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Old 02-07-2020, 07:21 PM   #61 (permalink)
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ďSteps 4 to 7 are really not something that I can go along with.ď

step 4 especially, is my experience, helps to clarify what your part might be (for example the continuation of being a victim NOW) and what is definitely not yours to own.

are you just considering the steps in general or are you actually at step 4? i know i tried to do the steps in my head for a long time before actually taking the action of taking them, doing them. ďdoing them in my headĒ was me throwing up all possible barriers to the nonsensical difficulties they seemed to embody.
actually DOING them was something very different.
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Old 02-08-2020, 01:44 AM   #62 (permalink)
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For me, I was sex abused by both parents so it's difficult to see why it is that I am the one that should be making amends. I suspect that the abuse is the deeper level cause of me being psychologically abused in the workplace, and also my alcoholism, but Steps 4 to 7 are really not something that I can go along with.

Do any AA members have input on this?
As I'm coming to realize, part of my "resistance" to AA has been feeling that an overarching principal of "selflessness" can translate into an unhealthy level of self-sacrifice and self-blame which would only be counterproductive to my recovery. I'm not saying that's the case for everyone, I'm saying that's the case for me.

I'm finding I've needed a deeper level of help dealing with past abuse and trauma.

Even if we define alcoholism as a biological or spiritual condition with no experiential or environmental causes.. I think it can be important to work through your past both inside and outside the context of your chosen recovery program/method. This is how we take responsibility, by going back into the details of abuse and looking at the larger patterns they've created. This doesn't have to be about casting or owning the blame, but rather an objective reflection on the cause and effects of our behaviors and how to do things differently going forwards.

I can't really comment on the steps part but I would think if you find someone to do that level of psychological work with, it will become easier to separate what is and isn't your fault/responsibility in all aspects of your recovery and life in general.
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:20 AM   #63 (permalink)
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I'm never suggesting that the steps alone can help us truly deal with every part of our past, any trauma, or even boundaries.

Selfless-ness is not about continuing to be a victim, in fact quite the opposite. Ownership of our part in past and present interactions doesn't exclude- indeed, includes- appropriate boundaries, limitations and even breaking off some relationships. Hard to do for this pleaser/fixer of an alcoholic. But anything that is toxic - from my ex who was abusive to my MIL's unkindness to me - are things to confront and get rid of as I need to for my peace of mind and emotional sobriety.

I have to echo again that we need to stop drinking to effectively START the steps, at ONE, as well as effectively get additional help.

We're getting a little off track with this hugely important issue.

Jd - how are you?
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:01 AM   #64 (permalink)
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I'm never suggesting that the steps alone can help us truly deal with every part of our past, any trauma, or even boundaries.

Selfless-ness is not about continuing to be a victim, in fact quite the opposite. Ownership of our part in past and present interactions doesn't exclude- indeed, includes- appropriate boundaries, limitations and even breaking off some relationships. Hard to do for this pleaser/fixer of an alcoholic. But anything that is toxic - from my ex who was abusive to my MIL's unkindness to me - are things to confront and get rid of as I need to for my peace of mind and emotional sobriety.

I have to echo again that we need to stop drinking to effectively START the steps, at ONE, as well as effectively get additional help.

We're getting a little off track with this hugely important issue.

Jd - how are you?

There it is.

One can go round and round over the nuances of the AA program.

But unless the individual honestly believes one drink is too many... getting started in sobriety may prove elusive.

Which was my experience. I mean how many times was I going to ambush myself?

The ans: As many times as needed.

Only I could decide when enough was enough.
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:50 AM   #65 (permalink)
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I mean how many times was I going to ambush myself?
This hits on one point I always make, that some may like or not, or want to accept.

We don't get infinite chances to ambush ourselves. Dire prediction? Maybe. Also? A message of hope because we get to choose the last time.

Choice WILL get taken away from us at some point.

I believe in being a seeker. Maybe I was just born with a strong hope gene. I've certainly been blessed with a lot of human examples of something my dad always said - "the harder I work, the luckier I get." He also said "make it a great day," every single day and at the end of his voice mail.

MAKE it. Making the choice, while we still can.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:31 AM   #66 (permalink)
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This hits on one point I always make, that some may like or not, or want to accept.

We don't get infinite chances to ambush ourselves. Dire prediction? Maybe. Also? A message of hope because we get to choose the last time.

Choice WILL get taken away from us at some point.

And that certainly can happen.



MAKE it. Making the choice, while we still can


Those who struggle often believe they can avoid the pitfalls if they're more careful. They might need to cut back but they don't really need to stop. They just need to get it together.

I don't believe you can convince an alcoholic to stop if they don't believe it themselves.

You can point out that while drinking isn't a crime you will go to jail if you drink/drive. You may lose a job or career or family.

Or end up in a wheelchair like the fellow in the Friday night AA meeting.

But... if a person believes they can "get it together." The worst won't happen to them.

That's what they believe... until they don't.,
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Old 02-09-2020, 02:50 PM   #67 (permalink)
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I too have recently stepped back from AA after 4 years. I cannot deny that it has without a shadow of a doubt helped me, the principles of the 12 steps do align with the eightfold path of Buddhism AND pretty much any therapy techniques. Its not the 12 steps I have an issue with, what I have an issue with is that Iím no longer growing in AA, stuck in a constant cycle of the past, Iím hearing the same things over and over again. If I were toI dare to speak out about this in a meeting, I would be lynched... thats your illness talking blah blah blah.

It feels almost cult like and I felt brainwashed (no my brain doesn't need washing) I have never felt comfortable with the idea of alcoholism being a disease, I drank because I did not know how to deal with emotional pain, end of and I became addicted.

There are other options for recovery to AA, despite what we are led to believe AA isnt the only way. I wish you well on your path x
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:52 PM   #68 (permalink)
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Hi SOHC,

My input is that the AA program is far from perfect. But I do not use AAs lack of perfection to reject the program entirely. I got the missing part of the message from a Catholic priest's sermon at the same church where we have our AA meetings. His sermon focused on the value of giving forgiveness. It's the other side of step nine and IMO the BB falls short on this. But look at the early alcoholics who founded AA. In most cases they were the problem and their families were the folks who suffered. These early AAers needed to receive forgiveness not give it.

Let's say that for you given your personal situation you just can't see AA working for you. I can certainly accept that AA may not be the right recovery program for everyone. Then what will you do?
To me there is a fork in the road for you. You can: 1) try working the AA program despite it's limitations; 2) Find an alternative recovery program; or 3) Give up on finding a program of recovery because AA did not work for you. Two of these alternatives seem like reasonable roads to take.

I wish you the best in your recovery.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:54 AM   #69 (permalink)
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I too have recently stepped back from AA after 4 years. I cannot deny that it has without a shadow of a doubt helped me, the principles of the 12 steps do align with the eightfold path of Buddhism AND pretty much any therapy techniques. Its not the 12 steps I have an issue with, what I have an issue with is that Iím no longer growing in AA, stuck in a constant cycle of the past, Iím hearing the same things over and over again. If I were toI dare to speak out about this in a meeting, I would be lynched... thats your illness talking blah blah blah.

It feels almost cult like and I felt brainwashed (no my brain doesn't need washing) I have never felt comfortable with the idea of alcoholism being a disease, I drank because I did not know how to deal with emotional pain, end of and I became addicted.

There are other options for recovery to AA, despite what we are led to believe AA isnt the only way. I wish you well on your path x

Yes, there are members and AA groups which give off a cult-like vibe.

However, my experience has been you can also find plenty of members/meetings that don't.

Members/groups who won't chew your head off if you don't agree with them or question what is written in the BB.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:06 AM   #70 (permalink)
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For me, I was sex abused by both parents so it's difficult to see why it is that I am the one that should be making amends. I suspect that the abuse is the deeper level cause of me being psychologically abused in the workplace, and also my alcoholism, but Steps 4 to 7 are really not something that I can go along with.

Do any AA members have input on this?
I really much apologise for this post, at least the first bit, it wasn't real bad abuse, rape or anything like that (unless I blocked things out). There were some incidents that shouldn't have happened which I won't detail here, but on the scale of abuse relatively small scale. Tbh I've forgiven my parents long since (my dad died of cancer twenty years ago, mum is still around and in good health).
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:52 PM   #71 (permalink)
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For me, I was sex abused by both parents so it's difficult to see why it is that I am the one that should be making amends. I suspect that the abuse is the deeper level cause of me being psychologically abused in the workplace, and also my alcoholism, but Steps 4 to 7 are really not something that I can go along with.

Do any AA members have input on this?
It's hard to say how much abuse by parents affected you and whether it's added to your alcoholism. This is complex stuff and some deep searching or therapy may or may not serve up the answers.

In my opinion, Step 4 doesn't go deep enough, and has the wrong focus. I would change it to, "Do a serious inventory." In the area of personal growth, most issues that can be identified and changed fall outside the purview of morality. Case in point would be abuse from parents, which may have seriously affected your emotional well being, but is not a moral issue at all. Well, maybe for your parents, but not necessarily you. You may have some moral issues that concern you. You can work on those if you need to.

To me the point of Step 4 is practicing being honest with yourself. Morality for me implies personal judgement (judging good vs evil), and an inventory should be free of judgement. Self discovery is just being honest with yourself and identifying things you aren't clearly aware of. Good therapists are trained not to pass judgement. You can pass judgement later if necessary, but better still would be to take appropriate action.

In Steps 4 to 7, it may be helpful to talk to another person that you can trust, a therapist perhaps. If you are religious, you may want to talk to god. I have known many together people that do a lot of inventory work, and they do it alone. Some people have that skill. I find talking helpful, but most of my inventory work is on my own. I talk to others when I get stuck.

If you find what you consider defects, it's up to you to remove them. Turn them over to God if you want, but don't expect him to do all the work. I hate this focus on defects only. Be aware of your strong areas, your goodness, and the things you like about yourself. Search for them, hone them, and take pride in them. Self knowledge leads to many good things, and much of what you fear, can be things you turn out to like. These sort of perception shifts often happen in self discovery and are not moral issues.

This is all my own. I had to change the steps into things that made sense to me. And some of the best things I've picked up in meetings I don't consider step related. My version of the steps may not make sense to others. Ultimately, we all must find our own way.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:32 PM   #72 (permalink)
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One of my favorite AA speakers is Anthony Hopkins. I like how he holds AA in one hand and his life in the other. He probably doesn't think about AA all the time. Easier said than done if you don't have a life.

If you're a type b person and view alcoholism as the conversation starter, or the tip of the ice berg, you'll probably be disappointed when speaking with type a AAs, who view the 12 steps as strictly alcohol related, and alcoholism nothing to do with childhood experience, or broader, civilizational, cultural experience. It goes without saying that for the bangers, AA is received as completely unrelated to Buddhism or the Buddhistic vein of Christianity or the higher awareness new age moments of Bill Wilson which are part and parcel.

The displays of self flaggelation, the ones 'keeping it simple' by ignoring the details, thereby, 'keeping it complex' are useful warnings of what might happen when you decide to put yourself at the center of the universe and avoid knowledge like a plague.
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Old 02-15-2020, 04:39 AM   #73 (permalink)
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I don't really follow any of that post. But to each his own.

Checking back in on Jd...and what we (anyone) are finding to be useful outside of AA, given this is a secular forum...
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:30 AM   #74 (permalink)
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I don't really follow any of that post. But to each his own.

Checking back in on Jd...and what we (anyone) are finding to be useful outside of AA, given this is a secular forum...
my recovery outside AA has been great, for me, so far. Iíve found myself more relaxed and more focused in my life. More productive at work. I think I really became focused on the labor of AA. getting to meetings, talking to my sponsor, working the steps because being told if I donít I will drink again. In turn I wasnít paying much attention to import things to me, being with my partner, being with my dogs, focused on our house we only bought 2 years ago. I been diving into meditation a lot. It helps me clear my head, calm me down when I really need an attitude adjustment. But practicing meditation allows me the time and space I need to realign myself to a sober life. I do miss some of my AA friends and I do keep in touch with my sponsor, but on a friend level. I think it helps to not have to identify as an alcoholic anymore. It always felt self defeating to me. The last thing I want to do is remind myself of something Iím trying to rid myself of. Sort a like telling everybody I have the flu when Iíve been healthy for the past year. Or Iím a basketball player but I havenít played in years. These are just thoughts but it is all part of my process. Always remember, my recovery is my own and not anyone elseís. As I said before though, I am grateful for the tools AA provided to help me understand myself better.
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:46 AM   #75 (permalink)
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"I think it helps to not have to identify as an alcoholic anymore."
interesting. identifying as alcoholic is the foundation of my ongoing sobriety.
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Old 02-17-2020, 09:00 AM   #76 (permalink)
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That's a great update Jd!
And for me, being an alcoholic is just one attribute on the long list of things about me. No biggie - except it's the one that set me free once I got recovered.
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Old 02-17-2020, 10:52 AM   #77 (permalink)
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my recovery outside AA has been great, for me, so far. I’ve found myself more relaxed and more focused in my life. More productive at work. I think I really became focused on the labor of AA. getting to meetings, talking to my sponsor, working the steps because being told if I don’t I will drink again. In turn I wasn’t paying much attention to import things to me, being with my partner, being with my dogs, focused on our house we only bought 2 years ago. I been diving into meditation a lot. It helps me clear my head, calm me down when I really need an attitude adjustment. But practicing meditation allows me the time and space I need to realign myself to a sober life. I do miss some of my AA friends and I do keep in touch with my sponsor, but on a friend level. I think it helps to not have to identify as an alcoholic anymore. It always felt self defeating to me. The last thing I want to do is remind myself of something I’m trying to rid myself of. Sort a like telling everybody I have the flu when I’ve been healthy for the past year. Or I’m a basketball player but I haven’t played in years. These are just thoughts but it is all part of my process. Always remember, my recovery is my own and not anyone else’s. As I said before though, I am grateful for the tools AA provided to help me understand myself better.

Interesting.

Are you referring to not having to self-identify in an AA meeting anymore?

Or do you no longer consider yourself an alcoholic?
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:20 AM   #78 (permalink)
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It's always interesting to see how people jump on ONE thing that someone says who has left or is questioning AA.

I don't think it's necessary to publicly proclaim, "I am an alcoholic." I knew it when I walked into my first meeting, but it is a common sticking point for a lot of people and it was one of the things that pushed me away from AA. Those of you questioning him, why does it matter to YOU if he self-identifies as an alcoholic or not?? If you want to say it, by all means, do so.

"We have recovered." That's what it says in the book, yet at meetings I was told in no uncertain terms by several people that I had to introduce myself before I spoke as, "I'm bim, I'm an alcoholic." I mentioned that that made me uncomfortable. No where in the Big Book does it say you have to say that at a meeting, yet I found out I did in fact have to say that or get jumped on.

Again in this thread that belief is being voiced.

I think if you're a drinker in an AA meeting that pretty much speaks for itself. If ya'll backed off a little on these rigid Rules that aren't even real rules, more people might like the fellowship.

"Alcoholic," still carries a stigma. It still brings up shame for people. I don't see why that has to be part of any speaking that is done.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:12 PM   #79 (permalink)
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Just one thought about being an alcoholic. For me it all comes down to my ability to drink in moderation. I can't. So for me that's the bottom line. That being said, I don't think it's necessary for anyone to self identify, to others, with the word alcoholic either inside or outside of a meeting. The necessary part is knowing that controled drinking is not an option. As long as that is crystal clear in my mind the use of the word alcoholic is completely optional.

The word "alcoholic" does have many negative connotations. There is a wonderful film that explores many of the issues about the use of the word. It's called "The Anonymous People". It has changed a lot of my thinking. I'd highly recommend it.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:16 PM   #80 (permalink)
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"The Anonymous People," was a good movie and yes it did a good job of attempting to convince the audience that the way to remove the stigma was to bring it into the light. That's all well and good for people who will not have social, family, or financial consequences or for those who have been forced into disclosure due to legal or public issues.



I draw the line at telling someone else to self-identify.
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