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Leaving AA

Old 01-22-2020, 03:00 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by JdA23 View Post
Thank you for responding, what Ive highlighted in your comment and what was said in the previous post above yours is what I'm trying to avoid, I believe. That's what scares me it's been a decade since my last drink I am convinced that one drink will lead to the next, and ultimately (likely in a matter of days, not months) right back to the night I considered the relative merits of suicide versus sobriety.
^^And that right there is what AA has brought me - ways to live so that domino of events doesn't get set in motion. My AA program is the foundation, and as I stabilized from the sick, terrified, fragile person I was by the time, I learned how other people did stuff. On top of AA, everything from counseling to studying spiritiual advisors like RIchard Rohr to motivation and pyschological experts like Brene Brown, exercises, a strong support system of people in and beyond recovery....it took time but from the point where it was AA or nothing for me, and that tiny hope that I could find better than I had, I've found a journey I wouldn't trade for any of its perfectly imperfect parts.

I hope that you can find and create one for yourself. Of course it all starts with drinking, and continues with not drinking, but the program and the life you find is really about everything but alcohol.
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Old 01-22-2020, 05:25 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by JdA23 View Post
Thank you for the post. I can't say that AA wasn't for me because it did provide a lot insight that I probably wouldn't have found on my own. But I can say is that AA isn't me. I can't force it and I can't be convinced I'll be drunk as soon as I walk out door. That's a decision I have to learn to make on my own. I sure I will drop in because there are good people there.

When I was new there was a fellow with time in AA who told me if I didn't do what he did. Well... the gutter was waiting.

Yes, he was sober but he certainly wasn't happy. I found a few other members with time in AA a bit off as well.

But I never felt AA as a whole wasn't a good fit for me. I instinctively realized all the members including myself are flawed.

I also was fully aware my life was unmanageable. And alcohol played a huge part in why my life was a mess.

If I couldn't see that. If I couldn't see what drinking was doing to me. If I thought I could still get it together. Get my drinking under control.

I never would have never gone to an AA meeting.
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Old 01-23-2020, 04:45 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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I think it's great you're considering refuge recovery and hope you'll actually go and get a lot out of it. I haven't actually gone but find it to be much more aligned with my spiritual outlook and have found Buddhist principles to be very relevant to my recovery.

While I'm perfectly comfortable saying I'll never drink again in my life because I know exactly where it will lead, the whole "real alcoholic" thing never really sat right with me either. Yes I'm a real alcoholic, I just don't think that makes me different or more special than anyone else suffering from addiction. Nor do I think if it would've progressed further that would've made it more "real". I don't believe it's a separate condition from say a heroin user and I don't see it as the cornerstone of my identity. Ironically though, knowing I'll never drink again regardless of if or why or how I'm an alcoholic.. really puts the issue to bed and in that I've found freedom. Since I don't believe it's the steps that got me sober, obviously I don't feel any attachment to their future use in my sobriety.. I do however see immense value in being part of a community and helping newcomers.

I can understand why you might find AA (or any program for that matter) a bit limited/limiting if it's all you've been exposed to, but if you read around even on this site alone you'll find lots of different perspectives.. Best wishes with finding the best method for you.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:24 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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I'm just throwing in that here in 2020 we are years past the original of the BB and AA itself. That visual we have of dudes sitting around and saying stuff like "don't drink" and go to meetings was indeed what many of them did and as a result stayed sober; those same people are indeed pretty old or dead now (Whether they stayed sober) so what worked for them, or more importantly the life that would mean for which is not nearly enough, is dated.

I take the "I'm a real alcoholic" as something some people immediately click with - someone I respect very much always introduces himself that way and its his reminder that he isn't someone who can finagle his way out of being an alcholic. Works for him.

IME whether related to religion or AA any org, dogma happens and its because of people's implementation more than anything else.I always suggest reading those first 164p if you haven't and seeing what resonates - I hear a lot more people say that more does connect, if they're honest, than doesn't.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:40 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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If you feel the way you feel, I don't think anything anyone says is going to change your mind.

Possibly you just wanted a little validation before walking away. So you popped this in the secular section hoping to get a majority of responses along the lines of ... Yes AA no good for me either.

Its either going to be one of those stories you hear, about the guy that left thinking he had a better way, comes back with his tail between his legs OR your story is going to be the other ones you hear, left AA, actually did find something better, much happier since.

sincerely hope it works out for you mate.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:29 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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You can recover with or without AA. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

As far as the, "obsession being removed," just keep not-drinking and it will go away like any habitual thought. I mean, drinking thoughts may (will) occur for a while, but that's not the same as Obsession like in the earliest days of sobriety, it's just an annoyance of memory. Keep not-drinking and it keeps getting easier to dismiss those thoughts when they do occur.

I also saw many people in AA who were still drinking. There are no guarantees with any "program" - it's still down to me to NOT pick up a drink and NOT pour alcohol into my own mouth.

I went to AA meetings for a few months in the beginning, and though I didn't have a problem with the God part (not sure why this thread is in the Secular section...) I did have a problem with the lack of boundaries a lot of people in AA meetings had and I was pretty vulnerable at that time myself. It wasn't a safe environment for me. I could go now and be fine, but now I don't need it. The 12 Steps themselves, whether done with or without the HP concept are just good common sense, and worth understanding.

I can see all sides of this. If it isn't for you don't go.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:58 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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The twelve steps are common sense and nowhere in the Big Book does it say you must attend meetings for life, nor does it mention sponsors. In fact Awuh who is an AA historian, will know more about this than me, and I hope will enlighten you.

The end of the original BB was to spread these 'principles' to everyone, not just alcoholics, then it was edited. It's basically the tenets of Christianity, morphed with other sound spiritual principles, plus William James' spiritual experience beliefs. BillW was a very well read person.

If AA suits you, keep attending. If not, continue practicing its principles and expand into other areas in addition.
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Old 01-23-2020, 06:29 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Derringer View Post
If you feel the way you feel, I don't think anything anyone says is going to change your mind.

Possibly you just wanted a little validation before walking away. So you popped this in the secular section hoping to get a majority of responses along the lines of ... Yes AA no good for me either.

Its either going to be one of those stories you hear, about the guy that left thinking he had a better way, comes back with his tail between his legs OR your story is going to be the other ones you hear, left AA, actually did find something better, much happier since.

sincerely hope it works out for you mate.

Trying to convince me for example that I needed to stop never worked. You couldn't tell me anything especially during my 20's and early 30's. Which is why it's important everyone realize the AA door is always open. I am a strong believer in attraction rather than promotion.

I called AA a few times but never went to a meeting. That is until the day I realized my life was headed for a crash landing.
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:41 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by JdA23 View Post
Thank you for responding, what Ive highlighted in your comment and what was said in the previous post above yours is what I'm trying to avoid, I believe. That's what scares me [I] it's been a decade since my last drink I am convinced that one drink will lead to the next, and ultimately (likely in a matter of days, not months) right back to the night I considered the relative merits of suicide versus sobriety.
First, I have accepted that one drink leads to the next and that ultimately I will end up right where I started. How do I know? The fact is that I don't. I haven't tried it since I got sober, so how could I possibly know for sure? Maybe I'm the exception to this rule of "common knowledge."

But my personal plan to stay sober contained an important commitment that I would never drink again. Maybe I could drink without consequence, although I do believe that's a fluff dream. Regardless of what I believe or know, one of the foundations of my own plan was that I would never take another drink. My plan works for me.

Now this thing you have about living in fear that you will drink again is not an unusual fear. It's totally understandable, because you know what your life was like when you drank. And that fear resonates and mirrors what I went through in early sobriety. At first I treated that fear as an asset; That fear was the motivator keeping me sober.

Eventually, that fear subsides with continued success. Is this good or bad? We don't want to live in fear, so it's good. But if losing that fear causes us to drink, it's bad. Wow, talk about a two edged sword! As I felt that fear diminish, I found myself fearing losing my fear, and therefore my sobriety.

But here's the thing. My plan is founded on never taking another drink, and I was committed to sticking with the plan. So how do you let the fear go if not drinking is driven by an emotion of fear? I switched tactics. I decided to actively let the fear go, even pushed it away. Instead of not drinking out of fear, I decided I would not drink out of intellectual choice. That's a way more rock solid strategy, because emotions like fear are fickle and a poor way of running your life. Now with sobriety, you have choice to process decisions using logic, and it's gift that lasts forever as long as you don't drink. OK, it requires some work. You have to make thinking (God forbid) a habit, at least until it becomes your default and it becomes automatic.

Second, AA is not for everyone. It's not even designed for everyone. It's one strategy out of many and it's a spiritual program designed for spiritual people who are drawn to solutions of a supernatural nature. Not everyone is built that way.

But there are other things about AA that are useful. As you have already found, there are nice people in AA who do understand you, and they have knowledge and advice that you can sort through and experiment with. This type of help is more heart to heart and based on practical experience, rather than the formalized parts of the AA program. There are useful tidbits scattered through these personal exchanges that can help you.

It's also a group of new friends, the kind of friends you need when you are are trying to break bad habits that your other friends make a normal part of their lives.

I went to meetings daily for a couple years, and then started going less and less as I milked AA for the last of the most helpful parts. I went to my last meeting 10 years ago. I could have left years before that, but I still liked being around that environment. Like letting go of my fears, I let go of AA. I'm on my own path now, and it sounds like you are finding your own path too. There is nothing wrong with that. We should not sell ourselves short. We need plans. The psychologists say that goals are important. We can make good plans and decisions on our own. Sometimes we need help. That's OK too.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:17 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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What's up Jd? I think I saw you post in Secular 12 step about leaving AA but I didn't click- I don't go in that section often bc I am an Aa person (anyone else get sick of having to use that designation, as a rule? but whatever) and don't want to seem (or indeed, get) argumentative.

curious as to what the active plan is now.

We can go round and round about AA and your fit and so on, right now - or you could just let it go and see what's up elsewhere. that door is indeed always open - as long as we stay alive, tho, which is the basic point of getting sober by any means
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:19 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by DriGuy View Post
First, I have accepted that one drink leads to the next and that ultimately I will end up right where I started. How do I know? The fact is that I don't. I haven't tried it since I got sober, so how could I possibly know for sure? Maybe I'm the exception to this rule of "common knowledge."

But my personal plan to stay sober contained an important commitment that I would never drink again. Maybe I could drink without consequence, although I do believe that's a fluff dream. Regardless of what I believe or know, one of the foundations of my own plan was that I would never take another drink. My plan works for me.

Now this thing you have about living in fear that you will drink again is not an unusual fear. It's totally understandable, because you know what your life was like when you drank. And that fear resonates and mirrors what I went through in early sobriety. At first I treated that fear as an asset; That fear was the motivator keeping me sober.

Eventually, that fear subsides with continued success. Is this good or bad? We don't want to live in fear, so it's good. But if losing that fear causes us to drink, it's bad. Wow, talk about a two edged sword! As I felt that fear diminish, I found myself fearing losing my fear, and therefore my sobriety.

But here's the thing. My plan is founded on never taking another drink, and I was committed to sticking with the plan. So how do you let the fear go if not drinking is driven by an emotion of fear? I switched tactics. I decided to actively let the fear go, even pushed it away. Instead of not drinking out of fear, I decided I would not drink out of intellectual choice. That's a way more rock solid strategy, because emotions like fear are fickle and a poor way of running your life. Now with sobriety, you have choice to process decisions using logic, and it's gift that lasts forever as long as you don't drink. OK, it requires some work. You have to make thinking (God forbid) a habit, at least until it becomes your default and it becomes automatic.

Second, AA is not for everyone. It's not even designed for everyone. It's one strategy out of many and it's a spiritual program designed for spiritual people who are drawn to solutions of a supernatural nature. Not everyone is built that way.

But there are other things about AA that are useful. As you have already found, there are nice people in AA who do understand you, and they have knowledge and advice that you can sort through and experiment with. This type of help is more heart to heart and based on practical experience, rather than the formalized parts of the AA program. There are useful tidbits scattered through these personal exchanges that can help you.

It's also a group of new friends, the kind of friends you need when you are are trying to break bad habits that your other friends make a normal part of their lives.

I went to meetings daily for a couple years, and then started going less and less as I milked AA for the last of the most helpful parts. I went to my last meeting 10 years ago. I could have left years before that, but I still liked being around that environment. Like letting go of my fears, I let go of AA. I'm on my own path now, and it sounds like you are finding your own path too. There is nothing wrong with that. We should not sell ourselves short. We need plans. The psychologists say that goals are important. We can make good plans and decisions on our own. Sometimes we need help. That's OK too.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough response. You seem to have hit all the points that I'm feeling. I highlighted something that struck me that I was trying to explain to my sponsor. Thank you for finding a way to put into words. I was speaking with a sober friend, who very open to suggestion and found his way through a religious experience. I said to him that at first sobriety(for me) was like learning how to ride a bike. AA was there to hold the seat and handle bars to make sure I don't crash. Giving me instruction about staying upright and balanced or I will crash. But eventually you have to ride that bike on your own with confidence, knowledge that was gained. For me, if AA is always holding that bike up, I'll constantly be reminded Im going to crash if I break free. Therefore, never really learning how to ride that bike. I know it's a stretch to think like that but it was the best way for me to explain it. Good news I had a good talk with my sponsor about it. And as much as I love the guy, he always comes back to the book, even suggested i do controlled drinking! Geesh! I had to tell him this isn't about wanting to drink but living confidently and know I am making the right decisions on my own. I feel good now that I've made this decision, there seems to be a weight lifted. Another thing that was disheartening about leaving is missing the good people that I have met and learning about what AA has done for them. I know that I can keep in touch and I plan to. With that, I do appreciate the time you took in your response.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:23 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Totally just realized this is already the secular section. Awful night's "sleep" so still getting oriented, sorry.

So what the dude told you is indeed straight from the book, example the trying the controlled drinking. Forget what page but it is suggested that if you don't think you're a (real) alcoholic, give normal drinking a shot. Go from there.

I believe you are well versed enough in AA, probably, to apply "take what you want and leave the rest." Even those of us who indeed live the program best we can don't do it all the same way.

The "for me" bold you did above is important, I think. Take a chance on what is "for you" - ALTHOUGH. ruling anything out can be fatal. Or at least, a path to a much less than our best life.

and one "for me" is indeed a complete willingness to stay friends w others trying to and getting sober, whether AA or not. Helps me, them, that whole take it outside to the world stuff too.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:35 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by August252015 View Post
What's up Jd? I think I saw you post in Secular 12 step about leaving AA but I didn't click- I don't go in that section often bc I am an Aa person (anyone else get sick of having to use that designation, as a rule? but whatever) and don't want to seem (or indeed, get) argumentative.

curious as to what the active plan is now.

We can go round and round about AA and your fit and so on, right now - or you could just let it go and see what's up elsewhere. that door is indeed always open - as long as we stay alive, tho, which is the basic point of getting sober by any means
Thank, you following up I have decided to stop attending meetings. I am pursuing a more holistic and self guiding approach to sobriety. I had a great talk with my sponsor(27 years sobriety), although he suggested I try controlled drinking! I had to reiterate to him that this isn't about wanting to drink. it's about living my life and making confident decisions based on what I've learned in AA about myself and my defects. He was leery as most folks can be but I had to reassure him that the only way I'll know is if I step away, without fear. With having these thoughts, I feel that alcoholism is not a "disease" but habit forming resulting from deeper psychological issues and medicating those. Now that I'm sober, the awareness of what those are and the need to address them will help tremendously in my sobriety.
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:18 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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JdA23, when one door closes another door opens. I wish you well on your new path. Keep posting to keep us up to date on your successes and setbacks, because life contains both no matter the path. The main thing is that we continue to help each other to learn and grow by sharing our experiences.

When I first started going to AA, I had a lot of trouble with words. Examples were God, disease, powerless, etc,. It was a very long list. What helped me was to open my mind and throw away the dictionary. By doing that, I got the message my soul was sending because words were no longer in the way. I now gratefully have 16 years of recovery.

Recovery is action. Not words. Not rooms. How one gets into action is not important. Staying in action is.

Words are not truth. Truth is like the moon, and words are like my finger. I can point to the moon with my finger, but my finger is not the moon. Do you need my finger to see the moon? Huineng
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:00 AM
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Love that update Jd!! And like nez, I too am a word focused person. Don't get me started on trigger. Or slip. Or bottom. Anyhoo...

I learned that sponsors typically talk from their experience, so maybe this guy is feeling tingles of his own fears or such - I might too, when someone talks of leaving AA, for lack of a better way to say it IMO. I think my biggest worry and share FOR them is what mine would likely be: what is their plan?

I have a very good friend who isn't an AA person, but he is a recovery group person I met thru the restaurant industry group I lead - and he is also a "seeker" of recovery, and the kind of balance and fullness you mention.

Keep going, friend.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:02 PM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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When I sobered up in 1988, 12-step programs were the most available support. I attended my first meeting because my inpatient program required it, and I could hide in the group. I sobered up out of fear, but I stuck around because of love.

I will not dispute the experiences you've described: AA is made up of all kinds with as many opinions. However, I'm reminded, too, of something (from the Dali Lama, I think): We do not see people as they are. We see them as we are. Just something to think about.

The program AA is 12 steps and 12 traditions. That's it. The slogans, sponsorship, 90/90, disease concept, etc. have become part of the lexicon over time, but they are not AA. I am of the opinion that for-profit treatment programs have influenced the vocabulary. I am a recovered alcoholic: I am no longer in the grips of alcohol-induced madness.

I love AA, although I have not attended a face-to-face meeting in years. I am older now, and I usually take part in on-line recovery. There was a time I felt that I was "held hostage" by the fellowship. Maybe there was something to that, but I also had to look at my own history of holding onto relationships when they no longer served me.

AA was the antithesis of everything I thought I needed. I resisted. I challenged the notion of a Higher Power. I was never a good sponsoree. But I set up meetings, and went for coffee after meetings and answered phones at the Central Office. I worked the steps until my life was tolerable and made sense. The program is ambiguous and flexible, though it may not be for everyone. I just hope you will stick close to someone or something to support you.
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:27 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by murrill View Post
When I sobered up in 1988, 12-step programs were the most available support. I attended my first meeting because my inpatient program required it, and I could hide in the group. I sobered up out of fear, but I stuck around because of love.

I will not dispute the experiences you've described: AA is made up of all kinds with as many opinions. However, I'm reminded, too, of something (from the Dali Lama, I think): We do not see people as they are. We see them as we are. Just something to think about.

The program AA is 12 steps and 12 traditions. That's it. The slogans, sponsorship, 90/90, disease concept, etc. have become part of the lexicon over time, but they are not AA. I am of the opinion that for-profit treatment programs have influenced the vocabulary. I am a recovered alcoholic: I am no longer in the grips of alcohol-induced madness.

I love AA, although I have not attended a face-to-face meeting in years. I am older now, and I usually take part in on-line recovery. There was a time I felt that I was "held hostage" by the fellowship. Maybe there was something to that, but I also had to look at my own history of holding onto relationships when they no longer served me.

AA was the antithesis of everything I thought I needed. I resisted. I challenged the notion of a Higher Power. I was never a good sponsoree. But I set up meetings, and went for coffee after meetings and answered phones at the Central Office. I worked the steps until my life was tolerable and made sense. The program is ambiguous and flexible, though it may not be for everyone. I just hope you will stick close to someone or something to support you.
Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate the support. I really just have to know if I can be sober on my own terms. Ive been in AA for a year and sober for about 16 months. I just couldn't see myself devoting the time to the program as much as my sponsor wanted me to or the feeling(guilt) that I needed to get to a meeting because "I'll be missed" or I'll be drunk if I don't. I didn't reject a higher power but I know it won't keep me sober. That decision is up to me. a commitment to myself, not to the rooms. I know AA's door is always open which is comforting but I really need to do this on my own for now.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:38 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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You're really thinking this thru, which is good - one thing I'd say is something that occurred to me (not for the first time) when I went to a mtg today. I never go to this place or time, but was nearby and not sure when I'll get to a mtg this week, so....

"Why make things harder than they have to be?"
I have done this all my life. My dad always asked me why - and in recovery, one thing acceptance (step 1 of AA) means to me is that I don't have to make things harder. In fact, making them - here, sobriety- easier is a very available option!

So just keep that in mind
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:32 AM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by JdA23 View Post
Thank, you following up I have decided to stop attending meetings. I am pursuing a more holistic and self guiding approach to sobriety. I had a great talk with my sponsor(27 years sobriety), although he suggested I try controlled drinking! I had to reiterate to him that this isn't about wanting to drink. it's about living my life and making confident decisions based on what I've learned in AA about myself and my defects. He was leery as most folks can be but I had to reassure him that the only way I'll know is if I step away, without fear. With having these thoughts, I feel that alcoholism is not a "disease" but habit forming resulting from deeper psychological issues and medicating those. Now that I'm sober, the awareness of what those are and the need to address them will help tremendously in my sobriety.
To be totally frank I'm really taken aback that any AA member, particularly one with 28 years sobriety, would suggest controlled drinking to another member.

I guess I have an open mind as to whether alcoholism is a disease or, as you put aptly put it, "habit forming resulting from deeper psychological issues and medicating those". But I simply don't accept the idea of a "spiritual disease" as claimed in AA's big book. It has no logical or scientific validity.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:48 AM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by sortofhomecomin View Post
To be totally frank I'm really taken aback that any AA member, particularly one with 28 years sobriety, would suggest controlled drinking to another member.

I guess I have an open mind as to whether alcoholism is a disease or, as you put aptly put it, "habit forming resulting from deeper psychological issues and medicating those". But I simply don't accept the idea of a "spiritual disease" as claimed in AA's big book. It has no logical or scientific validity.
I was actually shocked when he suggested it because I was trying to talk outside of AA logic. I guess after 27 years of AA that stuff sorta gets ingrained. I def don't get the spiritual disease which was probably why I needed to switch gears. I don't believe god will keep me sober, my own doing and undoing is completely in my hands.
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