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Old 01-04-2013, 12:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am not Powerless....

"We admitted we were powerless over alochol..."
"Lack of power was our dilemma"
"We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others"
"As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter."
"You forget that you have just now tapped a source of power much greater than yourself."
"praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."


There seems to be a common misunderstanding among outsiders of AA that by joining the fellowship you are doomed to a life of being "powerless" or weak. The whole idea of the program is the exact opposite. Nowhere in the book does it say we remain powerless.
Left to my own devices I am indeed powerless over alcohol. I proved that by trying to stop drinking on my own unsucessfully. Having worked and continuing to work the program I have been given a new power. A power that I can live by. The power to help others. The power to grow spiritually. The power to discover the things within me that prevent me from growing spiritually and work to have them removed. A spiritually awakened individual is going to be so darn full of power that he or she will be dying to give some power away. And thats what we get to do. Then new power flows in.
Of course I need to remember that this power did not originate in me. I did not create it, but who cares? Its there for the taking if I want it! And I certainly do. I have accomplished far more on this source of power than I ever did on my own will power.

This idea that we are powerless and always will be is common. I am not sure where it came from, but I dont see it in the Big Book. I see the exact opposite.

God Bless You All!
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Totally agree. I feel more impowered and in control than I ever have at any point in my life.
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Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself


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Old 01-04-2013, 12:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to
find a power by which we could live, and it had to be
a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where
and how were we to find this Power?
Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. Its
main object is to enable you to find a Power greater
than yourself which will solve your problem. That
means we have written a book which we believe to
be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course,
that we are going to talk about God. Here difficulty
arises with agnostics. Many times we talk to a new
man and watch his hope rise as we discuss his alcoholic
problems and explain our fellowship. But his face
falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially
when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject
which our man thought he had neatly evaded or
entirely ignored.
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"But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got." AA pg 164
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have far more choices today than I used to have........

In the past I pretty much only had 3 choices: Think about drinking, drink and try to get over drinking.

All the best.

Bob R
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Powerlessness is one of the paradoxes of the program. By admitting to our powerlessness over alcohol we gain a new strength and power in our lives if we choose to utilize it.

I often hear people in the program say "I choose not to drink today." I think this plays into the powerlessness aspect of the program and has the potential to set one up to drink again since it takes the power away from our Higher Power and puts it back into our hands and if we truly believe the 1st Step then we can not take that power back. I avoid saying "I choose not to drink today" because I know that alone I am powerless over alcohol even after nearly 13 years of sobriety the daily choice I have is to pick up the tools of the program (The Steps, my Higher Power, The Big Book, & Traditions) each day and apply them to my life so I don't drink.

The choice I make is not whether to drink, since I have no power over that, but rather to utilize the tools provided not to drink, since those I have power over.

I may be wrong in my interpretation but so far it has worked well for me.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Powerless over alcohol, means 2 things from what I am learned from experience of others and my own!

1. That I will drink no matter what, even if I don't want to.
2. That once I start, I cannot control the amount I intake!


LACK OF POWER = NEED POWER = POWER IS GOD
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"But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got." AA pg 164
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There seems to be a common misunderstanding among outsiders of AA that by joining the fellowship you are doomed to a life of being "powerless" or weak. The whole idea of the program is the exact opposite. Nowhere in the book does it say we remain powerless.
There is misunderstanding of this in the rooms as well.

I often hear someone share that they are "powerless over everything", or "powerless over people, places and things". And some bemoan the feeling of being a victim, in some way. For me, powerlessness only applies to alcohol. I have now plugged into the greatest power source out there, and it imbues me with power that allows me to do things that I never could before. I have the power to do good and right things. I have the power to help those that come into my path. I have the power to share with others. I am no longer stricken with a hundred forms of fear. I am no longer victim to what prisons I create for myself. I am free. I couldn't have any of that under my own power.

As for people places and things. I cannot control what people think, speak or act. Nor can I change a place or some object. But I certainly have power over how I react to these things, and in that regard, I do have power regarding them. With God's power working through and in me, I don't have "triggers" - I can go wherever I please without worry, I can be with someone who in the past would have disturbed me greatly but now I have love and tolerance for, and I have no attachment to things as to have them a Higher Power.

I can only imagine what a newcomer would think if all they heard was how powerless we all were over everything. I know if I heard that, I may have had second thoughts about the program.

Great post.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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There is misunderstanding of this in the rooms as well.

I often hear someone share that they are "powerless over everything", or "powerless over people, places and things". And some bemoan the feeling of being a victim, in some way. For me, powerlessness only applies to alcohol. I have now plugged into the greatest power source out there, and it imbues me with power that allows me to do things that I never could before. I have the power to do good and right things. I have the power to help those that come into my path. I have the power to share with others. I am no longer stricken with a hundred forms of fear. I am no longer victim to what prisons I create for myself. I am free. I couldn't have any of that under my own power.

As for people places and things. I cannot control what people think, speak or act. Nor can I change a place or some object. But I certainly have power over how I react to these things, and in that regard, I do have power regarding them. With God's power working through and in me, I don't have "triggers" - I can go wherever I please without worry, I can be with someone who in the past would have disturbed me greatly but now I have love and tolerance for, and I have no attachment to things as to have them a Higher Power.

I can only imagine what a newcomer would think if all they heard was how powerless we all were over everything. I know if I heard that, I may have had second thoughts about the program.

Great post.
Well put, Paul.
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A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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[I]

... A spiritually awakened individual is going to be so darn full of power that he or she will be dying to give some power away. And thats what we get to do. Then new power flows in.
"We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others."
(page 132)
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you people for this thread and your responses. It makes me smile to realize what a path and journey it has been for me. My sponsor and I talk about this type of thing quite often. I am excited to say I feel the EXACT same way.

There is a lot of strange things going around the rooms these days. A lot of the big book's meaning has gotten misconstrued over time. Somewhere a long the line AA shifted to a "lovey-dovey" mind-set. Treatment centers and their pat on the back approach to alcoholism I believe may be a part of it, but who really knows. Terms and phrases like "Meeting makers make it" have come about. The only damn thing meeting makers do is...make meetings. It should be STEP takers make it.

The first step is past tense. We admitted we WERE powerless over alcohol and our lives HAD become unmanageable. The second step is worded as gradual. CAME TO BELIEVE that a power greater than ourselves (for me, God) COULD restore us to sanity. Note it doesn't say "would," however. It does beckon that it will happen over time, though. It does not state "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves would and keep us restored to sanity."

And the damn trigger thing is spot on, Paul. Triggers are basically and outside influence that forces one to drink. Forces one to drink? BS. Alcoholism is an internal spiritual affliction. The concepts just clash. They are excuses, that's it.

The program is as "How it works" states, simple. It is as confusing and difficult as one makes it out to be. And believe me, I made it pretty damn difficult for myself for a very long time. The big book clearly lets us define ourselves as alcoholics in chapter 3, informs us of our spiritual malady in chapter 4, then tells us how to overcome our spiritual malady in chapters 5 & 6, then how to remain spiritually fit and pass it along in chapter 7. Today I can see there is a distinct difference between remaining powerless, and acceptance.

I know this isn't in the first 164, but screw it:

"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes. "
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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TRIGGERS ANSWERED VERY SIMPLY IN THE BB

Men and women drink essentially because they like the
effect produced by alcohol.
The sensation is so elusive that,
while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time
differentiate the true from the false. To them, their
alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless,
irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience
the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by
taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking
with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire
again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving
develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a
spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to
drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this
person can experience an entire psychic change there is
very little hope of his recovery.
On the other hand—and strange as this
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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This idea that we are powerless and always will be is common.
Do you believe that at some point in time you will be able to have a couple beers with the guys and not be subject to the phenomenon of craving?

Do you beleive that at some point that all by yourself you will have complete defense against taking the first drink?

If so, I'd advise you not to try it. If not, that sort of implies you're still powerless over alcohol.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Lack of Power was our dilemma. That says it all....Doesn't say is our dilemma. I like how Clarence Snyder puts it...In the first nine steps we hand our drink problem over to God...Steps ten through twelve is our program to live by. It's all in the book.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Good thread. Thanks for it

You know, for me, I don't try to parse all the words (I've never been very good at it). I just know I cannot drink safely. If I have a drink, all bets are off. I may stop at one or two, or I may end up in the emergency room.
AA helped me get sober. The fact that I cannot control people, only my reactions to them, helped me stay somewhat sane in the early years. I forget it too easily now, but always come back to that concept.

If all that makes me powerless or powerful, I don't care. I only know it worked for me, and is still working for me.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:19 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Sometimes I think people deliberately refuse to listen actively to others, instead preferring to convince themselves that they, alone, understand the heart of the matter.

Sorry, but this thread would appear to me to be a chance to reinforce a faulty idea.....that people "just don't get it" anymore.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:49 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Sorry, but this thread would appear to me to be a chance to reinforce a faulty idea.....that people "just don't get it" anymore.
In a way you are right. The Spiritual part of the program seldom makes sense to a neophyte. But then again, it never really did in the past either. In the early days everyone had to have a sponsor and everyone had to work the steps fast.

Compliance was mandatory, understanding was optional. There was an assumption that sooner or later it would make sense to those who got results from the program. I myself never understood the concept of powerlessness until after I got some results. Thus my signature line.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:01 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Somewhere a long the line AA shifted to a "lovey-dovey" mind-set.
It did no such thing. AA has never once shifted moved or re-written itself.

People and peoples perception can change and seem it different. It always was about love and finding your HP which is just that unconditional love, so we can be of use to others..

And I can find in any given week out of the 1,200 meetings here , if I want the hard nosed , finger in your chest approach, or maybe for a softer shell a caring one..

I have heard from guys in the program from the 40's and up. And almost all of them will tell you the same thing.

Listen with your eyes
Pray
Go to meetings(the odds prove that a person that makes meetings will mataine sobriety better than not. And this includes dry drunks. )
And help another alcoholic..
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:42 AM   #18 (permalink)
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If a group of alcoholics follow hear and try to follow the instruction of just going to meetings, eventually they won't go to meetings, and they will get drunk. Or, before going to the next meeting, they will get drunk and maybe not make the meeting. The idea that a meeting will keep a drunk sober, however true it may be in certain cases, is contradictory to the program of AA and what it proposes. To anyone who ways that meetings keep an alcoholic sober, I would ask them, how do you know that the people are not keeping themselves sober, and thus they are able to attend the meetings rather than the other way around? Meetings helped me a lot. They still do. However, I pray that newcomers and those struggling read the posts on this website from those who have the common problem and common solution. Meetings are not the solution; they are only a part of the solution. That is not my opnion, and anything else said on the matter coming from me would only be opinion and need not be said.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Just to clear something up.......the Big Book was written describing the experience of the first 100. The book describes what happened to them.....so therefore, it HAS to be written in past tense. The fact that is says, were/was/had been/etc does NOT necessarily imply that the opposite is now true. It's just common sense.

Using cancer as an example, let's pretend I'm going to describe how I survived cancer. Initially I came to a decision that I am, on my own, powerless over curing my cancer. I then went for treatment, so on and so forth, and subsequently recovered. I'm not cancer free. That being said, I'm STILL powerless over cancer.

I think, RIGHTLY SO, they were moot on the "I currently have power over alcohol" discussion to leave it up to the individual to answer that question from their experience. IMO, I'm currently not powerless over the first drink but it's not MY power that I'm exercising. It's God's power, flowing through me, as part of my daily reprieve that I get from maintaining conscious contact and trying to walk the spiritual path via my actions.

FWIW, I was just at a meeting last night and the table leader, a guy with 20-something years said in response to someone who shared, "remember, we're powerless over people, places and things." It was like nails on a chalk board to me......because I don't believe that to be true.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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......meant to say "I'm NOW cancer free....."
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