Burning Desire to Share
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
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".
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.
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.
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..
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
You gave a very good alternative for the atheist or, for that matter, anyone who wants additional "evidence" of a higher power.
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.
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?
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!!!
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.
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
I like what you guys are doing. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys. I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it'll improve the value of my site. :)
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
Why, after nearly twenty years of sobriety, am I now the loneliest person in the world? I have become uninterested in attending all of my usual meetings.
I have 22 yrs and I could say the same thing, but I refuse
to give up on the one thing that saved my life in the first place! Keep coming back, you just might meet up with someone else who understands exactly how you feel. God bless
The way meetings are conducted today in AA leads us to be
uninteresting. Many meetings have been reduced to one hour.
10 to 15 minutes are used up by the time the sharing begins.
The same readings are done every day. Sharing by a "show of
hands" allows the same members to share at every meeting,
with no time limit. New members are pushed away by telling
them to find God and find Him NOW! Oldtimers just become
uninterested, and eventually just stop attending. Again I
will briefly list the changes which must be made to restore
AA to an acceptable rate of effectiveness. Stop reading
"How It Works" aloud at meetings. Delete the reading of
the 24hr book at meetings. Just read the preamble explaining
what AA is, and is not. Stop with the demands, which are
disguised as suggestions: 90 in 90, Get a sponsor, work these steps, hold hands with us while we pray. Stop all
chanting, shouting, yelling, hooting and hollering at
AA meetings. These just make us look foolish in the eyes
of the public, and serve no purpose. Stop the "Hold hands
and Pray" closing. New members may be uncomfortable holding
hands with strangers. Stop assigning sponsors. Let each member make this selection when and if they choose to do
so. Stop sharing by "show of hands". Simply go around the
room allowing each member share as time allows. Stop making
a spectacle of newcomers or anyone else. Stop allowing the
newcomers to make spectacles of themselves. We all come
together in Alcoholics Anonymous as equals. Stop being
preachers, teachers, advisors. Again we come together as
equals. This prettymuch covers the blunders we have made
in the past three decades, at the group level. Maybe
someone can add to the list. I welcome any comment or
rebuttal. Believe me, I know what loneliness is. I am sometimes a minority of one. But our state leader told
me to keep sounding the alarm. Although we may not be
able to turn the tide, maybe "someone" will hear and we
can turn this ship around.(his words). ANONYMOUS
But ain't that what you're doing now: preaching, teaching, and advising
Call it what you will. I am trying to pass on forty
years of experience and observation. I do hope no one
considers this forum to be an A.A. meeting. ANONYMOUS
I can identify with most of these comments. I have anxiety disorder with bipolar depression. Social anxiety is a big part of this. I began to attend meetings after my last relapse five and a half years ago. That became my home group. I felt at home there at first. The meetings were small in the beginning, then grew bigger and bigger and I grew more isolated and alone than ever before. I stopped going to meetings. Just thinking about going to a meeting triggered some really bad anxiety attacks, so I wouldn't go. I rarely ever go, now. Most of the members there are in their twenties and thirties, especially the women. I am a sixty-six year old widow. I just don't fit in. I am still sobor, but that may not last. I just need help!
I also have generalized anxiety disorder, depression and panick disorder. I had a very hard time attending meetings due to my intense anxiety. I am on medication to help me with my depression and anxiety but I still have panick attacks sometimes. I am 31 and I have 2 days sober. I was sober for 44 days and then relapsed several times. It really scared me and that is not the life I want to live. I still feel irritable, discontent and lonely. I read the Big Book and 12 & 12 everyday. I am also reading a book by Dr Amen called Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. It has some helpful ways to cope with depression and anxiety. Drinking only makes these disorders worse. Trust me. I am lonely too. It's hard. Alcohol is everywhere but so is God. God is even in the places where alcohol isn't. Pick up the phone and call some people or try a new meeting. Taking the first step to reach out will help.
Dear Anonymous on Wed, 2011-06-08 20:38.
What does your sponsor say?
When I don't do the work to maintain my spiritual condition, loneliness ensues. The sort of sitting in a crowd lonely...or sitting in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous lonely.
I do believe that there is power in the meetings, but I can even be cut off from that power if I am not maintaining my spiritual condition outside of those meetings. I know of no way sufficient to maintain my spiritual condition short of step work...if I don't sincerely try to do 10, 11 and 12 on a daily basis, I will get sick of pretty much everything, even AA.
Certainly I encourage meetings during lonely times, but I also encourage checking oneself in regards to step work...do I have unfinished inventory and amends? Am I dealing with selfishness, dishonesty, fear and resentment when they crop up or am I just ignoring them, hoping that I can just silently hide them away in a closet? Alcoholism is a subtle foe...the spiritual malady side of it can strike regardless of whether my last drink was one day or decades ago...
Hello, I keep tripping, saying things and/or talking very loudly at my 3 adult girls and messing up each time I try to partisapate in a mother, daughter, and grndmother relationships to the point that my children do not even wish to visit me lately. I am too overbearing and voice my unwanted opinions upon them so much that they don't even want me to visit with my grandchildren, all 8 &1/2. I too have stop attending AA, CC. Plus any other supportive meetings. My faith in the God of my own understand, is all I am sure of today. I know that God loves, protect, provide, and today that is all I am sure of today. It has been so long since I have been in a committed, loving, and female to male and earthly relationship. Today I am clean and sober. This loneliness and disconnected family relationships shall also pass, just as last nigft past into a brand new day. New beginnings sents from above, can and do grant us all new blessings and another day to try it again! I look forward, God willing, to my graduation celebration, son's home coming and becoming an independent and self reliable adult:):):) again someday soon!!!
This too shall past. Step out on faith and work the same faith that has kept us all clean and sober today! Thank you for sharing your story, because I thought I was the only recovering adict who was feeling as the lonliest person in the world. Grateful for the capablities of today's technology, provivding an online forum that spans accross God' entire nation, 24/7.
Peace and sorenity to us all, inside and outside the rooms and virtual chat rooms.
I have 31 wonderful years in sobriety now and at about 15 years and 29 years I felt that way. Remember Alcoholism is only a sympton of my disease. I have a lot more other things to work on in myself. One huge step I took was joining Co-dependence Anonymous (CoDA) in January 2010 and it has helped me work out my loneliness and get back to loving me. I am with me all day long and I love me today. I am also back to letting my Loving Higher Power of Recovery have the controls. My past Sponsor who passed away in April of this year would always tell me that I need to practice the principles in ALL my affairs and not only AA, so having balance in ALL areas of my life is one of my goals, balance with LHP, family, friends, work, my puppies, etc. Hang in there and remember a drink will not fix anything.
maybe try some different meetings - if possible. Especially ones where there are many newcomers.
Dear Loneliness in AA,
Wow! I will have 15yrs of sobriety one day at a time on July 27, 2011. You give me hope because I thought I was the loneliest person in the world! I'm reluctant to share the title, but I know if I work harder, I can be where you are in another 5 years.
Example: Here is me and my sponsor (what does a sponsor know anyhow?)
Me: I'm having trouble in my personal relationships, they aren't doing what I want them to nor how I want them to do things). I can't control my emotional nature; I'm deluged by misery and depression. I feel like I can't make an adequate living (I'm not rich and famous--the world hasn't discovered me!). I feel useless. I'm full of fear. I'm unhappy and I can't seem to be of real help to other people.
Sponsor: "Read p. 52 in the Big Book... and reread the part that says, "When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did."
Then my sponsor tells me to read p. 52 in the 12 and 12 (Twelve Traditions and Twelve Steps).
"The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity and depression. These stem from causes which sometimes seem to be within us and at other times to come from without. To take inventory in this respect we ought to consider carefully all personal relationships which bring continuous or recurring trouble. It should be remembered that this kind of insecurity may arise in any area where instincts are threatened...Appraising each situation fairly, can I see where I have been at fault?" Or, if my disturbance was seemingly caused by the behavior of others, why do I lack the ability to accept conditions I cannot change? These are the sort of fundamental inquiries that can disclose the source of my discomfort..."
After I read that paragraph my sponsor asks if I'm ready to do some inventory work. At that point I'm ready to quit! Doesn't my sponsor know anything? Hasn't my plight been heard?"
My sponsor points out: "Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us." (BB p. 76).
Of course I bristle with antagonism, but once I start doing what my sponsor suggests I'm amazed before I'm halfway through. I start to find a new freedom and a new happiness. I begin to experience serenity anew along with peace and dare I add contentedness?
"Someone who knew what he was talking about once remarked that pain was the touchstone of all spiritual progress...the pains of drinking had to come before sobriety, and emotional turmoil before serenity." (p. 94, 12 & 12).
Who'd of thought a through housecleaning was what I needed to let go of the title: loneliest person in the world; though I'm confident I can reclaim that title anytime my program consists of "AA meetings" only.
My Sponsor says:
"AA's circle and triangle represent: Recovery (12 steps), Unity (12 Traditions), Service (12 Concepts)."
When my triangle is intact and I'm practicing (doing/living) these principles, "which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole" (Forward 12&12), I forfeit "loneliest person is the world" title to others who claim it but don't really want it.
Please don't get me wrong, I have trudged where you are trudging now. It is not easy and I take to heart the prayer said at the end of each meeting, which is offered for the "Alcoholic who still suffers in and out of these rooms".
I believe these prayers are heard and answered. That is my story, my strength, my hope and I'm sticking to it.
Being here already what Step or Tradition told you you needed a sponsor?
If the Big Book does not make sense to you keep reading it until you can make sense.
I kinda still am and have been lonely discontent irritable-Thank you so much for listing the page numbers that have a solution. I go to meetings daily, most of the time. I am so very fortunate to have a group-with 4 meetings a day-everyday of the week. It is not a club-no one hangs out all day. When I am feeling frustrated at these meetings, I go right down the street a few blocks and at a church there are 2 meetings a day every day. My only action is going to meetings-I withdraw when it comes to practicing the principles, steps, traditions and helping others-
But, from just those few page numbers you listed-I know where the loneliness comes from.
thank you, It's the first time I have logged on to this site and I am at present going through emotional turmoil and as I always say I suffer from severe loneliness.
I am a recovering alcohol these past 12 years and forget that the loneliness is a major part of the disease.
Someone wants told me to reconnect with God.
I was always a spiritual person but these last few years I have completely lost touch with God. I have lost my peace of mind & heart and I have now become very unhappy & depressed.
I love step four of the 12&12 - the first time I read it I highlighted the whole step.
I also do not go to meetings anymore they were not helping me emotionally and I became bitter and didn't feel like I belonged.
Just reading this page as helped me - so I thank you, once again.
I hope you are keeping in touch with this site. Why do you think the meetings are not helping? Is there any particular
reason why you became bitter and no longer feel that you
belong. Personally I find that many meetings are just too
loud, with all the shouting, chanting, and applauding. If you can find a quieter more reverent meeting, maybe you will
find a place where you belong. And I don't mean a more
religious meeting, as we are not a religion. But I believe
that we all need a place where we can feel welcomed and
people care about us. First of all try to listen to others
who share. I believe that just the act or art of listening
helps others as well as ourselves. I really would like to
know if there are any particular reasons why you no longer
feel comfortable at meetings. And please! Don't give up
on us! ANONYMOUS
I don't know why, but I ask you to please not stop going. It might help to try meetings you haven't been to before, but please continue to go. This might just be a strange phase you're going through, and--wait for it!--this too shall pass. I have a sponsee who once had 20 years, stopped going and drank after a while, and hasn't been able to put two months together since. He's a mess now. Ease up on the meetings and ease up on yourself. Don't worry about the Big Picture and what it might all mean (i.e. talking yourself into a relapse); just deal with right now.
I have nearly 9 years of sobriety and I hope to continue to have my passion to help the suffering alcoholic forevermore. I know that I must always be teachable or I will be in very dangerous waters.
The purpose of the meetings, according to some of the writings of Bill W. that I have read, is to be a place for the newcomer to go to. I am there for the newcomer to help encourage her (or him) to continue in their sobriety - to help give them Hope in any way that I can.
But what about the alcoholic that hasn't made it to our cozy meeting rooms yet? There are so many people, professionals, social workers, clergy, medical personnel, employers, etc. that see the suffering alcoholic long before we do. How can we help them understand what AA is all about so they can also, in their professional capacity, help the suffering alcoholic find us?? There is so much that we can do in addition to attending meetings.
When I participate in AA as a whole whether serving on the District or Area levels of AA, or on any of the Service Committees: Public Information, Archives, Cooperation with the Professional Community, Remote Communities, Newsletter, Group Records, Literature, Grapevine!, Corrections, etc., I find myself so alive and greatful for feeling alive and happy!
I guess my biggest passion is with the Corrections Committee. It is the most rewarding AA service for me, I find. I bring meetings in to the women who are incarcerated because they are unable to get to one of our cozy meetings. I write to women who are incarcerated - sharing my experience, strength and HOPE through letters or holiday cards because they rarely get them. Imagine how lonely these women feel! There are so many things that an AA member can do outside of the meeting rooms. Service is a very rewarding experience and strengthens our sobriety.
Being of Service adds "Depth and Dimension" to my Program of Sobriety.
Every time I step out of my comfort zone to do the "next right thing" it is an opportunity for me to grow personally and spiritually. My experiences help me grow to be a better person and I become willing to do the best that I can by serving.
I hope that you step out of your comfort zone - reach out to do whatever you can to be of service in Alcoholics Anonymous - and you will soon find that you are not lonely. No matter how many years of sobriety we have, we MUST always continue to be teachable. There is always room to Grow! Be willing and you will be rewarded spiritually and personally ... You will find yourself very smiling at everyone --- and they will be smiling back!!
Annette W., Eden Prairie, MN
Thanks i really need your sharing today. I was feeling sorry for myself again, and it was ruining my day. Helping others does get the focus off ones self.
I too, write to inmates sharing my life with them, and encouraging them. When i do this i focus less on my own problems. Thanks.
After nearly 28 years of recovery. I find I have a disease of estrangement. It's just my disease that makes me lonely under any circumstances without a Power greater than myself.
The difference between solitude and isolation is God as we understood Him.
God bless all who read this,
I commend you on your eight year relationship with a drunk. I'm sure he has a lot of fine qualities as do all real alcoholics, but if he is like me, a "real alcoholic" as the Big Book describes:
" But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some state of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink...Here is the fellow who has been troubling you especially in his lack of control. He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking. He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...His disposition while drinking resembles his normal nature but little. He may be one of the finest fellows in the world. Yet let him drink for a day, and he frequently becomes disgustingly and even dangerously anti-social..." (Alcoholics Anonymous aka: Big Book p. 21)
then there is nothing you can do.
"We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from drink, as he may do for months or years, he reacts like other men. We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this...Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body. If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis... but none of them make sense in the light of the havoc an alcoholic's drinking bout creates. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself on the head with a hammer so that he can't feel the ache...the truth, strange to say is usually that he has no more idea why he took that first drink than you have.
In a vague way their families and friends sense that these drinkers are abnormal, but everybody hopefully awaits the day when the sufferer will rouse himself from his lethargy and assert his power of will...The tragic truth is that if the man be a real alcoholic, the happy day may not arrive...At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected."
With me I was "in a position where life was becoming impossible", and I had "passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid "(not spouse, children, mother, father, brother, sister, friend, employer, courts, minister, doctor or psychologist could help me). I "had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of [my] intolerable situation as best [I] could; and the other to accept spiritual help." (p. 25)
What happened? All my enablers left me and I hit a bottom-- then hit my knees and cried out to a power I didn't know or understand for help!!!
I'm sure it was hard for all those people in my life to let go of me--I methodically burnt the bridges to each one until they had no choice. If they held on to me, rescuing me and trying to help me I would have consumed them utterly until there was nothing left but a chalk outline of where they had once been and I wouldn't care one bit. In letting go they saved themselves, but most importantly they saved me.
Happily I can tell you they are all back in my life and July 27, 2011 I will have 15 years of sobriety one day at a time.
I might suggest reading the book Alcoholics Anonymous especially the chapter "To Wives" p.104. It offers a description of the various stages of alcoholism on pages 108 through 110. On pages 110 through 114 helpful hints to each stage are offered.
You stated, "He says 'I don't understand this problem and I cannot possibly understand'. That is true. I don't know what it is like and how overwhelming this problem is. At least, not directly".
I beg to disagree. Indulge me please as the following observation may incite you to anger. I offer that you may be obsessed with "making him happy and whole" as much as he is obsessed with alcohol., and that this illusion may lead you into the gates of insanity and death.
As you said, "I think it's very hard for someone to stop drinking all by themselves." By the same token it is very hard for someone who is obsessed with an alcoholic to stop being obsessed all by themselves. Might I suggest Al-anon for you.
You may balk at this suggestion, just as he balks at the suggestion of Alcoholics Anonymous, in which case you are both perfect for each other and need not change a thing; or you may still be perfect for each other and change everything one day at a time.
I hope to meet you someday as you choose to begin to trudge this road of happy destiny.
Both I and my boyfriend are in a serious situation. We have been dating for eight years and he has drank off and on the entire time. The only reason I have not married him is because of the drinking.
He always tells me that he will quit on his own and that he does not need an organization to help him quit. However, that is just untrue.
He says I don't understand this problem and I cannot possibly understand. That is true. I don't know what it is like and how overwhelming this problem is. At least, not directly. However, I have experienced much of the fallout following his drinking episodes. The jobs he has lost that cause financial difficulties, the cell phones and money he loses and the list goes on.
There is an additional barrier to him seeking help. He speaks Russian and I have not been able to find any Russian speaking AA meetings in St. Louis, MO. I really think it would help if I could meet with someone who has recovered and if he could meet this person as well. This way he could go to the meeting with someone that he knows instead of going into a meeting where he knows no one.
I wish he knew someone--American or Russian--that he could call when he starts to feel like he is going to drink. He told me so many times that he has no one to call when he is thinking about taking that first drink. He doesn't have many friends, even though he really is a friendly person.
I think it's very hard for someone to stop drinking all by themselves. I'm sure he feels a lot of guilt and shame about this. I wish there was a way to meet someone at a coffee shop or a church and just break the ice. He's so hesitant to walk into a meeting of strangers. He does much better in a very small setting of just one or two people.
He has missed so many wonderful moments. For instance, he has been drinking nonstop since last Wednesday. Today is his birthday. I bought several presents for him and planned to take him out to his favorite restaurant. But he is still drinking.
I think he would be very encouraged to meet a man who has recovered. I know this would give him hope. More than anything, I think he really needs a friend who has struggled with alcoholism and has conquered it.
Does anyone have suggestions? I feel so bad for him. I don't want him to suffer anymore. He is very shattered right now.
In this story it is said that their faith and church are attacked in meetings because they are Christians. I have never heard of that here in Orange County California. One could say their Higher Power is a door nob and they pray in their bathroom. As long as they were sober and had the desire not to drink they were as welcome in the meeting as anyone else. I'm a Christian in AA. One thing I do is keep it simple. Jesus is the God of MY understanding. In meetings He is God. I don't push my religion on anyone. That would be an outside issue. I have never heard anyone say any religion was better or worse than another. That arch way is wide so all can step through it. Christians need AA like anyone else. God made this prefect program. It saved my life and I am reborn. If you advertise your religion in AA someone might have a problem with it. So try to keep it to yourself. God is always enough!!
I have a concern for your well being. I, at different times in my life became obsessed with fixing and managing the alcoholics in my life. I also became an alcoholic, but even in my sobriety I was a perfect al-anonic. Meaning all of my thoughts were around fixing and controling my alcoholic husband. I have to share that none of my attempts worked and I only got crazier and crazier myself. I realize that your life probably feels very out of control, but even if your boyfriend stops drinking, you will not be able to find the peace and security you are searching for. That can only come from a power greater than yourself. You may not be ready to accept that you are powerless to do anything to help him, but if you are willing to give it a try, I recommend Al-Anon meetings for you. They can help you to find peace whether your boyfriend ever stops drinking or not. Blessings to you and may you find the healing spirit of recovery in your own life.
Try SKYPE meetings...there may be one in RUssian...Then YOU detatch with love!
There's so many thoughts on your letter of desperation. You are living in a very dangerous relationship, as you know, and feel helpless in a way out. Your suggested way out is to get your boyfriend sober. There is a possibility of this happening, but how is this going so far? Not well it sounds like.
Your love enables him and disables you.
Nothing will change in this relationship until you make some decisions to either:
1. Continue to try and get him sober and stay in the relationship....nothing changes.
2. Go to Al Anon and accept it....you change.
3. Leave him, tell him you love him and can't live with an alchoholic....you change.
4. Open to a life without suffering and unhappiness.
Only you can change you and only he can change him.