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|03-01-2011, 11:18 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2010
First, I apologize if this is not appropriate for this forum, but it is something that I really need to discuss with others, and I'm not sure where else to talk about it.
I have had a recent relapse, and am feeling very confused about which direction to go. Most of my previous attempts to stay sober have involved working a 12-step program with a sponsor and trying to do everything the program suggested. Now I don't blame the program for my failure to stay sober; I think my relapses have all been because of some inability (so far) to truly accept that abstinence is the only answer.
This last time, I started out by spending 30 days in rehab, during which time I had a very clear realization that the higher power idea was not going to work for me. I truly believe that the power to stay sober is inside myself, not something outside of myself. However, I have continued to go to AA and to an outpatient program that mainly encourages 12-step programs, because that is basically the only face-to-face support available in my area. I did recently find a SMART meeting that I really liked, which is about a 40-minute drive from my house, but I could probably get to it once a week. Though because of my relapse, I have not been back to it yet.
Even though I had been going to AA meetings, the SMART program is really what I was working. But I was finding myself getting really caught up on the stuff I disagree with in AA, even though I was trying to "take what I can and leave the rest," as they say. So in trying to figure out where I went wrong this time, I am really questioning whether the support I get from AA is worth the conflict I have with the program. My intuition seems to be telling me to stop going to AA and just go to that SMART meeting once a week, really immerse myself into the SMART program this time, without the conflict of a program that is somewhat contradictory. But, given my recent relapse, I am not currently trusting my "intuition" very much.
So, I guess what I am wanting to know: Is there anyone on here who is working a program such as SMART while still attending AA for the support. And if so, how do you resolve the conflict between the programs? And am I really just doing myself and other AA members a disservice by going there with no intention of working the steps (well, unless I mostly re-write them)?
I hope this post does not come across as bashing AA; that is definitely not my intention. I have seen that the program does work for many people. But I feel like, on its own, it is not the right program for me. However, in my confusion, I am really not certain if that is the truth or if it is just my little addict brain trying to keep me away from support.
|03-01-2011, 12:56 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Nashville, TN
Blog Entries: 2
I think what finally kicks in and works for us is different. Sometimes I think it has as much to do with the timing as the "method" or "program" or lack thereof. I think I finally began doing better and actually moved forward was when I stopped dwelling on quitting drinking and staying sober to the point of obsession and started concentrating on having a good life. Exercise, healthy eating and developing good relationships were crucial. I found that the more I concentrated had meetings about etc. not drinking, drinking was still a focus of my life. I had to get past this. All this being said, if there were one iota of an idea that I could somehow possibly drink with some kind of control, then it would be hopeless for me. I kind of just approach life now like, ok I don't drink so what's next. I still look at recovery issues, obviously I am here. Not drinking is not however a focus of my life. I know I can't do that, so instead I focus on thing I can and like to do and contributions I can make instead. I get these posts from Google Reader and always enjoy the conversations. It still doesn't hurt to be reminded from time to time where I was at at one time. Anyway, short of shorts is that for me drinking is not an option, so I don't too much concentrate on that any more. But still, different strokes for different folks. Right now my concentration is training for a Half Marathon end of next month. I always try and keep some goal in front of me and the drinking behind.
|03-01-2011, 01:04 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Detroit, MI
Second, You are on the right track about not trusting your "intuition". No matter what program you use, you will need to do some inventory work designed to weed out at least some of your delusional thinking.
Third, AA does not work well for people who are are not ready to follow directions. Specially directions that don't make sense. Spirituality in general does not make sense but that does not mean it does not get results. I found the parts of it that ended up helping me the most were the same parts that I originally found baffling, disturbing or paradoxical.
>>> If it makes sense - It ain't spiritual!
- All Big Book quotes are from first Edition -
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|03-01-2011, 03:34 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I started by going to a lot of meetings. The program made no sense to me, but I knew that if I went to meetings I would stay sober. Then after a while I could see how the program could be translated to an atheist understanding.
Everyone thought the earth was flat until some people were able to understand the big picture, but the whole time they were all standing on the same earth.
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|03-01-2011, 11:05 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Palm Beach County, FL
Have you tried all the AA meetings in your area? I've found there are some serious differences among them, and I try to find meetings that give me a high ratio of content that I find encouraging, enlightening and meaningful to bumper sticker slogans.
I'm in a similar situation in that the meeting I really like (a freethinker's meeting) is a 30 minute drive from me, but I left my home group and started attending it every time I can, making up the difference by reading groups online and studying. One good meeting with good content is far better to me than having to sift through the **** of six.
I find studying the history of AA and recent information on alcoholism to be very empowering to me. We know a lot more about the subject than we did when we were using belladonna on drunks at Towns hospital. I believe I metabolize alcohol differently than 90% of the population. It is a physical condition that requires that I not use; studying what makes us different underscores the importance of abstinence for me.
|03-02-2011, 08:52 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxnard (The Nard), CA, USA.
Blog Entries: 10
So now I have a God/HP and I can work the steps. The BB is authored by people that have a different HP than mine...and that's ok. I am allowed to have my understanding and they have there's. The BB authors write about how they connect to their God/HP. That's cool...I can use their example of how they made that connection to inspire me to make my connection to what I refer to as the unknown or my HP.
I see the authors pray to their God. I use a mantra to access my HP. Again I see this as a difference of understandings between our HP's. This is inline with the a God/HP of my understanding doctrine in the steps. Naturally, understanding of a God/HP can vary between AA members and so will commecting to such power.
It has all become simply clear to me once I developed my personal idea of a HP and connected to it. Before having my HP in my life the steps and the BB (and life for that matter) looked like a daunting challenge...one that I may have not have overcome without the guidance my HP's (various people of wisdom and Zen masters) have given me.
|03-03-2011, 08:52 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Blog Entries: 1
well explained Zencat.
My friends in AA have told me I have to find my own path within the program. I'm a bb thumper, but not in the traditional method. The BB gives us questions. The answers are very individual, but can lead to recovery for anyone.
Copyright © 2010 - 2010 Ananda
You can't stop living just because it hurts a little - Ananda's Mom
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|03-22-2011, 01:32 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2010
Thank you for all of the replies - very helpful. Sorry I sort of disappeared, but I've been finding it very difficult to get back on the wagon and stay. This is why "just one" slip is so dangerous for me. Right now I am on day 2 (again) and hoping to stay on track. I'm still feeling this huge resistance to AA, but I'm trying to convince myself that it would be better to go be around sober alcoholics than sitting home by myself, even if I don't agree with a lot of the program.
@JerryT: Yes, I have tried pretty much all of the AA meetings in my area. Though I'm now questioning whether the meetings I chose to go to regularly were the best meetings for me. There probably were some more like-minded people at some of the other meetings, so maybe it is worth getting involved with some different meetings this time.
Feeling confused... But I am so grateful for this site. Even though I've been isolating lately, I've been reading so much on here, and it's so helpful to know that I'm not alone. :-)
|03-23-2011, 07:59 AM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxnard (The Nard), CA, USA.
Blog Entries: 10
On a side note, the Mayo Clinic defines alcoholism very closely to AA's definition of an alcoholic. AA uses the powerless concept wile another view is lack of control. Very similar me thinks
Anywho keep reading and posting here at SR because this is a great place for support. Maybe join one of the Newcomer's Daily Support Threads - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information groups for a daily check-in.
 You may not be able to control when you drink, how much you drink, or how long you drink on each occasion. If you have alcoholism, you continue to drink even though you know it's causing problems with your relationships, health, work or finances.
|03-23-2011, 01:05 PM||#10 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2010
Of course, it would help if I would stop having to introduce myself as a newcomer. Since I've been doing that off and on for a few years now, it seems to invite people to come up and ask me about my sponsor and if I'm working the steps, etc. And I know they mean well, but sometimes that pushes me away. (I've had four different sponsors during that time, have tried working the steps, having commitments, etc., and it just hasn't worked for me yet.)
I just got home from an AA meeting, and it was helpful because I was in the right mindset (that seems to be the key). And I'm planning to go to a SMART meeting tomorrow night, so hopefully I'll get a chance to ask about reconciling the two programs while I'm there.
And I'll check out the newcomer stuff here that you suggested - thanks! :-)
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