New to AA

556 replies [Last post]

I am the very start of this journey. I am what the call a functional alcoholic. Always scaling the wall but I just got tired of watching others enjoy life. If theevent did not include an opportunity to drink, I made every excuse not to partake. I think the best decision I made was to swallow my pride & get help from the insanity of drinking at 2 am when I couldn't sleep or a couple of glasses of wine at lunch. All transparent to work and friends. I am to new to give advice on being sober but never too new to expose myself to the fact that I have a disease and needed to swallow my pride. I wish the best for you. Regards from Mississippi.

Re Isolated

Hi Kelly-
Stick with sober folks in AA; we all have our own versions of your story. I like the comment one of your readers made that we can't figure out sobriety first. "We have to stop drinking first and live with the consequences." That was my experience, focusing on "how" to get sober-not "why" things happen.
I"ll pray for you today also.

Joined: 2013-09-11

Just want to say I hear you and if isolated w/your kids......please just pray to your higher power & if you don't have one.....pray to find one.....almost 2 yrs sober and had no money for treatment but simply told someone close to me, I need to go or I may die or kill someone w/drinking and driving. A miracle happened...some $$ flowed in & off to treatment I went and continue my life thru AA now. I am here for my big teenagers..what a blessing. I'll pray for you to get the help you need!

Joined: 2011-05-01


There are many online AA Groups, AA Chat groups and we have started an online video chat meeting. While online AA meetings may help you out for awhile, but it would be a good place to get to now some AA sober women and perhaps find a woman sponsor or a sober woman to speak with on weekly basis.
I belong to to an email AA group with 1 of the women being in the same position as you, out in the sticks.

Joined: 2013-08-30
Sounds familiar. I managed

Sounds familiar. I managed to finally make some positive head-way for myself when I more or less "strongly suggested" that I needed a treatment program because I couldn't do it myself.... not even with a counsellor and a few supportive friends. I also have 2 young kids and my wife really doesn't understand how bad my disease is. It's pretty rough trying to explain to people the extent of my problem, partially because I maintained a pretty good appearance to people, and also because my disease helped me be secretively make some really awful choices.
Anyway..... I'm out of a 21 day treatment program, I've met and befriended some great alcoholics, and I'm trying to work through the 12 steps. I don't dare get complacent now but even at a month I feel like a different man.
I guess I'm just saying you know you have a disease that you can treat so make steps towards self care and take care of it. It's not selfish it's self improvement.... an investment in an awesome future!! Good luck (not that luck is involved)

re isolated

If you put recovery above all else, you will find a way around the barriers you see blocking you. If you don’t you will likely have the barriers removed for you. The boyfriend, the children, the home in the sticks. I guess the car, the license, the money already have been. You expect BF to go to work, pay the bills and not call the shots? Good luck with that.

Only ten years before I was born, a hundred people who had recovered from this disease spelled out the solution they found. For thousands of years before that, recovery was random and rare. By the time I needed it when I was 30; AA had spread hundreds of miles to a few blocks from my house and meeting seven nights a week. Why do you suppose that was? They sold me a book with all of the information needed to recover for less than the cost of one drunk. Still does. Most of it’s even free online.

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 thirty three 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.

Re: isolated

You have to get to a meeting and get linked up with someone who has been where you are right now. Only an alcoholic can truly understand another alcoholic and help them recover. The crazy thing about alcoholism is its a disease thats tells you that you don't have it. You have recognized you have a problem in your moments of clarity now you must take action. I too lived in denial for a long time and rationalized my behavior and convinced myself it would be better next time and it never was until I got into AA and worked at the steps to recovery. You may not be able to drive but you manage to keep getting alcohol, don't let the inability to drive stop you from not drinking. I have brought my family to meetings before, there is no rule that says only X people can be there. Its important that you get there, get a big book, get a sponsor and take it one day at a time. You are not alone.

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Isolated

Kelly, alcoholics around the world are getting and staying sober without meetings. Some, like you, are homebound, others live in areas where there is no AA available. Go to the AA website and contact LIM, the Loners, Homers and Internationalists Meeting. (

I need help

My counselor said I was suffering from alcohol abuse but not alcohol dependence. He said I could eventually drink again if the proper supports where in place. I’m afraid to drink again and some people in the rooms say I don’t belong. I need help.

Joined: 2013-07-03
How many people said u didn't

How many people said u didn't belong in a bar? *never stopped me

Joined: 2012-12-25
Do I belong

The only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. It's a daily reprieve for that day. Don;t worry about if when how long. You are a member if you say you are. Stay sober a day at at time and see how it goes.

re need help

If u think u have a problem with alcohol, u are welcome to attend AA meetings. Sounds like u may be a hard drinker. AA is full of people like u. If that's the case, u might struggle for awhile, but you should be able to stop or moderate ur drinking through counseling and attending meetings. If ur an alcoholic of my type, all the meetings and counseling in the world won't help. U will be absolutely unable to stop drinking apart from Devine help. I found sobriety through meetings where i met my sposor, who taught me the steps ' and the steps brought me to God who keeps me sober if I stay close to Him and perform his work.

Joined: 2012-05-30
re i need help

In Aa we don't diagnose anyone. In our book alcoholics anonymous, in the chapter more about alcoholism, it says you can diagnose yourself. Read that chapter and decide for yourself.

Good luck to you

Joined: 2013-06-27
Re: I need help

I agree with both responders. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous gives clear descriptions of alcohol use, abuse and full blown addiction. Read the chapter suggested by clu-- the best person to diagnose you is you.

Joined: 2013-07-03
Ignore people like this. If

Ignore people like this. If it works for you, you tell them tradition 3 specifically says the only requirement for membership is a DESIRE to stop drinking. You're the only one who can decide. Trust me, you don't care to hang out drinking until it's WAY worse.

Nowhere is it relevant to debate serious drinker vs. an alcoholic. For a professional to go there is unconscionable.

I thought I'd give it a year, and do as I was asked. If i feel better, great, if not, then I figured I could always kill myself then. But after the year, I no longer wanted to. People will start to notice positive changes long before you do. I've seen it in a month, three, six and a year...

Re I need help

You do belong to the rooms. If they tell you you don't, tell them to read tradition 3. If they still big ya, tell them to take their pride and shove it in where the sun don't shine.

Re I need help

sounds scary to me, I mean think about it. When the time comes that you think you can drink, do it. But try controlled drinking. I only say this because in chapter 3 of the big book says to try it. however remember if you have the craving and the obsession, then maybe you should stay sober. I'm only saying, but its your choice. Oh and doctors and councillors have no clue about our disease of alcoholism, unless they themselves are an alcoholic and in the program. Only a friendly message.


re counselor

"He said I could eventually drink again if the proper supports where in place."

Ask the clown where he got that piece of science. Alcoholism is a disease recognized with by the AMA since the 1950's, having definable symptoms and modes of treatment, one of which has a long history of success. Many others have come and gone and lots of people used as guinea pigs died in the process.

My counselor told me couldn't do much for me after a few sessions but AA probably could. That was thirty three years ago. AA did.

Joined: 2011-12-20
alcohol abuse but not alcohol dependence

Keep coming back, and read some of the stories in the Big Book. You will soon enough know if you are "one of us".

I can't help with moderation, I repeatedly failed that course.

re need help

The number of people in the counseling field who themselves have a problem is incredible. That "drink with proper support in place" is the biggest red flag I ever saw.

re need help

Thanks for joining us.
If it makes any difference, I was never physically addicted to alcohol but I was certainly emotionally dependent on it.

Scared - drink
Tired - drink
Happy - drink
Sad - drink
Monday - drink

Progressive? A good bender on Saturday nite at 17. Four nites at 25, 7 nites starting at 4:00 at thirty.

Scarcest part the unpredictability. Once I opened a beer the beer made the decisions which put me in a lot of places I didn't ever want to be.

Also the denial. Some people get drunk, wreck a car, swear off, never touch a drop again or never have more than two. Me? Change from bourbon to enough beer to get falling down drunk and get behind the wheel again. No mater what happened some change besides stopping what always caused was always the answer.

The rooms? If you have a desire to stop drinking the sign on the wall says you are a member. In an organization that only admits people because of their liabilities expect some third rate thinking connected to a loud mouth sometimes. I don't know of any other group of people who ALWAYS hang a sign on the wall with all of the rules. There is a reason for that.

If you want to drink, aware of the possible consequences, drink. If you want to stop, we think you can and don't let anyone stand in your way. Good luck.

re-need help grateful for comments and reply

Thanks everyone! I feel I belong now. I ditched the counselor and got an AA sponsor. He said, "Stick around to you hear your story" I'm not sure what that means but, I'm going to. He's got me on the slogans right now and I joined a men's group on Thursdays. Thanks

Re: "Stick around til you hear your story"

One of the first things I noticed when I started going to meetings was how easily I "found myself" in other people's stories, how easily their story could have been my story. I love the story of the "jaywalker" from the Big Book I can always relate to that one. I will never forget a judge asking me if I knew the definition of "insane" and he stated "it's doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I remained "insane" for several years after that but immediately remembered it after reading about the jaywalker. The so-called war stories you hear in meetings are good to a point, but the real answer lies in the pages of the Big Book and following the steps.

Glad to hear you have a

Glad to hear you have a sponsor. I feel that is the only way I can get past Step One. I thought my story was unique as well until I attended enough meetings that I heard my own story or parts of it in almost every meeting I attend. That fact in itself gives me great comfort - that, and seeing that these fellow AA's have the further experience, strength and hope that I so greatly desire. Keep coming back - It works if YOU work it!

Joined: 2013-06-29

How many times have you been through it? It is a part of recovery...and it's spelled using. :)

Joined: 2013-06-19
Sober 3 days - Itching LIKE CRAZY!

Anyone else get this? I itch all over - came on day 2 - will it stop soon?

Itching like crazy

There's only one solution..... Lots of Gold bond medication.(only joking) The reason why you itch so much is the fact your body is reacting where you are not drinking. Therefore your body being under lots of stress which in some cases makes you itch, while other people may break out in acne, the sweats, shakes, ect. So don't worry time heals, but just worry about today.

Joined: 2013-01-08
4th Step

I grew up Catholic and took my first "inventory" and "5th step" (confession) when I was 7. It was meaningless and remained meaningless to me until I did my first real 4t & 5th step in AA at age 33. Only then, when my life was on the line, did the power of this practice become apparent to me. And what is the power? It is being completely honest with myself, my HP and another human.

Don't get to twisted around the axle with this. Just get a pencil & paper and start writing. The BB has instructions, your sponsor should be able to share experience, 4th step guides are ok. The key is to get honest and write. Start simple. What are you pissed off about and what are you afraid of? List people, places, things, institutions, principles, ideas...You will have plenty of writing to do. You can look at things from a broad perspective such as, "I've always been afraid to....I've always been afraid of, I've always a narrow perspective where you list all of your fears and resentments during a day. My sponsor showed me that when I'm afraid and resentful, I'll usually find dishonesty and self centerdness in the mix.

Anyway, the key is to just get honest & write.

Also, DO NOT THINK ABOUT TAKING A 5TH STEP WHEN YOU WRITE!! Write as if noone will ever see what you are writing because they may not. Not thinking about the 5th will free you to be more honest on the 4th. Also remember, the freedom of this program is that some day you will be able to speak freely, and may even embellish, stories about what you did. You will be free.

4th step

Before writing, I say the 3rd step prayer and then ask for help with the honesty, courage and guidance to write.
If something comes to mind, I write it...I don't say "no I don't resent that one" or "I don't think think that Now". I have given the Sacred the steering wheel and I put down what comes to mind. If it comes to mind, there is something important for me to learn from it.

I do it exactly as the book shows. I make my grudge list complete. I asked for help, so if a person comes to mind, they go on the list.
And my very first inventory had to be divided into 3 sections of grudges. The first was those I can do Now. Those I could do sooner or later. And "no flipping way" Because my sponsor knew that some of us have been through terrible things that really hurt to remember, "no flipping way" folks were done with my sponsor right there. I do the same with the folks I sponsor.
And beginning with the first name I write 1 resentment per line on the left page of the open notebook. I make my 4 columns on 2 pages straight across. Some folks say to finish the resentments for everybody on your list before you go on to the effects.
Some folks say go straight across for each person. Let an experienced step sponsor guide you.
And the prayers are important.. Thank you after each session of writing..and 3rd step and please before each session.

I don't leave off the step prayers as I go through. At least half the growth and healing comes from the willingness to say the step prayers over and over. If your sponsor doesn't know what the step prayers are, you could go through that section of the book and highlight every place where it says "we ask God" etc...and I use the exact words as much as I can...except the thee and thy stuff....

I am grateful to have lived 23 years sober.

Joined: 2013-05-19
New to AA

I am new to AA. I never had the trouble that most AA's seem to have - losing my spouse,home, job, etc. I never got a dui or spent time in jail. I never drank in the morning, but when I drank, I could not stop. I checked myself into detox on May 1st of this year, and that evening I attended my first AA meeting. I had my doubts that I was a 'real alcoholic', for my problems were not as bad as other people's problems. I stayed in detox for 7 days. After my last meeting there, I came to realize that I was an alcoholic; I'd just been been denying it. The day I got home, I went to my first AA meeting in the outside world. I could see myself in other people's stories. I have gone to at least one meeting per day, and sometimes two, and plan to do the 90 in 90 days.

I now have a home group and a sponsor. In my first few meetings I did steps one and two. Step three came soon afterward. I feel blessed that so far, the steps have been easy. I am now looking at starting step four and I know it will take time to get through it. I've heard and understand that we never really finish step four, because we should continue to take a moral inventory pretty much daily.

I would love to hear from others that have had a similar experience and how you got through step four.

Anonymous in Florida

Hello Florida. I'm in

Hello Florida. I'm in Georgia. Got sober 3-4-92. Best decision I ever made. I knew when I took step 4 that I was serious about trying to stay sober. I found the big book a little confusing. I got a legal pad and starting writing all the wrongs I felt people did to me in my life and all the wrongs I did to other people. I would hide the pad between writings. By writing everything down and telling someone in step 5 it was a cleansing of the soul. I feel it is necessary for anyone who is serious about staying sober. We've all done things in our lives we wish we could take back. We can't, but we can put the plug in the jug and get on with the rest of our lives. It is trully a wonderful life being sober. If we can do it so can you. I'll see you on the road to happy destiny. Be well.

I 2 am new 2 AA

I like reading this site it is teaching me alot! I have 90 days of soberiety yeah, but it hasn't been a bed of roses. I too have not had the same bottem as others but my bottem has been profound and is what brought me to AA. I've been so concerned that I'm doing everything correctly that I overwelm my self. I thought I had done the steps 1-3 and began to look at step 4 in my workbook it scared the @#@$
out of me. I miss interpeted it to mean to take a inventory of myself and all I had done wrong that over welmed me to tears!(Hopfully I can soon speak in a meeting without crying never cried so much in my life, never been this honest with others either). Back to the steps, my sponsor told me to go back to steps 2-3 and really look at them again. I relize I haven't surrendered yet! Relizing this I don't think I've ever given up any control of anything and I never let myself or any one else near the real me WOW I really said that to the universe! I know my HP is going to reveal to me myself and allow me to hear from others what I need to hear to guide me on this jouney, he is already doing that. Well thanks for listening to this newbie and I thank my HP for this place called AA

Out here in Oregon

I 2

Felt like I was reading my story... I feel the same way.

re I 2

You already have one sentence of your fourth done and look at the WOW it gave you. Imagine what another will do. (and pick up a pencil)

"I realize I haven't surrendered yet."
Step three is "made a decision..."
Four through twelve are exactly how.
Check your Big Book.

Three frogs are sitting on a log. One makes a decision to jump off. How many frogs are left on the log. Three. I didn't say he jumped, did I?

Millions of us have done it. You can do it.

Made a list of things I want to be forgiven for.

I don't care where your workbook came from, If it scares the @#@$ out of you, sounds like a good one. We can't be the garbage-free people that is promised after 9 and keep carrying garbage around.

Write down that next sentence.

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: I 2 am new 2 AA

Just curious, what 'workbook' are you using? Is it from Alcoholics Anonymous? I'm familiar with the second, third and fourth editions of the Big Book but have never seen a fourth step workbook.


The workbook is "A WOMAN'S WAY THROUGH THE TWELVE STEPS" by Stephanie S. Covington,Ph.D.

out here in Oregon

re workbork

I would suggest using the basic text of AA for a fourth step. the fourth step starts on the bottom of page 63 in our book "Alcoholics Anonymous"and ends on page 71. very simple. If you have not done the steps from the big book, I would suggest to try them first. You are of course in AA, why not try the AA suggested steps? Over 32 million copies of the big book have been sold to date. belive me, alot of sober alcoholics have used the big book format as a basis of working the 12 steps origionated in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous".

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Re: Workbook

But the Big Book is so very unstylish. If women use the Big Book Ms. (oops, Dr.) Covington,Ph.D. wouldn't make any money selling her workbook.


Was it approved by the GSB? (General Service Board)? Jim.
do you ever recommend the 12 & 12 for "working" the
twelve suggested steps? IMO, using only the Big Book
is depriving some of additional information. For example,
Bill writes on page 50 in the 12&12, Just how do I take an
inventory of myself? How do I go about this? I would think
with ten more years experience, more would have been
revealed. Bill was sober less than five years when the
Big Book was written. Keep that computer and your brain
working. Believe it or not, we both share the same
passion. We have gotten "ours". We have lived long lives,
lives we would have missed, but for Alcoholics Anonymous.
We both have deep concern for the future generations of
alcoholics. I have to add "and addicts". If A.A. fails,
N/A and O/A will also suffer. I see this failure already
happening. Our difference is that you don't see it yet.
But hopefully you will soon. But it was very difficult to
change beliefs I have had thought true for such a long
time. My beliefs were changed by tragic events. For
35 years I thought A.A. was "alive and well". Nothing
wrong here, Ma. Ain't it grand that the wind stopped
blowing. Today I see our fellowship as barely alive,
on life support. And it could go indefinitely. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Workbook

"do you ever recommend the 12 & 12 for "working" the
twelve suggested steps?"
Don't you see any difference between the 12&12 and a PHD's step workbook?
The twelve traditions all speak of what groups should and should not do. I believe if we as individual members of AA don't observe them we do just as much harm to AA.
Tradition six says an AA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise. When a sponsor encourages his/her pigeon to use workbooks from outside sources he/she is endorsing an outside enterprise. and unless the sponsor makes it clear that the workbook is from an outside source he is lending the AA name to that source.
Concerning the Big Book/12&12 question, Bill's version of the Big Book was heavily edited by the other members, plus several friends of AA, to make sure there were no loopholes for unwilling alcoholics to slip through. He had no such input when writing the 12&12.

Thank-you all for your

Thank-you all for your comments, I do have the big book and am reading through it also. Currently on page 269 some people say it is a dry read I disagree for my part I've learned so much. AD10416 I have read several of your replies to many on this sight you seem very angery are you doing step work do you have a sponsor? Also you come across as a know it all! I hope you have a group you feel close with and apart of. My heart goes out to you because there must be allot of pain behind your anger.But I do thank-you because it takes all different personalities to make AA work. I have gleened nuggets of wisdom from you, here is a peice of wisdom not from me but the big book." If we are not sorry, and we continue to harm others,we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience" pg. 70 second paragragh last couple of sentences. I think I've shared long enough.

out here in Oregon I'm a alcoholic

No. Thank you Ms Oregon

When we tell a guy it looks like he put his big boy pants on, it's complimenting his courage not telling him he's got a big butt. When I tell a woman, believe me, I mean the former, not the latter. Looks like you put big boy pants on. Good for you. I tried to reinforce your choice for a fourth step guide early because I assumed somebody would try to rain on your parade. I don't recommend non-conference approved literature in AA but I have bookshelves full that have been a great help to me.

And don't forget "We realize we know only a little". Alcoholics Anonymous c 1935

Now, wear out some pencils.

re new and forth

I did a fourth in an AA orientated treatment center in 1981. In part I was given a list of character defects; greed, lust, sloth, irrational fear etc and was to share how these had been a part of my life.

When I got into it I could clearly see how they dominated my life at age 12, 18 and 30,32. Before drinking, starting drinking, ending drinking, in early sobriety (untreated alcoholism). What a worthless collection of junk I had started with and practiced all my life. Think about the Boy Scout (?) trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly ,courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent. I pretty much zeroed in on the opposite of all of them.

Writing them and then reading them on my fifth provided immediate released from some of them and continuing the steps have diminished others to a large extent. Having them removed removes any desire to drink. I have nothing I need to escape from. The world and I am on good terms.
Thanks for joining us and Good Luck.

Joined: 2011-12-20
Step Four

I did mine about 3-4 months sober. I found I could only write for about an hour before being emotionally exhausted, so don't force yourself to do the first one at one sitting. I made myself write 2x/week. Making an appointment with my sponsor to do Step Five got me to wrap it up.

My first one was a rambling autobiography, I did list resentments like in the book, but most of it was freestyle writing. I didn't get everything, but I've done one every year since so I've had opportunity to throughly clean house.

Put some good stuff in there, and pray before you start writing. You can also share your progress and problems with your sponsor or another alcoholic while you are doing it, you don't need to wait until Five to share if something is a stumbling block.

Welcome to the Fellowship, jump on in, the water's fine!

Step Four

Thanks Charin,
I appreciate your help. I like the idea of just working on it a couple of times per week - I'm sure that will make it easier.


I have grown up in an alcoholic home. Have lots of family and friends who, admittedly, are. Yet until recently, I have realized that I am, too, an alcoholic. I would really like to get into program but I am scared. Scared of what others will think and even more scared that my family will take away my children once they know... Could someone please give me some advice?


I use the what ifs to stay out of the program for years and years. No consideration of whether my daughter would be better off without a drunk me in the picture. Fortunately, a DUI took the choice away from me. Coming into the program was hard. Some of the what ifs happen, some didn't. One of the biggest shocks for me as I got sober was everyone already knew about my drinking. I was not as smart hiding it as I thought, But 18 years later, I have not only my children but my grandchildren and great grandchildren with me. The program gave me that and much more. If you want this you can have it, but you have to work for it. I don't know where you are but try to get to a offline AA meeting. Talk to people, ask for help. I have believe in AA since my first meeting. It is my religion, my church, my lifeline. Life is good (not easy but good) today. I will keep you in mind.

me too

I have been an alchoholic and an addict for many years i have been clean off drugs now for a while but still drink. I binge drink. With my new husband i met in rehab. With my kids and new born baby cannot go to meetings (no family or bbysitters). I drink when i am bored, stressed, or instead of eating to loose weight. Have worked steps in the past for drugs but well lost right now. Help

My advice would be to go to

My advice would be to go to a meeting away from where you think people will recognize you. It's supposed to be an anonymous program, but you can't stop people from talking. Or just go to an "open" meeting and check it out. It can't hurt....

re advice

After reading Working With Others I stopped giving advice. I became more helpful.

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