Burning Desire to Share
You said, "Thanks for being there for the newcomers once a month" Gosh,I didn't know sarcasm was one of our core principals. Look my friend, I'm not a supporter of the phrase "Meeting makers make it" The only thing meeting makers make is a lot of meetings. After several decades in AA, attending one meeting a month and sponsoring three people at the moment is plenty for me. I'm not "Sober-man" who needs to save every drunk that walks through our doors. The people I sponsor are individuals. They don't need me to sit with them and hold their hands. As you say there are plenty of people available like yourself willing to greet the new person and that is a privilege for all members to enjoy. I have a comfortable number to work with at the moment and hopefully so do you. Quality is far more important to me than quantity at this point in my life.
Sorry to hear meetings don't blow your hair back anymore. I still feel something very spiritual about talking for a couple minutes and listening for 58 minutes. Where else can I hear about alcoholism and recovery from alcoholism for almost an hour.
My favorite meeting is a sat morning big book meeting with lots of newcomers, my next favorite meeting is at the vets home with my sponsor. he's the new guy with 40 years in the program. the oldtimer died last year with 52 and the current oldtimer had 50 years this month. It's a real treat to sit around a table of AA with 3 or 4 hundred years of experience! Too bad you don't come around more often to share yours.
Like I said, something spiritual happens when one drunk talkes to another sharing experience, strenght, and hope.
You said, "Sorry to hear meetings don't blow your hair back anymore." That's too funny. I'm glad you have a sense of humor. I'm laughing because I still have a full head of hair to blow back at sixty to boot! You went on, "I still feel something very spiritual about talking for a couple minutes and listening for 58 minutes." That's wonderful and so do I. Nothing like a good honest lead form the heart. I just don't need it as often as you apparently. Please keep going to meetings if that floats your boat. Over the years I've learned to listen quite well and I've heard it all. You like lots of meetings and I don't, what's the big deal? My position still stands. People who have to go to three, four or five meetings a day are using AA for reasons other than seeking recovery. It's okay, you don't have to see it my way but, one day you may and perhaps I'll be at a place in the future where I'll attend more meetings. A tree that bends doesn't break. Is that nugget in the book?
"My position still stands. People who have to go to three, four or five meetings a day are using AA for reasons other than seeking recovery."
I agree, albeit not entirely. many use the meetings as a substitute for recovery, as a means of hiding from alcohol.
But several of my friends are retired, have no family, and would most likely sit at home in front of the TV or computer all day, so they go to a lot of meetings for the human contact.
It is good that you have figured out what you need to do to stay sober, but do not assume that what you did is the prescription everyone else needs. Many I know who have been sober for decades still go to several meetings per week, some a meeting per day, not because they are trying to avoid life, but rather because they have immense gratitude for the life AA has given them, and want to be able to pass along their experience, etc. I go because I am still sick, one manifestation of which is a tendency to think I can do this thing on my own.
I have nearly 2 1/2 years of sobriety. Recently I have been faced with a couple of situations which are baffling me. One a person who was abusive has returned to the fellowship. More importantly my ex-wife is moving and taking my two daughters with her. While it is only 3 hours away I am experiencing major anger. What do all suggest?
You could start calling them "our" daughters.
Using the steps showed me that alcoholism is a package deal. Alcoholism is about marrying the wrong person for the wrong reason and getting the inevitable results. Putting the plug in the jug doesn't make it go away. The program of recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous makes it tolerable until, in time, it does go away. What was once the biggest problem in my life no longer exists today.
The tools are available to you if you simply pick them up.
Q: "I have nearly 2 1/2 years of sobriety. Recently I have been faced with a couple of situations which are baffling me."
A: "If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,........We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
"One a person who was abusive has returned to the fellowship." Is it up to you to decide who is allowed to return to the fellowship?
"While it is only 3 hours away I am experiencing major anger."
Aren't your daughters worth a six hour round trip? Or are they possessions which are being taken away from you?
Since you have asked for suggestions, I will offer up what works for me.
I pray for the courage to change and to accept conditions for what they are. This works for me and, apparently, thousands of other recovering alcoholics like me.
I suggest you pray for the courage to change. LJ
Hi. Since you have asked for suggestions I will offer one from my experience. More times than not I must change to meet conditions as they are. I make the choice for change for my sobriety and I will go to any length to ensure that I stay sober.
I suggest you pray for the courage to change to meet conditions and accept them for what they are. LJ
You asked, "What do all suggest?" Well, don't pick up the first drink and seek maturity. Give up control and practice a few principals and you will be okay. There are consequences from our drinking that chase us far into our recoveries. Put your hand out to a new person and if that doesn't work perhaps its time for a Psych Eval. Anger can be a symptom of underlying mental illness. Alcohol damages the brain in many ways. Sometimes relapses occur not because someone is doing the steps wrong but, because they are not addressing the real problems. Even the founder of AA had diagnosable mental illness. It's common in the rooms. How could it not be after all?
I believe our recovery starts when we let our sponsors go and begin the journey standing on our own two feet. I haven't had a sponsor in 25 years and let mine go after my first year. He said I was heading in the wrong direction but, he was not correct. In fact, my spiritual growth took flight. He had held me back with rules and regulations. I think sponsorship was helpful to a point but, I realized he could not keep me sober. Sponsors can point us in the right direction but, the rest is up to us. Does anyone feel the same way? I really don't understand the necessity of sponsorship after the first year or two. Living the calm.
I was taught early on that there is no seniority in A.A. so I tend to avoid speaking of it. I have a few 24 hour periods. My first sponsor, long in the grave, was a true blessing to me. He gave me his 90 day token and suggested that one day I give it to someone I sponsor. A long time went by but I eventually did do exactly that paying it forward long before the movie of the same name. As time goes by for me the wisdom of A.A. has become more a lifestyle based on that often heard and shared 6 word "how it works".......Find God.....clean house.....help someone. The sobriety is actually my favorite "side effect" of working the program. Being a sponsor is the same as having a sponsor to me. I often ask myself who's sponsoring whom??? I try not to add to or take away from A.A. Fixing something that's not broke never has made much sense to me. A.A. is not as successful as it once was. Not sure why. Maybe we've changed it without noticing......Peace!
Sponsoring you was to keep him sober not you.
I let my sponsor go for different reasons. My wife said he was making unhealthy advances at her and she felt creepy around him. He was showing up at our house during the day when I was at work pretending to talk about the program with her. She is not an alcoholic but, a mature responsible person who has her won business in the house. I confronted him and he denied it. The next sponsor I got was sober many years and he said that guy had a reputation for stalking. Not everyone in the rooms is there to get sober. I learned to be careful who I talk with because you never know. We actually moved and I changed my meetings around because the creep was seen on our street. Now I don't let anyone know where I live or work in the rooms. My new sponsor said he didn't want to know where I lived or worked. He is concerned more with what I am doing today to stay away from the first drink. People freely talk about vacations in the meetings and some of them have had their places been broken into. Just my experience probably not the norm.
You said, "Sponsoring you was to keep him sober not you." Unfortunately he drank and died soon after. It was a good decision on my part. Perhaps I intuitively picked up something and realized I had to push him away. When you stick around the rooms you witness all kinds of things. Why does the guy voted most likely to drink again stay sober for years while Mr.Sobriety drinks again? God only knows. My sponsor did pass on one nugget of wisdom. He said, "You have to do what's best for you, forget everyone else. They can't keep you sober."
I agree. As a sponsee/ sponsor over the last 20 years, my sponsees have done more to keep me on track than my sponsor. Like they say, if you really want to learn something, teach it! That being said I cannot emphasize enough what I have gained by having a sponsor who is a ahead of me in sobriety.
I take my messes to my sponsor and the message to the meetings. I have someone who took me through the steps in the big book and someone who taught me to take inventory and he listened to my 5th steps. I have someone I can check my motives with. I know he has clay feet and is not perfect. None of us are, but he has never once led me astray. He has never once told me what I should do, only what he has done.
After all these years, I still make a weekly call or talk to him after our meeting. There is one person in this world who really knows me, and I am so thankful for that. I am grateful that my ego had been deflated enough through working AA’s steps that I didn’t really think I had outgrown my sponsor after a year or two.
Funny thing is in church today our pastor talked about Proverbs 13:20, He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. AA isn’t the first place to suggest a sponsor or mentor, sponsors have been around for a long time, and God willing will continue.
The 20 yr guy nailed it.
One addition, the 12x12 suggests we do a annual or semi-annual inventory. Might want to have someone around that you trust for that one.
I was pretty crazy when I walked in to AA so my judgment picking a sponsor wasn’t very good. By the time I figured out his number I was in better shape to see who had good sobriety instead of a good line. I kept the next one until he died years later. After that when I had a problem for which two heads were better than one I sought out men with good sobriety that I knew were knowledgeable on the subject. One thing I’ve heard a lot was - yeah, me too. Same message – you are not alone. It’s a great program if I apply myself to it.
The last time I went to many meetings in one place I found that newcomers still pick sponsors based on how much gold chain they wear and the fact that they live in meetings instead of picking up the tools for sobriety and building a new life. Just like I did. Que sera, sera. (Whatever will be will be)
You tried one and didn’t like it? I bet you gave booze a better chance than that.
Well I didn't let my sponsor go but, he let me go for exactly the same reason. Similar to what you mentioned he pointed me to the path and wished me the best after my first year. That was in the early eighties. I'm grateful for that because he was humble to realize that sponsors are fallible human beings and not gods, fathers, mothers, psychologists, priests, gurus, bosses or BFF's. Being dependent on a sponsor is like being dependent on the bottle. We must learn to make choices and mistakes on our own and not blame someone else when they turn sour. I appreciate the subject.
A year or two? The seventieth has been my toughest so far. Cunning, baffling, powerful I think is the phrase. Bill W still had a sponsor when he died. I’m sorry that I buried the two I’ve had.
"Bill W still had a sponsor when he died."
True, his sponsor was Ebby T. He carried the message to Bill, he didn't sit around the Oxford Group meetings waiting for Bill to come in and ask him to be his sponsor. Nor did he tell Bill to call him every day, to write an essay proving his life was unmanageable, or any of the many things 'sponsors' do today. He did what the Big Book tells us to do in Chapter 7. He didn't talk down to him from any moral or spiritual hilltop, he simply laid out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection and told Bill how they worked with him(page 95).
You seem to know a lot about what Bill's sponsor did and didn't do in the thirty seven years between 1934 and 1971.
Isn’t what you are doing the same as you are critisizing? One person deciding what is best for another. I think I’ll stick with AA’s “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship” myself.
I agree. I've "self-sponsored" for a few years now and my program has grown. I talk to AA friends and stuff but don't want or need another sponsor.
It is necessary to have a guide for the spiritual journey. Choose a master, for without one this journey is full of trials, fears, and dangers. With no escort, you would be lost on a road you have already taken. Do not travel alone on the Path. (Rumi)
The longer I am around AA, the more this makes sense to me. The master to which he refers I envision as someone embodying the principles represented by the Chinese symbols for the phrase/word "holy" - a picture of a ruler (king), an ear, and a mouth, meaning a holy person is a master of listening and speech (not master in the sense of being in control). I look for help with certain trials to "masters" within AA, and for other trials to masters without. They can help only if I am completely honest with them. That is what is currently working for me. I'll see about tomorrow after I make it through today.
"He said I was heading in the wrong direction but, he was not correct."
Of course he said that, you were crawling out from under his thumb.
In my first two years I moved around so much I wasn't in any one place long enough to get a 'sponsor' though I had many mentors. Between my third and sixth month I was in an area with no other AAs around, and a gent suggested that if I used (not read, or studied, or memorized, but used) the Big Book and a Higher Power I'd be all right. He told the truth, I used the Big Book and a Higher Power and was able to stay sober for those months, and for another ten months later on as an Internationalist with few meetings or live AA contact. By the time I settled in one place, sober two years, I didn't feel the need for someone to show me how he got sober.
Last week I celebrated 42 years unbroken AA membership and like the late Chuck C. I've never had a sponsor.
My name is brian w. I have spent thelast 24hrs hiding. the last 19 yrs in and out of the program and treatment centers. I DON'T WANT TO DRINK ANYMORE ,WHOLE HEARTEDLY AND WITH ALL OF MY EXISTANCE. What is it some screwed up destiny, I even pray now before buying or stealing it or bumming money in front of a store? How do I telll another sponsor, how do I not drink. I know what it says on p.24 and in the dr.s opinion. But how long do I have to wait top get into the steps? Why? is it because I'm wasting their time or mine? Am I not showing I want it enough, how's that? In march of 95 when i first attended a meeting og A.A. they said keep coming back and so I have. For the last 19 yrs I've done just that, I know it works I've. seen it on the faces of hundreds of others along the west coast and down in the south where I live and lived. When you pray and god says go ahead and drink it sucks, I believe in god and a divine purpose but mine just has me plain impatient with faith and hurt emotionally after all a head fullof AA and abelly full of booze has done nothingbut break my heart for a long time please pray for me friends as I begin my journey again. maybe this wil last longer than4,6,4,9,6,8,11?9? Months at a time please I beg of you pray for me that I may use this experience to stay and help others ........your forever coming back friend B. Wilson
" Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path" Chapter 5 Big Book. My sponsor's sponsor always said , when I was bellyaching about whatever and saying that I was working my program " Never mind what you are doing. What are you not doing?" That may be a good question for you to ask yourself. maybe it's time to ask a man with good sobriety to walk through the Steps with you one on one.
The last part of Step 2 in the 12 Steps and 12 tradition book talks about the alcoholic who tries hard and fails. Does any of that apply to you? Are you feeling sorry for yourself?
Put the past behind you and follow this simple program. If you want sobriety it is yours for the asking. I have stayed sober and am reasonably content for 26 years now just by taking the suggestions. i will pray for you. let us know when you get sober.
Am no expert at 20 1/2 mths sober, but just want to say, my friend,..."I hear you & will pray for you? Maybe you have to think simply "1 minute" at a time.....not hourly or daily.......change is TOUGH, but misery is worse for me. Good Luck!
What are doing when you are in front of the liquor store bumming for money, buying alcohol, or stealing it? What I'm asking is what are you thinking when you are there? Why don't you call your sponsor if you have one, go to a meeting, or why not get your sponsor to help you work the steps. Its a simple program for complicated minds.
As far as your higher power goes, you haven't found one yet of your understanding. Mine has saved my life, of course I had to do the work; but God answered my problems. God may have not given me what I wanted but what I needed. Only a friendly message.
My second step cleared up some of the problems you are having. My Higher Power gives me (and everyone) free will. Absolute free will. If we choose to drink ourselves to death that's our choice. If we choose to get sober that is too. He is different from Santa Claus. He does not hand out gifts of sobriety from a sack in his sleigh. He doesn't care how many people gang up and ask for Brian's sobriety, or mine. He has helped me get and stay sober. I have to be in a condition to receive that help. I have to learn who I am. What shortcomings I have. What useless tools I have been using to try to get through life. I practiced long and hard to get my life in the mess it was in. Step three is MADE A DECISION.. Read it. Immediately following are instructions of how to do exactly that. I don't recall seeing anything about having a sponsor carry us through them. It has worked for millions of us. You have been given everything you need. It doesn't look like waiting for what you want has been helpful.
I'm glad you are back! my sobriety date is aug 13, 1992. prior to 1992 I spent a few years going to meetings between inpatient treatment centers. After my last drink on 8/13/92, I finally admited I was powerless over alcohol. I became willing to work the 12 steps as a daily program of recovery. I use and still use the big book and 12x12 as a guidline to working the steps.
I have witnessed many, many alcoholics in your situation over the years. Alcoholics who where able to simply put the plug in the jug and stop drinking, share what worked for them. They are not as alcoholic as you and I. I could never stay sober by meetings and prayer. the 12 steps showed me a was to continued sobriety that has worked for many chronic alcoholics. faith without works is dead, and how true for the alcoholic who fails to enlarge his spiritual life.
Anyway, sounds like you have tried everything but working the steps. If you had you would know that working with another alcoholic always gets us out of ourselves and relieves our mental obsesson with alcohol. If you haven't worked the steps, it's hard to have a concrete solution to share with others.
Good luck to you and may God give you the courage to work the steps of AA.
I am in the same place as Brian. I have tried so many times to stay sober and failed over and over again. At one point, I had a good sponsor and was "working" the steps, or so I thought. Yet, I drank again. Your comment made me realize I have never fully worked the steps, not really. Now that I am trying to get back into AA I find it frustrating when people say "Don't drink and go to meetings." I don't know how to not drink, even and especially in between meetings! People tell me to pray for God to keep me sober. I do that and I still end up drinking. People say call another alcoholic. I do that, and I still find myself drinking. People say "call your sponsor." Yet, I am so ashamed of my inability to stop drinking that I am ashamed to call my sponsor. And, truth be told, I am afraid to go back to my home group yet again and begin my "day count" all over again. How insidious this disease is!
Your suggestion about God not being like Santa Claus is very helpful advice. Intellectually, I know this-I have several advanced degrees in theology, none of which have kept me sober. Yet, my "professional" God is not my personal God and I realize that I have been approaching God like Santa Claus, hoping to get "struck sober" someday. Your response to Brian has given me a lot to think about and has given me some hope that if I try and work the steps to the best of my ability, then perhaps I can stay sober this time.
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.