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At a crossroad...need advice....

Old 04-27-2015, 05:37 AM
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At a crossroad...need advice....

Hi everyone, I'm back from my little "break" from SR. I just wanted to see how I would do if I threw myself 100% into AA (and only AA). I went to tons of meetings, prayed, read my meditations, started working the steps with a sponsor etc.

Here's the thing. I'm not happy when I go to AA and when I leave meetings I often feel like I want to drink. (I didn't want to drink BEFORE the meeting) It's like the only reason I go to AA is because it's the "only game in town". I'm afraid NOT to go to AA because they say I will die or be miserable. They say I will NEVER make it without AA or be happy. If I have to go to stay alive then I guess I have to go....maybe I'm brainwashed.... :-(

I just wish there was another face to face program in my city.

I did a formal first step with my sponsor last week and just felt like I was lying to her and myself because she kept saying "do you really believe you are powerless over alcohol? You must believe you are powerless. The first step is the only one you need to do perfectly."

I DON'T believe that I'm powerless over alcohol. I believe all people have the power to stop if they REALLY want to. I definitely believe my life is unmanageable when I drink and I never want to drink again, but it's just too much. I just don't and can't buy into parts of AA.

The first time around in 2008 I was forced into AA by the courts because of a DUI.

I'm not trying to start an "AA debate" here because AA has helped many many people. I'm just so confused and worried and really need advice.

HONESTLY, are there people on this site who don't go to AA and are sober AND TRULY happy? Is that possible??? If so, how did you do it?

I missed you guys. Xo
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:46 AM
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HONESTLY, are there people on this site who don't go to AA and are sober AND TRULY happy? Is that possible??? If so, how did you do it?
pick me

I stopped drinking
I changed my life to support that stopping drinking.

I wanted to be happy sober.
I changed my life and worked hard on myself until I was happy sober.

I'm not being faecetious. It's a lot of hard work and a commitment to change but the underlying element is ridiculously simple - don't drink.

What if all this indecision and angst is your inner addicts way of keeping you wrong -footed unsure and less than totally committed to recovery?

D
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:50 AM
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I can totally relate to what you've said. I think there are lots of people here that have found alternatives to AA. It's certainly not the only way. Perhaps you are caught up in the semantics of how step one is worded. Alcohol is a highly addictive drug. My brain is not wired with a stop mechanism. Once I have a tiny bit of alcohol in my system it triggers me into wanting more and more and I just keep drinking. I do have power over alcohol - the power to either drink or not drink. It's my choice to pick up the first drink or not. Once I start though I loose all control.
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:56 AM
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I found this really interesting so thank you for sharing.

I attend AA for the community. I don't have a sponsor, I have read the Big Book but I have problems with some of the steps...the powerless one is a big issue for me too.

I'm looking into different types of recovery. I've ordered the book Rational Recovery and I'm truly grateful that I'm a member of this site because there are so many different programmes and opinions.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:02 AM
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Did it without AA

I had been trying to quit drinking for years. Tried everything. I have been sober for 6 months. I just quit focusing on my drinking and giving it so much power. I pray for God's will, eat whatever I want - cake for breakfast if I want it. Treat myself to things besides alcohol. It has worked for me. If I get really stressed I go to sleep. I take a couple of ibuprofen and just sleep it off. Hope this helps! I personally don't think AA is the answer for everybody. Every day that you don't drink it becomes harder to go back because you have to start over and believe me there will be times when you will feel like you have a reason to drink. I am female - 54 years old.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:07 AM
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I think your dilemma or issue is slightly more complex then just a question about AA. If you can stop drinking anytime then why did you go to AA or log onto this website. Perhaps your struggling to accept your an alcoholic - a normally long stage we all travel through.
Is it possible you don't connect with your sponsor or he isn't the teacher for you. I only started AA 3.5 weeks ago and ended up with a sponsor 2 weeks ago - (we connect as he is agnostic / atheist the same as me. Some people are very 'god' peddling at AA so I wouldn't connect with them) The point here is that outcome is not an AA thing but single person or personality based issue.
As with 'being powerless' over alcohol - it doesn't mean you're a quivering mess who can't pass a pub without pulling in. It just means you can't drink responsible or like normal people. For me it's 6-8 beers a day and the occasional binge. The powerless part for me is I cant not drink during the week and I know if I have a few beers today I'll have a few tomorrow. In that regard don't confuse the notion of powerless with having to write yourself off everyday to blackout stage.
Ultimately you need to do what works for and helps you. Your present AA experience isn't - but is it AA, you, your sponsor or a combination of things. If so, you may be able to try to make changes. If it's your sponsor - he's only trying to help so if he's offended at you moving on to try someone else then he has an issue, not you.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:12 AM
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I al doing it without AA. But dont think I don't work a plan. I have educated myself about alcoholism and recovery, I'm here almost everyday, I share about my sobriety with people. I wake up and recommit everyday...

Don't let you AV use AA as an excuse. It will try.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:12 AM
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What D said 5000%

Serenidad have you considered rehab ? my sister has just completed a 6 month rehab that has changed her life maybe that could change yours too
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Serenidad View Post
HONESTLY, are there people on this site who don't go to AA and are sober AND TRULY happy? Is that possible??? If so, how did you do it?
Raises hands. Both I do have some challenges going on in my life, which are normal parts of life I think. They don't threaten my mental health now.

I did go to AA meetings here and there, but very few and never worked the program despite honestly appreciating it. For me, SR has been pretty much the only resource that I've used directly for my recovery from alcoholism, but it's only a part of the whole picture. I love SR for the information and community of like-minded people. These days I don't often use it as support for me directly, much more because I enjoy the discussions a lot and I get a lot of positive out of commenting to and helping others -- it supports my well-being quite strongly. I guess it's similar to the part of the AA program about working with other alcoholics -- I guess I could have done it in AA, too, but SR is more convenient for me to use for a number of reasons, and it's been sufficient so I stick with it.

The other things I've been doing for personal growth in my recovery, such as therapy and making many changes in my lifestyle, have probably been just as important for me, if not more as those provide practical intervention. I am especially enthusiastic about therapy -- it helps me understand the underlying mechanisms of my behavior and choices and it also provides and teaches many good coping tools. I think that a few of us have been suggesting something similar to you, Serenidad, for a while... it's really hard to overcome addictions and make true progress if we don't deal with the problems associated with it in our recovery. I also find that the type of therapy approach that we use is important and it's best chosen based on the combination of our particular set of issues and our personality.

Other than these, I try to live healthily in a more holistic way, and to choose my activities and social life to support these goals. It's been working pretty well for me; during the ~first year of my sobriety it wasn't a linear road at all but I did not have a relapse.

It's good that you tried AA more intensely. If it's not very helpful, it's probably time to try something else now before your condition takes a downhill turn again. Based on your posts here, in addition to not drinking, I feel that you may need to address some of those underlying issues that you sometimes allude to but never discuss in detail, and SR or any addiction-focused program is probably not enough / sufficient for this. I think most of us combined a few different approaches to get to that stage of being content and happy in recovery.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:45 AM
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Me too - I'm doing it with SR only. I've made lots of changes in my life and it's working. I check in here several times a day and it keeps me on track. If I was you, Serenidad, I would check out IOP in your area as a backup plan. IOP can really help.
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Old 04-27-2015, 06:47 AM
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At least the way I see the whole powerless thing is if I drink I am powerless over alcohol. When I drink all bets are off. It takes over all rational thought and I am in it's grip and my life becomes completely unmanageable.

I have tons of power not to drink. For me this power is manifest in my actions. I choose to connect with my higher power daily and ask for a day of sobriety. I post regularly on SR. I go to AA meetings 3-4 times weekly. I have created a large network of sober friends. I have studied addiction extensively and have a tool kit that is more than just AA. I try to help others both in and out of the recovery community. I have sought professional help. I am always on guard for thinking that leads me towards my first drink. I have worked the steps with a sponsor. The list goes on and on.

I don't feel powerless at all as long as I am not drinking. Sobriety has given me power like I have never had before but you put a drink into me and alcohol starts calling the shots and once again I am powerless. I look back at my history and know for a fact that alcohol made me do things I never would have done had I been sober and that is my definition of powerlessness.
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Serenidad View Post
HONESTLY, are there people on this site who don't go to AA and are sober AND TRULY happy? Is that possible??? If so, how did you do it?
Count me as one of them. I did go to AA meetings early on in sobriety and I do still use the big book as a tool and read it often.
I think you are making a mistake in connecting one particular method with happiness though - it's possible to be sober and happy no matter what method you choose, just as it's possible to be miserable.

You need to define what you mean by "happy" too. Part of being sober for me is realizing that life is hard. And there is no sobriety method that will take the sting out of finding out that a loved one has passed away, or that you are getting a pay cut at work, or that your refridgerator just died and you need to replace it. There is no sober plan that will make you feel drunk either. Exercise can generate some euphoric feelings as well as other stimulus ( music, movies, etc ). But at the end of the day most of us got drunk to FORGET our problems...not deal with them. In sobriety we need to DEAL with the problems. AA is one method that helps with that - but there are others too.
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:15 AM
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I'm also someone who hasn't used AA. I've said before that I think the motivation and work you put into recovery is more important than the program you choose.

And, I'm with Scott as to what do you mean by 'happy'? Happy is relative, it's sometimes fleeting and life can be very challenging.
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:24 AM
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I'm also one who hasn't gone to AA. I'm still early on in my sobriety; 293 days; but am very happy. Not to say that every day is great; life has its ups and downs.

I've had to learn from my past mistakes and alter my recovery plan several times.

I don't think there is a set plan that works for everybody. Even within AA, how you work or interpret the plan might be different from the person sitting next to you in the meetings. The ultimate goal, however, is consistent... Don't drink.

What I've found is if I wasn't 100% all-in and committed, then i had failed before I even started. In the past, I fooled myself a couple times and thought I was committed, but knew there was a chance I would drink again. Sure enough, I drank again, and again and again... You've got to start with 100% commitment.

You can do this!
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:53 AM
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My sponsor is like a Nazi...maybe that's what is going on. Thanks for you replies. I got a lot out of them and took time to reflect.

I think one of my problems is I have a sponsor that wants me to dedicate every single waking moment of my life to AA. There is no happy medium.

As many of you said: exercise helps, therapy helps, there are great books, yoga, meditation etc etc. I need to find a balance.

I think I have a resentment against my sponsor because she has said I need to go to 1-2 meetings every single day, call her 1-2 times per day, read my AA book every day, help another alcoholic every day....it's just so over whelming!

She said she was gonna have people in AA check up on me to make sure I in meetings. She has said that if I don't meet her every week to work the steps for a few hours she will have to "fire" me as a sponsee. I feel like she threatens to dump me if I don't do exactly what she says. I'm not a child. As I am typing this I am starting to realize that I feel controlled!!!

I want to stay sober but my entire life can't be ONLY about AA. I was never a daily drinker. 1-3 evenings per week. Binge. I'm not saying I am not an alcoholic because I am! I am not saying I want to drink because I don't! I hate alcohol!!!

Maybe the answer lies in getting a different sponsor???
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Old 04-27-2015, 09:54 AM
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I'm a little too early in sobriety to be giving advice really - but this is my take on a really interesting question:

AA is clearly very very successful helping people stop and stay stopped. So are many other 'secular' methods. Some people find their church or sports team or other community group adequate support. What all of these things have in common is a framework or structure: a type of blueprint or template with all the components needed to build a good life.

If AA isn't right then you must find the blueprint that is going to work for you: even if you have to design it yourself. The "out-of-the-box" or "off-the-rack" methods are probably better for starters - in very early sobriety getting through the days can sometimes be more than enough to focus on.

I believe that for longterm development and learning to live without the stabilizers (or adding the go-fast stripes, moving towards individuation or however you term it) you may need to design your own framework based on your own needs and life situation if the AA version doesn't seem to be a good fit.

My blueprint (or plan) has had to evolve over the past few months.
Phase 1: Stop drinking, i.e. don't drink no matter what, accept that you've a problem with alcohol. Without this nothing else can develop or happen. Sounds a bit like the AA's Step 1 concept too…
Phase 2: Add in work again, add in exercise, build health up, emerge back into the community, family, friends again
Phase 3: Still not thriving / growing / anxiety? add in therapy, reading, volunteer work.
Phase 4: Add in yoga, think about where spirituality fits in
Phase 5: Don't expect life to be all sunshine, or to only have good moods or easy days. Learn how you deal with stuff, and what your issues really are when alcohol is out of the equation.

Analyse 'results', ask for help where needed, tweak the framework, work it all again for a while. Repeat 2-5 ad infinitum!

Getting hung up on which framework or terminology is a distraction from the core work I think. But for me, realizing that I needed to follow some basic principles to navigate my way through was fundamental. I'm not in AA by the way.
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:00 AM
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Serenidad,

I have yet to step foot in AA or any other type of treatment. I mainly post on here or on WFS (Women For Sobriety). Have you looked into WFS? Their statements are different than AA & I can relate to them much better. WFS does have face-to-face meetings but they are not as widespread as AA. Check them out!
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:10 AM
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3 to 4 meetings can get one through those steps for relief.....
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:32 AM
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Getting sober is tough and there are going to be times that whatever program you're working, you're not going to be happy.

I really think you need to just stick with a program and work the program. If you keep on switching programs every time you are unhappy for whatever reason, it's going to make getting sober that much more difficult for you.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Serenidad View Post
Hi everyone, I'm back from my little "break" from SR. I just wanted to see how I would do if I threw myself 100% into AA (and only AA). I went to tons of meetings, prayed, read my meditations, started working the steps with a sponsor etc.

Here's the thing. I'm not happy when I go to AA and when I leave meetings I often feel like I want to drink. (I didn't want to drink BEFORE the meeting) It's like the only reason I go to AA is because it's the "only game in town". I'm afraid NOT to go to AA because they say I will die or be miserable. They say I will NEVER make it without AA or be happy. If I have to go to stay alive then I guess I have to go....maybe I'm brainwashed.... :-(

I just wish there was another face to face program in my city.

I did a formal first step with my sponsor last week and just felt like I was lying to her and myself because she kept saying "do you really believe you are powerless over alcohol? You must believe you are powerless. The first step is the only one you need to do perfectly."

I DON'T believe that I'm powerless over alcohol. I believe all people have the power to stop if they REALLY want to. I definitely believe my life is unmanageable when I drink and I never want to drink again, but it's just too much. I just don't and can't buy into parts of AA.

The first time around in 2008 I was forced into AA by the courts because of a DUI.

I'm not trying to start an "AA debate" here because AA has helped many many people. I'm just so confused and worried and really need advice.

HONESTLY, are there people on this site who don't go to AA and are sober AND TRULY happy? Is that possible??? If so, how did you do it?

I missed you guys. Xo
I attempt to share my ES&H (First person Singular). Based on what you've posted, I'll show you why your sponsor doesn't understand the Alcoholic Anonymous Suggested Program of Recovery, which is common among the AA fellowship. Many don't read the AA textbook, they parrot what they hear at meetings, for some, especially when it sounds clever.

AA meetings ARE NOT Alcoholic Anonymous Suggested Program of Recovery, read page 59, CHAPTER 5 HOW IT WORKS, to paraphrase, "the steps taken is the suggested program of recovery." It DOESN'T read the AA fellowship is the suggested program of recovery.

Chapter 11, A VISION FOR YOU, to paraphrase, the AA pioneers that help structure the suggested program of recovery said, "they realize they know only a little." This is true, today much more is known about addiction. Therefore, as I know and the co-founder of AA said, AA IS NOT the only game in town (for recovery).

I can relate to why as you shared, >>>I'm not happy when I go to AA and when I leave meetings I often feel like I want to drink. (I didn't want to drink BEFORE the meeting).<<<

When I was newcomer, I experienced so-called AA old-timers that talked down to me in a condescending manner, e.g. "take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth" and other gems like that. I got angry and in those days when I got angry and confused I wanted to drink. I stopped going to AA for a while, but I began to realize that it was my unresolved shame based ignorance (lack of knowledge) that was reacting to their ignorance. So, I educated myself re: recovery via the AA textbook which is Alcoholic Anonymous Suggested Program of Recovery, along with psychotherapy. I returned to AA meetings without anger, and allowed the ignorant to be who they are without trying to fix them.

If someone injured me whether it was on purpose or not, I'm injured. If my injury is by accident, I can forgive. But, if the person or persons that injured me by accident keep repeating the accidental behavior, especially if they were made aware of it, or based on their ignorance, that behavior is abusive. Many alcoholics and other addicts have been abused, usually beginning in childhood. If the abuse isn't addressed and isn't resolved or in the process of resolution the %'s are that they will overtly or subtly abuse others. Those that would abuse others have been abused themselves, that's how they learned this behavior.

You wrote>>>I did a formal first step with my sponsor last week and just felt like I was lying to her and myself because she kept saying "do you really believe you are powerless over alcohol? You must believe you are powerless. The first step is the only one you need to do perfectly."<<<

Your Sponsor is incorrect. The First Step is in two parts and has two separate thoughts, the em dash (-) separates these thoughts. The second part (half) of Step One is regarding ones life being unmanageable and CANNOT be done perfectly. Addressing the second half is involved with the causes and conditions for addiction which is the problem. "DRINKING" alcohol is the symptom NOT alcohol which is an inert substance, an inert substance has no power. The problem is ME. If I don't identify the problem through self-examination, there is no solution!

You wrote >>>I DON'T believe that I'm powerless over alcohol. I believe all people have the power to stop if they REALLY want to. I definitely believe my life is unmanageable when I drink and I never want to drink again, but it's just too much. I just don't and can't buy into parts of AA.<<<

Good for you, you don't have to defer to any ones ignorance!!!
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