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Old 03-10-2020, 05:36 PM   #121 (permalink)
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So one of things that I was taught in AA was to have an escape plan when I feel uncomfortable in a social setting.
I think this good advice for early sobriety when things are still a bit tenuous and a solid foundation is not quite established. After awhile though I think spreading our wings is good thing in order to embrace and live a full life without fear or restraints.

I like to ride bicycles. If you took the handlebars off of a bike and then gave me the bike to ride, I would be lost, uncomfortable, and anxious. However that shouldn't really slow me down and take away the pleasure I get from riding. I could once again ride the bike by getting over my initial concerns and learning some new strategies and techniques. Those skills would be new and foreign to me at first, but with practice, I would soon be freestyling and smiling.

When I was a drunk, alcohol was my social situation handlebars. In recovery I have discovered who needs handlebars?
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Old 03-10-2020, 07:25 PM   #122 (permalink)
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“.... to have an escape plan when I feel uncomfortable in a social setting. I feel that negates the purpose of trying to navigate socially sober.”

i see it differently. the escape plan is a safety valve. you think about the upcoming situation, make the plan (such as having independent transportation et cetera), put it in place, and then you go do the sober social navigating.
you do both.
the plan is there if you need to implement it. you may never need to.
YOU get to decide every step of the way if you are merely slightly uncomfortable or in dire straits or anywhere in between or in imminent danger of picking up a drink.
trying to navigate socially does not mean you ought to be unprepared to leave. nor does having an escape plan mean you will run.
it just gives you OPTIONS.
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:40 PM   #123 (permalink)
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So one of things that I was taught in AA was to have an escape plan when I feel uncomfortable in a social setting. I feel that negates the purpose of trying to navigate socially sober.
I often talk about building sober muscles. No one starts lifting 300 lbs right away, You work up to that level of fitness and skill.

Having an escape plan, to me, doesn't negate anything.
Its ok to treasure your recovery, even protect it - especially in the early days.

Many times before I tried to 'road test' my recovery under very hard conditions...and sooner or later I drank again.

I was the 9 stone weakling trying to lift 300 lbs.

These days I know I won't drink - but I still have an escape plan..for when things get boring being around drinkers.

Give it some thought
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Old 03-11-2020, 07:40 AM   #124 (permalink)
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Absolutely what Dee said, and an "escape plan" can mean a lot of things. Broadening my mind to think of what doing the best thing to keep me sober meant in any given situation was key to me protecting my fledgling sobriety.

If y'all have been around awhile you've heard me talk about how conservative I was at first. And for awhile. The first time I hear "No is a full sentence." my mind was blown. I could actually say NO to anything? Anyone? Any situation? Yes. And if it took me further from a drink v closer to, then no it was.

I chose who I spent time with and when I started getting back in touch with friends who were living their own best lives, in recovery or not, nothing we did revolved around alcohol; restaurants were fine but we didn't go to my old haunts. Why would I? There's a ton of other options.

I also had a wing man, or a habit of knowing exactly how I would get to and from something- and by slow to re-engage, besides work, I didn't go on my first out of town trip (with my now husband who is also sober) til 9 mo, first party til 14, wedding till 19....I took it very much to heart that the BB teaches us that sober, we can go anywhere, but sometimes we need to pause and think about whether we need to.

Freedom of choice muscles and those things Dee mentioned are priceless gifts of sobriety. I have a way better social life, certainly one based in real connection. And if others have a problem w my attendance or not, that's on them.

I can work a crowd with the best of em - but I do it only when it's worth the energy and reward factor. Along my journey, I even put boundariers and learned what was going to be setting myself up for success in terms of fam time

I could make this even longer, but y'all get the point. I hope.
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Old 03-11-2020, 08:25 AM   #125 (permalink)
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I feel I might've misspoken. I'm not saying escape plans are bad. I feel they're very important and I've used them quite a bit. I was just in a situation where an escape plan wasn't really feasible. I was 1.5 hours from home, money was spent and I really wanted to see the band we drove to see. So finding myself in that environment, I really needed to buckle down. There were no urges to drink, etc... It always bums me out when I hear "if you dont follow these rules" you will drink again". I put myself in the situation, so now I need to figure out how to be comfortable. For my own self, I can't go on avoiding life long friends, social scenarios and so forth. I just found it completely eye opening that I have become aware of the fact that my sobriety comes with social awkwardness. That we have out drank those mechanisms that aid us in flight or fight situations.
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Old 03-11-2020, 09:33 AM   #126 (permalink)
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The only time I needed an escape plan was the first time I was expected to host a poker party. You feel an obligation to your friends who had kindly invited you to theirs, and there is no question there is going to be drinking. I was in early sobriety, and I was scared to death. Assuming you are accurately self aware and not scared to death, there is no problem. Just go and enjoy yourself.

In my case, I needed a Plan B, and I would have used it had I needed it, but as it turned out, I hosted the event, didn't drink, and had a pretty good time. But having a Plan B gave me the confidence to accommodate social expectations and still feel safe. It created a climate where I made it clear to myself that it was entirely OK to leave at anytime regardless of awkwardness. I could always explain it to my friends later.

I can understand why those who are more rigid about things like this would simply see it as dangerous, and tell you you can't go. But hey, maybe you can and maybe you will be fine. This is where an accurate knowledge of self comes in. Of course, everyone probably thinks they have this knowledge, even if they are terrible at it. I think recovery should attempt to hone that skill. I actually think it's big. Some people come by it naturally, I think. They have very little honing to do. You never know exactly where you are on that scale, and how good you are at it. The escape plan, whether you need it or not, is an extra layer of protection. Why not have one? They are easy to make, and are always optional. It's like that probably expired fire extinguisher on the back of your pantry door. You may never need it, but it's a good idea to have it there.
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Old 03-17-2020, 01:32 PM   #127 (permalink)
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Just seeing how everyone's doing in this crazy time. When I posted this thread I was looking for answers outside the meetings. This forum has helped a lot, along with the great advice and experiences that have followed in the the thread. Hopefully this will all past. Alcoholics tend to be creatures of habit so hopefully we can get back to the norm. But I also think the change is good, keeps on our toes so we don't get too complacent. That's all I have, stay healthy!
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:09 AM   #128 (permalink)
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So the question I proposed at he last AA meeting I went to was, "How would you maintain sobriety if AA one day didn't exist?" This question upset some people and basically laughed at the thought. Well, I'm glad I was searching for those answers and i found them outside the rooms. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/q...-about-relapse
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:31 AM   #129 (permalink)
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First, thanks for this thoughtful Thread. As is my nature some Years now into Sobriety, I read and absorb much more here than I comment.

I'm wired to work top-down. From Concepts to prioritized Action Items. I knew from the get-go that my desired Sober Construct would best be independent of outside, Crutch-like Structure. That is, I wanted to internally carry around - anywhere - whatever it was going to take to keep me Sober. I used to fly a lot on Int'l Business, and couldn't imagine having to look up 'x' Meeting, or rush to a high speed connection Back In The Day to 'attend' an on-line Meeting. Regardless of the Organization involved. Instead, I checked into SR daily when convenient, and still do.

In these times, I'm doubly-glad I followed my Gut to create my own structured, internalized Sobriety Construct, or Model.

Another favorable aspect is that I avoid all the considerable stress that 'too much Peopling' causes as it wears on us Introverts. Respecting these Boundaries frees me up to energetically contribute back to those who could use a lift to remain Sober, and help them realistically view the Larger World.

The majority of Abstinent Folks I meet while out in our RV Trailer, or while at local Dog Parks, are 'simply' Sober. As with me, there is no epic struggle anymore; how I always wanted it. You cannot achieve that which you do not first visualize. Like me, these Folks were - indeed - 'real' Alcoholics. Just as I used to be a 'real' Asthmatic. Now, I'm neither. I went about changing my condition at the Mental Core. So, I'm never surprised when Folks move beyond co-dependent Structure to exist out-and-about in the World freely Sober. I find this a splendid State to exist in.

I formulate, and mentally carry, Escape Plans for Social Situations. They're elective Options. I also check the Air in my Truck Spare Tire before I tow our Trailer. Preparedness fosters Serenity, and negates Fear.

Relapse fear is a non-issue if the sluggish Alcoholic State is mentally morphed into something forever unattractive. Mind-based Techniques to achieve this date back many Centuries.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:48 AM   #130 (permalink)
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The majority of Abstinent Folks I meet while out in our RV Trailer, or while at local Dog Parks, are 'simply' Sober. As with me, there is no epic struggle anymore; how I always wanted it. You cannot achieve that which you do not first visualize. Like me, these Folks were - indeed - 'real' Alcoholics. Just as I used to be a 'real' Asthmatic. Now, I'm neither. I went about changing my condition at the Mental Core. So, I'm never surprised when Folks move beyond co-dependent Structure to exist out-and-about in the World freely Sober. I find this a splendid State to exist in.
I appreciate you're input, your vernacular engages me to read through things twice, which is a great thing! I strive for this idea to live in the present, to be sober in the present. Which translates to, as you put it, "Simply Sober". To not be in the present open up anxiety about the past and the future, therefore I will never feel fully sober and confident. I appreciate this forum because it does allow me to enter it on my own time, when I need to expel some thought to like minded folks. I am grateful I found it. Stay healthy, enjoy RV'ing. Thats a dream my wife and I have.
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Old 03-19-2020, 09:02 PM   #131 (permalink)
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As we all know the future is online, and as an introvert I find that kind of exciting.. to be able to connect with people across the country or the world without physically leaving my home. Turns out I'm more socially inclined and actually enjoy sitting through a zoom meeting (I still don't do AA but have used it for class meetings) when I have the option of just listening and only being "called on" if I initiate it.

But yes I do think it's revealing anytime our routines are shaken up, to see what still stands in times of unpredictability. That's part of why I wanted to expose myself to things like traveling early on. In times where there simply is no escape route, and yes sometime despite our best planning these occasions might arise anyway.. I've learned internal techniques (AVRT) that don't require any other person, place, or outside force to prevent me from drinking. I think AAers tend to assume that requires daily vigilance but it definitely does not, at this point it's simply a tool in the toolbox I know I can reach for in case of emergency.

But honestly over time my views have more closely aligned with the medical disease model, and I now view my sobriety as out of the "treatment" phase and into remission/ongoing maintenance, which requires significantly less effort overall.
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:45 PM   #132 (permalink)
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So the question I proposed at he last AA meeting I went to was, "How would you maintain sobriety if AA one day didn't exist?" This question upset some people and basically laughed at the thought. Well, I'm glad I was searching for those answers and i found them outside the rooms. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/q...-about-relapse
For those who like to avoid such things there is a little earthy language as you'd expect from a VICE article - but there's some good info too (also as you'd expect) so I'll leave the link up,

Thanks

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Old 03-26-2020, 11:50 PM   #133 (permalink)
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Khmu - Thanks for the reply. My experience in both using and recovery is different than yours but certainly contains common elements. In my AA circle of recovery I certainly see what might be called recovery a-holes but most folks are pleasant and pretty good to be around. I am sorry your experience was so much more negative.

I hope you are able to stay sober and happy going forward. A thought for your consideration. For some AA enthusiasts there is only one path to recovery - AA and the 12 steps. All other recovery methods are vastly inferior and will lead to failure. They usually will not say this directly but it radiates from their overall behavior. So want to get even so to speak? Then stay sober and happy. Nothing makes them more uncomfortable than someone who succeeds in recovery w/o their sacred program.

I am not saying this to in any way discredit the AA program. Personally, I like it and it helps me a lot. I also think that the AA only extremists are not practicing what I consider to be the right way of the program. To me it's a program of attraction.

I am happy for anyone who finds recovery no matter what path they choose. But in the end most paths to recovery require a fair amount work and change. There's no free lunch.
Forgive me PJ but I just thought I mgiht change the tense and context of this statement to something that reflects better my experience, and the way these statements are made in the book

For some AA enthusiasts there is only one path to recovery that worked - AA and the 12 steps. All other recovery methods were vastly inferior and failed.

Back when they got this thing off the ground thee were few alternatives. Most of the medical profession did not want to touch the stream of human misery because they had no solution, and the whole thing was too heart braking. One or two other solutions had been tried in the past and collapsed, and for some reason self reliance and will power were not as effective as they appear to be today. Experts in the two fields, science and religion, from which AA is drawn, were also unable to keep themselves sober, hence AA attracted many priests and doctors.

Now there are newer methods available, though even they are aging, some of the older therapies have been around more than 50 years.

Still no guaranteed fix. In forty years of sobriety, mostly as an active AA member I have only met one person who was an alcoholic of my type and managed to stay sober for an extended period, 20 years, without AA. Not that I haven't met people who tried. Seven of my recovery group of ten, all alcoholics of my type, tried on their own, they were all dead within the year.

However, I know of plenty who did a bit of AA then left. They didn't, as far as I know, relapse and I assume they found happy lives. I left for a year or two in the late eighties, partly because of an influx of non-alcoholic addicts at the time just prior to the formation of NA. I didn't understand these people or their behavior so I walked away.

A few years later I came back, still sober, and got involved paying back for what had freely been given me. Strangely enough, my life got better. I am an AA enthusiast today, not because it is the only solution for you, but because it worked for me when all else failed.

I always think ones chance of success in AA is better if AA is the last resort. It seems to make a difference to know there are no remaining options.
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:43 PM   #134 (permalink)
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I left for a year or two in the late eighties, partly because of an influx of non-alcoholic addicts at the time just prior to the formation of NA. I didn't understand these people or their behavior so I walked away.
With all due respect this is one of the things I find to be bizarre about AA. It's like rigidly identifying with a character in a storybook, not seeing how the same role could be played by anyone else. Imo alcoholics aren't a certain type of person, alcoholism is a certain type and manifestation of addiction.

And when you say there are different types of alcoholics.. do you mean you think someone can be a "real alcoholic" and recover another way? Or are you actually making a binary, black and white distinction between all real alcoholics and everyone else you deem as "problem drinkers"?

Not to be pointlessly contentious but I think these terminologies are part of what some people find to be off putting.
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Old 04-03-2020, 02:13 PM   #135 (permalink)
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Cosima, I am not expressing any opinion at all, merely reporting experience. There is a pretty comprehensive, if incomplete, description of the real alcoholic set out in the Big Book. I identify very well with it because it describes my experience.

Your idea about it all being the same thing, addiction, is as old as AA itself, perhaps even older. 1000s of groups thought the same thing, that they, as an AA group, could help people with all kinds of problems. In the foreword of the first edition it was stated that "our way of life has its advantages for all ".

Every group that tried it, failed. The conclusion reached out of bitter experience was that we can't offer AA membership to a non-alcoholic. The reason being lack of identification.

So instead, you can read all about it in the AA pamphlet "Problems Other than Alcohol", we found other ways of making our solution available to non-alcoholics, and today I believe there are over 200 fellowships using the program for which they have not been charged a penny.

To quote Doug Selman, Otago University professor of psychiatry who was explaining the spectrum old the new diagnosis, alcohol use disorder, "This disorder has a very long tail from mild to severe or chronic. The majority will recover on their own or with some therapy" (within the AA definitions this would constitute all those up to and including hard drinkers) "but there is a small group at the extreme end for whom only some kind of conversion experience will work." That's where I ended up.

He went on to say that "Medicine has not been able to come up with a way to induce such an experience. AA are the experts in this area."
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Old 04-03-2020, 03:08 PM   #136 (permalink)
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With all due respect this is one of the things I find to be bizarre about AA.
What I think would be a bit more accurate is that you find some people's interpretation of AA to be bizarre. People's interpretations (both members and non-members) of AA are like snowflakes.

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are part of what some people find to be off putting
When I find things to be off putting, there is something in me that needs to be addressed. It doesn't automatically translate that there is something amiss with the off putter. Could be, could be not; but there is definitely something out of whack with me, whether it be pride, smugness, all knowing, ego, self esteem, humility, etc. etc. etc. Something is blocking me from recovery at that particular moment in time and it behooves me to figure out what. Later on, when I have more time, I can always set the off putter right and get them back on track. :~)
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:04 PM   #137 (permalink)
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Apropos the corona, I have been finding it liberating to explore the contours of time and human volition. I think there is a scary story that goes something like this: if I don't attend meetings, I will lose control and suddenly find myself drunk. This isn't true. The truth is, every step of the way I would have a choice, along with the understanding of what an addictive substance like alcohol does to the capacity to choose. And even after picking up, although hampered by the addictive substance, I would still have a choice. And then I would find myself drunk. We are talking about having the freedom of choice, embracing it, fearing it.
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:20 PM   #138 (permalink)
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when you have choice “every step of the way”, and even after picking up, then it would not be accurate to say that you FOUND yourself drunk.
in that case, you chose to become drunk every step of the way.
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:26 PM   #139 (permalink)
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Exactly
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Old Yesterday, 02:40 PM   #140 (permalink)
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If you are questioning the term "real alcoholic," then you have not yet read the book called "Alcoholics Anonymous" which is the program of recovery. Those steps are discussed in the first 164 pages of the book followed by stories.

The steps are the program of recovery, along with meeting attendance (where else are you going to find a sponsee/newcomer?) and our service work. All three keep AA running well.

I suggest you read the book, find a sponsor, work the steps, then come back and tells us about your AA experience!
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