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The surrender

Old 04-16-2020, 08:07 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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I surrendered to the fact that overthinking was detrimental to my potential growth. Overthinking was a huge stumbling block and was hindering my path. I couldn't think my way to growth. I had to walk to freedom and on the walk is where I am finding and experiencing growth. First I have to be what I want, then I can start to think about how to get what I want in the future.
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Old 04-17-2020, 02:43 AM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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For me, I got who I wanted to be by embracing an intuition. This seems part of my thinking that I had suppressed.

Till then (and still, on some subjects sometimes) overthinking constitutes not admitting enough data, but expecting to break out from crippling doubt that I could be sober (as opposed to hung over in mind).

The warring party in me surrendered to the true, noble, self-assured, continually achieving potential, me.
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Old 04-17-2020, 03:32 AM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by davaidavai View Post
What is I - Beast? ...

The thing about AA is that it consumes you and the months pass. ... I just feel as tetrax, there has to be a happy medium, some sort of useful set of proscriptions and protocols that don't need to be read as gospels.

Or maybe the point is to enter into these conversions and dialectics of spirit more easily, and also exit more easily, so we don't have to wrest ourselves free with anger and rush in with mad enthusiasm. Like a sort of framework of meta herd communication mapped onto the day to day. We can get lost in other people and also recover ourselves, having been somewhere strange. Until maybe we aren't so lost, no longer have to close our eyes, can see, can speak without fear of reprimand, find agency in the world.
Like you, lugubrious mystique would get on my nerves. It seems it cloaks the same manipulations that can insinuate everywhere.

In AA you have had a dose of bad dynamics that are extraneous to the real fellowship and what was intended for the program. From what I hear, this is commonplace in the US. The London area of UK also went through a bad patch. Sponsors aren't supposed to dictate, full stop. "Constitutionally incapable" was a silly remark because Bill had only been dry 3 and a half years. Three of my 4 sponsors let me find my style. Steps are principles. Once I decided to make step 4 relaxing, I proceeded steadily. For me the crucial powerlessness is against alcohol once I have ingested it. A second kind of powerlessness is now a mirage, that before my own wishy washiness, which is no longer a habit. I'm comfortable with my own potential. I never ever stood for anyone "beating me up". The sponsor who thought he had "caught me out" wasn't my sponsor for long.

Once rot has set in on the part of the whole gang of bad sponsors, the entire scene will acquire triggering connotations. Principles work for me and not against me. Their applying, is my own. I was fortunate that often, I was at meetings where the noisiest people accepted principle fairly well.

Step 12 isn't: we imposed bad boundaries in all other people's affairs. I always was used to being a one off but got sucked into a monolith outside AA, so my joining the fellowship and programme relatively "properly" (often irregular in practice) went in parallel to my reverting to the true me. I was grateful to the more regular attenders for being there, and they were largely looking after their good boundaries.

For me, strength and hope are simply the inevitable concomitants of putting down what I couldn't safely ingest because that's not my build: I like being my build. Light comes through humans - yourself, and others - and that IS experience - and is for you to sift and select according to your soundest criteria.

There was an article in the right hand side bar about big book "bashers" (I see them as damaging the book as much as us) but I don't know how to retrieve it.
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Old 04-17-2020, 08:21 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Thanks Found. Yeah, I agree pretty much with everything you are saying. There is a core practice which enshrines individual freedom, and then a religious mesh supplanted on top of that by a self-unaware group dynamic.

I think Bill Wilson's writing vacillates from a respect of freedom, to threats, which is pretty much the human condition and the stuff of alcoholism and is probably fairly autobiographical. If you receive the text as gospel, how else is this going to turn out?

On 'over thinking,' in lieu of data, I think 'cunning baffling and powerful' is a perfect example of this. Addiction can feel that way for sure, though, but Feelings Aren't Facts. What is the simple? What is investigation? A scientist might say, the simple is the revealed. Keep it simple stupid, the earth is flat, alcoholism is an allergy! I've always found that the most ridiculous assertion, having suffered from various actual allergies, but again, its an artifact of the era wherein addiction was not understood. People observed some people apparently moderating and others falling into the gutter, so maybe those people had an allergy.
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:26 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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AA is free and readily available in many parts of the world which is a huge plus.

It's true Bill W. was a damaged individual but the BB blue print for getting sober has many excellent suggestions. No doubt conflict and disagreement will pop up in AA. The nature of the alcoholism means you're basically dealing with damaged people. Drama and arguments are inevitable .

For example the issue of sponsorship can be hit or miss depending on how well you know the other person. Some sponsors get off on control and others can't be bother to pick up your call. (Imo most fall somewhere in the middle.) I don't think any of this is new and has been going on in AA since sponsorship became popular.

What is new is the internet today shines a light on AA. When I joined AA back in 1993 the only people I could ask if I had questions were those in the rooms. And it didn't take long to realize to get along was to go along. I didn't need to be a shrink to realize there were those in the rooms with issues.

Which by no means made them bad people. Just not someone I felt comfortable taking "good orderly directions" from. The book "Living Sober" was the AA material handed to me after my first meeting. I found a lot of good suggestions. Basically I took in everything AA had to offer then made my own decisions. Those who got pushy were ignored. Not unlike a few of the nuns I encountered in religious class as a schoolboy.

However, I never had a problem surrendering to the idea I was powerless over alcoholic and my life was unmanageable. The war was over and I lost. This was so obvious even I could see it.

And thus I began trudging the AA road of happy destiny or in my case a rocky road.

But rocky or not I am certain of one thing ... my life is moving in the right direction and has been since the day I stopped drinking.
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Old 04-17-2020, 04:38 PM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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You're so right to remind me Ken how unmanageable my life was till my 50s. And since being sober the most hair rasing things have happened and I coped. And I unhesitatingly & unself consciously sought help with practical isssues that I'd been ashamed of since youth. Just to prove I'll cope with the next steep uphill bit of life.
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Old 05-24-2020, 12:33 PM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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I actually think the Oxford group was not all about christianity but rather much broader spirituality. If you google AA and Occult there are some interesting papers. Not that it matters really, but to me to know that from the beggining it was not all about a christian god as such is more welcoming to a broader group.
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Old 05-25-2020, 06:04 PM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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I think the Oxford Group was pretty much Christian, and Bill Wilson was into seances and stuff. God doesn't have much to do with religion though, I think. AA to me is like a religion created by an American salesman. I can take some comfort in it, the vernacular. The sort of puritan atmosphere, the sad alcoholic excesses of born prudes. Like my mother's line. There's something clean and intelligible about it and possibly bone deep having been bred into this place with its anxieties and separations. An AA room makes more sense to me than a beautiful chapel, in Napels. It's strange to me though how it's viewed as something completely other when it has so many similar traits.

Well, contrary to my sponsor's dire and perhaps wishful warning over two months ago, I have haven't felt any powerful urges. Some minor ones. It was like I removed the mask away from the cunning, baffling and powerful 'allergy' story and I just found an addiction and a life impacted by that and other events in a way that cannot be tidily surmised in an exciting before and after story. I guess I didn't do it right. Too bad! But even as my surrender has been inadequate, I still do like the rooms and sort of miss it. Not the people really, in an individual sense. But the atmosphere. Maybe the religion. I don't know.
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:29 PM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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The "allergy" AA speaks of refers to the abnormal physical reaction (caused by variations in alcohol-metabolizing enzymes) an alcoholic has when they take a drink. Some people are born with it due to genetics, for others it takes a long time to develop as physical tolerance increases and kindling occurs. Either way there's nothing mystical about it, it's a guaranteed stage of progression with continued use for any and all types of alcoholics.

Bill may have been open to other forms of spirituality but I don't think that applies to the Oxford Group. Although I've been trying to tell people for a decade that Christianity originally stemmed from what's now considered "the occult" and paganism. Most religious folks won't entertain that idea, any more than I see their gospel as being open to alternative interpretations.

There are also Biblical references in the BB to the Four Absolutes and the Book of James. Knowing these facts has actually made it easier to accept the religious aspect, because without an explanation or understanding the history itís always seemed to me that AA is pretending to be something itís not. Or pretending not to be something that it is.

If the history were openly disclosed, the common practice of saying the Lord's Prayer were eliminated, and the spiritual lens through which AA views alcoholism were updated to include modern scientific knowledge, I could almost see the religious aspect becoming non-contentious.

I never thought I'd get this deep into it but this is where my own recovery has taken me as I'm nearly finished with the addiction portion (designed so even non-addicts can understand it) of the academic program I'm still in. And I've been cutting back on my posting here but dropped in just in time to see the re-surfacing of this topic lol.
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Old 05-26-2020, 03:52 AM
  # 50 (permalink)  
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Just read your earlier post and wanted to add no I donít think the deadlines of alcoholism is an exaggeration or defense against its debatability. Alcohol and meth will take an addict to the exact same place.. itís just that meth and other stimulants will do it faster. Again this is due to physiological reasons, the profound physical cravings for meth are immediate and the rate of progression skyrockets in comparison to alcohol for most addicts..when AA was created none of this had been studied or understood scientifically yet.
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:30 AM
  # 51 (permalink)  
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Hey Cosmina, I can relate not wanting to post here too much!

But is this true of meth? How would you design a study? You'd have to filter for a lot. I guess we are talking about street doses and not like some kid taking adderall, which can also be completely addictive? I think speed or coke has been society's drug in the past. Is this true about an allergy? Isn't an allergy an immuno response, what does it have to do with craving? I think they have detracted the genetic argument apropos native Americans, or at least somewhat. That seemed a lot like the 'hold yer licker' theory. Who can hold the liquor? What type of man are you?

Through AA I've come to see that all my assumptions have been wrong on this subject. I was high as a kite on alcohol at its first use, in love with it. Why is that so different from meth, aside from being a good little boy in college using society's drug? What about dosage? Adderall proscribed by a doctor vs a street rip of meth. Is one molecule really more addictive? If there was some way to vape 100% pure alcohol, what might that addiction look like? Just speculating, I think these are interesting thought experiments.
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Old 05-26-2020, 03:12 PM
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Itís funny cause I was just talking about this same exact subject in another thread. I'm sure there have been numerous official studies but I'll use myself as an example. Iíve never done meth but I was addicted to adderall on and off and could take or leave coke in social settings. Adderall is definitely similar to meth in that it requires the user to develop a tolerance extremely quickly and in incrementally large amounts. It didn't matter how it was prescribed, I was buying and taking far more than my prescribed dosage.

Itís similar in other ways too but thatís the main physical factor in progression: tolerance building. The more youíre drinking or using habitually the worse the effects of course. I combined it with drinking (for the come down) and if youíve ever tried to get drunk while very high on coke or adderall youíd know just how large of a quantity of alcohol that can take. I did it repeatedly for a couple years and by the time I was ready to take adderall out of the equation, I was left with an alcohol addiction that had physically progressed to the same level as someone who couldíve been drinking at least 10 years longer than me with the same physical starting point..

I donít know how far you got into progression but for me I could go from not feeling it at all to blacked out in a matter of 1-2 drinks once I reached that tipping point. Blackouts were happening more and more frequently and becoming more and more severe. There was little to no enjoyable high anymore, there was either miserably hung over obliterated. That's not how drinking started out for me.

Youíre right to mention Native Americans (and some Asians, and anyone with alcoholism running in their family) cause thatís essentially what Iím talking about with the genetic factor, that immediate loss of control and exaggerated physical reaction. Thatís partially due to evolutionary reasons and itís not literally an allergy but AA had no way of knowing what else to call it. And yet, not everyone with the genetic factor becomes an alcoholic! Some people have one bad experience and decide never to do it again. No need to enter recovery, question what they should call themselves, etc. I'd guess it would be similar with meth if that were socially acceptable. So addiction is more than just the physical process (itís mental, emotional, spiritual) but itís very important to understand that aspect too.
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Old 05-26-2020, 04:32 PM
  # 53 (permalink)  
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Can you imagine a situation in which it was used recreationally among suburbanites? Like if it was packaged differently, sort of like an evening pick me up? Didn't they do that with diet pills for years? I mean, the pipe and the poor people make it scary, right? It would have to be in a drink. How would that be so different from the religious two beers a night thing, or not possible?

Yeah, it's definitely not an actual allergy. it's funny how the book doesn't even commit to that belief, 'some say it could be an allergy.' And then generations of AAs are like, It's an allergy!

I agree with you that there is a physical component, but I don't think the verdict is out. I guess regarding Native Americans 'they' changed their minds. It reminds me a lot of dietary studies.

I think Iggy Pop pretty much summarizes my views on this

Well, I never got my license to live
They won't give it up
So I stand at the world's edge
I'm trying to break in
Oh, I know it's not for me
And the sight of it all
Makes me sad and ill
That's when I want- Some Weird Sin
Things get too straight
I can't bear it
I feel stuck, stuck on a pin
I'm trying to break in
Oh, I know it's not for me
But the sight of it all
Makes me sad and ill
That's when I want
Some Weird Sin
That's when I want
Some Weird Sin
Just to relax with
Yeah, some dumb, weird sin
For a while anyway
With my head on the ledge
That's what you get out on the edge
Some Weird Sin
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:07 PM
  # 54 (permalink)  
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It's true that physically you can become addicted to any substance if you do it often enough and in high enough quantities. That's hardly news, even in those times I'm sure.

What AA or the founders of AA did bring to the table (but ironically isn't mentioned often or seen as part of the program) was the description of addiction as an ongoing cycle of mental obsession, physical compulsion, and emotional remorse. The mental part of it is what AA and other recovery methods actually treat, not the physical detox or abstinence.

So my point is that we need to look at more than the rate of progression and degree of physical consequences when deciding what kind of treatment someone actually needs. AA does not need to be reserved for end stage alcoholics only, if we can determine someone is on a mental and emotional path that will inevitably take them there in time.

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Old 05-27-2020, 02:49 AM
  # 55 (permalink)  
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Good points Cosima. The basic text suggests that "the main problem centers in the mind", I think it may be in the 12 and 12 where Bill opined that it was possible to help someone see the trajectory of their illness and thus bring the bottom up to hit them. Thus such people had hit bottom as sure as any of us, but may be spared that last years of horrendous suffering. Also I agree that AA does not need to be and is not in practice reserved only for end stage alcoholics. But the experts seem to suggest that there is a certain group at the extreme end of the AUD spectrum, whom we might call end stage alcoholics, for whom some kind of conversion experience is the only possible solution. Dr Jung told Rowland H that, he found a way to have his experience and recovered thereby demonstrating the efficacy of the vital spiritual experience as a path to recovery for the hopeless case. This led indirectly to the ideas that became the founding principles of AA.

For myself, I am not sure one can truly hit bottom while there are still options on the table. That destruction of the ego and admission of complete defeat seem to be the fundamental starting point for spiritual experience which is why I feel it is not such a bad idea to exhaust all other avenues before coming to AA. It certainly does wonders for the motivation to know this is the last hope.
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