Burning Desire to Share
"To help keep alcoholism from killing you?"
Are you saying that alcoholism will kill me if I don't have a sponsor? Apparently you missed the sentence in the Big Book, "No human power could have relieved our alcoholism."
I was on active duty with the U.S, Navy when I got sober. In my first two years I was in five different states and two foreign countries. I spent two months as a Loner and ten more as an Internationalist. I wasn't in any one place long enough to get a sponsor or a home group, but I took a suggestion to use (not just read, or study, but use) the Big Book and a Higher Power. I recently celebrated forty-two years sobriety without a sponsor.
So you have been sober longer than I have been alive. I look at a guy that's been sober two months and think maybe I can do that.
"So you have been sober longer than I have been alive. I look at a guy that's been sober two months and think maybe I can do that."
Talk to someone doing 60 days in the local jail. Maybe you can do that, too.
I don’t know about the person who wrote the question about alcoholism killing but I’m familiar with the quote from how it works “Probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism”. I had spent half a lifetime working my way down the food chain, crashing cars, honing my character defects and winning vomiting contests. Somehow that didn’t turn out to be an effective apprenticeship to develop a keen awareness of God’s will for me and how access it. Reading the literature didn’t either. A sponsor did. Nothing unusual about my story or yours but I have seen the old adage “God helps those who help themselves” play out many times in AA. If we are, by necessity, isolated from meetings, have difficulty reading, or have any other barrier keeping us from accessing all of AA’s suggestions, God will do the heavy lifting if we do all we can to help ourselves. For many of us this includes recruiting a guide.
I wrote the question.
I've buried two sponsors and have been without for several years. I found that two heads work better than one especially when this one has a disease that wants to deny anything is wrong. Alcoholism kills most who have it. Someone wants a reason for a sponsor, that mine. If she wants to join the navy to get sober that's fine with me.
Jim, We have been sober about the same length of time
and are about the same age. I hope you get your 10%
discount from Home Depot as a veteran. Thanks for your
military service. I am a Vietnam Veteran although I never
left the US.
We have agreed in the past on the drug addict becoming
a member of A.A. I believe, that by welcoming the drug
addict into A.A. we have harmed N.A. and in most cases
we fail to really help the addict. We also diminish the
effectiveness of our own fellowship.
Combining A.A. and N.A. we lose the identification
necessary for recovery. We also lose the ability to
pass our message in the manner Bill W. describes on
Page 70 in AACA. Parallel the fellowships are a gold
mine for the alcoholic and the drug addict. Combining
the two fellowships spoils the magic. We have combined
them and must somehow separate them.
I have never had a "sponsor" as defined by today's A.A.
I have attempted to "sponsor" others, but today I know
that I do not have the ability to guide someone else's
life. I just share my own experience and leave the rest
up to God. I do not have the power. I don't believe any
human does. So today I tell any A.A. member, new or old,
that I will help in any way that I can (I do have limits)
but let's lose the sponsor label.
I personally believe the third edition of the Big Book
to be the second greatest story ever told. Please consider
making a study of Bill's further writing, AACA and LOTH.
Thanks for your continued dedication to our fellowship.
Love your story. Thanks for commenting.
My name is Cathy G, I am a recovering alcoholic. I have been continuously sober for 29 years. I have been in this home group for over 6 years. The original AA's who started this meeting have moved on to other groups. New members have come into the group and want to change the format of the meeting. We never had a business meeting. We started having business meetings. the format has been changed. also one new member does not like members sharing any sobriety or serenity threatning issues. what can be done about this?? It is a Big Book Step meeting and he expects everyone to stick to the steps and not share anything personal at all. It is becoming a problem for me. I believe anyone who has something to share needs to do so. there are no musts in AA. Can I have some feedback on this!! Dicontented in Delaware
First of all if you read the big book and underlined every must you would know there are lots of musts in AA. I understand your not happy with others running the show, however self-will-run-riot. Let them make their mistakes. It took me a long time to realize there are some sicker than others. They seek control in which is a sign that their out of control. If its this bad for you find another group, start another group, or stick in there with your hand out to be there. Remember the opinions expressed here are those of each individual and not necessarily that of AA. Also read the st. Francis prayer in the daily reflections, as well the serenity prayer.
29 yrs is great i cannot last 10 days everytime after drinking i hate myself
Just wanted to say..I hear you. Are you OK today? Thank your higher power or anything if you woke up today. Take one minute at a time if you have do & if that means just sitting in a pretty park w/ a book to read by yourself...do it. You'll eventually enjoy just doing simple things.
"It is a Big Book Step meeting and he expects everyone to stick to the steps and not share anything personal at all."
I too would expect everyone to stick to the steps at a Step meeting.
There is a pamphlet titled "Problems Other Than Alcohol" which states, "Sobriety - freedom for alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole practice of an A.A. group." And on page 79 of "As Bill Sees It" it says, "An A.A. group, as such, cannot take on all the problems of it's members, ........"
If you want a group therapy session go to group therapy.
Thanks Cathy. Maybe the real issue is "Control" I have long time sobriety as well, and my home group is so weird today. You'd think you were in an institution full of narcissistic children fighting over their 12-step toys. I sit back and enjoy the show. Not all is lost. It's okay for now but, things change. I do my part and relax. You must realize group dynamics are always in flux. Yours may circle back to the way you like it one day. Surely there are other groups in your area and hopefully a good women's group. The men's discussion I attend is very solid. In regards to my home group speaker meeting, I really only attend it because it is full of newcomers. And you know, the men's group is not perfect either. It is full of long timers who love to hear themselves talk. There is also a positive side of being discontented and I hope you will discover this side one day. Peace
More than once I have heard "Excuse me but how do others in the group feel about Joe's insistence that..?" Of course I have a lot of "sneaky" left over from my drinking days so I would do a little development work in private before the meeting to stack the deck. If I couldn't get any support ahead of time, I'd try to do something about trying to change me.
I sometimes wear a tee shirt with the caption;
Give Me That Old Time Religion
below an image of people dancing around Stonehenge.
Things do change.
How can I comment on a passage from the bog book or 12 x 12 regarding the steps without sharing how it has applied or currently applies to me? I do not like to hear long stories of woe, but if no one had shared about what they had been able to get through in sobriety, by working the steps as they understood them, I would not have walked away with hope that I could stop drinking and learn to enjoy life sober.
After 34 years of recovery in AA and God only knows how many 4th steps. I am once again astounded by the fact that I am consistently the least reliable source of accurate information about me.
May name is Paul and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. I have been sober for 7 months and my birthday is January 9, 2013. I am saying this because I am realizing that even after 7 months, I am the same person, just have taken away the alcohol. I am on step 11 and am aware of my responsibilities for step 10, but admitting to my lies after being caught in one and on top of that doing damage control to cover up the lie ... I can't believe myself, but in the moment I was scared.
Fear, self centeredness, and selfishness tend to run my life and am always working on these character defects. My conflict has not made me want to drink, but my heart of hearts is heavy. I belittled one person who is trying to trust in me again and I feel like I failed. My support group in AA and even my sponsor have told me I am not perfect, that I will do stuff like this, but when is enough, enough?
I love this individual and have been faithful physically. The lying was over looking at pornographic sites and then covering my tracks as if I had something to hide. I used to do this behavior, but was on these sites and cheating, so the extent of my lies is intense.
I did some reading in the big book and AA blogs about self preservation and how we lie to those we love to preserve good ideas. I also have done some reading on damage control in the big book and through my step work. I wrote out an inventory of what I have been lying about and where I am wrong for the other person. I also wrote out a letter I plan on reading that explains what I did and how deeply I am upset for what I did.
Is this too much? Should I just pause, pray, proceed? Or should I take action and not waste time to make amends when I am wrong like it says in step 10? Suggestions?!!!!
It is great that you have a sponsor and a group and are working the steps. I'm sure your sponsor and members of your group can share some experience in this area.
I found that when "working on defects of character" those defects become more problematic in my life causing increasing amounts of pain and conflict just as alcohol did in those last days. This helps me see my powerlessness over these things. As outlined in the steps, I admit to another person and to my HP and make amends except when to do so would cause harm. I tap into my source of power asking for help. Then, I try to help others and be of service.
Dealing with some of my defects seems to be a lifetime project. Hang in there.
I would suggest, and it seems that you did this, is to speak with your sponsor prior to making an amends. Making amends is not a waste of time, as you may learn. I have found % relief from alcoholism but not from life. I continue to learn what I do right and what I do wrong.
Is there a media backlash to AA? It seems we were treated well in the movies up to the nineties when the stars made it fashionable. At one time, there were serious movies made about alcoholism but, now it seems we have become over-exposed at the cruelest levels. Now we have celebrity rehabs and even that guy and dog from the "Family Guy" went to AA meeting and got everyone to relapse. I was in the restaurant the other day and a group of people where just making a mockery of AA calling us the house of losers, cry-babies and a place where people who never learned to grow up and have a case of comfort addiction and arrested development go and pretend they are better than everyone else. I actually confronted the group which probably didn't help but I had to correct them. Does anyone else see this too?
The media mostly reflects back what we give them. What I can do to be helpful is have a home group inventory to see how we can better carry the message of AA to the alcoholic who still suffers. I can support the Public Information committees at my district, area and GSO so that if a member of the media wants accurate information on the actual AA program, we can have it easily available.
“house of losers, cry-babies and a place where people who never learned to grow up and have a case of comfort addiction and arrested development”
Sounds more like your average bar to me ;)
I remember years ago the day my daughter broke my anonymity at a movie theater in front of all the parents during a Disney movie that had a "shark twelve-step meeting" She yelled, "Look that's like my daddy's AA meetings!" However, I'm a proud member of AA, so it didn't matter. In the media its protocol to go after the weakest link. They never show strong AA groups that have healthy members with long time sobriety or show the result of AA where family members, spouses, co-workers, neighbors, etc., have seen and experienced the real AA mojo.
“house of losers, cry-babies and a place where people who never learned to grow up and have a case of comfort addiction and arrested development”
I don’t know about the rest of you but I have been guilty of all of those at one time or another. I’m too deaf for TV or movies so I’ll take your word for what goes on there. Despite the thrashing we may take, the only competition we have are jails, institutions and cemeteries so I think that we’ll be OK.
Thanks for confronting the gossipers I the restaurant. Might not change their thinking but I bet they whisper next time.
I sure there are celebrity rehabs but WE don’t have celebrity rehabs.
I have not made a study of what you describe, have not tracked AA's treatment by the media in recent years, so my comments are anecdotal only. Historically, the print, radio, and television/film media had an unwritten understanding with AA, one that grew and developed over the early years as AA's experiences on all fronts became the foundation for the traditions. Not to resort to sexist phraseology, but it seems there was a "gentlemen's agreement" between AA and the media. In recent years, however, with the growth of treatment centers, which are not themselves AA but certainly try to funnel their patients to AA or other 12-step programs, many just released from these centers come for a few meetings, and then return to their addictions. Those who have some degree of celebrity and into "self-promotion" find themselves before cameras, where they can explain how they were cured or perhaps how AA failed them. In others words, the principle of anonymity, "the spiritual foundation of all our traditions," is not followed. The more this occurs, the more that "gentlemen's agreement" is eroded, and the more bad press AA is likely to get. Since to defend ourselves would be "self-promotion," is is sort of a catch-22. No easy solution, but personally I am responsible for anonymously being a "good example" of the benefits of AA. Sometimes I am, others -- not so much.
I always have to ask myself one question; Was my drinking bad enough for me? The answer is always yes and AA works for ME! I am the problem and to be preoccupied with what others think of AA is to lose sight of the problem - ME! I can grow one day at a time, which means carrying the message one day at a time. The most I can do is share my experience, strength and hope with a fellow alcoholic and in so doing help a newcomer come to believe. Afterall drinking was just a symptom, yet the media project AA as a cure for drinking.
WELL I HAD 4 WEEK AND I WENT OUT AN HAD A DRINK I'M GONNA GO TO A MEETING TODAY I NEED TO SEE OTHERS AND HOW IT WORKS THE COMPUTER IS IIGHT BUT A MEETING IS WHAT I NEED THANKS ANOTHER ALCOHOLIC AND DRUG ADDICT
Thanks for checking in. Our stories in writing and in person are filled with quitting, swearing off, dry spells. The bottom line seems to be that four weeks don't generate another day. Days sober don't cause more days sober. Without a change they come to an end. The good news is that the program of recovery offered by AA causes days sober. Lots of them for many of us. The rest of the story? Going to AA and watching other people use the program is like being on the Titanic and watching other people use the lifeboats.
Good thinking going to face to face meetings. Internet can help too. This site is a little slow to get immediate help. Others have experienced members online constantly. Start at the AA.org website for information.
gratefully free, not so happy and joyous. Life happens. So many losses, health, deaths, group folding, no family, sponsor not connected. just plain sad, empty feeling but with God = not God's doing, 'is'. How to go fwd when hope dwindles.
All you need to do is put your higher power in charge and not drink and your a winner.Haveing a higher power and believing in one are two different things if your faith is strong enough you can get through anything.You are excactly were you need to be in the program and life.A;an...
Seemingly the saddest day of my whole life was when I came to and came to A.A. to my surprise it has been the best and didn't even know it, Two I give credit and it has nothing to do with people praising or calling someone on the phone.
1. Simple "personal willingness" not to drink.
2. "Only" but for the grace of God I would had been diverted
and conned if not for the faith to stand still - the problem with faith is there is to many substitutions re; to people place and things here in A.A. and the world about us.
Sorry to hear of all your losses. At least sober, we have a chance to be of service in all of life's happenings. Where can we be of service, where can we provide comfort?
While drinking, I only added to the problems and loss. Sober, I can suit up, show up, do the right thing and help. I can practice our principles in all my affairs.
When my mother had a heart attack towards the end of my drinking, I was an embarrassing mess to my family. I showed up to a family consultation with her cardiologist stinking drunk. 10 years later and 9 years sober, I welcomed that same cardiologist to her funeral with a warm sober handshake and tears in my clear eyes as I thanked him for all he did for us. There can be gifts of sobriety, even in loss.
I make a mental list of the first ten things I can think of to be grateful for. With a computer connection youtube is a free jukebox we couldn't have dreamed of years ago. Hard to stay down with the Ronettes or Bruce Springsteen stuck in my head. ODAAT and keep coming back aren't all there is to life.
I also beefed up my second step with some reading from New Age Religion from the library.
Hope you find what you need.
I have read that Mother Theresa spent years doing her work in India questioning the will if not the existence of her HP. But she trudged on doing her work for the poor. All the mystics seem to have gone through their personal "dark night of the soul," when after their joy and elation at a glimpse of the divine, their "pink cloud" left and doubt set in. I have to keep in mind the phrase "this too shall pass" when I am on an emotional/spiritual high or low. Don't always do that, especially during lows. But as Mother Theresa and Bill W. apparently discovered, when all else fails, work with another (leper/alcoholic) would save the day. Simple prescription, but one I too often fail to heed when it is inconvenient for the great I.
My name is Silas and I am an alcoholic. I believe in my Higher Power and the reality of miracles. I had been only three weeks on the wagon, completely helpless and terrified of what my life had come to when I decided that the only way out was prayer. I had lost my family, my health my job and most everyone close to me. I desperately needed freedom from addiction and guilt. Within an hour and a half, and this almost in the middle of a rainy dark night, a job offer turned up with the employer calling in person, the best position I have ever held. Within two months my family was restored in a strange way, and things are getting better by the day. I have more than enough to be thankful for.
Wow how fortunate you are. when I first sobered up I had been out of an abusive relationship, half-dead from the Booz and fights, with no job, moving back with my parents, and feeling hysterical about how strange it was to have freedom to talk to anyone, freedom to go anywhere, and freedom from alcohol. I'm still living with my parents, have 3 jobs, I. Volunteer, I started a new group recently, and I'm involved in my church. It's hard work to get a career you want. I've been trying for over 2 years trying to get in the military and still I must wait and send more info to them.
So yeah it sounds like your life was handed back to you, mine I'm still not sure, and I'm over 2 years sober.
I began my recovery a little over 2.5 years ago. I became friends with someone who started working on sobriety at about the same time. I have valued having a 'classmate' of sorts. My sobriety is not dependent on this peer fellowship, but it has provided me with strength during rough patches of redefining a life.
This individual emailed me recently. Couched in the middle of this chatty email there was a paragraph or two stating that they had started drinking again. It was very casually written, as if it was no big deal.
I am sure that others out there have faced similar experiences. How have you responded?
Best advice I have heard, mirrored in what someone else here posted, is that I need to work my own program, not try to work mine AND someone else's. It was suggested early on to me that if I had too much of an inclination to try to "cure" others, it wouldn't hurt to go to an Alanon meeting. And it didn't. I suppose you could reply "let me know how that works out for you, and if it doesn't, you know how to reach me."
I have had the same experience with some friends. Jessy, corey, chad, harry, and craig. All sober for a time, but never worked the steps. Today, all 5 are dead. they died drunk. There are many more that have gone to jail and won't be getting out any time soon.
They never had the willingness to go to any lengths, meaning woking the steps. they never overcame their denial to alcoholism by getting honest.
Sorry to be a downer, but there are 3 ups for alcoholics, Sobered up, locked up, or cuvered up.
Continue to work on your own program and extend your hand to your friend when they decide to give it another try. People that continue to go back to old behavior are usually not at their bottoms yet. We need to live and let live to be the most helpful to others. Be the example of good sobriety for your friend, who knows it may save their life.
My first sponsor got drunk. Numerous people I started AA with disappeared. The ex-sponsor finally died of alcoholism. I have seen hundreds test AA for some period of time and disappear. At first, it scared the hell out of me – this AA doesn’t work! I was re-assured by others that AA indeed works, the members in question didn’t. Looks like you are talking about it, that’s what I did. It didn’t go away at once. It finally soaked in that there are around twenty million drinking alcoholics in the US and a tenth of that in AA. Most don’t get it but the choice is mine. The best thing I can do for someone still suffering is to live as an example of AA’s results.
Old salts have told me that nowhere in the Big Book does it say “Don’t drink”. I’m not sure but I haven’t seen it. AA is for people who want to stop drinking. Lots of people drink. Lots of people drink too much. If you are in the US prohibition ended before most of us were born. Your friend has a right to drink and he may be one of those who can learn to control it. Any speculation I have made has always been a fool’s errand. My only focus – me. Alcohol stopped working for me long before I quit and brought on a great deal of pain in unpredictable episodes as soon as I started. AA has showed me, it doesn’t get better.
Bill W. wrote the Big Book in 1935. He spent the rest of his life explaining the true meaning of
every word. We have ignored Bill's explanation and many leaders and members have developed their
own explanation. (too many). I would guess that 95% of our A.A. members have never read The Language
of the Heart. Bill wrote these articles to keep the membership informed, beginning in the
mid 40's thru 1970. There are about 150 articles contained in the book. Again, many members
have never heard of the book which came out in 1988. Bill wrote of the many blunders we might
make if we are not extremely careful. IMO, we have made practically all of them.
Bill did not warn us about the chanting. That ritual began after Bill passed away. But most
of our mistakes can be found in Bill's writings.
We must read and study LOTH, A.A. comes of Age, Pass it On, and the other books written
before 1971. We do not need new and innovative methods. We need to use the technique left for
us by Bill and Silky. In Three Talks To Medical Societies, Bill called that technique a
"gadget". Most of today's A.A. members have no idea what that gadget is. ANONYMOUS
Yes, you titled it right, "Our Fellowship" That's what AA is to me, not "Bill's Fellowship" I am grateful Bill started AA with Bob and others but, I will never put any member on a pedestal. They were human beings like me. They were not saints but, just guys who had an addiction. They came from a faith-based world so, AA had its beginnings as a faith based program which offered a recipe for bliss and freedom from alcohol. And you brought up a good point. If Bills' program was perfect then why did he try and fix it? There's the rub. AA is not a fixed program. It grows and changes to better serve the new person. We have information and experience today that the earlier members never had. We can reach out to a more diverse group of suffering alcoholics. One of the men I sponsor just celebrated 12 years and he told me he would be dead today if I forced God or the Big Book on him. I shared with him what worked for me. Although my program is faith-based and I have returned to the Catholic Church, he was and is an atheist to this very day. To me, his actions speak louder than his words or the things he believes or not-believes in. His family loves him today and he's involved in the community as a volunteer fireman. The funniest thing to me is he (Mr. Atheist) drops his kids off to Sunday School, which I think is just hilarious. For AA to survive we must avoid black and white thinking and learn to be flexible.
The spirit of our Fellowship sure beats the personal sponsorship craze all to heck !! Thanking God rather than praising our self's is good and being an example instead of finding one is greater yet !!
Can you intuitively handle situations that use to baffle us - if you have to ask someone the answer is obviously NO !!
I never thought of it that way. The meetings I go to are all cool. People honor our code, "Love and Tolerance"
There's an atheist guy in our group too and he's very loved and respected. If it wasn't for him I just might be dead as well. I remember when I was new, I said to him, " Someone told me my Higher Power could be anything even a toilet bowl brush." He laughed and replied, "Does a Toilet bowl brush have Buddha nature?" I said, "I don't know" He laughed some more and said, "Well when you figure it out let me know but in the mean time make the coffee and welcome the newcomer."
My name is kirk and I am an alcoholic. I am having trouble with my emotions with my sobriety friends. I have 72 days sober. and everyone else is 1 month or below. they look at me as an example. and A mentor. They are having troubles with there soberity. I need aDVICE.
The steps work if we work them. I suggest you find a literature meeting where there are guys with sobriety. Get a sponsor who can help.
Our Big Book tells us precisely how it works.
You cannot be a mentor right now. A sponsor who has a sponsor can do that.
Encourage your friends to attend meetings with you and let AA speak for itself. Your journey is one day at a time and your example of attending meetings and talking with your sponsor is all the "mentoring" you can do right now. Hang with the oldtimers more than with the new guy at this stage of your sobriety.
Susan C. 26 years of one day at a time!
I never settle for advice. I hold out for experience. That's what it say doesn't it "We share our experience.."? I want the other guy to be the lab rat. I'm sure I spent more than thirty day even beginning to see what people had let alone wanting it or going to any lengths to get it. I spent decades perfecting my alcoholism, why would I expect to unlearn it instantly? (I did expect it of course)
I got a sponsor.
I got a 12 and 12.
I attended meetings regularly. (but I didn't live in them)
I got a big book. Eventually read every word of it.
Finally got my fourth and fifth done and things started rolling.
I served as GSR.
The usual stuff.
Started seeing the steps as good tools to solve life's problems. Still do.
Promises come true every day.
The only person that you need to work on is you. It is up to the individual if they want to get sober. there are steps, the big book, and to get a sponsor. I recently started a group and I'm the only one with the most time in myself. They look up to me as we'll and expect me to do it all.(serenity prayer helps)
well here's a newsflash for them, when I came in I agreed to go to any length to stay sober and I did what was suggested which was go to meetings, read the big book, get a sponsor, and have a higher power of my understanding.
n the good side of these people who look up to us is that they'll want to come back, because we have something they want. remember we all came in as SUFFERING alcoholics.
Don't be so hard on yourself, your doing fine,