New to AA

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The thought of the old car wreck is only one of the dozens of tools in my AA kit that keep me away from the first drink. Many are positive not scary. Being scared away from drinking isn't enough.

The promises after step nine in the Big Book all come true for me. Not some, sometimes. Their fulfillment is simply a part of life now.

re 6 days

Admitting and accepting our alcoholism are two different things. Long before I even thought about quitting, I admitted to myself anyway, I was alcoholic. “Sure, anybody who drinks like I do must be an alcoholic, so what?”

Through using the steps I believe I have accepted my alcoholism. I have a deadly, progressive, completely unpredictable disease with symptoms ranging from merely disgusting and heartbreaking to killing and taking innocents with me. I am one drink away from all that. When drinking enters my mind, in less than a second a tape starts playing of a utility pole ripping my car apart. (Happened when I was 21 with lots of years of drinking left). No one can develop that kind of knee jerk reaction on their own. I pretty much quit driving and drinking toward the end but while drinking, I couldn’t possibly maintain the consistent judgment to keep it up. Do you think that a single one of the DWI’s you see in the news every week ever planned to get drunk and drive? Hundreds every week with two strikes against them, trying to control it, and earning that big number three, the felony one or worse. Even if you don’t drive, there are plenty of other disasters waiting for you.

It’s no accident that the first word of the first step is we. When I think “My alcoholism isn’t that bad, I’ve never done anything like that”, I add “yet” because I have listened to enough stories and honestly reviewed my own life to see that WE are alike. We felt the same, we drank for the same reason, we got the same results and for some unknown reason I was given the opportunity to bail out before I progressed to the hell that many experience. Not yet and not at all if I keep doing a few simple things.

Day 6. That’s good. If you haven’t listened to our stories and read them in the Big Book you may not have realized that sobriety does not cause sobriety. Our stories are filled with quitting, quitting, swearing off, quitting. For us only a program of recovery causes permanent sobriety.

Good Luck.

How do you know?

I can drink normal, I can have 1 or 2 and put it down. No problem at all. I rarely drink hard liquor or do shots, I don't drink alone at home. I party with my friends, I sometimes use drugs. I'm in my early thirties now, in my early and mid twenties I drank a lot and did a lot of drugs. All my friends did. I am starting to realize that its not normal. In the last 6 months I've only drank a hand full of times. I don't care either way if I drink or not, it doesn't bother me. I drank a few pitchers with a friend the other day and once I started to get a buzz, I hated it. I was freaking out, how am I gonna get home. I put it down and drank two pitchers of water, got some food, chilled out. I didn't like the feeling. I didn't want it, so I stopped.

My boyfriend is in recovery for the 4th or 5th time, he's doing really well. I didn't drink his first 90 days, I did it to support him, I didn't know what else to do besides listen. I'm still not drinking much and I'm losing my mind. I'm always anxious, I'm losing weight, I'm having trouble sleeping, I'm always tired, I can't concentrate on anything. I cry and cry and cry and I have horrible anxiety attacks, they get so bad I dry heave. I see him growing as a person, he's happier, calmer, easier to be around. He pays less and less attention to me, he doesn't understand why I'm so upset all the time and he tells me, you're "dry". You used to drink to mask whatever is wrong with you. You're dry dry dry dry, work a program. I started therapy instead. Its making me feel worse.

I did research on this "dry" thing he keeps talking about and I don't know, it kind of makes sense. I go to meetings with him all the time. Most of the stuff I hear makes sense, I understand some of what these people have been thru however I don't think I'm an alcoholic I can drink like a "normal" person. Can I still work a program? Truth is I don't know if I'm an alcoholic or not, no one has ever said to me, you drink to much, or you have a problem. My biological father was an alcoholic according to my adoption records. How do I know for sure, can I take that first step even if I'm not?

If anyone has advice or words of wisdom, please reach out to me.

Joined: 2012-12-25
How do you know

I have found that before I got sober that I spent a great deal of time wondering about my drinking..Trying to keep count, spacing the drinks, and comparing my drinking to others. I am much smaller that most people and if I compared the amounts we could consume, then compared to them, I be a light drinker..
It's not the amount,it's what happens when you drink, but I've found it's even more important to realize what happens when I don't drink.
People who are not alcoholics,don't think about drinking all the time and worry about what will happen when they do drink and how much and who drinks more....on and on..They also don't get irritable restless and discontent when they don't drink.
May I suggest surrendering and not drinking for awhile, one day at a time and attend meetings. At the same time attend our sister fellowship Alanon. See what happens..Only you can label yourself and alcoholic.

re: How do you know

Anyone can be in the early stages of alcoholism. It can ramp up to an irreversable dowfall at any age from 8 to 88. If you drink and it causes you problems, I would be suspicious.

If you have made and shared a really accurate accounting of your drinking/using you sound like every alanon story I have ever heard. You experience all of the dis-ease (bad feelings) that alcoholics have but don’t get the escape from them that we get (got) using chemicals. Their stories conclude with something like “I can’t believe I was willing to feel so terrible for so long.” Perhaps you can leave it behind too.

re how do you know

The shortest definition of an alcoholic that I have found is on page 44 of our book of experience “Alcoholics Anonymous”. It says something like “If when you honestly want to you cannot quit entirely or when drinking you have little control over the amount you drink, you are probably alcoholic.
My wife is allergic to pistachios. After one trip to the emergency room she quit entirely. I also quit entirely so she would not have a reaction to me. It was a non issue. In your case if you substituted pistachios for alcohol, could you quit entirely?
I think only in AA do you diagnose yourself. The only problem is that our outstanding characteristic is denial that we have an alcohol problem. That’s why AA has a singleness of purpose to deal with alcohol and alcohol only. Otherwise we have a hard time getting over the denial of our alcoholism.

Good luck to you and God bless you!

sobriety date

I am new to the AA program bought the AA book read it thru and thru and could not find any mention of having or noting a sobriety date. I am told by members follow the directions in the group with a sponsor, and he does not know why we do this either. Does any one out there know why or where this came from?

sobriety date

It was explained to me once that we have a sobriety date that acknowledges a time in sobriety for newcomers to see as something attainable for them IF they work the program.

Whenever I hear someone who can say I celebrated X amount of time today, I think I can do that too.

Whether they have 30 days or 30 years, it's the reinforcement that AA works for those who work it.

An anniversary is a time to pat yourself on the back and say good job too. Don't forget to remember your good or positive qualities and accomplishments.

Sobriety date

I think picking up chips r great and have felt that way for 34 yrs. it helps me to be apart of . It may be a gift but for me it's required a lot of hard work!

re sobriety date

I don’t know where it came from but was already established here in the middle of the US thirty three years ago when I started. AA has a very unique organization. Tradition 4 “Each group should be autonomous….” How your group deals with sobriety dates is its own business. Personally I think it is overemphasized. How can we read “Probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism..” followed immediately by “Now, has someone earned an award for keeping himself sober for 30 days, 60 days…..?” Of course it isn’t said exactly that way but it seems to indicate the thought behind it. I don’t congratulate people for accepting a gift. I don’t participate myself and merely thank those celebrating anniversaries for joining us, no need to rain on their parade because I think differently. It’s also screwed up because someone with thirty days has more problems and fewer solutions that someone with thirty years. It would be boring if all of the animals in the zoo were alike. Welcome.

A humble thanks

Closing on the 30 days sober mark and am astounded at how much better I feel. The quick response of my brother and a long time member of AA
to my request for help, brought me to the door a door that I had to enter on my own. Finding out through meeting so many others from all walks of life that this disease is widespread and truly deadly brougt a new understanding of the acceptance of a "Higher Power of my understanding", not one that some one else mandated is giving me strength to face my challenges and move forward.
Thanks to all who listen and those who share their incidents and their courage to make the steps to recovery.


A humble thanks

Thanks for sharing Frank.
I have been sober for a number of years and have recently re-visited step 2 "Came to believe..." Mainstream religion hasn't provided answers that I can understand. Apparently I'm not alone in that given the number of titles in Religion, Alternative or New Age Religion in a book store. Filled in a lot of blanks for me.

Welcome to the adventure.

Husband is drinker

I've tried to stop drinking many times and I can't my husband is a drinker and doesn't think I have a problem. I hate that I drink and I don't know what to do. I don't want to destroy my marriage but I think I need to join AA. I have before and then my husband convinced me I didn't have a problem so I started drinking again. No one is to blame but me. Any words of support?

Joined: 2011-05-22
Husband is a drinker

I have the same experience except my wife is the drinker. The very first day I told my wife that I was an alcoholic and was going to attend AA to sober up, she told me that she didn't think I was an alcoholic and that she would not change or stop drinking. I talked to my sponsor about it and he informed it really didn't matter what she did or thought, it only matter what I did. It took almost three years for her to accept that I had the disease and that I was really changing how I lived and how I acted around her. I can say today that after 23 years together the past 13 have been the best we have ever had. If we take care of our problems, we tend to be better around all those in our lives. Life is all about the ride and I want mine to be a sober ride.

To: "Husband is a drinker"

Sound like he is afraid he will loose his drinking buddy.
Do what is right for you! Maybe the marriage will work out
and maybe it won't. Maybe you will end up saving your life and you husbands life! Who knows? "To thin own self be true". It doesn't matter what other people think, what is
important is what you think. If you think you have a drinking problem and you want to quit then do so. Read the
book Alcoholics Anonymous. Go to meetings. Good Luck.

Me and Sober.

Joined: 2013-01-08
Husband Drinker

Alcohol is, at its best, a solvent. It does a good job of dissolving greasy sticky substances as well as marriages, jobs, health and happiness. If anything were going to ruin my marriage it would be alcohol. My best chance of enjoying a happy thriving marriage is sobriety.

Sobriety could not save my wife's first marriage. Yet today, we are together nearly 14 years (both sober members of AA) and have a wonderful family. Her adult children have dinner and hang out with us every Friday night and have never seen us drink. Can you imagine 20 somethings hanging out with their parents on a Friday night? That's how crazy our sober life has become.

At a speaker meeting yesterday, four people with from 5 to 23 years of sobriety shared how AA & sobriety had ultimately led to tremendous improvement in their lives, marriages, family relationships, health, careers...and that today they were happier than they had ever been being the people God had meant them to be.

Certainly many of us continue to experience marital, job and other problems well into our recovery. That's life. But AA helps us navigate through life's ups & downs, twists & curves and gives us the opportunity to become what we were meant to be.

Thanks for sharing your situation.

Quit for yourself

A phrase that is repeated often in AA comes to mind: be true to yourself. I had to quit drinking for myself, not because my spouse or others thought I did or didn't have a drinking problem. If you want to quit, AA can help. As to the relationship issues, those things work themselves out one way or the other, and at least in my case I have found it easier to consider my options/choices rationally when I am sober.

Joined: 2012-09-30
Read just fine to me

You write beautifully. Why not just read those words at a meeting? I promise no one will make fun of you. We all have things about ourselves we don't like. You are not alone in your struggle. I tried the isolation thing as well. It doesn't work for long. It leads to sneaking a drink now and then. You need to share your experience in person with someone. We don't mind being tortured. Most of us live tortured lives before AA. We understand. We can't do normal conversation either. We've all lost something from alcohol. You aren't any differant from any of us. Stop pitying yourself and get to stepping. I see a long and hard step 4 ahead. Hope to hear from you on the other side of it. Congrats for the 8 days. Care to make it nine? Turn to page 112 in your big book and read the first 3 words. NOW Do it. HOW do we get there? HOW indeed. By being Honest,Openminded,Willing. That's H.O.W.

Almost made 30 days but didn't

Hi, I'm an alcoholic that's been trying on and off to quit for years. This go around I started back in Jan 2013 after my husband gave me an ultimatum. I found a good home group, got a sponsor, went to meetings. Sober for 2 weeks than drank when my husband went out of town for the weekend. He found out and was extremely upset with me. Went back to AA and tried harder, another 2 weeks of sobriety and then screwed up again. Confessed to my husband and begged for forgiveness. Prayed and really put my heart into succeeding. He even started going to Al-anon meetings. Got to 23 days and was feeling really good. Planning and looking forward to getting my 30 day chip. Drank again while out of the house, came home drunk. Needless to say my husband is more than disgusted, he's at the end of his rope. Says he won't go to Al-anon anymore because he says by my actions I don't care and am just blowing off all the help and support I've gotten thus far. Went to a meeting with my sponsor the next day and am now on my 3rd day of sobriety. I really want to succeed, I know alcohol is poison to me but I'm so scared my husband is going to leave me and I don't know what to do except keep trying one day at a time. Can anyone give me any advice? How to explain to a non-alcoholic the insanity that says "I can handle this" even thought you know intellectually that you will be disappointing all of the people who love you. I will be grateful for any help or advice. Thanks, Mary

To Mary...

Mary, here is an example of putting "principles before personalities."

This bickering... so silly. Especially because you are new, especially because "one alcoholic helping another alcoholic" is the tenant AA is based on. Not fighting.. and certainly with a newcomer.

I'm sorry Mary. Most meetings you would NEVER see this. What you will see, feel, and hear is SUPPORT.

I believe relapse is part of recovery too, for some. Some get it right away (stopping drinking) and some it takes a little longer. So it's part of recovery until it's not. For a lot.

That said, I was in a meeting the other day where a man with 26 years went out (drank) and after a number of months of drinking, came back into the program. And this ain't the first time I've seen this. And it won't be the last, unfortunately.

None of these people can say they'll never drink again. It's not the way we look at it. But there's a very good chance many will not drink again, and a chance some will. Again, I've seen it alot, even the "old timers..."

Mary, I understand how hard stopping is. I agree it does have to come before your marriage, or anything. It has to be #1. That kept me from getting sober for a long time.

Make it #1, Mary. Pick up the phone instead of that drink (also something I struggled with for a VERY long time.)

My other advice is, when you see bickering start like this - run. Go to another Board, post, or better yet a meeting. Or call your sponsor. i KNOW how hard this is Mary, it's exactly how I felt.

You can do it, Mary. I believe in you. :-)

With Love,

Joined: 2012-12-25
Almost 30 days

It sounds like you're now using "it's a disease" to justify you continually going out. If you don't want to quit now..that's up to you. I have a disease. I am not responsible for having the disease, but I AM RESPONSIBLE to Manage it and are accountable for my behavior.

I also have the ISM, which qualifies me for our sister fellowship. I am responsible to take care of that as well.
You can both get well, but each needs to want it for themselves.. That's my experience.

Mary, part of recovery is

part of recovery is relapse. Your husband has to understand,
and love you enough to see that. You really must also
come to realize that your sobriety is primary important for
yourself, not anyone else. Good luck, I am fighting for my
life right now, and I am doing it for ME.
Good Luck

Eddie Alcoholic..

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Mary, part of recovery is

Steer Manure!!! Saying relapse is part of recovery is like saying drinking is part of sobriety.
First off, you can't lose something you don't have. Any wino who gets locked up on Friday night and has to wait until Monday to go to court will get a few days dry time. And simple dry time is not sobriety, so drinking after doing nothing but going to meetings is't relapse.
Perhaps you might try getting a Big Book and doing what the founders recommend. As it says on page 39 in the 12&12, "More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but it is bound to be a far cry from permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life."

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Mary, part of recovery is

"part of recovery is relapse."
Oh really? And is drinking part of sobriety? This is another of those sayings from the treatment industry that untreated alcoholics grab on to. It gives every alcoholic permission to drink again, and possibly die or kill someone else.

re part of recovery isn't

"...This is another of those sayings from the treatment industry that untreated alcoholics grab on to..."

And did blaming come from the treatment industry too?

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: re part of recovery isn't

"And did blaming come from the treatment industry too?"
Just what are you trying to stir up? The saying, "Relapse is part of recovery certainly didn't come from any AA literature I've read. Who else is responsible for such an outrageous statement besides someone in the treatment industry?
You, or someone else using the name 'Anonymous,' feels free to put the blame for what he/she sees as AAs decline on chips, medallions, holding hands, praying, reading, hugging, etc. etc. etc.
If AA is actually declining it is because we embrace idiotic sayings like this, simply because some 'professional' says they're true. They are as true as the statement, "But Officer, I only had two drinks."


Those who have resentment for treatment centers seem to tar them all with the same brush. My experience and others sharing their experience with different treatment centers has shown a tremendous diversity. From my own, with all recovering alcoholic staff running a boot camp- like supervision of steps 1 through 5 to someone else with bible studies and working on a farm tending cows to another playing tennis with movie stars. I even remember a young nurse receiving aversion therapy in the early eighties. The only thing they have in common is not being affiliated with us. Any other generalization about them is certainly suspect if not something to be shoveled by the fellow on the farm.

Somehow the part in the forth step that tells me that “…we had drop the word blame from our speech and thought…” has stuck with me as a principal to practice. I’ve learned that blaming is un-necessary, adds nothing and renders me less than I can be. I got nailed and good preparing my fourth step, saying that I felt angry when my brother was late in get-togethers with me. It was pointed out to me that I was not the grand time-keeper of the universe or my brother’s parole officer and if I had half a brain I might change my expectations based on past experience. It worked. I expect him when I see him and am grateful for our time together whenever it gets started. I like to be punctual. Not everyone does. It may cause them problems. It’s their life.

“Relapse is part of recovery” is not part of AA, period.
Not satisfied? OK? “Rarely have we seen a person fail…” IS a part of AA and says exactly the opposite. Just like “Half measures availed us nothing…” is the opposite of “fake it ‘til you make it”. Over thirty years and I still concentrate every time How It Works is read. Important stuff in there.

"Part of Recovery is relapse

Soooo true!!
Relapse is NOT part of recovery! It is part of useing.


I feel your pain. I had "one foot in one foot out" first three months. I am looking one day at a time 30 days on Sunday. I have new levels of acceptance that I think came from daily meeting & morning prayers/writing. Just keep doing the right next thing.

making 30 days

what we really have is a daily reprieve contingent upon the maintenance of our spiritual condition. don't think about trying to make 30 days, just stay sober TODAY. Stop trying to stay sober cause your husband will live you, how about, stay sober, because if you don't it will kill you. Do it for yourself, trust in God, then days will turn into months, and so on

Joined: 2012-09-30
almost made 30 days but didn't

Hi Mary, Make as many meetings as you can a day. I had to. I went to 4 sometimes 5 meetings a day. My family stood behind my efforts. I worked the steps with a very good sponsor. I don't know when I quit working the steps and they started working me. Who do you call when you want to go out and drink? You have a list of home group names and phone numbers of people who can help. That's if you're serious about quitting. Keep going to those meetings. Go when you don't want to go. Get a good sponsor who you can feel comfortable with to share your problems. Turn to page 112 in the big book and read the first 3 words. Then DO it.

re almost made

I hope captdeep6 meant 4 or 5 meeting a WEEK not a day. I started with two a week and stayed with that for the first couple of years. My sobriety is a byproduct of being responsible and I had a lot of catching up to do. Work, home, financial and I rewarded myself with whatever non-drinking enjoyment I could think of.

I suppose a person could avoid an epidemic by staying in quarantine, I took the vaccine called the twelve steps.

Almost 30

I read Step 1 in the 12 and 12 every day for 10 days in a row. It changed who I was. All the steps do. You have a disease that is killing about two hundred people a day in the US. Words have completely arrested this disease in millions of us. Words. You have been told this before. Is this any indication of the condition our minds are in? Words. Read them,listen to them, believe then, say them, write them down. Repeat.

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Anonymo

"Words have completely arrested this disease in millions of us. Words. You have been told this before. Is this any indication of the condition our minds are in? Words. Read them,listen to them, believe then, say them, write them down. Repeat."
Not so!!! We can read, listen to, believe, say, write down and repeat every word in a cookbook, but unless we do what those words tell us we can starve to death. The Big Book has an entire chapter titled "Into Action" but none on "Into Words."

More on words

Original word guy here.

“We admitted we were powerless…
I started listening to your words. A lot of your stories weren’t like mine. Then I began to notice that a lot of your stories STARTED like mine and then the disease progressed much further. If we started at the same place and headed in the same direction what would stop my progression? Maybe you quart for breakfast guys are my future.
Through years of drinking, I had developed a knee-jerk reaction; such-and-such happens so drink. I wrote down the history, the progression of this. My intensions, the unpredicted results. Time after time after time. Concentrating fifteen years of insane drinking into less than a fifteen minute synopsis. Just the drinking, nothing else. Looking over this insanity, I was no longer the thirty year old Joe Cool that shuffled into an AA hall to get a quick tune-up for his drinking that had gotten a little out of hand. It had always been out-of-hand. It had always been crazy. If I could think my way out of it, I would have done it long ago.
Came to believe…
If I could trust the God of my understanding I wouldn’t have gotten in to this mess in the first place. I needed a higher horsepower Higher power. I went to a lot of step two meetings. I listened to you guys talk about your idea of God. I read “Religions of the World”. I tested a couple of churches. Watched Joseph Campbell’s “Power of Myth” series. Read “Conversations with God”. Without alcohol to kill the pain of dealing with life’s problems I had never learned to deal with, I was ready to explode. I came to believe.
And so on. Words.
In addition to alcoholism, I also have heart disease. Words won’t fix it. My second sponsor died of cancer. Words wouldn’t fix it either but the work we had done on our alcoholism gave us the courage to face the challenges of life and death with dignity and serenity. We are promised this by the time we are halfway through step nine. Making amends – words…

Into Words:

I must be missing something. Words spoken have certainly
saved alcoholic's lives. Words from some members have
pushed prospects away, before the real message is heard
and understood. Words, spoken and written are our greatest
assets. (tools). Sharing and listening are the fellowship's main ingredients. Writing is also helpful. I honestly do not understand what you mean when you say you use the Big Book, if it is not to read, understand, believe and to speak(words) to other alcoholics? That is how I have used it
for over four decades. Please, take a few minutes to
explain "How Jim Sees It". ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Into Words:

"Please, take a few minutes to explain "How Jim Sees It". ANONYMOUS"
How Jim sees it? Do i detect a bit of animosity here? A resentment perhaps?
In parochial school each of us wanted to be an altar boy. This was 'back in the day' when the Roman Catholic mass was said in Latin. So to serve mass we had to learn the responses. We read then, heard them and memorized them until we could give the proper response at the proper time. But very few of us took the time or made and effort to learn what the words meant.
There's a local gent who could recite Chapter 5 from memory before he had three months in the Fellowship. Knowing the words didn't keep him sober, though it did make him popular at meetings before he slipped.
Words are only as good as the use we make of them. Early in my sobriety I got transferred to an area where there were no meetings and no known sober alcoholics. My last live AA contac suggested (promised) that If I used the Big Book and a Higher Power I'd be all right. If you'll notice, he said 'use,' not read, not study, nor memorize but use. Isn't that what a textbook is for?


No resentment, no animosity. I never wanted to be an
alter boy. I went to public schools. I am grateful that
we have stayed sober all these years. There are so few of us left. I appreciate your service to our country in your
early sobriety. Alcohol helped me get through the two
years in the Army. I did not have A.A. I was not quite
"ready". Thanks for your service to our fellowship,
and for your responses. We are both in the same book.
Hopefully someday we will be on the same page. ANONYMOUS

I know this isn't FB but

I know this isn't FB but super like your comment!

re mary

Sounds like you are an alcoholic of my type. Early on I could only stay sober for short periods by attending meetings and talking to my sponsor. I have observed this again and again over the years. Alcoholics staying dry on the fellowship for months, sometime up to a year. They seem to want to want to stop.
When I hit bottom, I told my sponsor I was ready to do whatever it took to stay sober. He said ok, now your going to do what I do and that’s live the program of AA as outlined in our book “Alcoholics Anonymous”. Until I was willing to do what I had not done up to that point there was nothing anyone could do to keep me sober. He took me through the first 164 pages of the program of AA in the big book the way his sponsor had done with him 10 years earlier. I have not had a drink since and my life is now the best I have ever known.
There is even a couple chapters in the big book for your husband, to the wives and the family afterward. You should read them also.
Good luck to you. Remember you can go to meetings and read until your blue in the face. Take the actions our literature suggest to some, but are directions for those who want to recover.

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Almost made 30 days but didn't

Just curious, Mary, in all the years you've been 'trying on and off to quit' have you ever tried taking the steps?

I am a beginner and have been

I am a beginner and have been sober for two months. I am so thankful for AA in general and for my group specifically, but I am having a problem that has seemed inappropriate to bring up at meetings yet. In case it helps, I am in my mid-fifties, a diabetic, and my choice of poison was red wine. Here's the problem: my sleep patterns are all messed up, and I don't know what to do about it. I am exhausted during the day and often end up taking two to four hour naps. Then, of course, I can't fall asleep at night, and when I do, I have terrible and often frigtening dreams. I can't wait for five or six o'clock to roll around so I can finally get up and get ready for work. I have tried praying, reading, getting up to do something, etc., all to no avail. Sedatives and/or sleeping pills are out of the question for obvious reasons. If you have any experience with this, I would love to hear your advice. Thank you in advance!

Joined: 2012-09-30
Can't sleep at night

You must have a perfect job if it lets you take naps during the day. Step eleven did the trick for me. Meditation helped me tremendously. Lying in bed I learned to relax, clear my mind, start with my toes, go to my legs, up my torso, arms, fingers totally relaxed and comfortable. Nothing rubbing, pinching, or cutting off circulation. Covers not too confining, pillow set just right. I concentrated on my breathing.I took deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Keeping my mind clear and breathing this way put me in rem sleep faster than any thing I knew. It's like I hypnotized myself to sleep. I have a very busy schedule most days. I have learned that I can't take tomorrow to bed with me.It's my time to rest and let the world turn.

More on Insomnia

Another thing on insomnia from the GV

TURN THE FACE OF YOUR ALARM CLOCK TO THE WALL. The day after a night troubled by insomnia you will be as tired as the amount of sleep that you KNOW that you lost. If you don’t know, because you couldn’t see the clock and keep track of it, you will not be tired. I’ve done it time and time again and it works for this alcoholic but it like everything else, you have to ACTUALLY DO IT.
Hang in there

re: beginner sleep problem

Thanks for trusting us and posting here. Small world. Early in sobriety I also had sleep problems. Considering our the change in diet, is it any wonder? A piece from a Grapevine helped me. Quoting an Army study, it was shown that a great deal of sleep is required but adequate rest is. ie It won't kill you. Little comfort eh? I know. So get plenty of rest however you can. Don't fight with it. Do whatever you need to do to meet your responsibilities and accept whatever's left. Getting sober, you are doing a great (although sometimes difficult) thing for yourself. Reward yourself in any safe way you can. You'll have time enough to straighten out your whole life later (as needed). Take it easy.

Great thing about AA is that we can choose as much quality of sobriety as we are willing to work for. I've seen better sobriety in people at six months or two years than some have at thirty. If alcoholism responded to a solely spiritual program it would have been solved thousands of years ago. If it could be outsmarted by thinking about it enough that would have been done by now too. It is a program of action. Meetings are a room full of screwed up people, that's why the solution is always on the wall. When doing a step I was taught to read a step ten times from the 12 & 12. Worked for me.

Trouble sleeping would be perfectly appropriate for any face to face meeting I go to. I frequently find that someone else is having the same problem, whatever it is. It's learning how to deal with broken shoelaces not solving the threat nuclear war that keeps us sober.

Thanks for sharing!

My young adult son (23) told me he went to AA last week. He lives in another state. I'm thrilled, because his father had a drinking problem, and I've suspected as much for my son, but he hides it well. How can I be supportive from a distance? I have just found an Al-Anon group in my neighborhood that I will go to next week, but thought others might have some ideas as well?

Thanks for this service - it's so valuable to find information one needs, online!

Re;Thanks for sharing

I have been active in AA and sober for 33 years and have learned very little about dealing with alcoholism from your end. And for the alcoholic, I am worthless unless he wants to quit.

Sounds like you were married to an alcoholic, perhaps raised one and that's not usually the start of an Al-Anon story. The difference between the drinker and his partner is that we get a lot of anesthetic to kill the pain and escape from the problems for a while. You never get a break. That's why you get crazier. Sorry for the bad news. Al-Anon is the good news.

We both recover by doing not by thinking. Do it sooner, be more helpful to your son. Wait 'til later?

Re: Ideas for support from a distance

Give the gift of Grapevine magazine. Subscribe your son. He will think fondly of you as each issue arrives.

Reply on how to be supportive from a distance

Consider to subscribing your son to the Grapevine Magazine. He will think of you fondly whenever he receives an issue.

Confused and New

After attending meetings the past few months, I can't help thinking AA is religious. People seem over-the-top with God, prayer and miracles. "Stick around to the miracle happens" I'm a Christian and still became an alcoholic so how is God going to help me? One man said I have to obey the 12 steps or else I will die. Another guy told me, "You know what the difference between spirituality and religion? Religion is for people trying to stay out of hell and spirituality is for people who have been there." I thought "How stupid and arrogant is that? I'm religious so I've never been in hell? Only people in AA have been in hell?" My father was mugged six years ago and was left to die. He now has brain trauma and is limited to a bed. I've cared for him because he doesn't have health insurance and the bills are pilling up. The man who abused me to no end and I am taking care of him. Everytime I look at him I have flashbacks of violence. Is this not hell? But he is my father so I choose to love him. Alcohol used to help erase the memories but, when it wears off the memories always come back. When alcohol stopped working for me, I came to AA for help. I'm not angry with God, Job went through worse. If AA is only about God and miracles why can't I just go to church? Don't know if this makes sense to anyone. Thank AA

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