spirituality. I've come to find the notion of being a spiritual being a growing and changing thing. I don't take much stock in religion to this day.

Anonymous
"Depression is what causes me to drink."

Something that has been really hard for me to accept is that depression and anxiety are not what cause me to drink. I drink because I'm an alcoholic. I would drink when I was happy and when I was sad. I've been in the program for a couple months, and I'm starting to realize that depression didn't cause my drinking, drinking caused my depression. I've gotten in touch with my higher power, and I no longer feel that sense of hopelessness.

Anonymous
right on

Hi, I too have had the same experience. My depression is lifting, it takes work but it sure is better now than before. I hope you still feel good.

spb90
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Joined: 2011-05-06
The Newcomer

Like most newcomers I arrived to the rooms a mess. Physically, mentally and spiritually I meet all the common ailments. I was to learn there is something wonderfully reassuring to be a regular garden variety drunk. After two plus decades of drinking I was not where I wanted to be in life and I was sure it was the fault of others.

My early adulthood was one of adventure. Travel, new experiences and cultures became a way of coping with not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Onward I went, too far flung places where new people and excitement were met with the same old me. I’m lucky to be able to say there were many great times.

Then came that time a Customs agent, upon review my passport stated “You sure looked better in the photograph”. The remark became a funny joke among friends but inside I knew time had passed and my life was getting away from me. Years of forcing life to bend to my terms left me angry and alone.

Towards the end of my drinking career I was able to piece together about three years of white knuckling it. But that, as we know, did not lead to emotional sobriety. If anything I got worse emotionally sinking into a major depression. Trading drinks for a string of meaningless sex eroded my soul and risked my health.

In the last year of my white knuckling, life events hit me and I’d not built any support system nor did I have the strength to endure hard times. One December we had an intervention with my mother that exploded in our faces with ramifications felt for years. Additionally, I was unable to start and maintain a stable relationship. Despair settled in and drug usage lead back to drinking which moved quickly into uncontrollable drinking.

For two more years I drank at my problems and to indulgently celebrate successes. Slowly alcohol demanded more and more of me. I’d been aware since college that I was a binge drinker. As binges got longer and more frequent, anger ruled me. Not being able to find a man or a woman to partner with my nights were empty and passing out was my only comfort. Thoughts of suicide plagued me and one very drunk night I made an attempt.

My sexuality plays a part in my drinking. I dated woman in college; three relationships gave me comfort and love. But, there was more to me and fear sent me running to the endless parties and drugs of my 20’s. As a Peace Corps Volunteer I came to the realization I was gay and that I needed to accept it. After two years abroad I returned home and for the next 10 years I lived a gay lifestyle. I came out to family and friends then fall in love with a man.

In true alcoholic and alanonic fashion I became co-dependent and fell under his control, suffering emotional abuse. My drinking during that time was heavy. One time I stopped for four months but got no support from my partner and was even harassed into drinking again. It was not till he started getting physically abusive was I able to end the partnership. Emotionally, mentally and spiritually handicapped I spent the first four months of my new found freedom very drunk and promiscuous.

I ran away. I was lost in life and ran to South America to get lost from everything. But, of course I was unable to get lost from myself and my defects of character dogged me wherever I went. Wanting others to fix me, fears I was not likeable, playing director of my own destiny and being degraded as a man at every turn, led to a self-indulgent seven months traveling alone.

It was in South America I started what was to be my three years of white knuckling it. From a serendipitous string of events after South America, I found myself living and working in Sri Lanka. And low and behold I had a crush on a woman and we spent as much time together as we could. My departure from Sri Lanka was a sad farewell to a wonderful lover who renewed my faith in life.

Upon returning to the States I denied my bisexuality just as I had denied my homosexual tendency in high school and college. I was back home and back in the rat race. Within time my old life came back, drinking and drugging my fears and confusion.

The first person I ever came out to as bisexual was my sponsor. I began to face my fears of not being accepted by the straight or gay communities. It was in working my fourth and fifth steps that I started to see how alcohol was my answer to the insufficient coping skills my defects of character offered. When I could not control life, I drank. When I felt unloved or unlikable and not gay enough for the gay community, I drank. When no relationship could fix my problems, I drank. When I felt not man enough for the straight community I drank and drank and drank away how degraded I felt.

One morning after two weeks of binge drinking I woke up in the middle of the night. Through the blur of a hangover I perceived how insane I’d become. Relying on a favored meditation technique I tried to count my breaths to 50. It took three attempts but I got there. Unable to fall back to sleep I headed into work early. On the drive to work that cold dark December morning I realized my weekend plans were to drink it away and included the possibility I’d drink myself to death. I was resigned to the fact I could not stop myself and there was no reason to try.

Then it came to me. The God of my understanding gave me a moment of clarity in which a tiny seed of a thought was planted. Tired and hung-over at my desk attempting to muddle through another morning, the thought of going to an A. A. meeting crossed my mind like a tiny candle being lit in a large dark room. A rush of willingness ran through my veins as I goggled the closest meeting.

By noon that flicker of a candle had grown to into a flashing array of light suited for an ambulance carrying a man on his death bed. By the end of the hour I was in tears, was given some blue book and a scrap of paper with a phone number. I drove back to work a shattered man who thought maybe, just maybe he’d found help.

That first meeting was five long months ago. In that time I’ve admitted myself to an alcohol rehabilitation clinic and attended meetings daily. But more importantly, I’ve admitted defeat to alcohol, found God and decided to turn my life over.

I pray morning noon and night that God help me see the signs he’s placed for me to follow his way of life. I pray God allow me to be his man on scene, his agent on the ground. With reckless abandon I listed out everything that was burning me up. Flush with anticipation and fear I drove to my sponsor’s home to admit to him and God the exact nature of my wrongs. I’ve ridden the ups and downs of learning what it means to become entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. I’ve been freely given a way to know myself better and have had the opportunity to clearly observe my defects in action.

Humility has never been my M.O. Like that line in the movie American Beauty “I don't think that there's anything worse than being ordinary.” I believed that to be true. But now I feel the awesome wonder of being an ordinary garden verity drunk because there is a program that can help me that’s helped millions around the globe.

Now I long to be just a man among men, a worker among workers a recovering alcoholic among millions of others. I want to humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings so I can help “his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Scot B.
4/16/2011

Anonymous
Any Lengths

Scot,

I was touched by your story and the feelings of not fitting in to either/any community. It's hard to admit things about myself that might make me less popular or versatile to anyone or group I may want to impress or feel that I can fit in with. But the more I have come to know myself through sharing with another alcoholic (this would have been my sponsor, whom I just lost after 25 years of work together) the more I have come to see that I can't try to be anything other than what I truly am.

It's wonderful that you have a sponsor you really can share with and that you are ready to become the person your higher power intended you to be.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Chaula H.
Pittsfield, MA

Anonymous
Find a new one

Hi Chaula,

Thanks for your thoughts and kind words. Wow, 25 years with a sponsor is amazing. I've had mine for a few months and he has me working the steps. I'm not sure how I came to trust him so much. I guess in part I was lucky. He's the guy who called out my name to greet me as I walked into a meeting. In addition to lucky, I intentionally took the risk of being hurt as I started to open up. By the time I was ready for my fifth step I had a powerful internal drive to “put it all out on the table.”

I hope you are able to find a new sponsor and have the continued opportunity to share your story.

Scot B.

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