New to AA

565 replies [Last post]
i agree with you it gets better

While I only have 41 days sober I go to meetings 5 days a week I take weekends off to try to spend time rebuilding my marriage of 32 years I have lost 2 out of 3 children du to drinking and a lot of friends who still drink and want no part of me and at 60 years old it is hard to relate to the people that are much younger wish they had a over 50 group . Dave in Michigan

God, Booze and Food

I stopped drinking ten days ago, attended a couple of meetings, and now I'm feeling depressed and frustrated. I'm attending a meeting tonight, but at this point, I'm just listening and trying to get my bearings and the right kind of meeting. I realize that more than one group can help, but I'm reluctant to embrace a strong religious approach. I understand the idea of a higher power and I know I'm powerless over alcohol, but falling on my knees and praying to Jesus (and I'm sorry if I'm insulting some of you) isn't for me.

Any advice?

And, unfortunately, I've been replacing booze with food, but that's just adding to my plummeting self esteem. Please advise and many thanks.

Joined: 2012-05-25
god, booze and food

I was the same. it takes time, you didn't get sick over night , so you won't get well over night. this too shall pass. IT JUST TAKES TIME i reckon. i also am not into the god stuff, but find the serenity "prayer" great a difficult times as a newbie. sort the god stuff out later, meetings and meditation breathing are the road to go. as for food, we didn't worry about it when drinking, did we? natural response. check out . your are doing well, asking for help. hope i didn't add to the confusion. all the best, harry

Joined: 2012-05-25
god, booze and food

I was the same. it takes time, you didn't get sick over night , so you won't get well over night. this too shall pass. IT JUST TAKES TIME i reckon. i also am not into the god stuff, but find the serenity "prayer" great a difficult times as a newbie. sort the god stuff out later, meetings and meditation breathing are the road to go. as for food, we didn't worry about it when drinking, did we? natural response. check out . your are doing well, asking for help. hope i didn't add to the confusion. all the best, harry

reply to God, Booze and Food

My only advice is to keep in mind that with any newcomer (esp those that have been "at it hard & long" such as me) our bodies are going through incredible shock, adjustments, chemical alterations. Part of our body is the brain, which despite the fact that we humanoids tend to poeticize what are brains are responsible for - substituting "my mind" "my heart says..." "In my guts" etc, it is chiefly our brains that regulate emotions, sense of well-being or not. Just as we may have damaged our livers, stomach linings, name your weakspot, our brains are certainly an organ that took a hit during our period of abuse.
Hopefully, your physique, like so many of us, will prove to have been a forgiving, recreating vessel, but short-term you are only normal if you are not "feeling yourself". Our use distorted what "normal" was, and now we need time to return to, and appreciate the "new, real and improved normal".
"God?" Certainly not for me in my early days. "Higher power?" With me, I COULD get my head around that, as it was clear to me from my well-earned bed in detox's (yes plural, sadly) that there was no LOWER power than me in that pathetic state. So sound medical treatment was my first version of an HP. Those folks at least went to college a few more years than me in a harder science:)
Group of Drunks/Good Orderly Direction were new phrases to my ears that subbed for GOD/Jesus, as again, it was irrefutable that AA-folk and following basic advice was a better plan that I had going on in my addled state.
I don't believe AA literature is in refute of such an approach, as props to medical science and arriving at "God of your understanding" abound in the lit.
They embraced science/medical field as well as spiritual tenents. On the science front we know so much more than we did in 1935, in terms of understanding value of excercise and nutrition to our emotional well-being. Conversely, we also know intuitively that life and happiness are not a Six-sigma LEAN excercise where we can always predict output X, because we input Y. (Not sure if that metaphor is even apt, but ya get my drift:)
That is where my spirituality has been reinforced in its OWN time, by being around the program, IN the program and eventually LIVING the program however imperfect my journey has been. Give yourself some credit and a break. Feeling down is the new normal perhaps, but it needn't last long-but do seek medical advice if it persists or worsens; they don't kick you out of AA for being a good steward of your temple!....Good luck, John

No one says

No one says you have to fall on your knees and pray to Jesus. Your higher power is defined by you based on your understanding. No one says you have to go from zero to 100mph in ten days. An open mind is all that's required. Be patient with yourself. The emotional roller coaster you're on will level out over time. It's your brain chemistry correcting itself.(PAWS) The higher power part of the program is important but take it in small steps if you can't take large ones.

You won't find Jesus mentioned in the Big Book

No one should be asking you to pray to Jesus or Ala or Jehovah or anyone's religious concept of a higher power. You don't need to be on your knees either. You will not find Jesus mentioned not even once in the Big Book and the reason no specific Deity named is, so as to be inclusive not exclusive.
My morning prayer take me less then 30 seconds with my eyes wide open over my first cup of coffee. " God show me your will for me today and give me the strength and courage to obey" and the evening it's "thank you for another day of sobriety and I'll try to do better with the Your Will thing tomorrow". This and a dozen times a day a 10 second acknowledgment of Gods presents in my life keeps me spiritually fit.
Please remember that the function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
One of the most powerful things I heard early on was " you don't have to believe, you only have to be open and willing to the possibility of a Higher Power working in your life. If you are willing he/she will show you more and more.
In chapter 5 "How it Works" it points out on pg. 64 that. " Our liquor (and now your food consumption ) was but a symptom, and we had to get down to causes and conditions. If you haven't allready please get a Big Book, read and re-read the first 164 pages, find a sponsor and apply a set of steps to both your drinking and your food intake and most importantly find a home group and keep coming back it works if you work it.
Dennis D.

RE God, Booze, and Food.

Sounds about right. you have made a good start. The only step that we have to get right is the first one. Sounds like you have. the unmanagable part, I think is we don't know when we will drink, and once we start we don't know when we will stop. How could our lives be anything but unmanagable.

About half our origional membership was athiest or agnostic. our experience shows you need not be worried about it. Your understanding will come to you in time, if you are willing and have an open mind.

If your self esteem is plummeting, take action. self esteem doesn't just appear, it comes from doing esteemable action, ie- living to good purpose. If you still have trouble with GOD, do what I did. I called it good orderly direction, and that worked for me, at least since 1992!

One last thing. Avoid hysterical thinking or advise.

Good luck.

re: god, booze, food

I did not worry about the higher power thing until later - my initial concern was only to not drink between meetings, and by going to meetings, I got enough reinforcement (positive and negative) to help me not pick up a drink. Six years later, I still haven't embraced the higher power thing, at least in the Christian sense. I found a good book on Buddhism and AA that was very helpful. And I have discovered many folks in AA who share my areligious views and yet are happy & productive people again because they kept coming around to meetings and didn't drink in between them. For those who got sober by dropping to their knees, god bless them - I am happy that worked for them, but that does not imply that their way works for all. Good luck.

Joined: 2012-03-04
re: God Booze and Food

Welcome to A.A., the fellowship of ex-cons, vagabonds, tramps, thieves and last but not least, con-men and con-women. My suggestion to you is to go to a lot of different meetings on your area to get as many of the diverse opinions in AA as you can. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Make up your own mind about the program and in your own time and manner.
There’s a lot of myth and misrepresentation in and outside A.A. at the moment, so form your opinion (in good time) about A.A. from a general consensus of opinion and from Conference approved literature. Having seen and heard what I have these past few years, I’d avoid those meetings and AA members that use interpretations of the AA program in outside published literature; eg, step and sponsorship guides by Joe McQ, the Purpose Group of AA (Dallas) Big Book Study Guide, Wally P’s Back to Basics Beginners classes, Wayne D's Step ‘n’ Ahead Into Emotional Sobriety etc.

If you can find meetings that operate something along the following lines, then I’d go along to ones like these:

An observation of New York meetings 1939:
“They were structured to the extent that there was always one speaker and Bill- maybe half an hour each - and then a long coffee session, a real get together. We were often there till 12 o’clock, started at eight” She also said, “At that time, we did not go into Step work. Didn’t have 90-days requirements. No birthdays – no recognition was made if you were sober a week or a year. If you felt you would like to speak in a year or in a month or two weeks they let you get up and speak, and they didn’t throw you out if you were drunk, either. They felt it was encouraging, hoping some word would stick.” (Ruth Hock, Secretary, New York General Service Office. Extract from Pass it on page 219)

An observation of the fellowship numbering about one hundred in 1939:
“The fellowship is entirely indifferent concerning the individual manner of spiritual approach so long as the patient is willing to turn his life and his problems over to the care and direction of his creator. The patient may picture the Deity in any way he likes. No effort is whatever is made to convert him to some particular faith or creed. Many creeds are represented among the group and the greatest harmony prevails. It is emphasized that the fellowship is non-sectarian and that the patient is entirely free to follow his own inclination. Not a trace of aggressive evangelism is exhibited.” ( Extract from “A new approach to psychotherapy in chronic alcoholism” Dr. W.D Silkworth M.D. Journal Lancet, July 1939. A.A. Comes of Age, appendix E:a, pages 304)

The idea that you have to pray on your knees in AA is a misconception found in Non AA published literature. AA rejected the suggestion of praying on your knees back in 1939. As AA co-founder Bill W recalled:

“When this document was shown to our New York meeting the protests were many and loud. Our agnostic friends didn't go at all for the idea of kneeling. Others said we were talking altogether too much about God. And anyhow, why should there be twelve steps when we had done fine on six? Let's keep it simple, they said.
This sort of heated discussion went on for days and nights. But out of it all there came a ten-strike for Alcoholics Anonymous. Our agnostic contingent, speared by Hank P. and Jim B., finally convinced us that we must make it easier for people like themselves by using such terms as "a Higher Power" or "God as we understand Him!" Those expressions, as we so well know today, have proved lifesavers for many an alcoholic. They have enabled thousands of us to make a beginning where none could have been made had we left the steps just as I originally wrote them….” (Bill W. Extract from “A Fragment of history: Origin of the Twelve Steps” The Language of the Heart p 201, AA Grapevine July 1953)

AA is not a religion,nor is it allied to any religion so you work the program in your own time and manner.

“…How well we shall always remember that AA is never to be thought of as a religion. How firmly we shall insist that AA membership cannot depend upon any particular belief whatever; that our Twelve Steps contain no article of religious faith except faith in God--as each of us understands him. How carefully we shall thenceforth avoid any situation which could possibly lead us to debate matters of personal religious belief." (Bill W. Extract from “We Came of Age” The Language of the Heart p 122. AA Grapevine September 1950)

“Any concept of the Higher Power is acceptable. A sceptic or an agnostic may choose to think of his inner self, the miracle of growth, a tree, man’s wonderment at the physical universe, the structure of an atom, or mere mathematical infinity. Whatever form is visualised, the neophyte is taught that he must rely on it and, in his own way, to pray to the power for strength.” ( Extract from The Jack Alexander article about AA page 19)

“Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion, nor is it a medical treatment, nor does it profess expertise in respect of unconscious motivations for behavior. These are facts all too often overlooked.” (Bill W. Extract from “Responsibility Is Our Theme” The Language of the Heart p 332. AA Grapevine July 1965)

I hope this info helps.


Thanks! I am glad someone is still awake. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2012-03-04
re: Info

Thanks for your reply. Actually I was fast asleep; heard a few alarm bells, then woke up. Just to correct a couple of typos: The extract from Dr. Silkworths’ observation contains an extra ‘is’, it should have read “…No effort whatever is made to convert…” The “Purpose Group of AA (Dallas)” should have read the “…Primary Purpose Group of AA (Dallas)…” This illustrates one reason why groups ought to stick to Conference approved literature; when left to our own devices the tosspots like me just can’t seem to print things right. I’d also add Dick B’s guides to early AA groups/AA history to the list of literature to avoid. Poor fellow seems to be a tad mixed up with his timescales and personal religious beliefs.

Mustn’t forget the Washingtonian movement collapsed because they didn’t have an overall public relations policy with authority and centrally edited standard literature; and traditions which all members were willing to follow. Public orators stepped forth, groups diversified, formed affiliations, the public got confused and all of it is history. Same thing could happen to AA anytime we allow.

Newly Widowed

My husband of 16 years passed away right before this past Christmas. He was an alcoholic (not admitting it) and drank
every day. In the beginning of our marriage we enjoyed 1-2
cocktails after coming home from work. Over the years he developed chronic COPD but he said the drinking made him relax. We retired to Florida 10 years ago and the drinking
started earlier in the day. We would go out for lunch, have a few, then come home and have a few more. I was becoming very dependent on alcohol and loved that europic feeling I got. Before long I had to drink more and more to get to that feeling. We had a stocked bar in the house, and the friends we had drank as much as we did. I have had
many blackouts over the years, and many falls in the house.
I have embarassed myself, and hurt my children and grandchildren from my stupidity. Now that I am alone, I do not have anyone in the house to tempt me to drink, but know I must give up some close friends and hope they will understand. I am 66 years old and would like to find an AA
meeting with an over 50 group. I also would like to know myself and why I started drinking. It's only been 5 days without a drink and I do believe in the higher power (GOD)
and I pray around the time my body clock is looking for that first, but not last drink, that I can be strong. Thanks for listening, and I am grateful I found this web site. Reading and listening to the stories has helped.

Joined: 2011-08-26
It is only natural you want members your own age

I will be 65 in 4 days and a widower for some time. When I first came to AA, I worked as a licensed plumber and sought out meets where I had heard plumbers went to. I didn't want to go to meetings where the younger crowd hung out. At that meeting I didn't like those plumbers but God found me a friend that was an electrian .. LOL

I would ask around where the retired folk go (meetings) and preferrably where there are women only meetings to get you feet wet.

When I came in almost thirty years ago, I still had my wife and a job. My pain came mostly from my remorse. I then studied to be a real estate agent thinking that, that was what I wanted to do for retirement.

God had other plans for me as I now go to beginners meetings and work with the younger crowd. Fifteen years ago I started the local AA website to post meeting times and locations. I took an interest in it and am a self employeed web-developer who got all my ideas from the young crowd.

For the first 90 days just go to meetings and try not to drink between meetings and see what plans God will have for you through this great fellowship of ours. Hugh from Canada

Joined: 2011-06-07
The good news is there is hope the bad news is we're it

You might want to stop blaming your husband, your friends, the stocked bar, the time of day, Florida and retirement for your drinking. Did anyone hold you down and put a funnel in your mouth and start pouring the booze down it? Your preconditions on the type of group you want to go to is also troubling. Bill W. observed "We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful"(pg 17 of the BB). To deny yourself of this experience by limiting your exposure to a group of , only this age range, only woman, only my social-economic level is to deny yourself of the experience, strength and hope of the diverse tapestry of the AA family. Forgive me if I seem to be taking your inventory but it seem to me you might need Al Anon as much as AA.

Over 50

I came into AA at 50 and am now 55 and still won't utilize a sponsor! I am getting burned out at meetings and I know that I still want to drink away reality. But alcohol brought me to near death and isn't an option anymore. I am embarrased about being an alcoholic and feel stupid in mtgs where the young people hang out and laugh and have it all together. I feel like a non-entity

re; over 50, mtg burnout

I am the same age but find myself in meetings where I am one of the younger folks present. I think the advantage to a "mature" group is that members are less likely to take their sobriety for granted, maybe figure they may not make it back if they don't stick around. At least that is how I perceive it. I appreciate meetings where folks share not of all the problems they are having in life but rather what they are doing to stay sober, keep the faith, in spite of those problems. And encourage others to work through their own problems as well. I have found myself in occasional meetings where the whine levels are extreme, and/or the pontification levels are off the chart, and I either walk out and/or don't go back, find a different meeting. I need to find and stay on my own path, and find others who can give me a boost when I stumble or falter (sponsor or not). Guess I am not embarrassed by my alcoholism, rather it is what it is, and my awareness of being an alcoholic - and reminding myself of that fact through daily readings, meetings, whatever it takes - helps keep me sober for today.

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Over 50

Quote: "I came into AA at 50 and am now 55 and still won't utilize a sponsor!"
Okay, so you don't utilize a sponsor, so what? I came in to AA at age 35 and am now 76, and I've never utilized a 'sponsor' as sponsors are known today. At slightly over three months sober I was transferred to a location where face to face AA contact was unavailable. I was told that if I used (not just read) the Big Book and a Higher Power I would be okay. I still use (not just read) my Big book and a Higher Power, and I pay attention to all who have something I can use. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed about being an alcoholic, I enjoy life without the desire to drink and I'm comfortable at the few meetings I still attend regardless of the age, race or gender of the others present. Why not give the Steps a try? You might just start enjoying sobriety.

re over fifty

I was at an AA meeting last night where the young people were in there 50's!


It might be a little easier to forgive you for
taking my inventory, if you would stop doing it.

Florida meetings

Use this link from AA website to find group close to you, call that group to find out about meetings in your area, including ones with a more "experienced" crowd. I suspect you will encounter a lot of people with the same story you have.

RE: Newly Widowed

I would like to suggest if you want to quit and stay quit that you find an AA meeting, any AA meeting. As you progress you can find a special meeting or a meeting that you feel special in. Being Florida, (where a very good friend of mine got sober), there are many meetings with people over 50. Also you may be able to find a meeting that is held in a retirement community. The folks there would most certainly be over 50. Most of my friends in AA are over 50 so you won't have any trouble finding people your own age. I do want to say that I have learned from everyone in AA not just those over 50!! Good luck and keep coming back!

Ray C.

Outside Sponsorship

I am a new comer to AA and have 33 days clean and sober. I am currently doing an outpatient treatment program as well as going to AA meetings. Last night i finally asked a woman to be my sponsor (i was terribally nervous) and she said yes. She has 36 yrs sobriety and will be walking me through the Big Book. Is she an "outside sponsor"? If not, what is an "outside sponsor"?

Joined: 2011-08-26
An outside sponsor can be one of two

Those in jail have outside member visitors to their meetings and some become outside sponsors. If the sponsor was also an imate he would be an inside ssponsor. - The same goes for treatment facilities.

Hope this helps.

What's an outside sponsor?

This hurts me deeply to say, but I don't know what an outside sponsor is either!
That being said, sponsorship in AA to me is a very mutual relationship. At first we went through the steps as written in the bb. That way, my sponsor said the book would protect me from him. I didn't know what he meant at the time, but now I understand. If we followed the program of action as outlined in the BB I would be protected from any or his big ideas of how this program should work.
After he taught me the program from the book, I was to do as the book says and bring this message to other alcoholics that needed it AND wanted it.
Now after 20 years of sobriety, I have two sponsorees that i am taking through the steps in the bb, and a group of ten that are taking the steps together in a big book study.
I don't know if all twelve will stay sober, but I sure will if I continue to practice these principals as best i can and continue to realize I have learned more from any sponsee than they have learned from me!

Starting Over

Since 2005, I have been a part of the fellowship of AA, but thought I didn't really need it. One day,while visiting my mother back home in Chicago, she gave me a book called Came to Believe. At first, I thought to myself: "Great! Now my own mother thinks I'm a drunk."

Little did I know how valuable that little book changed my life. I have now almost two years of sobriety, have a wonderful home, and am the LR of my home group. It has not been an easy journey for me. I was stuck on doing my fourth step for a long time, but since December of last year many wonderful changes have happened and I am happy to say that I do not have the desire to pick up a drink.

Starting over in the program gave me hope for a better future and for any newcomer who is doubting whether or not to try this wonderful way of life, give yourself a chance. We all deserve it.

Patty B.


I am a new comer sort of. I quit drinking in 1995 and had about 6 yrs sobriety. AA was very helpful and it really worked until I became complacent with my program and gradually began to drink again. My drinking the last few yrs has been really out of control. I became unable to work because I chose to drink, I destroyed numerous relationships including the one I had with my only son. My husband of 20 yrs is an alcoholic also and we were both abusive to eachother. I ended most of my nights in black outs and spent my mornings trying to remember the night before. In the fall of this last yr I met a man and a few months later I left my husband and moved in with him. Fortunately, this new man, Vic was sober and had been in the program. After nearly two months of living with him I again quit drinking and went back to AA. Things did get a little better since I got a sponsor right away and started making friends in AA. However my life remained a mess. I was living with Vic and had and on again off again relationship with my estranged husband and had very little contact with my son. Understandably he is angry at me for my yrs or drinking but he's also very angry that I moved out and lived with another man. One good thing that finally happened was that I got a job, not one I was real satisfied with but a job none the less. A few short weeks ago I moved back in with my son and husband. I had about 33 days of sobriety and relapsed. Actually I have twice since moving back in. I am having difficulty staying sober here because there are so many triggers and the relationships I have here are tense. The problem is that I have not talked to my sponsor in over a week and I know I should call her but I'm so ashamed to say I screwed up again. I simply quit doing what she told me to do like meetings etc but most importantly I just quit caring about anything. I have two days of sobriety again and I'm just terrified that I'll drink again and I'm having terrible cravings. I just feel stuck. I intend to attend a meeting in a couple of hrs but I'm having trouble getting my priorities straight. I am uncertain of the future of my marriage and although I know it's not right I have continued to have some contact with Vic. I have all but given up on trying to repair things with my son and I'm now on a leave of absense from work due to drinking last week and not showing up one day. I'm just grateful I didn't get fired. Any imput from anyone would be appreciated.

I don't know you but your

I don't know you but your story touched my heart. I cannot imagine what you must be feeling toward yourself right now, but if I were you I'd suck it up and call your sponsor. Right now your best thinking is doing nothing but keeping you drunk and screwing up your life and relationships with your family. That best thing you can do right now is call your sponsor and suck up that pride, your EGO is what's keeping you from helping yourself. EGO stands for: Edging God Out, and if you believe in God then you know that he knows best, not you honey. Turn your fears and concerns over to God and then know in your heart that the quicker you get better, the faster your relationships with your loved ones will begin to repair do I know this you may be asking yourself? Because it's what I have to do. I felt like shit in the beginning myself, and boy I don't care how bad things got there was NO WAY I was going to ask anyone for help...I don't want anyone to know I have problems...which is hilarious because I actually believed that I was hiding my problems when they were painted in bright orange all over my face, actions, and lifestyle. We're not kidding anyone sweetie, and I'll tell you what, the friends and family I have acquired in the last 6 months couldn't compare to any of the relationships I had with old friends that only wanted to help keep me sick in the first place because they were sick. None of those people want to see you get better, because then they would have to admit that they had a problem, but as long as yours is worse than theirs then well it makes them look "normal" and helps them feel better about themselves. Those aren't friends girl, those are part of the problem NOT the SOLUTION. So do yourself a favor, for YOURSELF, and either pick up that phone or go to a meeting...Do what's best for you, and all those good things will follow the promises, and know that those are true you just have to want to change. Have you hit your bottom? If not stop before it gets that far...but either way, you can do it I know you can! And your son will love you for that, him and yourself are all that matters right now!! All those other relationships are keeping you stuck, so unstick yourself and get help!! I'll pray for you...GOOD LUCK, you diserve to be HAPPY!!!


wow lots of common those hoops are not as small as you think...but they are on fire...thats the only way we would jump thur...reminds me of one of those fire re shots of liquor..Fear an resentments to me are the same If my HigherPower can remove the obsession of drink my HigherPower should be able to remove all helping others is takeing out insurance per say of haveing a long as my own house is in order..1 thur 12 in 24 hrs a day is all we have keep it bring along you copy for them to borrow..M.B.

Joined: 2012-03-18
re scared

I have been where you are. I lost my marriage, my daughter (from age 13 to age 20). My son stuck by me.
I thought that the 'out of the blue' divorce declaration would kill me. I proved this point by drinking non stop for four months. Great plan wasn't it. My husband was also an alcoholic and could not admit it.
I was kicked out of my home and moved into an appartment. It was the best, and hardest time of my life. I was able to concentrate on my sobriety without any distractions. I was able to stay sober because of all of the help that AA gave me. From stories to studies to speakers and other members, I found my way through my alcoholism.
Your story took me back go that terrible night that I relapsed. It was thanks to everything I had learned at meetings that I was able to get back up on the proverbial horse.
Good luck to you. You did six years. You have the ability to fight through the obsession. May you find peace.

re scared

what helped me was the 24 hour plan. I could stay sober 1 day at a time. sometimes just a few minutes at a time. I used my propensity for procrastination on booze. you know how you put of doing the dishes in the sink till tomorrow? I did the same thing with booze.
the next part was i had to admit complete defeat to alcohol. i had to fully concede to my innermost self that i am an alcoholic, meaning that i thought about alcohol until i drank and once i started to drink i had no control over the amount i drank.
Now while i was not drinking and going to meetings 24 hours at a time, i took the book "alcoholis anonymous and began to study it.
over time i have become willing to apply the steps of aa in my life. i changed quickly from resltess, irritable, and discontent to happy, joyous, and free.

RE: Scared

I don't know what is right for you but I can tell you what is right for me. I have made a decision to put my sobriety first. That means #1. Ahead of my realtionship, family, job and everything else. sound selfish? Some may think so but without my sobriety I don't have anything else. Some people say "I lost my job, family, house, car, friends". BS you didn't lose anything, you GAVE EVERYTHING AWAY FOR THE LOVE OF SOMETHING ELSE--BOOZE. Why don't you try keeping the focus on YOU for awhile. Get to meeting EVERY DAY. Explain things to your sponsor exactly how you explained things here.
Start reading the book and working the steps. Don't drink! Whether it is a day at a time or a second at a time.
IF YOU WANT TO BE SOBER you can get this thing!! Hang in there!!



I have gone through some traumatic life changes that increased my alcohol and prescription drugs usage since 2001. Nasty divorce, job losses, bankruptcy-(because spouse going behind my back with money), brain tumors, etc. I finally had a wake up call when I overdosed over the holidays. Here is my dilemma. I have been reconnecting with old friends that DO NOT drink. I was so isolated through my marriage(he was abusive) They like to go to a couple bars to see bands that have some of our other friends in them. I am personnally comfortable with that. We go to breakfasts and do other things, but the bar thing is 2 times a month. Can I get some input? I really don't have a lot of friends here where I live, that like embracing life-they seem stale to me-I don't want to sit anymore. I worked for a major airline, and many friends live around the country. Thanks!

re socializing

I have worked construction as a career. each year I work in several towns around my area. I was worried when i first got sober, but soon found that if i pick a meeting in each town to attend where i could get to know the group, i would feel connected to aa. after awhile i was able to meet newcomers in each town and offer experience,strength, and hope.
Over the years as i learned to put others needs ahead of my own something amazing has happened. It seems wherever i go i have great friends in aa.
I was once told that if i hang around a barber shop long enough, i will get a haircut. Whenever i have a good social or business reason for being around alcohol i think of that statemnt.
I don't hide from alcohol, but i also don't seek it out. today i find few reasons to be around booze. the biggest reason i find today to be around alcohol, is that i might be able to help someone. whether i like it or not, anyone who drinks regularly whatches how i react in those social situations. I have had many opportunities for 12 step work following those social events.
So go or stay away and good luck.

RE: Socializing

You say your friends "do not drink" but don't say if they are in AA. It is a very good idea to socialize with as many AA people as you can, at least for a while. You can still keep your old friends, at least some of them but add many AA's to your list of friend. This program is about change. We need to change our playground and our playmates. About bars, the old saying is "if you sit in a barber chair long enough you will get your hair cut". I don't think going to bars, at least for awhile, is a good idea. There are lots of other places you can hear live music.
Yes we have to deal with life on life's terms but we don't have to use bad experiences as an excuse to drink.
I have had cancer, was off work for 19 months, almost lost everything, my mother died and cut my brother and I out of her will, My son died at 25 yrs old from a heroin OD and I DID NOT DRINK! Not because I am special, I am a drunk just like you, it is because I built a good foundation with the first three steps. My son died at 7am and by 10am I was in a meeting! You need to take care of YOU! We can't stop life from happening. Hang in there!!


Joined: 2012-03-09

Hi, Sorry to hear about all the trouble of late. I'm glad you lived through the OD and you're sober now.
There is a part in the book that they talk about going out if there "is a reason" to be where you are.
You need to take care of yourself first and foremost.
I'm a musician myself and in a band now.
When I came back in this time around I had to set limits for myself because my disease is the biggest fool around. Meaning it will always try and fool me into thinking I'm all good.
You're new sobriety is still fresh and so precious.
Just be safe and no your limits!
If you're starting to feel a little squirrely while out then just let your friends know. Of course they will get it if true solid friends.
But enjoy the music and be grateful you got another chance to hear it...
Bill in Chicago

Joined: 2011-12-12
Going to bars

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

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

RE: Good reading for newcomers

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


re: socializing

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

Scared but hopeful

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

Scared but hopeful

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


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


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

re: worried

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

RE: worried

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

Joined: 2011-12-21
New to AA

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

New to AA

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

RE: You didn't mention how new.

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

New to AA

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

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

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

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

Your friend,
Heather A.

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