Burning Desire to Share
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
in the story, FORGIVEN,Oct Issue, the author claims is given a four year prison sentence for being a passenger in an automobile accident which kills the driver. i find in hard to believe she gets a four year prison sentence for ridding drunk. I know it is impossible to back check all the facts in the manuscrips you are planning to publish but a measure of common sense should apply. I have been a long time sub. and do enjoy for the most part.
Well it seem every couple of months I relapse. I hurt my wife with false promises. Not that I do it on purpose. Back in 2005 I went to AA directly from getting out of jail (DUI) and worked the program and got some good time sober. The meetings did work until I stopped going. I cannot take this anymore and makes me sick to know how bad I make her cry. I got a couple of days under my belt and she just can't take me hurting her feelings any more. I just hope I'm not to late this time. I will be going to a meeting today and get a sponsor. This is something i must do because I'm just not strong enough on my own will power. I want this to be the last relapse and will be doing whatever it takes cause not only do. I love her and dont want to hurt her anymore but in addition the disappoint in myself is unbearable. I know it gets better in time and never want to have to go thru this feeling EVER again. Thanks for letting me vent. ---Stan
I hope you have good AA where your are.
If all you have is "Go to meetings and don't drink in between" and "meeting makers make it" they are selling remission, not recovery. I followed (sometimes kicking and screaming) Alcoholics Anonymous' suggested program of recovery as written in the Big Book and 12 and 12 and have enjoyed not only sobriety for 33 years but living the promises as detailed after step nine.
"May you find Him now".
Hi Stan: Good for you! It is never too late to be off this merry-go-round called alcoholism! I had been on it for over 40 years -- and the love of my life left because of it. It's too late for me to get him back -- but I applaud your willingness to keep trying.
I, too, keep coming to meetings and am now 319 days sober. I am so grateful to my God for this -- God is good -- life is good.
I am starting over again and have 2 months sober. I am so glad you are taking the first step. I had 5 yr sober and went back out. I guess i had to really do this deal with both feet in. I didn't have a sponser last time...i do this time. Will pray for you...
I had 19 months after getting out of court ordered rehab. I went to meetings and had a sponsor and did some of the steps (some of them I was not willing to do). After I got off probation I stopped going to meetings and went back out for 7 years. I finally got tired of my life and begrudgingly went back to AA. I would go to meetings, sit there not hearing a word, and as soon as I got home pour myself a drink. I did this for 2 months before I finally reached out to someone I knew that had 11 years sober and asked "Why can't I get it this time?". She said to me "You're not hitting your knees and asking God to remove the obsession". I thought that was the stupidest thing I had ever heard. I didn't believe in "God". How was I supposed to pray to something I didn't believe in? But I did it anyways. Every morning I got up and simply said (in my head not out loud... I wasn't ready for that) "Keep me sober". Never believing it would actually work. It did, so I decided I didn't need to do it anymore. I relapsed with 2 months sober. Since that happened I wake up every morning and still in my head ask MY god to keep me sober. Next month will mark the longest stretch of time sober in 20 years. Prayer... Sponsorship... Fellowship... Meetings... Steps... Vigilant studying of the Big Book... That's what keeps you sober (not in that order), but you can't pick and choose which ones you do.
Welcome back to AA Stan. It' great that you're going to meetings and getting some time sober. As we say, Keep Coming Back!
For me, I needed not only meetings but what was at meetings and what made meetings exist at all; recovery through the steps of AA. Early on, I bought a Big Book and 12 and 12 and tried working the steps on my own. At 3 months, I nearly relapsed at a wedding where I had an overpowering desire to drink. After the wedding, I asked a guy who always talked steps at the meeting I attended to help me with the steps. Since that day, I have not had a thought or idea to drink for over 25 years.
Remember that the reason that meetings exist at all is that some people in the program choose to give their time and effort to make sure we have a room, tables, chairs, coffee, cups snacks, literature, sobriety chips, a meeting format.....These are members who realize they keep their sobriety by giving it away to others through sharing and service.
Stan- Just wanted to say, "I hear you!". Keep coming back & come to online grapevine a lot..put in key words for how you're feeling each day & find inspirational stuff to read...that's what I do & go to meetings & different meetings and service. Sober 22 mths now. Thank God & Good Luck to you..1 minute at a time!
Hang in there Stan; I stopped drinking countless times. It's just that I couldn't keep from starting again; often every day. Sometimes I would last a week without a drink.
At the end of my drinking career, I asked "What's different this time." I found the answer to that question around the tables of AA. Those folks were surely better off than I and had something I wanted.
Gradually I gained enough self-esteem to want sobriety for myself. And as I made amends to my wife and family, I made amends to myself.
It gets better Stan; a lot better. Stick with AA and be good to yourself.
That's are M.O. We destroy everything in our path. If you take all the false promises we alcoholics make in our active drinking days or some in our recoveries it would stretch out to the dwarf planet Pluto. In AA we learn to change our choices which lead to favorite outcomes. It's easy to talk about what we will "do" especially after a drinking bender but, when you actually start executing the "do" through actions is where the true recovery begins and by that you will discover a true peace of mind and a life that's escaped you so far.
I actually forgot how much I liked these meetings.Was a large group and took away some good info, always a positive. like my previous post stated, I never drank when going to meetings and a more positive outlook after some good time under my belt, I just CANNOT forget the fact that I cannot do this alone no matter how many times trying. Sticking with it cause I don't even know if I have a chance left this time with my wife but I'm tired of being sick and tired. After a couple weeks or months its the same old same old and getting worse with the blackouts. This will keep me grounded and help me not forget the past. ---Stan
Stan, my heart goes out to you. I understand how hard it is to live with alcoholism and hurt the ones you love. You don't mean to do it, but have no control once you start drinking.
Keep going to meetings. That will keep you on track.
Take it one day at a time. Things will get better with your wife as time goes on and she sees your diligence in the program.
First off, thanks Tami. Since waking up couldn't get with it , ya know, "the fog" that feeling of self pity, worthlessness, sad, can't think straight etc....ALL day long plus I wasn't looking forward to the 5.5mile trip on bike to a meeting but knew I was going wether or not I felt like it. Got there still foggy minded and meeting began. A few familiar faces seen from back when I was working the program and had time under my belt by the end of the meeting I felt on the ball,clear, a temporary weight was lifted! I'm sure it'll be back tomorrow (the mood) cause its been less than week sober but it gave me great hope for the rest of today, plus reminded me after having a couplea months working the program after leaving the meeting one day I felt my clear headed ness and uplifted spirits as usual leaving a meeting but ya know what, that feeling never left! What a great feeling of not lugging they 10 ton weight around!!! THAT is what I want back, may take sooner but may take more time, the only thing I can say is does happen!!! And am going to work my ass off to get it back and keep it this time. What a great feeling it is but for now ill take it one day at a time --- Stan
I have been in and out of aa for about 12 yrs. I have had a lot of relapses, longest time sober being about 2 1/2 years with working the steps. I just had a very bad relapse after about 6 months. I know it will get better with time but it is so hard at the moment. I have young children and my husband of course isn't willing to let me see them for a while. Any hopeful responses would be greatly welcomed. I am back in the program with a sponsor but just so so depressed and afraid. Thank you for listening
There is hope! Just do the next right thing.
Thanks for posting that. Unfortunately, the price for a life beyond our wildest dreams often starts with feeling hopeless.
Surrender is the starting point of the AA way of life. Admitting I am powerless over alcohol is essentially saying that I cannot keep me sober. Surrendering is a shift from all those years of trying to control my drinking to the notion that perhaps someone else had an answer.The first word on this step is "We", this ties in nicely with our first tradition, which speaks of unity. If we have taken the first step ( an inside job- no sponsor can give you surrender) we have come to realize that we cannot keep ourselves sober ( lack of power, that was our dilemma!), we need to find a power, and for many of us that power was first experienced when we encountered people in AA. There was power in those rooms, even if we couldn't identify it we could feel it. And for many of us who came in on the fence, hearing the stories is where we began to make the connection between our drinking and that true nature of our problem.
I would suggest reading page 18 of the Big Book
"That his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured-these are the conditions we have found most effective. After such an approach many take up their beds and walk again." (BB page 18)
That describes the ideal sponsor
I can completely relate to the depression and fear. After decades of coming in and out of the program I finally became hopeless, then willing. Hopelessness was my pathway to sobriety. Until I was hopeless, I did not work the program as it is suggested. Willingness enables my Higher Power to work in and through me. There is hope, I am living proof of "it works if you work it!!
In order to transfer our message of recovery to other alcoholics who are suffering, we must
achieve a balance of grace and truth. To tell a prospect he or she is going to die if they
don't stop drinking may be the truth. But it may be too much truth if we offer no real understandable
solution. We offer the solution in person, as an example of someone who has
recovered, doing so without arrogance or pride. Grace and truth have to be balanced.
On the other hand we cannot just say "whatever happens is God's will. He will take care of
it". We have to participate with grace. We thank the new person for the opportunity to try
to help her/him. That is the way we stay sober ourselves. Without the newcomer A.A.
would wither and die. Spiritual pride and arrogance are nauseating and obvious to alcoholics
who are still drinking. This may be our last and only chance to use attraction not promotion.
When I tell you what you need to do I am not being of maximum service. When I tell you what I did I am. We lay the spiritual tools at their feet for THEIR inspection. We do not cram them down their throat
navvsteve: For about forty years Alcoholics Anonymous was
a fellowship. In AACA page 276, Bernard Smith gives us a
definition of a true fellowship. As a fellowship, Alcoholics
Anonymous offered a solution the suffering alcoholic could
rarely resist. We have morphed from a fellowship to a
Fellowship: a twelve step program. A.A. works best as a
fellowship. The evidence is in the numbers.
In theory, we do not cram anything down anyone's throat.
In reality, I observe that we do just that at
almost every meeting. Very few members know what is
meant by suggestion. It took me 35 years to develop a
true understanding. It takes a lot of self-discipline and
self control to just offer our fellowship as a suggestion. ANONYMOUS
i feel like ur cramming fellowship down my throat!
I have been sober for 14 years now. I attend AA once a week, sometimes two meetings. I am happy with my new life. My first few years were difficult. I worked at a gas station while I went back to college and received a special education degree and teaching license. I was homeless in there as well. Thanks to the Fellowship today, I have a meaningful career now and I recently got married for the first time. Despite, all of this I feel I have nothing to give away. I don't know the steps by memory and I don't think I could quote one page from the Big Book. I never had a sponsor too. I really love being a member of AA and enjoy the meetings but, I just pass when its my turn because I don't have any wisdom except "Don't drink and go to meetings" The other thing is I feel shame because everyone one around me seems miserable and they are working so hard on their steps and my life is going great today simply because I put the cork back in the bottle and learned to live in the world and not my head. I learned that dreaming is easier than the actual footwork but the rewards are much greater facing life on the street instead of in fantasy. Perhaps that's my two-cents of giveaway. Jamison
That was a fascinating share. The people around me who are working the steps don't seem miserable at all. They have problems-health problems, work problems, illness and death in families--but they are working through them. They share their problems and how they deal with them sober in meetings. Is everyone around you living in their head, and you're the only one living in the world? Hmm. Fascinating too that you logged in here to share it.
I love AA too, I've been sober for 19 years, I have a great job and have recently gotten married too. And I have a sponsor and sponsees and I'm working on the 6th step over again.
I to have been a victim of marital abuse. I married an alcoholic 23 years ago and thus I became his
drinking partner. I have been mentally abused by my soon to be ex to the point I believed I was a no good
nothing in the world person who he could control exclusively. The day he left me for dead on my bedroom
floor and had no intention of calling 911 I knew right then he wanted me dead. It is amazing that a man
who promises to cherish in sickness & in health would do that all for the sake of getting my money.
April 1, 2013 was my last drink and I am not looking back, only forward. I attend 5 meetings a week, and have become actively involved in my home group. Life is getting better but I still have a long healing process ahead. I am taking one day at a time and hope others out there will benefit from my story of alcoholism. I truly believe in my higher power and that is holding me together and my sponsor is right there for me in a
moments notice. She is truly an angel that god put in my life. The friends I have made in AA and knowing that if I need to talk I can call anyone in the group for advice. It is a wonderful place in my life.
A grateful recovering alcoholic in NH
Lately I've had a few flashbacks of my drinking days as well the abusive relationship I had at the time. I have 2 years and 4 months sobriety, and for almost 2 years I had the same nightmares every night. It was like living it over and over again. I won't go into details or drunkalog, but now it's the flashbacks in my waking hours. my sponsor tells me to rely on my higher power which I have given my life and everything over. I did my 4th and 5th steps, as well right up to 12. I think however maybe I did miss something but what? I don't know? the good thing is I know I'm in the present and this usually helps, but to deal with the flashbacks at the time is like Re-living it again. Anyone else had these? And has anyone got rid or solved this problem?
Have you tried possibly working a 4th Step exclusively around that abusing realtionship? Might be worth a shot...
Its been my experience that when something is weighing on our hearts and minds it might be God telling us its time to work through all of it.
This sounds quite serious. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. The AA program is wonderful and the steps can bring tremendous freedom and recovery. However, if I am completely honest with myself, I may uncover issues where I need additional help...depression/anxiety, sleep disorders, relationships, marriage, eating disorders, financial matters...AA gives me the freedom, honesty and humility to ask for help. Best of luck.
seek professional help!
I'll make this simple....what happens if you don't find anyone you "would like to be like"?
I know that sounds conceited but am frustrated. They're not supposed to be your friend or therapist..right? Well..why do I want to spill the beans of my life on someone who is not a friend?
there is a pamphlet called 'questions and answers on sponsorship' in the big book it talks about finding a closed mouth friend and how important it is that we find some one we trust
"Find someone you want to be like" may be a misleading phrase. I did not in any way want my first sponsor's personality (kind of a jerk), lifestyle (bachelor,broke teacher), looks or nearly anything else. What I was attracted to was his solid program and sobriety. He talked steps, worked steps, helped others and had a solid home group of other men who did the same. Through him, I found the mother lode of sobriety in my area; men who believed, "sobriety isn't a matter of life and death, it's much more important than that". Oh yea, I did admire his self-deprecating sense of humor - his ability to make fun of himself and not take himself too seriously. I needed a BIG shot of that and still do.
Look for someone who has a solid program of recovery and appears to enjoy sobriety who can lead you through the steps and share their experience with sobriety.
The sponsorship relationship is special in that I give that person permission to be completely honest with me; to call it as they see it. I was not used to that but I needed it. Also, the relationship gives me a person I can go to with things I might not want to air at meeting level.
Well if we don't find someone to tell another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, then we suffer in silence and live miserable until we drink or stay dry. Remember keep it simple, only say the nature of your wrong not the whole story. I've done some things in my life only my sponsor knows that if anyone had known, I would definitely go to jail. Other things people would find unforgivable. I payed my price through long term suffering of my disease.
"Well if we don't find someone to tell another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, then we suffer in silence and live miserable until we drink or stay dry."
On page 74 in the Big Book it tells us how to find someone with whom to share our Fifth Step. It says nothing about a sponsor, it urges us to find a professional, a member of the clergy, a psychologist, a psychiatrist or a doctor.
AAs are notorious gossips. I've heard too many 'sponsors' share parts of their pigeons Fifth Steps with others who have no business hearing them.
Thanks for your comment. I like ur comment abt nature of your wrongs, not whole story. Whew... that sure narrows a few things down for me, since I am extremely busy, like all folks, but am still searching for the right sponsor. Will pray on it. Thanks!.
Sponsorship is a suggestion. It is not a requirement. If you are an alcoholic than focusing on not taking that first drink should be your number one priority. If getting a sponsor will distress you to the point of drinking than forget about sponsorship. There is a "Sponsorship Pamphlet" which clarifies a lot. I'm not of the opinion that sponsorship should be a life long experience but, a temporary one. A sponsor who holds on to the person they sponsor for too long is delaying the recovery process. We must take responsibility for our own lives eventually. For many sponsorship is a good transitional tool. Some say it saved their lives while others find it was not helpful at all. It's okay to take your time and if you decide not to have a sponsor than that's okay too. I remember my first AA meeting this stranger approached me and said, "I'm your sponsor" I told him to take a hike. He did this because he heard I was a home builder and he wanted free work on his house. Be careful. Thanks for the post.
Thanks so much for your comment. BTW I am almost 2 years sober and the worst thing I ever did, my mother knows about it. isn't that enough to know. Is between God, my Mom & me. On to a sober great day. Am chairing today. So, adios.
To help keep alcoholism from killing you?
Do I read this correctly? If I don't get a sponsor
alcoholism is going to kill me? It is this type of thinking
which has all but killed A.A. I have been sober for over
four decades and do not have a sponsor. I have never had
a sponsor, (as sponsorship is in today's A.A.), and never
intend to get a sponsor or be one.( again by today's definition.).
Alcoholics Anonymous is the only place that I know of
where an individual who spends years in prison studying
the Big Book, can get out and in a few month's time can
become a big shot (sponsor, advisor, teacher or preacher
in A.A.). Bill called Ebby his sponsor. I don't think
Dr. Bob considered Bill to be his sponsor. Today's concept
of sponsorship makes A.A. a cult. ANONYMOUS
I don’t know which parts of AA’s suggested program of recovery can be omitted but I’m not taking any chances. Alcoholism killed my father, my wife’s mother and brother, my best childhood friend, a great neighbor and numerous people I have met though AA. I don’t need to read that it is a progressive, fatal disease, I’ve seen it.
Thanks for the comments. I keep hearing more and more of a few people that don't have sponsors but after decades of sobriety they do everything else in AA which helps them stay sober. They are very wise people, too. I definitely am going to quit stressing over NOT doing the 12 steps yet. Maybe I'll do 1 a year with my original sponsor 'cause that's how our schedule is. off to chair. Have a super day1
"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.