questions that i should have asked BEFORE drinking

Old 02-18-2010, 03:44 PM
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questions that i should have asked BEFORE drinking

Hi y'all.

Been a while since I posted anything in this forum.

It's been a bad couple weeks. Got drunk behind the usual can't-quite-place it stuff... bunch of everything and bunch of nothing really.

Forget moderation, that wasn't really my style. I just got drunk. One liter of bourbon. And then I did it again the second day--although, truth be told, I didn't technically sober up in between. And I repeated that for a while. I did, however, switch to store brand whiskey bottles--1.75l costs the same as a liter of Beam, and I rationalized that neither was much better for my body anyways. Of course, the problem was, I kept drinking a bottle a day... Plenty of times I didn't want to drink, but I hurt so bad all over I knew it'd take the pain away for a little while longer.

Ever since last July when I sobered up for the first time, I've been trying to stay sober. It's just not working. I don't seem to have enough motivation--not to stay sober, but I suppose to stay around. I'm far from suicidal, I just keep hanging on hoping there'll be a purpose to life to make it seem worthwhile while I'm here on Earth.

The last few months, I've finally found a group of AA people who don't ignore me--but I'm not in the same living or financial situation as they are. A couple of other new people are in sober livings or other assorted places, but most of the people are well-established in sobriety and society. Which is actually kinda nice, because listening to their stories, I can see if they could do it, I could do it.

There were a couple problems with it all though. I've been meaning to post this for about a week now (which in retrospect, I should have done *before* I ended up lost in a bottle or 10...) but here goes... for better or for worse.

Religion seems to be a sticking issue--not a new thing here, I know, although I don't have any problems with the concept of a God... who I choose to call God. I have never had, and in fact, that's one of the strongest reasons I have to stay sober... I don't believe He put me on this Earth to waste what He gave me. But the last couple weeks, a couple disturbing things happened. First, a lady after a meeting told me after my last relapse that I would never get better until I learned a different concept of God. In itself, this wouldn't have bothered me... one person's opinion. But about a week later, different meeting, someone shared that they had finally decided to give up their beliefs in favor of others... again, I'm not against people seeking their own beliefs. Actually, I'm very much for that--whether or not they agree with my own. It was how she worded it that disturbed me--like it wasn't so much as free choice but more finally succumbing to the group conscience. And the followup speakers all congratulated her... I went home uneasy.

Another problem I was having was getting rides. Can't drive, says DMV. So... these AA meetings people are willing to drive me. Or so I keep hearing, "call me... we can go to a meeting together." I have nor had no reason to doubt their sincerity. What became the problem was getting rides during the weekdays... everybody was more than willing to drive me on Saturday and Sunday (my sponsor included... so no reason to even ask for a ride).

This 90 meetings in 90 days... I was ready willing and able to go along with it 'cause nothing else had worked so far, and I'm a definite believer in if you're gonna do something, do it right. If nothing else, I would never be able to know if it worked or not--'might coulda' would always be on my mind if it hadn't. So I was trying for 90 meetings... and getting turned down by the dozens. The calls became the most painful/ stressful part of my school week.

The third or perhaps overall problem I have with AA is not AA's fault at all. It's my problem.

They claim it's a new life, with new sober friends. What with everybody having family/work/other obligations... it's 1.5 hours a day and a few minutes chatting after. I get that at school. After-AA activities, well, I've pretty much struck out the few times it's come up... I don't have a car and most of the people are in the same city... I'm in the next one. The last time it came up, the lady who drove me there suggested to someone who was going out that they might invite me. As soon as we were alone to work out the details, the person going suggested reasons I might not want to go--although I did not see that until after the meeting, when she finally just slipped out the door without a word. The lady who had driven me passed me off to someone else, who actually laughed at my accent when I was giving the directions at the end. I have never been so humiliated, and I have been humiliated a time or two. I'm an alcoholic--goes with the territory. I almost cried. And I did decide not to worry about ever having a sober friend... not worth the cost.

I had debated just not going on those two days that were the hardest of all... and follow the rest of the program anyways, even if it wasn't a perfect match. It was working sorta well... Kinda like the next level of SR... SR didn't cure me but it sure kept me much more sober than pre-SR... AA did the same, only much much more sober.

Of course, then I got drunk... and in one of those Murphy Law type moments, someone called me to ask if I needed a ride to the meeting. I told her it would probably be inappropriate... She insisted, and told me I might get something out of it. She did, however, demand that I don't throw up in her car. I am happy to report that I did not (although that would have been strange anyways). Nobody at the meeting was upset with me--although I started shaking halfway through and had to go smoke a cigarette and a few people thought I'd wandered away. Several were supportive. I didn't go back though, yet, although I think I will tomorrow night.

Now the drinking is not in any way the fault/result even of anybody in AA. I'm using it as a tool as I'm sure most if not all of the other members are. It's just I can't seem to get over those few minor points... any advice? Cause whether they're real or imagined, my problem or an infrastructural problem with this area/AA/whatever... they're real enough to cloud my mind into having resentments.

I'm only on the first step, but those resentment issues are something I've been working on for a long time now, pre-sobriety even. I used to have a serious temper problem... I can't afford to have lingering irritants. So anyways, since I can't think of anything... was wondering if y'all might.

My sincere apologies for the length. I should have posted this all as it arose, which would have made for three little posts.

Take care, and I thank y'all who read through it all.
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:13 PM
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I'm glad to see you back and trying again. I have missed you and worried about you.

I think you're right when you said you don't have enough motivation.

Bottom line, getting sober and staying sober is up to you. It's your choice. It's not up to SR or to AA to do it for you. Those are tools, as you said, meaning they are things you can use to learn and grow, but they will not do the work for you.

I hope and pray that you find your way.
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:30 PM
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30. Wow, glad you survived. Hugs.

My first sponsor, after my near death relapse, said to me...."self defiance will push you into the already dug grave you are standing next to".....seemed harsh. I hated hearing it but it was true. Then she taught me reliance on a power greater than me OTHER than booze it where to start. So I believed that she believed.

I never made a ton of friends in AA. That's me. I just know that the most quality people in my life today are a result of attending meetings and listening and learning.

There are loads of ways to start a life of recovery. For me, it had to start with the harsh reality that I was SICK and I needed to stop and I didn't know how. So I humbled myself and I listened to the meanest lady I met at a meeting and she became my sponsor. And she was not sweet. She told it like it was. And whenever I was blabbing on about my terminally uniqueness, she would say 'to thine own self be true'....I couldn't stand it.

Later, my recovery counselor broke it down simpler, "anything after BUT is ********" when I caught myself "BUT" thinking....I would go to another meeting and listen and not drink or drug (I have history of drugs too)....

I hope you hang in there. I didn't have a home or any money. I managed to find my way to meetings after I totalled my car. I just kept going. In spite of....

Because by age 31, I knew that alcohol had turned on me and I was grasping the knowledge that as an alkie, I had to get help. It turned out AA was best. I couldn't afford a rehab.

That was back in 1996: No one promised me a rose garden. My life is drastically different and I happen to like having a sober life now.

I remember being very cynical and very very angry. I am not angry anymore. I do still maintain my witty cynicism....

Its an inside jobby. No doubt about it. I remember my recovery counselor telling me that the pissed off version of me wanted me dead. I understood what he meant MUCH later after I went thru the steps.
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:36 PM
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I really can't address the 'problems' you're having with some AA members, as I don't go to meetings very often. I can only say to take what you need and ignore the rest. As to someone making fun of your accent... I can only say what I learned in AA (as well as other places) and that is to pray for these people cause they are 'sick' in some way to make fun of someone else.

Is there any other recovery methods you can try? What about counseling, either thru your school or separate from it? I see an addiction counselor once a week and it helps me tremendously. I don't just talk about alcohol, tho I did at first. Now I talk to her about anything bothering me. She can give me insights I hadn't thought of and it's also nice just to have someone to 'vent' to.

I hope you can get back up on the wagon soon, if you haven't already, and hope you can stay sober this time. You have the ability to do that, it's deep within you, you just can't see it right now.

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Old 02-18-2010, 04:37 PM
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Oh, I survived quite well, actually. Thank you though.

Someone said in this forum last week, the worst thing that can happen in a relapse is nothing. I remember smiling when I saw it... he was right.

Guess I don't want it bad enough... no, that's inaccurate. I do want to be sober. But when I sober up I realize I'm just abandoned in this world... Miles and miles away from everybody. No children, no husband, no family who wants me to be sober... I'm finishing up a school career cut off by arbitrary budget cuts. I will have spent four years at it, but I will not graduate due to missing classes. So I'll be back to stranded... It just seems so hopeless. I build myself up, I get knocked down... a lot of times last year I was thinking how I didn't mind if I died or didn't succeed due to drinking--because *I* did it.

Mostly stuff just happens to me. And I get to feel the brunt of it all alone. Just keeps pushing me around.

I miss people.

Now I'm crying. Bye.
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:41 PM
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I have no advice for TB - none you haven't heard before anyway

I will say resentments, anger, and pride keep me sick almost until the point I died.

I had to get to a point where everything standing between me and sobriety was totally insignificant - not that any of that stuff is necessarily unimportant or just doesn't matter as much as you getting well.

You don't have to fall to the depths I did to realise that just have to be smarter

With recovery, you have to believe you want it, and that you deserve it - and I'm really praying for you that you get there soon TB.

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Old 02-18-2010, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by thirtybubba View Post
The lady who had driven me passed me off to someone else, who actually laughed at my accent when I was giving the directions at the end. I have never been so humiliated, and I have been humiliated a time or two.
Just because you share a common trait with people (alcoholism) doesn't mean that everyone else is as good (or as bad) as you. AA meetings aside, many people in the world are just plain, stupid assholes.

A friend going through addiction counseling told me once of all of the people at his sessions acting like repugnant and ill-mannered children. According to this person, people with sever addiction issues tend to stop maturing psychologically past the age at which they develop addiction(s). I don't know if there is any medical basis for this but intuitively I can see how it would be true.
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:34 PM
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I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Have you read the Rational Recovery Little Book? It made a lot of sense to me and just clicked. If AA isn't working for you, check it out.

For me, I was wrapped up in self-pity and it made it hard for me to progress. I had to learn how to be grateful for all the blessings in my life and take responsibility for myself. I think the disease of alcoholism used the "not good" parts in my life to keep me drinking. I truly believe there is an alcoholic/addictive voice that told me "reasons" why I needed to feed the disease.

I don't know if that makes sense to you. I hope it helps. Do try to get the Little Book and see what you think. It's in the library.


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Old 02-18-2010, 08:40 PM
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:16 PM
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I missed the post directly above mine TB.

The thing is, as you know, sobriety is not a magic doesn't fix all the things wrong in our life...but if you can get it, and keep it, and believe in the fact it's a necessary and fundamental step no matter what your emotions tell you, and no matter what happens...

if you can maintain yr sobriety for a while, get out of the stops and'll start to heal...start to see things clearly...grow in confidence again..and you will be able to start working on the other stuff.

But drinking instead of all that?
That never gets anyone anywhere, TB.

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Old 02-19-2010, 08:12 AM
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Really glad to see you back making a new effort.

Originally Posted by thirtybubba View Post
Religion seems to be a sticking issue--someone shared that they had finally decided to give up their beliefs in favor of others
I came into AA as a staunch atheist. It didn't get in the way of a spiritual awakening because I followed the directions in the BB precisely. The 2nd Step question is 'Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe in a power greater than myself.' That's it. That's the only requirement. 'It's been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.'

So that's really as far as I have to go to make a start. A willingness to believe in something. What I need, in order to recover, is that vast emotional and psychological change. Jung desribed it like this:
Originally Posted by AA BB 1st
Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me these occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.
In order to recover, I need to have my ideas, emotions, attitudes cast aside and replaced by new conceptions and motives to drive my life. And since I can't cause that to happen just by wishing for it, I need to have some power do that for me. All I have to believe is that it is possible for that vast rearrangement to occur, and that if it occurs, I will recover. The Steps are the process that allows that occurrence to happen.

A buddy of mine pisses a lot of people off by saying that 'you can't get sober with the same God you came in with.' What he hopes to accomplish by that statement, is to get people thinking about how clinging to my present way of relating to that power can prevent me from experiencing that power in a new way. Belief is not enough, or else everyone who believed in a god and prayed to it would be sober. And it just doesn't work that way. Open mindedness and willingness are essential.

I can not tell you how many people I've seen fail to stay sober who mistakenly believe that all they need to do is have a belief in a higher power and pray. And it's almost impossible to get them to experience this power, to have this transformative experience, if they are locked into that belief.

Start with the very minimum requirements, TB, and let the rest be revealed to you. Do you have a belief in something, anything? Or even willing to? That's enough. The rest will come as the result of the Steps. And the rest may well fit in perfectly with your present beliefs. Nobody is trying to get you to lose your faith.

Originally Posted by thirtybubba View Post
Another problem I was having was getting rides.
Rides are a pain in the butt, sometimes. I will often times pass somebody off to someone else who is heading that direction. I guess it might seem uncaring, but it's the reality of the situation. One of the real advantages of being all the way in with a solid home group is that everyone is tight with everyone else. There's this feeling of camraderie and all being on the same side. We are all, to some extent, sponsoring each other. It's more of a group dynamic, and the individual players just don't matter that much. We're all interchangeable. It's easier, and less offensive, to get rides with this kind of dynamic.

Originally Posted by thirtybubba View Post
This 90 meetings in 90 days...
It's not going to hurt you any. More important, though, is the willingness to do whatever it takes. In that 90 days time, you can have completed the Steps and had a spiritual awakening (or vast emotional rearrangement or psychic change) and be recovered. And never drink again and never feel that emptiness again. How's that for a good use of those 90 days?

Originally Posted by thirtybubba View Post
After-AA activities
This sounded more about the ride thing. Again, when I started going to the same meetings, seeing the same people, committed to go and responsible to be there, I started to develop a little trust and friendship with those folks. The social life took care of itself. Committment and responsiblity. I show up whether I need it or not, whether I feel like it or not.

Originally Posted by thirtybubba View Post
I'm only on the first step
OK. Then focus only on that. The one thing that stood out for me I saw in your entire post was not much emphasis on the Steps. All this concern, all this headspace taken up with the dynamics. Put that kind of headspace into the Steps, and you will recover.

I'm excited as hell for you. Please PM me if I can be of some help.

Quotes from AA BB 1st Ed.
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