Burning Desire to Share
What exactly is it about "don't pick up the first drink" that you cannot grasp? Much of your rant seems to be an effort to rationalize your continued drinking. If whatever god you are praying to answers (apart from concerns I would have over your hearing voices) and tells you to drink, then maybe you should stop praying and just start doing what is suggested: don't drink and keep coming back. You may not have heard that part of the equation. It was suggested to me that I get involved with service work, which initially meant making coffee, taking out garbage, helping clean up around the meeting hall. Between meetings and service work, I got a little break from the chorus of voices in my head, voices that likely were a function of my body screaming for the substance I was physically and psychologically dependent on - alcohol. It takes discipline to break old habits and develop new ones, and it took me two or three meetings per day plus service work to break my cycle of drinking, while the steps then allowed me to figure out how to stay sober and enjoy life without booze.
"What exactly is it about "don't pick up the first drink" that you cannot grasp?"
For a long time before AA found me I tried the 'don't pick up the first drink' bit. If I had been able to not pick up the first drink I wouldn't need AA, I could quit and stay stopped.
That being said, though the Big Book stresses prayer as being necessary for recovery, it's main theme is recovery through the Twelve Steps. Yes, some do stay away for booze without the steps, but they seem to be the ones who can 'just don't drink and go to meetings. Brian sounds like the type who needs the steps more than the just don't drink advice.
I pray to God to help me better understand his will for me and the power to carry that out. POWER is key. It means I have to be fearless. To walk through the darkness with full faith that God has my back. He/she/it has yours to Brian. Ask your sponsor/get a sponsor, go to meetings, you know the drill. Sending lots of hugs your way.
My sponsor meant the world to me. My first hero in AA. I worked the steps with him. He knew my dark secrets. However, cancer got the best of him. He was given a few months to live. One day, I went to see him at his house and his wife said he started drinking. I was shocked. I ran straight out of the house and never saw him again. I was disappointed at first because he meant so much to so many people over the last 25 years. I thought he was being selfish. Now I feel horrible, because I abandoned a true friend. I failed AA because I was not responsible. His calls went straight to my voicemail. What a lousy example of friendship I was to him. I read once that the nurse on duty documented in the night log that the founder of AA asked for a drink in the end. I thought who cares at that point. My sponsor has returned to his God and he will have permanent sobriety in heaven. I guess in that condition its okay to drink because sobriety is for the living not the dead. Has anyone dealt with this before? I feel so guilty. I haven't apologized to his wife yet. I just can't face her now. Thanks
Yea, what the heck. What value is ones sobriety at that point? I hope a decision like that never arrives at my door. I'm sure your sponsors good deeds tremendously outweighed his final days of drinking. It's not like he returned to his drunken past. He returned to God with a smile on his face. Perhaps its a good lesson to not idolize people in the program because misfortune touches the good as well.
I am new to the life of sobriety but the things I've read, heard and experienced life of sobriety is a challenge sick or in good health.
I have not experienced something like that but if it were me I would find the time and speak with her I'm sure his wife would like to hear from you and would understand .
I fired my first sponsor because of his drinking. He died of alcoholism a few years later. The good he gave me far outweighed the bad he did to me, although I felt very angry (like you) at the time.. His death burned into me the fact of alcoholism's being cunning, baffling and powerful. Most people with alcoholism die from it. The fact that he or others attend AA doesn't change that unless they pick up the tools and use them.
My second sponsor and two other sober peers died from cancer at about 30 years sober. I guess they showed that it can be done.
I suppose people stay sober (or don't) for a number of reasons.
Some to stop the consequences of drinking.
Others because they can accept that drinking absolutely stopped working for them(if it ever did)and there was no reason to do something that didn't work.
A third type stop because it looks bad not to.
I guess we all share some of the three. The last is most precarious because it requires someone else's expectations to live up to.
What do the three have in common? Reasons won't keep me sober, I need a method to accomplish it. For me it is AA's twelve steps. If I continue to use them, I will continue to see that alcohol simply doesn't work for me and there is no reason to reach for it, living or dying.
If we step back from today's AA's obsession with marking time and collecting medallions, what really happened? He was very ill, drinking wasn't apt to cause the damage it does in normal circumstances. He reached out for something which used to work, maybe still did.
The Higher Power that I believe in doesn't require that all slates must be clean, all accounts in order when someone passes. People who died when I was a mess or in a temporary fit of anger don't spend and eternity locked in conflict with me. You had a reasonable expectation that wasn't met. You felt angry. You acted on it. It's over. You learned from it. Move on.
life's too short to worry, and at the same time life is too short to not have courage. I have made many mistakes in my life, especially with my father. I resented him for many years, until he almost died of a heart attack. then he had to have a triple bypass, and I only got to see him for twenty minutes. I walked in gave hima hug and told him I loved him. That was the most courage I had at that point. He did well after, and we get along fine now. So don't worry, I'm sure their not going to boot you. it's better to say something than nothing.
My mother, also is "terminal" right now, stage 4 cancer. However, she's not alcoholic, so she is not thinking about drinking or killing her self sooner.
I know today that: "it is normal for an alcoholic to drink"
Sobriety is not normal for us. I also believe that Bill W. was asking for a drink, the day he died (some people choose not to believe it).
Let's not forget that "no one among us have been able to maintain perfect adherence to these principals. We are not saints... & we claim spiritual progress, not perfection"
We place too much high value on "sobriety quantity."
We ought to place "SOBRIETY QUALITY" at higher value.
Don't be so hard on your sponsor. I'm sure he taught you to be grateful for what we do get.
The book says: "Grant him the love & tolerance you would grant a sick friend."
We still have the message. It has been the same for 75 years. What has been lost is the method in
which the message is passed on to others.
I haven't lost it. It's spelled out perfectly from page 89 through page 103 in a chapter entitled Working with Others.
I am serving in the military in Afghanistan on my 3rd deployment to a combat zone. I hear alot of guys talk about how they "can't wait to get home a have a drink" because of stressful this experience can be at times. My first two times deploying that was the case for me to, I claimed to my naysayers that drinking was "the only way I knew how to relax" after having been in combat. I have over a year of sobriety now and am so grateful to my Higher Power that I am not fanatisizing about that drink when I, God willing, go back home in one piece. I even tried to start a meeting over here, on my FOB of over 3000 people via mass e-mail. One DOD contractor showed up to my meeting and it was such a relief to know there was someone else like me out here so far from home. Just wanted to share.
May God bless you and keep you till you return home.
No one is Drunk Proof working the program
we Become Drunk Resistant God Bless
I am very confident in my level of Drunk Resistance and I DO NOT discount the fact that I will never be "DRUNK PROOF" but I know that right now, far from home, I am not fanatisizing about drinking when I get back from Afghanistan and I thank God for that and keep working to do the next right thing for my sobriety, my family, and my soldiers.
No one is Drunk Proof working the program
we Become Drunk Resistant God Bless
God bless and hang in there! I'd be honored to have a "virtual meeting" one of these days.
I love that you took the effort to start a meeting there! And that one person responded is a blessing for both of you.
I am so grateful for you and those like you, in and out of A.A. for their personal sacrifices of time and effort to help others achieve freedom whether the oppressor be human or alcohol. Thank you for being here (there) for me.
Thank you for your support! God bless!
I served in the 70's but, was not sober. There was a guy in my unit who talked about alcoholism and he had one year of sobriety. He was following some kind of beautiful light, which seemed to never shine on me. He was the first to plant the sober seed. From that point on every time I woke up with a hangover I wondered if I was an alcoholic. I don't know what happened to him but, I remember he used to say that all he had to do was to stay sober for one day. He said no matter what happened to him, if he stays sober, his life was meaningful. I know his sobriety was to me. After discharge, I tried what he suggested but failed often to stay sober for that one day he talked about. Eventually, his words clinked and I realized I wasn't functioning or adjusting in society and it was because I was a sick person. I turned myself over for help. Jails, the "flight decks" and the DWI's convinced me how sick I was. I went to a VA hospital and they treated me for PTSD and alcoholism. I've been sober since one day at a time. Why I'm sober today while others died I can't answer that except that sober guy in my unit had a hand in it. Your life is meaningful and I think you know it and that's the hope we bring to anyone suffering with this disease.
The ground my family lives on in the middle of the United States has been untouched by war for over one hundred and thirty years because of the commitment of America's warriors. Thank you.
I joined AA in '79 with veterans recovering from their tour in south east Asia. Some recovered, some didn't. Those who were able to deal with their alcoholism were able to put the horrors of war behind them and move on to successful education, careers, families -life. Others only got as far as a bar stool at a veterans club. This is America, they have a right to do that. I wasn't there, I don't judge them. The rewards were far better for those able to move on.
Small world. A DOD contractor at our group disappears for a few months at a time and come back with good tan. Great guy.
September 30th will be my first honest year sober. After struggling for seven hard years! Just want to say how happy and sober and clean life is with God in my life. AA has saved this drunks life and has givin hope back.
congrats it took me the same time to get a year...
Every day an alcoholic stays sober is a good one. Glad you were given ten months strung together and hope you enjoy many more. Those days strung together are good, the ones that aren't consecutive are good too. If I'm not drunk,calling in sick, drunk and driving, drunk and destroying my family it's a good day regardless of what happened the day before or after.
The result of making time count is better than the result of counting time.
th@ is the subject.
my name is Sam and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. I feel that my landlord is trying to separate me from AA. She has been trying to be my higher power since I moved into this building. She tries to run my life. She really scares me. I thought this apartment building was just an apartment building when I applied to live here. Another resident here told me that the landlord of this apartment building used to run a half way house. I think she is trying to run this building as if it were a half way house which it is not. She tries to supervise my life. I feel she is trying to prevent me from participating in AA because AA is something she cannot control and she wants me under her control as if I were her property. She wants to be my everything. She wants to be my higher power and will stop at nothing. She has even intercepted my mail from AA and opened it. I am grateful to be sober in AA. I plan to move out of this apartment building as soon as possible. Thank you for letting me share. Sam, grateful recovering alcoholic
We are powerless over people too. I don't allow others to rent space in my head either. However the mail thing is kind of creepy, I would sue the person if they did that to me. That's invasion of your privacy. But do what you think is best. Oh and no one can force you to stop going to AA.
If she thinks she wants to your everything, just tell her you already have someone who does that for you. if she asks who you can say it is secret and special
Thanks for checking in with us. Sorry you are having a hassle.
When challenges come up in my sobriety it seems to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r for the solution to come, but they come and it keeps getting better just like we are promised.
I used the serenity prayer for years and waited to be made fearless. Wait a minute, I didn't ask to be made fearless, I asked for courage - taking action even if I feared the outcome. I tried it. It worked. My Higher Power thinks it's a slap in the face to be asked for courage and assume He won't provide it. He does provide it. He cannot not provide it. He's God.
isn't it a federal offence to tamper with the united states postal service?
I have one year nine months and twenty five days today. My sobrity was court ordered. I dont have a sponser bec oouse i dont work the steps. I havetalked to people and they seem to think imm not gonna make it bc i dont work the normal aa program. I do realaize that. I am a alcoholic and i can not have the firsy drink without going down the same path of almost thirty years. I go to meeting to help keep that realality in my head. I often think it would help tp have a sort of sponsor to talk to but not have there program pushed on me
I have seen people old timers some of them 30 yrs. + sober living a miserable live because they did not do the steps of recovery. The 12 steps of recovery is not to change you but to make you better person. If a curtain is closed you cannot see through it or if a window is dirty it is difficult to see through. Therefore in the same instance we pick up a lot of bad habits during our drinking the 12 steps is assist to clear the bad habits ( Open the Curtin ) so we can have direct contact with our higher power. So it is therefore suggested we do the 12 steps of recovery and the main object is to get a power greater than yourself. Also note being miserable will lead to going back to your old ways and eventually getting drunk again. To prevent this start with one step at a time you will see as you go along a weight is lifted from your shoulder and life gets better and easier to live.
You said, "The 12 steps of recovery is not to change you but to make you better person." True and they work for some people, however they are not the only way to make one a better person. If they made you a better person I'm happy for you. I didn't need the steps to learn how to be a better person because my mother instilled in me all the necessary ingredients years ago. When I came into the rooms and sobered up I focused my recovery on love and unselfishness. There is this misconception in the rooms and that is "If someone is not working the steps they are doing nothing and are against them." Thanks
Are you addicted to alcohol? If so, its a good idea to not pick up the first drink. We are not saints in AA although some members think they are. You mentioned being sober one year nine months; seems like something is working. Not everyone gets sober the same way. I haven't said a prayer in twenty years. The Fellowship of AA does not have rules about bullying people into sponsorship, reading books or praying. Read the Preamble. All we are asked to do is share what helps up individually. Believe it or not your post today helped me. That's the same magic Bill and Bob discovered. If your meetings are wacky try to find another one. There are other people like you in the same boat. Not everyone likes to be a robot. There are suggestions in the rooms but, certain members do not know the difference between a suggestion and a commandment. Pat yourself on the back mate and avoid know-it-all's.
AA was a gift to me. It took my worthless life that was quickly going down the drain and gave me hope, meaning & purpose.
Meetings were a gift. They gave me a port in a storm and what I had been looking for in the bars; friendship, fellowship, meaningful conversation, sociability, laughter, fun, support & love.
My sponsors over the years have been a gift. We gave each other permission to talk deeper than we might at a meeting and to be more honest with each other. They had my permission to call me on things that might pass at meeting level. And they shared their experience with working the steps and making the steps a way of life.
The steps were a gift to me. They led me inside to uncover, discover and discard the things that had ruled me since I was a child such as my shyness, fear of people, my hypochondria and resentments regarding what life had given me or not given me. The steps led me on a journey of discovery about myself, other people and my Higher Power/Higher Purpose.
My Higher Power has been a gift. In AA I found a Power greater than myself or alcohol that has miraculously removed from me the desire/obsession/compulsion to drink. Though I do not follow a particular religion or believe in a conventional type of God, I still seek and am open minded. I have friends of every religious and spiritual stripe including atheists and agnostics and am able to listen, learn and converse.
For me, the ultimate expression of my HP and our 12th step is Love. And the ultimate expression of Love is service to others with no thought of reward for ourselves. We see this EVERY day in AA. That is the Ultimate gift.
Keep coming back!!
Are u suggesting that if I work the steps as suggested I am a robot? It sounds like your mind is as closed as those u say give commandments
No of course not. Look deeper-Think about what a robot is.
Bill W. talked about the language of the heart. Robots don't have hearts. They are obedient to their masters. There are no masters in AA. A robot can be programed but, can a robot love? A robot can talk the walk. But the true essence of recovery cannot be programed.
There are many A.A. members who believe and teach that
the true essence of recovery can be programed. Alcoholic
rehabs are built on that belief. And that Program does
work quite well for some alcoholics. We push most of
those approaching us back out into the darkness.
True-some people like to follow programs while others like to explore. Bill W. was an explorer because if he wasn't we would all be in the Oxford group. We all have different intelligences and ways of learning which are all represented in AA. I am a grateful member of the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous but, have not chosen to work the program. I have found other ways to achieve the same happy joyous and free results through exploring. Can you accept that some people in AA get sober differently than you? I can.
Of course bill had to explore, prior to 1934 most alcoholics died from alcoholism. Don't get me wrong, I've read and investigated everything. To do with alcohol and recovery from alcohol. I've simply found Utopia in the steps of AA, if it ain't broke why fix it?
"I have found other ways to achieve the same happy joyous and free results through exploring. Can you accept that some people in AA get sober differently than you?"
Speaking for myself, I can accept it, since it's no secret that there are other was to get sober. My father, an admitted alcoholic, died with thirty-six years sobriety without using AA. But why would a person claim to be sober in AA if he refuses to do what AA teaches? I have to believe it's to stroke his own ego, to try and convince himself he's better than we poor folk who choose to follow suggestions.
There is no honesty in passing on one's personal, homemade 'program' to others as the AA program.
You said, "There is no honesty in passing on one's personal, homemade 'program' to others as the AA program."
I don't see your point. Perhaps you should read the Preamble. I think that guy was saying something else. We share our experience, strength and hope with each other in AA. It doesn't say anything about passing on the AA program. Therefore when I share what helps me I am with alignment with the AA Preamble.
"That's the same magic Bill and Bob discovered."
What did Bill receive from his newly sober pal, Ebby?
“…I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain a new order of things, were the essential requirements.”
What did Bill pass on?
“For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead.”
What did Dr Bob say of Bill’s call on him?
“but he had been cured by the very means I had been trying to employ, that is to say the spiritual approach.”
From Bill's story and Dr Bob's Nightmare, Alcoholics Anonymous
If the first half of step one has been working for you, imagine the results of employing the rest.
Do you suppose there is any connection between your lack of a grasp on AA's program of recovery and your angry name calling?
Today we have:
Thanks for sharing your resentments with us but I don't think I'll add them to my toolkit of solutions.
I’m not sure how a few words of mine upset you. How do you equate my usage of the terms bullies, wacky, robot and know-it-alls as angry and resentful? These are common descriptions of certain AA types that turns everyone off.
The only thing I can make of it was my post hit close to home. AA is a wonderful Fellowship. The support I received in the rooms over the years is incalculable. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
Other’s words don’t upset me. My unrealistic expectations or lack of acceptance of the world the way it is sometimes do. (AA 101). And no, I’m not upset reading your post. I just wanted to clarify for any newcomers that insulting and name calling is not a trademark of recovery nor is trying rationalize it afterwards. With AA's open door policy we get what we get.
Thanks for your passionate reply. I'm glad you are not upset. You said, "I just wanted to clarify for any newcomers" I too feel the same way. If you read my post correctly I was not insulting or targeting anyone. My post was actually positive. Newcomers should know that recovery is not the same for everyone and that most people in AA are loving, easy going and friendly. But there are those who think they are more important than others and who think they know more than they really do. The newcomer shouldn’t feel shame or guilt because they feel annoyed with someone in AA. It’s normal. We should not present a Pollyanna program. Do you like everything you hear in the rooms? Do you enjoy sitting through meetings dominated by bullies, fanatics, BB thumpers, know-it-alls, or robots? Know one in my men's group does. Unless you are the healthiest member in AA, you have to admit that there are a few members with these characteristics that would rather work your program then their own. Thank goodness the majority of members “get it.” We don’t have to like everyone in AA, even if love and tolerance is our code but, we have a Responsibility Statement which reminds us of our purpose. Recovery is not a popularity contest, its serious business.
Believe it or not, your way is the A.A. way. Your message
helped me. You only passed on your own experience, which
is what sober members of A.A. ought to do.
The steps and the Big Book are meant to be suggestive
only. Most A.A. members (yes, I have done the survey) do
not know the difference between a suggestion and a demand
Keep your eyes and ears open. And do not let ANYONE
stop you from going to A.A. meetings. Most alcoholics
generally just give up on us and walk away. Don't be
one of them. And don't join the cult element. It will
not be easy. It is easier to just walk away from all
the nonsense. Don't you dare! There are so few of us
left. Rules and bullies do not belong here. If we
ignore them and avoid them, maybe they will eventually
get the message.
Bill W. and Dr. Bob discovered that magic message
in the spring of 1935, using advice from Dr. Silkworth.
That advice came in the form of an IDEA. Most A.A.
members today have no idea what that IDEA is. For anyone
who cares enough to look, you can find the meaning in
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. Page 70. ANONYMOUS
FYI a survey isn't worth much when the survey taker is looking for a particular outcome.
"I had quit preaching...And this mutual give and take is at the very heart of all AA's twelfth step work today. This was how to carry the message."
Is that what you are referring to? How to twelfth step. What does one do before he starts doing twelfth step work? Does it somehow imply that there is something before step twelve that one needs to do?
"This was how to carry the message."
Does that say to you that the message is that all there is to recovering from this progressive, deadly disease is visiting one on one? It tells me that visiting one on one on an equal basis is how to carry AA's message of a program of recovery. Exactly how to do that isn't buried in some obscure volume, its spelled out in the Big Book in, of all places a chapter "Working with Others". AA's message is also spelled out in this volume. Just so you don't misunderstand, they are steps one through eleven to get you a message to carry in twelve.
In other words the method is not the message.
You asked, "What does one do before he starts doing twelfth step work?" That's easy. We share our their experience, strength and hope. Any drunk can help a drunk get sober. There's no pecking order of assistance when it comes to reaching the hand of AA out to a newcomer. Try saying "Hi, I'm Joe welcome. If you need anything let me know."
Glad to hear you are sober. If you are sober and happy, by all means continue doing what you are doing. AA and the program of recovery laid out in our steps are for alcoholics that want them. If you have a way that works for you by all means continue.
My only issue is that most alcoholics of my type can't stay sober and happy for long without the AA program. AA is full of heavy drinkers that were told to go to AA. They seem the get sober without too much effort and that's great. I and several of my friends tried what you are doing for years without the results you have gotten. That simply says going to meetings and working on step none doesn't work for us.
What will happen to us alcoholics when we come to your group of no program? Of course we will die like most alcoholics did prior to the 12 steps and the fellowship of AA.