Burning Desire to Share
There is hope! Just do the next right thing.
Thanks for posting that. Unfortunately, the price for a life beyond our wildest dreams often starts with feeling hopeless.
Surrender is the starting point of the AA way of life. Admitting I am powerless over alcohol is essentially saying that I cannot keep me sober. Surrendering is a shift from all those years of trying to control my drinking to the notion that perhaps someone else had an answer.The first word on this step is "We", this ties in nicely with our first tradition, which speaks of unity. If we have taken the first step ( an inside job- no sponsor can give you surrender) we have come to realize that we cannot keep ourselves sober ( lack of power, that was our dilemma!), we need to find a power, and for many of us that power was first experienced when we encountered people in AA. There was power in those rooms, even if we couldn't identify it we could feel it. And for many of us who came in on the fence, hearing the stories is where we began to make the connection between our drinking and that true nature of our problem.
I would suggest reading page 18 of the Big Book
"That his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured-these are the conditions we have found most effective. After such an approach many take up their beds and walk again." (BB page 18)
That describes the ideal sponsor
I can completely relate to the depression and fear. After decades of coming in and out of the program I finally became hopeless, then willing. Hopelessness was my pathway to sobriety. Until I was hopeless, I did not work the program as it is suggested. Willingness enables my Higher Power to work in and through me. There is hope, I am living proof of "it works if you work it!!
In order to transfer our message of recovery to other alcoholics who are suffering, we must
achieve a balance of grace and truth. To tell a prospect he or she is going to die if they
don't stop drinking may be the truth. But it may be too much truth if we offer no real understandable
solution. We offer the solution in person, as an example of someone who has
recovered, doing so without arrogance or pride. Grace and truth have to be balanced.
On the other hand we cannot just say "whatever happens is God's will. He will take care of
it". We have to participate with grace. We thank the new person for the opportunity to try
to help her/him. That is the way we stay sober ourselves. Without the newcomer A.A.
would wither and die. Spiritual pride and arrogance are nauseating and obvious to alcoholics
who are still drinking. This may be our last and only chance to use attraction not promotion.
When I tell you what you need to do I am not being of maximum service. When I tell you what I did I am. We lay the spiritual tools at their feet for THEIR inspection. We do not cram them down their throat
navvsteve: For about forty years Alcoholics Anonymous was
a fellowship. In AACA page 276, Bernard Smith gives us a
definition of a true fellowship. As a fellowship, Alcoholics
Anonymous offered a solution the suffering alcoholic could
rarely resist. We have morphed from a fellowship to a
Fellowship: a twelve step program. A.A. works best as a
fellowship. The evidence is in the numbers.
In theory, we do not cram anything down anyone's throat.
In reality, I observe that we do just that at
almost every meeting. Very few members know what is
meant by suggestion. It took me 35 years to develop a
true understanding. It takes a lot of self-discipline and
self control to just offer our fellowship as a suggestion. ANONYMOUS
i feel like ur cramming fellowship down my throat!
I have been sober for 14 years now. I attend AA once a week, sometimes two meetings. I am happy with my new life. My first few years were difficult. I worked at a gas station while I went back to college and received a special education degree and teaching license. I was homeless in there as well. Thanks to the Fellowship today, I have a meaningful career now and I recently got married for the first time. Despite, all of this I feel I have nothing to give away. I don't know the steps by memory and I don't think I could quote one page from the Big Book. I never had a sponsor too. I really love being a member of AA and enjoy the meetings but, I just pass when its my turn because I don't have any wisdom except "Don't drink and go to meetings" The other thing is I feel shame because everyone one around me seems miserable and they are working so hard on their steps and my life is going great today simply because I put the cork back in the bottle and learned to live in the world and not my head. I learned that dreaming is easier than the actual footwork but the rewards are much greater facing life on the street instead of in fantasy. Perhaps that's my two-cents of giveaway. Jamison
That was a fascinating share. The people around me who are working the steps don't seem miserable at all. They have problems-health problems, work problems, illness and death in families--but they are working through them. They share their problems and how they deal with them sober in meetings. Is everyone around you living in their head, and you're the only one living in the world? Hmm. Fascinating too that you logged in here to share it.
I love AA too, I've been sober for 19 years, I have a great job and have recently gotten married too. And I have a sponsor and sponsees and I'm working on the 6th step over again.
I to have been a victim of marital abuse. I married an alcoholic 23 years ago and thus I became his
drinking partner. I have been mentally abused by my soon to be ex to the point I believed I was a no good
nothing in the world person who he could control exclusively. The day he left me for dead on my bedroom
floor and had no intention of calling 911 I knew right then he wanted me dead. It is amazing that a man
who promises to cherish in sickness & in health would do that all for the sake of getting my money.
April 1, 2013 was my last drink and I am not looking back, only forward. I attend 5 meetings a week, and have become actively involved in my home group. Life is getting better but I still have a long healing process ahead. I am taking one day at a time and hope others out there will benefit from my story of alcoholism. I truly believe in my higher power and that is holding me together and my sponsor is right there for me in a
moments notice. She is truly an angel that god put in my life. The friends I have made in AA and knowing that if I need to talk I can call anyone in the group for advice. It is a wonderful place in my life.
A grateful recovering alcoholic in NH
Lately I've had a few flashbacks of my drinking days as well the abusive relationship I had at the time. I have 2 years and 4 months sobriety, and for almost 2 years I had the same nightmares every night. It was like living it over and over again. I won't go into details or drunkalog, but now it's the flashbacks in my waking hours. my sponsor tells me to rely on my higher power which I have given my life and everything over. I did my 4th and 5th steps, as well right up to 12. I think however maybe I did miss something but what? I don't know? the good thing is I know I'm in the present and this usually helps, but to deal with the flashbacks at the time is like Re-living it again. Anyone else had these? And has anyone got rid or solved this problem?
Have you tried possibly working a 4th Step exclusively around that abusing realtionship? Might be worth a shot...
Its been my experience that when something is weighing on our hearts and minds it might be God telling us its time to work through all of it.
This sounds quite serious. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. The AA program is wonderful and the steps can bring tremendous freedom and recovery. However, if I am completely honest with myself, I may uncover issues where I need additional help...depression/anxiety, sleep disorders, relationships, marriage, eating disorders, financial matters...AA gives me the freedom, honesty and humility to ask for help. Best of luck.
seek professional help!
I'll make this simple....what happens if you don't find anyone you "would like to be like"?
I know that sounds conceited but am frustrated. They're not supposed to be your friend or therapist..right? Well..why do I want to spill the beans of my life on someone who is not a friend?
there is a pamphlet called 'questions and answers on sponsorship' in the big book it talks about finding a closed mouth friend and how important it is that we find some one we trust
"Find someone you want to be like" may be a misleading phrase. I did not in any way want my first sponsor's personality (kind of a jerk), lifestyle (bachelor,broke teacher), looks or nearly anything else. What I was attracted to was his solid program and sobriety. He talked steps, worked steps, helped others and had a solid home group of other men who did the same. Through him, I found the mother lode of sobriety in my area; men who believed, "sobriety isn't a matter of life and death, it's much more important than that". Oh yea, I did admire his self-deprecating sense of humor - his ability to make fun of himself and not take himself too seriously. I needed a BIG shot of that and still do.
Look for someone who has a solid program of recovery and appears to enjoy sobriety who can lead you through the steps and share their experience with sobriety.
The sponsorship relationship is special in that I give that person permission to be completely honest with me; to call it as they see it. I was not used to that but I needed it. Also, the relationship gives me a person I can go to with things I might not want to air at meeting level.
Well if we don't find someone to tell another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, then we suffer in silence and live miserable until we drink or stay dry. Remember keep it simple, only say the nature of your wrong not the whole story. I've done some things in my life only my sponsor knows that if anyone had known, I would definitely go to jail. Other things people would find unforgivable. I payed my price through long term suffering of my disease.
"Well if we don't find someone to tell another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, then we suffer in silence and live miserable until we drink or stay dry."
On page 74 in the Big Book it tells us how to find someone with whom to share our Fifth Step. It says nothing about a sponsor, it urges us to find a professional, a member of the clergy, a psychologist, a psychiatrist or a doctor.
AAs are notorious gossips. I've heard too many 'sponsors' share parts of their pigeons Fifth Steps with others who have no business hearing them.
Thanks for your comment. I like ur comment abt nature of your wrongs, not whole story. Whew... that sure narrows a few things down for me, since I am extremely busy, like all folks, but am still searching for the right sponsor. Will pray on it. Thanks!.
Sponsorship is a suggestion. It is not a requirement. If you are an alcoholic than focusing on not taking that first drink should be your number one priority. If getting a sponsor will distress you to the point of drinking than forget about sponsorship. There is a "Sponsorship Pamphlet" which clarifies a lot. I'm not of the opinion that sponsorship should be a life long experience but, a temporary one. A sponsor who holds on to the person they sponsor for too long is delaying the recovery process. We must take responsibility for our own lives eventually. For many sponsorship is a good transitional tool. Some say it saved their lives while others find it was not helpful at all. It's okay to take your time and if you decide not to have a sponsor than that's okay too. I remember my first AA meeting this stranger approached me and said, "I'm your sponsor" I told him to take a hike. He did this because he heard I was a home builder and he wanted free work on his house. Be careful. Thanks for the post.
Thanks so much for your comment. BTW I am almost 2 years sober and the worst thing I ever did, my mother knows about it. isn't that enough to know. Is between God, my Mom & me. On to a sober great day. Am chairing today. So, adios.
To help keep alcoholism from killing you?
Do I read this correctly? If I don't get a sponsor
alcoholism is going to kill me? It is this type of thinking
which has all but killed A.A. I have been sober for over
four decades and do not have a sponsor. I have never had
a sponsor, (as sponsorship is in today's A.A.), and never
intend to get a sponsor or be one.( again by today's definition.).
Alcoholics Anonymous is the only place that I know of
where an individual who spends years in prison studying
the Big Book, can get out and in a few month's time can
become a big shot (sponsor, advisor, teacher or preacher
in A.A.). Bill called Ebby his sponsor. I don't think
Dr. Bob considered Bill to be his sponsor. Today's concept
of sponsorship makes A.A. a cult. ANONYMOUS
I don’t know which parts of AA’s suggested program of recovery can be omitted but I’m not taking any chances. Alcoholism killed my father, my wife’s mother and brother, my best childhood friend, a great neighbor and numerous people I have met though AA. I don’t need to read that it is a progressive, fatal disease, I’ve seen it.
Thanks for the comments. I keep hearing more and more of a few people that don't have sponsors but after decades of sobriety they do everything else in AA which helps them stay sober. They are very wise people, too. I definitely am going to quit stressing over NOT doing the 12 steps yet. Maybe I'll do 1 a year with my original sponsor 'cause that's how our schedule is. off to chair. Have a super day1
"To help keep alcoholism from killing you?"
Are you saying that alcoholism will kill me if I don't have a sponsor? Apparently you missed the sentence in the Big Book, "No human power could have relieved our alcoholism."
I was on active duty with the U.S, Navy when I got sober. In my first two years I was in five different states and two foreign countries. I spent two months as a Loner and ten more as an Internationalist. I wasn't in any one place long enough to get a sponsor or a home group, but I took a suggestion to use (not just read, or study, but use) the Big Book and a Higher Power. I recently celebrated forty-two years sobriety without a sponsor.
So you have been sober longer than I have been alive. I look at a guy that's been sober two months and think maybe I can do that.
"So you have been sober longer than I have been alive. I look at a guy that's been sober two months and think maybe I can do that."
Talk to someone doing 60 days in the local jail. Maybe you can do that, too.
I don’t know about the person who wrote the question about alcoholism killing but I’m familiar with the quote from how it works “Probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism”. I had spent half a lifetime working my way down the food chain, crashing cars, honing my character defects and winning vomiting contests. Somehow that didn’t turn out to be an effective apprenticeship to develop a keen awareness of God’s will for me and how access it. Reading the literature didn’t either. A sponsor did. Nothing unusual about my story or yours but I have seen the old adage “God helps those who help themselves” play out many times in AA. If we are, by necessity, isolated from meetings, have difficulty reading, or have any other barrier keeping us from accessing all of AA’s suggestions, God will do the heavy lifting if we do all we can to help ourselves. For many of us this includes recruiting a guide.
I wrote the question.
I've buried two sponsors and have been without for several years. I found that two heads work better than one especially when this one has a disease that wants to deny anything is wrong. Alcoholism kills most who have it. Someone wants a reason for a sponsor, that mine. If she wants to join the navy to get sober that's fine with me.
Jim, We have been sober about the same length of time
and are about the same age. I hope you get your 10%
discount from Home Depot as a veteran. Thanks for your
military service. I am a Vietnam Veteran although I never
left the US.
We have agreed in the past on the drug addict becoming
a member of A.A. I believe, that by welcoming the drug
addict into A.A. we have harmed N.A. and in most cases
we fail to really help the addict. We also diminish the
effectiveness of our own fellowship.
Combining A.A. and N.A. we lose the identification
necessary for recovery. We also lose the ability to
pass our message in the manner Bill W. describes on
Page 70 in AACA. Parallel the fellowships are a gold
mine for the alcoholic and the drug addict. Combining
the two fellowships spoils the magic. We have combined
them and must somehow separate them.
I have never had a "sponsor" as defined by today's A.A.
I have attempted to "sponsor" others, but today I know
that I do not have the ability to guide someone else's
life. I just share my own experience and leave the rest
up to God. I do not have the power. I don't believe any
human does. So today I tell any A.A. member, new or old,
that I will help in any way that I can (I do have limits)
but let's lose the sponsor label.
I personally believe the third edition of the Big Book
to be the second greatest story ever told. Please consider
making a study of Bill's further writing, AACA and LOTH.
Thanks for your continued dedication to our fellowship.
Love your story. Thanks for commenting.
My name is Cathy G, I am a recovering alcoholic. I have been continuously sober for 29 years. I have been in this home group for over 6 years. The original AA's who started this meeting have moved on to other groups. New members have come into the group and want to change the format of the meeting. We never had a business meeting. We started having business meetings. the format has been changed. also one new member does not like members sharing any sobriety or serenity threatning issues. what can be done about this?? It is a Big Book Step meeting and he expects everyone to stick to the steps and not share anything personal at all. It is becoming a problem for me. I believe anyone who has something to share needs to do so. there are no musts in AA. Can I have some feedback on this!! Dicontented in Delaware
First of all if you read the big book and underlined every must you would know there are lots of musts in AA. I understand your not happy with others running the show, however self-will-run-riot. Let them make their mistakes. It took me a long time to realize there are some sicker than others. They seek control in which is a sign that their out of control. If its this bad for you find another group, start another group, or stick in there with your hand out to be there. Remember the opinions expressed here are those of each individual and not necessarily that of AA. Also read the st. Francis prayer in the daily reflections, as well the serenity prayer.
29 yrs is great i cannot last 10 days everytime after drinking i hate myself
Just wanted to say..I hear you. Are you OK today? Thank your higher power or anything if you woke up today. Take one minute at a time if you have do & if that means just sitting in a pretty park w/ a book to read by yourself...do it. You'll eventually enjoy just doing simple things.
"It is a Big Book Step meeting and he expects everyone to stick to the steps and not share anything personal at all."
I too would expect everyone to stick to the steps at a Step meeting.
There is a pamphlet titled "Problems Other Than Alcohol" which states, "Sobriety - freedom for alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole practice of an A.A. group." And on page 79 of "As Bill Sees It" it says, "An A.A. group, as such, cannot take on all the problems of it's members, ........"
If you want a group therapy session go to group therapy.
Thanks Cathy. Maybe the real issue is "Control" I have long time sobriety as well, and my home group is so weird today. You'd think you were in an institution full of narcissistic children fighting over their 12-step toys. I sit back and enjoy the show. Not all is lost. It's okay for now but, things change. I do my part and relax. You must realize group dynamics are always in flux. Yours may circle back to the way you like it one day. Surely there are other groups in your area and hopefully a good women's group. The men's discussion I attend is very solid. In regards to my home group speaker meeting, I really only attend it because it is full of newcomers. And you know, the men's group is not perfect either. It is full of long timers who love to hear themselves talk. There is also a positive side of being discontented and I hope you will discover this side one day. Peace
More than once I have heard "Excuse me but how do others in the group feel about Joe's insistence that..?" Of course I have a lot of "sneaky" left over from my drinking days so I would do a little development work in private before the meeting to stack the deck. If I couldn't get any support ahead of time, I'd try to do something about trying to change me.
I sometimes wear a tee shirt with the caption;
Give Me That Old Time Religion
below an image of people dancing around Stonehenge.
Things do change.
How can I comment on a passage from the bog book or 12 x 12 regarding the steps without sharing how it has applied or currently applies to me? I do not like to hear long stories of woe, but if no one had shared about what they had been able to get through in sobriety, by working the steps as they understood them, I would not have walked away with hope that I could stop drinking and learn to enjoy life sober.
After 34 years of recovery in AA and God only knows how many 4th steps. I am once again astounded by the fact that I am consistently the least reliable source of accurate information about me.
May name is Paul and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. I have been sober for 7 months and my birthday is January 9, 2013. I am saying this because I am realizing that even after 7 months, I am the same person, just have taken away the alcohol. I am on step 11 and am aware of my responsibilities for step 10, but admitting to my lies after being caught in one and on top of that doing damage control to cover up the lie ... I can't believe myself, but in the moment I was scared.
Fear, self centeredness, and selfishness tend to run my life and am always working on these character defects. My conflict has not made me want to drink, but my heart of hearts is heavy. I belittled one person who is trying to trust in me again and I feel like I failed. My support group in AA and even my sponsor have told me I am not perfect, that I will do stuff like this, but when is enough, enough?
I love this individual and have been faithful physically. The lying was over looking at pornographic sites and then covering my tracks as if I had something to hide. I used to do this behavior, but was on these sites and cheating, so the extent of my lies is intense.
I did some reading in the big book and AA blogs about self preservation and how we lie to those we love to preserve good ideas. I also have done some reading on damage control in the big book and through my step work. I wrote out an inventory of what I have been lying about and where I am wrong for the other person. I also wrote out a letter I plan on reading that explains what I did and how deeply I am upset for what I did.
Is this too much? Should I just pause, pray, proceed? Or should I take action and not waste time to make amends when I am wrong like it says in step 10? Suggestions?!!!!
It is great that you have a sponsor and a group and are working the steps. I'm sure your sponsor and members of your group can share some experience in this area.
I found that when "working on defects of character" those defects become more problematic in my life causing increasing amounts of pain and conflict just as alcohol did in those last days. This helps me see my powerlessness over these things. As outlined in the steps, I admit to another person and to my HP and make amends except when to do so would cause harm. I tap into my source of power asking for help. Then, I try to help others and be of service.
Dealing with some of my defects seems to be a lifetime project. Hang in there.
I would suggest, and it seems that you did this, is to speak with your sponsor prior to making an amends. Making amends is not a waste of time, as you may learn. I have found % relief from alcoholism but not from life. I continue to learn what I do right and what I do wrong.
Is there a media backlash to AA? It seems we were treated well in the movies up to the nineties when the stars made it fashionable. At one time, there were serious movies made about alcoholism but, now it seems we have become over-exposed at the cruelest levels. Now we have celebrity rehabs and even that guy and dog from the "Family Guy" went to AA meeting and got everyone to relapse. I was in the restaurant the other day and a group of people where just making a mockery of AA calling us the house of losers, cry-babies and a place where people who never learned to grow up and have a case of comfort addiction and arrested development go and pretend they are better than everyone else. I actually confronted the group which probably didn't help but I had to correct them. Does anyone else see this too?
The media mostly reflects back what we give them. What I can do to be helpful is have a home group inventory to see how we can better carry the message of AA to the alcoholic who still suffers. I can support the Public Information committees at my district, area and GSO so that if a member of the media wants accurate information on the actual AA program, we can have it easily available.
“house of losers, cry-babies and a place where people who never learned to grow up and have a case of comfort addiction and arrested development”
Sounds more like your average bar to me ;)
I remember years ago the day my daughter broke my anonymity at a movie theater in front of all the parents during a Disney movie that had a "shark twelve-step meeting" She yelled, "Look that's like my daddy's AA meetings!" However, I'm a proud member of AA, so it didn't matter. In the media its protocol to go after the weakest link. They never show strong AA groups that have healthy members with long time sobriety or show the result of AA where family members, spouses, co-workers, neighbors, etc., have seen and experienced the real AA mojo.
“house of losers, cry-babies and a place where people who never learned to grow up and have a case of comfort addiction and arrested development”
I don’t know about the rest of you but I have been guilty of all of those at one time or another. I’m too deaf for TV or movies so I’ll take your word for what goes on there. Despite the thrashing we may take, the only competition we have are jails, institutions and cemeteries so I think that we’ll be OK.
Thanks for confronting the gossipers I the restaurant. Might not change their thinking but I bet they whisper next time.
I sure there are celebrity rehabs but WE don’t have celebrity rehabs.