Burning Desire to Share
I recently moved back to the town I grew up in. It took me two months before I began to go to meetings. I have been in AA since 1998, and it felt good to be going to a meeting. However, my first meeting I experienced a quick 13 step, which I was able to deal with and let go. My second meeting I experienced another 13 step, which got me a slap on the ass and a possible invite for more activities outside of AA. I didn't think much of it so, again, I was able to let it go. Then my third meeting did me in. I went to this meeting and felt worse coming out than going in. The chairperson hogged all the literature that was needed to be read, only delegating the twelve traditions, and how it works. The chairperson also took role call to make sure everyone was there. Correct me if I am wrong, however, I believe to have someone else call your name to make sure you are there is a breach of anonymity. If I had to put my name on a list and hear my name along with others' called out to respond with 'here', I think I would never show up. After the meeting, I went for coffee alone because no one had welcomed me or made me feel welcomed. Even the chairperson sat at his table prior the meeting sitting there in silence without even a hello or attempt to talk to anyone, only waited until the time to start the meeting and nothing more. While I was at the coffee shop I happened to see everyone there from the meeting I just left. Again, I was not invited to join them, so I sat alone to drink my coffee. I had thoughts of using and I had to talk with my Higher Power to keep me clean and sober. So, I have three meetings in this town under my belt, I have had three bad experiences at three meetings, and I am afraid to go to another meeting because I do not want to be on a role call list and I don't want to do any 13 stepping. Because I am back in a town where I grew up in, I need to find a new sponsor and because I am afraid to go to a meeting I am denying myself my rite to a sponsor. I want to go to a meeting, I want to have a home group, and I want to have a sponsor. What I don't want is to do 13 steps or to hear my name read out on a role call list or to hear the chair read all the placards and necessary readings for a meeting to take place. At the last meeting I was at it was mentioned to me to remember the message. The messages I heard were to believe in a higher power and your higher power will keep you sober; I heard that it does get easier; I heard about great courage; and I heard about gratitude. All of which are good messages. However, I have not been able to let go of the concept of role call breaking my anonymity. And I am afraid to go to another meeting due to three meetings and three experiences. I am reading my Big Book and GrapeVine Magazines and I hope that when I build up my nerve I will be able to get to a meeting again, a meeting that I can feel safe at and comfortable at. God Willing.
I've attended meetings in five states and three countries outside the US. Yes, I have seen thirteenth stepping, by both genders, but not as blatant as you report.
Since when do we hide our identities from other alcoholics? Are you looking for anonymity or secrecy? Tradition Eleven (not Twelve) states we are anonymous at the level of press, radio and films. You might want to read what Dr Bob said about anonymity on page 264, "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers."
I have been to meetings all over the states the past 27 years including AA business meetings at the group, district and area levels and have NEVER seen a group take a roll call. Not sure what was going on with that but it seems quite unusual.
Having moved several times during my years in AA, I found that it is always takes a while for me to find my way in a new town. I always managed to eventually find a group that worked for me. It helps if I look for ways I can be of service at a meeting. Can I help set up, clean up or put away chairs & tables? At the end of a meeting, my group asks for volunteers to help clean up. I can guarantee you will not be ignored if you raise your hand.
We also ask for newcomers or visitors to identify themselves so that we can get to know them better. Again, you will not be ignored during or after the meeting and will probably be asked to share.
Thankfully, there are plenty of groups and meetings all with different formats and personalities.
It sounds like you need thick skin and possibly a big stick to join their group.
Since we aren't required to display ID at meetings we can use any name we choose. I'd tell them my name is Tradition Twelve and please add it to the roll call so the chair will always ask "Is Tradition Twelve here?"
I think it needs to be made perfectly clear that you are not looking for any dates or sexual encounters and any hands on you will result in scream, sirens and mace.
It sounds like your town needs a meeting where others can feel safe and comfortable and there is no one better than you to start one. GSO will be happy to send you a kit to do just that.
Have you read the stories of the pioneers in the Big Book?
"Go start AA in Detroit."
"Go start AA in Chicago."
"Go start AA in Canada and here's 500 letters asking for help."
How did AA grow to over 64,000 groups in the US and Canada alone? By members who valued AA enough to find a coffee pot and a place to plug it in.
Please be patient with us. Seek some other meetings. I
am fortunate to have dozens of meetings available. Although
I feel that all A.A. meetings ought to be alike, that is not
reality. It takes me it seems like forever to make a new
friend. I don't do the "coffee after the meeting" meeting.
I believe the message ought to be carried by the group
within the context of the meeting. One or two members
carrying their own message is limiting, and I feel can
I have never been to an A.A. meeting where the roll
has been called. But I believe it, as I have been to
and heard about some strange meetings. Long ago we would
call the roll at our district meeting but that was
different. That no longer is done. Most new GSRs don't
return anyway, when they see what a waste of time the
GSR meeting is.
Thirteenth steeping has always been a problem in A.A.
beginning with our founder. The issue is being addressed
on a feeble basis in my area. It seems that once we get
sober some of our other instincts come alive. And it is
not only the men who are predators.
Please search for other meetings where you can feel
safe and comfortable. Maybe in future years you can be
instrumental in returning A.A. to its original successful
form. The new suffering alcoholic approaching us deserves
nothing less. ANONYMOUS
I have moved a few times in sobriety and found meetings like that while traveling across country and around court ordered populations.
I find the answers I need in asking for the Higher Power's guidance to where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to do. No matter how gnarly a meeting is, there is usually someone to pray for and sometimes someone who could do with an encouraging word. Sometimes when I am feeling that I need something, what I need to do is to give back something.
As to finding a sponsor, I always ask to be guided to the right meetings and right person and then relax cause HP is in charge and isn't going to drop me as long as I keep doing the step work.
Gosh, I just wanted to say I hear you & will pray for you. 2 1/2 yrs sober me here & today's a crappy day for me, but decided to go online after several mths not & whew...I feel better already. So, I personally always have tools to use to get me OUT of my funky days, like online or I keep literature close by, like the Grapevine or As Bill see's It. One can always call the local AA & get #'s of some woman to call. Maybe they can bring a meeting to you?? We do that for some of our older/ disabled members, but maybe if it's not easy to get another job right now maybe they can help you. Just ask & good luck & one HOUR at a time if you must.Go girl....you can do it!!!
I just found out my boyfriend of a year and a half has been relapsing. I'm completely devastated and feeling very alone.. I keep thinking that it is my fault but I know that I was powerless over his actions. I'm breaking up with him today. I really need the support of the fellowship but can't get to a meeting until later tonight. I'm trying hard to keep my head up and know that this is God's will. I don't have much to say I just felt the need to share
It took me 3 years to get a year. I just couldn't believe it was over. I only drank 5 years from 25 till 30. I have a long history of the problem in my family. The stuff scared me greatly. We love you because you tried to help but..... He may need a new Spons. Dec. 15, 2014 I'll have 40 years sober. Keep the Faith in yourself.
Joe C. St. Pete Florida
My sponsor shared with me that I am only capable of working 12 steps (and even that imperfectly) - not 24 steps (my program and that of someone else). At a parents' program at a treatment center recently, I was reminded of that fact, and that Al Anon would be useful to develop the necessary objectivity and boundaries not to keep enabling my kid's use. As for the "god's will" part, I am rather fond of the Merton prayer, which reminds me that I must keep trying to do what I believe to be right and good and moral and just - not be so selfish and self-centered - and when I do I am probably pretty close to god's will.
I didn't do very well with the God business until I developed a very different view than you expressed of "God's will".
As far as I have seen "God's will" is that we all have free will, after all he gave it to us. I don't buy the idea that we have free will but there is a big GOTCHA if we don't use it according to some somewhat mysterious rules that vary with every sect and also from day to day.
If your boyfriend chooses to drink, that's his will. If you choose to stay and help him drink or leave that is your will. So where doe's God come in? Just like it says in our literature, standing by ready to help us if asked. He doesn't need to be told by us what others need. I imagine he knows that without being told. If they ask and are willing to accept help IN THE FORM IT IS GIVEN they will get the help they need too.
Also there is a group apart from AA that deals with alcoholism when it affects, not ourselves, but others.
I hope you are still "hanging in there" and have made a meeting or two. And hopefully have gotten a sponsor or at least looking. I mainly wanted to suggest you might try an alanon meeting once in awhile. It helped me a lot when I was dealing with the problems of a family member. Most of us are good at blaming others for our drinking so don't be drawn into that trap. Time will help so try to put one foot in front of the other and take care of yourself. In spite of your feelings have faith that it will get better.
I am about to talk about the grey pages at Area Assembly. There will be riots.
Area 40 Grapevine Chair
Dear Grapevine Chair from Montana, area 40. Why not discuss
your concern here on the forum? You have a wider audience.
You may even be able to get some ammunition to support your
cause. Opinions vary from different parts of the country.
Personally, I would prefer a simple magazine, a "meeting
in print", funded by those who want it: supported by
sale of subscriptions to the magazine, not by selling
books or raiding our Prudent Reserve Fund.
IMO, "our" AA Grapevine has become an advertising
tool for Alcoholics Anonymous. Let's start the discussion!
As a point of clarification:
AAGV, Inc. has not taken a drawdown from the Reserve Fund for two years and in April 2014 made a donation of $260,000 to the Reserve Fund.
Further clarification: Was the $260,000 a donation? Or
was it simply a deposit? Money that comes in for subscriptions is routinely deposited into the Prudent
Reserve Fund to be used as needed. Both Grapevines have withdrawn millions of dollars more from the Prudent Reserve Fund than "donated". Now you call it a drawdown. ANONYMOUS
Note: Our Grapevines ought to be fully supported through
subscriptions from AA members who want them. That was the
Grapevine made a donation of $260,000 to the Reserve Fund in March 2014. The Grapevine Subscription Liability, a separate fund, sets aside money for unfulfilled subscriptions and is currently funded at 98%. Grapevine has received drawdowns from the Reserve Fund over the 70 years of its existence, but has not done so for the last three years. In 1995, the General Service Conference recommended that La Viña be published with support from the General Fund as a service to the Fellowship, this action was reaffirmed by the Conference in 2001.
For additional information it is suggested that you contact your delegate.
I am new to all of this. Not new to my alcoholism, or realization thereof, but new to talking to strangers about my problem. I attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in rehab back in 2009, but I was only in rehab because my father thought I was going to kill myself so he had me hospitalized. It wasn't of my own volition necessarily, though as scared as I was at the time, I knew I needed help. So, I have not been to any A.A. meetings. They only take place in my town when I'm at work. Therefore, I sought help from the internet. It's probably better this way anyway. I'm not much of a small town gal, yet I reside in one. Everyone knows everything about everyone. So, everyone knows I'm a gnarly alcoholic.
On that note, I have a lot to say. However, seeing as this is my first post, I will simply say that I am 27 years young. I don't think I've gone longer than a week and a half sober since I turned 20. Since then, my mom and dad have died, I've dropped out of college, lost jobs, lost friends, lost places of residence...and I suspect I'm losing my health. My dad died in 2012, and things for me have been uphill since then simply because he would want it that way. I went on medication, I got a great apartment, I've held down a steady good job, but there is still a constant in my life, to put it simply: alcoholism. Long story short, when my dad was dying and up until his death, I was more preoccupied with drinking to cope than I was being there for him. Now he's gone, and I'm trying to move on and create a better life for myself, but I'm still drinking. Then, it was drinking to cope with his impending death (amongst many other things). Now, it's to cope with his passing, which happened over two years ago. My mother died 8 months before he did, but we were estranged. She was an alcoholic too. She tried to get back in my life a month and a half before she died. I ignored all of her phone calls, because I was an alcoholic and I somehow blamed her for that and had no nice words to say to her, so I simply ignored her until "the time was right" to speak to her again after a five year hiatus. That time, obviously, never came. She died alone, without making amends with me. Peritonitis, apparently. I was the next-of-kin, so I was responsible for her funeral arrangements. Needless to say, I am filled with regret and sadness.
There are many other details I could share, but in this moment, I don't want to lose focus. I need to quit drinking, but I am so sad. All of the time. I have been depressed all my life, I get panic attacks, I'm anxious more often than not...as I stated earlier, I can't attend regular A.A. meetings because of my work schedule, which honestly is the only thing keeping me on any semblance of a straight-and-narrow.
I just needed to put this out there.
Keep doing what works, and stop doing or alter what doesn't work. I too have had employment where it deterred me from meeting times. I have since learned, no matter what, get to a meeting. When I was working, I had just started my career and was working graveyards. The morning meetings didn't happen until noon and by the time noon arrived I was already asleep or falling asleep (I was off work at 7 a.m.). I started work at 11 p.m., and now I know I could have attended meetings at 7 & 8 p.m., and I could have attended meetings on my days off as I had two of them each week. I chose not to go to meetings which led to the loss of my career and a depression that lasted fourteen years. I have been fortunate enough to not drink all these years, however, I have relapsed on drugs. Relapsing s not what I want, active using is no what I want. Right now I am both clean and sober, Thank God, and I do need to keep tabs on my way of hinking and my attitude. This is what I need meetings for. Right now I am afraid to go to meetings because of the experiences I have recently experienced so I decided to try online here. I am finding it is working. Thank You AA for being on the internet. It takes two to have a meeting and it takes work to have sobriety.
Thank you for your courage in putting all this down in words on the screen. You sound like a very honest and fearless person, which means your chances for a life free of alcohol are good, if you want it.
Is there a way you can attend a meeting in a neighboring town? Even one per week? I stress face-to-face meetings because that's what got me and kept me sober in the early days. I don't think I could have done it on the internet alone.
Keep in mind that sobriety is just about today and today only. Try not to drink today and try to make it to a meeting today or tomorrow.
All the best to you,
First things First you are talking about it so you are headed in the right direction. No one can stop drinking drinking. You have to surrender and until that happens you will remain depressed and drunk. I know because thats my experience,
Thanks for checking in and welcome. Sorry to hear of your your struggles. When my mother had a massive heart attack and was near death for weeks, I drank. Of course, I drank before that and after that. People said, oh he's really struggling with all this. But my brother didn't drink nor did my sisters or my father who was a dyed in the vat Irishman and was probably suffering the most. Only me. I drank. I am an alcoholic. I have a chronic, progressive, debilitating disease and I don't really need a reason to drink but I'll take one if you'll give it to me, thank you very much.
Thankfully, my family confronted me during this crisis and I got help. Twentyseven years later, I am nothing but grateful for the miracle of a life I found through AA. I am grateful for all I found here including a Higher Power, a way of life built on the steps, fellowship and friends who are more like family. I got to enjoy a second childhood (worked at a ski resort where I ski and bike raced and did triathlons sober), a second adolescence (dated and married sober) and a first adulthood (stayed married, raised 3 step children and put them through college, built a home...) I learned to practice the principles of AA in all my affairs including at home, at work, in my community and in AA.
All this happens one step at a time, one day at a time. I suit up and show up for what is in front of me today. This morning, I am enjoying a visit to the Grapevine. This afternoon, I attend an AA speaker meeting at noon followed by my home group business meeting at 1pm where I am group secretary. I will do some fun stuff the rest of the day realizing that AA is the foundation upon which the rest of my life is built.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to know what is wrong with them AND to have a way out, a remedy, a cure, a solution. I am. I am an Alcoholic and I recovered and stay recovered in AA.
Recovery from this disease can be a fantastic multi-colored journey along the yellow brick road but only if I join hands with my fellow AAs and take that first step.
Why not change your work schedule, or get another job, even if you have to relocate? I sobered up at 27, and I had to make some really radical changes to stay sober.
When we start looking for solutions instead of obstacles we find them. Depression? Panic attacks? See a doctor. Many of have found that many problems go away when we stop drinking and the medical profession can't do much for a diagnosis until the alcohol and other drugs are taken out of the formula.
Looks like you are down to work -drink- live where you don't want to and don't have access to help. Thousands of people starting with nothing are living in halfway houses or better, working, not drinking, making sober friends, getting their lives straightened out and accessing any kind of help they need. What do you have to lose except alcoholism's progressive misery?
You say that alcohol has taken away almost everything important in your life. You have adapted to all the changes so far. So as long as your alcoholism is calling the shots you can adapt. One way or another we have found when our recovery starts calling the shots we can adapt. We don't see the outcome ahead of time, we just do it anyway and for millions of us we made it. If we don't make the changes we need to alcohol will do it for us.
Young eagles hang on to their nest for dear life so they don't fall. Then one day they are ready for a change. They let go and soar. That's what AA does. You are ready to change or you wouldn't have come here.
It’s often heard in the rooms that AA is spiritual not religious, but what does that mean exactly? The only thing that makes sense to me is this statement must be referring to the “AA Fellowship” as defined by the AA Preamble. Its common knowledge the “AA Program” we offer as a suggestion was inspired by religious ideas, which is overtly evident in its main teachings, the big book and the twelve and twelve, however our identity should always be presented as the “AA Fellowship” and not as the “AA Program.” In other words, the fellowship is spiritual and the program tends to appear to look religious especially to the person walking through the doors for the first time. I believe all the confusion for the newcomer lies within this misunderstanding. What is more spiritual than “A fellowship of a men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism” There is no confusion in that statement because it’s easy to understand the spiritual essence in community built on equality and love. But, when people wrongly and aggressively promote AA as a program; this is where the newcomer obtains a dose full of anxiety. Religious elements are intertwined throughout the twelve steps and the big book and in any meeting you hear religious themes such as, divine intervention, miracles, confession, penance and redemption, not to mention, many groups have rituals and rules to obey. So when we are presented in this way, I feel it is unfair to criticize or condemn any newcomer who points out these religious elements which make them uneasy, especially when it is presented as a rule and not an option. When we inflict this on a newcomer it can set them up to fail. The AA Preamble and Traditions are very clear about what our organization is; the problem lies with a few of its members who do not possess the ability to understand that AA is a Fellowship which is spiritual in nature but also for the more religious members offers a “Program.” When I sponsor people, the first thing I do is clarify this to them so, there are not any misunderstandings that may lead to severe consequences. I personally am religious but, I go to church for that need. The “AA Fellowship” especially through home group and speaker meetings provides me a community of social mirrors in my daily reprieve from alcoholism. Grateful in Recovery
Your share and perspective on AA and its spiritual base in fellowship helped me to understand the separateness from spirituality and religion. Although I already had an understanding of this your way of describing and defining this has given me comfort from feelings of guilt and fraudulent character. They are no longer large in my thinking, practice and study but I have struggled with this in the past.
I was not raised in a family that identified with religion or went to church although I went to Sunday School I'm sure because all good Mothers in the sixties sent their children along should they be deemed unfit.
In my late thirties and forties my late husband and I embraced Tibetan Buddhism and meditation to help us in his death from brain cancer.
After his death I continued to study and meditate to a small degree. Eventually this practice left me as I began to drink more each day to cope.
I came to AA nearly 3 months ago with an understanding of a higher power as I had gone to Al Anon in my twenties. Some understanding of the fellowship of AA and its program of recovery also helped me but I still felt very uncomfortable trying to pray each day. I felt like a fraud!
I stumbled each morning as I tried to pray asking God for help and guidance, strength and peace.
A few weeks into my recovery I spoke with my new friend from AA about this and she gave me the best advise - " Some people just say please."
This freed me in a way I cannot describe until I became more comfortable with my early journey, AA, my understanding and daily prayer.
I begin my prayer now with thanks and then I ask please help me .......
I end my prayer with thanks.
Something so simple has helped me so much and I don't feel fake or fraudulent.
I give thanks to the spirit of my universe and then I ask for its continued help. And of course I offer my thanks again.
I wish every recovering alcoholic a beautiful peaceful day.
Be gentle and kind with your spirit.
I struggled mightily with the 3rd step until an older woman passed me a note in a meeting on which was written "I don't have to understand spirituality to accept its benefit." That was very freeing. A Thich Nhat Hanh interview on prayer was very enlightening as well. I still have more questions than answers, but I accept that as part of the gift of seeking, without which I might become stagnant/complacent and start the road back to the bottle.
Dear Grateful in Recovery, Thanks for a clear message.
I am grateful that our Preamble has remained intact. At least that definition of Alcoholics Anonymous has not
changed. The preamble still says that we are a fellowship.
It is one of the few places fellowship has not been
changed to Fellowship.
A newcomer is not going to point out religious elements
which make them uneasy. They may think "this is just another
religious group and religion has not helped me before".
They don't voice their objection. What they see is what it
is. They just don't keep coming back although we chant
"Keep Coming Back! It works if you work it!".
It is really up to us seasoned old timers to speak up
for the newcomer; they still come even though they may
have heard about our religious nature. They are desperate,
but not that desperate. "Let me out of here".
Even churches I attend offer more grace than today's
A.A. At least they wait until the end of the service
to do the alter call. We tell the newcomer right up front
That One Is God! May you find Him Now!. Sure, this works
for some, but the multitudes are pushed away.
We must develop an understanding of Dr. Silkworth's
"cart before the horse IDEA" and apply same. Most A.A.
members today have no idea what this IDEA is. ANONYMOUS
"We tell the newcomer right up front That One Is God! May you find Him Now!. Sure, this works for some, but the multitudes are pushed away."
First off, I get the impression that your only familiarity with the Big Book is the portion of Chapter 5 read at many meetings. Just to set the record straight, your quotation is on page 59, not 'right up front' as you claim.
Second, how do you know what pushes the multitudes away? Have you conducted a survey? Or are you still clinging to the mantra of the untreated alcoholic, "I feel this way, therefore everyone else feels this way, too"?
I don’t remember anyone telling me the purpose of AA was to endorse religion and to dictate to its members that “God” was the only way to salvation and freedom from alcoholism. The earlier members and the founders may have believed that but, it doesn’t make it true for everyone even though it may have been true for them. As a newcomer and an agnostic, the older members told me, I did not have to believe in God to get sober but, just had to believe that it was possible. We provide that space of possibility in the rooms; it’s up to each person to define what that means to them. AA provides hope to every new person but, I believe it’s not helpful to mislead them into thinking that the only possibility for recovery is God and unbelief equals death. In any AA meeting, there are members that prove the erroneousness in that false assertion every night.
There is no reason to try to make Doctor Silkworth's quote about The cart before the horse some big mystery unless you are trying to use it for a smokescreen. Ebbie T told Bill W that he "Got religion" and was happily sober. In his umpteenth detox Bill W had some kind of Un-earthly experience which resulted in his compulsion to drink being removed. Bill tried to pass this on this Conversion with no results. Silkworth told him it wasn't working because Bill wasn't laying any foundation.
If you bother to look, the Spiritual Awakening is now at the end, not the beginning of the program of recovery of AA.
I would suggest reading the Foreword to the 12x12, especially the 3rd full paragraph which says,” AA’s 12 steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.” I have found nothing religious in the 12 steps.
Maybe read the foreword to the second edition of the big book on page xx, “Other thousands came to a few AA meetings and at first decided they didn’t want the program” I think the meetings are where we display the AA program for newcomers to decide if they want it or not, but you decide for yourself.
Also page 39 in the 12 x 12 has a great comment on meetings, “More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but is bound to be a far cry from permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life
My favorite example of the steps being the program of AA is in the 3rd or 4th page of the pamphlet “problems other than alcohol”, “Sobriety- freedom form alcohol- through the teaching and practice of the 12 steps is the sole purpose of an AA group.” This tells us what the purpose of our AA groups are. On page 15 of Bill’s story in the big book he says” we meet frequently so newcomers can find the fellowship they seek” I really think the fellowship is the meetings we have with each other and the program is the 12 steps we work for our individual sobriety. You can look on page 107 of the 12x12, it says “AA’s manner of making ready to receive this gift lies in the practice of the 12 steps in our program.”
There are around 40 spots in the big book and 12x12 that talk about the “program” please look for yourself. There is a web site called 164andmore that you can search the big book and 12x12 with key words such as “program”
I hope this helps and good luck!
Thank you very much for your well researched response. The only thing I can add is that AA is governed by democratic principals. Every year our elected representatives have the opportunity make changes or put proposed changes before the entire membership. Every year they appear to be satisfied with the first 154 pages of the Big Book and the 12 and 12 and have not changed anything.
Hi, you are missing the point of the discussion. Everything you are quoting from is taken from "Program oriented" materials. These are wonderful suggestions and an important part of recovery which the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship offers but, they are not Alcoholics Anonymous. The Preamble does not read, "Alcoholics Anonymous is a program where people read the big book work the steps and gets a sponsor..." No it states that we are a fellowship. Because AA is a fellowship it is open for anyone who has a desire to stop drinking. Whether they follow the suggested path or not is their right. People who choose not to follow the program are still members of the fellowship. One's sobriety is not judged on what they read, follow or preach but, who they are and what they do. Keep coming back!
I know you like the preamble. can you explain why the preamble is not in AA conferenced approved lit and only in Grapevine material?
Hi clu 1992, You kindly asked, "Can you explain why the preamble is not in AA conferenced approved lit and only in Grapevine material?" Yes I can, but I think it would be beneficial for you to research this on your own. In that way, your recovery world will be taken to a new level of love and compassion as well as, tolerance and open-mindedness. Happy Twenty-four.
Life is a lot easier when I stop pointing fingers at other peoples faults and just look at my own. Why waste my time looking at stuff that doesn't involve me? Sometimes I forget, but when I remember my weight is lifted off. Life's easier when I only deal with my own problems. If there's something that comes up that I don't have any problems within myself, then I let go. Those who have done wrong usually don't want to hear that they did fault. I find this everywhere I go in and out of the AA rooms. Unless someone asks me what my opinion is on the matter I would say something. But for the greatest part no one likes to be told, so I do no different than what people have done to me, just shut up and who cares? I had to find out myself the difficult way that I'm an alcoholic, so I let others find their own. In the AA rooms, it gives us all an opportunity to hear something that might nudge us in our little minds to do something. But faith without works is dead.
Ah yes, pointing fingers we love to do this in AA. What would AA be without judgment and self-righteousness? It would mirror the AA Preamble and our Traditions. The rooms are full of individuals suffering from alcoholism trying to get better. The more humble members accept their illness. The majority realize it is just a symptom of fundamental and essential problems which drive an alcoholic back to the drink. And with this, the majority takes the responsibility necessary to address their damage and work honestly to change. In my thinking, it’s the narcissistic and ego driven bullies who exist on the surface of recovery and are too weak to look at their problems. One strategy of avoidance is to quickly assume the position of leader and authority. Pointing the finger, quoting pages and hiding behind the talk, assuming big status are all techniques of weakness. I believe the entire finger pointing phenomena evolved when the bogus belief that AA is program came into fashion and dominate the scene. With this came inequality and the invention of hierarchical organizations, self-appointed gurus, recovery despots, dogmas, rigidness, condescension, rituals and arrogance. “I can quote pages and you can’t, therefore I have superiority over you” “I have 10 years and you have 1 year, therefore I am more sober than you” It’s all false of course because having just time doesn’t equate to being returned to sanity and quoting pages only means a person has the skill to quote pages. I’ve often heard, “Whenever I point my finger there is three pointing back at me.” There is nothing wrong with AA if you understand the Preamble and Traditions. These are solid. But to me, the soul of its members and our primary purpose has been compromised by people that have no soul but only lust for position and status in the rooms. We need more understatement and humility again in AA and much less hyperbole.
Sober 16 years today...April fools day ... Go figure
Ok I need to share this with the world anonymously so I can get many opinions on this matter. I have told my aunt and my friends about this, its not a huge deal or anything but I just want to know if I am making a big deal out of nothing or if I do have the right to be hurt. Ok so my mom died when I was 10, and it hurt but not in the way that most kids cry and weep everyday and have a hole in their heart because they lost their mom. My pain was just my mom died, like I wasn't sad that my mom died because I never really connected with her, but hearing everyone say they are sorry for me and seeing my dad cry so much, caused me to have a little tears to get off my chest but that is all. Now I am 15 and I don't feel sad that my mom is gone, of course I miss her but only at some times. My problem is, starting from the age of 5 my mom used to lock me in the garage/ bathroom for 10-15 minutes as punishments. This really really hurt me deep inside that my own mother who should be the person who loves me endlessly and cares for me so much would lock me in a room even though its just for 10 minutes it hurts! She used to pinch me while sitting in the front of car hill i was in the back seat. I didn't understand how amazing moms were until I grew up. As I grew older and I heard all my friends saying oh my god I can tell my mom anything I love her soo much, she is amazing she is my best friend, I thought to myself why didn't god give me a mother like that? To be honest life has gotten better since my mom left and omg it kills me to say that and I feel like a horrible horrible person and I'm not saying thank god she is dead I don't want to be disrespectful but my life has been better after she died. :( After she died, all the family friends that were really busy and that we couldn't see that often they arranged barbecues every weekend and I was able to develop relationships with my aunts and I got 4 aunts who were like my dream mom. They treated me and talked to me like I had hoped my mom would talk to me. In school I had no friends but all of a sudden I had friends but they were pity friends but at least I wasn't alone with no one to talk to. Then I moved to India( I'm Indian lol) and things became so much better only because I finally made friends so many of them too and I had so much fun and then we moved back to the USA. My dad's brother's wife and I became very close. Me and my aunt were like mother and daughter. She already has two daughters but she considers me as her third daughter. I can literally tell er everything and I do, even about boys. If i were to talk to my mom about boys she would get mad and say at this age everything is just some dang attraction. What my question is, is it ok that I feel pain that my mom locked me in those rooms even though it was just for a few minutes? Or am I making a big deal of nothing? She was very mean to me, she would promise to buy things and then when I asked her for them again she would say Oh did I say that I must have made a mistake. One time when I was five she said she would buy me burger king after school and she didn't when I got theree so I was like mommy!? Why didn't you buy me burger king? and she locked me in the garage and said i can stay hungry she doesn't care cus she though I got an attitude. Whenever I cried in front of people like my grandparents instead of hugging me and kissing my tears away she said why are you crying you are going to make me look bad in front of your grandparents. They were so in love with each other that just because she told him that he should have hit me one day because I didn't go and sit with my brother when he was a baby and woke up and started crying, he hit me! Like not a bad hit or anything but across my chin, it was still a hit and my dad has never layed a hand on me ever before or after that. I was so angry and when i went to a corner and cried but i acted like i was reading, my mom was like your just going to sit on that chair because he hit you and i swear my blood boils when I think about all of this! This hurts me so bad and all I can think is why did my mom hate me? What did I do to not deserve a loving mother? Like she was a normal mom as I grew up, but I don't recall having much fun with her or giggling or talking about boys or anything like that. I was just in a normal mood......... So what are your thoughts? Am I blowing things way out of proportion? Is being locked in a garage for 10 mins not that a big deal?
In AA, and specifically in my 4th step, I had the opportunity for the first time to deal honestly with my mother. It was a miraculous experience. Speaking to other AA members and working the 4th helped me see I was not alone and that it was ok to talk and write about everything surrounding my mother. This was not an exercise in blame but one of cataloging my resentments and fears and feelings and what I was going to do about them. It was also about working the rest of the steps where I built a relationship with a higher power that helped me change. It became about practicing the principles of AA in all my affairs - especially with my mother. I was able to become much more understanding of her and realize she was a product of the alcoholic culture she'd grown up in.
I sobered up at my mother's death bed. Then, we both recovered and she lived another 10 years. During those years, thanks to AA, I got to learn much about compassion, understanding, boundaries, acceptance, keeping my mouth shut, not pouring gas on a fire....When she finally passed, I was able to be a sober, responsible family member who helped my family with the wake and funeral. Clear eyed and sober, I was there to shake the hand of and thank the kind and caring cardiologist who had nurtured her for those last 10 years.
My mother was far from perfect and some things she did or didn't do affected me in many ways. AA gives me the freedom to open up about it all and deal with it. Even when I have sought outside help, my ability to be honest and open about such things has been very helpful.
I have heard a lot of people in the rooms of AA who sobered up and finally confronted for the first time their feelings towards various people in their lives. Many had raging alcoholic parents, step-parents, etc. Some were sexually or otherwise physically abused. Some seem to be able to come to terms with these old resentments without professional help, others need counseling/psychiatric help. Never hurts to talk to a counselor or therapist, especially if after repeated efforts to accept the past and no longer be consumed by it have failed.
I celebrated 30 years of continuous sobriety this year. I have talked to sponsors, councilors, in meetings. I have JOURNALED , I DO THE STEPS, and pray all the time. I still have these resentments, not half as bad. when do they go so I can be at peace with my past life. I am almost 70 years old. I have lost a lot of people who mean a lot to me too!! Grieving LOT. TOO!! CATHERINE g
Look if what you are saying is for reals, you are dealing with serious trauma. Your psyche is broken and your inner core sounds like it has almost been destroyed. A psychopathology exists in you that needs attention outside the rooms. AA can help with the drink but the trauma issues need to be handled by a professional. Hopefully the two will lead you to a better place. In this brokenness of your spirit do not let blindness creep in and numb you out to the world.
This forum is about alcoholism but since you are here I'll share with you something that we alcoholics frequently need to deal with - frustration over trying to control other people places and things that are impossible to control. I have no control over what people did or didn't do to or for me in the past. If I can't let go of it I get help with it. I do not try to get help from nameless faceless non-professional members of the internet. Also I see a well qualified psychiatrist sometimes and he NEVER gives advice. He steers me to solutions by sometimes asking questions. My solutions may be quite different than others. That's why I want a pro.
It was easy for me to embrace the god factor in AA because I already had a belief in god. The transition from God to Higher Power was not a difficult move at all. But in my 12th year in recovery, I became an atheist. I couldn’t tell you why because AA and my sobriety gave me the best life anyone could imagine. Lightning bolts didn’t strike me dead and I remain gratefully sober. I’ve always held the belief that the most important thing I could ever do in my life, if I was left to do one thing was to not pick up the first drink. The next best thing I could do today is to continually welcome the new person. I’m glad there is flexibility in AA because we grow and change as the years go on. If I was entrenched in rigid beliefs and inflexible dogma I might be dead. So, today, my sobriety is not centered on finding God, but becoming a better person and changing. I don’t know anyone who wants to be the same person they were when they came through the door. We all know about Bill W’s recovery but, what about all the other recoveries that happened throughout the years which were different than his? They were equally important and valued but, tragically less documented. However, their stories live through the people they sponsored and the people they sponsored. So many lives were transformed and saved in AA just because they heard a different perspective then Bill W’s. I never felt recovery in AA was not a cookie-cutter experience. My life was dramatically affected after hearing an atheist old timer share one day at our group. When someone made a comment about “There are no atheists in foxholes” he laughed out loud and said, “I was in plenty of foxholes in WW2 and never said one prayer. I tried to save myself and the guy next to me” That statement alone set my recovery in a new direction. He is dead and gone now like Bill W. There are no books written about him however, he influenced my recovery significantly for the better as did countless other members whose ideas weren’t contained within the official position.
I have found AA to be quite open and welcoming to a wide range of spiritual beliefs. We have a strong group in our town called "Atheists, Agnostics and All Others". I have not been able to hit the meeting yet, which - ironically - meets in a church, but some of my favorite AA people attend.
I met all of them in mainstream AA meetings and found that they are quite philosophical and spend a lot of time thinking and talking about spiritual matters. It's not like they come to this decision lightly. They tend to be deep thinkers who are willing to explore many avenues and possibilities.
They also show deep authenticity by laying it all out there and being honest about their beliefs. It can't be easy to be in a program that saved your life and to struggle with a tenet that is central to the program.
At 27 years sober, I find the concept of "God" more mysterious today than ever. Throughout the years, I have seen a power at work in AA and in myself that produces miracles. I remain honest, open minded and willing to search for and explore this power. AA gives us that freedom.