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Thinking of giving AA another go

Old 11-29-2017, 06:48 PM
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Thinking of giving AA another go

Been sober since mid May, my longest stretch yet. As I am an outdoorsy person with it getting dark at 5pm has limited my being able to occupy myself with outdoor hobbies etc..not good.
I've been to plenty of AA meetings in my past attempts at sobriety and always got the "if you don't come to meetings and work the steps you will fail" , I got that at several different AA clubs and not in just one location.
I was thinking of giving it another shot now that I'm back home, in my home state I mean, to a clubhouse I've never been to and try and work the steps. Here in CA AA is not an acceptable form of court ordered treatment for DUI'ers so that is a plus cause you don't have to deal with the obnoxious "I have to be here people"
I read on here ALOT, and I read bout folks that never have been to AA and have been sober for multiple years and those that say they couldn't have done it without AA...its like I'm stuck in the middle and would like to hear from both side.
I really, really don't want to turn this into a pro/anti AA thread that has to be closed.
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:09 PM
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Some of the best friends in our fellowship started as court ordered. I am glad to have them - it has saved lives and given some an opportunity they may have not otherwise had.

AA works for those who want it, do step work and engage with others is what I've experienced. For those who choose not to do step work, many soon have difficulty sharing experiences about the program as they really have none. Good groups discuss the literature and don't stray much into "group therapy" type meetings - there are other venues for that.

Sobriety is a personal journey and one should find their own individual path. If we cross in the rooms I will kindly greet you as a friend, regardless of how you got there or how long you stay.

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Old 11-29-2017, 07:14 PM
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Can't hurt. I was a "have to be here person" for a couple of weeks,but this was last year and I still go. As you can see from my join date here, I knew I had a problem long before being forced into AA by the courts. I shared on day1 and admitted every time after that; "I'm court ordered to be here",before I would share. I think it was week 3 that I first admitted to myself and the group that; "When I first came here it was because of a court plea deal,but now I admit to you all and myself I NEED and want to be here." Pretty sure that was the 1st time I cried(manly tears of course ) at a meeting. After that I was a wreck at meetings for a few weeks,then the fog/shame started to clear,after I stopped drinking and I got on with it. I'm not a 'stepper' yet,but step 1-3 were EASY for me to own. Anyways..A meeting has NEVER hurt me more than a drink or 20'ish..go.
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:29 PM
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AA is not a panacea, but it works for me. I think the 12 steps and the fellowship found in meetings combined gave me the structure to create a new routine and new perspective on how to deal with the challenge of facing life without the escape alcohol offered. Other ways work for other people.

Regardless what program you choose to follow, I think you have to work it every single day - because that is the nature of our addiction, it never goes away. AA made it relatively easy to make sobriety my new normal, and recovery a part of my daily routine. I have friends that drifted away from the program, many relapse, and some don't survive long enough to get sober again.

Work your program like your life depends on it, because it does. Wishing you all the best.
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:35 PM
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In think the only way to make up your mind is to try and put all your preconceptions and past experiences aside and go JScatt.

You might hear AA is the only way from some- people will proclaim the way that worked for them - but only you can decide if its for you.

If you ultimately decide it's not for you, I think CA is pretty well represented with other meeting based methods like SMART Recovery LifeRing etc.

D
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
In think the only way to make up your mind is to try and put all your preconceptions and past experiences aside and go JScatt.

You might hear AA is the only way from some- people will proclaim the way that worked for them - but only you can decide if its for you.

If you ultimately decide it's not for you, I think CA is pretty well represented with other meeting based methods like SMART Recovery LifeRing etc.

D
Dee, if you don't mind me asking..Why didn't it work for you?
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:40 PM
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Good points to raise Jscatt. Possibly there are one or two misconceptions in what you have been told. I thought Fly put it well when he said AA is for people that want it. The starting point for me is to see how my experience lines up with that described in the big book, the first 43 pages or so. Do I fit?

That helped me define what the problem was, and what the AA solution is. AA shares experience through the book, and through the recovered members, of what we did that worked. It is very clear in the big book that we don't tell you whether you will succeed or fail, or what you must do. We will tell you what we did. Expressions like "here are the steps we took" "Half measures availed us nothing" and "No doubt you want to know what you have to do. We shall tell you what we did" And we clearly say "if you think you can do it another way, we encourage you to follow your conscience." In this sense there are no musts about it.

But in order to recover we found there were many musts, many unavoidable things that we just had to do, and for sure, most of us would have avoided much of it if we could have. But we often ended up drunk when we did that.

AA welcomes anyone serious about solving their drink problem. We have a single way that worked with us, and we can show you how we did it. But we do not claim that our meetings can sober people up. We don't claim that sponsors can sober anyone up. We don't claim we have any special powers to sober people up, and we don't claim that anything less than total committment to the 12 steps as a way of life will bring about the much desired result.

But our book is full of promises for those who choose to travel our path, and those promises all came true for me.
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddiebuckle View Post
AA is not a panacea, but it works for me. I think the 12 steps and the fellowship found in meetings combined gave me the structure to create a new routine and new perspective on how to deal with the challenge of facing life without the escape alcohol offered. Other ways work for other people.

Regardless what program you choose to follow, I think you have to work it every single day - because that is the nature of our addiction, it never goes away. AA made it relatively easy to make sobriety my new normal, and recovery a part of my daily routine. I have friends that drifted away from the program, many relapse, and some don't survive long enough to get sober again.

Work your program like your life depends on it, because it does. Wishing you all the best.
I like the idea of sobriety being a routine even though sometimes its hard. Your reply was dead nuts on some of the thoughts I have.
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JScatt View Post
Dee, if you don't mind me asking..Why didn't it work for you?
Sorry if what I wrote was confusing - I've never tried AA

D
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Gottalife View Post
Good points to raise Jscatt. Possibly there are one or two misconceptions in what you have been told. I thought Fly put it well when he said AA is for people that want it. The starting point for me is to see how my experience lines up with that described in the big book, the first 43 pages or so. Do I fit?

That helped me define what the problem was, and what the AA solution is. AA shares experience through the book, and through the recovered members, of what we did that worked. It is very clear in the big book that we don't tell you whether you will succeed or fail, or what you must do. We will tell you what we did. Expressions like "here are the steps we took" "Half measures availed us nothing" and "No doubt you want to know what you have to do. We shall tell you what we did" And we clearly say "if you think you can do it another way, we encourage you to follow your conscience." In this sense there are no musts about it.

But in order to recover we found there were many musts, many unavoidable things that we just had to do, and for sure, most of us would have avoided much of it if we could have. But we often ended up drunk when we did that.

AA welcomes anyone serious about solving their drink problem. We have a single way that worked with us, and we can show you how we did it. But we do not claim that our meetings can sober people up. We don't claim that sponsors can sober anyone up. We don't claim we have any special powers to sober people up, and we don't claim that anything less than total committment to the 12 steps as a way of life will bring about the much desired result.

But our book is full of promises for those who choose to travel our path, and those promises all came true for me.
I have the BB have read it cover to cover a few times, what is covered in it every word makes sense, it just seems that some people at meetings just seem to turn everything into a cult like environment. But I am trying a different group
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
Sorry if what I wrote was confusing - I've never tried AA

D
No, it wasn't confusing I always wondered if you tried it and didn't like it or never tried at all....now I know
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by JScatt View Post
I have the BB have read it cover to cover a few times, what is covered in it every word makes sense, it just seems that some people at meetings just seem to turn everything into a cult like environment. But I am trying a different group
It is always good to try different groups until you find one that feels right for you. Reading the big book can be a varied experience. I first read it like a novel. I thought "quite good, a little bit American for my taste. Perhaps it would be better if it was written in a more New Zealand style" . I kinda missed the point. I also missed all of the promises because they were things that were beyond my experience. You know.."we are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness" didn't mean much when I had no experience of freedom or happiness. These were just words.

There came a point of realisation I suppose which was defined in two questions. Have I read the big book???... Yes. Did I do what it suggests?? Well, er, actually, no.

I really began to make progress when I realised the big book is really a text book and like all such books is meant to be studied. I got a sponsor to help me with that, and much later, joined a big book study group where we collectively studied the book and then tried to put into practice what we had learned. It does seem to be an action thing, much more so than knowledge.

It seems to go like this. Take the suggested action, gain the resulting experience, and we are left with certain knowledge based in our experience. There does not appear a way for me to gain that level of knowledge without experiencing the results of the action.

I suppose it requires a bit of a leap of faith at times.
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:17 AM
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I'm an AAer and another person who will say try lots of different meetings, it's strange because even with many of the same people at different meetings, there is a very different 'feel' about each.

I started AA in a different city. While I was there I kept myself very much to myself. I did not ask anyone to sponsor me until just before I left that city and never did get around to meeting up with her. She was the best fit I could see, and I'm not sure who else I'd have asked. Maybe it was the meetings, but I think a lot of it was me.

When we moved to our current home I found meetings pretty different. Quieter, more reflective, and more solution focussed. People seemed gentler but also stronger if that makes sense. No one pandered to me when I was being self-pitying or joined me in my emotional melodrama. They were kind, but turned the conversation towards solutions. That made me a little pouty at first as I thought that was because they didn't care. Now I see they cared enough to put the effort into the conversation so I could learn different ways of thinking things through.

Anyway - I think it's definitely worth trying some more meetings in your new city. I would say Big Book or Step study meetings are the best for finding a sponsor who really knows and works the program.

And like Dee says, if (after you've given it a good try) it isn't helping, then perhaps be ready and willing to try some of the other options that are out there.

All the best for your sobriety and recovery. I hope you'll keep reading and posting and let us know how things are going.

BB
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JScatt View Post
it just seems that some people at meetings just seem to turn everything into a cult like environment. But I am trying a different group
yes, some people simply changed addictions- from alcohol to AA.
some people are living a fear based program- a feeling/thought that if they dont go to meetings they will drink again.
i did the fear based program for some time early on- following in the footsteps of a couple of people that felt they had to go to meetings to remain sober.
then old joe showed up and helped me tremendously.

heres a little something the BB has to say:

None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did. We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs. All of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe.

although meetings are good,its the steps we take, not the meetings we make, that help us recover.
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JScatt View Post
I have the BB have read it cover to cover a few times, what is covered in it every word makes sense
i was quite surprised to read it describe me pretty darn good. published 28 years before i was born, its like "they" knew.
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Old 11-30-2017, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by JScatt View Post
I have the BB have read it cover to cover a few times, what is covered in it every word makes sense, it just seems that some people at meetings just seem to turn everything into a cult like environment. But I am trying a different group
That is a people issue, not an AA issue. Trying another meeting sounds like a great idea.

In life there will always be people who act in a way that you do not agree with or think that they know it all and try to make you conform to their line of thinking. It can happen in recovery groups, even online ones. It can happen in the workplace, at churches, schools, basically anywhere there are people around.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:15 AM
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Thanks for all the replies and advice everyone! When I mentioned I was now in a new state, its my home state where I was born an raised been back for a few years after living in another state for about 10 years.
The group closest to me has three meetings a day but it doesn't say which meetings are which type and this group isn't listed on the AA website, guess I will have to call.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by tomsteve View Post
yes, some people simply changed addictions- from alcohol to AA.
some people are living a fear based program- a feeling/thought that if they dont go to meetings they will drink again.
i did the fear based program for some time early on- following in the footsteps of a couple of people that felt they had to go to meetings to remain sober.
then old joe showed up and helped me tremendously.

heres a little something the BB has to say:

None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did. We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs. All of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe.

although meetings are good,its the steps we take, not the meetings we make, that help us recover.
I used to have to take out of town work trips with a few co-workers, one was a fellow who was addicted to AA, if he couldn't find a meeting in the town we were working he would have a complete meltdown, I have actually seen this with a few different guys.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by JScatt View Post
I used to have to take out of town work trips with a few co-workers, one was a fellow who was addicted to AA, if he couldn't find a meeting in the town we were working he would have a complete meltdown, I have actually seen this with a few different guys.
As with most things in life, there are examples that can be found of other people in AA who don't have that reaction when out of town on a road trip.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:46 AM
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I can share my experience, both in and out of AA.

When i decided to quit, i really wanted to be done and i didnt want to mess around. The only resource i knew of was AA, so thats where i went. I participated very actively for about 16 months and stayed sober. The key for me was "active" -- worked the steps with a sponsor, had service commitment, 3 meetings a week. I'm grateful for what I learned in AA.

After this time, i struggled with things in the program that didnt fit for me... i won't belabor my reasons, as they're not particularly original or unique, nor important for this thread. I kept contact with AA but checked out other options -- read the literature and visited meetings of Lifering, SMART, and Refuge Recovery. I also found SR and started reading all around this site, including many hours reading the AVRT threads in Secular, and the Rational Recovery books and web resources. After all this, i knew that AVRT best described and fit my actual experience of addiction and quitting. That is now the lens through which I view my new life as a non-drinker forever.

So that's my experience ... many good roads out there, I just had to chose my road and get walking. And for me it was ok to change roads, as long as i kept walking.
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