Blogs


Notices

I know this will "stir up the pot"

Old 03-06-2011, 02:36 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
nbunderstanding's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 23
I know this will "stir up the pot"

I know this will "stir up the pot" but I need to get some other perspectives on this.

My husband entered rehab in July of 2010 while he was gone he asked me to read the chapter of the AA book called to the wives. I was more than happy to do so. As I read some of it was exactly how I felt and some actually offended me. I began researching about Bill W and cannot believe what I found. He was basically a sex addict, used LSD (even wanted everyone in AA to use LSD), came up with the 12 steps on hallucinogenic drugs in the hospital and ect.

I have been questioning how AA or ALANON can work when it focuses on so much self centeredness. I understand there is a certain amount of time where this must be done in the beginning of recovery, but these organizations say forever you work these steps and live by there teachings. How can a person live life and find true happiness and spirtuality while always putting ones self first?

I want to end this with I know this helps many people and I am very happy for them but I don't understand the long term effects of this program. I see that Bill W did not live a very happy life, in what is just my opinion, was because he didn't come full circle and work on all his mental issues and ended up substituting additions.

Again this isn't to disrespect what is working for people but maybe to gain a different insight into how this can work and how to look past the transgressions of the man who founded AA.
nbunderstanding is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to nbunderstanding For This Useful Post:
Verbena (03-07-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 02:47 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
wicked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Waterford MI
Posts: 4,202
Blog Entries: 1
My husband entered rehab in July of 2010 while he was gone he asked me to read the chapter of the AA book called to the wives. I was more than happy to do so. As I read some of it was exactly how I felt and some actually offended me. I began researching about Bill W and cannot believe what I found. He was basically a sex addict, used LSD (even wanted everyone in AA to use LSD), came up with the 12 steps on hallucinogenic drugs in the hospital and ect.
I wonder what Bill W's history (sounds like some rumours too) has to do with your recovery today?

I thought "To the Wives" was a little out of date too, I am a recovering alcoholic and was also married to an alcoholic, but I was able to find parts that applied to me.

I am not sure where you heard/read about the organizations
say forever you work these steps and live by there teachings.
This is news to me, and I have been in recovery for over fourteen years.

but I don't understand the long term effects of this program.
If you dont understand the long term effects, then I would suggest you find some people who have been in the program long term.
Maybe not just the program, but working recovery like their life depends on it.
Go to some meetings and talk to the people with some time.
You will find many different kinds of recovery and many different types of people.

Are you looking for some type of guarantee? Bill W. was a human being. A very flawed human being. I dont understand how his shortcomings would affect your recovery today.

No guarantees nbunderstanding. None.
Work your recovery like you wish he would work his.
Then you will know.

Beth
wicked is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to wicked For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (03-07-2011), chicory (03-06-2011), johnnymau (03-06-2011), Kassie2 (03-06-2011), laurie6781 (03-06-2011), seekingcalm (03-07-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 03:08 PM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Taking5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: LA - Lower Alabama
Posts: 5,069
I began researching about Bill W and cannot believe what I found. He was basically a sex addict, used LSD (even wanted everyone in AA to use LSD), came up with the 12 steps on hallucinogenic drugs in the hospital and ect.
Bill was a flawed human being. Having said that I would say he had marital fidelity issues and used LSD. The rest of that there is just no evidence of ever happening or it is completely false. I hope you didn't use the Orange Papers as your source on Bill W or anything AA, they are not exactly unbiased.

All that said, the chapter "to wives" is dated. Take what you can and leave the rest. Better yet, assuming you are still working on the relationship, ask your AH what he expected you to get from that chapter, and discuss it. Alanon would be great too.

Keep coming back, there is a lot of support here.
Taking5 is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Taking5 For This Useful Post:
Kassie2 (03-06-2011), wicked (03-06-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 03:13 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
Chino's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: In a good place
Posts: 4,482
Blog Entries: 3
Originally Posted by Rayn3dr0p View Post
As a codie, who often puts the needs of others before my own, I would rephrase your question: how can a person live life and find true happiness and spirituality without putting one's self first?


Everything we do is self motivated. Mother Teresa was motivated by her love of God and humankind.
Chino is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Chino For This Useful Post:
chicory (03-06-2011), Kassie2 (03-06-2011), StarCat (03-06-2011), wicked (03-06-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 03:20 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Kindeyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The Jungle
Posts: 5,435
Blog Entries: 3
Originally Posted by Rayn3dr0p View Post
"How can a person live life and find true happiness and spirtuality while always putting ones self first?"

As a codie, who often puts the needs of others before my own, I would rephrase your question: how can a person live life and find true happiness and spirituality without putting one's self first?
Rayn...I love that!


How do we overlook the transgressions of anyone? How do we forgive our own transgressions? Is it fair to judge and condemn or is it ok to accept that the program that he initiated has helped thousands of people?

Forgiveness is the keystone of compassion. Not sure if you're a religious person but some of the greatest spiritual leaders in history befriended and forgave some pretty unscrupulous people.

I prefer to look at the good that comes from AA, NA, Alanon, Naranon. Take what you need and leave the rest.

gentle hugs
Kindeyes is offline  
The Following 9 Users Say Thank You to Kindeyes For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (03-07-2011), chicory (03-06-2011), fourmaggie (03-07-2011), Kassie2 (03-06-2011), laurie6781 (03-06-2011), Linkmeister (03-07-2011), MayaandMe (03-06-2011), StarCat (03-06-2011), wicked (03-06-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 03:34 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
littlefish's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 1,650
I began researching about Bill W and cannot believe what I found. He was basically a sex addict, used LSD (even wanted everyone in AA to use LSD), came up with the 12 steps on hallucinogenic drugs in the hospital and ect.
I just want to echo dgillz comments here that this is very inaccurate information.

There has been some talk about him being unfaithful, but being unfaithful and a full blown sex addict are not the same thing.

He did not come up with the 12 steps on drugs. He developed the 12 steps from the 6 steps of the Oxford group, expanding them to be more oriented to alcoholism.
There has been talk that he experimented with LSD, but apparently, if that is true, and it is still debatable that it is nothing but a rumor, that was very close to the end of his life. It's not possible he would have suggested LSD anyway for the first 30 years of AA history, because LSD wasn't popularized and generally available to the public until the 1960's.

I am not sure where you have gotten the impression that AA is about self-centeredness: it is the exact opposite. Time and time again in the Big Book, recovering alcoholics are advised to put their egos aside, stop thinking about themselves and think about others.
littlefish is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to littlefish For This Useful Post:
chicory (03-06-2011), fourmaggie (03-07-2011), Taking5 (03-06-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 04:10 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 5
First off, I want to say this is my first post, and I have enjoyed reading and learning from each of you for the past month as I have been lurking for awhile.

I would like to share my "take" on the idea of putting yourself first. In order to function and properly care about your family, friends, etc. it's important to take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally. I don't think that the idea of putting yourself first means in any way that you have to set everything to YOUR standards, or draw a line that YOUR way is the only way. It's about making sure you are healthy in those aspects of your life, so that you can cope with the ever changing dynamics we face every day. Think about it. You try to eat well, exercise, take vitamins, to protect your physical health, is that being selfish? I don't think so at all. Same as seeking counseling or setting a boundary of tolerance of the behavior of other people (and I mean knowing your breaking point, not trying to control the behavior of another person). If you are not healthy, there is no way you can be of help and care to others. By putting yourself first, it's actually a selfless act, not a selfish one. Only when it becomes a "me me me" issue and you don't care about others do you become selfish.
CakeForSupper is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to CakeForSupper For This Useful Post:
ElegantlyWasted (03-06-2011), fourmaggie (03-07-2011), jackien41 (03-07-2011), keepinon (03-06-2011), wicked (03-07-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 04:13 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: rural west
Posts: 1,375
Blog Entries: 3
Hi, Cake! Welcome! Feel free to create a new thread so everyone can properly introduce themselves.
peace
FindingPeace1 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to FindingPeace1 For This Useful Post:
wicked (03-07-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 04:25 PM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 927
Blog Entries: 2
I am my number one priority. I am my gatekeeper. Sure people love me and care about me and I them.. but when it comes to the crunch, I am responsible for the care and welfare of me first and foremost.

I agree that that in itself is selfless and only when you expect others to 'do' for you does is lapse into selfishness.

Tx
tallulah is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to tallulah For This Useful Post:
StarCat (03-06-2011), Taking5 (03-06-2011), wicked (03-06-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 05:44 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
lillamy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: right here, right now
Posts: 6,523
You know what? If it works it works. Whether the guy who founded whatever treatment/recovery program worshipped his neigbor's rose bush, kicked cats, and secretly indulged in eating carrots backwards while chanting "I don't know but I've been told..." and marching in his back yard... it doesn't matter.

The proof is in the pudding. And any time an A says "Um, after you read this, let's see if you don't agree with me that I don't need no stinkin' treatment program" I think is a good time to reach for your revolver. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
lillamy is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to lillamy For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (03-07-2011), jackien41 (03-07-2011), LS2 (03-06-2011), Tuffgirl (03-06-2011), wicked (03-06-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 05:50 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
same planet...different world
 
barb dwyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Butte, America
Posts: 10,946
Blog Entries: 7
I always get a bit itchy
when I read that people
expect BillW and the others
to have become saints
after creating AA.

They're just people.

Caravaggio created light
that couldn't be reproduced by any of the other 'masters'
and yet he was the ornriest, nastiest, most contrary personality
to ever have peed in the renaissance streets.

But the beauty he created remains.

So does BillW's.

That's the essence of 'take what you need and leave the rest'.

I took what I needed
and it has made all the difference.
barb dwyer is offline  
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to barb dwyer For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (03-07-2011), chicory (03-06-2011), desertgirl (03-07-2011), fourmaggie (03-07-2011), laurie6781 (03-06-2011), Tuffgirl (03-07-2011), wicked (03-06-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 06:36 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 344
I half-heartedly attend alanon every now and then. It's not the only way to work out pain in relationships, it's just one method. I learn some interesting things there, and I enjoy watching people start feeling better after being deep in the dumps. One reason to attend is just to share the humanity of us all.
I understand your confusion with the idea. It's not a perfect idea, probably nothing is. Cater it to you--that saying take what you like and leave the rest. If some of it works for you, keep that part, and throw away what doesn't.
The important thing is that we each find our way out of our individual very personal pain.
I'm working on mine--alanon is a piece of that work, but certainly not all.
Welcome to SR--which doesn't embrace alanon per se--it's not affiliated.
brokenheartfool is offline  
Old 03-06-2011, 07:01 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Starting over
 
DesertEyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Starting over all over again
Posts: 4,427
Blog Entries: 1
Hello nbunderstanding, and welcome to SoberRecovery

Originally Posted by nbunderstanding View Post
.....I know this will "stir up the pot" but I need to get some other perspectives on this. ....
No worries. Honest, respectful questions do _not_ stir the pot. This is what SR is all about.

Originally Posted by nbunderstanding View Post
..... I began researching about Bill W and cannot believe what I found.....
You were researching the _wrong_ person. Bill W is only one of many alcoholics who managed to quit drinking and improve his life as a result of working the AA program. He happened to be a very good writer, and 70 some years ago when AA first got started he was unemployed and therefore dedicated himself to writing about AA.

If you have the time and continue to research AA you will find many of his publications where he states that he is _not_ the founder of AA. He credits Carl Jung, the psychologist, William James, the philospher, and the Oxford Groups.

Something else you will find during your research is that AA, like all other self-help programs, goes to a great deal of trouble to _not_ have "leaders", "figure-heads" or "founders". Self-help groups are about a group of _equals_ sharing their personal experience in overcoming a common problem. Which is why self-help groups continue to flourish decade after decade.

Originally Posted by nbunderstanding View Post
..... How can a person live life and find true happiness and spirtuality while always putting ones self first? ....
They don't. The programs of recovery stress _balance_ in one's life. Not too much selfishness, not too much caring for others. Care enough of yourself that you are _able_ to help others. The classic example is the oxygen mask in an airplane. You have to put yours on first before you can help others put on theirs.

Originally Posted by nbunderstanding View Post
..... I don't understand the long term effects of this program. ....
The 12 step programs are not that different from any other program of self-improvement. The core of _all_ those programs is for the individual to spend a _balanced_ amount of time improving themselves. Each person, naturally, has a different understanding of what they need to improve. Alcoholics have to start by quiting the booze, and then move on to other character defects. Ultimately, all the programs recognize that humans are ..... well ..... human, and therefore imperfect. If each of us does our best every day to be the best we can be at that moment, then all of us together can make the world a better place, little by little.

Originally Posted by nbunderstanding View Post
..... I see that Bill W did not live a very happy life, ....
That's just _one_ person who lived 70 years ago. If you look in the back of the AA book you'll find a few dozen stories from other alkies who lived more recently.

If you want a more "balanced" view of the whole recovery concept you might want to look into some newer books. 70 years is a _long_ time ago and the field of mental health has made a lot of improvement since then. The al-anon books are much more modern, and directed at us family members. You may find them a lot more useful.

Originally Posted by nbunderstanding View Post
..... maybe to gain a different insight into how this can work and how to look past the transgressions of the man who founded AA.....
As I said earlier, that's the wrong guy to be researching. Try the al-anon books, not only are they more up to date, you won't have to read them with a dictionary of Ye Olde English at hand

Mike
DesertEyes is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to DesertEyes For This Useful Post:
barb dwyer (03-07-2011), bookwyrm (03-07-2011), fourmaggie (03-07-2011), keepinon (03-07-2011), laurie6781 (03-06-2011), wicked (03-06-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 07:14 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Blu**ed Lines...A ClockWork SR
 
ElegantlyWasted's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: AZ
Posts: 2,529
Blog Entries: 10
I think the definition of "putting oneself first" changes for those who have recovered and AA has been a way or the way for many. Taking care of yourself is in fact taking care of other people. We learn to genuinely empathize/sympathize with other people and that becomes a reward in and of itself. I will say that I understand where you are coming from, AA by original design is meant to be full of sick people.
ElegantlyWasted is offline  
Old 03-06-2011, 07:48 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 447
Blog Entries: 3
Mine asked me to read that section too.

I did. Then I told him he was out of his mind if he thought I was going to go out of my way not to upset him as it might cause him to drink. I'm not the cause, I can't control it and I can't cure it. Goes against all that AA stands for TODAY.
but
I'm of the stand that believes the BIG BOOK needs to be rewritten for the average alcoholic, one who doesn't have an extensive education to understand the terminology used and who lives in the current millenium...50 yrs ago the world was a different place. Women were of a different breed. We lived and breathed to care for our family and little else. Divorce was rare. Single parenting? uh uh. Teen parents? forget that...they went away and came back w/ a story about helping a sick aunt...
the world is a VERY different place and I only wish AA would keep up. I think it would really help the younger A who are entering and seeking help.
blwninthewind is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to blwninthewind For This Useful Post:
Babyblue (03-07-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 07:55 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 985
I would just add that you find a copy of Lois Wilson"s story - the founder of alanon and see if it doesn't give you more of a perspective.

I think the idea of self first is about learning to take responsibility for our thoughts, emotions and behavior.

Reading "Just for Today" a poem is another way to look at this too.
Kassie2 is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Kassie2 For This Useful Post:
fourmaggie (03-07-2011), Linkmeister (03-07-2011), StarCat (03-07-2011), wicked (03-07-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 08:41 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Starting over
 
DesertEyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Starting over all over again
Posts: 4,427
Blog Entries: 1
Originally Posted by blwninthewind View Post
....I'm of the stand that believes the BIG BOOK needs to be rewritten for the average alcoholic ....
It has been But not as a book. What they've been doing the last 30 years or so is publishing pamphlets that cover a specific topic in detail. The book is still there as a starting point, but the pamphlets are the up-to-date version.

Alcoholics Anonymous : Pamphlets

Originally Posted by blwninthewind View Post
.... I think it would really help the younger A who are entering and seeking help.....
"Young people" branched out into their own "special purpose" program and called it YPAA : "Young People in AA" They co-ordinate very will with the AA for us "old foggies".

http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-4_youngpeopleandaa.pdf

In the bigger cities they have their own meetings and roundups.

Mike
DesertEyes is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to DesertEyes For This Useful Post:
laurie6781 (03-07-2011), StarCat (03-07-2011), wicked (03-07-2011)
Old 03-06-2011, 10:16 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
 
keepinon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: central coast, ca
Posts: 1,652
I really see the opposite of selfishness in the program.Seps 1-3 are pretty humbling
Step 4 asks us all to looks at our own flaws..6and 7 have us look at what is not acceptable in ourselves..8+9 ask us to look at all those we have hurt and try to change and make amends..12 is all about giving back.Service is emphasized alot.
As for all the Bill W. stuff, I've heard that too..the programs principles are sound to me and stand the terst of time..It is just a good way to live on my book...hand it over, try not to do more harm, take care of yourself, help others,meditate, become insightful, undo the wrongs you've done as best you can...I get alot from my program(alanon)..the fellowship is amazing and I can't wait for my meeting..always leave feeling awakened and fortified.
keepinon is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to keepinon For This Useful Post:
johnnymau (03-07-2011), Tuffgirl (03-07-2011), wicked (03-07-2011)
Old 03-07-2011, 04:23 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
stilllearning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 218
I love the 12 steps - they're logical, they get me where I need to go and they balance focusing on myself with handing things over to a higher power. I think for me the higher power part helps to counter-balance the putting yourself first part. I'm -responsible- for myself. Every healthy adult should be -responsible- for themselves. But when I try to play God and force outcomes, I get into trouble. So if I focus on doing the right thing (self first) stay out of other people's business and hand the parts that I have no control over to a Higher Power, then I'm in good shape.

Al-Anon is a self-first program, but it also specifies that the welfare of the group is paramount. AA and al-anon are based on the (sound) idea that you stand a much better chance of getting well if you're in the company of a group of like-minded people at different points on that journey. For me, that means that my recovery is inter-connected with the recovery of people in my home group. They rely on me and vice versa.

And you know what? I find the Big Book horribly outdated, too. I have a hard time understanding why Lois stayed with Bill and I (personal opinion) think that she continued to live around his recovery much as she had lived her life around his disease. I wonder whether all this time later Lois would have stayed with Bill. Maybe she would have divorced him, gone to live in New Mexico, become an artist and started her own group when she got there :-)

I find Paths to Recovery much, much easier to take than the Big Book - but my personal opinion is that the principles of the 12 steps are golden. I try to take what I need and leave the rest - but I do hear you in that a lot of the Big Book is so not of our time that it can be hard to take.

Only my opinions - no offence meant to anyone who feels differently.

SL.
stilllearning is offline  
Old 03-07-2011, 04:31 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Occasional poor taste poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,542
I'm not actively participating in a 12 step program but I've been to meetings and read a ton of material including the big book. I got a few chuckles out of outdated material as well. Bill W had many flaws as an individual and IMO is no person to hold up on a pedestal, however the concept he started has proven to be invaluable to many people struggling with this addiction. I see the steps themselves as what we learned in kindergarten, at an advanced level course. If any of the steps are completely foreign ideas to an individual then they could use the class IMO. The big book, like any written word, should be read with a free thinking mind.

But the concept that serves the most positive purpose is for people struggling with addiction to seek out support by surrounding themselves with like minded people in all stages of recovery. That's where the magic happens. Good stuff, especially if you take what you want and leave the rest.
Jazzman is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jazzman For This Useful Post:
Verbena (03-07-2011), wicked (03-07-2011)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:27 PM.