Burning Desire to Share
Question why is it I can walk away from my 29 year drinking career yet when access to a pill pops up I don't think twice about popping it? I know it's harmful to me, but the buzz which once was given from the golden hops I loved so much is off limits I seem to have moved to other harmful vises.
Please explain if you can why we must disconnect.
I am going to see my brothers tonight in a meeting and ask this very question.
I just re set my counter again not my booze counter, I've been good at staying a way from that! I've re set my buzz counter.
Am I the only one who looks at this addiction to a buzz as all being basically same?
Question do I need to be in AA an NA? I've been dry for 3.5 years but I was crutching with narcotics. Surely I'm not the only one out there
In just done letting my god down, letting my self down and letting my family down.
I recently heard an AA member state at a meeting: "Honesty without compassion is brutality".
Reading HIW aloud at AA meetings is brutal to newcomers. "What an order! Let me out of here".
Of course they don't say that. They just don't come back, although that is the last advice
we chant: "Keep Coming Back".
We need to offer the Truth with an equal serving of Grace. Anyone ever wonder why Bill W.
waited until Chapter Five to write How it Works in the Big Book? He concealed the Truth in
Chapter Five, trusting that our prospect will read the first four chapters to build up
some faith. By that time hopefully they will be able to handle the truth, or at least
consider it. ANONYMOUS
Bill and Bob wrote “Our book is meant to be a suggestion only; we admit we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and us” in Chapter 11 titled “A Vision for You” Wow! The founders demonstrated the importance of humility by being honest enough to admit they did not know very much and the only thing they could think of at the time was salvation through God. That point of view was typical for the period so we can’t hold it against them. Today in AA we have expanded that vision significantly even to the point where for some members a “personal” god is not necessary to acquire sobriety and a spiritual state of mind. To me, the founders designed AA to be a growing changing collection of ideas. It’ clear to them that AA should never be a fixed perfect entity; never to be changed, added to or corrected. AA has improved tremendously over the years and the founders would be happy with the direction it has taken. That’s why subtle changes had been made to the Big Book. Although it is a wonderful collection of ideas and a helpful record of the earlier times, they recognized it was an fallible because they were too. In my recovery, the book was a helpful beginning level tool which provided temporary comfort from the chaos of my active alcoholic frame of mind. I am grateful it was suggested, however, it’s not something I read today because eventually the “more will be revealed” part happened and not so much by a “god in heaven” but by my own inner drive to seek spiritual truth, goodness and love. It’s often heard “Faith without Works is Dead” in the rooms. I found I did not need a "faith" but the "works" part I embrace one day at a time.
AA estimated membership:
1939 =100 members
1982 =1 million members
1992 =2.5 million members
2014 =2.1 million members and 1.4 million members in the us and canada. If we know so much more today, why has AA membership been declining the last 22 years?
You asserted, “If we know so much more today, why has AA been declining the last 22 years?” That’s just awful science. Lower attendance numbers are not proof to support your erroneous claim that people in AA know less today and that we are in a state of decline. Lower attendance numbers indicate that there could be causal variables present which need to be studied in a proper way. A temporary trend that indicates a lower membership number does not in no way reflect the quality, value and strength of our fellowship. I could list twenty reasons off the top of my head why AA numbers have changed and none of them have anything to do with your idea that we know less. “Think, Think, Think”… and I should add intelligently.
clu 1992: We almost collapsed in 1992/1993. We lost over
half a million members when our General Service Board of
Trustees moved our headquarters into a Rockefeller subsidized building on Riverside Drive. There must have
been fierce resistance to accepting support from the
Rockefellers, in violation of Tradition Seven.
Our lease is up in the near future, but "they" have
already decided that the lease will be renewed, probably
another 25 years.
This is only one of the blunders we have made. We have
made several serious mistakes at the group level. I have
written about several of them (repeatedly). ANONYMOUS
Our membership numbers have changed but, that does not mean AA is a failure or in a state of decline; if anything it’s in transition. We are not our grandpa’s AA anymore. The lower numbers to me is a positive indicator that AA works and a sign of a healthier society. Less people are walking through the doors today as less people are smoking too. Lower numbers are a compliment to AA and it demonstrates that the AA philosophy works. Many members acquire enough health to return to society and now lead fulfilling lives outside the rooms and don’t have the need to attend meetings 5-7 times a week. Another key factor that may help explain a lower number is that we had over expanded at one time to accommodate a large post WW2 generation of alcoholics who started walking through the doors in the 70’s. My dad was a Woodstock hippie and I’m taking care of him. He can’t get to meetings anymore because of health issues. I have been to plenty of funerals of guys that saved his life. AA could downsize its meeting availability. In this way the rooms would feel fuller, but then again, it really only takes two people for an AA meeting to occur so big numbers are not necessary for “one drunk to talking another drunk’s language.” It’s not a complicated thing to understand but, after reading many of the posts it seems there is a myth that AA is in decline because of lower numbers and somehow this absolutely proves there is something wrong with us. There are many theories and blame going around supporting these unscientific and self-serving points of view. Part of my recovery was to stop living in “black and white” worlds where someone is always selling a “black and white” answer.
I mentioned this topic to my wife this morning and she also pointed to the baby boomer surge in membership. We are both baby boomers who entered AA during the 80's & early 90's. Though we are getting older and have lost a few friends recently , our home group is still full of folks who sobered up around that time.
Today, our new members trickle in, mostly as the result of legal trouble such as DUI, drugs or both. By trickle, I mean, we see a lot of new people at meetings (many court ordered) but only a few stick with the program.
I don't know if it would make much difference in the numbers if we changed our meeting format. After all, people were reading HIW, holding hands to pray and even smoking like chimneys when my wife and I and the rest of the boomers came in and we stuck around. We were just ready and had run out of options.
During the last two years of my drinking I lived in Spanish Lake, Missouri, just north of Ferguson which has been in the news lately. I brought up a google map to see where Ferguson is in relation to Spanish Lake. What struck me, without going in to the trouble in Ferguson, was how many interesting things are in the area and how I missed them all when I lived there. My sober, inquisitive, healthy AA mind of today saw historical and natural attractions that piqued my interest. This made me wonder what the hell I was doing and what I was like when I lived there. How did I miss it all?
It has been many years, but I think I was just too busy drinking and recovering from drinking to look much beyond the next bar or my apartment where I spent a lot of time being sick. Not only did that lifestyle kill my time, it also killed my mind and my ability to be adventurous and inquisitive.
In sobriety, I began to read a lot and to take an interest in history. Today, I look at a map of that area and think about all of the natural and historical features I'd like to explore. In sobriety, my world and my interests have expanded. This realization gave me one more thing to be grateful for in sobriety. Thanks AA.
I would like to listen.
I read in the posts that no place in the big book meetings are mentioned. That is not true. If you start reading from very beginning of the book you'll see them mentioned. In my area we read the preface, forwards and the dr.'s opinion. There is a lot of material covered before the actual page 1.
Today I'm pushing forward to 7 days sober in A A. Today facing stress from damage done from addiction. This is the reality that sends me over. But having a sponsor and a noon meeting I now have a new choice. And I'll take it. Thank you God for strengthening me.
Congratulations on 7 days! (10, by now?) It gets better... but it does take time and work. I didn't hit my bottom the day I took my first drink, nor did I fix my life in my first week, month, even year of sobriety. I thank God for the miracle that I am sober today. Today is all I really have.
every meeting has a personality, but all attempt to carry the message. i live in a small community and listen to newcomers and oldtimers alike share their mess rather than the message. if i do not share the message, if i do not demonstrate my gratitude, if i do not enthusiastically deliver a message of hope, the fault lies within me. being involved, staying connected, and sharing the message with both the oldtimers and the newcomers ensures the passing on of wisdom and experience. i do agree, that if i am boring, i may be bored or exemplify boredom. i need to examine why i am bored. is it because i have no words of wisdom to impart? is it because i have no mssage of hope? is it because i am intolerant? everytime i read "how it works" or the "promises: i hear somethng relevant and/or new: most importantly, i read them with love, feeling, and enthusiasm. i do not race through meaningless words: my reading gives LIFE to the words and i hope, delivers the message of this program: that is, a message of HOPE. i hope to be here and i hope to see others find what i have found. boredom and tedium are what i create when i am not actively engaged, involved, and contributing. our stories need not be long or complicated IF we share in a general way. my life before was awful; now my life is awesome. my sponsor told me to share my own interpretation of FAITH: Finding Alternative Inspiration Through Hope. my hope keeps me here, keeps me coming back, and keeps me ever mindful that i need to pass it on.
“…share their mess rather than the message.” Someone’s mess might be the saving message to someone else. It was in my case. According to our Preamble we are asked to share our experience, strength and hope and not a message. It’s important to be open-minded and allow others the same gift to share their recovery. I never look at someone sharing and think, wow they are a mess. If someone was all together why would they be in these rooms in the first place? Judgment is not a healthy recovery tool but a bi-product of insecurity. What do we expect sitting in a room with a jambalaya of people trying to get sober, flowery poetry? Compassion and tolerance are helpful tools that will direct everyone to a better place. We should not let our political, religious, economic and cultural biases to direct what we think the proper AA should be. The Traditions remind us of the danger in this. As far back as I can remember; there has always been a fundamentalist faction of people in the rooms who try to control this so called “message” Every member has the capacity in them to help another alcohol. What works for me might make another member scratch their head. To me, our personal experiences make all the differences but, I do know the easier softer way is to sit around and take the inventory of other’s mess and then lay a big sloppy judgment on them. Thanks
I used to think boredom was just something that happened that i had no control over. this program has taught me that boredom is a choice. so i love this post for that.
I hadn't experienced hope on its highest level till i chaired a meeting for the first time in which newcomers were attending. After the meeting they thanked me and told me they didnt know meetings were full of laughter and wisdom that they would definately be back....what a high on hope!
I've recently asked a close friend to sponsor me and am ready to do my 5 th step. I've been attending meetings at his home group and enjoy them but I'm seeing a conflict now in our friendship. Where before we had an equal and easy going relationship, now he's very critical and confrontive.I miss the "friend" I had before I asked him to sponsor me.I think I've made a mistake here and am leaning towards telling him that and doing my 5 th step with another sponsor. Advise is welcome
When you asked your friend to be your sponsor, and he accepted, you both changed the relationship from one of equals to one in which there is an imbalance of power. It's a little bit like agreeing to work for a friend and then realizing that your friend is now your boss and you have to do what he says, or not get paid.
You can thank your friend for getting you this far in your spiritual journey. Explain that you miss having him as a friend, and because he's introduced you to the fellowship, you now know lots of other people who can relieve him of the job of having to be both your friend and your sponsor.
Ask him if he has any advice as to who might make a good next sponsor for you. Then invite him to hang out or go to the movies or something so he knows you don’t want to stop being friends. Hopefully you will be able to establish a relationship as equals. You might have to remind him a few times that he's not your sponsor any more. I truly hope you can both make a serene transition into these new roles.
you got the right answer. Chose a different sponsor but be gentle in your explanation to your friend. besides, chances are they feel the same.
You should be able to talk to your friend and sponsor about both issues: his critical approach (as you see it) and whether it's a good idea to do your 5th step with him.
There is no requirement to do a 5th step with one's sponsor; I have known people who are more comfortable doing a 5th step with someone in the clergy or some kind of counselor.
I have a very close friend in AA with whom I have shared lots of things, very intimate things. But we both have decided not to go the sponsorship route with our relationship because we are afraid it would change it -- not in a good way.
I also found the pamphlet "Questions and Answers about Sponsorship" to be very helpful, especially because it shows the wide range of possibilities in sponsorship. There is no one right way.
And whatever you decide, keep coming back. I wrestled with my 5th step for awhile, but I kept talking to people about my concerns and kept going to meetings and not drinking.
I have been sober since January 22, 2007. I've always had an issue when people pick up chips in the room for substances outside of alcohol (and they share it). I had a sponsee for the last two years that suffered from mental illness. She also had an addiction to prescription medication as well as alcohol, so it was a roller coaster ride sponsoring her. Yesterday, she called to tell me that she took an extra pill outside of the three (a benzo) that she was prescribed. She said she was feeling anxious and that she had to take it. I told her that I considered this a relapse because the 4th pill was not part of her prescription. She kept telling me that she did not think it was a relapse since she didn't take 8 at the same time. I had explained would be similar to me taking a drink and saying "Well, it was only one, so it's not technically a relapse." I told her to pick up a chip in another 12 step program and to pick up in AA, but not mention the pill as that was her business, not the room's. Well, she fired me this morning (I had planned on doing the same, regardless, as I felt the message wasn't getting through) Today, I've had a lot of praying to do to just let go. I know now why Bill W. and Dr. Bob made it so clear that as an alcoholic, I cannot help someone that has a problem with substances other than alcohol because I myself have never experienced that. I'm sure they would be chuckling to hear my problem, as they went through the same themselves. Now I am facing a new dilemma which is getting over taking it so personally, (QTIP - Quit Taking It Personally)and not playing God, even though I feel that she is fooling herself and not living an honest program. It is absolutely none of my business! I also am considering never again sponsoring someone whose main problem isn't alcohol, especially because I have no business doing that. I only drank alcohol! This was a tough lesson to learn as my ego told me that I could do it. What I plan on doing is just working my program and finding another sponsee that wants help with her alcoholism. It's so disappointing that my last two pigeons have strayed, but I have been taught to carry the message, not the alcoholic.
I appreciate your honesty and also appreciate your confusion. It seems confusing to me to tell a sponsee to pick up a chip (a "one day" chip I assume you mean) but for them not to say why.
Now on sponsorship and experience: I need not have every experience a sponsee has had to be able to sponsor them, but it's OK, because I don't claim to have any answers at all, just my experience. Rather than draw a line in the sand on an issue like this (where I have no direct experience), I would probably suggest to my sponsee that he or she talk to at least three other sober members of AA (hopefully ones who have had similar histories) and see what they say. That helps my humility (I don't have the answers) and it encourages the sponsee to get more connected to AA.
That’s why it’s often heard, “Carry the message not the alcoholic.” We can only do so much. Very few of us will die sober. A few years ago I sponsored this guy and although he was not drinking, his behavior demonstrated that he was not progressing. His judgment and decisions were not sober and on the decline. After confronting him with my concern he owned up to an outside issue, which was that he could not
stop seeing prostitutes and looking at internet pornography. I recommended another program and let him go. Of course he cursed me and I haven’t seen him at a meeting since. Did I do the right thing? I don’t know. I’m not a therapist, religious minister, medical doctor or addiction specialist. I’m just another drunk trying to stay sober for one day. I can only share my experience strength and hope. I never pretend to know more than I really do. Very few of us in the rooms will end up with our picture on a cereal box.
IMHO, this is a matter between your former sponsee and her prescribing physician or psychiatrist. I understand your indignation and your conviction that this is an alcoholic slip. It's really up to her doctor to determine whether the additional pill was an overdose, or whether it triggered the addictive pathway in your former sponsee's brain and made her more vulnerable to an alcoholic lapse. Many people in the program are on psychiatric medications. For a lot of us, staying on these medications is our only hope of regulating our brain chemistry so that we may achieve sobriety and live life on life's terms. Your former sponsee was honest with you. Asking her to call her doctor would have been the next indicated step, because you're right: her medical care is absolutely outside of your realm of expertise.
I’m glad others have shared on this topic and it’s good to know I’m not alone. I avoided prescription meds too for many years and for many years like others I pretended to be happy in the rooms. I was severely miserable and the cause of it desperately needed to be addressed. AA improved my physical and spiritual health but my mental health was not improving. The anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts I had since childhood still lingered around and would not go away. Through others I could see how AA provided the possibility of a “good life” but that picture of bliss never touched me. Even my first sponsor fought with me when I talked about getting medical help. Eventually I stopped going to meetings. I could not stand to be around happy people and when I was my face was consumed with a blank stare which contrasted the room full of smiles and laughter. As suggested, I got the guide, joined a group, found a higher power and read the literature and books over and over again but, nothing lifted the fog and each year it got worse. I started to hate myself, my job, my wife, and well just about everything and this was after being “sober” for years. The hope of a “peace of mind” gave me an initial burst of enthusiasm when I entered the fellowship but, that hope was fleeting because it never materialized into anything substantial. I was at that jumping off place in sobriety. I knew drinking would not solve one thing so the permanent solution became more of a viable option for handling the problem that felt more than temporary. Eventually, I got a new sponsor who lives in the new sober world and he supported me 100%. After the proper treatment, I have returned to meetings and am starting to feel the joy. The medications haven’t turned me into a robot; however I must confess that I am in the closet about talking about them in group. I don’t want to be a pharmaceutical crusader and I am still afraid of the unfavorable judgment I may receive although my sponsor encourages be open.
I know there is nothing wrong with taking meds for a depression issue. Seeking help for my depression was one of the best things I ever did for myself. Depression is a medical issue and sometimes needs to be treated with meds. I think it it is best to leave those decisions to take them between you and your doctor. They are the ones qualified to help you make those decisions. Whether or not you want to share this at a meeting is your decision.
I put chips (not AA chips because AA doesn't have them)in the same category as court slips. Someone suffering from alcoholism makes a simple request that is easy for me fulfill, cost's me nothing and makes them happy. Not in anyone's wildest imagination am I attesting to their attendance or length of sobriety. No one can at least for the latter. I remember a fellow who left town drunk and came back from Texas with a two year cigarette lighter he was terribly proud of. Complete strangers walk into our meetings saying that it is their AA anniversary and came in for their coin. Fine, we give them what they ask for. Nice to have a visitor possibly with a fresh view. That's a fair trade for eighty cents worth of aluminum. If someone thirty asks for a fifty year medallion, I'll give it to them. They're nuts, what's arguing with them going to achieve.
Along the same line I can't in good conscience read or listen to "...probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism..." and then congratulate someone for keeping themself sober. How can anybody?
I like speaker meetings the best. Listening to one or two people talk about their experience, strength, and hope started the process of identification and acceptance which led to a new life for me. On the other hand, I always felt the big book/discussion style meetings were akin to bible study and serve no purpose except to stroke the alcoholic ego, which is what we really should be deflating. In the speaker style settings everyone is an equal but, big book/discussion meetings are full of inequalities. There you will find gurus, experts, and adherents of time status. We should not confuse someone who can speak well in these groups with someone who has quality sobriety. Personally, I don’t have the need to impress people with how much I memorized from a book or how many clichés I can spout out in one share. Usually the guiltiest lovers of status are the members who just never seem to say, “Pass” when it comes their turn to talk in group. I sponsor a guy who said he would get a buzz after seeing everyone nod their heads with amazement as he rambled out his nuggets of wisdom ad-nauseam. He especially enjoyed hearing the “oohs” and “aahs” and receiving attention from newcomer women after he shared what he called his “orations of the obvious” After several years of yapping away, he realized this type of AA was merely a spectacle or circus for him and his sobriety was empty. Eventually he joined our group and we see him regularly. I glad he found something that worked for him.
I have my favorite meetings, too. I believe speaker meetings sometimes come very close to violating the twelfth tradition, in that they can elevate personalities above principles, often literally so, as the speaker stands, sometimes on a raised platform. I prefer discussion meetings, especially if the custom is for many people to speak at all stages of life and recovery.
But really, it's just a preference. The best meetings for me are the ones I go to. I can find newcomers at all types of meetings, and that's really the point, isn't it? I'm not going to a meeting to hear a message, I'm there to be of service. So what I think of a speaker or a format is really not that important.
One time I heard a chronic relapser say he drank because he was only going to book study meetings, and vow to only attend discussion meetings from then on. I guess the discussion meetings didn't help, because he continued to relapse. IMHO, it's not the format of the meetings that matter, it's the maintenance of one's spiritual condition. It's tempting to say that the people who talk all the time do not have a deep inner life, and the introverts have all the wisdom. Maybe it's true. And maybe it's not.
Big book page 181 "if you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you" AA co founder Dr. BOB S.
I'm positive Dr. Bob regrets writing that because we know its not true. The God of my understanding gave me a brain and not a computer chip already programmed to be a "Stepford" AA member. One of the most important slogans is "Think, Think, Think" which requires the intellectual activity of a brain. And to be honest I feel sorry for Dr. Bob for feeling that way because my home group is full of the very same people he condemns. I was advised to keep an open mind and to live and let live. If Dr. Bob was still alive I would humbly remind him of those principals.
I like your message (not to stroke your EGO). Few of us
in AA today understand that the foundation and mechanics
of Alcoholics Anonymous is reduction of the EGO, and
keeping it as deflated as humanly possible. In very few
cases is it permanently erased. There is always the possibility that it will rear its ugly head. Eternal
vigilance is necessary to keep it at bay.
In Alcoholics Anonymous every member is at the same
level. NO one is of greater importance than any other
member. That is why sharing by "show of hands" is so
harmful to AA. Today's concept of sponsorship also violates
that principle. Instead of suggesting dependence on a higher power
such as the group, we tell the newcomer to "get a sponsor"
to lean on.
I personally hate the "oohs and aahs". I don't need
or want the audible approval by some members. These
members seem to want attention.
The incessant chanting that is part of today's AA
meeting is hardly reverent. The member who shouts the
loudest gets the most recognition.
I think speaker meetings are best, although many
speakers try to be entertainers. I am not there to be
entertained. I wish we could return to the reverent
meetings of the seventies. AA was growing at a healthy
expected rate, doubling about every ten years for the
first 57 years. Our rate of growth for the past 20 years
has been shamefully dismal. Our leaders have been talking
about it for the past ten years. All talk, NO action. Also
Step 2 -came to believe that an AA group could restore us to sanity
Step 3 -made a decision to turn our will and life over to the care of our AA group
Step 5 -admitted to our AA group, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 6 -were entirely ready to have our AA group remove all these defects of character.
Step 7 -humbly asked our AA group to remove our shortcomings
Step 11 -sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our AA group, praying only for knowledge of our AA group's will for us and the power to carry that out.
Sounds funny doesn't it? I hope nobody has been harmed by such a gross misrepresentation of the AA program.
"Sounds funny, doesn't it?"
Yes. I sounds funny, but sad to say it's all too true. Look at the posts on this forum, for example.
One member feels bored with meetings, the meeting vigilantes know he's going to get drunk.
Somebody has a problem, the first thing they do is go to their sponsor. What ever happened to "We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us."? I
Someone takes an extra prescription pill and is told it's an alcoholic slip. Oops, 'relapse.' If the person didn't drink alcohol how can it be called an alcoholic slip? Regardless of what the treatment industry and the so-called 'addictologists' say, It's a pill slip and is better handled by the program for pill addicts.
I got sober using the 2nd Edition of the Big Book, stayed sober with the 3rd and am now using the 4th. I still haven't found where it says we must have a sponsor and a home group, go to a meeting whenever we're not working or sleeping and place every aspect of our lives in the hands of another alcoholic.
Chapter 7 tells me that when I get a call from a newcomer I lend him/her a copy of the Big Book, let him/her read it and go back in a week or so to see if he/she wants to go through with the AA program. I haven't yet found the chapter that tell me to read it to him/her and take the steps for him/ her. By the way, both my Big Book and 12&12 recommend taking my Fifth Step with a professional - sponsor isn't very high on the list.
You shared, “Somebody has a problem, the first thing they do is go to their sponsor. Whatever happened to "We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us?" Let me ask you a question, “When you walked through the doors of AA, did you at that moment know how to intuitively handle situations” I would suspect a “NO” or else why would you be walking through the doors of AA. Sponsorship is suggested and I feel it is helpful in the beginning. Do we need a sponsor to the day we die? My sponsor let me go after the first year. He said I was ready to stand on my own two feet because the only person that has the ability to keep me sober is me. However, I have several acquaintances in the rooms that like to continue their sponsorship relationship for many years. I found what works for me, they found what works for them and I suggest you focus on what works for you and share it humbly. This was a helpful meditation for me. “If there was only one way of getting sober than there would only be one person sober.” When I fully began to understand the meaning in that I began to know a new freedom and happiness and come to embrace our code love and tolerance. I remember this old timer telling me once years ago, “All the wisdom of AA is contained in the slogans.” He felt if someone truly reflected on them they would not drink again. I think I agree with that today.
Let me answer your question, "When you walked through the doors of AA, did you at that moment know how to intuitively handle situations"
When I first walked through the doors of AA I didn't bring a sponsor with me. And nobody formed a line of volunteers to be my sponsor. They simply told me how they drank, what brought them to AA and how they stayed sober. They suggested I use (not just read, study or discuss) the Big Book. And they were available with help whenever I needed it. They didn't tell me I had to do anything, they shared what they did.
Today alcoholics with double digit years in AA are proud to admit they never make a decision without running it past their sopnsor. Those are the ones I aimed my question at, the ones who rely on meetings and a sponsor rather than the Steps and a Higher Power.
I'd like to add to this post. Are you against sponsorship? I think it is a valuable tool that AA has to offer. I know double digit AA'ers who still have sponsors and when they share in group I hear a lot of wisdom. Sponsors can have the objective point of view necessary to snap us out of our stinkin' thinkin'. If you don't sponsorship fine, but, allow us the right to decide for ourselves if it is helpful or not to us. Sometimes our higher powers work through our sponsors.
"Any fool can condemn, criticize, and complain, and most fools do" Dale Carnegie.
I wouldn't quote a self-help messiah who was involved in a "Happiness Scam" making tons of money off peoples misery. AA is not a self-help program. We rely on the strength and unconditional love of our peers and the accumulative wisdom passed on by those before us as well as, our own added stories and any improvements which were made. None of us make a ton of money off helping others return to sanity. We do it out of kindness and unselfishness.
Chronic alcoholism can lead to severe mental health problems, however it does not necessarily mean that alcohol causes severe mental illness in alcoholics. Usually a mental health factor exists long before the alcoholism. In my case this was true. I had symptoms of trauma, anxiety and depression long before alcohol entered the picture. I drank to escape the brain that was torturous to no end. I self-medicated with alcohol initially and it quieted the mind but the underlying mental health problem kept getting worse and eventually I was unable to function in society. AA was helpful of course, but not a cure-all. I assumed the problems would go away once I put the cork in the bottle. I did everything I was asked to do. No matter how many times I went through the steps and prayed to my higher power the underlying problems still existed. But the great thing about AA is you can always get what you need. I heard a person at the podium one night talk about self-medicating in sobriety with caffeine, sugar and carbohydrates. I had these same struggles. I had an awakening and that was to seek proper help. I had to own up to the fact that I was still “cheating” After toning down the compulsive use of these numbing agents I started to feel awful and suicidal and those thoughts were proof enough. AA had done the job with my alcoholism but, it was time to “man up” and do a first step on my mental illness. Medications and therapy were helpful for a few years coupled with AA meetings and that was just what I needed. Today, I’m off the medications but, I continue therapy twice a month. I have learned to live with these “outside issues” through diet, exercise, therapy and now loving relationships. My sobriety runs better with consistency and patterns. When things fall into the unknown or repetition gets altered, the pain within the shadow of mental illness reminds me to get things back in order. Thanks AA.
While drinking, I could attribute my lows and anxiety to hangovers or fear of what I'd done during a drunk. Alcohol also took the edge off my social anxiety helping me to function in the world despite painful shyness.
Sober, I could no longer depend on alcohol to ease me through social situations or blame it for my lows and fears. I had to face up to living life on life's terms.
Thankfully, AA members & the steps made it ok to be completely honest about what was going on with me sober. By sharing their own experiences, AA members let me know I was not alone. And the steps guided me through an inner journey to uncover and discover what was at my core.
The plethora of mental health meds available today did not exist when I sobered up or I may have ended up on something. I did, however, use all of the tools at my disposal including AA (especially helping others), diet, exercise, meditation and yoga to build a satisfying sober life.
Without AA, I could not have even begun to unravel the mess.
Before I started this dream job seven months ago, I was happy and serene. I was loving, kind, and tolerant with others.
Now, all of my character defects have overtaken me. My fears and selfishness drive my every move and every word. I've decided I don't like these people and refuse to fake it. Afterward, I sit in deep resentment toward myself and stir my pity pot. With this, I'm creating confusion rather than harmony.
There are four+ others and all of them annoy me, so I know the common denominator is me :/. I need to be that calm in the storm, humble no matter what is handed to me, grateful for what I do have. My troubles, I do think, are of my own making.
Major problem is I'm isolated: no meetings, no phone/internet service most of the time, and horrible self-discipline.
I talk with my sponsor and am reworking my steps, but I need divine intervention today. Sponsor suggestion if the week was to subscribe to the grapevine, so here I am.
Welcome to the GV. I hope you find what you need here.
I was never fired from a job during my drinking years. I didn't always stick around very long but I can't say I was ever asked to leave. One reason was that my drinking kept me kind of humble. I was really in no position to throw my weight around.
At around 10 years sober, I found myself in a great job and, for the first time in my life, felt like I should have my say in how things were managed. I ruffled some feathers and my contract was not renewed. I was devastated but thanks to AA could look at my part. I learned that I might be right about a situation but wrong in how I presented that to management and my co-workers. I learned that anger is a poison that can not be put back in the bottle. I needed to hold my tongue, take a deep breath, pray, take a time out...That it was better to address a situation once I'd calmed down.
Like many things in AA, this has been a growth process and I get plenty of opportunities to practice at work, home and in my community.
Hello there- I cannot speak to your situation at work but I can tell you that the subscription to the Grapevine has been great for me. I am new to AA and don't have a sponsor yet. I like the fact that i can go to the Grapevine and read something to help me anytime day or night. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I’m at a point in my recovery where meetings are painfully boring. I feel worse afterwards. The hour can’t go by any faster. Thanks to the Fellowship of AA and many of its principals I have been restored to sanity and I live a typical life today, without extreme highs and lows; a life very much full of love and joy. However, after many twenty-fours, I find little quality in the rooms. Instead I hear plenty of quantity contained within trite sayings and empty words. The rooms seem to be dominated by contrived, shallow and predictable talk. I seldom hear anything inspiring. I understand our primary purpose is to carry the message to the suffering alcoholic and therefore the majority of the talk is geared towards them but, for someone who has many years under their belt, there is not a lot of experience to be had. I get it, “You drink; you die.” Conceivably, it might be safe to say that I have outgrown the AA meeting which scares people if you even mention it. I wonder if there comes a time in every recovery, this realization that it’s time to leave the nest and return to life. Does anyone else feel the same? I will say this so there is not a misunderstanding; I am not depressed, angry or thinking about drinking. Sobriety has been the best.
Curious if you are actively sponsoring alcoholics new to the program?
Many members believe the only way to carry the message is by attending meeting. Step Twelve says we "...tried to CARRY THIS MESSAGE TO alcoholics..." not sit in a meeting room and wait for the alcoholic to come to us. We can, and do, sponsor alcoholics outside the meting rooms.
Yes, three individuals who are sober over twenty years.
It's not necessary to be sitting in a meeting room to pass on AA wisdom.