Meetings without the 12 steps

Old 10-15-2018, 01:42 PM
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Meetings without the 12 steps

Is it possible just to go along and not do the steps? I get pressure left right and centre from people to do the 12 steps but i just want to do it for sharing and the companionship element of it.

Do people have to do the steps?
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Old 10-15-2018, 04:28 PM
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You don't have to do anything. The program (steps) are meant to be suggestive only. I would suggest that you tell folks that the group is your 'higher power' and that you'd just like to have their support. You may get some folks who don't like that answer, but there is no requirement that they agree with you.

"Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We know only a little" are the words on page 164. One of the things that the writer of those words (Bill Wilson) learned from the person he said was part of "the first link in the chain of events that led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous" turns out to be very important.

Note what doctor Jung says in his letter to Bill about the three paths to recovery, (namely that one is "a personal and honest contact with friends"). If all else fails,show them the letter and tell them you are just being honest.

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Old 10-15-2018, 08:12 PM
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nobody has to do anything, slangking.
an open AA meeting is open to anyone to attend; you do not even need to be an alcoholic to go.
if you want to be an AA member, the requirement is a desire to stop drinking. That's it. and that is clearly written out as the sole requirement for membership.
the reason you are getting pressured is likely that the folks pressuring you have found the steps/suggested program to be invaluable to them and are attempting to share that with you, but not paying heed to the concept of attraction, not promotion
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:27 AM
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Cheers for the replies, reassurring to know.

I've stopped contacting them so i'm getting phonecalls from the all now, i'm on the run from AA, this is what my life has become.
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Old 10-16-2018, 04:37 AM
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Plenty of people incorporate AA in some form, for their own program. People like you describe are most definitely not living the progam of AA as it is laid out. There is lots of helpful info for living a good life that the steps discuss- only the first actually mentions alcohol- so if you don't let folks scare you off there could be plenty of good material and people available to you.

You certainly don't have to use anything about AA- similar to its only requirement for membership being a desire to quit drinking, that same desire is the basis for any successful path in recovery.
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Old 10-20-2018, 04:08 AM
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The same Bill Wilson also wrote “Sobriety, freedom from alcohol, through the teaching and practice of the twelve steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group.”

Joining a twelve step fellowship and not doing the steps is like joining a gym and never using the equipment. The act of joining gets you in the door, but it is the effort you put in to the program that brings the result.

No where does AA claim that meetings and support will keep the real alcoholic sober. In fact it states the proposition that the alcoholic is beyond human aid and then introduces a program of action which will connect us with a greater power to solve our problem. No one has to do the program.

There is nothing compulsory about it, just as no individual AA is compelled to help someone who is not interested in our solution. Just don’t go blaming AA if your approach doesn’t work. A lot of us have tried your approach and it didnt work for us either but we had to find out for ourselves which everyone is free to do.
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Old 10-21-2018, 02:14 AM
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I am of the opinion that recovery takes many different forms and that AA attendance is a very powerful way to achieve abstinence and to retain it. Doing the steps can be fundamental to getting the most out of AA, but it is not a requirement. The general tenants and philosophy of AA can be helpful in a lot of other areas in life as well and are not excluded from you in participating but not doing the steps.

Perhaps the emphasis on the spiritual aspect of AA is what brings you pause not to do the steps, but even as an Atheist they do not bring me discomfort, for I can follow the spirit of their intent (and action) in meaningful ways. Not all would agree with me that it is possible to re-state the steps in ways that I can follow and fully benefit from working them, nor would every AA member necessarily feel they could be my sponsor because of that. If you find you are feeling pressured, you can politely explain that you are not ready to do the steps and you are feeling uncomfortable. I think that most AA members will still respect you for just your being present.

I am returning tomorrow to my first AA meeting in two years. Was I sober throughout that hiatus? No. What I have found is that when I was going, I was not drinking, and I want to stay that way.
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:01 PM
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Gottalife The same Bill Wilson also wrote “Sobriety, freedom from alcohol, through the teaching and practice of the twelve steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group.”

Joining a twelve step fellowship and not doing the steps is like joining a gym and never using the equipment. The act of joining gets you in the door, but it is the effort you put in to the program that brings the result.
No, I bring the results regardless following the exact program requirement. Secular I am and will be to the death. But not a death as results of alcoholism. Recovered from the tenets of AA and destructive alcoholism I developed my own life saving program wile attending AA. AA is a tool to me. One I use as I need and It worked. I have a very large tool shed, I'm just not a one tool man, as a craftsman I use many tools.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:04 PM
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I have had experiences with people who were chill and were OK with my approach in early sobriety of attending the meetings for the community and learning from others that I was not alone.

I have also had experiences with "Big Book thumpers"that flat out told me that if I didn't do AA, including working steps, that I would surely relapse.

I tried working the steps and couldn't get past the giving myself to a higher power jazz. I would have continued attending meetings only but found the undercurrent that I wasn'r getting anything out of 12 Step.if I didn't work the steps a bit too pervasive to continue. Once I started my cognitive based IOP I haven't returned to 12 Step. I simply took drinking off the table in an AVRT type way. The cognitive tools and AVRT principles have worked for me, I'm now 19 months sober. Drinking simply isn't an option for me, ever.

My point is not that 12 Steps doesn't work and cognitive and AVRT are superior. That's what worked FOR ME. Millions have gotten and remained sober for life through 12 Step programs.

Your recovery is quite simply what gets you and keeps you sober. Period. Do whatever works for you. Try working the steps and/or other options. Use what resonates with you.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:10 AM
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I am 257 days into AA. I have promised myself that I would work through the steps just so I have an understanding of what they mean. Obviously, I can read them, but I am working with a sponsor to fully understand the process. I have hit many roadblocks working the steps, but I keep going. In the meantime, I continue to go to meetings. This is the longest I have ever been sober in 30 years of drinking. If AA is the starting point, so be it, but I cannot imagine making AA a lifelong commitment. As others have said, recovery is personal to each person. There is no one size fits all. I am concentrating on myself for the first time in my life. I'm trying to figure out what works for me and what doesn't. One thing I know is that I don't want to go back to the drinking problem I lived with for years.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:03 PM
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I found that the 12 steps are flexible and up for individual interpretation. I never thought I would attend an AA meeting, much less work the steps, but it was the first thing that ever helped me to make sense of my life. That said, it does not speak to everyone.
In my early years, I was ready to commit to a lifelong of meetings and service work. I accepted that I would attend meetings forever, that I would drink if I did not, and that I would never be "well." I applied the steps to my life, admittedly with less enthusiasm than some thought I should, and life was good.
I became restless. After all, I did not get sober just to attend meetings. I wanted a life outside the rooms. I have not attended a f2f meetings in a long time, though I have some friends who are sober via AA. My "meetings" are online. I believe in the 12 steps: They are fundamentally sound: Be right sized (my explanation of spirituality), clean house, apologize, maintain a spiritual practice, and help others.
I don't think you have to make a lifetime commitment to AA, especially at this
point in your sobriety. Just commit to right now.
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Old 02-26-2019, 06:08 AM
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Just like it's possible to go to a gym for the camaraderie but never pick up a weight or do any cardio, it's possible to go to AA and not work the AA program. I suppose the better question would be why go to the gym and NOT work out though? Funny thing, I did exactly that in AA for quite a while and thought it was perfectly healthy. lol.

I went mostly for what I could get......what I could take.......from the meetings. Sure, I'd share "my story" but that was mostly because I wanted to fit and since that's what it seemed ppl in AA did, I did it too. I also really loved to talk about myself under the guise that it probably helped someone - quite the ego I had.

That time in AA kinda did actually work for me. If nothing else, it was a step up from the way I'd been behaving previously. Eventually though, it got stale and boring. I guess I started to become that boy in the back of the book, whistling to keep up my spirits because I wasn't TRULY happy about my sobriety or my life.

I hadn't crossed that second invisible line in AA. The first was from being a normal drinker into an alcoholic. The second line is from being a taker to a giver. But what would I give, I thought. Surely just talking about myself wasn't remaking my life like I hoped it would.

It became apparent to me that I didn't really have that "message of depth and weight." I had stories and some experience but it was pretty apparent to me that I didn't REALLY have the experience to truuuuly be of help to a struggling alcoholic. Simply saying "I'll tell him what I did and if he gets it he gets it, and if not then not" wasn't enough for me. I decided right then and there that maybe what I needed was the ability to carry the AA message, over an above just sharing my story, to someone looking to recover. That made sense to me. New ppl were probably coming to AA to hear if AA had a solution, especially since AA promises that it does have a solution, rather than to hear the Mike-story and Mike's personal solution/program. I went back through the work and really paid attention. I looked for all the stuff I skipped and/or skimmed over and made a ton of mental notes of what was happening to me as I progressed. I wanted to be able to share my experience in working the AA program rather than just tell my stupid story ooonneee mooooore tiiiiime.

It was pretty cool because that was a major turning point in recovery for me. Getting sober was great and all but actually having a deep experience with the steps and ultimately deepening an actual relationship with God trumped that by a mile. The icing on the top is now when I go to a meeting I can talk, from experience, about how the steps were designed to work, how they work now, and how they worked in the past. I can actually be a guide for someone, if that's what they want, down the path of recovery because I've walked it many many times and I'm intimately familiar with it.

The book mentions working with new ppl, watching the light come on in their eyes and witnessing their whole life change being an experience we would not want to miss and boy, are they right. So back to the original question in this thread - Could one go to AA and not work the program - sure. But man, you'd miss out, as I did, on the best part OF the program.
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Old 02-26-2019, 07:12 AM
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How's sobriety and recovery going, SlangKing? Thought I'd ask since I saw this thread got a bump but don't see you popping back in. Hope you are sober and well.
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