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Mizz is going to Alcoholics Anonymous

Old 02-14-2018, 10:20 AM
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Mizz is going to Alcoholics Anonymous

After 10 plus months of sobriety and a relapse I have decided that my approach to this sober road is not working. .... Or rather I need more tools and a solid base of support that can help me through the severely rough periods.

There are signs leading up to the relapse that I did recognize but took limited action to stop:

Emotional Relapse: After the separation, job loss and suicide I became unable to process all that was happening.

Mental Relapse: I was becoming defensive, frustrated and highly anxious. I started to think about drinking. I vocalized drinking. I kept vocalizing drinking until I made it a reality.

Physical Relapse: My body became very tense and I could not relax for weeks on end. The only thing that I thought would relieve the pressure or "bursting feeling" was alcohol. And it did relieve the feeling. I could finally relax..... or so I thought. I blacked out. That is not relaxing and learning how to process, for the record.

After Relapse: I am back to ground zero emotionally. It took me 4 days to recover from the alcohol I drank. I am currently running off of severe anxiety again. I do not want to drink. I have no desire to drink. The few times I did drink only resulted in emotional and mental damage.

All signs point to Alcoholic Anonymous. I need more tools. I need face to face support. I will attend the meeting.

Today at noon.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:33 AM
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Right on Mizzuno!!
I think that one of the keys is flexibility. Recognizing when something is not working and exploring another road.
Rooting for you <3
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:48 AM
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Sounds like a great idea to me Mizzuno - The more tools the better in my book. Hope you meet some interesting people and get some new ideas!
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:08 AM
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This is awesome to see, Mizz

I applaud you for stretching further afield to find support
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:39 PM
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I have learned so much in AA. The big book seems like it's written for a 6th grader but in reality many of the concepts were very foreign too me. And actually many have taken years to really incorporate into my thinking. But I'll tell ya, the freedom that I live today wouldn't be possible without AA.

I'm still pretty bemused by the 'God-consciousness ' thing. But that's ok. Maybe in another decade I'll figure that one out
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:08 PM
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I went. I saw. I left.

These were my observations:

The coffee smell that I clearly remember from 2 lengthy periods of AA meetings.

We are taught that we we have "defects" and I truly have a very hard time thinking I am defective. I don't like the word. It feels abusive. I would not use it towards my loved ones and so why would I use it towards myself?

- I remember that each persons story is the same and no one is unique. There is the thought process that alcoholics think they are unique or the "terminal uniqueness' reference.

- The adoption of a program. The adoption of all the same words. The adoption that the only thing that works is that program and nothing else.

Yet, the man who shared, after the speaker, had 42 years sobriety. Many people raised their hands when it was 10 years or more of sobriety. The woman who introduced herself to me has been sober since 1989 or 1995. I cant remember. And she was very nice. And I cried, like i knew I would. And, I sat there because I knew I needed to. Because I am an alcoholic and I have been struggling with alcoholism and life.

Even though all these familiar smells, words, phrases and structure annoy the hell out me it works for the people who believe in AA. The saying "It works if you work it" is true for the ones who are working the program.

Do I want what they have? Yes, I desire long term sobriety.

Do I think it is the only road to sobriety? No.

Have I proven that my road is successful? No.

Am I giving up? No. Obviously not. I am still on the quest.

Will I go back? I am mulling over the thought that I will attend one meeting a week. I have not committed to it.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:36 PM
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Glad you're sober Mizz.

I don't believe AA is the only route either. But it is the one that's worked best for me. I know the feelings you are having about the coffee smell and the "we are all defective" language. I've had negative feelings about both of those too sometimes.

I believe no one is perfect. And I have a personality that makes me apt to engage in certain behaviors that aren't good. Those are my defects. Having them though doesn't make me defective - just human.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:45 PM
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It's good you went, Mizz. Adding one more tool is always a good idea in my book. If it's one meeting a week, please try to move around and try a good many. They are all the same but different. I've found rooms that are palatable and others that truly feel like fellowship. Try the same meeting twice - sometimes the first experience is different than the second.

Have you read the Big Book? I'm surprised that Frickaflip finds it's written for a 6th grader - my experience is that many people find it completely inaccessible. For my part, I love those first 88 pages because they tell it Just Like It Is in arcane language that somehow just trips my trigger. What can I say? I'm a nerd.

It's not the only route, but it's an avenue that may be helpful. Which you know.

O
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:56 PM
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Do I want what they have? Yes, I desire long term sobriety.

its a helluva lot more than just long term sobriety they have.
there a whole lot of promises that occur by working the steps and living the program.

it seems rather odd someone would say
. I need more tools. I need face to face support.
Because I am an alcoholic and I have been struggling with alcoholism and life.
Do I want what they have? Yes, I desire long term sobriety.
Have I proven that my road is successful? No.

yet only do one meeting a week
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tomsteve View Post
Do I want what they have? Yes, I desire long term sobriety.

its a helluva lot more than just long term sobriety they have.
there a whole lot of promises that occur by working the steps and living the program.

it seems rather odd someone would say
. I need more tools. I need face to face support.
Because I am an alcoholic and I have been struggling with alcoholism and life.
Do I want what they have? Yes, I desire long term sobriety.
Have I proven that my road is successful? No.

yet only do one meeting a week
Tomsteve,
Do you mean to sound insensitive? Am I reading you the wrong way?
Its just a bit rough, in my opinion.

I accept what you say in regards to one meeting a week. I do want long term sobriety. I do not necessarily like the feel of AA but I am not allowing the "feel" to take over. I did relapse and walked my ass down to a meeting. I dont crave alcohol and I am moving forward.

That being said, I do not know if AA is for my life. The program is not a one size fits all.

I am applying something different to my life, and it may not look the way you would apply it but its a different step than before. For that, I think I am doing a little bit better.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Mizzuno View Post
After 10 plus months of sobriety and a relapse I have decided that my approach to this sober road is not working. .... Or rather I need more tools and a solid base of support that can help me through the severely rough periods.

There are signs leading up to the relapse that I did recognize but took limited action to stop:

Emotional Relapse: After the separation, job loss and suicide I became unable to process all that was happening.

Mental Relapse: I was becoming defensive, frustrated and highly anxious. I started to think about drinking. I vocalized drinking. I kept vocalizing drinking until I made it a reality.

Physical Relapse: My body became very tense and I could not relax for weeks on end. The only thing that I thought would relieve the pressure or "bursting feeling" was alcohol. And it did relieve the feeling. I could finally relax..... or so I thought. I blacked out. That is not relaxing and learning how to process, for the record.

After Relapse: I am back to ground zero emotionally. It took me 4 days to recover from the alcohol I drank. I am currently running off of severe anxiety again. I do not want to drink. I have no desire to drink. The few times I did drink only resulted in emotional and mental damage.

All signs point to Alcoholic Anonymous. I need more tools. I need face to face support. I will attend the meeting.

Today at noon.
With regards to my own drinking history I drank as much if not more when life was going my way.

Best of luck on your journey.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:38 PM
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Mizz,
way to go on the willingness . took me years to get there.
and yes, i found a lot of the concepts and language abusive. 'defects' was one of them. later, i read about shortcomings, used interchangeably with defects. sheesh. okay....i had those and still do
just one small example...because one of my shortcomings is difficulty with openmindedness, and so i had a tough time .
but ultimately what took me there was seeing and knowing people who did indeed have what i wanted, and had gotten it/ there through doing the step stuff, and by the time i was desperate enough to do it, i knew it was the way forward for me.
just sharing, Mizz.
grappling with all the things that really offended me about and in AA was a fruitful challenge. still can be
i wish you well.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:41 PM
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Have you read the Big Book? I'm surprised that Frickaflip finds it's written for a 6th grader - my experience is that many people find it completely inaccessible. For my part, I love those first 88 pages because they tell it Just Like It Is in arcane language that somehow just trips my trigger. What can I say? I'm a nerd.

It's not the only route, but it's an avenue that may be helpful. Which you know.

O[/QUOTE]

I guess a sixth grader from 1930's America. I meant no offense. I actually think we are saying the same thing. The language and stories are straight forward. But the concepts, while simple, are quite deep. It took me a decade to understand the concept of acceptance the way I do today. And another decade will probably reveal an even deeper understanding. ODAAT? Totally foreign to me. I even thought it 'stupid' when I first heard it. Now I can't imagine any other way.
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Frickaflip233 View Post
I have learned so much in AA. The big book seems like it's written for a 6th grader but in reality many of the concepts were very foreign too me. And actually many have taken years to really incorporate into my thinking. But I'll tell ya, the freedom that I live today wouldn't be possible without AA.

I'm still pretty bemused by the 'God-consciousness ' thing. But that's ok. Maybe in another decade I'll figure that one out

The BB is not complicated and the language/culture of today much different to be sure. However, the alcoholic remains the same. Perhaps a comparison can be seen with the book "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck which is also an easy read.

The jargon and times were completely different when the book was first published but the feelings behind the two main characters with a dream is timeless.
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:06 PM
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What has always been hard for me to accept in AA:

- 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. Yes, I can share online. My picture is of Charlie Chaplin. Essentially I am super anonymous here. Not so much in the community I live.

- The last time I went to AA in order to "get what they had" I was asked to call a woman every single day. I'm a grown adult. I actually do not feel the need to call anyone, alcoholic or not, daily. It would not stop me from drinking anyway and I don't want to drink.

- I don't like the idea that I cannot and will not remain sober without AA. I don't like being told that I don't know better and I do not like being treated as if I cannot think for myself. I am still alive on the planet. I raised my self. I battled enough battles in my life to have many many metals . I'm just saying there is an arrogant approach with quite a few people that I have dealt with. Its not how I treat people.

- The lack of authenticity when I hear the stories bothers me. Why? Because it is all the same words being used over and over again. Higher power, get out of my own way, moral inventory, defective.

I get it is a program and it has structure. Structure is very good for alcoholics and for everyone in my opinion. I am highly structured, organized and detail oriented. Structure is a huge part of my existence. When someones life is so out of control it makes sense to apply the structure of the program and to watch their life turn around.

I just think I hit a BUMP in my road. Many bumps. Getting over this last bump was not something I could do and I relapsed. It was a series of unfortunate events that took me in to a place where I felt despondent. I felt tense for weeks. I couldn't shake it and I certainly tried. I made a bad decision. Even people in AA have relapsed. This **** happens. It really does. It doesnt have to happen but I accept that it happened to me.

The difference between this relapse and the last few relapses:
I came back here immediately. I did not continue drinking. I am not willing to continue drinking. I cannot continue drinking

What am I willing to do?
I am willing to keep moving forward. I am willing to look at my relapse and gain some perspective. Analyze it and learn from it. I am willing to be honest. I am willing to continue on in figuring out my sober adult self with this forum, books, literature on alcoholism, learning more of my triggers, learning how to sit with the discomfort when I am feeling like I am going to burst, make amends with the people I have hurt, find hope again, find peace. I am willing. I am willing to do something that I have not done over the last 10 months which was attend an AA meeting.

The jury is still out if I will make AA a part of my life. It doesn't have to be something I like in order for me to attend. I can go and pay the dollar to drink the coffee and eat the cookies. I dont have a job so it is something to get me out of the house
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Old 02-15-2018, 12:49 AM
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Hi Mizz,

I totally understand where you are coming from, I’ve had my ups and downs with AA. I attend only one meeting a week, it’s where I’ve found people just like me, where I do see the authenticity rather than lots of quoting big passages from the Big Book, or snap sayings. I’ve grown enough now to see that everyone and everything is fallible...that’s why I still see people with long term sobriety fall.

After my last messy relapse, I knew I had to do something differently...and my half-hearted suicide attempt was a real wake-up call.

Alcoholism was going to kill me. Fact. Did I want to die? Nope.

I am also fiercely independent and will immediately back away from someone who tells me I need to call them every day or attend 5 meetings a week or share my story when I don’t feel the need to. I was told I was overthinking everything and to keep it simple. But I didn’t want to ‘dumb down’...I had gone through some pretty intensive counselling and thinking things through is what had got me through.

I have found my place in the program. I have a group of ‘go-to’ people, I practice the steps, I go to my meeting and I try and help others.

I haven’t lost ‘me’, I have only gained new tools and am a million times stronger. I still balk at some things I hear. My ‘sponsor’...I don’t even like that title, recently told me she wouldn’t continue helping me if I didn’t keep up my meeting attendance. I cannot accept that help is conditional like that. I’m strong enough not to rely on anyone any more. I have my relationship with God, or at least the strong power of the Universe, and if that is right, then all is OK.

The steps were key for me. Not meetings. Not people.

I am me, and it is my path to follow.

Sending you positive thoughts my friend ❤️
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Mizzuno View Post
I went. I saw. I left.

These were my observations:

The coffee smell that I clearly remember from 2 lengthy periods of AA meetings.

We are taught that we we have "defects" and I truly have a very hard time thinking I am defective. I don't like the word. It feels abusive. I would not use it towards my loved ones and so why would I use it towards myself?

- I remember that each persons story is the same and no one is unique. There is the thought process that alcoholics think they are unique or the "terminal uniqueness' reference.

- The adoption of a program. The adoption of all the same words. The adoption that the only thing that works is that program and nothing else.

.
Hi Mizz, While I am glad you got to a meeting and took a look, I believe meetings are the worst possible way to learn what the AA program is all about. From the general sharing you have picked up a few misconceptions just in that one meeting, and that affects how you feel about the whole thing. A lot of the stuff you pick up in the general fellowship is miles off the mark.

Defects of character, I didn't have too much trouble with. I always seemed to do the wrong thing and I couldn't figure out why. If I had been a model citizen, with good values that I was able to live by, why was I so unhappy?. Why did I have so much difficulty getting on in the world? Maybe it was something to do with how I based my decisions.
So we are invited to take a good look at ourselves, and see how our experience really stacks up. In the process I learn what is meant by defect, and it is generally a particular emotion, say anger, which is more extreme than the norm. I still have anger but not in defective quantities. I now know that said defects or shortcomings, manifesting themselves when I was dry, where the things that primarily caused my drinking.

The is a part where we are the same, and a part where we are different. Alcoholism is the common denominator, the loss of choice and or control. We are all the same there or we would not be alcoholics.

In AA we have a "common solution upon which we can all agree and join in brotherly and harmonious action" A bit tongue in cheek to say we are all the same there, because many join the fellowship but never join the fellowship of the spirit. For those of us that do, sorry, but we have only one solution to offer and from experience we know it works if you do the whole thing and usually doesn't work if you don't.

It may not be the only solution to alcholism, though I am aware of no other that works for alcoholics of my type, but it is the only way AA has to offer. To claim we all got the same results doing different things just doesn't add up. I did what they did, perhaps with my own little quirks here and there, and I got what they got.

Now the stories. We are definitiely not the same there. Everybody has a different story. If anything it is our stories that seperate us. It is not the things we did that make us alcoholic. There were many things that happen to alcoholics that didn't happen to me. I will venture you never found yourself fighting police in the street. I did. That doesn't make me alcoholic any more tha the fact you never fought police makes you a non-alcoholic.

It was the events earlier in the day. That day I was arrested in at work in the morning for something I had done when drunk. I was processed through the court, quite scared I would be put a way, and seriously making the choice never to drink again. (This wasn't the first time)

So I leave court with all the reason in the world, and the firm conviction that I will not drink. Yet I was drinking in minutes. All the thoughts that should have saved me simply vanished from my consciousness. I had no defence against the fatal first drink, I had lost the power of choice - that is the bit I have in common with nearly all alcoholics.

Then of course, once I started I couldn't stop, which lead to the crazy behaviour later in the evening resulting in me getting locked up and appearing before the same judge the next morning. That is an example of the loss of control, the phenomenon of craving as it is called in the big book. That is the other bit I have in common with other alcoholics.

We also find a lot of common ground in our in our recovery journey. We all know the drinking game, and now we get to share experience with the steps and recovery. That gets pretty interesting if your on that journey, there is always something new to learn. But if you not into it, it is hard to understand what we are on about. Easier to talk about the drinking if we don't yet have the solution.

Some of the AA literature can be quite forceful. In the 12 and 12, which was written with 20 years experience in AA of what worked and what didn't makes a very strong statement. "Nothing short of continuous action on the 12 steps as a way of life will bring about the much desired result"

That sounds awful to anyone who hasn't taken those steps and experienced the results, but, as someone who has, I wouldn't want to live any other way. It has all worked exactly as they said it would.

Good luck on your journey. There are a lot of similarities in your thinking to mine back then. Maybe you will reach a similar conclusion.
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Mizzuno View Post
What has always been hard for me to accept in AA:

- 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. Yes, I can share online. My picture is of Charlie Chaplin. Essentially I am super anonymous here. Not so much in the community I live.

- The last time I went to AA in order to "get what they had" I was asked to call a woman every single day. I'm a grown adult. I actually do not feel the need to call anyone, alcoholic or not, daily. It would not stop me from drinking anyway and I don't want to drink.

- I don't like the idea that I cannot and will not remain sober without AA. I don't like being told that I don't know better and I do not like being treated as if I cannot think for myself. I am still alive on the planet. I raised my self. I battled enough battles in my life to have many many metals . I'm just saying there is an arrogant approach with quite a few people that I have dealt with. Its not how I treat people.

- The lack of authenticity when I hear the stories bothers me. Why? Because it is all the same words being used over and over again. Higher power, get out of my own way, moral inventory, defective.

I get it is a program and it has structure. Structure is very good for alcoholics and for everyone in my opinion. I am highly structured, organized and detail oriented. Structure is a huge part of my existence. When someones life is so out of control it makes sense to apply the structure of the program and to watch their life turn around.

I just think I hit a BUMP in my road. Many bumps. Getting over this last bump was not something I could do and I relapsed. It was a series of unfortunate events that took me in to a place where I felt despondent. I felt tense for weeks. I couldn't shake it and I certainly tried. I made a bad decision. Even people in AA have relapsed. This **** happens. It really does. It doesnt have to happen but I accept that it happened to me.

The difference between this relapse and the last few relapses:
I came back here immediately. I did not continue drinking. I am not willing to continue drinking. I cannot continue drinking

What am I willing to do?
I am willing to keep moving forward. I am willing to look at my relapse and gain some perspective. Analyze it and learn from it. I am willing to be honest. I am willing to continue on in figuring out my sober adult self with this forum, books, literature on alcoholism, learning more of my triggers, learning how to sit with the discomfort when I am feeling like I am going to burst, make amends with the people I have hurt, find hope again, find peace. I am willing. I am willing to do something that I have not done over the last 10 months which was attend an AA meeting.

The jury is still out if I will make AA a part of my life. It doesn't have to be something I like in order for me to attend. I can go and pay the dollar to drink the coffee and eat the cookies. I dont have a job so it is something to get me out of the house
Today there are alternatives to AA or you can just take what you need from AA and leave the rest. The main thing is to find what works and helps you achieve emotional sobriety. Because putting down the bottle is really just the beginning.
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:45 AM
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AA definitely isn't the only road to recovery, but it is in my case.

I spent years going in & out of the rooms, because there were multiple aspects about the program that I didn't agree with.

Yet - I kept drinking, and there were those in AA who had what I wanted. Despite my cynicism and misgivings I finally "gave in" and was willing to do whatever it took.

And that's the whole point IMHO. I needed to change my thinking, because only then can I change my behaviours.

There's some language tossed around in AA that I'm not a huge fan of, and some aspects of the BB feel very dated (it was written in the '30s). But I had to get over it and open my mind to the program of the 12 steps. Finding a program that was palatable to me probably wouldn't work, because it wouldn't challenge my preconceived notions or force me to change.

Anyhoo. To reiterate, this is my journey so I can't speak for yours Mizzuno. I think it's great that you're at least checking AA out, and like others mentioned try to check out different meetings if you can. It took me some time to find a group that I really clicked with, and that became my home group.

You seem to be insightful about your relapse and are willing to try something new for your recovery. I wish you all the best.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:15 AM
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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:

Originally Posted by Mizzuno View Post
The saying "It works if you work it" is true for the ones who are working the program.
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.
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