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This is not AA-bashing, I swear

Old 10-09-2008, 10:11 AM
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This is not AA-bashing, I swear

I'm not AA (or religion) bashing with this, I just have trouble with the basic beliefs of AA-

I haven't been to an AA meeting precisely because past step one, it requires faith in some god. You're welcome to believe what you want, of course, and I respect that most people don't agree with me--nor should they-- but personally I think people who believe in god have an electrical fire in their heads. Just my opinion. So how exactly am I supposed to participate in a program that attempts to to "restore us to sanity" by believing the insane? And since I haven't found any alternative programs around here, I'm basically doing this on my own, and chatting on the boards here.

I'm on day 3 now, longer than I have been sober in a year or so. I feel like *pooh* actually, I have so much anxiety. Yesterday was worse though-- occasionally when I drink I do other drugs as well, and yesterday I was kicking myself for deleting my dealer's phone number. Had to resist the urge to call using friends and see if they could hook me up, but I actually managed to get through it.

It's embarrassing to think about it: here I am, a pretty average, middle class college student (a bit older than average, but most people don't seem to notice) and to look at me you'd never know I'm a raging alcoholic who does coke and meth on occasion. I can hear my mom echoing in the back of my head "That stuff, beer, drugs, any of that, is for losers and if I catch you using it I'll turn you in to the police." Well, wouldn't she be proud? Someone told me I was going to need to tell my parents about my attempts at recovery, but honestly, after that, would you tell your parents? Ha!

Thanks for listening to me babble.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:01 AM
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:ghug3glad you're here on secular.....there are a number of us that post to the forum frequently. There are some other options besides AA and there are those like me who do AA but without the god stuff. There are a number of people who have their own "program of recovery" that they develop for themselves that are here on SR...you'll notice them as you read through the threads.

I'd post more, but gotta go back to work from lunch break...wanted you to know you are not alone
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:03 AM
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Hello, gneiss. Welcome to the secular side of SR.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:32 AM
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As ananda said, I do NA but without the god stuff. As for the steps, especially the HP ones, I chose my dog to be my HP because apparantly (sp?) I had to pick something! Whatever.

NA is helping me in so many ways but it is not for everyone. I can deal with hearing people talk about god, I just don't participate. I guess that falls under "Take what you need and leave the rest behind".
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:44 AM
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Hey gneiss! You're in fine company with this dilemma. I am working the program around being an atheist. Ignore people who say you can't. There are no laws in AA, just suggestions.

As my sober time has increased, I feel less and less prickly about the praying, etc. It helps a lot of people and that's why they do it, not to **** me off Part of what I came to realize when things were less all about me! But I did come on SR and rant my head off about it at first. For me, the good in AA outweighs the god. That said, I am always grateful for the secular forum here.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:05 PM
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Hahaha!!! I'm thinking about the 12 steps of AA in relation to having my dog as my HP. You think my dog can remove some character defects? Probably not but I know she can bruise up my shins next time I take her to the park.

Never having been to an AA meeting I can't say, but my friends have invited me to church a few times and when I've gone with them I felt like everyone stared at me, "Look, she's not participating. HEATHEN!!!" SO churchy people kind of turn me off anyway. Oh, and then there's that pesky bit about not believing in god. And I've had a couple people (not here) tell me that I'm "filling up that God-sized hole with alcohol." Puh-lease.

Anyway, off for some good clean fun tonight. Bowling with friends, and I think they will be going to a bar but I'm taking my car and coming home if they choose to drink. Sigh. College towns suck in this regard: everyone drinks, there's not a whole lot else to do because 1/2 the population is college kids who want to drink so other businesses don't really get supported as well. And what really sucks is that a friend invited me to listen to his band play tonight, but they're playing in a bar and at this time I don't really think I should be in bars. Grrrr.

Later.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:19 PM
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Have fun tonight.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:35 PM
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My dog cannot remove my character defects but she can show me what REALLY matters in life!
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:16 PM
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My dog's name is bodhisattva...bodhi for short. A bodhisattva is sorta like a saint but different...they are great compassionate beings who teach us about "virtuous" (so sorta the opposite of charector defects!)

My dogs show me unconditional love and then teach me patience and tolerance.....sounds like it helps with charactor defect..or charactor building to me
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:34 PM
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Here's my two pennies

Hey there,

First I say I'm an AA... that said, I'm not a bible thumper, nor a Big Book thumper.

I am someone who NEEDED to get sober. After having a very similar difficulty, I decided that I had nothing to loose, except "the high cost of low living".

I'm not even going to try to touch the G/d argument. That's a fools errand. I can say that, at first, I just said "God" or "Higher Power" in reference to a better way of life. A generalist paradigm of "good living".

I still flinch on the word prayer, but I do meditate... sometimes, I guess it's prayer, sometimes it's scratching my head saying "WTF?"

Anyway, the important thing is to be sober. So whatever works, just work at it!

Best of luck!
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:39 PM
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Hey ananda, I have an all white cat I called Bodhi!
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:30 AM
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I made it 3 and a half days. Last night I started shaking really bad... alcohol withdrawal, perhaps? Does that even happen? I don't know but I couldn't handle it and I had a beer. Dammit. The shaking stopped and then I just felt like a loser for drinking the beer so I poured out what was left. I decided to take it as a lesson for next time: letting myself down and the shame I felt for drinking overpowered the desire to finish that beer. A partial victory? Perhaps a complete defeat with a nice spin on it?

I'm tired of lying to my friends, and really tired of having to apologize to them. They let me off the hook pretty easily: "It's cool, you were drunk." I would be getting pissed off with me, if I were them. Honestly, how many times does "Sorry, I was sloshed," excuse your behavior? Not nearly as many times as I've used it.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:36 AM
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Gneiss, I'm sorry you drank last night. You mentioned being on campus and having a hard time because college kids love to drink.

Are there any sober clubs on your campus? When I was in college, my school had one.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:20 AM
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Good question re: sober clubs on campus. I'll have to look into it.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:31 AM
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hey g,

My dr talked alot to me about the physical stuff with alchohol...it is tough cause if you have something like the shakyness...the alchohol will temprorarily stop it...but then it can come back worse...long term the best solution is to not drink.

I think it is great that you dumped it and really looked at what had happened.

I too was embarrased by my behavior drunk...now at 14 mos it still bothers me, but as time goes by sober, I am more able to accept taht the past is the past and the future holds the promise that I may never do that stuff again
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:22 PM
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Thanks for the info, Ananda. I know it's better not to drink at all. But then, easier said than done, as you well know.

I had to pour out all the liquor I had in the house. And I should have done all the beer as well, but I managed to miss a couple in the back of the refrigerator. Accident, or "accident"? Not that I should be drinking the beer, but compared to liquor... yeesh. I can't stop drinking liquor once I start. Last Monday night a friend and I ran up a $585 bar tab. I don't even remember going to the last bar, where most of this happened. If it weren't for a 1-minute long memory, which I wholeheartedly wish had never happened, I would swear we never even went into the last bar. And of course, if I hadn't gone out at all I might still have a little self-respect. Ugh. I guess that's really why I'm here, Monday night I think I faceplanted on rock bottom.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:29 PM
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I've done a few of those faceplants. They often provide the initial momentum needed for another attempt at staying sober.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:34 PM
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a buddy of mind ..put it in the best way to really understand and maybe you can make some sense out of it too ..
The statement "I am powerless over alcohol" has been bandied about many times on this site, with some people saying yes they are and others saying no (sometimes very definitively) they are certainly not. The phrase usually conjure up images on AA and, at least to me, is often misunderstood or applied too broadly.

I looked up the definition of powerless in Mirram-Webster's Online Dictionary and it defines it as:

1 : devoid of strength or resources <powerless victims>
2 : lacking the authority or capacity to act <was powerless to help>

If I take the first definition and apply it to my alcoholic problem and I admit that I am powerless of alcohol, then I am saying that I am devoid of the strength or resources needed to combat my drinking problem on my own. Before I go on let me clarify that admitting we are powerless over alcohol is not a lifelong commitment - it simply means at this moment in time we don't have the needed resources to address a specific problem by ourselves.

So, let's say that were were to admit it, then what is the answer to not having power? It is to become empowered - but the question is how? In AA people admit they are powerless, and then come to believe that a higher power can restore them to sanity. That power in AA is God, but a higher power can be anything! So, let's look at the definition of a higher power for a second. A higher power is a power that is greater than us, but realize that it doesn't have to be any type of deity. If I am suffering from cancer don't I turn to a group of doctors and nurses to solve a problem that I cannot solve myself? Isn't that by definition then a power greater than me?

Well, isn't that what we are doing here? Didn't we admit to ourselves (at least on some level) that we don't have the power to beat this problem all by ourselves and so we joined ? We are turning to a collective power that is greater than we are individually to get better. The wonderful thing about it is that we can gain power we are seeking to beat our problem right here, by relying on the wisdom of others to help us through the difficulties we are facing. Additionally, once we found that power and become stronger we can then share it with others who may be suffering.

So, you may or may not agree with being powerless - and that is your choice. But, don't automatically assume that looking for power means turning to God for answers or surrendering your spirit for the rest of your life. We are simply admitting to ourselves and others that we can't do this alone.....
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:14 PM
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I had to read that about 4 times to get everything out of it I thought was there. Thanks for the post, tlrgs.

While I'm at it, I love that pic SelfSeeking has for his pic... "Details are unimportant, just get me out." That's how I feel about the way my whole life is going. And what's amazing is that, on the outside you'd never know anything is wrong. I'm getting ready for grad school, I attend classes, I have lots of friends, I get decent grades... and then there's the secret little world of my alcohol and meth and coke and driving myself home from bars and not remembering it the next morning.

Here's the story of my life for the last few months. YouTube - Lit - My Own Worst Enemy At least, it sure feels like it.
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:21 PM
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I got it at icanhascheezburger.com I thought it was a good fit for this site.

Gneiss, take it from me, fresh into my involuntary semester-long leave of absence from grad school. Take care of it now. Learn to cope with your stress in non-chemical ways now before grad school hits the fan. My outside looked great, right up until it totally fell apart.

PS I'm a lady-poster.

Last edited by SelfSeeking; 10-11-2008 at 04:23 PM. Reason: gender clarification :)
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