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Old 08-31-2013, 07:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Sad for those who don't understand

How many times have we read the words "I'm not doing AA because I'm not religious" or "I refuse to say that I'm powerless".

If they could only see that AA is far more than a program to achieve sobriety. For me, realizing that goodness and accountability remains on this earth and that it starts with me has restored my faith in humanity and in myself. The perk is I get to get sober at the same time.

They don't get the words "as we understand him" and choose to imagine people all praying to one God that they must believe in for them to be healed.

Finally, it's perceived that admitting being powerless is a negative experience. On the contrary, the day that I admitted that I was it was as though a ton of bricks had been unloaded off of my back. I was powerless, every attempt that I had made had failed.

I respect everyone's decision as to what works for them but I wish that I could share the indescribable feelings that I have now. The peace, the serenity, and the true enjoyment of life. I've had some close calls and because of this place and my belief in AA I continue forward. I never imagined that this could be possible, not ever. I truly believed that I would die alone as a drunk having alienated everyone in my life because of who I was when I drank. I was headed in that direction.

I just can't be more thankful. I see those comments and they're much representative of the surface. It's like saying you don't want to go see the pyramids because you saw a blurry picture of two of the stones. There is so much more to see with clarity.
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not in AA, and I think whatever way we find recovery is a good way....but having studied it a little, I agree with you on both points here LB

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Old 08-31-2013, 07:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm finding AA to be an acquired taste. At first I was resistant, even militantly resistant to the program. Then I read many of the posts on SR by AA members and a few people's stories really resonated. So I started attending meetings, reading (really studying) the BB, reading the 12-Step threads here and listening to AA speaker recordings. I vowed to keep an open mind, and I've found that I'm becoming more attracted to the spiritual and moral house cleaning aspects of the program.

Of course, suffering through literally hundreds of brutal, physical and emotional hangovers after vowing to never drink again helped to persuade me. In hindsight, I wish I had not been so hard-headed, I could have saved myself a lot of pain.

There are ways for most people to make the program work, many just need to give it an honest try before rejecting what AA has to offer.
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
(HERBERT SPENCER )
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks so much Dee, you've seen me post about choices. I fully and unequivocally support everyone in the right of choice of program. If it works for them that's all that matters.

My wish though is that the concept of AA wasn't what it is for those who don't understand it. I was there once too and had I only known and realized this years ago I would have caused a lot less grief for a lot of people.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Why I dig AA

Other than saving my life here are more reasons why I dig AA meetings . And reasons I hope it gives you hope .

AA provides a haven for the truly down and out who often have no place else to spend a an hour or so of their day .

You can even go to an AA meeting in jail .

What you do for a living doesn't matter to anyone in AA .No one is put on a pedestal .

Nobody is in charge . Our leaders are but trusted servants .

It allows fellowship amongst folks with similar problems and similar outlooks on life .

People can fairly easily get back a sense of self worth and self importance through service work if they are willing .

Making coffee in AA is a highly respectable job .

AA provides a sounding board for those who may feel they have been forgotten by the rest of the world . I know I felt forgotten for awhile .

It can help people with their social skills, public speaking skills and relationships can and are developed .

AA gives us simple problem solving skills like prayer, The Big Book with all it's wisdom and guidance from others which are easy enough solutions for me .

It provides a real escape for people who are facing real life problems such as unemployement, poverty, sadness. It takes us out of ourselves if only for an hour .

AA only has one requirement for membership, a desire to stop drinking, any and all are welcome into it's rooms .

In AA we can identify with others like ourselves and it provides a measure of hope .

We find a a place of acceptance which is almost surreal .

We hear people speak from their hearts about their flaws openly and honestly .

We are not judged, in fact no one even bat's an eyelash when we talk about the terrible things we did .

AA offers a place of refuge for those who feel hopeless and have no where else to go .

We can choose whatever conception of God we like .

You can not be kicked out of AA. Even if you leave . You are always welcome back .

I don't have to be a rocket scientist to approach and apply the steps to my life, just willing .

All the coffee you can drink and sometimes some donuts too!!

It provides a social outlet with monthly gatherings such as dances, picnics, softball games without the temptation to drink .

It taught me how to smile again .

It helps me stay away from a drink one day at a time .

I gave everything away to alcohol and AA gave me back myself .

I really did find hope and that was just the beginning .
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Unfortunately, AA is not a consistent or universal experience. It is different everywhere.

The adoption of its principles as a rehabilitation program by many commercial interests and telling people that its ok if you use a doorknob as your higher power don't help credibility much either.

I've been to my share of AA meetings, open and closed, and I have a pile of literature that I find about as contradictory as the Bible. I get nothing from reading any of it. At an AA meeting I generally feel as if I'm a puppy that is being taught not to poop inside the house.

Perhaps it might benefit AA to update and secularize its literature\traditions\teachings\etc for real and quit pretending that a higher power stops the drinking for the alcoholic.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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for once it would be really great if a thread like this didn't devolve into an ideological skirmish.

If AA doesn't do it for anyone reading this there's numerous other secularly based approaches that might.

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Old 08-31-2013, 08:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah sorry, I just wanted to make the point that when folks say things like that, they aren't necessarily making an excuse, and they may have actually tried the program and found it too incompatible with their own beliefs to allow them to find comfort or strength from it.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Perhaps it might benefit AA to update and secularize its literature\traditions\teachings\etc for real and quit pretending that a higher power stops the drinking for the alcoholic.
This description of a Spiritual Awakening was written over 6 decades before I experienced it first hand.

"We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition."
(page 85)

I don't believe the Big Book because it was written by a nice guy. I don't believe the Big Book because some nice people told me I should. I don't believe the Big Book because it is the popular thing to do. I believe the Big Book simply because it match's my personal experience precisely as I lived it.

If it does not match your experience, perhaps your experience is the result of inexperience?
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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LOL. Nice.

If there nothing that you like, you must like the things that you have

Yes, you are correct. I've had no spiritual experiences. I have no spiritual condition. I don't believe a higher power can remove my problems. That path does not exist in my reality.

That doesn't mean I'm to be pitied.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yes, you are correct. I've had no spiritual experiences. I have no spiritual condition. I don't believe a higher power can remove my problems. That path does not exist in my reality.

That doesn't mean I'm to be pitied.
I have some bad news and some good news;

First the bad news - you qualify for the Herbert Spencer quote mentioned above.

Next the good news - you qualify for what is known as the "Principle of Favorability".

In the alchemist what is principle of favorability

You don't need to take my word for it. You need not like it nor believe in it one tiny little bit. It works for anyone new to the spiritual path. In fact, go ahead and call it "Boleo's stupid hair-brained theory" for now. What you call it does not diminish it's efficacy the least bit. All you have to do is "Do the deed".

1. Find someplace completely private.
2. Tell no one what you are going to do.
3. Start your prayer off with the most pesimistic opening line you can think of: ie; "To that which I know does not exist -"
4. Follow your introduction with this simple little prayer *

"GO AHEAD - DISTURB MY DAY".


*Watch out. This will bring a spiritual experience into your life within 72 hours. Whether you believe it or not. Whether you you want it or not. Whether you expect it is real or not.

The Principle of Favorability is not my theory. It is built into the fabric of the Universe. If you fail to get prodigious results within 72 hours, I will eat my words and issue you a formal apology. For the first time ever on SR, I will announce "BOLEO WAS WRONG!".
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Although skeptical at the start AA has been an amazing help. Since meetings take place several times a day across the world you can always find a meeting. It's a great time to listen and share with other people going through the same struggles. Admitting powerlessness has been the key for me. Being reminded that I am a drunk everyday is very important because any good I do can be lost with drinking in my life. I am working the 12 steps and many who have complete peace in their life attribute it to the 12 step program. I am willing to give it a try.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm busting a gut here Boleo.

Let me know when your carnival is coming my way, I'd love to catch your act.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm busting a gut here Boleo.

Let me know when your carnival is coming my way, I'd love to catch your act.
The Spirituality that I talk of is nothing to fool around with. All you need to do to prove it right or wrong is to follow my suggestions. The proof is in the pudding.

Do you have the willingness to follow directions? Or are you going to do what the AA newcomers do who fail to get results - procrastinate?

P.S. Tell no one if you are going to do it. Following directions to the "T" is important.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:08 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I hear ya LB. I truly hated AA early on. I'm not even sure why, but I didn't like that I "had" to go, probably. (court ordered, I was). I couldn't deny though, that there WAS something going on that I liked. Couldn't put my finger on it at the time......I can now though. It's true recovery beyond just not drinking and attending meetings.

It took a lot of searching but I did eventually find ppl that I looked up to, respected, and that had qualities I wanted to emulate and have myself someday.

That I can't "convince" more ppl what they might be missing out on is frustrating to me sometimes but it helps me to remember that there was probably nobody on the planet who could have talked me into AA prior to my being ready to surrender just a little. When my mind was closed, nothing and nobody was getting in. When I remember that it's not my job to do the convincing, I'm far less bothered. The convincing comes from the individual in question and God...... I'm more just there to be a helpful observer and, hopefully, a good example.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Still funny, Confucius Boleo. While I'm enjoying the little trap you're laying, I have read the Big Book, and know that there are a few circular passages about finding said power within.

Please don't imply that you know the level of dedication I had to getting said program to work for me. Mentally it put me back on a kneeler in fourth grade and despite my efforts I could never overcome that feeling.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Please don't imply that you know the level of dedication I had to getting said program to work for me. Mentally it put me back on a kneeler in fourth grade and despite my efforts I could never overcome that feeling.
AA did not work for me either the first 2 - 3 years. Why? Because I followed most, but not all, of the directions I was given.

When I started following all the directions I was given, including the one's that I thought were absurd, that's when I started getting results.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:17 AM   #19 (permalink)
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First of all the Herbert Spencer quote is not by Herbert Spenser. If your reaction to this assertion is contempt, please investigate this article. http://www.aabibliography.com/pdffil..._Quotation.pdf

What this thread has made me think of is the inherent need that most, if not all, human beings have for "individuation". That is, the need to be separate and unique individuals. I think this need is far more pronounced in most alcoholics than it is in the general population. I also believe this is why, for many alcoholics, the idea of achieving sobriety by a method not entirely of their own invention seems distasteful. Thus LadyBlue, the idea of “turning” their “will and life over to the care of” anything other than themselves seems blatantly abhorrent.

In the same vain, following suggestions seemingly deprives that individual of their will, and thus, their individuality. And so you have those who are unwilling to attempt even simple suggestions.

People cannot get the benefits of the 12 steps by reading them. They will never understand them until they are put into action. I believe this is because these understandings are “beyond the confines of mere rationalism”. It’s something you can’t “get” intellectually.

Thanks LadyBlue for starting this thread. I fear however that the only people who will get it are those who have already gotten it. My hope is that perhaps a few will be encouraged to find out for themselves.
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Old 09-01-2013, 04:59 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I understand LB. At times I can't help to wish others could find what we have found. The peace and serenity. Whether they use AA or not. I know that AA is not the only way, it is just my way.

I think the hard part for me is that for some, they do not realize they are suffering. I never thought I was. I lived that way for so long that thinking there was another way had never occurred to me.

When I went to AA nine years ago I did not see any of what I see now. I did not see the laughter or the joy. I did not see the steps as a way out not only for my present but my past. I did not even think about surrender or a HP. I never felt gratitude for the program and all the men and woman that are a part of it. Not even once. I don't think I was consciously fighting it at the time.

What made me keep my BB all those years is a mystery to me. I had a lot of the books but they all got water damage when the basement leaked in a place I was renting. When I found them all damaged I was not even sad. The BB only survived because I had a leather cover on it. A cover I bought because I had made it three months and I was cocky. So I placed it in my cedar chest. Throwing it out with the others just felt wrong.

I have been told by many that it was not my time. I can't help but to think that is true. The promises clearly state...Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. When people see me they may think I got it quickly. They have told me so. They have told me that they can see sobriety working though me and the promises are coming true for me. What many do not see is the "slowly". I suffered for nine more years. I think that is fairly slow but they did materialize. I may not have been working them but the fact that I kept that BB tells me that my HP was doing for me what I could not do for myself.

You said you wish that you could share the indescribable feelings that you have now. You just did and I am sure you do at meetings as well. If by you sharing you have helped even one person then you are doing what you can do. The only other thing we can do is to pray for them.
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God is the only one that can truly judge us and he waits until the very last second because there is always time for change.
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