Burning Desire to Share
Continue to work on your own program and extend your hand to your friend when they decide to give it another try. People that continue to go back to old behavior are usually not at their bottoms yet. We need to live and let live to be the most helpful to others. Be the example of good sobriety for your friend, who knows it may save their life.
My first sponsor got drunk. Numerous people I started AA with disappeared. The ex-sponsor finally died of alcoholism. I have seen hundreds test AA for some period of time and disappear. At first, it scared the hell out of me – this AA doesn’t work! I was re-assured by others that AA indeed works, the members in question didn’t. Looks like you are talking about it, that’s what I did. It didn’t go away at once. It finally soaked in that there are around twenty million drinking alcoholics in the US and a tenth of that in AA. Most don’t get it but the choice is mine. The best thing I can do for someone still suffering is to live as an example of AA’s results.
Old salts have told me that nowhere in the Big Book does it say “Don’t drink”. I’m not sure but I haven’t seen it. AA is for people who want to stop drinking. Lots of people drink. Lots of people drink too much. If you are in the US prohibition ended before most of us were born. Your friend has a right to drink and he may be one of those who can learn to control it. Any speculation I have made has always been a fool’s errand. My only focus – me. Alcohol stopped working for me long before I quit and brought on a great deal of pain in unpredictable episodes as soon as I started. AA has showed me, it doesn’t get better.
Bill W. wrote the Big Book in 1935. He spent the rest of his life explaining the true meaning of
every word. We have ignored Bill's explanation and many leaders and members have developed their
own explanation. (too many). I would guess that 95% of our A.A. members have never read The Language
of the Heart. Bill wrote these articles to keep the membership informed, beginning in the
mid 40's thru 1970. There are about 150 articles contained in the book. Again, many members
have never heard of the book which came out in 1988. Bill wrote of the many blunders we might
make if we are not extremely careful. IMO, we have made practically all of them.
Bill did not warn us about the chanting. That ritual began after Bill passed away. But most
of our mistakes can be found in Bill's writings.
We must read and study LOTH, A.A. comes of Age, Pass it On, and the other books written
before 1971. We do not need new and innovative methods. We need to use the technique left for
us by Bill and Silky. In Three Talks To Medical Societies, Bill called that technique a
"gadget". Most of today's A.A. members have no idea what that gadget is. ANONYMOUS
Yes, you titled it right, "Our Fellowship" That's what AA is to me, not "Bill's Fellowship" I am grateful Bill started AA with Bob and others but, I will never put any member on a pedestal. They were human beings like me. They were not saints but, just guys who had an addiction. They came from a faith-based world so, AA had its beginnings as a faith based program which offered a recipe for bliss and freedom from alcohol. And you brought up a good point. If Bills' program was perfect then why did he try and fix it? There's the rub. AA is not a fixed program. It grows and changes to better serve the new person. We have information and experience today that the earlier members never had. We can reach out to a more diverse group of suffering alcoholics. One of the men I sponsor just celebrated 12 years and he told me he would be dead today if I forced God or the Big Book on him. I shared with him what worked for me. Although my program is faith-based and I have returned to the Catholic Church, he was and is an atheist to this very day. To me, his actions speak louder than his words or the things he believes or not-believes in. His family loves him today and he's involved in the community as a volunteer fireman. The funniest thing to me is he (Mr. Atheist) drops his kids off to Sunday School, which I think is just hilarious. For AA to survive we must avoid black and white thinking and learn to be flexible.
The spirit of our Fellowship sure beats the personal sponsorship craze all to heck !! Thanking God rather than praising our self's is good and being an example instead of finding one is greater yet !!
Can you intuitively handle situations that use to baffle us - if you have to ask someone the answer is obviously NO !!
I never thought of it that way. The meetings I go to are all cool. People honor our code, "Love and Tolerance"
There's an atheist guy in our group too and he's very loved and respected. If it wasn't for him I just might be dead as well. I remember when I was new, I said to him, " Someone told me my Higher Power could be anything even a toilet bowl brush." He laughed and replied, "Does a Toilet bowl brush have Buddha nature?" I said, "I don't know" He laughed some more and said, "Well when you figure it out let me know but in the mean time make the coffee and welcome the newcomer."
My name is kirk and I am an alcoholic. I am having trouble with my emotions with my sobriety friends. I have 72 days sober. and everyone else is 1 month or below. they look at me as an example. and A mentor. They are having troubles with there soberity. I need aDVICE.
The steps work if we work them. I suggest you find a literature meeting where there are guys with sobriety. Get a sponsor who can help.
Our Big Book tells us precisely how it works.
You cannot be a mentor right now. A sponsor who has a sponsor can do that.
Encourage your friends to attend meetings with you and let AA speak for itself. Your journey is one day at a time and your example of attending meetings and talking with your sponsor is all the "mentoring" you can do right now. Hang with the oldtimers more than with the new guy at this stage of your sobriety.
Susan C. 26 years of one day at a time!
I never settle for advice. I hold out for experience. That's what it say doesn't it "We share our experience.."? I want the other guy to be the lab rat. I'm sure I spent more than thirty day even beginning to see what people had let alone wanting it or going to any lengths to get it. I spent decades perfecting my alcoholism, why would I expect to unlearn it instantly? (I did expect it of course)
I got a sponsor.
I got a 12 and 12.
I attended meetings regularly. (but I didn't live in them)
I got a big book. Eventually read every word of it.
Finally got my fourth and fifth done and things started rolling.
I served as GSR.
The usual stuff.
Started seeing the steps as good tools to solve life's problems. Still do.
Promises come true every day.
The only person that you need to work on is you. It is up to the individual if they want to get sober. there are steps, the big book, and to get a sponsor. I recently started a group and I'm the only one with the most time in myself. They look up to me as we'll and expect me to do it all.(serenity prayer helps)
well here's a newsflash for them, when I came in I agreed to go to any length to stay sober and I did what was suggested which was go to meetings, read the big book, get a sponsor, and have a higher power of my understanding.
n the good side of these people who look up to us is that they'll want to come back, because we have something they want. remember we all came in as SUFFERING alcoholics.
Don't be so hard on yourself, your doing fine,
Those newcomers are helping to keep you sober. They will keep you on your toes and give you living examples of what to do and what not to do to stay sober.
Get yourself a sponsor, big book, and a home group and do what is suggested. that will give you a proven program of recovery that you can pass on to others for years to come.
Good luck and have some fun!
I have been sober for 2 years now. But still haven't been able to find a sponsor. I live in small town. I know I need a sponsor. I have reach out to my Higher Power, but it is so hard.
I have some thoughts about this (learned from my Sponsor & many meetings). If you are willing to go to any length, then I suggest you go to some near-by cities and to other meetings. I know you can find a sponsor and really, you do need one. Your Sobriety is a team effort and you need a good coach to give you guidance on a daily basis when you first start. Don't give up, keep looking. ODAAT
If you are already sober two years you don't need a sponsor. What's there to teach you? Recovery is not rocket science. The path to sobriety is simple but, our minds love detours. It would be helpful to find a someone in the rooms that you can relate to as an equal.
I am a true believer in a sponsor. I've been sober 5 years, my first sponsor died a couple of years ago. I how have two people who are my sponsor and my co-sponsor. I don't need to be asking myself questions and listening to my answers. To thy own self be true: successful A/A's have a sponsor and things continue to work out. Pg 86 to the end of the chapter is always good reading !
You think getting a sponsor is hard. Do you think any of the consequences of drinking again are easy? Loss of family, job, money, home, health, freedom and eventually death. If I really have taken step one, I can look around and see the suffering of others is my future if I don’t do the things I need to recover. I think that’s why it says “We admitted”, not “I admitted”. I have listened to those who have recovered from this disease and no matter how different we are from each other I have the same disease they do. If I do what they do, I will get what they have gotten. Either way.
If you can pick up a Big Book and a step book, go to meetings and do exactly what the instructions say to do then perhaps you can get by without a sponsor. That’s the test. Are you following the AA program?
If not, look through these messages for a post about making yourself sponsor-able.
Keep in mind that recovery from the disease of alcoholism only requires words. Listen to some, read some, write some, say some. What does it say about the soundness of our minds if we let these simple exercises stand in the way of “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness…” and the rest of the promises that are fulfilled in my life every day?
I'm so grateful for this site. I suffer from agoraphobia and am not able to be around people. That's why I drank. So attending meetings at this time is out of the question. But in a way this site has become my meetings. It allows me to feel safe. I've been following it for 6 months now and haven't drank. I am grateful to all the anonymous posts that freely share their experience strength and hope. The posts have saved my life and eventually with the proper outside help I would like to try and attend face-to-face meetings. Thanks
Wow! I have the same thing. This site saved my life. I've been sober a year now and have started to attend one speaker meeting every month. I sit in the back and listen. People are friendly with me and respect my condition. I don't say much at this time. My first year I owe to everyone who has shared their time. I liked the different perspectives on recovery because it helped me position my own recovery. I'm neither a believer or non-believer at this time but, just an alcoholic that doesn't want to drink again. Thanks i-Say.
Welcome. Glad we can help. I've seen agoraphobia up close and I believe you, its devastating.
With alcoholism we stop the behavior (drinking) and deal with the consequences. We don't wake up one morning feeling like not drinking.
I believe we deserve to be free of the symptoms of these illnesses. Years ago I had trouble with depression and visited a doctor for help. Its difficult believing that any less could have happened in that fifty minutes. I wasn't working and had no income or any prospects of either. I had enough savings to cover several months of therapy. I was simply given some kind of faith that it was what I needed and it would work. It did. Today I could buy the building I had those sessions in. I hope you can exert some influence on that "eventually", I don't think it pops up on its own. Promises are coming true out here.
Whenever my wife and daughter are home no matter what I say is wrong. My wife corrects me, my 21 yr old daughter corrects me. I feel as if I am a child in an adult home. I have 7 months of sobriety and have no urge to drink just an urge to cry. I just feel as if my opiniom means nothing.
Congratulations on 7 your months! Some of us get a "pink cloud" when we come in and, some just feel raw. It will get better. There are a whole set of Steps that will help you to live a life that is happy, joyous and free -- no matter what else someone is doing. But, as the old timers told me, "You have to give Time time." If your family is ready and willing, they might be open to AlAnon. You could say, "Thanks for trying to help, but what I would really like is (fill in the blank.) Read the The Family After in the Big Book. And above all else, do not pick up a drink. Go to meetings. And keep sharing.
21 mths sober here and just want to say, "I hear you !" Good Luck, hang in there & try asking them if you could all agree to the fact that all might disagree on something and that each are entitled to feel the way they or you do? If they don't agree that you can all not agree, well ..
I usually just say anyway, "Well in MY opinion yadayadayada..!" I don't get hurt, aggravated, resentful much anymore. Such a waste of my energy.
Might sound stupid, but I've learned to accept a lot of my family's faults now, even if they think they're wrong. Does it make it right? Only God knows. For example: Drives me nuts that my hubby does NOT recycle. What does that teach our big kids?? Right or wrong??? He says it's right for him. So, I can't change him, but can pray about it & at least I don't stomp off anymore & drink over stupid stuff. I take a walk outside with my dog a lot. LOL
Also... if you need to go cry somewhere, go cry. it's good for you to detox some stresses away. Maybe in front of them, would be great for them to see sober dad has real feelings now & not drunken ones.
Most things are not worth arguing about and if you are right you will find out shortly and they have to say Im sorry Id rather be happy than right
Chapter 9 in the BB gave me a better understanding of this issue. Also I try to remember that I choose to be happy today and not right. When I think my opinion is correct, I find it's my ego trying to get a foothold in the conversation, so I've found it to benefit my serenity to be quite and listen. It's amazing the things I've learned with my mouth shut. Keep coming back, it get's a little better everyday.
Hang in there and keep working the steps. It'll get better. Your worth it, so are they.
That is why I went to a lot of meetings when I was new, sometimes 3 per day. A longtimer suggested that part of the reason our spouses are as they are was as a reaction to how we were when we were drinking. In other words, if my spouse developed co-dependency, small wonder. I was also told I can only work on fixing my untreated alcoholism, not theirs (that is, I cannot cure them from the effects my alcoholism has had on them). Best I could do was not drink and work on me. Over time, things at home have gotten better by virtue of my not drinking, not acting out on some of my less charitable base instincts (character defects?), and the regaining of some of the trust lost because of my drinking and the baggage that went with it. It still isn't perfect, but then neither am I.
You said, "That is why I went to a lot of meetings when I was new, sometimes 3 per day." Three meetings a day is not practical for someone who has a life. Even three times a week or month. Jobs and family responsibilities are more important to me, then being Mr. or Ms. AA. Even when I was unemployed and homeless I never went to that many meetings. Recovery is not in the rooms; its outside the rooms as we learn to face our everyday lives. In my opinion, someone who needs that many meetings is avoiding their life and is going to meetings for other reasons, such as to get away from problems at home or to look for a romantic partner. My first year I went to one meeting a week. Now its one meeting a month. My recovery grows as I face life outside the rooms one day at a time. Sometimes too many meetings will give the illusion of recovery but, what is really happening is the emotional and spiritual components of our recoveries are being delayed.
Thanks for being there for the newcomers once a month. Thank God others go to meetings to be of service, otherwise when u and I came to AA, no one would've been there.
You said, "Thanks for being there for the newcomers once a month" Gosh,I didn't know sarcasm was one of our core principals. Look my friend, I'm not a supporter of the phrase "Meeting makers make it" The only thing meeting makers make is a lot of meetings. After several decades in AA, attending one meeting a month and sponsoring three people at the moment is plenty for me. I'm not "Sober-man" who needs to save every drunk that walks through our doors. The people I sponsor are individuals. They don't need me to sit with them and hold their hands. As you say there are plenty of people available like yourself willing to greet the new person and that is a privilege for all members to enjoy. I have a comfortable number to work with at the moment and hopefully so do you. Quality is far more important to me than quantity at this point in my life.
Sorry to hear meetings don't blow your hair back anymore. I still feel something very spiritual about talking for a couple minutes and listening for 58 minutes. Where else can I hear about alcoholism and recovery from alcoholism for almost an hour.
My favorite meeting is a sat morning big book meeting with lots of newcomers, my next favorite meeting is at the vets home with my sponsor. he's the new guy with 40 years in the program. the oldtimer died last year with 52 and the current oldtimer had 50 years this month. It's a real treat to sit around a table of AA with 3 or 4 hundred years of experience! Too bad you don't come around more often to share yours.
Like I said, something spiritual happens when one drunk talkes to another sharing experience, strenght, and hope.
You said, "Sorry to hear meetings don't blow your hair back anymore." That's too funny. I'm glad you have a sense of humor. I'm laughing because I still have a full head of hair to blow back at sixty to boot! You went on, "I still feel something very spiritual about talking for a couple minutes and listening for 58 minutes." That's wonderful and so do I. Nothing like a good honest lead form the heart. I just don't need it as often as you apparently. Please keep going to meetings if that floats your boat. Over the years I've learned to listen quite well and I've heard it all. You like lots of meetings and I don't, what's the big deal? My position still stands. People who have to go to three, four or five meetings a day are using AA for reasons other than seeking recovery. It's okay, you don't have to see it my way but, one day you may and perhaps I'll be at a place in the future where I'll attend more meetings. A tree that bends doesn't break. Is that nugget in the book?
"My position still stands. People who have to go to three, four or five meetings a day are using AA for reasons other than seeking recovery."
I agree, albeit not entirely. many use the meetings as a substitute for recovery, as a means of hiding from alcohol.
But several of my friends are retired, have no family, and would most likely sit at home in front of the TV or computer all day, so they go to a lot of meetings for the human contact.
It is good that you have figured out what you need to do to stay sober, but do not assume that what you did is the prescription everyone else needs. Many I know who have been sober for decades still go to several meetings per week, some a meeting per day, not because they are trying to avoid life, but rather because they have immense gratitude for the life AA has given them, and want to be able to pass along their experience, etc. I go because I am still sick, one manifestation of which is a tendency to think I can do this thing on my own.
I have nearly 2 1/2 years of sobriety. Recently I have been faced with a couple of situations which are baffling me. One a person who was abusive has returned to the fellowship. More importantly my ex-wife is moving and taking my two daughters with her. While it is only 3 hours away I am experiencing major anger. What do all suggest?
You could start calling them "our" daughters.
Using the steps showed me that alcoholism is a package deal. Alcoholism is about marrying the wrong person for the wrong reason and getting the inevitable results. Putting the plug in the jug doesn't make it go away. The program of recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous makes it tolerable until, in time, it does go away. What was once the biggest problem in my life no longer exists today.
The tools are available to you if you simply pick them up.
Q: "I have nearly 2 1/2 years of sobriety. Recently I have been faced with a couple of situations which are baffling me."
A: "If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,........We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
"One a person who was abusive has returned to the fellowship." Is it up to you to decide who is allowed to return to the fellowship?
"While it is only 3 hours away I am experiencing major anger."
Aren't your daughters worth a six hour round trip? Or are they possessions which are being taken away from you?
Since you have asked for suggestions, I will offer up what works for me.
I pray for the courage to change and to accept conditions for what they are. This works for me and, apparently, thousands of other recovering alcoholics like me.
I suggest you pray for the courage to change. LJ
Hi. Since you have asked for suggestions I will offer one from my experience. More times than not I must change to meet conditions as they are. I make the choice for change for my sobriety and I will go to any length to ensure that I stay sober.
I suggest you pray for the courage to change to meet conditions and accept them for what they are. LJ
You asked, "What do all suggest?" Well, don't pick up the first drink and seek maturity. Give up control and practice a few principals and you will be okay. There are consequences from our drinking that chase us far into our recoveries. Put your hand out to a new person and if that doesn't work perhaps its time for a Psych Eval. Anger can be a symptom of underlying mental illness. Alcohol damages the brain in many ways. Sometimes relapses occur not because someone is doing the steps wrong but, because they are not addressing the real problems. Even the founder of AA had diagnosable mental illness. It's common in the rooms. How could it not be after all?
I believe our recovery starts when we let our sponsors go and begin the journey standing on our own two feet. I haven't had a sponsor in 25 years and let mine go after my first year. He said I was heading in the wrong direction but, he was not correct. In fact, my spiritual growth took flight. He had held me back with rules and regulations. I think sponsorship was helpful to a point but, I realized he could not keep me sober. Sponsors can point us in the right direction but, the rest is up to us. Does anyone feel the same way? I really don't understand the necessity of sponsorship after the first year or two. Living the calm.
I was taught early on that there is no seniority in A.A. so I tend to avoid speaking of it. I have a few 24 hour periods. My first sponsor, long in the grave, was a true blessing to me. He gave me his 90 day token and suggested that one day I give it to someone I sponsor. A long time went by but I eventually did do exactly that paying it forward long before the movie of the same name. As time goes by for me the wisdom of A.A. has become more a lifestyle based on that often heard and shared 6 word "how it works".......Find God.....clean house.....help someone. The sobriety is actually my favorite "side effect" of working the program. Being a sponsor is the same as having a sponsor to me. I often ask myself who's sponsoring whom??? I try not to add to or take away from A.A. Fixing something that's not broke never has made much sense to me. A.A. is not as successful as it once was. Not sure why. Maybe we've changed it without noticing......Peace!
Sponsoring you was to keep him sober not you.
I let my sponsor go for different reasons. My wife said he was making unhealthy advances at her and she felt creepy around him. He was showing up at our house during the day when I was at work pretending to talk about the program with her. She is not an alcoholic but, a mature responsible person who has her won business in the house. I confronted him and he denied it. The next sponsor I got was sober many years and he said that guy had a reputation for stalking. Not everyone in the rooms is there to get sober. I learned to be careful who I talk with because you never know. We actually moved and I changed my meetings around because the creep was seen on our street. Now I don't let anyone know where I live or work in the rooms. My new sponsor said he didn't want to know where I lived or worked. He is concerned more with what I am doing today to stay away from the first drink. People freely talk about vacations in the meetings and some of them have had their places been broken into. Just my experience probably not the norm.
You said, "Sponsoring you was to keep him sober not you." Unfortunately he drank and died soon after. It was a good decision on my part. Perhaps I intuitively picked up something and realized I had to push him away. When you stick around the rooms you witness all kinds of things. Why does the guy voted most likely to drink again stay sober for years while Mr.Sobriety drinks again? God only knows. My sponsor did pass on one nugget of wisdom. He said, "You have to do what's best for you, forget everyone else. They can't keep you sober."
I agree. As a sponsee/ sponsor over the last 20 years, my sponsees have done more to keep me on track than my sponsor. Like they say, if you really want to learn something, teach it! That being said I cannot emphasize enough what I have gained by having a sponsor who is a ahead of me in sobriety.
I take my messes to my sponsor and the message to the meetings. I have someone who took me through the steps in the big book and someone who taught me to take inventory and he listened to my 5th steps. I have someone I can check my motives with. I know he has clay feet and is not perfect. None of us are, but he has never once led me astray. He has never once told me what I should do, only what he has done.
After all these years, I still make a weekly call or talk to him after our meeting. There is one person in this world who really knows me, and I am so thankful for that. I am grateful that my ego had been deflated enough through working AA’s steps that I didn’t really think I had outgrown my sponsor after a year or two.
Funny thing is in church today our pastor talked about Proverbs 13:20, He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. AA isn’t the first place to suggest a sponsor or mentor, sponsors have been around for a long time, and God willing will continue.
The 20 yr guy nailed it.
One addition, the 12x12 suggests we do a annual or semi-annual inventory. Might want to have someone around that you trust for that one.
I was pretty crazy when I walked in to AA so my judgment picking a sponsor wasn’t very good. By the time I figured out his number I was in better shape to see who had good sobriety instead of a good line. I kept the next one until he died years later. After that when I had a problem for which two heads were better than one I sought out men with good sobriety that I knew were knowledgeable on the subject. One thing I’ve heard a lot was - yeah, me too. Same message – you are not alone. It’s a great program if I apply myself to it.
The last time I went to many meetings in one place I found that newcomers still pick sponsors based on how much gold chain they wear and the fact that they live in meetings instead of picking up the tools for sobriety and building a new life. Just like I did. Que sera, sera. (Whatever will be will be)
You tried one and didn’t like it? I bet you gave booze a better chance than that.
Well I didn't let my sponsor go but, he let me go for exactly the same reason. Similar to what you mentioned he pointed me to the path and wished me the best after my first year. That was in the early eighties. I'm grateful for that because he was humble to realize that sponsors are fallible human beings and not gods, fathers, mothers, psychologists, priests, gurus, bosses or BFF's. Being dependent on a sponsor is like being dependent on the bottle. We must learn to make choices and mistakes on our own and not blame someone else when they turn sour. I appreciate the subject.