Burning Desire to Share
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.
Maybe try different meetings. Or perhaps more service work. Keep carrying the message to newcomers. Maybe sponsor more newcomers. It is best to keep up meetings. You could be going through a phase of development. Just keep carrying the message.
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.
I am almost six years sober and I confess that in my city there are meetings everyday and the same group of rotating people. MOstly you know what they will share before they open their mounths. I like the people there very much, but frankly you can see who are alcoholics of my type, who are hard drinkers who found in AA a social club and those rest who are not working the program. usually the old timers who had the balls to raise against this environment got scared away, mobbed. the head cases (I'm-an-alcoholic-and-an- addict kind of person / my-case-is-different kind of person) are cherished like little enfants who are not aware of what they are saying. There is an inversion of values, I think. There are also those (mostly never had a sponsor) who goes to therapy and analysis every little thing that goes on, a boring talk with nothing to do with the AA program.
Fact is that many oldtimers, recovered people, leave the meeting eventually.
We once had an open discussion type of meeting, book based, very topic oriented which was really a tipping point in my recovery. but meeting got closed due to lack of attendance. people prefered the psychotalk and to hear those shares that you'd rather only share with your sponsor.
The ultimate oldtimer we had (God bless her) once heard my complaints and said: "I think, it will never change in this city. It's something in the water from here".
As far as I know a PHD is not offered in sobriety. I was sick enough when I came in that I needed to repeat the first grade for several years. It worked for me. I got sober because alcohol was interfering with what I wanted/needed to do in life. Replacing drinking with meetings was not what I was after. When I subtract from twenty four the number of hours I need to spend sleeping, eating, driving, working, household chores, family responsibilities, recreation etc there is only a small amount of time left. I need to prioritise how I use it. AA meetings/online is part of it. Now that I am retired I get to choose more of it and I enjoy it and it improves the quality of my life still after a number of years sober. On the other hand if I have been to two meetings in a week and am bored and thinking about another, I'm going for the wrong reason and am doing more for myself and others to visit someone in a nursing home instead.
I'm grateful for those who choose to commit to a lifetime of AA service to keep the doors open and I've done some but AA works just fine without every member spending every day at it.
If there is anyone who hasn't noticed, alcoholics, drunk or sober do a good job of doing what they please and label it as selfless giving.
Thanks for the topic and your honesty. This would be a great topic for an actual AA meeting. In 27 years, I don't think I've ever heard this discussed.
When I was new in AA (unemployed, unmarried, uneverything), I was on fire for the program and sometimes attended 2-3 meetings per day, went to AA social functions and spent lots of time with AA people. As my life filled up with jobs, wife, kids, school, hobbies, sports, recreation...I had to take a more balanced approach to AA.
My home group hosts a noon meeting 6 days per week but I am lucky if I can make one or two. I rarely miss our Saturday meeting, always hold a service position and attend our monthly business meeting. That seems to keep me pretty well connected and keeps meetings fresh for me. I also try to remember why I am there (because I am an alcoholic who needs help and so I can be of help to others).
I totally understand what you are saying, though, and have struggled at times with this issue, especially when I lived in a small town and saw the same 10 people at meetings every night.
You stir a lot of thoughts. I will jot them down. As a
matter of information, I have been sober for 43 years, and
have averaged about five meetings a week for all those years. In years before I had a family, my meetings were more. Today my children are grown and I am retired. I
still attend a meeting almost every day.
I am glad that you are not depressed, angry or thinking
about drinking. I ,too, can personally say that "Sobriety has been the best."
I have loved A.A. from my first meeting and still have
a passion for it today. The gift of sobriety to Bill W.
was God's greatest gift to the alcoholic sufferer. I have
seen this disease up close. I lived with alcoholism as a child and then became an alcoholic myself.
I chair a discussion meeting on Monday Morning. It is
sometimes difficult to get up early, so I accepted the
coffee and chair commitment. We have a meeting Mon-Fri.
and they are just awesome.
Do you sort of indicate that those who come to A.A.
and keep coming after years of sobriety have not really
grown up. Or have you trained your sponsees so well that
you feel that your presence is not necessary? Do you
consider AA a stepping stone?
I agree that most of the meetings in my region are
indeed "off the wall". One early timer quietly said to
me "The meetings seem to be empty." Most of them are
hour meeting and are what I would call a waste of my
time. Usually I don't stay for the ending, to listen
to the promises and hold hands and pray.
Alcoholics Anonymous today is not the AA of the 1970's.
We were quiet, reverent and respectful. There was no hand
raising. Everyone was encouraged to share when their turn
came. No one was made a spectacle of, nor were they allowed
to make a spectacle of themselves. We did not coerce all
members to hold hands with us as we closed with the Lords
Prayer. Sponsors were servants, not masters or teachers.
We told newcomers the Truth. "You Drink, You Die". But
most of them already knew that. So we offer that Truth
with an equal amount of Grace: I was just like you and
today I am sober. I got sober here and so can you. Together
we can do what we can do alone.
I am just wondering: Did you just get bored with the
redundant reading of "How It Works? We could replace that
reading with some of Bill's other works. ANONYMOUS
The answer to your question, as far as I'm concerned, a resounding YES!!!
When i was new I was told that I had to make the program the most important thing in my life. I argued that if I went to a meeting every night I was ignoring my family the way I did when I drank, the only difference being I smelled better. They told me I wasn't listening, I had to make the program the most important thing in my life, not the fellowship. Most of us need many meetings in the beginning, but as we work the Steps and attain some real sobriety we need fewer.
There seems to be a trend among AAs to place all their dependence on meetings and a sponsor rather than on a Higher Power.
Thanks for your reply. I am not the same person who walked through the doors years ago. I’m healthier today than ever thanks to in part AA. It’s no mystery the rooms are full of unhealthy people trying to get better and yes some are sicker than others as they say, but to be honest I’m not crazy anymore. The energy in the rooms disturbs me and I don’t like to be around damaged people. It is not necessary to be in an AA room to keep the memory green. I come across reminders every day. Although I am totally grateful for AA and I recommend it to anyone seeking help, my life is surrounded by non-addicts. I do practice the principals in all my affairs and this to me means outside of AA. My life is so rich today, something I could never have imagined. Thanks to you it’s nice to know I’m not alone.
On AA meetings- I will say I was initially attracted by the human hand of AA but years later I don’t feel safe in the rooms and I don’t attend meetings at the moment. I am a huge proponent of AA philosophy but, do not like the current meeting environment. I enjoyed AA when the meetings were more humanistic (The Hand of AA) but, the rooms for my taste have become too quasi-religious- (The Hand of God). It’s unfortunate but, I am in no position to change the course the current AA is moving towards. I will certainly come around again when people realize the misleading nature contained within the over marketing of Gods involvement. I tried the agnostic meetings and I surprised to discover how wonderful the men and women were however, I felt out of place because I have a faith in God and that relationship is private and special. I attend mass before work in the morning. I always felt AA is best when people are involved-one drunk talking to another- but at least in my area God is the big player in the rooms and I disagree with giving the creator too much importance. I never once felt the hand of God in the rooms but plenty of hands of grateful alcoholics giving back. Hope this helps.
At a meeting years ago someone with 30 plus years attending AA meetings said "I'm bored with meetings" Then someone with 40 plus years in the AA program (working steps) said "your bored because YOUR boring'
A few weeks ago I bought 6 t-bone steaks for an event. The event fell through and I had t-bone for 3 meals that week. I love t-bone but it's gonna be a while before I have another.
Also when I was new I went to meetings for me. After about 3 months and having had worked the steps, I began attending meetings to carry the message clearly stated in step 12. To this day I haven't been bored at my home group and look forward to my hope group.
Last Saturday the person immediately to my left celebrated 51 years and the person to my right was about 48 hours sober. I'm thankful they were both there.
Being bored with meetings has nothing to do with being a boring person. Even old timers are not immune from saying ridiculous things exemplified by that common cutting remark. The statement you are referring to “you are bored because, you are boring” is usually spoken by members who are going to too many meetings and have selfishly turned AA into a social club. Although there is a social aspect to AA, we are not a lonely hearts club, a baby bottle or an employment service. So yes, anyone would get bored going to AA meetings one, two or three times a day. In my case, the elders who assisted me in sobriety only went to one meeting a week, which is what I believe Bill W. felt was sufficient for recovery. The members who came before me reinforced the idea that recovery was not in the rooms but out in the real world. In my first year, I went to less than forty meetings. Instead, I got a job, repaid my debts and faced life on life’s terms. It is my belief members can stunt their emotional and spiritual growth by hiding in the rooms and going to too many meetings.
Of course boring people are bored. If they weren't boring, they would never bored. Pretty simple. If they were excited about recovery and carrying the message, boredom would not be an issue.
I also don’t see the logic in that statement “The people who are bored with meetings are boring people.” Now if it was stated, “Some people who are bored with meetings could have a boring personality.” I would agree with that. In my experience, I have found some meetings are extremely boring while others are full of wisdom and sincerity and some yet a mixture of the two. I think it’s good to keep a balance in recovery and everyone’s balance is different. The times in the past where I felt bored was when I was going to too many meetings and not doing enough life on life’s terms stuff. Hiding out in the rooms was the best I could do early on but it eventually became boring and I knew it was time to learn how to live outside the rooms. Now one meeting every two weeks is perfect for me. My life is anything but boring thanks to AA. It’s a dream come true. As the old saying goes, “What keeps one person sober might get another drunk.” Every member is responsible for their own sobriety. I can only keep myself sober and share the things that work for me with others. And one final comment. Yes, I am in contact with people who stopped attending meetings. I don’t see why I should discontinue my friendship with them and by our conversations their gratitude for AA is completing reflected in their actions. Just because a person stops attending meetings doesn’t mean they will
leave their sobriety and gratitude for AA at the door.
I feel there is too much emphasis on promotion in the rooms today instead of attracting newcomers with our personal experiences in recovery. Last night in my group only one person actually said what they were doing to stay sober today, while the other members were consumed with quoting pages and rushing out non-stop adoration for the big book and the twelve steps without actually explaining specifics within these passionate pontifications. Bill W. talked about the language of the heart not the language of page numbers and clichés. Sure there is a purpose to surface AA, but without the deeper elements in the rooms the recovery equation is out of balance and this can be detrimental to us as we try and carry out our primary purpose. Recovery to me is in our actions and not, in the glossy veneers we can put on recovery. Too much promoting can indicate a roadblock in our drive to repossess sanity therefore; I feel it’s important to not play and hide behind the promotion game but, to share our authentic recovery experiences. Does this concern anyone?
I remember clearly what drew me in to AA was that people shared personal experiences at a deep level. They were talking about things I had lived and experienced but that I was hiding. They said things like, "you're only as sick as your secrets" and then shared their secrets making it OK for me to open up and share mine.
Luckily, people that have some long term sobriety keep going to meetings. Imagine if everyone that had ten years or more said yeah I'm bored with this. To the newcomer we will say keep coming back it works, but, after ten years you'll be bored.
Boredom is something that happens when judgement is being passed. Sober. Not sober. Doesn't matter. To be bored is to apply a judgement on a condition. I think. I don't know. Too complicated really.
Someone above said that they were at a meeting the other night and one person had like 30 years and one person had 48 hours.
I was at a meeting last night. 19 years in. I'm still an alcoholic. I'm just sober. Thanks to AA. And the people new and not new that keep showing up.
The only deep level secret that I shared at my first
meetings was that I was/am an alcoholic. Others shared that
they were alcoholics and I felt comfortable sharing that I
am alcoholic also. I believe that statements like "you're
only as sick as your secrets" are harmful and border on
stupidity. Confession of deep dark secrets in an A.A. group
or to other members (sponsors) can be dangerous. I certainly
would not want the person next to me at an AA meeting to
know the details of my sins. That is not part of AA recovery. It is no wonder that the A.A. critics today have such a field day.
People talking about their drinking experiences without
exhibitionism, and that they found a way out by Faith is,
was what attracted me. There were no conditions. No one
said "Show me yours, and I will show you mine". There
were no conditions. ANONYMOUS
Yes, always going to the same meeting does make the sharing become more trite to me also. Changing meetings now and then does help, but I find that MY sharing as well as others loses color over time. What gives me perspective is spiritual growth, which comes to me through helping others. I find my connection to H P and others only grows from actively working the program, helping others reconnect is the only way I can reconnect. Also known as unconditional love, it requires work, but the rewards are a life on earth. Anonymous.
Sharing our experience, strength and hope is not the same thing as confessing our sins or revealing our deepest secrets. That is an extreme reply to an authentic concern. Sharing what it was like then and now in general terms will suffice. The field of recovery experiences that can be visible to the newcomer is a lot broader then someone revealing their darkest secrets to a room full of people.
I suggest switching to some different meetings. Sometimes mixing things up helps.... Sometimes a set of people will dominate a meeting for a while so i take a break and when i come back there has been enough changeover that the personality of the meeting has changed/improved.