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My Struggles with the 12 step program

Old 01-14-2019, 08:05 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by mcconnth2017 View Post
I have been in AA for almost 8 months. The people I have encountered have been very warm and accepting. I have not had a drink in 224 days and am working through the steps, although I am having a difficult time.
Congratulations on your 224 days of sobriety!

I am keeping an open mind, but I am an agnostic at best.
You can be agnostic in AA. If the God stuff bothers you, call it something else like "higher self", "the universe", etc.

I knew going into the program that it was anti-intellectual in nature. Ie. Just follow the path and you "could" be ok. I get some comments or odd looks, from die hards, when I mention my concerns in sharing. No, I don't call AA anti-intellectual at meetings.
What they mean by anti-intellectual is that you could have a PhD in addiction, read every single book out there about addiction, be as intellectual as Albert Einstein, but still not recover. It's a spiritual program. That's all they mean. Intellectualizing recovery doesn't work.

They are starting an agnostic and atheist meeting shortly near my location, which I am certainly going to try.
That sounds interesting. Where can someone find these types of meetings listed?

The powerlessness and giving up free will are just a couple of things that seem counter intuitive to me.
I completely get what you're saying. These bothered me, too. But the longer I've been in recovery, I think what it means is that we cannot use our minds/ego to not drink. But we have a power within us that is a higher power than the mind/ego that we can use to not drink. Some call is God. You can choose to call it whatever you want. Some people call it the lower self vs. the higher self.

It's not that you're giving up free will. It's that you chose to do the best thing for you and others, that won't harm yourself or harm others. But it's still ultimately your choice.

However, as I read more books on recovery, I get more confused, which leads me further away from AA principles. I don't mean to bash AA, I am just sharing where I am at in recovery. Then the AA voice hits "Keep it simple stupid"
I found that reading books on recovery made me very confused, too, because many say different things.

The meetings are beginning to become boring and a little depressing.
Meetings can sometimes feel boring and repetitive because recovered folk need to reach the newcomer who just walked through the door.

However, I made a commitment to sobriety and I am going to work the steps and then reassess. Yes, I realize the step aren't to be done in a weekend.
Just like it took years to put on weight, we won't be able to sustain long term weight loss if we lose weight in a weekend. It took a life time of our thinking, behaviors, and reaction to life to get to a place of enough is enough, time to change. We need much more than a weekend to do it.

Enjoy the journey of growth, however you seek it.
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Old 01-19-2019, 01:43 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Quit!

Trying to please everyone.

Fearing change.

Living in the past.

Putting yourself down.

Overthinking, it will kill your reality.

Sobriety -- living in the natural state of a human being i.e. complete mental, physical and spiritual equanimity.

'Always take the shortest route and the shortest route is the natural, by which one says and does everything most soundly.. For such an end delivers one from toils and warfare, and from all scheming adornment.' - Marcus Aurelius 'Meditations' book 4.51
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:18 AM
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Can you please describe in detail how you "would try to work the steps over and over."
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:10 AM
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Derringer - for me, this way of expressing a life using the steps to guide me isn't quite right. It makes me think someone is doing them all over and over again, and I have found success at focusing daily on specific ones, and turning to others as different things arise in my life (or mind!).

How I work the program of AA (with a sponsor)
First, I read the first 164 pages with my first sponsor. We discussed, she pointed out salient points and back info, if you will - like the actual name of "Our Mutual Friend."
In employing the steps, I describe my life how my second sponsor (with whom I did step 4-12) as "guidelines for living my best life."
I have not done a COMPLETE set of the steps again - have thought I might during my upcoming 4th year but now beginning to work with my 3rd sponsor for this phase of my life, we will see.

Daily working the steps "over and over" would better be described as how I use them to live my best recovered life. I describe it as living in 1, 10, 11 and 12.
This means:
1 Acceptance (now, that means way more than I can't drink) - it means accepting that others' feel as they do; that I can't control anything from how slow the lady ahead of me is driving or the person at the drive thru getting my order right, all the way up to I my view of the world isn't the "perfect" one for everyone else. Acceptance applies to, well, everything in life.
10 & 11 - I read pp 84-88 (and 417-418 which tie back into Acceptance as well as getting out of my ego) - I do the daily inventory which means I reflect on my actions and resolutions of a day, like did I apologize promptly about something I needed to; was I selfish, resentful, dishonest or afraid. Here, and as part of 11, I apply the St Francis prayer as a guide for the new day ahead of me.
12 Service to others. It could be literally in a meeting, like moving over a chair so a couple could sit together; it can mean going to my step-daughter's b-ball game to support my husband, even though I have a difficult time hearing his ex-wife talking about a serious situation with my other step child (see, acceptance comes in again)...it means leading an AA meeting or running the recovery group I lead for the restaurant industry.

Wash, rinse, repeat every day...and I've got a solid, joyful, well-directed (bc it's not me directing it) life in recovery.
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:14 PM
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I think it depends if you have issues beyond your addiction.

For me I became a heroin addict and that was the issue. There were no compelling reasons for my heroin addiction apart from naivity, irresponsibility and (initially) hedonism. Therefore once I had shaken addiction I didn't feel the need to address ptsd issues caused by abuse, a terrible childhood, etc because there were none. Perhaps that means I am fortunate.

If addiction is covering ptsd or other psychological issues then therapy might well be the answer and as the 12 step program is group therapy it might well work too.

It depends what you want from sobriety.

I just wanted to be a normal, regular adult in work with a family and living within my means.

The 12 Step program didn't provide this for me - in fact it kept me in addiction, not using but still questioning everything and constantly monitoring my behavior and not truly moving on with the rest of my life.

Normal people don't go to meetings and that is what I craved most of all - just to be a regular joe - and this is after in my 20s thinking I was special and wanting some mythical special kind of life and baulking at having a 9 to 5 and pursuing an extremely lofty and unrealistic career path.

I got clean, was lucky enough to be able to do a geographical very simply. I did a complete 'do over' at 44 years old - new country, new career, new partner, new everything - and have been good ever since. It also helped initially that my substance of choice doesn't exist where I now live.

I needed sober time to establish some responsibilities in my life as in my addiction I had zero. Now that I have responsibilities and a long period of clean time I wouldn't go back to my substance of choice even if I discovered there was a dealer down the end of my road. I have too much to lose and, more crucially, the desire to use has gone.

If you have many deep rooted psychological issues then simply breaking the physical (and less so mental) grip of addiction wont be enough to start over so therapy or AA or SMART Recovery might be great spring board into a new and shiny life.
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Old 02-27-2020, 08:16 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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p.s. My higher power is myself. I got clean and I am staying clean. Your HP can be you too. Believe in yourself.
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Old 02-28-2020, 04:00 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by KhmuNation View Post
I think it depends if you have issues beyond your addiction.

For me I became a heroin addict and that was the issue. There were no compelling reasons for my heroin addiction apart from naivity, irresponsibility and (initially) hedonism. Therefore once I had shaken addiction I didn't feel the need to address ptsd issues caused by abuse, a terrible childhood, etc because there were none. Perhaps that means I am fortunate.

If addiction is covering ptsd or other psychological issues then therapy might well be the answer and as the 12 step program is group therapy it might well work too.

It depends what you want from sobriety.

I just wanted to be a normal, regular adult in work with a family and living within my means.

The 12 Step program didn't provide this for me - in fact it kept me in addiction, not using but still questioning everything and constantly monitoring my behavior and not truly moving on with the rest of my life.

Normal people don't go to meetings and that is what I craved most of all - just to be a regular joe - and this is after in my 20s thinking I was special and wanting some mythical special kind of life and baulking at having a 9 to 5 and pursuing an extremely lofty and unrealistic career path.

I got clean, was lucky enough to be able to do a geographical very simply. I did a complete 'do over' at 44 years old - new country, new career, new partner, new everything - and have been good ever since. It also helped initially that my substance of choice doesn't exist where I now live.

I needed sober time to establish some responsibilities in my life as in my addiction I had zero. Now that I have responsibilities and a long period of clean time I wouldn't go back to my substance of choice even if I discovered there was a dealer down the end of my road. I have too much to lose and, more crucially, the desire to use has gone.

If you have many deep rooted psychological issues then simply breaking the physical (and less so mental) grip of addiction wont be enough to start over so therapy or AA or SMART Recovery might be great spring board into a new and shiny life.
As long as there has been addiction, some people have been able to get themselves out of it, straighten up and fly right.

On the flip side, some people cannot do the above.

I quit drugs by just putting them down and not picking up another one. It was actually pretty easy.

If you had seen me prior to that I was looking like a prime candidate for NA or something like it.

Booze on the other hand, was a vastly different story, but having quit drugs the way I did, I was laboring under the impression that I could just quit on my own power.

After years of trying and trying and trying and failing, and despite all my efforts, it actually got worse.
I just went "F this" and went to a program.

No PTSD, no childhood issues, no underlying mental health issues, just a big fat dose of Alcoholism that wasn't able to be shifted by me.

The real program is not about meetings and sponsors and all the politics that goes along with it.

Its just having a spiritual awakening which removes the obsession to drink.

And a spiritual awakening is no big deal really ... It didn't turn me into Ned Flanders , just means I was spiritually asleep for most of my life 😎
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Old 04-08-2020, 06:27 PM
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Mcconth, I was powerless over a mouthful of alcohol once I had ingested it. My first sponsor told me this. I temporarily render myself incapable of thinking straight ("obsessions") if I don't do enough about that. The two things are different but interact.

For most of us, will run riot was amok because stunted. The early AAs were mostly people that had to rein themselves in. In our own consciousness we are usually the opposite, stunted. We need to put conscious effort into taking healthy initiatives.

Whether they are sponsoring you or not, those around you should be giving thought to what angle to give to the meaning of the typical vocabulary and slogans, to make it truly apposite to you.

I've always been a conceptual thinker so I insist on retelling myself the meaning of the concepts. Same meanings, just synonyms that I grasp better. Bill would often do that very thing in the book anyway.
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Old 04-08-2020, 06:49 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Guener View Post
...

* I am not drinking for today. I don't see that as a condemnation or daily reprieve, but as an act that is recurring evidence.

...
I love my daily reprieve. It depends on remembering my body's simple inability to safely digest alcohol, the spiralling material and social damage, the lengthy hangups, the incapability.

Who-saw-me-what-are-they-going-to-do-about-me.

Now I can say, "it was the tea that made me do it". Plain and simple looking myself in the eye. I scarcely left the world a worse place today at all (sometimes better, even)!

That's a wonderful phrase, "recurring evidence".

Gottalife, I learned the hard way the "mystical" conflicts with avoiding excitement! I much prefer "educational experiences"!
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