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Mizz is going to Alcoholics Anonymous

Old 02-15-2018, 06:32 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I am totally with you Mizz.

But I think O's idea of mixing it up and seeing if you can find a meeting that works for you is a good idea.

I also think Mike's idea that working the steps is more important than the meetings seems right and in my view can be done alone (nobody shoot me).

But where Mike and I part company is the belief that "Nothing short of continuous action on the 12 steps as a way of life will bring about the much desired result"

I am not saying that working the steps doesn't work -- I love and respect Mike, BerryBean, PT, and many others who are staunch proponents of AA and step work in their cases it clearly worked.

But in my case, due to my personal circumstances living abroad I never did any of it and I consider myself to have achieved the desired result. And I kind of resent the notion that I have not (sorry guys).

I think this is what is getting at you -- its the one size fits all notion developed almost a 100 years ago being viewed as though it is the only solution. It was the only solution then maybe, but today it is one of many.

Like you, I did other things, SR, Hip Sobriety, lots of reading including AA material, therapy, etc. And when I now read the steps I realise I did them in my own way (mostly).

Do I think that working the steps properly insulates us from relapse? I don't, but others would disagree based on their own experience.

But here is the thing. If you have never seriously worked the steps why not try it? If BB, PT and Mike say it works, I believe them. Maybe I will do it to.

But if you work them with someone, make it someone like Mike, PT, or BB. You are too thoughtful to have someone slinging slogans at you.

You and O are going to get there. And I am going to succeed in my recovery from Chaos. I feel it. Because we can do hard things!
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Pagekeeper View Post
Hey Mizz!

Gottalife pointed out some great stuff.

Even though it sounds like you are on the fence about AA, I believe you nailed one important observation at your meeting:



If you are still interested in AA, it's not a bad idea to get the AA book and learn what AA is really about. There's actually nothing in the AA program that says we are not unique. In fact, in the appendice for the Spiritual Experience, the personality change is described as taking many different forms in each of us, which I would consider pretty individual and unique!

As for the language used to describe the program, yes, there is an AA specific jargon. I don't really know of a recovery program that doesn't have it's own jargon ... even here, on SR, there is a specific use of terminology to describe addiction, its behaviors, characteristics, etc. AA actually does address the personal use of terms in "We Agnostics" and the reader is encouraged to ask themselves what the spiritual expressions in the book mean specifically to the reader (again, I would say this seems to encourage having an individual or unique experience to the person reading).

A few other things you mentioned that have no relationship to the actual AA program:

--"Calling a sponsor every day." Personally, I've always felt like this was a control issue with the person sponsoring. My only condition with a sponsee is that they are willing to investigate whether they are an alcoholic and if they find that they are, that they are open to working the steps and reading AA literature to learn what the program is and isn't. If they feel like they need to call me every day, that's fine too. In the beginning, sponsees tend to need more of my time, but as they work the steps, they become more grounded and need me less and less. I would actually be concerned if a sponsee was still calling me for every little thing in their life after having worked through a good chunk of program.

--"Step 5" - I had tremendous doubts and fear about this step as well, but the first 4 steps have to be done before the 5th, and a lot can happen in these four steps.

--"Can't remain sober without AA" AA literature suggests we know only a little and people should follow their own conscience.

Unfortunately, some things heard in AA are opinions and not program.
That is why obtaining a book and reading about the program is always a good thing if one is interested in what AA might have to offer them.

Feel free to message me if I can be of help.

I had a feeling of well being as I walked by myself down the street after my first meeting. The obsession to drink was gone. No white knuckling it. That was it.

The BB? I didn't know anything about it. The first book I read in AA was Living Sober which was handed to me after my initial meeting.

Yes, our experiences do vary.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Dropsie View Post
....But here is the thing. If you have never seriously worked the steps why not try it? If BB, PT and Mike say it works, I believe them. Maybe I will do it to.

But if you work them with someone, make it someone like Mike, PT, or BB. You are too thoughtful to have someone slinging slogans at you.
The people in AA who had what are wanted were those who didn`t say a lot in meetings. They weren't parroting slogans or platitudes and when they spoke I believed them. They were non-judgmental.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:15 AM
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What really trips me up about the steps of AA is the religious aspect.. I know people say your higher power can be anything and it's not religious, but let's be honest.. it kind of is.

I consider myself spiritual, not religious. My screen name literally means "order and beauty of the cosmos". I find myself saying and thinking things like trust in the "universe" which could be a substitution for the word "God" but I don't think "the universe" would be an adequate higher power for many people in AA. Step 7: humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings. Sorry, nope.

The rest of it I can do.. admit I became powerless over my addiction and my life was unmanageable, easy done. I could write for days about all the mistakes I've made and how drinking changed my "character" into something I knew was wrong. Do I think these defects of character are something I was inherently born with and therefor have no power within myself to change? No I don't.

The last meeting I went to was a "free thinkers" group or something like that where we met at a meditation center and read out of the book 365 Tao. And they had amended the 12 steps to basically just word them differently. Really liked the structure of that more but unfortunately it was a really small group and I didn't click with the people so much.

So anyway all this to say.. it's possible to find alternative AA groups and imo it's possible to do this without AA at all. So don't beat yourself up and don't see your relapse as meaning you'll inevitably fail in the future without someone there to watch your every move and track your progress.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:17 AM
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Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- That our lives had become unmanageable.

Yes, this has always been the truth. I am an alcoholic and I cannot control myself under the influence of alcohol. My life became unmanageable while I was sober the last 10 plus months. One too many things happened in a short period of time. My life was and is a damn mess while sober and nothing has changed due to my brief relapse.

Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

My fierce belief in a a power greater than myself is probably the only reason why I am alive today. I believe in god. I pray to god daily. It is a god of my own understanding. I come from a background of Christianity. I take some of this and that and apply it to my life. I do have faith. God, please restore me to sanity. Whatever that is, please restore. Maybe I have never been sane and so please put sanity where it is needed.

Step 3: Made a decision to our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood him.

Maybe I have fallen short in this area. I have now made the decision to let god care for my life and get out of my own way. My will? I dont know what that is? In regards to drinking, I dont want to drink. I dont have the will to drink any longer. I knew it was a bad idea to drink in the first place. Why did I drink then? I have no idea now. I can say its because of this and that but then it would be an excuse and I dont want to give excuses. I made a bad decision

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I am selfish. I am arrogant. I get in my own way. I am overly sensitive. I am controlling, I am an alcoholic etc. I work on these "Defects" all the time. Sun up to sun down I am aware of myself and aware of my shortcomings. I take responsibility for my "defects" or "shortcomings" and I play nice in the world. I apologize promptly and correct my actions when I know I have done something wrong or out of character.

Step 5: Admitted to god, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

I have done this 3 times. I am willing to do this again. When I mess up or do something wrong I am the first one to admit to it, look at it and own it. I cant live with myself if I am not accountable. Isnt that what this step is about? Accountability and looking at our role in what has transpired.


Am I allowed to work these steps on my own without the meetings? I like the steps. I do think they are a guide to proper living.

I have had lengthy periods of AA and its not just a sample size. Its not one meeting that gives me this impression.

I am willing to go back, sit, listen, participate and learn. I am willing to do something different because I relapsed and my relapses revolve around emotional catastrophic situations. I am conscious of this fact now.

My sisters terminal cancer diagnosis= Relapse
I didn't make it back to sobriety until 2 years later

Separation from spouse, suicide and job loss= Relapse
I made it back to sobriety after 3 times of drinking. I think that is a good step in the right direction and I am not drinking today.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:25 AM
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My will? I dont know what that is?

my will is my thoughts. my life is my actions.

Am I allowed to work these steps on my own without the meetings?
yes, you can. a great place to get help with the steps and what each means and how they work would be in the 12 step forum here. its a great place to ask questions- threads are like online step study meetings. lots of good stuff in those threads.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mizzuno View Post
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- That our lives had become unmanageable.

Yes, this has always been the truth. I am an alcoholic and I cannot control myself under the influence of alcohol. My life became unmanageable while I was sober the last 10 plus months. One too many things happened in a short period of time. My life was and is a damn mess while sober and nothing has changed due to my brief relapse.

Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

My fierce belief in a a power greater than myself is probably the only reason why I am alive today. I believe in god. I pray to god daily. It is a god of my own understanding. I come from a background of Christianity. I take some of this and that and apply it to my life. I do have faith. God, please restore me to sanity. Whatever that is, please restore. Maybe I have never been sane and so please put sanity where it is needed.

Step 3: Made a decision to our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood him.

Maybe I have fallen short in this area. I have now made the decision to let god care for my life and get out of my own way. My will? I dont know what that is? In regards to drinking, I dont want to drink. I dont have the will to drink any longer. I knew it was a bad idea to drink in the first place. Why did I drink then? I have no idea now. I can say its because of this and that but then it would be an excuse and I dont want to give excuses. I made a bad decision

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I am selfish. I am arrogant. I get in my own way. I am overly sensitive. I am controlling, I am an alcoholic etc. I work on these "Defects" all the time. Sun up to sun down I am aware of myself and aware of my shortcomings. I take responsibility for my "defects" or "shortcomings" and I play nice in the world. I apologize promptly and correct my actions when I know I have done something wrong or out of character.

Step 5: Admitted to god, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

I have done this 3 times. I am willing to do this again. When I mess up or do something wrong I am the first one to admit to it, look at it and own it. I cant live with myself if I am not accountable. Isnt that what this step is about? Accountability and looking at our role in what has transpired.


Am I allowed to work these steps on my own without the meetings? I like the steps. I do think they are a guide to proper living.

I have had lengthy periods of AA and its not just a sample size. Its not one meeting that gives me this impression.

I am willing to go back, sit, listen, participate and learn. I am willing to do something different because I relapsed and my relapses revolve around emotional catastrophic situations. I am conscious of this fact now.

My sisters terminal cancer diagnosis= Relapse
I didn't make it back to sobriety until 2 years later

Separation from spouse, suicide and job loss= Relapse
I made it back to sobriety after 3 times of drinking. I think that is a good step in the right direction and I am not drinking today.
Sure you can.

My guess is the number of people who decide to work the 12 steps online will only increase.

But I still enjoy AA meetings and have been attending them at least once a week since I joined.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:09 AM
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If anyone is hung up on the religious aspect of AA, you should read a bit about what Bill and his buds meant when they wrote the steps.

Its an eye opener. Some interesting stuff going on with those guys.

Like with many things, AA has been co-opted in many places especially in the US by traditional and sometimes rather conservative Christian thinking, which is fine if you are a traditional Christian.

If you are not, it can make people feel like its not for them, which is shame as on this point the evidence is pretty clear that they really did mean a god of your understanding, in the broadest sense. I mean I like a good Ouija board kind of stuff. More power to them in my view, but it brings home the point that it did not matter what you believed in, it was that you believed in something greater than yourself or that you believed in your best self.

One thing that my struggle with the bottle has taught is the real power of belief, faith and trust. I have always thought that everything started and ended with me and that my job was to move forward towards specific results and that if I did not get there, I had failed. My obligation as a human being was to contribute in particular ways and if I failed I was not worthy.

But I have found, for what its worth, that if I start each day believing as long as I do the next right thing in the right way that its going to be ok in the end and ifs not ok its not the end, and trust myself and the universe to have my back, life becomes so much easier. Not always easy to do for me, but really makes a change.

As a tad of a control freak I find this letting go to my attachments to results as opposed to process (clean house and then just do the next right thing and let the universe take care of the rest) a tad difficult, but really makes a movement when I get there.

At the end, I think that is what AA is all about. I once had a doctor tell me that he always told his patients to go to AA and work the steps whether they had drinking problems or not. That it was the best free group therapy available. I think he had a point, and why they say take what helps and leave the rest.

On that note, I gotta go fix some chaos....

XX
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:25 AM
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PS. Great idea to work the steps with the SR folks! We know we like those peeps...
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:11 PM
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So Step 4 is interesting if you read the book. It starts with listing your resentments. I have way more of those than I thought I did...
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Obladi View Post
So Step 4 is interesting if you read the book. It starts with listing your resentments. I have way more of those than I thought I did...
I noticed how many resentments I had over the last 6 months, O. I was telling my SO last night that I really need to find a way to be okay when he left the lawnmower out in the yard, or when the bathmat was not hung up on the tub. ..... I put a lot of energy in to that kind of stuff.

Its stupid and irrelevant if you think about it but things that I def had issues and "resentments" over.

Even went as far to resent him and his supposed lack of support with my chronic relapsing. How would a person even know how to support a chronic relapser that changes her mind like socks?

Oh the roads we will go.......

I crack myself up, O
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:25 PM
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So do I need to send you a book or what?

I swear, I hope you know, I'm not a BB thumper. I just think it's brilliant and another tool to help you on this journey. If you stick with what those guys wrote, it's amazing how right they were about what happens with us and how open they were with their suggestions.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Obladi View Post
So do I need to send you a book or what?

I swear, I hope you know, I'm not a BB thumper. I just think it's brilliant and another tool to help you on this journey. If you stick with what those guys wrote, it's amazing how right they were about what happens with us and how open they were with their suggestions.
I actually think I have a book at the house. I can also look online.

I will read some this evening.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:16 PM
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Anxiety? I worry to be sure but I have learned to get out of my comfort zone and take action. When the financial crisis hit the U.S. (2006-2010) I was all but ruined and my anxiety level reached new heights. There was so much going and most of it bad but the thought of a drink never occurred to me.

It's when I'm in an airport and I see a bar or walking down a street and see people outside enjoying a drink on a sunny day that I say, "That looks nice."
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Dropsie View Post
...Like with many things, AA has been co-opted in many places especially in the US by traditional and sometimes rather conservative Christian thinking, which is fine if you are a traditional Christian.XX
I will be spending time in an area of the US next month where God is the HP and the Lords Prayer closes all meetings. Not sure if such meetings qualify as Christian but they certainly seem God centered.

I have also spent time in California where some members make a point of bashing organized religion particularly Christianity. Your HP is XYX? Great. No need to tag on why you dislike the church.

But in the end it is what it is... And as long as the meeting use a timer to keep shares in check I'm good.
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:21 AM
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Really interesting thread. The AA debate could be never-ending, eh? I was desperate. Truly desperate. I didn't believe in or understand the AA program. But out of desperation, I said - ok, I'll do what you weird people tell me to do. (I thought they were all weird and felt really bad for those who had multiple years of sobriety and STILL needed meetings...hahaha ) It has saved my life.

I believe everyone has their own journey and story. Sending you good thoughts.
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:32 AM
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Great post LindaJean.

OK so Mizz is going to read the book, O is going plan what to do to the house when she gets it back, and I am going to finish my article and we will meet back here on Sunday! Bossy right ...

Officially signing off until my article is finished -- wish me luck.. as I said in O's thread, if I post not starting with my article is finished, send me packing...
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:07 AM
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As to whether one can successfully take the steps without a sponsor, and by successful I mean the person has a spiritual experience, my opinion is that it depends.

We know at least some early AA's read the book and did the steps on their own and then they went on to help others and form their own groups. So it's definitely possible. What we don't know is how many others tried doing it on their own but failed.

I don't believe that I could have done the steps on my own. I was too delusional regarding my alcoholism. I also had very little self-awareness of my defects. My attention span was about 2 minutes. It helped tremendously to have a sponsor who experienced the steps to give me focus, ask the right questions, and to push me to get rigorously honest.
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Old 02-16-2018, 07:15 AM
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Good for you! I find itís hard to recover alone....a good support system is AA.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:47 PM
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- Sharing an inventory with strangers. I have done this three times now and I am not in a position in my life where I think this is appropriate for me.
HUH? Why the focus on Step 5? The steps are done in order, with the help of a sponsor. Perhaps you shouldn't think of steps beyond one-two-three and get an interim sponsor?

For me it was simple: my best thinking got me drunk so I should just shut up and listen then take suggestions. I came in with total fear that if I drank again I would die (which almost happened) so I didn't cheery-pick things I didn't understand. It was obvious my will was self-destructive.
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