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Before finishing the steps can you curb the urge?

Old 11-08-2009, 04:53 PM
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Before finishing the steps can you curb the urge?

Here is the background: I have a spectacularly unsuccessful history with 12-step programs. I have not gone beyond the second step and do not know if I ever can. (It has been over five years and I have a sponsor waiting to do a fourth step with me if I ever get that far.)

Lately online people have suggested to me that when I have cravings I should be calling other addicts (which is the exact opposite of what I had been taught when I first came into recovery).

This makes sense to be, but as I try to get numbers of people to call I am being told that until I have finished the steps there is nothing to be done about cravings. I have three numbers and two of them have told me this. I am afraid to talk about it to the third because I do not want him to tell me not to call him if I am having trouble.

This idea of calling gave me hope but now I guess that it would also make my staying clean dependent on others.

I feel like I am back at square one. I have tried going to meetings when craving, but that makes it worse. I have on many occasions called a dealer on leaving the meeting. I tried prayer and junk food like they say in the rooms but I do not believe in anything and don't like junk food, so they have not worked either.

Am I stuck with this until I get through the steps? I usually only relapse during holidays and vacation time, but I would like to break that cycle at Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
Here is the background: I have a spectacularly unsuccessful history with 12-step programs. I have not gone beyond the second step and do not know if I ever can. (It has been over five years and I have a sponsor waiting to do a fourth step with me if I ever get that far.)
Your lack of success could be directly attributable to your lack of progress in working a recovery program, 12 step or not.


Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
Lately online people have suggested to me that when I have cravings I should be calling other addicts (which is the exact opposite of what I had been taught when I first came into recovery).
Willing to bet that since it's been such a long time since you first 'came into recovery' that you've either forgotten everything you've learned or never learned it in the first place. Learned as in believed it with every ounce of your being. And as many recovering crack addicts have mentioned here, if you've been clean/sober long enough, the cravings go away, if you haven't been, you're just repeating that cycle-use-stop-crave-use.

Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
This makes sense to be, but as I try to get numbers of people to call I am being told that until I have finished the steps there is nothing to be done about cravings. I have three numbers and two of them have told me this. I am afraid to talk about it to the third because I do not want him to tell me not to call him if I am having trouble.

My guess is the folks you asked to be sponsors asked if you were willing to try it the only way they know how-working the steps-and when you said no, they told you they wouldn't be willing to babysit an active addict. And I can hardly blame them for that.


Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
This idea of calling gave me hope but now I guess that it would also make my staying clean dependent on others.

I feel like I am back at square one. I have tried going to meetings when craving, but that makes it worse. I have on many occasions called a dealer on leaving the meeting. I tried prayer and junk food like they say in the rooms but I do not believe in anything and don't like junk food, so they have not worked either.

Am I stuck with this until I get through the steps? I usually only relapse during holidays and vacation time, but I would like to break that cycle at Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.
I don't know. What I do know is that a lot of people here-folks who had boatloads of wisdom and experience-and I am not including myself in that group, btw-have given you excellent advice, and you have either dismissed or ignored it repeatedly.

I'd love to say more but I have a meeting to attend. Good luck.
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:23 PM
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Most of the folks I know who have done the steps lost their cravings way before they finished the steps. I keep myself busy with meetings and engaging the steps right away. I can tell you that I got a big sense of relief after completing the 4th and 5th steps.

Calling another alcoholic or addict that is sober can be a tremendous help. Just talking through things helps tremendously.

With the holiday season coming up it is a great time to give the program your best.

Hang it there, it works!
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:48 PM
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It feels like a catch 22. I cannot work with my sponsor until I get to Step 4, but I do not want to lie and say I am ready if I have not done the first three.

And I am sure craving do abate with time, but I do not know how to hang on to get enough time for them to abate.

I really felt that calling people could help, but the talks I have had have been so discouraging. Once again they say, hang on--but don't call until you have done the steps because we cannot help til then.

Last week my therapist said I had never asked him for help with my addiction. I pointed out that I repeatedly told him that addiction and depression were the main reasons I was seeing him. So I think he might have some ideas to help and was opening a door.
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:54 PM
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Sailorjohn--

I am surprised that you say what you do. I have taken many suggestions here and elsewhere. I got into these phone conversations at the suggestion of people here (and with their help).

If I was not hearing good, sensible, helpful things here I would have stopped coming back long ago. I really had no hope when I first read this board. I had completely dismissed 12-step programs. Now I think they might be able to help me.

I am sorry if it feels that I am unresponsive. But that is not true and I appreciate your patience.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
Sailorjohn--

I am surprised that you say what you do. I have taken many suggestions here and elsewhere. I got into these phone conversations at the suggestion of people here (and with their help).

If I was not hearing good, sensible, helpful things here I would have stopped coming back long ago. I really had no hope when I first read this board. I had completely dismissed 12-step programs. Now I think they might be able to help me.

I am sorry if it feels that I am unresponsive. But that is not true and I appreciate your patience.
I see what John is saying, it's like you have a selective perception where you latch on to things inside what someone is saying, pull it out of context, change it's meaning, then respond to it saying why it would never work for you.

It's like you hear what you want to hear, distort it, show why it would never work, and thus self sabotage


I have seen you do this numerous times on threads here, and have extrapolated from that you also do that IRL at meetings.

The only thing I can suggest is take the cotton out of your ears, put it in your mouth, and start having an open mind, like start actually listening to what people are saying to you and let go of your pre and mis-conceptions, which are the things blocking you, and rather then focusing on how stay sober until you work the steps, just work the F'ing steps already, this thread by it's very definition is a call for help but what it is is you preparing yourself for another failure.

What I can suggest is to start looking for the similarities, not the differences, and stop thinking you know what will work or not, because you don't know what will work because otherwise you would be sober.

Go back and reread all your threads for the last month, read them carefully, write down the common denominators of suggestions you have received from people who have gotten and maintained a period of sobriety, do what they say, do what they did, stop arguing, stop thinking, your mind and your thinking is what is keeping you sick, you know that little voice in your head?

It's not your friend

It's trying to murder you

Stop listening to it and immerse yourself in recovery, if that is what you actually want

This is all said with a great deal of love, because you are probably the stupidest, most mule headed really intelligent guy I have ever come across with the exception of that guy I see in the mirror every day.

No one has ever been too stupid to get sober, but quite a few of us are too smart to get sober.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:19 PM
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Hi...

I have followed, to some degree, your trials and tribulations in recovery.

I really don't understand why you aren't getting help, or not getting, the 2nd and 3rd steps...

Cravings, hmmm.... they should go away within a few months. Working the steps, for me, really were kind of an independent, separate growth progression.... they didn't really do much for the cravings, but did definitely help with the obsession.... if you know what I mean.

When was the last time you used? Describe your cravings, if you can.

Mark
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
It feels like a catch 22. I cannot work with my sponsor until I get to Step 4, but I do not want to lie and say I am ready if I have not done the first three.
It's always been my understanding that you are supposed to "work" all 12 steps with your sponsor, not just Steps 4-12. How long has this person been your sponsor? Are you willing to follow his suggestions, or do you just argue with him about why it won't work?

I personally don't follow a program of 12 step recovery, though I have been involved in it at various times over the years and do respect it as a form of recovery. I have to agree with Sailor John that until you truly commit to some kind of recovery program, or at the very least to not using no matter what, along with some kind of one on one therpy, you will continue to struggle. At least that has been my personal experience.

It doesn't necessarily matter what program you follow, even one of your own making. What matters the most is that you commit to it completely. I wish you all the best in your journey. Take care.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:39 PM
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I do not know how to respond.

I listen at meetings--I rarely speak.

I hear the stories of how life is better in recovery---in spite of the fact that few people in the rooms get past the 6 month mark. I see my similarity to them and do not want to go down that path.

You all tell me there are better meetings out there--but I cannot find them. Since no one has been able to point me to one, I have gone out looking for myself and find myself going to places where no one has six months. Since it was suggested by people here, I am not going to AA anymore.

I have asked people on the phone, point blank, do I have to wait until I finish the 12-steps before I get relief. The answer was Yes. Because people here have said I should be calling people when I am struggling with the urge to use, I asked if there was ANYTHING I could do until then. One of the guys evaded and the other said I could do the steps in a couple days.

I have been taking suggestions from people here over the last few weeks. I could do like we do in meetings and tell you that everything is good now...it is all working out fine. But what good would that do for anyone?
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:43 PM
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Cubile--

I guess it has been about two months since I used.

Sexual feelings are the trigger. The cravings are usually about wanting to hold someone. Being intimate emotionally and physically. Wanting to be wanted. Or that is how I experience them.

They start and then I do things like make dinner or watch TV, and they persist. This goes on for a few hours. If I am lucky, I fall asleep. If not I am kept awake.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
I do not know how to respond.

I listen at meetings--I rarely speak.

I hear the stories of how life is better in recovery---in spite of the fact that few people in the rooms get past the 6 month mark. I see my similarity to them and do not want to go down that path.

You all tell me there are better meetings out there--but I cannot find them. Since no one has been able to point me to one, I have gone out looking for myself and find myself going to places where no one has six months. Since it was suggested by people here, I am not going to AA anymore.

I have asked people on the phone, point blank, do I have to wait until I finish the 12-steps before I get relief. The answer was Yes. Because people here have said I should be calling people when I am struggling with the urge to use, I asked if there was ANYTHING I could do until then. One of the guys evaded and the other said I could do the steps in a couple days.

I have been taking suggestions from people here over the last few weeks. I could do like we do in meetings and tell you that everything is good now...it is all working out fine. But what good would that do for anyone?
I for one never suggested you don't go to open AA meetings

Look MF, this is your life, and it's life and death, when I was in your shoes I let NOTHING stand between me and sobriety...NOTHING, I drove 2 hours each direction twice a week and one hour each direction twice a week, and one night drove 1/2 hour each direction on a suspended license

I actually got pulled over, and told the cop the truth, and he let me go

Do what it takes to get it done no matter what, and let nothing and no one stand in your way, period

This is what I had to do

If that means going to some open AA meetings and finding an alcoholic take you through the steps or sticking a feather in yer butt and chanting rama rama as the sun rises, I don't care, but there is no try, there is only do

personally I'd like to see you "do" and I'd like to see you be that guy with more then six months sponsoring others, and see you build a fellowship around you.

I started sponsoring others with 30 days of sobriety, all I had to do was stay one step ahead of my sponsee, he stayed sober for double digit sobriety
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:50 PM
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Tyler--

Both my present and previous sponsor say told me that the first three are the "given" steps. They cannot be worked in the way the others are.

My sponsor thinks his function is to take me through the last eight steps. I check in periodically, but he does not want to be my "friend" so the conversation does not get too detailed. So he does not make much in the way of suggestions. If he did, I probably would not have come here with so many years backlog of questions about recovery.

My previous sponsor was a bit more personal with me. But he also said that his function in my recovery was only about the steps.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
Cubile--

I guess it has been about two months since I used.

Sexual feelings are the trigger. The cravings are usually about wanting to hold someone. Being intimate emotionally and physically. Wanting to be wanted. Or that is how I experience them.

They start and then I do things like make dinner or watch TV, and they persist. This goes on for a few hours. If I am lucky, I fall asleep. If not I am kept awake.
I had the same thing, all it was was loneliness, meetings help that as well, this is what they mean by "cunning, baffling and powerful"

your loneliness manifests as "horniness" which manifests as craving, and viola you are using in order not to feel lonely when you never really realized being lonely was the problem in the first place
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:59 PM
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Ago--

I trust you a bit more than most people. Thank you for the imput.

A lot of people will not be happy because I go to AA, share about wanting to use, and am distrustful of people and organizations in general. But you are right. I should just go where I need to be.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
Tyler--

Both my present and previous sponsor say told me that the first three are the "given" steps. They cannot be worked in the way the others are.

My sponsor thinks his function is to take me through the last eight steps. I check in periodically, but he does not want to be my "friend" so the conversation does not get too detailed. So he does not make much in the way of suggestions. If he did, I probably would not have come here with so many years backlog of questions about recovery.

My previous sponsor was a bit more personal with me. But he also said that his function in my recovery was only about the steps.
yes

a sponsors function is to take you through ALL TWELVE steps

that's like saying, well if you can learn to get this F-18 off the ground by yourself, I can teach you how to land it.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:01 PM
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Meetings make it worse for me because the people there are a lot more sexually free than I am and it is hard for me to be there.

I feel more lonely there than anywhere else.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:03 PM
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Sponsorship is like anything else in 12-step programs.....everyone has their own idea of how it is supposed to be done. Before I came here, I had no idea that there was anything unusual in what these sponsors told me.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:09 PM
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miamifella-

I hope you'll keep looking for a meeting that reflects your present recovery needs. Some of what you posted had me going


becuse here - you come to a meeting you get a list of phone numbers and you USE them. Got nothing to do with steps gotr everything to do with not picking up the first drink between meetings.

So I don't know anything about having to complete the 12 steps before you can call someone for help and support when that need hits.

I'm baffled by that and can't get past that part of your opening post to see what else might be going on?

LOL
OCD alcoholic mind at full steam ahead here, apparently.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:10 PM
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by miamifella View Post
Ago--

I trust you a bit more than most people. Thank you for the imput.

A lot of people will not be happy because I go to AA, share about wanting to use, and am distrustful of people and organizations in general. But you are right. I should just go where I need to be.
Who gives a flying f**k what "other people" think?

You are trying to save your life, and you can't save your @ss and your face at the same time, pick one.

Share "in a general way"

example: I can't stay sober and I am looking for a sponsor to take me through the steps, I have issues other then alcohol but I am dying and need help

I only feel lonely at meetings if I don't make the effort to become "part of" which I do by attending that meeting all the time and taking commitments.

It soon passes

There are specific instructions on "how to sponsor" so while many "have their own way" find someone who does it "precisely" out of the book, whichever book you choose
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