Burning Desire to Share
I live on the tribal lands and take peyote for religious purposes once a year. I've been sober since the middle eighties. This use only becomes controversial when I visit the Anglo-meetings. I'm right with the great spirit, my family, ancestors and the tribal community. As far as I'm concerned alcoholics who abuse sugar, processed foods, nicotine, gambling, sex and pharmaceutical-drugs while in recovery are creating more harm to themselves than my use of peyote for religious purposes once a year.
If you are right with the higher spirit you are right with me.
Thanks Vincent, interesting comments, it is my experience that we in AA seem tolerate of most any kind of religious faith with the exception of Christianty. I am not a Christian and sometimes find myself being a bit sacrilegious but have always encourgaged those with whom I help to return to their faith if it enhances ones sobriety. Not quite sure about "sipping" the wine; think that is very dangerous for folks like us. Are you allowed to substiture any non-alcoholic grape juice for example? Best to you God Bless, Fred
I personally would be afraid to sip the wine, because eventually I would chug the whole thing down on a bad day, but I support any alcoholic who does choose to sip in regards to their faith. I mean really sip, and the way you describe it I think there is nothing to fear. Non-alcoholic beer used by many in the rooms has more alcohol in it then your sip. As the tribal fellow mentioned I've seen worse in AA. Between gambling, sex, food, nicotine and pain medications, some AA'ers can turn to these alternatives in a far greater fashion and pretend to be sober. Honesty is important and who am I to judge another alcoholic?...I'll leave it to the gurus who like to fuss over these things. It keeps them from focusing on their own recovery. Thanks for your thought provoking situation. I really appreciate it sincerely.
I currently live in Poland, where we have a strong Catholic background. Many of my AA friends are Catholic, and their faith forms a strong complement to the spirituality in AA. I think AA tells us that we need God, religion "fills in the outline" by telling us what God is saying and has said through the centuries. The early AAs were all very positive on religion: Bill W almost became a Catholic and his spiritual mentor, Father Ed Dowling, was a Jesuit. All that said, I think your ex-sponsor is somehow right in saying that taking the wine in communion is relapse. It is not the amount of the wine, it is the principle of it. In our church there is always the option of taking non-alcoholic grapejuice, or simply "honoring the sacrament" through crossing arms over the chest and giving a slight bow but not imbibing.
Sponsors are to help you through the steps,Alcohol in any form or amount are dangerous for us. The fact that you took the wine at all and do not seem to be bothered by it May be relapse or at least you might be setting yourself up for one. I put my finger in a cocktail and tasted it because I never tried one like it before.After talking to my sponsor, He said it is my sobriety and My conscience. I picked up a 24 hour chip and began a new chapter in my sobriety.If I cant drink safely, Then why would I put my sobriety at risk and in fact My Life at risk for the taste of something I know has destroyed my life every other time in entered my body.
I am Catholic and when it is time for the sacriments, I choose to pass on REAL wine and My church has Non-alcoholic wine for the Kids, I choose to be a kid. LOL
I said a prayer for you.
I think everyone should follow their own conscience, but personally I wouldn't have taken a new 24 hour chip because I stuck my finger in a cocktail and tried it. Nor would I consider a tiny sip of Communion wine a relapse. If you don't imbibe enough to feel anything at all then I wouldn't consider it a relapse myself. Where do you draw the line? There is Vanilla extract in most baked goods, but I wouldn't consider a cookie a relapse...
From Vincent: "I adhere to the doctrine of transubstantiation. Which is in the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and the wine used in the sacrament is changed into the substance of the Body and the Blood of Jesus."
From Anonymous:"I put my finger in a cocktail and tasted it because I never tried one like it before."
You don't see the difference between these two posts, do you? Vincent sips the wine (the blood of his Savior) in the practice of his religion. You tasted the cocktail to see what it tasted like.
I personally know more than a half dozen AAs with long term sobriety who take communion AFTER THE WIND HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED. I also know habitual slippers who 'just wanted to know what it tasted like'.
Sadly there are many in AA who are like your sponsor, so narrow minded that can peek through a keyhole with both eyes.
In the early seventies Dick Cavvett had a two part show on alcoholism and recovery. As guests he had recovered alcoholics and a non-alcoholic representative from AA. One of the guests was a priest who was asked how he could take the wine and still say he couldn't drink alcohol in any form. His answer was the same as yours, that it wasn't wine any more.
Over the years I've known many Catholics who take communion. And I have sponsored, among others, a Catholic priest.
A lot of alcoholics believe it's okay to hang on to their resentment against religion of any sort. At least your sponsor admitted he could no longer sponsor you, even if his reasons are wrong.
Wanted to title “He Corey” but I resisted. Sure you’ll find this quick enough.
Crumbs. I’m starting to thing that a lot of people are living on crumbs. It’s starting to look like the AA program is so powerful that people are staying sober on the crumbs that fall off actual member’s programs. No steps, no Higher Power, no sponsor, no commitment. The novelty of a solid bowel movement kept me sober for a little while but it soon gave out and I had to start reading the writing on the wall, but not these guys (according to them anyway).
Of course that leaves the future a little shaky. When newcomers try to live off the crumbs that fall off crumbs…..
That's a very different way to look at it. Like when I share and drop the message of recovery the new comers can feed off the crumbs. Were I'm from in Houston we will tell the new comers that the program of a a is not sexual transmitted. And it will not rub off on you. We ask them to work the steps or die. Or don't work the steps and end up living like a Roach.
What are you talking about? So anyone that has experiences in recovery different than yours falls into the crumb category? We should worry about our own recoveries and stop trying to control the flow of AA as it goes down the river. Its interesting to me certain people in the rooms are trying to defend something that never existed in the first place.
I agree with you 100% about the crumbs, however the fact that I agree with you dosn't mean much to anyone but me ;)
That is a wonderful statement: Alcoholics are staying sober
on the crumbs. The bottom was raised after A.A. became of
Age. If we do not try to cram the whole cake down their
throats, choking them to death, maybe they will stick around for more.
If alcoholics are staying sober without a Higher Power,
without a sponsor, and without committments, God bless
them. I see members who claim to have a Higher Power,
have half a dozen sponsors and volunteer for all kinds
of committments (MOSTLY TO CHAIR) and still continue to relapse.
I believe that Alcoholics Anonymous, in its true
intended form, is so powerful that Alcoholics can stay
sober on very little. Imagine how powerful it could be
when the alcoholic gets hungry for more. ANONYMOUS
the following is a blog about an alcoholic...
I have had my running with the law and always tried to stay sober to keep people seeing me as a good person. But when things would get good I would be back to drinking and breaking the law. I used AA to stay sober for only a few months and then I would drink again. I didn't like not talking to the women so it frustrated me in thinking I'll never find a sober girl if I do not meet women in recovery. I kept coming and little by little the city came alive in Oakland. I started seeing people from AA. They would shake my hand and smile. Noone liked me they treated me like a leaper from another planet until AA and church. I gave drinking finally because something bad happened to me physically and I knew one less drink one less poison. Coming back to those meetings keeps me sober to stay away from people who want my money and possessions. These give me something hope and talk about knowledge of what a Higher power does for us. Thank you AA central branch Oakland.
I live a half a continent away but I'm still happy with your success. Hang in there.
My new husband's father is an Alcoholic and drug abuser. My husband does not get drunk regularly but he is not able to say no when offered alcohol. Additionally about 50% of the time when he is drunk he can not hear when another person says 'no' about anything. Every time he gets drunk (not when he has one or two beers) he blacks out and can not remember the night before. All of this freaks me out. He told me that he would stop drinking if I asked him to and it came to a point where I had to ask him to and he had a beer the next day telling me he didn't think he didn't do anything wrong. Am I wrong for asking him not to drink? Might he be an alcoholic?
The black outs are telltale. Well that's my experience, the blackouts were mine. He or you might or might not find a case just like yours to say See! That's just like you. You are an alcoholic. Quit. OK? Good luck.
Of course you are not wrong to ask him not to drink. Are you then also right to say quit or I am outta' here.
He might be an alcoholic. There are just about as many kinds of alcoholics as there are people.
You can always tell an alcoholic - You just can't tell them very much.
Please go to at least 6 Alanon meetings. By then you will see if that fellowship is for you. Good Luck Alice
My dad was an alcoholic Check AA website out it has questions to see if he is alcoholic..but he is. My sister & daughter took me to AA. I am very new but so far I don't want to miss.
I agree that a visit to Alanon sounds like a good idea. In AA we deal with our powerlessness over alcohol. Alanon focuses more on powerlessness over the alcoholic. You will most likely find a treasure trove of experience and information there. Good luck.
My unqualified advice to you is to turn around and never
look back. You are in for a life of misery. Don't stay
until you are locked in and can't leave. Let him know that
these are your plans and don't deviate from them. Very
few alcoholics ever stop drinking, but I believe that
a good relationship is as effective as today's A.A. Is
he worth it? (maybe). But the real question is are you
more important to him than alcohol. He may have already answered that question. Again, my advice
is to simply walk away, and don't look back. Rose
If there's any person placeor thing that upsets me. It's not that person place or this it's me. He is notgonna see he has a problem until its a problem with him. Go to alanon. There you will find people that's going through the same thing Ans did not leave and some my have left.
My dear when he is ready to admit he has a problem with alcohol he will. Pain is a great motivator. Maybe he hasnt hit his rock bottom. If alcoholism runs in the family, its possible that he is an alcoholic to. No, its not wrong for you to ask him to not drink. He will stop when he is ready, if he is ever ready. If he doesnt and it is affecting your life you can get help by going to a 12 step program called alanon. This is a good program,you might want to look in to it. I am an alcoholic in recovery, and I was also raised by an alcoholic so AA, NA, and Al-anon are programs that I use to help me to stay sober, and clean. Good luck and God bless. Lisa
I just wanted to share a joy. I’ve been living in a place where the meetings are blatantly religious. I’ve suffered them for 5 years now. I never engaged in controversy but, it wasn’t easy being the token oddball no one talks to. Believe me, I tried to fit in but, it wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps, the cultural differences were too much to overcome for both parties. The other day I found out my company is transferring me to a city where there is an agnostic and atheist AA group just 10 minutes away from my office and another 30 minutes away! The news made me feel like I’d died and went to a AA humanist heaven on earth. What a relief. Now I can listen to people talking my language again. If I learned anything the last five years, it was I can love and tolerate people who I never thought I could. Patience has paid off. I did discover I have the capacity to respect others no matter how far-out-there I think their recovery is or how well they liked me or not. Relieved Anonymous Agnostic
I have found an enormous amount of room to live a complete AA program between religion and the agnostic and atheist thinking. I've tested visiting churches less than half a dozen times in the last 33 years, cracked a bible a few times, read Houston’s Smith’s “Religions of the World” a couple times and couldn't get a thing out of it except nearly the opposite of what believers seem to. The only way I can understand ANYONE getting anything out of it is that their brains are made completely different than mine. I've learned to accept that. Not inferior – different. If you consider the simple mention of god and prayer included in Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery religious then I don’t see how AA has anything to offer you. The 201 word instruction sheet hanging on the wall mentions alcohol twice and god 5 times. It’s not difficult for me to see belief in a higher power essential.
On the other end of the scale, I can't look at a sunrise or a rose and see how ANYONE can't see a Higher Power at work. It took some looking to sort through the nature of a god that obviously has helped millions (including me) not only get sober but completely reverse the course of their lives yet allows a tremendous amount of pain to occur in the world. Much better minds than mine have been working on this dilemma for thousands of years and by simply looking to them I have found answers that satisfy me. If you’re a & a AA groups don’t get you what you need, just look around. The answers are out there.
I would say our beliefs our different. My question is, "Why out of 58,800 AA groups in America people get stir crazy and hostile because there are a handful of atheist and agnostic AA groups approved by Central Office? You said, "If you consider the simple mention of god and prayer included in Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery religious then I don’t see how AA has anything to offer you" Okay first of all, there is not much sobriety in this way of thinking.
Love and tolerance is our code. I'm not sure this statement of yours reflects this. Secondly, your statement is incorrect. There is more to AA than God and Prayer. If all there was to getting sober was God and Prayer we could just go to church. Before AA formed, God and Prayer or Soup and Salvation was the only thing offered to drunks and this did not work. Bill W. and the earlier members saw the social-humanist value in drunks helping drunks, "The first person who was speaking my language" as Dr. Bob put it in his story. So to me, an agnostic and atheist AA member can speak more of my recovery language than say a religious member who talks about God and Prayer. Are the rooms big enough for these two styles? Absolutely! Live and Let Live
GOD BLESS YOU!!!
That was tongue-in-cheek I believe
Thanks for your sense of humour
The thing that bothers me is that an alcoholic finding
and attending an A.A. meeting would logically think that
the meeting they are attending is real A.A. Would they
not think that all meetings are alike. If the God talk
might turn someone away, should we not go easy on the
We must separate the fellowship from religion. Practice
your religion in a place of worship. Praying is a religious
practice. It does not belong in an A.A. meeting. Citing
the serenity and the Lords Prayer ought to be tolerable
to most of us. If the majority of group members want to
use these prayers to open and close meetings, it ought
to be done (according to each groups informed group
I can pray (outside of A.A.), share that I pray at a
meeting, but coercing everyone at an A.A. meeting to
"hold hands and pray" is simply wrong, and harms A.A.
as a whole.
I am certainly glad that you found an area of A.A.
where you are comfortable. I could not change locations
but was able to form three groups where we do not read
"How it Works", do not chant and do not "hold hands
and pray". Maybe someday all A.A. meetings everywhere
will be acceptable to any alcoholic approaching us. That
is what A.A. should be. ANONYMOUS
I’m new to AA and I have been going to many meetings the past 6 months. I have a situation and I thought members on this site might help and it feels safe to me. I’m quiet and mistrustful of people in my group. I sit in the back and watch and listen. I was told to get a sponsor and to start reading the Big Book and to start asking god for help. I was raised with no religion so, I don’t know how to pray to God. I have no experience with a God. I haven’t found anyone yet who seems normal to be my sponsor but there is one guy I might ask. Everyone else seems hyped up on god and ordering people to work the steps. No one talks about alcoholism or how they feel. However, there is a biker guy though I relate to. He served in Vietnam and has a real sense of reality when he talks. That thousand yard stare my father took with him to the grave has left this man and his eyes shine with love. His talk cuts the BS in the room in half. The members tolerate him but, I can tell he’s not one of them and they don’t treat him with respect. But, he was the only person that ever greeted me politely when I showed up. When he talks it comes from his heart. This man is very soulful. I actually am not used to men talking this way. The real problem is I am a woman and was told to stick with the women. But, the women here I think are jealous of me because I’m younger and the guys well I feel their eyes wandering on me when I cross the room. The other members have tried to make passes at me but, this guy never has. He just smiles and says “Glad to see ya” and walks away and sits in his usual spot against the wall. He must have 40 years on me so I feel safe. My girlfriend told me I have a “daddy crush” and to stop chasing father figures but, I like the way this man thinks. I’m afraid to ask because I don’t want to give him the wrong idea. But, he really is the only one in the group that talks real. Has any other member had a sponsor from the opposite sex or same-sex when applicable? Can it work? I just don’t think there is one stable woman in my group. Thanks everyone from Erin
“But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.
That the man who is making the approach has had “the same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking about, 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.”
as a male with 31 years sober and sponsor "people"and I can honestly speak to this extremely necessary topic.my experience has been good with both,and for this reason.I was told by my very first sponsor that we arrive on the planet with a mother and a dad,we need guidance from a woman and a man.I have had 3 men sponsors in my 31 years and
2 women.because I had only 1 reason for asking for their help,not to get me sober,the program got me off booze and drugs.my mom died when I was 13 and I really needed this lady's guidance,she passed away this year with 55 years of
living this program ,I met her when I checked into detox and
she told me I just "might"be worth saving,which I didn't even believe,but she didn't give up even when I would mess up.My men sponsors all taught me solid AA and held me accountable all along the way and all of them urged me to
continue to"enlarge and perfect"my spiritual life.Dr Bob
gave some clear directions about the duties of a sponsor in
A manual for Alcoholics Anonymous (Akron) about 1939-40,I
believe still in print.A book (the wife of the alcoholic-
1953 )Lewis F. Presnall/same author for Search for Serenity,
an AA staple.also the personal story in BB (He sold himself short )at that time men and their wives attended meetings
together,and if men had not been supported by their wives AA would never have done so well.Cutting out men or women
from helping you build a spiritual life that will stand up
to any problem you might run into/do your own research and
trust your HP to keep you walking in the sunlight of the spirit.
I believe if we come here for the right reasons it doesn't matter if we have a male sponsor. I have seen it work for people who are truly interested in being sober. I have also seen people change and get new sponsors when they "outgrow" each other.Maureen
Thanks for the feedback. It helps to have many points of view. So far everything is fine. I decided to just be friends with that man and go to a womens group for a while.
in the begging in might work. ive had one to ask me to sponser her and it worked for a wile. i was always encurging her to get a woman to work with and after im glad to say that she got a woman sponsor. thank god it was very hard telling her the truth to her. she was very fragile but she maid it, and moved from houston to new orleans
When you are between a rock and a hard place, pick one. I'd like to think I fit the description of the man you describe so maybe I can give you a little insight from the other side. I fit the age and AA years anyway. What you seek has been done before successively and otherwise. On the plus side AA has given me sisters, a category of women I never had before. Women were either potentials for a relationship, not potential for relationships or other. Other included married coworkers, bosses, cops, judges. But I didn't know any women as PEOPLE. Open, honest sharing of men and women with a common bond in meetings taught me about women as people, just like me, just like my men friends. That understanding later helped clear up my sick thinking about relationships and I have been happily married in one for the past 12 years and trust myself and am trusted enough to relate one on one with women in the program on a very limited basis. On the other hand, I’m not quite well yet and I’m not quite dead yet so caution is required.
If either you or the old vet are in a relationship it’s tough to believe jealousy won’t explode like a bomb somewhere. If either of you think that you are falling in love with the other and it’s not reciprocated then one of you won’t be able to stand to around the other so one of you quits the meetings or AA. Likely you and it’s a likely death sentence.
If I were trying to work with someone like you I would;
Not socialize with you
Work to try to find meetings with women with potential for you
(If you would drive 50 miles to drink, you can drive 50 miles to stay sober)
Answer any problems I see or questions you ask with AA answers right out of the book repeating like an old scratched record. (Men get that too, the only answers I have)
Thanks for sharing. It’s a good topic. Good luck.
Being an attractive woman can add a distracting dimension to recovery. In my experience, the men wouldn't leave me alone. Men are men. I can't blame them. Thats what they are designed to do. I had a similar experience with catty women.
God must of answered my prayers because a man (my future sponsor)entered my life and invited me to his mens gay group. He felt my frustrations and saw the hassles from straight men. It's been three years now and the men have totally embraced me. They love me for who I am and not how I can make their eyes feel when I walk into a room. This is what worked for me but, recovery is all about the decisions we make. Whatever you decide there will always be someone in the rooms that will support you. I wish the best. Shynia
It can work, but is very tricky. I was told the men will pat your behind, but the women will save it. I didn't listen till the man I trusted left town and didn't even say Good bye. You may fool a man , but not a women cause they have been in your shoes. Just remember, we are all here because we have souls that hurt, both men and women. Some may not make it if they can't be thoroughly honest, so be honest with yourself and ask your Higher Power to lead you to the sponsor you need.
"I was told to get a sponsor and to start reading the Big Book and to start asking god for help."
Where is it written that an alcoholic can't take the steps without a sponsor? The fact that you've written to this forum proves, to me at least, that you aren't illiterate and that you aren't learning disabled. I believe that you can read and understand the Big Book, so why not take a chance and try?
When I was new in AA I spent some time in an area where there were no meetings or sober alcoholics. And I wasn't sure I had a Higher Power but I got some very good advice from the AA who answered the phone when I called. He told me to use my Big Book and his Higher Power. When I realized he had told me to use the Big Book, not just read it, I began my actual recovery. As one of the old oldtimers said, we can starve to death reading a cookbook.
I'm still not sure Who or What I pray to, but whatever it is it's kept me sober for nearly forty-two years. And I don't need any formal prayers, just saying something like 'Please help me' is enough.
yes i belive the big book can sponsor. what did the old timers have back in 1935. tere was only three major city. the rest was in rual areas. they comunicated by letters and thoes letters sponsoed. the big book does have power to sponsor.
The Big Book has sponsored me since 1971.
A month ago I allowed myself to relapse. It was the same old ball and chain that it had been before ever obtaining sobriety in the first place. Thank God I'm finally sober. Just like before it really is that moment of clarity when it's as though sobriety was simply handed to me, after praying and begging for it for awhile.
It's so nice to not have to tend to that horrible habit. All I've wanted to do is sleep but I'm sure my body is resting from the abuse I put it through.
When I go to my next meeting, I'm gonna be real and get another 24 hour medallion and off we go again. I hope to find a real sponsor that will return my calls and meet with me but either way, I know that living sober is for me, I've had it both ways and herein lies the peace of mind.
Thanks for letting me share, thanks for being there.
Bless you all!
I’m reminded of a Joe H talk explaining three types of sponsors.
The first tells you to rely on yourself. “Just don’t drink no matter what!” Note the similarity to your ex mother-in-law's “Why don’t you just straighten out” and just as effective.
The second tells you to rely on them. “Call me every day; bring me all your problems....” Wants to be your higher power but, by definition, has to be nuts to get in this organization and is still proving it.
And a third, that shows you how to rely on God (as you understand him) through the Big Book, practice of the steps, traditions, slogans, service, history. If the first two had done this themselves they would know better than what they are doing, if they haven’t, what on earth do they have to pass on?
I've never gotten a busy signal or a recording when I reached for my Big Book.
I also experience that my sponsor doesn't answer my phone calls daily. I got frustrated until they told me I could A) talk to her about it B) call others on telephone list. C) get a new sponsor. All great options!
I recently moved to a Ohio and was sitting in a coffee shop with my wife. Next to us was a table of people from AA. They wouldn't recognize me of course as a member but, I recognized the talk. What was disconcerting to me was the gossip. Being a "fly on the wall" is not my thing but, the talk was loud and obnoxious. This group covered all the bases from the cranky oldtimers who make passes at the women; to the new "hotties" in the room; talk determining the real winners in their group; talk bad mouthing the agnostics; and talk about gays and members who are HIV positive. After that I got up and went to their table and said, "Look I've been a member of AA since 1990 and this talk belongs in the trash. Why not talk about your recovery and the things you are doing to change" You could hear a pin drop as my wife and I left. I think we should be mindful and aware of our conversations when in public because we never know who is listening.
I am so glad you did just that, instead of copping out to the other oft spoke "live and let live" which many will use to justify their bad behavior. it took courage and spiritual fitness to respond in a loving manner that you did to those still suffering individuals. That was a comfort and joy to realize we still can carry the message, even out of our meetings! bravo
Gossip is a sin equavalent to "Murder." They apparently lack the spiritual aspect of AA which is the most intracate part. Without the spiritual, one is just dry not sober.
Thanks for reminding us of the standards that we need to maintain. Not only not behaving like them but also to use the courage to put them on notice for it.