New to AA
Maybe you are, maybe you aren't an alcoholic. Maybe you can take or leave drinking, maybe you can stop without any problem. I was able to limit mine at various stages of my life, including while in professional school, early on in my career. But whenever I started drinking, I drank a lot. Sometimes I limited my drinking because of girlfriend/spousal disapproval, and often when I did I was quite resentful that I had to limit myself. Over time, I lost the ability to choose whether or not to have a drink. Continued with my athletic endeavors - one friend referred to me as an "athletic alcoholic."
I have a friend with pancreatitis. Not caused by drinking, but certainly aggravated by it. So he quit drinking. No problems, no regrets about not being able to drink. That is a "normal" response. As an alcoholic, I would have looked for the loophole.
So you need to diagnose yourself, but maybe go to a few open AA meetings to see if anything resonates with you. And be honest with yourself and open-minded to the possibility that you have a problem. Maybe you don't.
My first sobriety was in November of last year , I relapsed last week . And coming back was difficult but I did , I figured out that my first time I wasn't putting forth the effort in my program that I really needed to . I did manage to make it to the 3rd step with my sponsor and was feeling really good for awhile but having underlying issues of depression and faltering in my program led me back to the bottle . This time I know a little more about myself as a sober person . As long as can recognize what led me back to drink I.E not taking my medication and not going to meetings , I think I can do it . I do know that having a sponsor that you can relate to someone who has had the same experiences that you've had is a must for me . Just both being alcoholic isn't enough .I think for me it is more helpful to have someone who understands issues like mine , I'm not saying that's why I failed but I think it makes a difference . Agree?
There is a good pamphlet available on the AA.org website concerning other medications. The short version is that AA is not a substitute for any medications I might be prescribed, whether for high blood pressure, depression, schizophrenia, whatever. As for sponsors, I guess we all have different needs in same - I need someone to periodically call me on my BS, and generally keep me accountable. My sponsor and I are completely different religiously, politically, socially, but we both have faith in the program, that honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are the key. I have a few "pseudo" sponsors with whom I have more in common perhaps, and I rely on them for help in certain areas of my life as well. Whatever works best for you is best, meaning whatever keeps you sober.
Following the third step prayer in the Big Book where we “MADE A DECISION…” are about ninety words expanding on making this decision. The paragraph that follows “Next we launched out on a vigorous course of action, the first step of which was a personal housecleaning…” spells out EXACTLY how we carry out this decision. Our founders learned that our prior experience and our thinking is not an adequate preparation to develop the slightest idea of how to identify and carry out anything like life on a spiritual basis. That is why there are nine more steps in recovery. If you complete these you will not need to continue numbering your sobriety dates.
I have been clean going on my 3rd day,not the longest I have been clean but I am doing it now because I want to and not because I was too hung-over to drink.I went to my first AA meeting by choice not by force ie. probation or incarceration,I am scared because I want this and do not want to fail,these meetings have some really good messages but could be boring as hell,just need some prayers to go my way because my children and family deserve better and so do I and my liver,I have to say my new way of thinking I already like!!!
Keep the faith and keep believing that you are doing the right think for you and your family. When you have an urged to go back to the past think of how bad it was and think there is a better way to enjoy life. Find new positive ways to spend your time. Once you do, you'll start to realize there are better ways and you'll feel good about yourself.Not every AA meeting is beneficial to you and yes, sometimes boring. But, when you least expect it you'll hear something that you can personally relate to and it will cause you to think I can't go back to my old ways. Put your time into positive actions for you, your children and family. I'm now at 135 days of sobriety and having fun keeping my streak intact. Keep going to the meetings you'll learn alot about yourself and make new genuine friends. Good luck and stay strong. Pray every day!
I really really wanted sobriety when I wandered into the rooms of AA of my own volition, and listened closely to what each and every person had to say out of fear that I might miss the key to sobriety for me. When the Preamble and How It Works were read, I tried to understand what each word and phrase meant to me. So I did not really encounter boredom early on, and you probably won't either. For me, listening led to understanding, understanding to compassion, and once I felt compassion for others, I was able to look at myself with a little of the same. Good luck
Hi, I am at two weeks. I have been in and out of the rooms but this time is different. I am committed to ninety in ninety and am really working the steps, not speeding through them. I am really tired today and just want to hide in bed. Going to a meeting in a couple of hours. Just wanted to say hello.
Hello Two Weeks!
Hang in there and go to a meeting today.
There is one key piece of information that I can’t find in the literature and don’t hear often enough. I couldn’t learn how to sober up and then sober up. I had to stop drinking and learn to live with the consequences. I’ve never seen it done otherwise in over thirty years. If it could, I think that would mean that alcoholism could be cured with reasoning, thinking. “Figure it out and I won’t need to drink”. A lot of really smart people have died from alcoholism before figuring it out. Still do. Alcoholics Anonymous put together a program of action that arrests the disease. Do certain simple, although not always easy, things and the biggest problem in your life will simply be removed as it was for me and millions of others.
We just don't drink, one day at a time. Some of those early days are pretty long. Living Sober gives some tips, but the stories of how we got through those early days is what seems to help newcomers most.
I am 97 days sober and grateful for every minute of it!! I do have a question. There are only 4 women in AA in my country. One has kind of attached herself to me. At first I was very hopeful, but now I find her depressing and negative. Am I allowed to feel this way? She lets me know that I am not being "honest" and that I am led by "fear" and basically need to mind her. She calls me but I don't feel we communicate and I am left very depressed. I am stuck between not knowing if I a doing the correct AA thing and my personal feelings. I feel that there are some control issues with this person that just aren't for me. She is trying to get me to move away from my home and she tries to get me to feel like she feels. It makes me uncomfortable. I have a terrific sponsor, so I am not sure why this person keeps trying to sponsor me. I would love to have coffee or lunch with her, but when I suggest it, she tells me she can't be bothered but then spends hours on the phone telling me I can't get too lonely..... So, is it okay to limit my time with her phone calls? I am sure she means well, I can't handle the negativity right now. An ideas?
"She lets me know that I am not being "honest" and that I am led by "fear" and basically need to mind her."
Ask her to show you in the AA literature where it says you turn your will and life over to another human being.
Somehow you must get through the "fear" and be "honest" with
this controlling AA member. Be as kind as possible. She sounds like a phone person with unlimited minutes. Be pleasant to her at meetings. Detach with love and without
guilt, and do it soon. Stay away from her and all others
like her. There are many. ANONYMOUS
Definitely it is ok to set boundaries and not spend time with her. I would follow my sponsor's advice....unless it was to go ahead and spend time with her. Maybe later when you have a solid foundation you might see her differently or be called on to be of service to her. She does show you that we all have much to recover from.
This is my beginning of my journey to live sober. I want to do this for my health and my family which I love very much. I'm about to be a grandma soon and I want to be there for every moment Sober I'm hoping ill have others to talk to on this road to recovery. New grandma
Hello new Grandma.
I am new at this too, but already know this is where I need to be if I am going to beat this thing. Just one day at a time. You are not alone and I wish you well.
It has been over 80 days without a drink,
Leaving me feeling I'm on a cloud colored pink.
Every day I do not drink,
I feel satisfied that I did not sink.
I awake feeling happy with lots of new stuff to do.
I go about my day positively and do not stew.
I go to meetings and learn so much,
I meet new people with pleasure and such.
Sobriety is where I want to be,
It gives me hope for the future as I can see.
There's no time and reason for a drink,
I'm better off without it so I don't stink.
There are better things to do than pick up a bottle,
By not doing so, I'm ready for life's throttle.
Day by day I live and pray,
For I am committed not to sway.
I really enjoyed the rhyme!
i hope you used the steps to get that much time
use those steps to contact a higher power
to protect you from the insanity that may return in the next hour
Glad you enjoyed the rhyme. I've done many others shown here below. I'm pleased to say I am now at 98 days of sobriety! I attribute it to my rehab, my higher power, AA friends and common sense of not wanting to go back to my unmanageable and miserable life. Being sober is the best thing to ever happen to me. It didn't just happen, it took work, committment and determination. Life is happy and good for me being sober.
THE POSITIVE BENEFITS OF SOBRIETY ARE NUMEROUS. LET ME LIST A FEW:
You are free and a healthy person.
You learn more about yourself.
You have a good relationship with God, family and friends.
You are happy, positive and content with your daily routine.
There are new horizons and experiences by being sober.
There is honesty in dealing with other people.
There are opportunities for creating new friendships.
There is no more lying and hiding to and from loved ones.
There is a great sense of feeling normal.
You are in control of your life and what affects you.
You save money by not spending it on alcohol.
You only have to live one day at a time.
Hi my name is Jim and I am an alcoholic and am just listening.
Welcome Jim. Glad you are exploring the GV and listening. I hope you hear some messages that resonate with you.
When I first came to AA I was stunned that people were talking not just about their problems with alcohol but about all those other problems, fears and secrets that I was silently struggling with alone. I was amazed to hear how people who had drank worse than me and fallen farther than me were laughing and living useful lives full of love and gratitude.
I found hope and freedom and hope you do as well.
As we say in the rooms, "keep coming back".
Alcohol makes you run and hide,
It makes you feel isolated inside.
Alcohol makes you fearful and unkind,
You must not ignore these feelings in your mind.
You may not feel it, but it's true,
Alcohol is not good for you.
There are times when you want a drink,
Do not go there or you'll be on the brink.
The next time you're tempted to have a Miller,
Pass on it or you'll be on the list of a killer.
Aicohol is the enemy,
Which will be battled for all eternity.
Hi all! Bless you all and thanks for my new sobriety!! I'm just starting to understand working my program and if I become complacent and don't do my daily prayers and get involved in service work, I get that obsession back. Yay! I AM teachable! lol It's been an interesting journey so far, without the help of my home group and my sponsor I NEVER would have made it this far, I may have been dead already by now. I'm starting to get a clearer mind, trying to have faith that I WILL find that job, I WILL get friends again, and I WILL get the faith of my family back. This is a complete life changer / saver, it's really not easy to try to change only one thing.. EVERYTHING. But I have the best support team, I have a lot of work to do, but I FINALLY can see the possibility of not only a future, but one that is Happy, Joyous, and free :) Keep coming back, it works if you WORK it. (So I hear :)
Congrats on 60 days of grateful sobriety. A sponsor once told me he'd never seen a grateful recovering alcoholic get drunk. I never forgot that.
I would amplify that in AA I didn't just get a job; my sponsor had me write down my dreams and I got to live them. I didn't just make friends; I discovered true friendship based on love and trust and service. And I didn't just get the faith of my family back; I became an asset to the family, someone who they could turn to for help, who had dealt with a killer disease and was available to help others. I didn't come to AA looking for these things. They are just a few of the gifts of sobriety.
Two months is a great time of discovery about how great an AA life can be. Sounds like you are enjoying it. Keep Comin' Back!
I came into this house, something of a mess -
Sitting there nodding off and falling out my dress.
Gauntly were my features, hipbones jetting out -
I could hardly cry a whisper or scream a hoarsely shout.
Days of sweating in the cold and shaking in the heat,
I vaguely remember my sixth clean day as I rose upon my feet.
In the car they packed me, I melted down to mush -
Opened the door to a smokey room and whispers at a hush.
I slept through my first few meetings, unaware of the time nor place -
Yet distinctly remember that Christmas meeting as tears rolled down my face.
I never felt as grateful as I sat there and I cried -
Realizing if they hadn't brought me, I surely would have died!
My disease is of the terminal kind, progressive as they call it -
Yet I live today by the Grace of GOD in a room filled with Alcoholics!
Being newly sober and living in a recovery house, my financial means are not that where I can afford to subscribe. Soon...very soon I pray - reading and posting on Grapevine is my new short term goal!
Today is a new day filled with hope,
I will deal with the nasty disease and will cope.
I live today in the new year with great zeal,
I love being sober and that's how I feel.
I do not need a drink to make me feel whole,
I live every hour at a time to reach my goal.
I look to the stars and what do I see,
My higher power looking down on me.
For he is the one to guide, help you keep free,
All you need to do is to commit to him and he will be there for thee.
Happy New Year to all!
No more booze, no more booze.
If you drink, you will lose.
Being sober will set you free,
Today is the day to focus on me.
I wake up every morning feeling alive,
I ask my higher power for guidance to keep my sobriety so I can thrive.
Today is a good day because I am free,
From that nasty disease which brought me to my knees.
Now is the good time to enjoy life,
Because I am sober there is no strife.
As a newcomer, what is recommended to read first in the Big Book? I was told the Doctors Opinion & the first 164 pages. I realize it's important to read the whole thing! But I just want to know where to begin.
I'd also suggest beginning with The Doctor's Opinion and reading the first 164 pages. If you are able to pray I'd suggest asking that your mind be opened to see what you need to see, hear what you need to hear, and do what you need to do. Also it is good to begin asking for sobriety as many times daily as you think about drinking.
Simple, start from the beginning.
Certainly not at Chapter Five. That would not be a
good IDEA. ANONYMOUS
I'm also a newcomer, and I asked a few people with long-term sobriety how to read the BB, and they all agreed to just start from the beginning. :) I find that I flip to some stories when I'm in certain moods to help with whatever is bothering me. I hope this helps!
The newcomer is the most important person in the rooms of AA, so welcome! It would be best to read the Big Book with your sponsor or another alcoholic. Most newcomers start at the very beginning and go from there. The stories are also an excellent starting point. And of course the Grapevine stories are a must also.
I when I was a newcomer, I often would repeat sayings I heard at meetings. Early on I started attending a big book meeting. One time, since I was the newcomer, I said “the newcomer is the most important person here”. I was surprised when the oldtimers said where did you get that bs? Then they showed me tradition 1 long form in the back of the big book. In the 4th edition it’s on page 563. It says- Each member of AA is but a small part of a great whole. AA must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.”
In tradition 1, the group is more important than the member. I know many statements are made in meetings everywhere, but where in the first 164 pages of the big book did you read the newcomer is the most important person in the meeting? Actually, besides a grapevine article, can you refer me to any AA literature that make that statement? I don’t recall reading it anywhere. I’m not being sarcastic either, I would really like to read it. Thanks for your post, It brought me back to tradition 1
We come together in A.A. as equals. No one is of any more
importance than anyone else. EGO deflation at depth is
seldom mentioned here. It has a lot to do with recovery;
the reduction of EGO or self importance. I consider
telling a newcomer that they are the most important person
in the room to be harmful. That is hardly deflating one's EGO. It may sound a contradiction but the newcomer is very
(extremely) important. But to tell her/him that they are
the most important person in the room, can be harmful.
I hold the same belief (call it an opinion if you want)
that the reading of HIW at meetings is harmful and
pushes people away. That is how I understand The Doctor's
Opinion. Chapter Five is an important chapter. The first three pages are one of AA's most beautiful readings. But
that reading aloud at meetings has been the major cause
of our loss of effectiveness over the past two decades.
That custom has turned AA into a strange cult-like religion.
Bill W. advised us not to underestimate the value
of the stories in the back of the book. I personally tell
a newcomer to start with some of the stories in the
back of the book, or read Bill's story first. I found
the stories from the first, second, and third edition
exciting. They are contained in the book Experience,
Strength and Hope, available from GSO. ANONYMOUS
By my saying that "the newcomer is the most important person," I am not saying that they are better than anyone, I am saying that without them, A.A. would die. A.A. was started by the newcomer, for the newcomer.
In A.A. we make simple sayings like this often. To pick them apart and analyze them is falling into the trap of making this program more complicated than it is, which is the whole point of the simple sayings.
People that go on and on about how A.A. is failing the still sick and suffering alcoholics are usually casually dismissed unless they actually put their words into action. Anybody can sit around and list what they think is wrong with everybody and everything else. Usually these people have quite a few years of sobriety and they think that they have it figured out, and if you would just listen to them, everything would be much better for everyone.
While some A.A. groups may have gone down the wrong path with some of the ways that they conduct their meetings, that is for them to decide. There is no A.A. police. We are allowed to make mistakes on our own. Nobody likes being told what to do.
My experience with Tradition 1 is that I have to keep my personal ideas, desires and ambitions in check whenever it could damage the unity of the A.A. group. Because, "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
I think that when someone is new, a new job, a new singer, a new dancer, a new parent. Someone who is new is able to bring life and a new perspective. It also reminds those who have been here longer what it was like to be new and unsure and scared and afraid and wanting to bolt out of the door as fast as they can. I have been going to meetings since February 12, 2014. I am still new and when someone says that I am wanted and important it helps build a part of me that has died. The ego can also be threatened when light is shone on a new person, a new baby, a new employee, but instead of tearing someone down, its about lifting them up and in place lifting yourself up.
Very well said
It was suggested that I start with the forwards to the earlier editions in the very front of the book and then move on to Doctor's Opinion and the 164. This method was also followed by all of the BB study groups I participated in over the years. There are great nuggets of information and pearls of wisdom sprinkled throughout the BB.
The stories in the back of the book have changed over the course of four editions. I believe that the stories, like those in the Grapevine, are intended to create identification by giving varied examples of how different people drank and recovered.
At the beginning and I suggest attending big book studies to get a better understanding of whats being read.
Why not start at the beginning? There is a lot of helpful information in the preface and the forewords.
I have a hunch the authors put the be beginning in the front of the book. Even the dust jacket contains important information. The preface contains information about the 44 personal stories. The foreword to the fist edition tells why the book was written.
You have a choice. You can get the information from it's source or from a guy that heard it from an guy that thinks it means....
I have seventy-four days sober and am thirty four years old. I have been giving this thing a shot since I was nineteen and still have struggled making any progress in my life. Sometimes I am so angry that I could murder someone, or take my own life. Most of my troubles have been with financial security and keeping a job. I have been locked up for drinking more than once. I seem to attract all of these people who like to party instead of people who want to do better and stay sober the rest of their life like I do. I can see others problems better than I can see my own. I wish my prayers would finally get somewhat answered and this bs would end. I am the only one who can change me and with help of a sponsor and home group things are getting better. I spend a lot of my time doing "KP" duty, cleaning up everyone else's messes. I am tired of feeling like I have been shit on and am ready to fight. Thank God I am sober today, and thanks AA.
When I am spiritually bankrupt, driven by one of the many "forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, self-pity," and obviously devoid of any gratitude what so ever, I do what has been suggested to me in the past that has worked: more AA 12 step meetings, more contact with other alcoholics (phone calls), and reaching out to the still sick and suffering alcoholic.
I had a day like that two weeks ago. I was laid off in November and I have been going to more meetings and doing more service work. I woke up one morning angry and discontented about my job situation, and I knew that I had to do something about it right away. I went to three meetings, made some phone calls and spoke at a treatment center. But the more time that I had to "think," the more I felt myself slipping back into self-pity, resentment, etc. But the action that I took made me feel safer and it gave me hope that tomorrow would be better.
When I am in a tight spot, nothing I can tell myself makes it any better; nor can I pray or meditate myself out of this jam. By myself, I am completely powerless over this "seemingly hopeless state of mind."
It is only by my positive action that I can keep myself away from that first drink. And what keeps me safe during this time is others. With the help of others I am restored to sanity. Much to my disappointment, this takes time. After nearly four years of sobriety, it takes a day or two, instead of a week or two. Before AA, this was a constant state of mind.
I don't like asking for help. I feel like a looser. I think that I am a big boy and I should be able to take care of myself and my problems. But the reality is, as I have learned over and over, it that I need help. I am often wrong in my thinking. AA has taught me a new way of living that I never dreamed possible.
Thank you everyone that shares and comments here. You are all part of my Higher Power that keeps me spiritually fit so that I don't need to drink to feel better. I love you all!
The BB says that resentment is the number one offender that destroys more alcoholics than anything else. It also says that anger is the dubious luxury of normal men but is poison for alcoholics. Thankfully, we have a solution in the steps, especially the 4th step, where we have the opportunity to identify and deal with the people, ideas, institutions, situations...that piss us off.
The practices and principles that are in the steps are the key to freedom, recovery and a life that is happy, joyous and free.
I would wish you the best. Give up cleaning up everyone's messes. Did you ever think that you may have a need to do that rather than face your own issues and needs? I think if you can stop worrying about others and take care of yourself; you'll find yourself in a better place. You must come first. We really can't take care of others until we tend to ourselves first. Good luck.