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Struggling with AA.

Old 06-25-2010, 05:14 AM
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That statement "there is a liquor store on every corner" to me, just means that no matter what, there is always a choice. One could go to that liquor store, or one could shut up and listen and follow the suggestions of others that helped keep them sober. For me, i was completely lost and knew that I could not do it alone, simply becuase my decisions were what got me to where i was. I needed the guidance of someone else to help me learn to live life without drinking.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:39 AM
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I have found that my "confessing" (not a term I empathise with) to be an alcoholic gives me total and utter stength as opposed to giving my addiction power. The compulsion and desire to drink alcohol is long since removed. But I know it would be back if I don't live in my recovery.

Many of the people who I have seen struggling at meetings are those that still are fighting with their 'ego' for some reason and not totally accepting what they are ie- an alcoholic.

I can say that I am a dirty, lowdown, messy, blackout alkie and feel no shame at all. Quite the opposite in fact. This reminds me what I would be if I ever took another drink and also makes me feel gratitude as to where I've come from. I truly ain't ashamed of my journey as it was my journey. I am now a very grateful recovering alcoholic. But an alcoholic I will always be. It gives me strength to know that too.

Obviously everybody is different but I am so glad that I was able to embrace my alcoholism and thus recover as opposed to somehow feeling like it was a burden and a negative thing. Sure at the time in active addiction I did some bad things and was mentally f*cked but it has enabled me to be so much more self-aware, insightful to life and generally peaceful, serene and contented. Most of the time! haha.

Increase The peace
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:05 AM
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The Buddha said to question teachings to see if they were true. Blind conformity to any group is the hallmark of a cult.
The good thing about AA is that it has the humility to say hey we don't know everything. Just check us out.

If you don't want what we have, there's a liquor store on every corner!
--rim shot!
Brought to you by your AA slogan of the day.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:39 AM
  # 64 (permalink)  
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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.
I am a alcoholic but I say I am an alcoholic because everybody else does. "Recovery, service, unity"

The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us ~p17
Identifying myself like everyone else also keeps my ego out of it. My ego would always want me to make some grand gesture when I introduced myself which says "look at me I am different/special/unique/separate"
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by intention View Post
I am a alcoholic but I say I am an alcoholic because everybody else does. "Recovery, service, unity"



Identifying myself like everyone else also keeps my ego out of it. My ego would always want me to make some grand gesture when I introduced myself which says "look at me I am different/special/unique/separate"
That's another thing I agree with. We're all in the same boat. No one's more special, or better than anyone else.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by NEOMARXIST View Post
I have found that my "confessing" (not a term I empathise with) to be an alcoholic gives me total and utter stength as opposed to giving my addiction power. The compulsion and desire to drink alcohol is long since removed. But I know it would be back if I don't live in my recovery.

Many of the people who I have seen struggling at meetings are those that still are fighting with their 'ego' for some reason and not totally accepting what they are ie- an alcoholic.

I can say that I am a dirty, lowdown, messy, blackout alkie and feel no shame at all. Quite the opposite in fact. This reminds me what I would be if I ever took another drink and also makes me feel gratitude as to where I've come from. I truly ain't ashamed of my journey as it was my journey. I am now a very grateful recovering alcoholic. But an alcoholic I will always be. It gives me strength to know that too.

Obviously everybody is different but I am so glad that I was able to embrace my alcoholism and thus recover as opposed to somehow feeling like it was a burden and a negative thing. Sure at the time in active addiction I did some bad things and was mentally f*cked but it has enabled me to be so much more self-aware, insightful to life and generally peaceful, serene and contented. Most of the time! haha.

Increase The peace
I do not look at my journey as a "burden" or "negative thing", & this sure isn't about my ego, I'm fine with admitting my short comings & that I have a problem when I drink & use, but I also feel like I have handed them over to my HP and no longer have to bare the weight any longer & for me to say "I am" over & over isn't good for me, so that is a part I leave. I am probably thinking about it in different terms then most. I agree with the importance of keeping yourself in check. I just choose to say that I am a "recovering alcoholic" or more accurately a "GRATEFUL recovering alcoholic". I also understand that to use the past tense may allow me to think I can go back out there, but to me it reminds me of where I was & where I am & how much more at peace I am on this new journey.

To each their own, do what works
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:48 AM
  # 67 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by WakeUp View Post
If you don't want what we have, there's a liquor store on every corner!
--rim shot!
Brought to you by your AA slogan of the day.
c011:
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:45 PM
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Hi Sobermax and everyone following this thread! I posted earlier and now have some issues to add.
Today was my 4th AA meeting. It was a big weekly open one and there were a lot of people there, as were piles and piles of didactic AA propaganda (I use this word intending the non=negative kind of course!)
The more I read and understand the process and program, the more I think I'm going to have one hell of a time reconciling my personal worldview and the steps. Really this is about learning behavioral changes and thought processes, socialization with others who share alcoholism, learning to live without chemical dependency... what does "God" have to do with that? I just don't believe in god. Help!
Not that I'm looking for a reason to give up. Quite the contrary, I've made it throught the week without drinking and I am more committed than ever to this process of becoming truly sober, but I have to say I really will have to look for a similar format to AA without all the God stuff. But AA has definately helped me through this week, if only to show me that I am not alone right here in our little corner of the world.

And thank you all so much for keeping the threads going on this site. I've found it wonderfully helpful, and enlightening.
-G
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:08 AM
  # 69 (permalink)  
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Wow, what a phenomenal post. You've articulated my feelings about the attitude within AA better than I ever could.

AA is certainly not for everyone, nor is it necessary for recovery. I'm coming up on 2.5 years sober, and haven't been to a meeting for nearly 2 years.

Good luck, and thanks for the post!
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Old 06-26-2010, 02:08 AM
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In the interests of balance from an impartial observer

There's a whole forum here for people who approach AA in a secular way, so if thats the sticking point, it clearly can be overcome.

Secular 12 Step Recovery - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

D
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by gerryP View Post
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.
Thanks gerry yeah you are right i have made assumptions and we know that assume stands for making an ass of u and me...

I made the liquor thign up ive never heard it before but i baed it on the suggestion in the BB that if you arent done go and try some more controlled drinking:-)

Dont know where you got the impression that the outside world is a rough place from my post...i used AA as a bridge to normal living and thats how i live now...the world is an easy place to live in once you stop fighting everything and everyone...

AA is an amazing program and i do agree it has flaws as have been pointed out but the boggest one for me is people thinking they have to go to AA and then moaning about it....the only requirement for membership is a deasire to stop drinking...thats desire not whim...

At the end of the day we are judged on our actions not words so i can post as much as i want here without anyone knowing whether i am living it or not so it is just my opinion on a forum...but AA did work for me and im just a drunk and if a drunk can get their head out of their ass and their ego for a short while it can work for them too...

Good thread:-)
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Old 06-26-2010, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by yeahgr8 View Post
if a drunk can get their head out of their ass and their ego for a short while it can work for them too...
Oh boy, speaking of cans of worms...

What an extraordinarily offensive comment. That kind of attitude is part of what prompted me to leave the program.

AA didn't work for me, not because I have my head in my ass, but because it just wasn't my thing. I gave it a good long try, weighed the consequences, and decided it was doing me more harm than good. AA, like it or not, is not for everyone.

How about a modicum of respect for those who don't do things your way?
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:37 AM
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Exactly Tellus.

Yeahg8.......AA is NOT for everyone....period....full stop. It has nothing to do with ego and it has nothing to do with having your head up your ass. AA is NOT the only way as there are a number of programs offered that succeed in reaching the goal of sobriety.

It is comments such as yours that point to the small mindedness of AA. Our way or the highway, Black and white, nothing in between. AA'ers speak of not having all the answers (why would they) and humility, yet you demean your members and hold on to the idea that if anyone doesn't like AA, or finds fault in the program or can make a decision that it's not for them, something is wrong with them. Certainly not the Almighty fellowship of AA.

I spent 2 years in AA (would like to use another word to describe it) I was a greeter, Worked in the kitchen, was librarian and Secretary as well as a sponsor to 2 other members. I think I put some time in and like Tellus, it was doing more harm than good.

I could go on...but I won't. I'm not trying to be argumentative.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by gerryP View Post




It is comments such as yours that point to the small mindedness of AA.

Reading this thread has reminded me what bothered me about AA when I first came in, I said alot of what is being said. Slogans, steps, groupthink, etc. Yet now I am so into AA, weird.

What is also weird is that the same things don't bother methat much anymore. I still get homicidal if someone tells me what to do or thinks that their experience should be my experience. But when that happens it's jerk (insert stronger word here) that just happens to be in a meeting and not "AA".

Alot of organizations would have hard time standing up to scrutiny judged on the actions of individuals.

I see now that I no longer put the actions of certain members of AA on AA.

GerryP, I respect your position but have a question on the small mindedness comment, would you say that certain members are small minded or is the entire fellowship?
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tellus View Post
Oh boy, speaking of cans of worms...

What an extraordinarily offensive comment. That kind of attitude is part of what prompted me to leave the program.

AA didn't work for me, not because I have my head in my ass, but because it just wasn't my thing. I gave it a good long try, weighed the consequences, and decided it was doing me more harm than good. AA, like it or not, is not for everyone.

How about a modicum of respect for those who don't do things your way?
I still don't see where Yeagh8 is saying that AA is the only way?
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Old 06-26-2010, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Kjell View Post
I still don't see where Yeagh8 is saying that AA is the only way?
This is the part that got my hackles up:

Originally Posted by yeahgr8 View Post
but AA did work for me and im just a drunk and if a drunk can get their head out of their ass and their ego for a short while it can work for them too...
The implication being that those for whom AA doesn't work must have something wrong with them -- they must either be idiots (head up the ass) or narcissists (ego) or both.

Major kudos to the OP for sticking with the program and looking past the bits that rankle you (truly! I sometimes wish I could've done that). I preferred to go it on my own, which I think is an equally valid choice. No one--not an AA or SR member, not Bill W., not the Pope--has the right to put a value judgement on someone else's sobriety.


ETA: I feel obliged to note, I certainly don't think all AAers are the black-or-white, my-way-or-the-highway types. Each city's AA is different -- heck, each meeting is. But in my case, I seem to have found more than my share of the Big-Book-thumper types. If and when I move to another city, I'm sure I'll give it another go.
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by yeahgr8 View Post
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...
I think you've nailed it! IMO, I get to choose which "voice" to listen to, which "teacher" to follow: ego or spirit (higher self). Ego is the source of all fear because it is based on separation, conflict, chaos, competition and pleasure seeking. It is always seeking but never finding. It is always obsessed with what I lack rather than being grateful for my blessings. Spirit is all about love, ever uniting, identifying, accepting, sharing and never struggling or attacking. I believe that addictions are the way I defend my ego's "identity" from the "threats" of reality. I avoid the emptiness, pain, misery, fear, anger, shame, guilt, etc. that are part and parcel of my ego, by focusing on the outsides, regulating my feelings through "stuff," rather than my own internal resources. I regard addictions as a paradoxical "search for self."

When I hear "my disease made me do it," I hear "my ego is in control." My solution is well encapsulated by an AA slogan: "Let go, let God." Notice that the letting go comes first. I needed to let go of my old ideas (ego) and become open to a higher power (higher self, god, love, etc.). It's very simple: love or fear. Those are my only choices. I do not remain sober out of fear of picking up a drink. I remain sober by being consistently mindful of the only question I need to answer: "What would love do?" And then do it. And it doesn't even matter if I'm "right" or "wrong," because above all...it is USEFUL in utilizing AA's "design for living." As Chuck C. wrote, I needed a new pair of glasses: one that helps me see the solution rather than being stuck in the problem.

blessings
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
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
I have difficulty understanding why anyone has a problem with "one day at a time." After all...I lived my life as an alcoholic one day at a time...never considering tomorrow's consequences of today's drinking, not worrying about spending the rent money today and being homeless tomorrow. Like Alfred E. Newman, my motto was, "what, me worry?"

blessings
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by DayTrader View Post
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.
In Florida, we have a saying, "shoot the gators closest to the boat first."

I recall hearing Franklin W. speak at the Desert Roundup many years ago. He told the story of how, when his sponsor told him he needed to get a Big Book, he pleaded poverty. His sponsor said that he'd been lying, cheating and stealing his whole life, so "steal you a big book. We have a step later on where you can make amends for that."

blessings
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by gerryP View Post
Exactly Tellus.

Yeahg8.......AA is NOT for everyone....period....full stop. It has nothing to do with ego and it has nothing to do with having your head up your ass. AA is NOT the only way as there are a number of programs offered that succeed in reaching the goal of sobriety.

It is comments such as yours that point to the small mindedness of AA. Our way or the highway, Black and white, nothing in between. AA'ers speak of not having all the answers (why would they) and humility, yet you demean your members and hold on to the idea that if anyone doesn't like AA, or finds fault in the program or can make a decision that it's not for them, something is wrong with them. Certainly not the Almighty fellowship of AA.

I spent 2 years in AA (would like to use another word to describe it) I was a greeter, Worked in the kitchen, was librarian and Secretary as well as a sponsor to 2 other members. I think I put some time in and like Tellus, it was doing more harm than good.

I could go on...but I won't. I'm not trying to be argumentative.
I think that any group with an "our way or the highway" attitude is simply giving voice to the ancient tribalism that assumes that the "other" is the enemy. It's not helpful, but understandable. Those dedicated to AA seldom have the opportunity to hear the experience, strength and hope of sober alcoholics who are not AA members, so it's easy to assume that AA is the only way that works. Everyone thinks their way is best, otherwise they'd try some other way!

I was an AA member for five years and it "didn't work for me." But I thought it was working until I relapsed. In retrospect, I realize that I lacked the humility to simply do the program exactly as directed in the BB...without making any modifications or exceptions. Once I became willing to do the AA program instead of the "zenbear" program, I was able to remain sober. IMO..."rarely have we seen a person fail who has THOROUGHLY followed our path:" it wasn't AA that didn't work. It was me who didn't work it.

It's been many years since I felt like I needed meetings in order to remain sober, although I still attend a few because I enjoy being with people of like mind. I'm not cured, but I am recovered. As it says in the beginning of the BB....I have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. AA never suggested it was a lifetime sentence. The notion of being "recovering" rather than "recovered" originated with a treatment industry that is financially invested in re-treating people, over and over again.

Hows THAT for a can of worms??? LOL

blessings
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