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Old 05-12-2013, 08:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Not Getting AA

Maybe I'm one of those people who's constitutionally incapable, or maybe I've just built up a wall. There's just something about AA and it's culture that I find weird, strange, unsettling at times. After ******* my life up with booze and drugs last year, I had to move back in with my parents with a condition that I start doing AA. I've been attending meetings fairly regularly since last fall and am still trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

I don't understand how sitting with a group of people for an hour listening to rants and drunk-a-logues, some of which can be very self-indulgent and/or self-righteous, is imperative to my sobriety. That I must attend as many of these get togethers as possible, or else... My first sponsor seemed to be an AA robot, I'd ask about these things and the only response he had was "keep coming and you'll learn to like it with time." I have, it's not working. It just gets worse. I'm not without my own problems, obviously, I'm an alcoholic and all that comes with that, but I have a hard time with conforming to a set of dogmatic ideas and beliefs, giving lip service to an antiquated book that seems to have the same power as the bible to these people. I believe in God, no problems there, but still I struggle with this thing.

The fellowship has also been hard for me, being introverted and trying to friend other self-centered alcoholics hasn't been easy. A lot of people almost seemed brainwashed to me as well, like I can't talk to them about these type of things. Accept the program or die a slow alcoholic death seems to be the general vibe. You must do this for the rest of your life or die.

I at least now have a sponsor who I can share some of these concerns with and he seems to understand for the most part, I respect and like the guy a lot. He's been sober for about 8yrs, since he was 16, AA is just second nature to him. I don't want that to become me to be honest, I don't want to be defined or kept down by this thing, for it to become my life.

I've had one (small) relapse since first getting sober last July. I don't want to ever go back to my life before that, but I don't want to be a part of a religion or cult. I want friends, but with people who think for themselves and don't bow down to some dead guys named Bill and Dr. Bob.

Maybe this is all just contempt prior to investigation, but I was kind of excited when I first started going to meetings. That excitement died pretty fast. No, I still haven't worked the steps (yet) and I don't do service, so maybe I don't have ground to say anything. Maybe I'm just over-analyzing everything (probably), but I just can't give myself to this "simple" program.

Would love to hear others thoughts on this and AA in general, thanks for reading.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm glad you posted this. I felt so many of the same things you are feeling right now ... everything from thinking it was all a cult to the difficulties of fellowship as an introvert. I'm about 9 months in now and I've come to find that the steps they talk about in the program have started to change me as a person. The steps are vital in order to really 'get' AA. I really just leave the rest ...the zealots, cult feeling, etc. doesn't matter to me anymore. There is really something about these steps that have started to give me some peace and content in my life that I never really had with alcohol anyway. So much of my anxiety has gone away since getting sober and now the types of problems I face are 'good' problems to have if that makes any sense. Has your sponsor started the steps with you? That's all he is required to do with you. Everything else is nice, but he is supposed to guide you through the 12 steps which are vital to real recovery in AA. Sitting in meetings is nice, but it's not, as you are aware, going to keep someone sober forever.

As for the fellowship stuff ... that will get easier with time as you become more comfortable and confident about how AA is working in your life. You'll get to a point where you're more than happy to share your experience to a newcomer and tell him how you got to where you are today. Hang in there and don't give up just yet!
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm in your area sort of, a bit west of Fairfax. Grew up there though.

I don't know what to say though, you've touched on a lot of things there. Much of it IS just a matter of perception. A perception I shared when I went to my first meeting at 21-22 years old and held onto until I was in enough despair to consider changing it at 33.

AA was sort of "last house on the block" for me. Sort of "Before I French kiss one of these freight trains ... maybe I better check". I got taken into steps quickly. Good thing too.

I've needed more help than what a group of people could provide, but I couldn't find that help without that group of people.

Now I get to live a life beyond my imagination sitting on a barstool. The ups and downs, dips, dives and hairpin turns.

I remember rolling around Dead shows in the late 80's and early 90's, I've seen cults. Jesus freaks, and was raised in a religion. Wary of it all. Last thing I wanted was to hear about God from a bunch of drunks, whores, thieves, and those "beneath me".

But I did, and I'm lucky I did. I thank them eternally. You see, all my preconceived notions, analysis and keen intellect were wrong. Incorrect. I'm good at taking things apart but not smart enough to put them back together, into the "big picture".

So I love my fellowship, especially those that showed me that Bill and Bob were nothing more than humble servants and not Gods. That AA is not a cult, and the instructions in the big book work. I do them, they do.

Know this, I wish for you freedom from your despair and drunkenness no matter how you get it. If you're into checking out AA a bit more, feel free to drop me a PM.

I'll tell you what I do, what I've done, where I've been, etc... hell I might even invite you over to my folks house in Fairfax and mine in Manassas. If you don't believe what AA has done for me, you can ask my family.

Peace
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My situation regarding AA is similar to yours in most aspects of your experience. I met some very good people there, read the BB, but rejected AA and its concept of addiction. It isn't a fit for me in any material aspect despite my strong faith and spiritual nature.

You can do as I did, and find a different way to frame your journey, and arrive at a place of peace and contentment in sobriety. Believe in yourself and your abilities, in your worth, and in your future.

Best to you.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey, congrats on your sober time, a huge accomplishment!! I visited AA several times over the course of a decade before becoming sober 6 months ago. Prior to these 6 months, I never got what was so special about these meetings, and never wanted to be part of this group of pathetic people "Hi, my name is ..... and I'm an alcoholic." I thought these people were going nowhere, and there has got to be a better way to be sober!!

Now I have embraced their way, and am learning a lot. What happened in between, or what changed my mind? Perhaps it was honestly admitting that I knew I reacted much differently than others to alcohol for about 20 years, and tried every hair brained attempt to control my drinking, to find myself at 41 years old an educated professional, a daily drinker. In 20 years I found no solution. Talk about pathetic!!! I felt so hopeless, that I was just a drunk, couldn't get along with anybody, and kept screwing things up, that I thought I should just kill myself, I thought "Why not actually try this AA thing? What do I have to lose?"

It's not the sitting in the meetings listening to the "drunk a logs" that keeps me sober. It is actually doing the work in the steps. It's not sitting to the meetings that is improving my personal relationships. It is applying the spiritual principles to my interactions with my family. But sitting in these meetings is where I can meet people who know how to work the steps, and hear examples of the principles in action. It also reminds me that I am an alcoholic, in case my mind starts trying to tell me otherwise!! I can also help others, newer to the program, I'm not ready to sponsor yet, but look toward to it.

I find some people in the meetings seem to be hiding out in AA. Maybe they are addicted to addiction, avoiding other things in their life that need attention. But that's none of my business! I try to stick with the winners, the people working a good program that have success in other areas of their life as well. I find if I don't go to at least 4 meetings a week I am in trouble!!

I was very skeptical for a long time of AA. That was a mistake for me. You owe it to yourself after being sober and going to meetings this long, to try to do the steps, because these half measures are not likely to be effective!! I wish you well on your journey!!
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ThatOneDude87 View Post
Maybe I'm one of those people who's constitutionally incapable, or maybe I've just built up a wall. There's just something about AA and it's culture that I find weird, strange, unsettling at times. After ******* my life up with booze and drugs last year, I had to move back in with my parents with a condition that I start doing AA. I've been attending meetings fairly regularly since last fall and am still trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

I don't understand how sitting with a group of people for an hour listening to rants and drunk-a-logues, some of which can be very self-indulgent and/or self-righteous, is imperative to my sobriety. That I must attend as many of these get togethers as possible, or else... My first sponsor seemed to be an AA robot, I'd ask about these things and the only response he had was "keep coming and you'll learn to like it with time." I have, it's not working. It just gets worse. I'm not without my own problems, obviously, I'm an alcoholic and all that comes with that, but I have a hard time with conforming to a set of dogmatic ideas and beliefs, giving lip service to an antiquated book that seems to have the same power as the bible to these people. I believe in God, no problems there, but still I struggle with this thing.

The fellowship has also been hard for me, being introverted and trying to friend other self-centered alcoholics hasn't been easy. A lot of people almost seemed brainwashed to me as well, like I can't talk to them about these type of things. Accept the program or die a slow alcoholic death seems to be the general vibe. You must do this for the rest of your life or die.

I at least now have a sponsor who I can share some of these concerns with and he seems to understand for the most part, I respect and like the guy a lot. He's been sober for about 8yrs, since he was 16, AA is just second nature to him. I don't want that to become me to be honest, I don't want to be defined or kept down by this thing, for it to become my life.

I've had one (small) relapse since first getting sober last July. I don't want to ever go back to my life before that, but I don't want to be a part of a religion or cult. I want friends, but with people who think for themselves and don't bow down to some dead guys named Bill and Dr. Bob.

Maybe this is all just contempt prior to investigation, but I was kind of excited when I first started going to meetings. That excitement died pretty fast. No, I still haven't worked the steps (yet) and I don't do service, so maybe I don't have ground to say anything. Maybe I'm just over-analyzing everything (probably), but I just can't give myself to this "simple" program.

Would love to hear others thoughts on this and AA in general, thanks for reading.
would u rather be tied down by alcohol or something that gives you your life back, friends and a new way of coping. Don't give up until you have given it a college try. Get into the steps that is where u will find your recovery . Have you read the 1st 164 pages of the AA Big Book?

No self centered alkies in AA? that's the first time I heard that. Just give it a chance doesn't sound like u have many options. If in 6 months it aint working try AVRT. Might as well give it a chance since u al;ready have a sponsor. The sayings are repetitious cuz they work.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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“Still trying to figure out what the hell is going on” ? Work the steps.

“Sitting with a group of people for an hour listening to rants and drunk-a-logues” is NOT the AA program. It has limited benefit. “It's not working”, IMO because you are one of those who needs to do more than just sit in meetings.

When you finally do the steps you will likely understand that you don’t need to “bow down to some dead guys named Bill and Dr. Bob” or “be defined or kept down by this thing” or “for it to become your life”. There is no need to “be a part of a religion or cult” because AA is neither.

There is no need to “conform to a set of dogmatic ideas and beliefs, giving lip service to an antiquated book” because the book is ANYTHING BUT dogmatic. It’s full of suggestions. If you don’t want to follow the suggestions then then don’t complain that you don’t get it. AA is not requiring you to go to the meetings. Your parents are. They are requiring you to do so because of your past behavior.

I can understand why you are frustrated, but who is responsible for this situation?
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you're hearing AA robots, go to a different meeting. If you aren't able to understand your sponsor, change.

If you want to go drink, go drink. If you don't like AA, don't go.

Seriously, my point is pretty simple. This is your life. You do your own thing in life. Find solutions......or don't. Plenty of people have the opinion you expressed, and that's OK by many of us.

One thing you need is laid out very clearly in our literature.......a sense of desperation. It's amazing how that can change those opinions.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Being in AA and being around AA are quite different. The 12 steps are the program of recovery of AA. Not just part of the program, the program. Often, people come into AA and experience the fellowship right away. Its a great feeling to be around like-minded people who have shared in the same problems you have. They have great things to say, meetings are fun, its a new way of life. Then somewhere down the line, meetings start getting old. People are just robots saying the same things over and over and it just isn't working like it used to. Therein lies the problem with using only the fellowship of AA and not using the program. The Big Book promises us a fulfilling, happy, useful, sober life free of alcohol for good as a result of the steps.

"Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends - this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives. "

Unfortunately, some meetings and areas seem to be lacking this message. If you are not hearing the message of recovery, and you are not seeing people who are excited about being sober then you may want to try to find some different meetings. Meetings where people are spiritually awake will not be dull. I promise.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't understand how sitting with a group of people for an hour listening to rants and drunk-a-logues, some of which can be very self-indulgent and/or self-righteous, is imperative to my sobriety. That I must attend as many of these get togethers as possible, or else.
I have seen plenty of people that assumed that to be so.

My experience is, its far from the truth...i assumed it in the beginning and one of two things happened...i ended up drunk, or going slowly crazy.

The book alcoholics anonymous is a book spiritual in nature...it is our program of action to recover from alcoholism ...maybe you have already realized that drinking was a symptom of a deeper dilemma -malady .?

I do not have the power to recover from alcoholism....there is nobody in AA that has the power to recover from alcoholism for you .
BUT there may well be someone there that can show you the action they took with regards to the mentioned book ..and tap into a necessary power which i call god.

Hopefully your sponsor will show you EXACTLY the action they took with regards to the steps within our book.

If i can be of any help drop me a PM anytime...
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Dude, how long have you been attending AA meetings?

AA to most of us is completely unnatural at the beginning. AA asks us to do things that we don't like, don't understand, don't want to do and find useless.

Go to different meetings and listen to others take on things.

The truth is you don't know what you don't know and the oldtimers will teach you if you pay attention.

Sit down and read "HOW IT WORKS" and see what those words mean to you. Ask your sponsor and the oldtimers what the words mean to them.

In the beginning I could find ** excuses to leave and 1 to stay. I focused on that 1 and am eternally grateful I did.

All the best. Have some faith that this will work and embrace it. You will be grateful too one day.

Bob R
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Maybe this is all just contempt prior to investigation...

I still haven't worked the steps
Not maybe...

Those who sound dogmatic, who utter all the catchy phrases, who sing with what seems to be false humility... all them will no longer make you crazy, IF and WHEN you really get in there and do the work... or not... AA is not the only way to get recovered...

Good luck and welcome to SR .... Keep coming back.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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12 step programs only work by working the 12 steps.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:51 AM   #14 (permalink)
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AA is NOT for everyone. It is not the ONLY way to get sober. If your motivated to be sober then look into other options... there are plenty out there. GL
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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. No, I still haven't worked the steps
Yeah, this aa stuff isn't going to make much sense if you are not doing the work. There is a fine line between sharing experience strength and hope and someone just rattling out a drunkalogue.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I am so thankful to see so many responses pointing out that the 12 Steps are the core of the 12 Step program called Alcoholics Anonymous. I have never understood why people think that just coming to a 12 Step program and not working the 12 Steps will somehow make them better. It is no different than buying a motorcycle jacket and calling oneself a biker. You can start down the road but sooner or later you are going to get tired and give up because you don't have the main tool you need to carry you down the road, the motorcycle.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:35 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Dude, perhaps you haven't suffered (yet) to the point where you "WANT" AA.

I hope you don't. I got to that point and it's deadly.

I am one of those as described in HOW IT WORKS....

I am trying to fit into AA and not analyze it, judge it and tear it apart. I am trying to DO it.

When (if) you WANT AA it will be there for you. Until then, good luck with those "many other options" as mentioned by others.

I'm not here to sell AA to anyone. AA will sell itself to those who want it.

All the best.

Bob R
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:22 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Suggestion. Find meetings that are BB study meetings or step study meetings. These will be focused on the solution, the steps, rather than on the problem (drinking) and the vents and drunkalogues you speak of.

Work the steps.

AA is not about a bunch of people sharing stories of how f'd up they were.

Not all meetings are focused on the solution. There are discussion meetings that are NOT just sharing war stories, but really are good discussion, and speaker meetings with messages worth hearing.

Don't give up on AA until you've gotten a taste of what the program is really about. Then, if it's not "taking", try another recovery program that may be better suited to you.
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
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it worked for me
don't analize, utilize
it works
if you work it

fraankie
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:14 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I still feel AA has some creepy and personally invasive tendencies, i just dont have a choice. im still eaiting on the money step and the getting laid step.
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