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Struggling with AA.

Old 06-24-2010, 01:39 PM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Fandy View Post
here is a *silly* question....aren't most public meetings and rooms where they have AA meetings now smoke free?

I do not and do not plan to seek assistance from AA....there is a Sunday PM meeting in the building where I work every Sunday ( I work in a municipal hospital complex)...No one is allowed to smoke in or around the building.

How can you actually smoke unless you are in a private residence?

just wondering....?

Most of the groups I went to, granted, this was 2 years ago, were smoking groups. The facilities were often a room rented in a stripmall, etc. Even when the meetings at those locations were "nonsmoking" I came out smelling of an ashtray.

Anyways..
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by WakeUp View Post
So many good points were brought up, I don't know what i could add.

Yeah, I'm an AAer, and there is plenty that annoys me. The crowd that gulps coffee, chainsmokes (agreed, AA needs to take a holistic view on recovery, and stop condoning smoking and sugar instead of drinking! It's ALL addiction!) and says over and over again, "don't drink and go to lots of meetings."

Also, the slogans drive me crazy. I had a friend call me and did nothing but chant slogans at me. Anybody else who calls me and shouts slogans is going to get a dial tone in their ear. They're like parrots "Stinking thinking"! "Don't drink no matter what!" "Keep coming back!" SQUAK!!!

To me AA is a spiritual program that invokes surrenduring to my disease, then change, then maintaining my recovery. I'm a spiritual person from the word go, so the spiritual thing doesn't both me at all. (The Abrahamic God doesn't both me either, as long as you keep to your god, and I'll keep to mine.)

Thank you for this post..
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:46 PM
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Now to actually address the original post instead of piggyback on others..

AA may not be the program that works best for you. Think of that? Seems like you're spending a lot of energy on what you don't like about "AA" or whatever the real issue is. What other options are you open to? What have you tried? Counseling? Smart? LifeRing? Books? etc?

What's the plan?
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:46 PM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Raindance View Post
My group never had more than 15 people. Some things became a broken record.

I have a lot of tools from the time that I did go to the meetings that I took away with me, but after awhile it felt time to leave and go use them rather than going back to hear the same thing again and again.

It felt like I needed to go back and live my life and stop hiding in meetings KWIM?
I do know what you mean. There are a lot of folks at my group who have a ton of time, but they don't have the life I want. ...and there are some there who I look up to and who are very helpful to me.

I'm only on step 8, so I'm not through the steps, but I want to make sure I give back once I am.

I think as long as we continue to grow we are going to be ok.
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:48 PM
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Funny how this thread is about somebody in AA that has several problems with it and some subsequent posts could be labeled, "why I don't like AA" yet all are still welcome in AA. Thatís what amazes me about the fellowship of AA, its ability to help and always welcome those who may not necessarily love or even like it. I spent a great deal of time hating aspects of it while it simultaneously saved my life.

The OP talked about AA being inflexible, well it is flexible enough to have only one membership requirement. And I have never heard of anyone getting kicked out, especially for showing up drunk. That is very different from other treatment places I am sure. Even this wonderful forum we are members have user terms of conditions for use that we all agreed to. No such regulations in AA. Violations of this agreement gets us potentially sanctioned on SR, no sanctions in AA.

I go to a meeting where a former Deacon in the Church will sometimes shout out "F God and his son" at a meeting. Asked why he sometimes does it, he replies that after 37 years sober in AA he is amazed that he can that do that in a meeting and no one can do anything about it. :-)

So while I have had issues with AA, I love it, if not for the only reason being that I am allowed to hate it if I choose yet it is still there for me, no matter what.

Think the 12 and 12 says something like "no fellowship so jealously guards a members freedom to think, act and speak as he wishes" I find that to be true. I can call AA alot of things but the freedom enjoyed by its members is truly amazing to me.
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:21 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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Hi Max

I'm not an AAer, but I'm still three years in recovery so I know there are other ways to the top of the mountain.

The only thing I will say is think about it all carefully.

Make sure whatever you do, you're genuinely acting in your best interests and not simply reacting to something you find strange and unfamiliar or uncomfortable - some of the best things in my recovery have been strange unfamiliar and uncomfortable things that I really didn't want to do...but I knew I had to, and I'm glad now I did

D
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:39 PM
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I think that self depricating "alcoholic in me" stuff is a way for some to stay humble and keep the first step current... Now that I see it through that lens, it no longer gets on my nerves when I hear it. We are all imperfect human beings, alcoholic or not. I stay humble by using the tenth step... Nothing in there about self deprication... But that's just me.

Remember, the program is in the Big Book... When I have had enough of slogans, nuggets of wisdom and bleeding deacons... I get it out and read from it. It is a source of strength and hope.

But I like the meetings I go to very much, and many of my fellow AAs even more.

Like was said before ... Freedom... To be me, to be sober, to find my own higher power.
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Kjell View Post
Obviously, not every AA'er that has been sober for 10 years goes everyday. It's like life in general - there are all kinds of people in the world - there are all kinds of people in AA. Stick with the winners (as you should do in life and in AA).
Aint that the truth...remember we are a bunch of drunks in AA or not! We have people that think that just coming to meetings twice a week is sobriety as much as there are people that think going to the gym twice a week and not drinking is sobriety?!

As has been said look for the similarities and stick to the people who's sobriety you want...only drunks could make this so damn complicated...its simple logic...at work if you want to progress do you look to your boss/MD or look to the postal clerk for inspriration and advice on your career???

IMO It's useful to remember that EGO has kept us in our addictive behaviour for many years and the first thing our EGO does with any route to recovery is look for the differences, e.g. they aren't happy or they talk rubbish or im not that bad...the EGO will do and say anything to survive...EGO is rigid and only thinks in terms of black and white, it cant survive in grey areas so when i find myself looking at or hearing something and thinking straight away no thats crap i like to slow down and think ok who is saying that me or my EGO...first of all you have to be able to identify what is EGO and what is you which is a great part of the 12 step process in AA and a big part of the CBT counselling i also use as a resource to progress and maintain my sobriety...
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:57 PM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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Hello all,

Feel like I have opened a can of worms. Thanks to everyone for all these comments.

First, I'm not AA bashing or trying to denigrate anyone else's beliefs but rather (like all of us newbies) wrestling with some fundamental, life-changing concepts. It can be confusing and difficult! My comments may well say as much about my own perceptions as about AA. At the moment, I don't really know what I think or feel: sometimes one thing, sometimes five different things at once.

I must remember that meetings are not simply for my benefit. This was very helpful.

Life often contains contradiction.

Thank god for this site where anything that isn't appropriate for a share can be vented and freely discussed.

It was a member's 1st sobriety birthday today. There was cake and cards and lots of celebration. I mentioned some of the issues I've been having to one of the old timers who (infuriatingly, in the context of this thread) made me feel instantly much better with a slogan. 'One day at a time'. My shoulders dropped. So, rather than attempting to inhale the entire program in one breath and instantly be soberGandhi, I'm going to stop worrying about all this and start again at the beginning.

Is all this me working myself up to another drink? Looking for something to feel badly about?

Damn, this isn't easy.

Thanks everyone.

SM
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:03 PM
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LOL I used to hate 'one day at a time' too...it seemed so pat, so trite, so Hallmark...but then I actually started to *do it*...and it really does make so much sense...and not just in the area of sobriety.

As long as you keep yourself alert, your mind open, and you have faith to stay your course...I figure you're right where you're supposed to be, Max.

and don't worry about the can of worms. These issues are hardy perrenials

D
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:20 PM
  # 51 (permalink)  
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So, rather than attempting to inhale the entire program in one breath and instantly be soberGandhi, I'm going to stop worrying about all this and start again at the beginning.
And regardless of the program used, that's really all we can do, every day.
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:09 PM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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I too haaaaaaated 99% of the one-liners. A lot of them I'm still not fond of but for different reasons than I disliked them for early on.

I had "issues" with each and every step in the program. The only one that didn't really bother me was 5 (I know..... odd, isn't it?).

Anyway, I was told, I believed, and I still believe that "the program of AA works." For it to work, I have to work the program and the program IS the 12 steps. So.....for me......if I want the "guaranteed" relief, happiness, and growth of the program, I have to work it all. That means, to me, that I have to work all the steps. Sure, some I'm not good at working at all (yet) but I need to be working on my willingness to try to work them better.

The "one day at a time" comment was right-on-time though. You're right, you don't have to swallow it all right now. For the steps that really bug the crap outta you, do some reflecting on whether it makes sense or not to be willing (or more willing) to at least try them. I found, when I reflected, that what I thought was right and wrong landed me here in the first place so maybe my best judgment wasn't to be trusted.
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:48 PM
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One day at a time is the only slogan I like. I really learned about mindfulness when I learned about one day at a time.
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:38 PM
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I started going to AA meetings, because I didn't have a sober social network & was sure to continue my way of life without that necessary change/supplement. I've begun to look forward to becoming better equipped to deal with life on life's terms, to actually feel emotion & cope with it instead of drinking & drugging at it. I have to realize that there is much to be learned & that I didn't know much & that I do not have to (wasn't meant to) take this on alone. I am very grateful for that.

As for not wanting to be like some of the people in the meetings, I have only encountered a handful that truly make me want to take on this way of life, however, nearly everyone else serves as a constant reminder of where I could have ended up, how messed up my train of thought was or that there are other people out there with heavy loads ( many being heavier than mine) that I can lend a helping hand to.

My dad got sober the same age as me, 23, & he has never gone to an AA meeting & I go pretty much on a daily basis with a few exceptions. However, he gave his life to christ & became an adamant church goer. He didn't touch a drink (or any other substance) for 6 months & can now have A beer here & there & it isn't a big deal. I can not even think about these things at the moment, because then it will get me thinking of WHEN I can drink & I can just see that going no where good. So, we are all different & I need to constantly be reminded to let faith work 24 hours or I won't make it. I may still abstain from a drink, but will I be able to live up to my full potential? I want higher standards.

One thing that bother's me in AA is almost everyone constantly confessing that they are an alcoholic. So, I just say I am recovering or a recovering alcoholic. I feel like if I keep saying that I am, then that gives it power & though I maybe powerless over alcohol, I have a higher power that is able to relieve me from that powerlessness & I wouldn't want to hinder that.

I find it best these days to sit back & listen & be open & honest with myself & others.

Great thread, thanks!
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:51 AM
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'One day at a time' has been a real jewel in my sobriety crown (How about that for a slogan!! hahaha)

I find that my recovery is a new way of living and it's one which is so much healthier mentally than it used to be. I used to project my thinking all of the time and thanks to really actively living 'one day at a time' then I find my anxiety and worry greatly reduced.

I must admit that the slogans used to annoy me when i first went into AA. But after going back into it after drinking again then I got over it and now they don't bother me at all. In fact I find most of them very, very useful and fundamental to helping my thinking and mood when I am in a tricky situation. They are simple, effective and easy to remember. Yes, I actually think they are very positive personally and I know that they have reallly helped me.

There is much good in AA and what is being talked about truly does work. 'Take what you want and leave the rest' is another slogan that I apply at meetings. However even when I don't click with certain things that are shared then I still can get stuff out of it.

I have had nothing but positive and encouraging responses at the AA meetings I attend and it really does help me when I have the stalwarts thanking me for my share outside afterwards. It has really helped me keep gratefully sober.

I think it really is a 'one day at a time' thing. Once you start thinking too far out of the present then you will find overwhelming and anxious thoughts start to dominate.

Working on my recovery and moving forwards 'one day at a time' and staying sober 'just for today'. That is my overall outlook on it all.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:12 AM
  # 56 (permalink)  
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Love this thread sobermax so thanks:-)

I found one day at a time to be very useful in the beginning, it made so much sense...after going through the steps this changed into living one day at a time...alcohol was no longer a problem in the respect that the mental obsession had been removed, e.g. no cravings, triggers etc...so obviously living one day at a time for anyone makes sense because otherwise we waste the day...

I have to add that the whole point of the program of AA is to build a bridge to normal living, in the sense that once you have done the work and continue to keep spiritually fit on a daily basis you will start leaving the combat gear at home and everyday wont seem like a military exercise to avoid alcohol consumption because thats just not what sobriety is, thats just abstinance and is not normal at all...

Anyways will be a very eye opening journey for you and you have already started looking around and noticing things which is good but, for now, the focus is you and getting the work done then youcan try and figure out why people do what they do and are like they are...it'll be much more clear:-)
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by gerryP View Post
Yeagr8,

"Just remember a bit of humility too you knocked on AA's door, they didn't knock on yours"

......" you might give the group of strangers that are all trying to help you a bit more slack and if it gets too much, there is a liquor store on every corner."

That sounds like typical AA shaming, admonishment and ridicule offered when someone strays from the AA mindset.
Thats your perception and opinion and thats cool:-)

Like i have said many times i dont just use AA for my recovery and am certain that if i said today to my CBT counselor that i wasnt sure i liked his sobriety or made some comment about how he was working i would be told much the same thing, you knocked on my door for help not the reverse so jog on go somewhere else...

How about you go to a judo class and start telling the instructor what you think of him and how you arent sure whether his tesching method is right...what do you think would happen...

I presume you work? Get your boss to one side and tell him he doesnt seem in your opinion to run the company right and you aren't sure about his strategy and you arent that keen on your co-workers...

Isn't AA a really amazing place, everyone is welcome and even if you voice you don't like the people, the program, the room, etc you are still welcome back with open arms...and you even get people like me to flag up potential danger signs and try and give a little help in the newcomers journey through their own rela life experience of the route to recovery:-)

Dont worry too much about sobermax there will be plenty of people to give a pat on the back and say everything will be ok too...

Let me know how you get on with your boss;-)
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by AtlasMcGee View Post

One thing that bother's me in AA is almost everyone constantly confessing that they are an alcoholic. So, I just say I am recovering or a recovering alcoholic. I feel like if I keep saying that I am, then that gives it power & though I maybe powerless over alcohol, I have a higher power that is able to relieve me from that powerlessness & I wouldn't want to hinder that.
I know what you mean Atlas. I felt the same way. It also bugged me that everyone was "bragging" about their sobriety dates (yep, that's what I thought they were doing - lol). I, on the other hand, wouldn't say mine. I didn't like that I felt like a newcomer all the time - especially when I was around ppl with multiple years of sobriety in AA.

Over time though, I've learned to say I'm an alcoholic not to give my alcoholism power but to keep my ridiculous false-ego in check. Ya see, without some reminders from time to time, I'm likely to start thinking I'm "cured" and can go back to drinking. My God can do anything but I also have to cover my end of the bargain.......and that includes not picking up that first drink because once I do, I'm powerless over alcohol again. The drink takes me. So long as I don't pick up that first one though, I have some power over alcohol -- or, as the book puts it, a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:36 AM
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yeargr8,

You have made a lot of assumptions.

I'm supposing we come from different experiences, as my opinions and observations are welcomed and respected. I don't see life outside the rooms of AA as hostile and unforgiving. Anything else does not encourage knowledge, understanding and growth.

In any case, as you posted (along the line of) if you don't like it, there is a liquor store on every corner, is a phrase I heard recycled and regurgitated 100's of times within AA. Apart from it being thoughtless, I don't see how it can be considered helpful. It does however give the idea to get with the program or get out. So, to this end, AA an amazing place? For me? no.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:11 AM
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Well then take away cafine, sex, and gambling as well. ..... If you read the AA literature, Alcoholics Ananomous is meant to help one face their alcoholism and stop drinking.

"We knew that we could not DRINK safetly anymore"

I myself had both alcohol and drug problems, but I realized that throughout all of my addictions, alcohol was always the most prevalent.

AA is for people with drinking problems, alcohol is but a symptom of that disease. If people want a program to quite smoking, I am sure there is one out there, just like there is programs for Over eaters, gambling, sex, cocaine, etc. etc.

For those that do not like smoke in meetings, find a smoke-free meeting!! There are plenty out there.

Just my thoughts!
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