Feeling betrayed (aa)

Old 04-21-2015, 03:30 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by paintballguy View Post
"half measures do nothing" it says and the whole program is based on giving yourself to god
People poke fun at the idea of using a doorknob as their god, yet believe in a white haired bearded man who sits in the clouds and keeps tabs on each and every one of us.

The longer I'm sober, the more "giving yourself to god" simply means to me allowing things to be as they are. God, a force, a power, a natural order of things, a universal intelligence, a bearded guy, a radiator, a doorknob... as much as I hate to say it, I really don't think there is a whole lot of difference with any of them. It's the belief part that ties it all together. Along with a desire to be a better person, and let go of our death grip on control.

I began calling my HP (which doesn't fit many traditional definitions), god, and it worked. I prayed to that god, and it worked. I don't understand it, and I don't question it any more, I just do it and incorporate the steps as best I can in my daily life. It's gotten me 30 contented years of sobriety, with lots and lots of growth, and things I never dreamed of - sobriety included. Like you, I initially had no intent of staying sober for life. I loved drinking. Then a day turned into a week, turned to a month, turned to year, turned to a decade, etc. Never had any desire to go back to the old life.

Some people make a life out of meetings. I don't think there's anything wrong with that if that's what they choose and it works for them. Again, like you, that's not anything I ever wanted. Yet I committed myself to AA bigtime for the first few years and have no regrets. I considered it a bridge back to life, and it took me quite a while to reprogram this brain. I didn't get sucked in as I feared I might. My life doesn't, and has never really revolved around AA (outside those first few years), but AA has taught me that sobriety is and always will be my absolute #1 priority.

I'd say hang in there a bit longer, and find what resonates with you. The 12 steps are possible without a belief in "god". For me it was about unconsciously finding a creative use (or definition) for that word.

Should note that if I didn't have the 12 steps in my life, I truly believe I'd be drunk, dead, or one of those miserable guys who's life revolves around meetings only.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:59 AM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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But you have a higher power - the face to face support AA brings. I've been going for 3 weeks and fortunately one of the first people I met was a fellow atheist. His and my 'higher power' are the same as yours - the power of people support.
I can't stand religious peddlers so I couldn't have one as a sponsor.
Consider this - AA is a pub without beer. Like all pubs you meet fun people, lovely people and those who you wouldn't **** on. It sounds like you've meet a toxic personality so try to see their good intentions, be polite and move away from them. Regardless what any AA members says it's a god or higher power of your own choosing and yours sounds simple to me as it's mine - people power / peer support.
BUT be careful - anger, resentment, feelings or betrayal, self awareness are symptoms of alcoholism - that's how this filthy disease drags us down and sends us back to drinking.
As for meetings every day - I still work and have my kids everyday so I average 3-4 meetings a fortnight. I always target the weekly meeting my sponsors goes to and miss those that are 'over populated' with persons I don't connect with. You personally should NOT be going everyday for the same reason I don't - it doesn't fit your needs and as such it's hindering not helping you.
As for the success stats you stated - Whilst I personally disagree with those and suspect they come from AA critics it does NOT make a rats ass of difference. You said the support there helps you and therefore what's best for you is necessary. Use it, you deserve this chance. If any AA member says different well they are failing the program themselves as that isn't selfless and giving which is what the program is designed to instil in us to improve our self confidence, pride and therefore strength.
When you see you therapist ask about relaxation and other technics you can use to counter and stop your negative feelings of anger, resentment etc as they'll only profit a brewery in the long run my friend.
Good luck
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:28 AM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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There are a lot of good responses to this. One thing for sure, there is also a lot of energy on this topic.

Was Joe Nerv who mentioned the higher power being anything besides yourself? Or rather just to accept things that happen to be what they are and no more. Que sera sera?

If one wants to bring statistics into it, the "success" rate of aa is no more or no less than any other program of recovery - or none at all. The success rate of any program is determined by the participants' willingness to believe it works and wanting it to work. And, most importantly the participant must have the complete desire to stop drinking no matter what.
That is the bottom line. You have to want to stop more than you want to drink. As long as that criteria is met, you can go to wal-mart in the back aisle and buy anything and call it your higher power, pray to it to help you stop drinking and carry it around with you always and whenever you have the urge to drink you pull it out of your pocket and pray to it every time - it should work.

I've heard at aa meetings and from other reports from aaers, when a person who goes to aa continues to drink and just "doesn't get the program" they are told to go away and "come back when they are ready to quit drinking."
So aa works only if you are able to quit drinking on your own - that's a fact jack.

paintballer, I suggest you learn the serenity prayer. You can substitute the word 'self' for god. Say it every day at least one time.
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:36 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Remember, some are sicker than others. I get called out every Thursday by one guy in particular, who happens to be my favorite person in there. He has to make the announcement " Jen is at her weekly meeting," in a mocking manner. It's great, it teaches me how to deal with resentment, patience, humility...etc. these people that do several meetings a day are usually retired with grown kids. I'm 38 with job, college and a 6 year old. Besides, I spend most of my free time on SR anyway and to me that counts.

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Old 04-21-2015, 04:38 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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Boy can I relate paintball.

Crabby oldtimers who did nothing but go to meetings. (p.s. if you say this in a meeting I hope it goes better for you than it did for me)
People with crappy shares that I had to endure.
Bible beaters who wanted to baptize me.
The word God everywhere.
The list goes on and on.

But I stuck around because I did see some people who had something I wanted. Even some of the people I criticized. I almost quit after a couple of months but I found a couple of different meetings I could tolerate. I've learned a lot of life lessons in a short amount of time there. Patience, tolerance, true honesty, humility, and many other things that have brought some peace to my life. When I quit drinking I had a lot of anger and pain that I had no idea how to deal with. AA has taught me how to do that without religion.

Perhaps the best thing that could happen to AA is if you stuck around just for a little bit and gave it a shot. If it ends up working for you, you would have a great message to carry to newcomers who are like minded.

Regardless I hope you find some kind of program that works for you and leads you to some peace and serenity in life. It sounds like you have a whole lotta anger over this. It's not worth getting that mad about. Let it go. I try to remember that I wasted a lot of years caught up in anger, sadness, pity, etc when I was drinking. I don't have time for that crap anymore. You only live once.
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:58 AM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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I ran past my 15 minute edit time...

paintballer, I suggest you look into AVRT. But again, nothing really works unless you are committed to stop drinking at all cost.

Learn to say the serenity prayer every day at least one time. In the beginning whenever something annoyed me I would stop in my tracks and say the serentiy prayer. When those a-holes in rehab wouldn't shut up and kept interrupting the proceedings, I would say the serenity prayer. You can substitue the word 'self' for 'god' in the serenity prayer. It works well that way because after all, isn't our own self-conscious what god really is?

I suggest you read up on some buddhist teachings, meditation and mindfulness. If you get a grip on that, you are on your way.

Fluffer suggested a couple books to read. Look for them.

The thing is, many folks do not rely on any one 'method' of recovery - gawd I hate that word. But in a sense that is exactly what it is. And the time you spend in 'recovery' is determined by only you. Some people go to meetings every day for the rest of their lives. Some do the 90 in 90 thing and say thanks but no-thanks (me).

Arm yourself with as many "tools" as needed to get you through this. If drinking has messed with your life and you want to stop - need to stop - then doesn't it make sense to get as much help as possible?
Welcome to the forum by the way.
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Old 04-21-2015, 05:51 AM
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I was a lot like you. I'm an atheist and AA was pushed hard when I was in inpatient/outpatient rehab. We had daily mandatory meetings. I didn't really relate to a lot of the "substance" of the steps, but I did love the speaker meetings. To see someone get up there with years of sobriety and tell their story about how they are now happy, joyous and free was always amazing.

So I started going to AA when I got out of rehab. I tried to do a 90 in 90 as suggested. I got a sponsor as suggested. I worked the steps as suggested.

I have over two years sober now. I am happy now, free from the obsession to drink, after not being able to make it 6 hours, let alone a full day without drinking.

So here are a couple of personal observations:

1. To me, the big book is not gospel. Yes, there are big book thumpers, just as there are bible thumpers. There is some stuff in the big book that I don't agree with. I think the "To the Wives" chapter is misogynistic. As an atheist, I was a bit let down a bit by the "We Agnostics" chapter. But there is so much in there that I relate to as well. So much that spoke directly to my core. What really got me was the stories in the back of the book. I was those people. So I began looking for things to identify with rather than compare/contrast.

2. There are a lot of sick people in AA, even those with years of sobriety. There are going to be people who insist that "their" way is the "best" way. But individuals are not representative of AA as a whole. From the beginning, I was told simply to stick with the winners. To me, that meant stick with people who had a good amount of sobriety, were comfortable in their own skin, had no desire to drink, treated people with respect, but didn't have their life completely revolve around the program. I've been able to find those people. My sponsor is one of those people. We are all still sober. We are all happy.

3. Honestly, meeting attendance is important in the beginning in order to build up a routine and a solid knowledge-base of the program. I tried to do a 90 in 90, but it didn't happen because I have a busy work schedule. My original home group was a 7:15am meeting I was suggested to go to because there was a LOT of sobriety there. But I found myself missing meetings in order to sleep because I was so tired from work and life. I was beating myself up over it. I was letting the people who insisted, not simply that "meeting makers make it," but that I would fail if I didn't get to daily meetings. So I switched to evening meetings. I set up my weekly schedule with around 4-5 meetings and stuck to it.

Meetings are important. But they are not the crux of AA. That is the steps. I only go to about 2-3 meetings a week now. It's enough for me. But I also do service, help others, and continually work the steps. If I'm having a rough week, I step up my meetings. I reach out to people for support. There is more to the program than just meetings.

I have a very full life now, in a good way. I do a lot of stuff that makes me feel good (positive ways of self-soothing), including cooking, DJ'ing, producing music, hanging out with sober friends, etc. I wouldn't be able to do any of this stuff without AA. But I don't let AA take over my life so I can't do this stuff.

4. The in-person support of AA was crucial to me. I had no friends when I got out of rehab. My girlfriend had just dumped me. But I came into the program at the same time as a bunch of people. We all kind of banded together as an amazing group of friends. Most of us are still sober because we trust and support each other. And I learned a lot from listening to people who had years of sobriety and lived life the way I wanted to. This is especially true of a particular men's meeting I go to. These guys taught me how to be a good man, romantic partner and respectful citizen. They taught me how to deal with my anger and resentments. They taught me how to enjoy life without alcohol or substances. I have only one sponsor, but I can call any of these people in a pinch and they will be there for me, just as I would be there for them. Having that support system got me through some rough stuff in sobriety, from having major surgery to dealing with a rough breakup.

5. I'll tell you a quick story. I too built up resentments against AA members when I was newly sober. I hated the people that shared the same crap over and over. The people that preached about "their" god (luckily, few and far in-between). The people who talked about going to 5 meetings a day. It drove me nuts. So I bitched to my sponsor about it. He said he struggled with the same resentments when he first came into the program. He said there was this one guy who would literally stand up and share the exact same thing every meeting, regardless of the topic. Every. Single. Meeting. So my sponsor bitched to his sponsor. His sponsor told him that the guy had over 20 years of sobriety, and if standing up and sharing the same thing over and over again kept this guy sober, who was he to judge? So I try not to judge others in AA. Whatever keeps them sober is good for them in my book. I try not to compare myself to others, but rather to myself. Am I making progress? Am I moving further away from a drink rather than closer to one?

It is a judgement that people who make AA their entire lives are "miserable." You can't know that. If making 5 meetings a day and sharing every single time keeps them sober, than that's one less drunk walking the streets.

6. You are not your uncle. You just got out of rehab. Normal drinkers don't end up in rehab. Just because your uncle can drink in moderation doesn't mean you can. And you don't know where you uncle is going to end up in terms of his drinking. Best to drop the idea of an future dalliances and just keep taking it one day at a time. Future tripping will get you nowhere.

Best of luck to you, whether you choose to stick with AA or not. Us atheists/agnostics can make the program work for us if we are open-minded and willing. I am living my life beyond my wildest dreams because of AA. I am grateful for that. But whatever recovery plan/method you settle on, you have to give it 100%. I feel the phrase, "half-measures availed us nothing," is more about recovery itself than about AA in particular.
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Old 04-21-2015, 07:41 AM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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Well i made it to day 14. Yay

Yesterday was rough

I know that AA is open to athiests/agnostics and newcomers is no place for debate but as it is topical to my anger yesterday (and sunday, and saturday, and friday) but...

One poster suggested that i reread "we agnostics". I had just read it and i have a decent memory. The chapter mentions god over 100 times and a higher power once. The term higher power is only mentioned in context in one other place, in the chapter "for the wives". It is mentioned in bullet point form in the 12 steps in "how it works". Every other reference is a direct reference to god, and there are an awful lot of those references.

Many circuit courts in the united states have considered AA to be either a religion or a religious program. These cases came up because of court mandated attendance in AA. (which i think is stupid because any program wont work if your forced to go, faith based or not). So while i appreciate that AA tries to be inclusive, ultimately it is difficult or impossible to truly follow "the program" unless you beleive in or can bring yourself to beleive in some form of a god you can surrender yourself to.

This is quite possible for many people to do. Many nonreligious people were raised with some form of gods existence in their families even if they dont pray and have never been to church in their lives. Especially if they hit a low bottom they can bring this to the fore and AA may work very well for them.

I am not against faith based recovery. Sometimes faith really works. Sometimes people find religion outside of AA and addiction and change their lives.

What angered me (and im calm now so i can discuss it more rationally) was that AA was described to me as a spiritual program not a religious one. While someone can do their best to work around the religion and try to make it work for them i think that those doing step 12 need to be honest when trying to helo others and just describe it as a faith based religious program and tell it like it is. A key tenent of AA is honesty. Time to be honest with prospects and themselves and tell it like it is.

This dishonesty almost led me to break 13 days of sobriety. I had spent over 20 hours in an already busy week of recovery participating in AA with an open mind under the impression that "god" and religion were a minor part of the program. Its not.

Read the big book again if you think otherwise, try to read it from the perspective of someone who finds the mention of God offensive. If you have to, as you re read it replace the word God with Fck or **** in your mind and you will perhaps see how offensive it might sound to someone who is athiest or who does not beleive in god. If you are an AA beleiver ready to to 12th step athiests this exercise will be very useful. I do not say this to.denigrate the idea of god or defile the big book only so you may understand it from the oerspective of your prospect.

Again of the chapter "we agnostics". The premise of this chapter is not to show AA prospects that religion is not fundamental to the program, it is to bring agnostics into the program so that they may find god later.

AA is based on the fundamentalist Christian Oxford Group. Look it up on wikipedia when you see what they were all about in then 20s you will quickly realize where the 12 steps came from. Oxford made no bones about being Christian, and neither should AA.

With regards to the success stats i wont get into them here but there are some very reliable stats from reputable organizations ranging from the us federal to dupont. Overall AA has a negative success rate. Im not bashing AA with this statement, honestly i think amongst those who beleive in a christian type monotheistic religion these stats would be very positive rather than slightly negative vs. Baseline. Just look at the weekend i just had after finishing the big book, learning how religious the program is - i got so mad i was inches from going and buying a bottle. The lesson for.12th steppers in aa is to ensure you are helping the right people who will be receptive to the AA message. Trick the wrong people by watering it.down and you could really harm someones recovery.

Again i dont want to.offend anyone who beleives in AA. I have a lot of.respect for such a successful program. It is by far the most accessible program for peer support on earth when it comes to addiction. The only wish that i would have for it to change is if they encouraged some special sharing only meetings where they took the 12 steps off the wall, left the preamble and other laminated cards in the drawer and just let us alkies talk and share. That part of the meetings is wondeful for a guy like me, and i cant see how it would hurt those dedicated to the step program.

My friend who i pissed off emailed me so maybe shell talk to me again. I texted my temporary sponsor and let him know what i was going through. No response yet. I changed my little sign on my wall from 13 days sober to 14 today. Today is a new day.

Thank you all again for helping me through yesterday and again any AA people who are passionate about the program please do not take offense, use my experience of frustration to do an even better 12th step.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:05 AM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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congrats on 2 weeks,

Nice post. Honesty and being able to tell it like it is I find quite refreshing.

The use of the word "prospect" shows me you did read the book.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:44 AM
  # 50 (permalink)  
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I avoided AA for a long time because I believed it was a religious sect, and I begrudgingly went to my first meetings because I was out of answers. I was relieved on both counts: AA is not a religious organization, and it dealt with problems beyond alcoholism--the ones that kept me drinking. What a relief that there was hope.
No, AA is not a treatment program: It is a mutual support fellowship that offers a new way of life. It is true that only Step 1 mentions alcohol; the rest showed me how to live without it.
That said, I also resisted the "god stuff," but I was told not to worry about it. With time I came to understand myself as a spiritual creature, though not a religious one. Over time--"having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps" it says in the Big Book--I settled into a comfortable place, a relationship if you will, with the universe. I call it "at-one-ment," and there is no deity to it. AA is a spiritual program, one that provided me with the tools to heal my soul. That is where my alcoholism originated, and that was what I had to address.
AA is non-professional, and I wonder paintballguy, if you had other expectations of the fellowship. Some of your language suggests that you might have believed it would operate more similarly to your treatment program. I hope you will continue to ask questions and seek out what works for you. Sobriety is very worth it.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:54 AM
  # 51 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by paintballguy View Post
Well i made it to day 14. Yay
2 weeks is great, congratulations! The bulk of your writing still seems to be concerned with ( obsessed with? ) problems that you have with a particular group of people or concepts associated with a certain recovery method.

Perhaps you could channel this energy into a program that is beneficial to you? Or find a different group of people to practice the current one with?

Arguing over how how a recovery method "should" work is not a productive use of your time.
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:18 AM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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I am lucky in that Atlanta has over 1400 meetings a week. One of those meetings is for atheist or people who don't believe in a HP.

I spent a lot of time being angry at AA in the beginning, resented being sober.

I will tell you that it did get better after the awhile the anger will melt away. You only go to anger because, it is the easiest of all emotions. But, let the anger go and deal with what is underneath. Sounds like you feel betrayed (which you said) so, maybe talk to your friend about that. Or don't ... maybe just realize that the anger isn't doing you, her, your sobriety any good. It just keeps you in a place of harm.
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:18 AM
  # 53 (permalink)  
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Paintballer, my experience with AA was similar to yours. I met kind and generous people who truly believed in what they were doing. I also read the BB in a careful and critical way, and I wasn't able to find what I expected. What I found was much as you did in many aspects, and my feelings were as yours. I won't repeat your language, I seem to have a knack of saying things a little too clearly sometimes, but rest assured that I shared your experience in all material ways. Specifically, the more I learned, the more disillusioned and angry I became with what I perceived.

I was depressed and miserable, ashamed of my behaviour, and I was looking for help with these things, an empowering approach, something that would help me address and understand how I felt about my next drink so that I wouldn't take it. I wanted help with my addiction to alcohol. I found that elsewhere.

I also found a life that gets more engaging and positive all the time, with new outlets for my drives to learn and experience and grow. I have found my self respect, some peace and joy and even a little happiness too.

Please drop me a pm if you wish, paintballguy. I am happy to share my experiences with you. Above all, believe in you, ok? I do.
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:32 AM
  # 54 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by paintballguy View Post

I told my friend that i wasnt going to go past step one for this.reason and i wouod only use aa for peer support because it seems to work for that because it is so accessible. She got very angry and convince me and hit a brick wall. We had an argument and now she wont even talk to me because i refused to buy into what is basically a religion.
Simply said, shame on her. Such people are two a penny.
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:48 AM
  # 55 (permalink)  
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I found that a lot of my reservations about AA or any help with my drinking problem all boiled down to my pride and fear. Anything that jeopardized how smart and capable I was based on my self will was a problem to me. I was afraid it might work and my identity would be threatened. I'm less angry these days and it's a rare occasion that anything brings me to the point of rage and resentment. I don't crave alcohol. I don't know if that's God, Allah, the universe, or whatever else but I know it wasn't just me. Good luck on your journey and don't drink no matter what!
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:51 PM
  # 56 (permalink)  
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Well, I think you have seen PBG that there are quite a few of us here who share you feelings about AA. It seems you have covered all of the reasons to justify your feelings and have gotten lots of support for exactly how you feel about them. As such, to continue the justification process would be beating a dead horse. Your reasoning is legit and validated.

Now that we all agree that AA may not be the foundation on which you want to build your newfound sobriety, what is your plan moving forward?
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:54 PM
  # 57 (permalink)  
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I've removed some posts under this rule

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Old 04-21-2015, 03:07 PM
  # 58 (permalink)  
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When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was.

We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?" As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.

It seems to me that someone who say they have respect for something like AA wouldn't pick it apart with their opinion. seems they would just walk away and find something else that will help them stay sober.
I wish you the best on your journey and hope you find something that fits you.
And if nothing else fits what ya want, you're more than welcome to start a new program of recovery. There's room for it.

100% successfully sober today.
When I stop living in the problem and begin living in the solution, the problem goes away.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:22 PM
  # 59 (permalink)  
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Does debating this change anything ?
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:25 PM
  # 60 (permalink)  
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The rule that Anna quoted at the start of the thread still stands as well.

Please Read! The Newcomers Forum is a safe and welcoming place for newcomers. Respect is essential. Debates over Recovery Methods are not allowed on the Newcomer's Forum. Posts that violate this rule will be removed without notice. (Support and experience only please.)
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