Suggest a topic
If a hard drinker wants to stop drinking and can
put the "plug in the jug" by going to meetings,
I say welcome!
"I can only assume that the "suggestions" on 90 in 90, getting a sponsor, reading the first 164 pages, which some seem hell-bent on preaching to the newcomer (along with "finding a higher power"), originally grew out of treatment centers..."
I got it at AA. If I caught a cold at AA would it make any difference if it came there from a treatment center?
here is a link to the official AA view on sponsorship:http://aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?origpage=161&product=17
My personal experience? In 1992 I was at an open meeting. The speaker shared his experienc, strenght, and hope in regards to the program of AA as outlined in the big book. After the meeting I asked him if he would be my sponsor. He said yes. He said the big book would protect me from him, so we did the steps as outlined in the big book. I have been happy, joyous, and free almost continuously since.
Bill, my sponsor never suggested to me anything that was not in the big book or 12x12. He led me to sobriety by example. and yes we are still in contact 20 years later, because he is still doing what he did then, and so am I!
Thanks for reminding me of where it all started for me.
I have been meditating a lot lately on some percent’s I have read in AA literature.
In Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, Cleveland Ohio had a recovery rate of 93%. For every one person exposed to our program that didn’t get sober, the next 9 found sobriety.
In AA comes of Age, it stated that 23 of the 28 authors of the first edition remained sober. That’s a recovery rate of 82% or 80 out of 100!
In the big book appendix 3, in 1944 Dr. Collier said AA had a proven recovery rate of 50-60%. That’s 50 or 60 out of 100!
In the forward to the second edition of the big book, written in 1955, it said that 50% of those who came to AA and tried got sober and stayed that way. 25% sobered after some relapses. That adds up to a 75% recovery rate, or 75 out of 100!
If any AA group today can claim A 10% recovery rate, they would still be a miracle compared to other methods of recovery. I think that’s part of the problem. When 1 newcomer out of 10 gets and stays sober, we have an illusion that we are doing well. Sometimes the good is the enemy of the best. 5 , 6 ,or 7 out of ten should be staying sober!
My suggested topic is this, what has happened to the effectiveness of this incredible program of AA?
Is it not adhering to our tradition 5, singleness of purpose?
Is it allowing our fellowship to be different from our program?
Is it lack of sponsorship?
Is it because we no longer use the big book as our text for the program of recovery?
Is it because we use the 12x12 as our program of AA instead of a compliment to the big book?
Is it because we no longer do 12 step work ourselves and leave it up to treatment centers?
Is it because we use material that is not AA in our meetings?
Is it because nonalcoholics are allowed to fully participate in AA groups?
Is it because we forgot that alcoholism is a 3 fold disease, mental, physical, and spiritual?
Is it because we oldtimers have turned the AA meetings over to the sickest of the sick, the newcomer?
Is it because by not using AA literature we have diluted the AA message?
Is it because we have the “cart before the horse”?
Is it because we let everyone confuse spirituality with religion?
If I can write 13 legitimate mistakes that I think we have made to dwindle our effectiveness, I wonder what our more seasoned members would add.
What have we done to this beautiful program?
I can see the solution. Just like when this program started. One alcoholic talking to another, sharing experience, strength, and hope.
Thanks for reading,
Hay Corey, thanks for taking the time to post your observations. It is obvious that how the AA program is used is changing as is society, too bad. If you change a recepie the cake will not be as good. I see less of God(not relegon) in many groups. I hear discussions about everything but alcohol. We, AA's are losing our primery pourpose and as Bill W once said we may selfe destruct from within. I have whitnessed crack heads, coke heads, gamblers, overeaters,and sex offenders shareing in meetings and hardly a time when the chair person reminds them this is an AA meeting and nothing else.People dont realize there is a night and day differance between alcoholics and other dysfunctions. Becoming a spineless society we dont want to exclude anyone or offend anyone. Its a Life And Death desiese and we are loosing our way. GSO is aware of these problems and has been looking into this dysfunction and a solution. Obviously the "Blue Card" is being ignored by the selfish and selfe centered who want it there way and not AA's way.
Is it allowing our fellowship to be different from our
program? Not only different. Our fellowship of Alcoholics
Anonymous has evolved (morphed) into a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM.
I believe that most alcoholics approaching us will become
sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous if we return A.A.
to being a fellowship. Sure, some come in ready to do the
steps/program and remain with us, sober. We have about
two million of them worldwide.
I was ready for the fellowship when I reached the doors
of A.A. I would not have accepted any kind of TWELVE STEP PROGRAM,
and was not presented with any PROGRAM. It was months
before I realized that I had taken the first three steps
before joining the fellowship.
I do believe that we should have at least eight
million members in A.A. today. We push away most of
those who try A.A. No, I have no way to prove that,
although I know it to be true. I no longer consider it
to be an "opinion". It is based on our documented
stagnation. We stopped growing in the early 1990's.
What have we done? You have about 80% of the answer,
and soon the light will come on.
But half measures avail us nothing. The seeming temporary
good has been the deadly enemy of the permanent best.
That man was a genius, and God's gift to the alcoholic
sufferer. That IS an opinion. ANONYMOUS
AA has been 100% effective in keeping me sober.So as a self-centered alcoholic I really can't complain. All this worrying and fussing about AA as an institution is missing the point.I cannot allow it to upset me.I might get drunk!Besides,all these newcomers with their newfangled ways are only doing what I did:stay sober and try to drive the stodgy oldtimers to drink.Someday they may even change the name to Addicts Anonymous.I only hope I stay sober long enough to see it.
Self-centeredness. Yes, it seems that most A.A. members
who remain in A.A. have that attitude: I've got mine.
Who cares if we don't grow. We have already changed our
fellowship to Addicts Anonymous. We just haven't changed
the name officially. ANONYMOUS
This is the simple truth about recovery. It is a lifelong journey. I still practice it today but not in the same way I did in the first few years of my recovery. I have gone through a lot of phases. But in 2010 I realized that I felt less and less contentment in the AA program. Over the last several years I had fallen into a combination of tension, discontent, resentment, depression, compulsive eating, and an overall sense of meaninglessness. I had stopped practicing all the principles in all my affairs. The result was a complete reversal of momentum and a relapse into serious personal misery. I was failing to reap the benefits I had gained from the AA program.
I knew from past experience the answer was to return to the original, strong AA. Through prayer and doing my yearly inventory, I realized I needed to start over as if I was a newcomer. I needed to do what I did in the beginning of my program. I felt I needed to write out each step and ask myself the same questions and work as hard as I did then. So I began writing a workshop for Women that were in a transition house. It too more than 2 years. But I finished two weeks ago. I am NOT going to publish it. But I been doing the workshop for about 1 year, only at the House. I do it for me to grow and become emotionally balanced. It works!
You see, I did not come to AA to stop drinking. I wanted to stay stopped but most of all become a different person. I wanted to learn how to become happy about not drinking. I wanted to get rid of loneliness, anger, depression and fear. I wanted to be able to hold my head up and go anywhere without feeling inadequate (not good enough).
When I heard “How It Works” read at my first meeting, I had hope. I heard that I couldn't fail if I was “willing to go to any length,” and to be honest and through. I was determined to do everything the program asked.
As it turns out, the men who wrote the Big Book were right after all. There is no easier, softer way. The extra work and commitment required by the full program approach pays enormous dividends. They make sobriety fun because they do not make sobriety an end in itself. Mere non-drinking is a very negative kind of life goal.
What it all boils down to - especially for us old-timers - is a willingness to continue practicing all the principles in all our affairs today. After years of sobriety I was doing what the Big Book says, “resting on your laurels”, or to put it simpler, just going through the motions of the program. I knew it was successful in long term continuous sobriety, but I had stopped working on myself. I stopped growing as a person and in my spiritual life. I stopped doing what I did way back when, in my first months and years of sobriety.
This workshop is the result of my search for the joy and since of purpose I had the first 20 years in the AA program. Telling the story of my journey to other women has given me a new kind of joy, and I am back to growing as a person. In prayer, I came to the realization that by myself, I am nothing. But by asking my Higher Power to give me the answer to my misery, He guided my hands and mind to this work.
Many times when drinking I prayed that God would just kill me so the misery of living would end. I wanted to be anybody but me. This much is certain: the Twelve Steps are as effective, and as practical now as they were when they first put it in writing in 1938.
The truths I discovered early on that helped me get and stay sober and be happy doing so are so ridiculously simple that it is hard to imagine how I could have forgotten them and allowed myself to lapse into the depression, etc., that you describe. Bill W. figured it out early on: "I was not too well at the time, and was plagued by waves of self-pity and resentment. This sometimes nearly drove me back to drink, but I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day." As Marty M. told her sanitarium roommate after her first AA meeting, "We are not alone." But when I stray from meetings, physically or otherwise, I forget that fact and can relapse emotionally. Best way out of my own head is service to others, as you discovered. I guess I need the reminder of these simple truths daily, especially that it isn't about me at all. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I have read pages and pages today looking for someone to identify with about my problem and my eyes are blurry! I'm posting because I wonder if there is any member who can identify with me.
I have 25 years of sobriety in AA that I cherish. The last 5 have been a dry drunk brought on by my reaction to emotional abuse at my home group and the distance I created between me and the Program based on the trauma I felt and the disorientation of not feeling "safe" in AA. I had not known that that feeling was possible. In the interim, I continued to use marijuana, a choice I shared with other members (first) after eight years of total abstinence, and with friends outside of recovery. Yet, for 20 years I lived and breathed AA to the best of my ability.
Having made this "mistake" of distancing myself from meetings (not literature, not prayer) and the dependence I have developed on marijuana, have left me bereft and isolated and confused. During my active years in the rooms, I thought of marijuana as an outside issue, and was not willing to cause controversy by bringing it to other members or the group. Now I am desperate to return to meetings (and have taken the first steps to just show up and listen) and have 2 problems. Should I share my dependence with members? With the woman who is willing to sponsor me and go through the Steps with me?
Of course there is the suspicion that I don't want to admit my dependence so I won't have to deal with it. Also, I feel like a fraud and question everything. What was I doing for 20 years? How could I have been so involved in the Fellowship and have been "off the beam" without knowing it? Do I even belong in the rooms that meant (and mean) everything to me while I struggle with admitting powerlessness over a substance other than alcohol?
Like now, I have many times shared with a group of alcoholics and wondered "Did any of that make any sense?" only to have another alcoholic tell me that it did, and tell me why with the result that I was "no longer alone". Am I "in the right place"?
Thank you for my sobriety and for listening.
Go back to meetings, stop getting high and humble yourself by raising your hand and say your coming back. Get into the steps with a sponsor and start at 1. Read P-35 http://aa.org/pdf/products/P-35_ProOtherThanAlcohol.pdf
Also read P-42 http://aa.org/pdf/products/p-42_abriefguidetoaa.pdf
Are you not looking for that ease and comfort you found in alcohol at one time in pot today ? A drug is a drug is a drug.
Then, look up the definition of "sober"
I was recently in St Paul, MN for work. As I usually do, I attended a few meetings to see how groups function in other locations. One of the groups I visited was called “Outright Mental Defectives”. It was listed as a 2 hour big book topic meeting and there were about 130 people present. I was impressed that only 3 of the 130 introduced themselves as something other than simply alcoholic. The chairperson asked to start the meeting with the 3rd step prayer. Then the entire group dropped to their knees wrapped arms around each other, and prayed the 3rd step prayer. Then began about 30 minutes of service work announcements, which I thought was great, only after each service announcement there were a series of strange chants, ie the night owl service was followed by 130 hoot hoots and so forth. We then read from the big book for ½ hour. If anyone wanted a definition, they just shout out the word and the dictionary person read a definition. After the reading we had a 10 minute break. After break time the meeting continued as a call up meeting on what was read. Finally the meeting ended with the chairperson declaring that we would now close with the 7th step prayer. The group promptly dropped to the kneeling position, again wrapped arms around one another and prayed the 7th step prayer.
After the meeting, I turned to the man next to me, who was very outgoing as was the rest of the group, and said this is the kneelingest, huggingest, chantingest group I have ever seen. We both had a laugh. I mentioned that in the original draft of the 12 steps, step 7 directed you to be on your knees, but was removed after further discussions and left it at that.
I have been to meetings all over the US and Canada over the past 20 years and have never until this week experienced a group that, as part of the meeting format drops down to their knees and prays. I personally kneel most mornings and enjoy it.
My topic is this, is kneeling to pray in AA meetings happening in other cities or states? Obviously this large group is doing alright if it has 130 regular attenders, but what happens to the newcomer who attends their first meeting and sees all the kneeling and strange chanting? I think there is a reason the language in step seven was changed and the kneeling was removed. If about half of the people who come to AA are atheists or agnostics, we are likely scaring them away before they get a chance to try our program.
Thanks for reading
I think that the meeting that you described is absolutely outrageous. Kneeling, hugging, hooting in an AA meeting? Outrageous and absolutely perfect. A perfect application of Tradition Four. Sign me up. Not my choice for a home group but enjoying the view from Everest doesn’t mean moving there.
I sometimes attend a men’s meeting that has a well earned reputation for being a collection the bawdiest, rudest, crudest cross-talking collection of misfits ever assembled under the AA banner. I’ve learned that long term sobriety is not a good yardstick for quality of sobriety but a large collection of long term sobriety is, and they have it. Any time there is a newcomer the meeting becomes a first step meeting. Every time. I don’t know how many members that they have. I’ve seen from a dozen to thirty at a meeting. They needed an expensive new roof, bucked up once and wrote a check for it. When a member is hospitalized or a member passes away we all get an email within a day. Its good AA but not everybody’s AA. It doesn’t need to be.
Do these outrageous fringe meetings turn newcomers off to AA? It might put a stone in someone’s path so I try let them know that we don’t represent AA as a whole. At the end of my first meeting an old salt asked me if I was willing to go to any lengths to get sober and I responded honestly that I didn’t know. He told me loud and clear “Then AA is no @*&!! place for you.” I went back about three months later with the conviction that if that building wasn’t big enough for both of us, he could leave. I’ve been sober ever since and he lived sober until he died years later. Could I have died in those three months? Yes. Did I? No. Because of it, I always point out to newcomers that there are a variety of meeting nearby and sometimes take them. Whenever I see someone acting nuts in AA I am reminded that when AA only had 100 members, crazies were already prevalent enough to be included in the most important section of the Big Book –“…some suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders…” AA survived with them then and continues to.
I can hear the impassioned old-timers talking about "the way it was" and lauding the practice as a return to "AA's roots." To the extent kneeling may reflect some of the early practices, it speaks volumes to the level of intolerance of the early AA's towards anyone with contrary views. The discussion in the 12 x 12 of the membership requirements, "pure and respectable" alcoholics (add "Christian"), comes to mind. Reading Bill's later writings, along with the writings of Jimmy B., indicate that something approaching tolerance took time to develop, and perhaps is reflected in the earliest AA literature only because Bill wrote the bulk of it (as opposed to the groups having developed any consensus on it). All I can say of the practice you describe is that if it turns one newcomer away, that is a tragedy... in my opinion.
Yes, I suspect that some of the old-timers in St. Paul
are impassioned about returning A.A. to its roots. "Back
to basics" had a following of 200,000 members by some estimates.. Bill W.
wrote the bulk of books and literature as long as he was
able. I prefer Bill's later writings in the grapevine
and The Language of the Heart. These writings convey the
added experience of the membership and Bill's further
understanding of what works best in trying to help
our fellow sufferer. This appproach in St. Paul pushes
newcomers away before they even get here. tragic, ANONYMOUS
Hi, I know I did a lot of damage to our relationship while I was drinking and being irresponsible, but I was never unfaithful to my husband. He is now seeing other women, "just friends," co-workers and people he met on facebook, even though he says he's not seeing them anymore. He's out right now, riding his new $1,000 fat bike (bicycle) that he bought ("on sale") without telling me in November, riding in the snow with his young, available, 30-something friend (we are in our late 40's) on New Year's Day while I'm home with our 9 year-old son. As far as my husband says, "nothing physical has happened." Yeah, right. Any experience, strength and hope out there on this topic? Thanks for any ideas you can give. I'm trying not to be bitter and further poison our marriage, but it's hard when he's outright lying to me and not trying to work back to a good place from his end either. I'm trying not to let my alcoholic appetite for chaos step in and turn my life upside down again like during the drinking days (who *wouldn't* drink with all this going on?? I used to say to myself). But from an outside perspective? How do I know if I'm freaking out or if this is really something that I should somehow deal with (divorce? kick him out of the house? leave him?) We've gone to counseling for 5 years, and I thought things were working better, especially since I stopped drinking two years ago, but come to find out he's been having these other "friends" for 2 years or more (that he admits. was it longer??). Any hope you can offer would be great. Thank you.
It has taken years, but I am finally sorting out my role in my spouse's infidelity during my drinking. Yes, I had a role, as I was too busy chasing the next drink to worry about whether I was fulfilling anyone's needs. That does not excuse the behavior in response. To paraphrase the late Strother Martin, "What we had here was a failure to communicate." So before you leap into anything, try to communicate - maybe you can avoid some of the lingering issues and mistrust that still is present in my marriage, for both of us.
I am sober for 38 years through AA. Joined a group about a year ago & found out only a few months ago that another person that attends meetings is not an alcoholic. Supposedly this person has an eating disorder but was not happy with the OA program in this vicinity. She attends closed meetings, shares & even leads meetings. I am apalled. This situation disturbs me immensely. I would like other AA members thoughts on this.
I don't know if my feelings are right in this situation. Does not seem to bother other people in the group.
Your felling of discomfort are somewhat justifiable and understandable however there is a need to remind ourselves of having tolerance for others short coming's. AA is the 12 step program that other are modeled after however they often lack the serenity and spirituality that we have been blessed with. As long as this person has not been disruptive to the group or any ones individual sobriety you might want to use your 38 year of strength practice tolerance.
This situation may bother more other people than you
think. Share your concerns at your group conscience meeting.
If your group has no conscience, develop one. If members
refuse (in violation of tradition two), share your concerns
at the regular meeting. This will not be easy but do not
let anyone stop you. You could possibly be in the minority
at first. Try not to argue. Just voice your concerns.
If this overeater does not feel that the O.A. meetings
are conducted properly, it is the responsibility of that
person to get involved in solving those problems.
I returned to O.A. about a year ago, after a twenty
year absence, and was appalled at the conditions I found.
This group was holding hands and praying, chanting, and
even reading a revised revision of How It Works.
After six months back in O.A. I was asked to chair
one of the meetings. I refuse to hold hands, and others
are now joining my example. There are others who are
not comfortable holding hands, and have now voiced
their concerns. They thought holding hands and praying
We are not doing anyone justice by allowing people
who are not alcoholics to join A.A. I do not identify,
them and they do not identify with me.
We dilute our own message and seldom help the food or drug addict.
This may take all the courage you can muster. You may
develop even more courage, and perhaps a little more
humility. Just complaining here is not going to solve
anything. So get to work and good luck.
I have been sober in A.A. for almost 24 yrs., and this has always been a hot topic. Here is what I understand. Non A.A.'s are allowed to attend open meetings as observers only. I have the understanding that all closed meetings of A.A. are for alcoholics only. If your group wants this person to attend, then the meeting should be changed to an open meeting. You can't have it both ways. I also believe that the minute a non alcoholic shares, it is no longer an A.A. meeting ,but has become a recovery for all meeting. Doug M. Reno Nv.
An excerpt from page 13 of AA conference approved literature “the group” might help, it says, Closed meetings are for AA members only, or for those who have a drinking problem and have a desire to stop drinking
Open meetings are available to anyone interested in AA’s program of recovery from alcoholism. Nonalcoholics may attend open meetings as observers.
I know a lot of AA members think open meetings are open for everyone to share, but as our literature states, nonalcoholics may attend only as observers, they should not be participating in our meetings. If they are allowed to share the nonalcoholics dilute our message of recovery.
If you have time read the AA pamphlet “problems other than alcohol”. I keep a copy in my big book to refer to in AA meetings where this comes up. It has some more language as to why nonalcoholics cannot be members. Nonalcoholics cannot identify with alcoholic newcomers as alcoholics and nonalcoholics cannot give straight AA talks or carry on continuous 12 step work. If a group chooses to allow nonalcoholics to participate in the meetings, they simply should not call themselves an AA group. They can be a special purpose group that is not identified as or affiliated with an AA group.
There are 200 other 12 step programs that nonalcoholics may choose from to attend with full participation rights. The alcoholic has only one, AA. If a nonalcoholic continues to fully participate in AA meetings they are denying newcomers to AA of the opportunity for sobriety through identifying with alcoholics.
I am not saying that we should not help these people in any way we can. If my neighbor asks me for help, I don’t say,”no you’re not an alcoholic”. I help him however I can, just not at the AA meeting.
Also a meeting with tradition 1,3,and 5 for a topic usually clears up the matter as well. Tradition 3 long form found in the back of the big book says our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Not other substances or addictions. When this tradition came about it was to protect alcoholics with other problems from being denied their opportunity to recover in AA. I don’t think anyone ever dreamed nonalcoholics would try to sneak into AA. We can’t even get most alcoholics to join us!
I hope our experience helps, good luck to you and God bless you
Corey, thanks for the laugh. ANONYMOUS
I have become totally disgusted by the profaning of God, the churches most meetings are held in, the newcomer and the divinely inspired program of AA. It wasn't like this when I first became a member in the 1970's. People still had respect and were responsible to the newcomer.
Since most members think it is funny when some self proclaimed spiritual and serene member is using God and the 'F' bomb in the same sentence I have an ultimatum. Address the problem in the meetings and if I don't see a change I will contact every Minister of the churches you are profaning as guests and have them address the issue for you. Starting in my local area and fanning out in an ever widening circle 'til you all get the message or are asked to leave the churches who you are guests in. What you do in your Alano clubs is your business. I choose not to attend these bastions of profanity.
I will no longer tolerate this behavior which does not reflect on recovery but turns people like newcomers and myself and many others away from the place we expect to not hear the language of the street, the bars and gutters.
Clean it up AA because this is no idle threat. I will not be forced away from the program that I love any longer because you are too wishy washy to clean up your act.
Thank you for your comments on profanity in meetings. I appreciate your honesty and respect your opinion. I also have a strong opinion about this topic and hope you can keep an open mind in what I'm about to share with you.
Nowhere in any of the conference approved literature (including the AA "Big Book") does it mention profanity.I understand that you don't like it and I agree with your choosing to find a group that feels the same about it. What I would object to however, is the idea that you would actually do anything to abolish an established meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Contacting churches and directing them that your will be done affects AA as a whole. I am wondering how many people you've killed with that kind of intolerance. Isn't love and tolerance supposed to be the code in which we live by?
Justifying this opinion by saying that newcomers are being turned away is may be true in some cases, but so is reciting the Lord's prayer at the conclusion of the meeting. The attitude of spiritual superiority also makes the newcomer feel that they could never live up to this ideal. The problem of course, as most of are problems are, is with you. Why does this rile you up? It's find to have an opinion on something but working toward closing meetings because you don't like the way people talk shows me that you really have missed the point. I believe page 417 of the Big Book addresses this. If there is something that upsets you it is most likely something in YOU that you are not accepting.
Personally, if I heard this kind of rant at a meeting I would surely find some other meeting where the members weren't so wishy washy.
I sincerely hope that you find what you're looking for. Maybe you should quit going to meetings where alcoholism is discussed and start going to your local church. It seems to me that you haven't had the spiritual awakening step 12 talks about.
For more information, read the appendix on spiritual experiences in the Big Book.
Sounds like a man with a plan. In my opinion, all meetings
should have this clause. "Please try to avoid the use of
profanity at this meeting." Personally I would add before
and after the meeting. Thanks Boise, Idaho. Rose
I remember reading "somewhere" that a speaker was critized
by Dr. Bob, for using vulgar language during his talk.
Many of our formats read: Please try to avoid the use
of profanity at this meeting. But NO ONE mentions it again,
even when it happens. Again, love and tolerance is the
theme. And we never cross-talk the cross-talker.
I am 4 years sober this past Oct. 13, 2012..By the grace of God , 2 great sponsors and working the steps, I am grateful and have achieved goals beyond my wildest dreams in sobiety.
I have a son,(19 yrs old) freshly out of rehab, I was told by his counselor to "not push him" to let my son work his own program and find his own way. That I need to keep my recovery and my son's seperate. Ok, that's all fine however, my son is unmotivated, miserable and has no motivation without some encouragment . The counselor said not to impose myself on my son with recovery, and how "he should" do things. It would be one thing if my son asked me for help, that would be alright, but the counselor said let my son develop his own way..basically "let him fall"..if necessary.
Well, since following this advise, my son has relpsed, and actually before entering rehab my son tried to commit suicide with a opiate overdose. It was very frightening to come to the emergency room and see my son in 4 point restraints, on a respirator, convulsing arching his body invoulntary like the letter "c".
How can I sit back and watch my son fall?..how can I not try to help my son with what had been freely given to me?...I frankly see this as a matter of life and death
He has no sober friends, he wont go to meetings (alone). I am supposed to "stay out of it".
He disappears for a day or so at a time lately with no explaination, and I'm just not supposed to do anything about it?
I would rather not wait to receive the phone call that my son is in the emergency room again, or worse, dead.
What can I do?
Dear fellow AA member,
I have been in recovery for 3 years now and next week I pick up a 60 day chip showing that I, too, have had bouts of relapse. I bring this up because I, honestly, am trying to stay sober one-day-at-a-time. I have just finished my 4th Step and am working on my 5th with my sponsor.
On the opposite side is my younger sister (43...I'm 46). She is a habitual cocaine user diagnosed with bi-polar issues as well. She has hit rock bottoms I've never myself seen, however, she is still alive but her 'cycles' of moving back in with my elderly parents, manipulating them to 'get back on her feet' and then they throw her out when she stops going to meetings or working her program. Then she's manipulates people outside my parents' walls, uses them to 'try' to 'get back on her feet' until THEY eventually throw her out. Then it's BACK TO MOM AND DAD's (with new criminal charges of shoplifting, theft, etc.) and they take her back in to 'get back on her feet'. I have two sons, 16 and 8 who DO NOT have (thank God!) substance issues so I don't have pain to share in that respect. I am about to go to Al-Anon myself as I'm noticing I'm slowly slipping into HER ADDICTION why trying to intervene to help my parents who are so deeply affected by her addiction that they've been robbed of a quality retirement. My father has just had a quadruple bypass surgery this past March and he was called at 3am because my sister was attacked by these two 'roommates' she lives with (obviously probably a crack house she's habitated in the past). She's been to jail a couple of times (just a few month's sentence here and there), has lived in crackhouses, half-way houses, etc. In short...SHE WILL NOT GET THE HELP SHE NEEDS. I strongly believe my sister will DIE one day from this horrific addition. I only write to you to share my parents' experience of them NOT DOING what other's are suggesting to you...you work on your program, your son his. You CANNOT or WILL NOT be able to CONTROL your son's addiction!!! You MUST understand you are POWERLESS over your son the same that you are POWERLESS (if you're an alcoholic like me) over alcohol.
I will say a prayer for you and your son today and may God's Mercy be shed on your son.
Dan T. in Wake Forest, NC
Whenever this subject comes up, I always suggest reading the chapter "to the wives" from the the book alcoholics anonymous. most of the information you seek is there.
I had to let my father "fall". when we all quit giving him money and shelter in a loving way, he had to change or die. He eventually chose to change although it took awhile.
It's tough as a parent. I don't think I could detach with my children. Just don't kill them with your love. meaning don't give them fuel for the fire or money to buy it.
Good luck to you and God bless.
Don't. you have taken that fall. alcohol does in 20 years as drugs can do in 2-5. talk with him, at a best time. you were in addiction(for reasons not of your making) when your son was going through puberty and earlier. his foundation of life was poor.not your choice. talk to him as you never talked to a person before.addiction is difficult, with or without serious drugs. be ready to lance the boil, let emotions cry, let yourself cry from your core. it will let him ; difficult for you with outside environment. talk about his talents, . wish you well
I recently submitted a topic and issue I am experincing under "Let him fall" I want to report that , my son has had a complete turn around. He has completely changed people, places and things,..He has moved from my home and away from many many consistant bad influences . My son is Liveing with his mother now , 40 miles away.. This part geographical cure has had success. My son in clean from opiates, attends 2 meetings a day,Has a higher power. has a home group, is in out-patient counseling and even has a job..
This is truly a miracle..I strongly belive God is behind this..and the carriers of the message of AA, the writers , and readers here on this forum.God bless you all, I am truly grateful
Steve S. Cortland ny
This message touches me deeply. What can we do? Love
him as much and as long as you can. There are hundreds
of thousands of us in the same boat. Bill wrote that we alcoholics are "pikers" when compared to the drug addict.
It is a monster and growing every day. My short advice
is to try to starve the addiction financially. Give him
no money. As long as he has money or access to money,
his drug dealing "friends" will not leave him alone.
Sometimes a stint in prison, giving him some clean
time may help. He is not that way by choice. He may
be as powerless over drugs as you are over your son.
My son has been fighting the addiction for over
five years, and still fights it. He tells me that
money is a real trigger. When he sees a $20.00 bill
he thinks only of how much drugs he can buy. Never
mind that the rent is due tomorrow.
I personally feel that if drug addicts who are
clean and sober through A.A. would form their own
groups, with a sole purpose of helping the addict,
your son and mine could recover. Alcoholics Anonymous
is not the solution for drug addicts. Sure it works
sometimes. But I believe it takes a drug addict to
help a drug addict. Welcome to the FORUM. ANONYMOUS
I work with alot people who have addictions problems and they behavior drives me crazy .. It is because I know where they are coming from and I do not not want to be a part of it.. Sometimes I feel lonely because because I do not want to be a part of the insantaity, it does not want to make me drink but I feel like a building is falling in me on me.....
Dealing with the active addict/alcoholic who does not want sobriety is challenging. Alanon is a good place to find support.
From my experience very few addict/alcoholics recover. As
long as there is a money source they will continue. It is
almost impossible for the addict to get away from the
drug dealer or "friends" who still use and have drugs
available. The government handouts to the addict prevents
them from getting desperate enough to accept the help
offered by N/A. It allows addicts to keep using drugs
and go to soup kitchens and shelters and food banks for
themselves and their families. Drug addiction is powerful
and so is the greed of the drug dealers for money. But
it will never be stopped.
You can try Alanon. My advice would be to separate
yourself from the addict and never look back. To continue
will be too heartbreaking. Save yourself. ANONYMOUS
addicts whatever their drug are like me trying to fill a hole. in our heart, in our soul? NO, it is in our head. IQ, intelligence quotient dosen't matter. It is about EQ, emotional quotient: i am trying to deal with past pains, while working with the causers. "government handouts" should be directed towards proper rehab; very little chance of that as in USA,rehab is a business worldwide, mostly for profit. . "government handouts" and soup kitchens keep people living! till they "find the cure":rather till get the opportunity to fill that difficult emotional space.
I am almost seven years sober this time. I noticed after ninety days I did not sit on my hands and attempt to run out the door. After that period, the urges and anxiety did not come every day, especially while I sat in the meetings. The meetings were the most important thing in my life and I attended them much more frequently as I still resided in fear about relapsing and had the fear of death as a reminder. After two years sobriety, I lost my gratitude and started to have pride and an ego! After three years, I was a little confused, gave up cigarette smoking and gained some weight. I was interested in everything and everyone. I loved everybody...today that has change a little, also I fell in love, with the same person again after a reunion; my first love! I was on my way as I felt more successful in relationships, was in contact with most of the old beaus I had as friends. I did not get along with many women because my early and not so early experiences with them were not the greatest, it remains with me seven years into sobriety as well. Four,...five years, the fog lifted, now six to seven years later I find I can tolerate, be more patient, and have more life expereiences with which to understand what makes me and others tick!
Because, I listen to learn and learn to listen, I would like to understand, what the future holds for me through year ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, and fourty...as stages in sobriety?????? :-)!
GV admin, as this appears to be the thread for suggesting new topics, I have one for you. It appears, at least in my area (Rochester, NY, within Area 47), that there's a propensity for SOME meetings and groups to permit non-members (see 3rd tradition) to support their meetings in a number of ways: making coffee, sponsoring alcoholics, greeting, sharing @ open meetings and lately even chairing open meetings. While many will holler 2nd tradition here -- it's the conscience of the group -- I think otherwise. Just like the steps, the traditions are in order for a reason -- so many members and groups fail to keep the 1st tradition (See long form 1st Tradition) in mind when they say...let the Al-Anon or Addict chair/share: in the meantime some suffering alcoholic who was sitting in the back of the room contemplating their next drink is dying inside because they sooo can't relate to the non-alcoholic! ...And yes, there is a very good chance that for the first time in my 28 years of sobriety, I will be putting "pen to paper" to voice my thoughts on this matter because, as Rosemary P. stated in Box 4-5-9, Feb-Mar 1997: Most of us..."have heard it said that if A.A. is ever destroyed, it will be destroyed from within. In my opinion, apathy, cloaked often in the guise of 'live and let live,' is one of our greatest enemies. But the destructive force is not those members who introduce themselves as 'cross addicted alcoholics' [or Al-Anon] - it is the attitude of those members who sit back and say, 'So what!'" I refuse to sit back and say SO WHAT -- how about the rest of the fellowship?
This is a good topic. It has been discussed ad-nauseam
in past readings on the I-SAY FORUM. The sad truth is that
the suffering alcoholic who was sitting in the back
of the room, has quietly left the room through the back
door. The drug addict and those A.A. members who
welcome them (a drug is a drug) have remained to take over the group, room, and most of A.A.
Drug addicts should honor the fellowship of the meeting
they attend. If a person cannot admit that they are
alcoholic, they should observe only, and not be allowed to share.
What exact actions would you recommend? A clear cut
format stating this would help. But good luck passing
that format in a group conscience meeting. Good luck
even establishing a true group conscience. It is too bad
that our Trustees will not speak out. I have had no luck
even reaching them. Maybe someone else can give that a try.
It seems to me that our General Service Board of trustees, led by a non-alcoholic chairmen Episcopal Priest, is no
longer in touch of our A.A. membership.
Yes, stand up and speak out. Insist on being heard.
IT WILL NOT BE EASY! We are being destroyed from within
by our own members. Our effectiveness has declined severely
in the past two decades. GSO records show this. ANONYMOUS
I have a friend in AA facing a crisis. I don't know how to help and want feedback from AA members. Is there a particular place that I could ask a question and get input from members?
try going to meetings regular....and listen while you're there.....this is a WE program
Advice - "Go to Al-Anon"
I gather you are not an alcoholic, or not a member of AA. In AA, generally we help one another through sharing of our own struggles with alcohol, and our own struggles at dealing with life without alcohol. Thus, your friend is better served by addressing his/her issues with someone in program, assuming it is an alcohol-related problem. On the other hand, many in AA after getting sober find they have other issues to address not directly related to alcoholism, such as depression, other addictions, etc. They may need to seek outside medical or other 12-step program help for those problems. Friends and family of alcoholics often find answers on how best to help (or not help) their addicted friend/family member in Alanon. Not sure that directly addresses your question...
Giving advice on Medication is dangerous.
It might be well to tip off Rochester Area Intergroup New York, http://www.rochester-ny-aa.org/ concerning their forthcoming ‘Emotional Sobriety’ workshop 13th,14th October, involving Wayne B. and Sean D. They might appreciate knowing about the happenings in Perth, Australia. Wayne D. is the executive director, and Sean D. is on the Global Council of The Last Mile Foundation Inc., These are extracts from an Australian AA members’ post on an AA member’s website:
“It was wonderful to find your article on this Wayne B. and his company!
I live in Perth, Western Australia and I am a very concerned member of AA because of the same reasons written in your concerns!
You're correct …. he has been here often, got to the young members, how I have seen them change under him. They teach his words, follow like sheep!!
One of the most dangerous issues is they are preaching NO medication!!!!! I have had a young newcomer on the phone to me crying after his "Spons" had told him he was not to take any medication while coming off alcohol, this poor sweet young man had not one but two alcoholic seizures ending up in hospital, he could have died and almost did! The doctor treating him wanted the name of this sponsor from AA , this looks bad for the fellowship!!...”
The Last Mile Foundation Inc. is not Alcoholics Anonymous but a separately incorporated 501(C)(3) not-for-profit, corporation. The global council has members in USA, Japan, Australia and England. According to its website, fundraising efforts include accepting donations of “amends money.” You can contact Rochester Area Intergroup New York (585) 232-6720 Fax Number: (585) 454-3949
E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org They might want to cancel this outside enterprise event and protect their newcomers.
I struggled with folk who'd say "no mood altering substances" or who would berate me should I dare mention I was still on anti-depressants after coming into sobriety. Saying I wasn't really sober if I was on mood altering substances - geeze of course I was.
So - i went cold turkey. It was a disaster. I went from loving AA, enjoying my new found life to sitting in my living room with a knife. Struggling to get up. I thought that if I was working my steps properly, or if I did more service other than GSR and opening meeting and on, and eating friggin organic food and more exercise I could be like the people who didnt need meds any more.
I was so wrong. It almost killed me.
I'm not on anti-depressants anymore - but still on "mood altering" substances by the standards of those folk who berated me. I struggled for years in sobriety - how is it that they could stop theirs and be ok? Why wasnt I doing my step work and service work well enough that I didn't need to take the meds?
Then I gave up. They are not doctors. My doctors are very well informed on my alcoholism. Even though its been years and I'm almost 30 years old now I refuse to listen to that nonsense. It is deadly when folk start that nonsense. We AA'ers have always worked with professionals. We are not professionals ourselves (well the sober doctors are I guess!) but giving advice on medication regardless is deadly. It is not what AA is about at all.
My sponsor says... this is ALCOHOLICS anonymous.... not "WELL PEOPLES'" anonymous. Sometimes you gotta take what you like and leave the rest. If its not in the literature - dont take opinions and other peoples' medical experiences as your own. I don't recommend that my sponsees or friends in the fellowship take pills, or not take them, or whatever. I have twice had to ask questions to help bring out the real motivation behind what they want to do - but always its up to the individual and their medical professional.
there are folk in the fellowship who are in my "inner" support circle - they do know that i am on some meds. A few of them have seen just how devastating it was to listen to AA'rs who "knew" better. I will never share in a meeting about medications. Its inappropriate. I've shared that I've struggled with mental health problems even in sobriety (although NEVER to the extent as before AA!). If they wish to speak privately or in detail then sure. But i cannot and will not give advice on these things. Its not my place. But I have and will ask questions if I have a feeling they may be seeking medication - or just to help them ask themselves what the motivation is.
I was the sponsor of this young gentleman and the facts are - we do not tell anyone to come off medication or to go on them, I am not a doctor and have no intention being one... Instead of spreading rumours get the facts ... I took this young man to hospital the first night I met him as he was physically addicted to alcohol and proceeded to try to get him into a rehab as he needed medical attention to come off alcohol as written in the big book.. We recommend hospitalisation for the man who is still foggy... He had an alcoholic seizure after stopping drinking and would not go to a detox.. He actually advised me he wasn't on medication and therefore I sponsored him.. I have no experience with medication but many friends of the fellowship that do and have and always pass people onto them that ask me for help as the book suggests we stick to our experience.. I try to do that.
Thanks for spreading more lies and anytime you would like to know the facts we are always happy to assist in anyway.
In love and service happy, joyous and free.
Thanks for your reply, its good to get different points of view. Here is mine. Wayne B. gave one of his “Emotional Sobriety” workshops in London (Great Britain) in 2009. Some of the promotional flyers for the workshop were distributed in AA meetings in my area. I was given a copy of his book which had been purchased from an AA meeting in a neighbouring intergroup. Since 2009 there have been numerous claims by newcomers in my area that they have been told to stop taking prescribed medication by their sponsors in groups which some of us call cult groups. This issue has been brought up at intergroup. In a neighbouring intergroup AA meetings have been asked to move out of hospital premises by the health authority. This report is recorded in the regional assembly minutes. I have heard AA meetings have been asked to move out of hospitals in another intergroup area. According to the G.S.O. website in Great Britain one of the most frequent questions asked about A.A. by professionals is “Is it a cult?” Item (c) on this link: http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/professionals/?PageID=84
I think the exploitation of AA by a number of individuals and outside organizations is perverting the idea of AA sponsorship, causing cult-like behaviour and damaging overall A.A. public relations. The public questioning whether AA is a cult should be a serious concern for all AA members. If this perception becomes widespread it will be even more damaging to AA as a whole. We need to question how and why this situation has come about and keep outside enterprises like the Last Mile Foundation Inc. outside A.A. (Tradition Six).
My name is Mike and I am an alcoholic; sober since March 1990.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of action. When I stop doing what is suggested in the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, I am quickly on that slippery slope we often talk about.
Many members say there are no musts in AA. Having studied my Big Book I have found, highlighted and numbered at least 57 musts. All require some degree of acceptance and/or action. Nobody can force me to do the work but the consequences are insanity, jail or death. There are only 2 authorities in AA; God telling me he is waiting for me to do His will and king alcohol, John Barleycorn, saying I had better do God’s will or he is going to kill me!
AA is a simple program. When I stop doing the suggestions I get restless, irritable and discontent. I can also get very thirsty as alcohol is a subtle foe; cunning, baffling and powerful. What I have is a daily reprieve from my alcohol obsession and the insanity of the first drink, contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition, every single day! I can’t stay sober today on yesterday’s sobriety.
How do I maintain my spiritual condition? When I wake each morning I meditate, pray and read my literature. I meditate on step 1 so I never forget my last drunk and reaffirm I am an alcoholic; powerless over alcohol and that my life is unmanageable. I recite the serenity, 3rd, 7th and 11th step prayers as well as a few others. I ask for help to stay sober, keep in emotional balance, live to good purpose under all conditions and to know, understand and do His will for me each day. Daily prayer, meditation and inventory allow me to keep an open channel for my higher power to do His work. Each night I review my gratitude list and give thanks for another sober day and the many blessings I have received. I can’t be depressed and feeling sorry for myself when I am truly grateful. I practice the steps, attend meetings, sponsor newcomers, consult my sponsor, do service work and study AA literature. I make time for the things necessary to maintain contented sobriety. My program does work well when I work it.
I was a daily drinker for 30 years and I need to put as much effort staying sober every day as I did drinking. Twenty-two years ago I made AA the most important thing in my life; ahead of family, friends and job. It still is today. I believe, without AA, I would not have stayed sober and I would have lost everything. For me it remains a case of first things first every day. I have tried to keep my AA program as simple as possible; don’t drink, trust God and help others.
Thank you for the part you play in my sobriety and for letting me share my experience strength and hope.