Burning Desire to Share
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,
Those newcomers are helping to keep you sober. They will keep you on your toes and give you living examples of what to do and what not to do to stay sober.
Get yourself a sponsor, big book, and a home group and do what is suggested. that will give you a proven program of recovery that you can pass on to others for years to come.
Good luck and have some fun!
I have been sober for 2 years now. But still haven't been able to find a sponsor. I live in small town. I know I need a sponsor. I have reach out to my Higher Power, but it is so hard.
I have some thoughts about this (learned from my Sponsor & many meetings). If you are willing to go to any length, then I suggest you go to some near-by cities and to other meetings. I know you can find a sponsor and really, you do need one. Your Sobriety is a team effort and you need a good coach to give you guidance on a daily basis when you first start. Don't give up, keep looking. ODAAT
If you are already sober two years you don't need a sponsor. What's there to teach you? Recovery is not rocket science. The path to sobriety is simple but, our minds love detours. It would be helpful to find a someone in the rooms that you can relate to as an equal.
I am a true believer in a sponsor. I've been sober 5 years, my first sponsor died a couple of years ago. I how have two people who are my sponsor and my co-sponsor. I don't need to be asking myself questions and listening to my answers. To thy own self be true: successful A/A's have a sponsor and things continue to work out. Pg 86 to the end of the chapter is always good reading !
You think getting a sponsor is hard. Do you think any of the consequences of drinking again are easy? Loss of family, job, money, home, health, freedom and eventually death. If I really have taken step one, I can look around and see the suffering of others is my future if I don’t do the things I need to recover. I think that’s why it says “We admitted”, not “I admitted”. I have listened to those who have recovered from this disease and no matter how different we are from each other I have the same disease they do. If I do what they do, I will get what they have gotten. Either way.
If you can pick up a Big Book and a step book, go to meetings and do exactly what the instructions say to do then perhaps you can get by without a sponsor. That’s the test. Are you following the AA program?
If not, look through these messages for a post about making yourself sponsor-able.
Keep in mind that recovery from the disease of alcoholism only requires words. Listen to some, read some, write some, say some. What does it say about the soundness of our minds if we let these simple exercises stand in the way of “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness…” and the rest of the promises that are fulfilled in my life every day?
I'm so grateful for this site. I suffer from agoraphobia and am not able to be around people. That's why I drank. So attending meetings at this time is out of the question. But in a way this site has become my meetings. It allows me to feel safe. I've been following it for 6 months now and haven't drank. I am grateful to all the anonymous posts that freely share their experience strength and hope. The posts have saved my life and eventually with the proper outside help I would like to try and attend face-to-face meetings. Thanks
Wow! I have the same thing. This site saved my life. I've been sober a year now and have started to attend one speaker meeting every month. I sit in the back and listen. People are friendly with me and respect my condition. I don't say much at this time. My first year I owe to everyone who has shared their time. I liked the different perspectives on recovery because it helped me position my own recovery. I'm neither a believer or non-believer at this time but, just an alcoholic that doesn't want to drink again. Thanks i-Say.
Welcome. Glad we can help. I've seen agoraphobia up close and I believe you, its devastating.
With alcoholism we stop the behavior (drinking) and deal with the consequences. We don't wake up one morning feeling like not drinking.
I believe we deserve to be free of the symptoms of these illnesses. Years ago I had trouble with depression and visited a doctor for help. Its difficult believing that any less could have happened in that fifty minutes. I wasn't working and had no income or any prospects of either. I had enough savings to cover several months of therapy. I was simply given some kind of faith that it was what I needed and it would work. It did. Today I could buy the building I had those sessions in. I hope you can exert some influence on that "eventually", I don't think it pops up on its own. Promises are coming true out here.
Whenever my wife and daughter are home no matter what I say is wrong. My wife corrects me, my 21 yr old daughter corrects me. I feel as if I am a child in an adult home. I have 7 months of sobriety and have no urge to drink just an urge to cry. I just feel as if my opiniom means nothing.
Congratulations on 7 your months! Some of us get a "pink cloud" when we come in and, some just feel raw. It will get better. There are a whole set of Steps that will help you to live a life that is happy, joyous and free -- no matter what else someone is doing. But, as the old timers told me, "You have to give Time time." If your family is ready and willing, they might be open to AlAnon. You could say, "Thanks for trying to help, but what I would really like is (fill in the blank.) Read the The Family After in the Big Book. And above all else, do not pick up a drink. Go to meetings. And keep sharing.
21 mths sober here and just want to say, "I hear you !" Good Luck, hang in there & try asking them if you could all agree to the fact that all might disagree on something and that each are entitled to feel the way they or you do? If they don't agree that you can all not agree, well ..
I usually just say anyway, "Well in MY opinion yadayadayada..!" I don't get hurt, aggravated, resentful much anymore. Such a waste of my energy.
Might sound stupid, but I've learned to accept a lot of my family's faults now, even if they think they're wrong. Does it make it right? Only God knows. For example: Drives me nuts that my hubby does NOT recycle. What does that teach our big kids?? Right or wrong??? He says it's right for him. So, I can't change him, but can pray about it & at least I don't stomp off anymore & drink over stupid stuff. I take a walk outside with my dog a lot. LOL
Also... if you need to go cry somewhere, go cry. it's good for you to detox some stresses away. Maybe in front of them, would be great for them to see sober dad has real feelings now & not drunken ones.
Most things are not worth arguing about and if you are right you will find out shortly and they have to say Im sorry Id rather be happy than right
Chapter 9 in the BB gave me a better understanding of this issue. Also I try to remember that I choose to be happy today and not right. When I think my opinion is correct, I find it's my ego trying to get a foothold in the conversation, so I've found it to benefit my serenity to be quite and listen. It's amazing the things I've learned with my mouth shut. Keep coming back, it get's a little better everyday.
Hang in there and keep working the steps. It'll get better. Your worth it, so are they.
That is why I went to a lot of meetings when I was new, sometimes 3 per day. A longtimer suggested that part of the reason our spouses are as they are was as a reaction to how we were when we were drinking. In other words, if my spouse developed co-dependency, small wonder. I was also told I can only work on fixing my untreated alcoholism, not theirs (that is, I cannot cure them from the effects my alcoholism has had on them). Best I could do was not drink and work on me. Over time, things at home have gotten better by virtue of my not drinking, not acting out on some of my less charitable base instincts (character defects?), and the regaining of some of the trust lost because of my drinking and the baggage that went with it. It still isn't perfect, but then neither am I.