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Before finishing the steps can you curb the urge?

Old 11-09-2009, 08:01 PM
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Sailorjohn--

I am sorry. I did the very same thing that I objected to in your post. Obviously, you are not going to accept anything I say, so I need to show you by example.

Clearly you are doing your best and doing what you think is best. Your post was well intentioned--even if I think the approach is an ineffective one.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:15 PM
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mariechi--

I wonder if this is regional.

Even on this thread some people say that calling other addicts when you have cravings is asking them to "babysit" (with the implication that this is something you should not do). While others like you say it is central.

I came into recovery in South Florida and in 9 years I have never had anyone offer their number and only one asked for mine. At one point, when I heard I should get numbers I went around offering my number thinking I would get other group members numbers in return. Not a single one gave me his.

One of the guys who indicated that calling when craving was bad was from my area. I got his number from a person on SR who I think thought as you do that calls at such a time were a good idea.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:52 PM
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miami

I've thought a bunch about your threads and posts. I have had some confusion about where you are coming from, to be honest.

I think if you want to take a 12 step approach to your recovery, it's time to get yourself into a good 2nd and 3rd step experience. How do you do that? Have you posted in the 12 step forums for alcohol and/or substance abuse? Realizing your powerless is the first step, so... if you are powerless, where do you get the power you need to recover? The answer is in there, in the steps, if you are interested/willing.

Let's get you organized a little...

Where are you with the 2nd step?

Mark
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
mariechi--

I wonder if this is regional.

Even on this thread some people say that calling other addicts when you have cravings is asking them to "babysit" (with the implication that this is something you should not do). While others like you say it is central.

I came into recovery in South Florida and in 9 years I have never had anyone offer their number and only one asked for mine. At one point, when I heard I should get numbers I went around offering my number thinking I would get other group members numbers in return. Not a single one gave me his.

One of the guys who indicated that calling when craving was bad was from my area. I got his number from a person on SR who I think thought as you do that calls at such a time were a good idea.
When I went to meetings in N Miami Beach, while in rehab, we (not necessarily me) had members approach us and offer numbers and support. I personally was not especially responsive to 12 step recovery, especially at the time, so that may have something to do with why I was not approached. I do know that some of the guys who took a real interest in the program and spoke to others before and after the meetings came away with a support system. That's just what I observed. I know some meetings aren't real receptive of the "druggy buggie" showing up with a bunch of rehabers, but the folks at the meetings we went to were real supportive. Best of luck. Take care.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:38 PM
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Someone suggested to me that I make willingness or peace my higher power. This was new for me, so I just need to work this through. I do not want to say that I have done the second step unless I am sure I have.

But this is making more sense to me.

You are picking up on my ambivalence about 12-step programs. Most people I have met in them have been pretty sick people. The program itself seems to have a built in sense of failure--one starts out by acknowledging powerlessness and the ineffectiveness of willpower, yet we are asked to use willpower in the early stages of recovery. It is built on a disease model of addiction, yet a key factor in maintaining sobriety is though shaming in the recovery community.

The ideals of the program as described in the Big Book and Basic Text seem solid to me--but the practice (at least as I have witnessed) is so far from what is described in the literature.

However here and at some of the new meetings I am going to, I have seen a few people who seem healthy and happy. And so far they conduct themselves closer to the ideals from the literature.

Last week I talked with my shrink about this. He is a heroin addict who recovered decades ago in the rooms. He has suggested that the terrible experiences I had in early recovery with 12-step people may have colored my perception even now. And though you and others are starting to change that perception, it is hard for me to just suddenly forget everything I have seen and accept the program wholeheartedly.
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:32 PM
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Reading through your posts ive gotta say im saddened hearing your experience and your perception of the fellowship of aa..

step two for me was all about willingness and having an open mind....the step says "believe"...and "came"......it doesnt say "faith" and it doesnt say "now"

Once it was pointed out to me that i was seeing stuff in the step that wasnt there i could move foward...."Coming to believe"..with time that i could have a "faith" in a new perception of god..

I started to get some idea of how insane i was while discussing step one with my sponsor
i was pointed toward the "jay walker" in the bb...a tragic parable.....but incredibly similar to my self destructive life style.

i hope you continue to search for a sponsor that can guide you.
there are a good few here that i consider to give sound..... 12 step direction.
ago.cubile..barb.....many more.....i hope you find some direction with the post you find here.
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
Sailorjohn--
I am sorry. I did the very same thing that I objected to in your post. Obviously, you are not going to accept anything I say, so I need to show you by example.
I accept 100% of what you say, you believe what you believe, and the only person that will change what you believe is-you. I was merely trying to point out the obvious holes in your critical thinking. Again, my experience.

Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
Clearly you are doing your best and doing what you think is best. Your post was well intentioned--even if I think the approach is an ineffective one.
Not quite sure what that means-are you referring to my sobriety date? I definitely think for addicts and alcoholics, complete sobriety is best. Make that 'essential'. I've noticed you seem to prefer the hand holding approach, when confronted directly with again-the obvious holes in your critical thinking regarding your crack addiction, the defenses come up. I don't take that personally, I believe if you spend enough time here you'll figure out why. Assuming-and I'm not saying this as an attack-you manage to get and stay clean for an extended period.

Good luck with the holidays.
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:40 PM
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Red face

ONE question about your program. Have you read any of the big book of AA???

IF so I would suggest the chapter entitled the doctors opionion and go from there. MY drinking urges/compultion about alcohol have ceased although I still think occasionally about it. This happened for us due to fostering a spiritual expereince thru the steps(mainly #3) of the organization.


KEEP COMING BACK
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:28 AM
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Hi miami,

Good to see you're still here trying to find the help you need.

I haven't been sober very long, only a few days, but I've tried AA several times and always was able to find something that didn't sit well with me, so I stopped going. As time went on, I drank again, and the downward spiral in my life continued from where I left off. Most people who know me don't think I have a problem with booze, and outwardly my appearance doesn't show my problem, and I still live a comfortable lifestyle, however with me, the problem is a mental obsession, and an emotional immaturity that allows me to think I can still beat alcohol on my own, after trying for over 30 years. I never grew up emotionally and now, at 50, struggle to overcome my emotional sensitivity in order to save my life, and I'm serious, I'm literally trying to save my life. I've suffered major heart complications, heart attacks, surgeries and all were alcohol related, and my first heart attack, at age 38, occurred while drinking and snorting cocaine. I've been blessed with many second chances and that's why I'm here tonight, to try to learn how to make the best of the time I still have remaining.

Why am I telling you all this? Because we had similar experiences with AA and I now go to AA in order to learn how to live without booze in my life. The experiences I've had in the past are over. I'm starting fresh, with a new attitude and a new desire to make the rest of my life the best it can be. That's where the big book of AA comes into play. I am not ashamed of being a drunk, although I feel guilty when I do dumb stuff while drunk, but I even do dumb stuff while sober, and have to set it straight. That's part of what the 12 steps are all about, setting our affairs in order, cleaning up mistakes from our past and learning to live life differently than before. We begin each day anew, the prior experiences of AA should not dampen the opportunity we have today to find some answers we may not have found earlier. It is a process of discovery, not like looking for new lands, but looking for who we really are, what we really want out of life and how can we achieve what is important to us. People can tell you how they work the program of AA, but when you do the steps on your own, at home, with pen and paper, (if suggested), it becomes your program, not any one else's. It's your ticket to freedom from the obsession to drink, but you have to work for the ticket, it's not a company perk, you have to earn it, just as I am trying to do. Frankly, sometimes I don't want to, I want to skip the hard parts, especially looking deep inside at who I am, but that's part of the deal, so I'm trying to do so as honestly as I can, for myself, and being honest with myself is no easy accomplishment, because I've lived in la la land for so long that reality is still new to me. You have to want to do this for you, no one else, and if your life depends on it, then you need to dig down deep and ask for help, over and over and over till you find what you need to get on track with your life. Don't stop, keep trying and keep looking, forget the past experiences and start fresh today. I hope you can find the support you seek, because you are worth it.
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:15 AM
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Miami, I am an alcoholic who found recovery in the rooms of AA, I did not find that recovery by going to a few meetings every week or 2 and waiting for people to come up to me and give me thier phone numbers or saying they would be my sponsor.

I found recovery by pursuing recovery!

In detox they told us to go to at least 90 AA meetings in 90 days and get a sponsor.

Have you tried going to at least 90 meetings in 90 days?

I really suggest you go to this link and ask other addicts who use a 12 step program if they have to do the first 3 steps on thier own before a sponsor will take them through the steps or some one will talk to them on the phone Narcotics Addiction-12 Step Support - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

Remember I said I pursued recovery? Well I pursued a sponsor first, a sponsor that was willing to help me through the steps and in early recovery.

I wanted recovery more then any thing because I was going to die if I did not find it. If my sponsor had said do not call me until you have finished the first 3 steps I would have dumped him like a hot potato and asked some one else to sponsor me.

My first sponsor suggested that I get a new phone number of some one else in AA at every meeting and to call him and at least 2 others in recoevery every day!

Well I was pursuing recovery so I asked at least one person at every meeting for their phone number to where I could call them. I had no trouble at all finding people to call.

The reason I had no trouble finding people to call for support is because I was not sitting and waiting for recovery or people to come to me for support, I was pursuing recovery and I found it, recovery did not find me, I found it!

Do you really want recovery?

Pursue it!!!!

Go to at least a meeting a day! Go to both AA & NA meetings.

Find a person to sponsor you that will take you through ALL of the steps.

In my area we have both alcoholics and addicts in AA, normally addicts or cross addicted alcoholics sponsor addicts or those who are cross addicted bu not always.

I encourage you to go to Narcotics Addiction-12 Step Support - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information and ask the addicts there if people in thier area refuse to talk to them on the phone until they have at least done steps 1-3 or if a sponsor will not take some one through ALL the steps.

I have been reading this thread for several days now and the only conclusion I can come up with for your experience with a 12 step recovery program is because you have not pursued it.

If you are in Miami I know there are tons of both NA & AA meetings, it would be no problem at all to go to at least one meeting a day or more for some one who truly wants to recover, nor would it be a problem to find a sponsor to take one through ALL 12 steps and also no problem if one is pursuing recovery to find a ton of people to talk to.

Recovery is there for you, but you have to pursue it, it will not come to you.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:09 AM
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I travel a lot on business and I can only add that I was recently in Broward County, which is darn close to Miami. There are hundreds of meetings. I picked one close to work, and it was AA as usual.

Being a new face several people thought I was a newcomer and eagerly greeted me. I explained I was a traveler not a newcomer and was welcomed nonetheless. When I mentioned I would be there for 2 weeks I quickly got lists of other nearby meetings (this particular group meets on Monday and Thursday only).

Later, a REAL newcomer came in and at least 3 or 4 people gave him numbers, one bought him a big book. Based on sharing I heard at least some of the people there used drugs as well. It didn't matter, we were all there for the same reason - to get or stay sober. That's AA at its finest IMHO. In fact I am going back there next week and hitting the same meeting.

Is Miami different? I doubt it, but if it is and you can drive 30 miles PM me and I'll give you the address and meeting times. I might even be there myself, it depends on how long I am down there on the project I am working on.

The rest of this thread is full of great advice. Good luck.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post

one starts out by acknowledging powerlessness and the ineffectiveness of willpower, yet we are asked to use willpower in the early stages of recovery.
I have picked up on your ambivalence, that is apparent. What might help is to look at your misconceptions.... That said, Taz was right on the money... That ambivalence of yours is preventing you from really setting out to pursue recovery, at least in a 12 step program.

If you are using a 12 step program of recovery you must realize that each step builds on the previous one and that they are in order for a reason. So yea... we acknowledge our powerlessness in the first step but the very next step gives us more power than we may have ever had at anytime in our lives....

....Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.....

So, you have it wrong... If your are using a 12 step program for recovery, you are not expected to use willpower alone... in fact, quite the opposite.

Also... AA is not built on a disease model. AA is built on one alcoholic talking with another sharing their experience, strength and hope while pursuing a spiritual solution to our common problem. Some AAs may see their alcoholism as a disease and refer to it as such, that's fine, but that's an individual consideration, not AA's.

If you want to go into this further I encourage you to post your questions along this line in a 12 step forum. I really do not want to be in a position where I am seen as promoting this program.... You have made it clear that you are interested in pursuing the 12 step program even though you are ambivalent.... I am just, hopefully, clearing up some of your misconceptions...

So, I'll see you there if you want to extend this further...

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Old 11-10-2009, 07:19 AM
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Thank you all for your help.

I am trying to lay off of AA because I never had an issue with alcohol and many people I am reading online are offended by the idea of non-drinkers going to AA meetings.

I had some luck yesterday. I finally found a good meeting. It was the largest I had ever been to---over 90 people by my count. The real shock was that over half had had over a year or more. I have NEVER seen that at a meeting before.

Cubile--I know officially the programs do not endorse willpower, but in practice they do. Just recently I had people tell me that there was nothing I could do about drug cravings but hang on. Isn't that willpower by another name?

I look back an remember going to 3 meetings a day for most of my first year. That was in Delray Beach, Florida so there were a lot of people recently out of treatment who took this all very seriously. I got something out of those first meetings and have not seen that kind of focus since I moved. I was shocked by the silence in the room.

This group is speaker meetings with only two people sharing briefly at the end. I think I need to also find a smaller groups with more people sharing so I can get to know people better. I still am hesitant to approach people--I did not want anyone jumping down my throat for saying or doing the wrong thing. I do not think they are that way in this group--and I did not see anyone else getting called on the carpet.
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:33 AM
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It's not so much being offended, just wanting what's best for everyone. Glad you found a good meeting!! Awesome...

There's willpower and there's willpower.... There's cravings and there is untreated addiction.... If you know what I mean.

Hey good for you with the meeting... You have really searched long and hard, glad it paid off!! If you are looking for discussion meetings, perhaps some of those at this speaker meeting can point you the right direction.

Mark
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:24 AM
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In my experience with 12step recovery groups I have found that they truly are what you make them. For example, you mentioned that most of the groups are full of "newcommers" (such as yourself) with few people having long term sobriety. The nature of addiction itself will cause this to happen. The fact is most addicts relapse, no matter what kind of recovery they use. 12step programs are no different here than any other form of recovery. Over time, people who have "long term recovery" are going to find it less necessary to attend daily meetings, as their lives have changed and improved. Many still attend, if for no other reason than to "give back to the program that saved them", but others drift away over time. Because of this I would say it is somewhat unreasonalbe to expect to find many meetings with a large amount of people with "longterm sobriety", but they are there. This in no way means the program is a failure, it is just the nature of the beast, so to speak.

You can look at just about anything and find negative things about it, but you can also look at the same thing and find positive things. It is a mindset. I'm not denying that 12step recovery has many "not so good aspects", but there are also many good ones. As an addict in general, I know it is easy to always focus on the negative in life, I've spent a lot of years doing just that. However it is amazing how much better life is if you spend more time focusing on the positive things instead. It doesn't make the negative go away, but it is going to be there anyway, along with the positive. It's all what you make it.

Glad you're sticking around even though you have faced some tough comments. Many would have said FU and left. That in itself is a positive. Take care.
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:38 AM
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That is what I thought too, Tyler. When people told me that I needed to find people with long term sobriety, I said that most people leave the program after a year.

I cannot remember the last time I was at a meeting with more than 2 people who had a year. Most meetings there is only one or no one with that length of time.

That is why I have had a hard time replacing my sponsor. There is usually only one person at a meeting who even can sponsor--and sometimes not that. People here seemed to think I was exaggerating and I thought they were exaggerating.
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