Burning Desire to Share

2174 replies [Last post]
Anonymous
I dont need a hug!

My name's Mike, I'm an alcoholic.
I've put together many 24 hours. I've watched people force handshakes & hugs on members for years. I want members to know that its ok to hold up a hand & say, STOP, PLEASE DON'T TOUCH ME. I am an athlete. I race on asphalt. When I train, sometimes I'm not wearing the leather suit I race in. My injuries mostly consist of road-rash. Please respect my space. Thanks.

Anonymous
A.A. a simple program

A.A. is not a simple program for complicated people that CANNOT intuitively handle situations that still bother them.

sevebra7
Offline
Joined: 2011-10-16
valid point

I have been in sobriety for about 4 years now(do not have that much time sober though) and still do not have a good intuition on helping or even talking to others. I am an only child that is also an isolating alcoholic.
I tend to be the person that scares the newcomer away still. Even in regular conversation I tend to make others feel awkward. I have a better understanding today then I did in the beginning of having regular conversation. Something you think would come naturally right. No I am still learning social intuition.

You know how in the Big Book it says,"We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us."
'Intuitively' is not the correct word here. The word they are looking for is clairvoyance. Intuition is more something that you can learn in school or through trial and error. If you look up clairvoyance in a dictionary you will see that clairvoyance is like seeing the world through Gods eyes and being able to handle every situation in that way. The past will only be seen as a stepping stone for a better future.
This God is what your after...if God exists.

Anonymous
RE: valid point

Intuitive is the correct word if we are talking about God not a sponsor. I had a friend ask after six years around the program when this is going to happen, Being six years sober and still not able to see we are living it surprised me.
I think they had one to many sponsors diverted and incapable of being true to there self's.

Anonymous
Trying to Understand

The ideas of A.A in the A,B,C's, I TOTALLY agree with
The purpose of the Big Book to introduce me to God, I TOTALLY agree
The promise to intuitively handle situations that use to baffle me has happened
I have a tremendous amount of friends I talk with today caring how things are.
The non understanding part seemingly undermining A.A's principles, promises and idea's is
the outside sponsorhip system thing that is not in the Steps nor Traditions or in the 164 pages of the program
The only sense it seems to make is helping one that knows NOTHING of A.A. to it's doors, after that, it seems very very harmful and destructive to both parties involved and opposed to A.A. And the people already here.
I guess loneliness can take a person to some strange place but why be lonely with all these nice people around in A.A? Trying to understand that with God I 'm never alone and around friends I am never lonely and understand it's not about me or you but the message of A.A.– Why all the craze about getting a outside sponsor already her inside? where did it come from if it opposes A.A.'s ideas principles and promises ?

Anonymous
Not going to meetings

Wow! The coffee stinks, the people don't look right, someone might touch me because I don't have a 'hands off' sign, Etc. Etc. Etc.
All very good reasons to stay away from meetings.
I needed help to get and stay sober. One very good reason to go to meetings.
Why not try following the suggestions in the Big Book? And contact LIM as a Homer?

Anonymous
The day I walked into a

The day I walked into a womans mtg after coming back I fell apart at the seams and if it wasn't for the kindness of a hug by many of these woman I may not have stayed.

Anonymous
RE: Not going to meetings

"I needed help to get and stay sober. One very good reason to go to meetings."

If you Go to give and not get - they will all be afraid to even touch you no sign will be needed.

Anonymous
An atheist program

I don't know why AAs have such trouble with atheists. The notion in AA's Big Book - "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?" - is a concept that practically no organized religion would accept (there are a few, but most wouldn't). A lot of the AAs I know don't go to any church or accept any kind of creed. So when AAs say "God," it's like when AAs say "jackpot." It's a word that other people use, but it has a completely different meaning in AA. We talk about God in AA because it's good cover; the truth is that a lot of AAs don't believe in any God other than "their own conception." To me, that's a working definition of an atheist. So lets stop giving atheists such a hard time.

Anonymous
RE: An atheist program

We are all atheists chasing the spirits in Alcohol, In the big book it states the whole purpose of the book is to introduce you to a higher power that can intuitively handle situations that us to baffle us - There are only 3 "PERTINENT" ideas of alcoholics anonymous in the A,B,C's other clubs in and around A.A. have pertine-eer ideas of their own.
Not about who's right
Not about who's wrong
It's about who's left

If an institutional outside sponsorship system works for an atheist so be it - I like A.A. myself

Anonymous
RE An atheist program

I personally do not understand how any organized religion could possibly accept the concept of every person choosing
his or her own conception of God. That is one reason why AA
works so well, and one reason why Bill W. leaves us with a stern warning about trying to start a new religion. This warning is found on page 232 in AA Comes of Age 1957 and on page 345 in Language of the Heart, April 1963 issue of the
AA Grapevine. Bill W. writes: "Speaking for Dr. Bob and
myself I would like to say that there has never been the
slightest intent, on his part or mine, of trying to found a new religious denomination. Dr. Bob held certain religious convictions, and so do I. This is, of course, the personal privilege of every AA member." Bill goes on to write: "Nothing, however, could be so unfortunate for AA's
future as an attempt to incorporate any of our personal
theological views into AA teaching, practice or tradition.
Were Dr. Bob still with us, I am positive he would agree
that we could never be too emphatic in this matter."
I believe that most religions help addicted members
to get well by using their own church beliefs. I have met
several of them. They don't label themselves as alcoholics,
but when they "witness", their stories reveal that they
fit the role. But these methods are very limited.
Alcoholics Anonymous offers any alcoholic a way out of
the alcoholic dilemma. All that is asked of the alcoholic
approaching us is a desire on his part to get well. There
is absolutely no other requirement for full membership in
Alcoholics Anonymous, written, implied or otherwise. No
member's religious beliefs should even/ever be an issue.
We have a technique for helping alcoholics which rarely
fails. As with other special things in life, if we do not
know the proper technique, and are unable or unwilling to learn it, we will seldom get the desired results. The successful approach to reaching a suffering alcoholic was left for us by Bill W. and Dr. Silkworth. It is basically the "cart before the horse idea" offerred to Bill by Dr. Silkworth in the spring of 1935 just prior to Bill's leaving for Akron, Ohio. Bill writes several times in our literature that without this advice, AA could never have been born. In a nutshell, it was this: Stop
preaching to suffering alcoholics. They want to get well
but can't swallow all the God Stuff. Just share your own
story (EXACTLY), what you were like and what happened. STOP
If we study and understand that part of our AA history,
Alcoholics Anonymous can be restored to an acceptable
rate of effectiveness. The success rate for 2010 is just
shameful. Only one group out of four could count ONE new
member for the whole year. (US and Canada) ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
Religion in aa

I am early in sobriety and have a question with regards to religion in aa...I think the idea of using "higher power" is creative and allows folks from different religious backgrounds (or none at all) the ability to identify with a "God" of our understanding, however, although I am a Christian, I don't know how appropriate it is to recite "The Lord's Prayer" which is a Christian centered prayer and based on a sermon Christ gave to followers, at the close of meetings. The Serenity Prayer is one thing...God could be Higher Power, Jah, Yahweh, Buddha, etc., but I don't think it's fair to impose that prayer upon others if they are not of that faith. Please share your comments...that's how I'm learning and staying sober one day at a time (90 days on January 1st). Thanks, and I will 'keep coming back."

Anonymous
Introduction

Hi guys & gals, I’m Jack!

I’m new to the forum and just saying hello.

truthiness
Offline
Joined: 2011-07-29
OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG I have 7 years today...woot!!!! How could this have happened??? Oh yeah...It was the program of Alcoholics Anonymous as outlined in the Big Book! :)

justakid
Offline
Joined: 2011-11-21
congratulations!

WELL! There you go.It works!
I am still a kid at 15 years.
This program saved my life.
There is no other program equal to Alcoholics Anonymous!

Anonymous
WELL!

WELL! There you go. It works! Thanks for that simple vital
message. Without any conditions such as, "It works if you work it, so work it you're worth it, I die if I don't work it, etc, etc, etc. Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life and made life very much worthwhile. I believe that Alcoholics
Anonymous has no equal yet. Dr. Silkworth and Bill W. left
us with a wonderful gift: A gadget, technique,device, method, which rarely fails the alcoholic who has a desire to get well. I am no longer a kid, but I had 15 years 26
years ago and am still sober and active in AA. Enjoy!!
ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
Great job. Thank you for

Great job. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous
grateful to be sober today thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous

I am grateful to be sober today thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm grateful for the 12 steps and that God is showing me how to live today in accordance with his will. I am grateful that I have a God of my understanding. I am grateful to be a student in AA. I am grateful for the AAGrapevine. I am grateful to be a member of AA today. --- grateful member of AA in the United States of America

Anonymous
Grateful to be sober

With that much gratitude, you can be a real asset to our wonderful fellowship. Just don't ever lose it by picking up
the first drink. (a day at a time of course). I am still in awe of what Alcoholics Anonymous has done for me. I have heard that gratitude is an action word. We get sober by
grace and keep it by giving it away. We have struck a mother lode and keep it by mining it for the rest of our lives and giving away the entire product. We must study the history and learn what seems to work and what really works.
The start is understanding that we are a fellowship, not
just another TWELVE STEP PROGRAM. Then we can truly help others. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
It will be two years tomorrow

It will be two years tomorrow morning since i had a drink in my hand. Only about 6 hours to go, it is 2300hrs here in Australia. I am 45 and a single mother of a 2 year old. First child and finally not a drunk anymore. This fellowship and the people within it astound me every other day, but i guess i have come to realise that now the real world starts for me. I only ever bothered with looking through the bottom over a glass or bottle, so i never really got to see this planet the way it is, in all its magnificence and all its sorrow.I nowunderstand there cant be a utopia on the otherside of the beginning of sobriety. The world just is, whether it be pretty at the time or allowing me to find out that my son has been molested... My higher power gives the strength, and AA gives me the tools to deal with that and not get sh#@-faced over it, because that will not be any help to my son at all. There will always be somthing that will come up in the future that doesnt fit with the "rose cloured glasses" set, but i will stand up and be counted as one who is dealing with it sober and with the help of my higher power and my sponsor, my boy and I can enjoy our part of the universe, it can only get better. L. Australia

Anonymous
Congrats to two years

I hope you are doing well with another month on your belt. You are right that it just gets better. I've been visiting Australia for the past month biking around the Cairns area and want to say thanks very much for AA in Australia. It's nice to know that whereever I travel I can meet with people in AA. Keep coming back and let the fellowship grow. There isn't as many meetings as I'm used to, I hope more people join up soon in northern queensland.
Mary B from Canada

Anonymous
acceptance

how do i find more acceptance of my present health conditions beset on me

Anonymous
acceptance of present health, other issues

There are a lot of people in program who have gotten sober only to be diagnosed with serious (sometimes terminal) illness. Some have found others who are going through similar experiences and have found enough support in that to get through whatever the problem is without drinking. But there are other support groups outside AA for other problems, whether it be for people with cancer, chronic pain, whatever. And there are many good (and bad) books available for help with an infinite variety of medical problems. C.S. Lewis wrote several books on how to reconcile his Christian faith with the daily problems in life, one specifically dealing with the problem of pain. And then there is John Donne's "Devotions" (a depressing read). I find the story of Ramakrishna's battle with throat cancer to be inspiring in terms of keeping the faith.

Anonymous
Acceptance

I always find that the surrender that takes place when I talk to my sponsor always brings unexpected results.

Anonymous
acceptance

The way to find acceptance is to take the 12 steps as outlined in the first 164 pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Anonymous
Slips

The 'Welcome' page of the October Grapevine starts with the sentence, "Relapse can often be a part of recovery,....."
This psychobabble from some addictologist's book makes about as much sense as "Drinking can often be a part of sobriety." Too bad our meeting in print is getting away from carrying the AA message of recovery and going to the treatment industry message.

Anonymous
Slips / Relapse

No one ever said I had to pick up a drink to have a slip / or relapse.

Anonymous
RE; Slips

Relapse can often be a part of recovery. There are some
members who come to their first AA meeting and never drink
again. Some of us need a little more convincing. My last
relapse was the event that pushed me toward surrender. I
never want to forget that torture. Even Bill wrote that
it may be best to allow the prospective member to do
more research, after being offered AA, as I remember it.
I think I can safely say that all AA members are only one
drink away from being drunk again. I am deeply saddened
when someone starts drinking again, after a period of sobriety. Some do "come right back", but it seldom ends
there. After slipping it is easier to slip again. Especially
if we think we "got away with it". Alcohol may be just an
inert liquid, but alcoholism is indeed cunning, baffling,
and powerful. Sometimes it takes another beating by John
Barleycorn to really deflate the EGO at depth. ANONYMOUS

61jaybird
Offline
Joined: 2011-09-11
slips

I have always admired the alcoholic that has gotten the program right off the bat and never relapsed. Unfortunatly I'm not that kind of alcoholic. I had to go back out a few times, but I did manage to "keep coming back" to listen where I went wrong. Like the book says, "... sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly..." I'm not proud of going back out, but I feel it did strengthen me each time I came back to the rooms with arrows in my butt. I also feel I can relate better with the guy that gets caught up in that revolving door, and maybe have a little more compassion for him, and help him get out of that routine. Maybe even better than a member that has never relapsed and that may have grown calloused or impatient for the relapser. We all have different strengths. The one who has never relapsed can defenitly help encourage some from ever relapsing, but we still need to remember the ones who have troubles finding that strength and make them feel comfortable to "never give up" and to always, "keep coming back".

Anonymous
Slips & the recovery process

It's interesting that there are several stories in the first 164 pages of the Big Book (including Bill's and Dr. Bob's) where a return to drinking is part of the person's recovery process. Perhaps you are listening too much to the opinions thrown around in meetings rather than reading the literature.

Anonymous
Slips

I find that now with all this treatment talk that is coming into our meeting (Which is my fault it I allow it) we have to be more vigilant in service to these treatment Centers. In our district we have not had a qualified C.P.C. sub-committee chair for the pass 8 years. Again that is our fault because the body has voted on personalities instead of principles. Thus this has been a vicious cycle that really hurts the Alcoholic who still suffers. As a fellowship we must continue to grow along spiritual lines and not treatment talk.

Anonymous
The Lie

Hi ambassador Alchoholic: what I could never do for myself; My higher power who is Eternal in every way; loving in every way, patient in every way and longsuffering in every way.. Alchoholism is the opposite it is final, it is unloving, it teaches impatience, intolerance, it creates suffering in me and for others around me friend foe stranger alike, I hate the effects of alchohol what it did to my mind, body soul, weakened me to near death, caused decision making in my mind to be confused cloudy manipulative selfish and unwilling unopen dishonest. It took my Supreme being and today because I AM led me from my couch while reading His Word and the AA Book I've discovered all the rewards and made it through the steps yet again with nearly 3 yrs sobriety and able to overcome every temptaion intense as they are to take that first drink.. prayer, faith , Trust, and results.. my first AA meeting was 18 yrs old sent by a first seargent in the military.For me living a life without the spiritual which is Holy and doing right because it is right and keeping my human body free of all pollutants in which I would willing place into my body has meant a new life for me beginning at about 40 yrs old in which I wished I would have known at my beginning of AA which I do now.. instead of milk in my cereal in the mornings it was beer..and instead of restful sleep it was passing out, and instead of good nutrion it was overindulging at times and starving myself at others.. The encouragement message I have for overcoming the lie is The TRUTH... a mans personal testimony when told could be filled with lies because I can't verify it.. but a testimony in which was witnessed is believeable because it has history, those we hurt, are own, maybe letters written to others, nightmares and torments from the behaviors which are never remembered as we try to think about them but always come when least expected to ruin a good day.. I AM today sober and praise and am thankful that my Creator kept me one more day..thats all thanks for letting me share..

Anonymous
Unable to share at meetings

It took me 10 years to get 3 years of sobriety. During those 3 years I didn't go to meetings. Now that I'm back going to meetings, I get tongue tied when its my turn to share and I can't s ay anything but "glad to be here". During my first 7 years I shared up a storm and now nothing comes out. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can start sharing again. I feel like im in the spotlight when its time for me to share and its very uncomfortable.

Tulsasunflower, Tulsa, OK

61jaybird
Offline
Joined: 2011-09-11
Learning to share

Yes, I have found that sometimes sharing can be over rated. I seem to learn more if I put the cotton in my mouth instead of my ears. I also found that if I'm in a small group and I know I almost have to share before the end I find myself missing what everyone else says, because in my head I'm trying to come up with something to say. Today I try to relax, listen, learn, and if I do these things first and save my share for last, I usually have a few more things to relate to from the shares of other members.

Anonymous
Re: Unable to share at meetings

Please reread your letter and maybe you'll see the connection For seven years you "shared up a storm' and couldn't stay sober. For three years you've been unable to share and haven't had a drink. Perhaps during the three sober years you've been listening and learning?
To quote the oldtimers at my early meetings, "First we learn to listen, then we listen to learn."
My own experience has shown that I've never learned anything while I was talking.

Anonymous
RE: Unable to share at meetings

Thanks for returning to A.A. and giving us another chance.
As a previous writer said, maybe we will get it right this
time. I hope you find that we still have the world's
greatest coffee, a quality never before tasted. When I first came in I said very little for months. My name is
Joe and I am an alcoholic. I am a newcomer and I pass. It
was about two years before I was able to speak at a
meeting as a speaker. My suggestion is to just tell us
who you are and whether you consider yourself an alcoholic.
You do not even have to state your name, but if you don't,
someone will yell "who are you", so it is easier to just give your first name initially. I believe that listening
is far more important than talking. By listening carefully
to what others share, you help them. If you learn anything
that is a bonus. But we are here to help ourselves and
I believe more important to help others. If any member
makes any demands move away from them as politely as you can. I would say "WELCOME BACK", but that is a group
chant which I personally dispise. So thanks for returning.
ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
Loneliness

I was lonely before AA and I was lonely for 9 years in AA because I wouldn't put myself out there and get to know others. I ran on the age old concept that had ruled my life forever, They should come to me. The other reason I didn't approach others was a huge amount of fear of people and especially possible rejection. The only thing that resulted from that behavior was I went back to my old friend "the bottle" and stayed out for over 3 years. When I was fortunate enough to hurt enough to come back to the rooms I knew that I simply could no afford to behave the same way. So, I reached out from the first day and let people know I needed help and the miracle was, help was there and has always been there no matter what has happened in my life.

The best thing I did to break the "I'm so lonely" pattern was took a commitment as a greeter at meetings. If nothing else, it made me talk to people and be pleasant about it too. :) The miracle is in getting to know others by name and short conversations, they also got to know me and friendship blossomed.

Anonymous
re: an atheist asks

Your inquiry is very thoughtful. I know many sober AA atheists and they work the steps like anyone else. The key, of course, is working towards a God "of your own understanding."
A starting point (and an exercise my first sponsor had me do) is to list the areas where I am powerless - such as, the sunrise. :) I don't have to believe in a benevolent creator to recognize my humility before the great forces that drive our planet and the universe. From there, an atheist can form an opinion about the higher power from their own experience and heart - and have a meaningful experience with the steps and sobriety without feeling like they have to endorse beliefs that don't ring true for them.

I've also heard God described as "good orderly direction."

Anonymous
Atheist

You gave a very good alternative for the atheist or, for that matter, anyone who wants additional "evidence" of a higher power.

Anonymous
An Atheist Asks

In the August 2011 issue of Grapevine the author asks why there is so much fear and prejudice, specifically toward atheists and agnostics. I can only speak for myself. Because I don't know how to help them! The article clearly expresses the author's frustration of feeling, perhaps, inadequate if an AA member finds no Higher Power, and of course, everyone has the right to their opinions and sentiments. But I already knew how to complain when I got to the rooms of AA. Today, I'm learning to become a part of the solution.

With this thought in mind, it would have been more beneficial to suggest ways of working steps 2, 3 and 11 with an agnostic or atheist. I live in a rural area and am very aware of the faith beliefs held by most local citizens. I have encountered atheists and agnostics who desperately want to get sober yet I do not have a clue on how to help them work the "God Steps". Everyone who wants to gain sobriety has the right to the hand of AA. I would imagine that there are atheists and agnostics that are sponsored by those that do believe in a Higher Power. And I would imagine they achieve contented sobriety. But how does one go about guiding an agnostic or atheist through the steps? Are there resource materials? If so, I've not been able to find them. What has worked for you? What were the stumbling blocks and how did you get over them? I want to help; to give the same chance that has been so freely given to me, but I can't give away what I don't have. As it stands, I feel that the hand of AA that I hold out to these newcomers is empty.

Anonymous
Re: An Atheist Asks

Atheists claim there is no God, or that they don't believe in a god.
How can someone hate and or fear something that doesn't exist or that they believe doesn't exist?

Anonymous
An Atheist Asks

I believe that true Atheist don't want to acknowledge that
there is anything greater then themselves...it's an EGO
issue!...Easing-God-Out that's what EGO stands for in A.A.
i feel for you! i too srtuggle with spirituality...however
i do belive in God...it is with-in every man,women,and child
that is mentioned in our Big-Book...i don't know how i know
that but i do...i have had many spiritual things happen to
me that i have no answer for! i have gone back to drinking
a few times over the years in A.A. since 1987 i should have
been dead by now and i'm not!! try to act as if there is a God talk to it and tell him you don't belive...and would
he help you too!!!try it what have you got to loose!!!

Anonymous
if its mentioned in the bb,

if its mentioned in the bb, it is necessarily true? i dont know any greater example of egomania than someone who claims knowledge of god.

Anonymous
LOOSE TALK

These comments are of immense value. I believe that EGOism
is the opposite of Altruism. Bill W writes on page 55 of the Big Book: Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep
down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental
IDEA of God. I don't think this means a BELIEF in God.
I believe that total permanent sobriety is the actual goal
of every AA member. We always welcome anyone who relapes
back with open arms. But so many don't make it back. Maybe
another approach would work better for you. Have you ever
just told your own story (exactly what happened to you)
and let God do the rest? Share freely, your own spiritual
awakening. And end it there without trying to give advice.
Make a life study of AA. What approach is most effective.
The Holier than thou attitude turns suffering alcoholics
away. You may be saying "Oh, they are just not ready".
That is the mindset of many AA members today. How effective
are we as teachers, preachers and advice givers?
A belief in God is not required for full AA membership. The
only thing we ask of the alcoholic approaching us is a
desire on her/his part to get well. Worship God in a house of worship, not at an AA meeting. Bill explains this in
Language of the Heart and AA Comes of Age. We must keep
AA truly all inclusive. ANONYMOUS

Anonymous
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Anonymous
Loneliness In AA

I went thru a period around 10 - 12 years when not working with others finally caught up with me, Our Book says, " NOTHING more insures immunity from drinking ( and loneliness I believe) as INTENSIVE work with alcoholics. This is our 12th suggestion. Life will take on NEW meaning. ", there is a reason that is in there, I missed it/avoided/didn't care whatever. When I began to do as Book INSTRUCTED, I began to feel like I was apart of and not apart from. For the last ten years I have been on fire, taking guys thru the steps , sponsoring , not spending hardly any time in my head. This is about carrying the solution, not the problem

Anonymous
On Fire

So you have stayed sober by TRYING to help so many guys. That reminds me of Bill W' almost six months of "violent
exertion". Bill was able to stay sober by this method,
but he was a dismal failure at helping other alcoholics
to recover. Dr Silkworth advised Bill to change his
approach. This new approach worked when Bill W met with
Dr. Bob. Bill wrote several times in our literature that
without Dr Silkworth's IDEA, Alcoholics Anonymous could
never have been born. I don't believe that many of today's
AA members know what that IDEA is. Our effectiveness will
be restored when we return to that technique. Or we can
keep spinning our wheels for another three decades,
while alcoholics and their families and friends continue
to suffer. ANONYMOUS

cog4fun
Offline
Joined: 2011-07-15
Loneliness In AA

Loneliness In AA
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 2011-07-15 07:44.
I too have experienced that lonliness. For me, it was the voice of my disease: cunning, powerful and insidious. After 21 years sober, I allowed that lonliness to creep in and began believing that voice. It took time, (my disease is patient) but I let the voice wear away at me and convince me that I "had enough time" to: a)skip meetings (they didnt understand me, anyway); b)quit calling my support group/sponsor (never did like talking on the phone); c)praying (God would still be there); d)being honest with myself and others about where I really was emotionally and spiritually. I slowly but surely cut myself off from my lifeline until it was just me and my alcoholism in my head.

I drank.

Today, I am starting afresh. I have 76 days today, and some hope is returning. I have (mostly) stopped beating myself up, and with the help of my HP, my sponsor, and my support group, am picking myself up and moving forward.

PLEASE do not let this happen to you! As others have said, "this too shall pass", but only if you make the effort to work the steps through it! I let myself become the victim again and my disease cut me off at the knees, convincing me that I had been sober "long enough" to be able to miss meetings, prayer, and fellowship. I could handle it myself, it told me, and I chose to listen. I had "enough time" under my belt, shouldn't I be able to handle this on my own? I let my pride and ego keep me from asking for help. I looked for fulfillment in other ways, and neglected AA.

A large part of my spirituality comes from the people in the rooms - they are my "God with skin on." When I cut myself off from them, I crippled my spirituality. Like Fred in the Big Book in More About Alcoholism, "I felt I had every right to be self-confident, that it would be only a matter of exercising my will power and keeping on guard" (p. 40). I am not unique, and will power did not work for me any more than it has for alcoholics all through history. "Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems." (p 42). I forgot that simple fact. "Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has NO EFFECTIVE MENTAL DEFENSE against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power." (p 43).
Having let my sprituality and connection with my HP wither and weaken, I had no defense when that time came. My brilliant solution and self sufficiency took me right out the doors and back into the deluded thinking of my disease.

Please let my experience help you: keep "trudging" and move forward. I now make a concentrated effort to fight the loneliness by attending meetings daily, talking to my sponsor regularly, by making prayer and meditation the starting point of each and every day. It is hard, but believe me, it is well worth it!

Anonymous
Gratitude

Thank you for your experience, strength, and hope. I never write on a chat board but had to write to you. Your story is exactly like what mine could have been but because of what you wrote I did not drink. I, too, have 21 years in and am veryd lonely, live in the county without a meeting within 35 miles, but after reading what you wrote I know that drinking isn't the way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and good luck on coming back in.

Anonymous
Loneliness

The voice of honesty and gratitude shines through these wonderful comments. I had never heard the expression "God in the skin" and his use of "keep trudging" fits me.

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