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My first AA meeting

Old 11-13-2008, 03:47 PM
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My first AA meeting

So I managed to go to an AA meeting, and I was ready for the Lord's Prayer thing and even the several guys asking for my phone number-- and they weren't just being friendly (they must be pretty friggin' desperate, honestly).

What I wasn't ready for was the weird sort of "Why are you even here if you aren't going to turn your alcoholism over to God?" attitude. I realize I'm in the Bible Belt, but sheesh! Most people still leave me alone about my beliefs. So it was a bit of a surprise when they asked if I had turned it over to God yet. I said no, I'm agnostic. Why would I lie about this?

This guy goes, "Oh. Are you one of them people who think the Earth is a million years old or something?" I kinda laughed. I don't understand what that had to do with me being at AA but since he asked... "No, I don't think the Earth is a million years old. It's 4.5 billion. But what did that have to do with anything? Thought this was AA." It kind of went on like that for a while until I decided these people were insane and decided to keep my mouth shut until I could politely leave.

I doubt I'm going back. That was worse than having no support, it was actually crazy uncomfortable and made me feel like I didn't belong there. I guess I didn't.
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:53 PM
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I've kind of had similar reactions when I tell people at AA that I'm an atheist. Most of the people have been pretty nice about it, but even if they don't outright challenge me, they basically give me the attitude of "One of these days you'll need a (religious) higher power". Definitely a turn off, but I'm going to check out different meetings and see if there's one that fits me. I'm just glad I don't live anywhere near the bible belt!! There's a Life Ring meeting in my area on Friday nights, and I'm going to check that out.
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:59 PM
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I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience Gneiss. Believe me when I tell you that not all AA meetings are like that. Maybe you'd consider trying a few different ones?

Having a God of our understanding or a Higher Power is just what was suggested to me when I came into the program. It wasn't and never has been rammed down my throat. In time though, I came to believe. I never thought that would've happened:-)
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:19 PM
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that's when I bust out with I have the Flying spaghetti monster as my higher power, or start talking about the earth mother and tell them I am a pagan or a wiccan, they run away as fast from me then as I run from evangelicals and Jehovah's witnesses.
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ago View Post
that's when I bust out with I have the Flying spaghetti monster as my higher power, or start talking about the earth mother and tell them I am a pagan or a wiccan, they run away as fast from me then as I run from evangelicals and Jehovah's witnesses.
That's hilarious. I was thinking about the FSM but decided I'd better just keep my mouth shut and leave. Wasn't there to ruffle feathers. Besides, I used to be religious (Christian, even) until I kinda realized what I believed didn't make any logical sense. With the exception of my drinking, everything has been innumerably better in my life since I quit trying to convince myself the Bible is true. I finally felt that same sense of freedom that so many Christians tell me awaits if I'd just give religion a chance (again).
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:16 PM
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Ago,

You crack me up!

TH
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:17 PM
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sorry you had a bad experience gneiss - I don't do AA but I know any meeting is only as good or as bad as its members - maybe do like Astro says and check out some others...?

In the end - this is your journey - what other people think of that or your beliefs is none of their business...

This has been a fairly common topic recently.

My take on it is - we all know alcoholism is serious stuff - it destroys lives long before it kills us...

It's up to you (or me or whoever) to look at this either as an obstacle and a dealbreaker...or something you can work around....

ignore it, criticise it, find another group, or another programme...but don't give up your progress

D
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:35 AM
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gneiss, many people find aa is not for them but that does not mean sobriety isn't. It is more than possible to achieve sobriety without aa...is it easy? no, but I have seen my fair share of aa members stumble and fall repeatedly. It appears there is no "easy" way and anyway one successfully manages to get the monkey of their backs is a good way.

Try another meeting if you want...or not...the choice is yours just like the choice to drink or not is yours. Let nothing stand in your way of a new life, a new you...freedom is yours for the taking.

Best of luck!
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ClimbingUP View Post
There's a Life Ring meeting in my area on Friday nights, and I'm going to check that out.
Please share your experience with LifeRing here at SR. I think it's a great organization and I hope it continues to grow. I so wish they had meetings in Spokane.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by CatWings View Post

Personally, I do not want to be going to meetings and calling myself a drug addict 10 years from now. I got over calling myself a bulimic after I got over that a year later. It was a blip in my lifetime and is now the furthest thing from my mind.
You mean I'm not the only person who has a problem with a permanent damaged goods tag that says "This one's an alkie!!!"? Eventually I might like to get married, maybe, or make some new friends and I feel like having that sort of tag would make it difficult to make those sort of connections with people. The drinking is bad enough, but do I really want the social stigma? Can I just get to a point where I say "No thanks, I don't drink," without sharing my life history?

I could be completely wrong here, but I think my alcohol use is not so entrenched that I will spend the rest of my life recovering from it. I feel like I'll look back on it in a few years and say "I got into partying too much and then I had trouble stopping because there were things I didn't want to deal with. It was rough but today I'm good and I'm not addicted to it any more."

The feeling I get from the various AA literature I've seen is sort of a condemnation to a life of permanent, non-active alcoholism; a life in which I'm afraid to be around drinkers because it *might* make me want to drink. I'm not willing to live like that. For now I know I need to stay away from drinkers because the cravings and temptation are too close to the surface but one of my goals is that eventually I will be fine around alcohol. It won't have the power over me it has now. This is MY life and I've let alcohol (and drugs) run it long enough. I'm taking back my life and part of that is not letting alcohol control me in the sense of wanting to drink but also in the sense of being afraid to be around it.

It's important for me professionally, as well. In the realm of natural sciences, geologists--among others-- have a reputation as drinkers. I've been to enough professional banquets, luncheons, conventions, etc., to realize the reputation is well-earned. If I can't be around alcohol, I can't be around professionals in my field.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:40 PM
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My thing is that I want to be wary of falling into that trap because it does get into that kind of mind-control area that is insidious and may work for some people though not me.

As Carl Sagan used to say, "Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out."

I went to OA meetings for my eating disorder years ago, and all it did was scare me - my father and a therapist told me that this was "the only way" out of this thing and then there was the program telling me that if I did not "give myself over to this simple program" that my only options were "insanity, jail, or death." I was overwhelmed and surely defective because I was probably one of those who was born without the ability to be honest with myself, as they say.

But for now, I am going to focus on the present and the help I need with that awareness in the back of my mind. But I am not a cult member and from that I have to be diligent about taking what I need for now and leaving the rest. They even suggest you do that.

I am going to an NA meeting tonight simply because I am having a lot of cravings today and just need the support and to hear the positive recovery of others.

However, I went to an MA meeting and people were talking about their sponsers and all of the sudden I started thinking that maybe I should get a sponser. That is the last thing I want to do. My father told me today that he never did that in all his years in AA and that he thinks that is for the military types that need to be told what to do.

Just be careful in it all and use common sense, though the 12-steppers will tell you that your "best thinking got you here."
And as someone else said, it's your journey and whatever progress you can make in your recovery is always progress. Having the guts to get any kind of help you need is a positive step.


( I hope it doesn't seem like I am discouraging anything that would be helpful to anyone. Feel free to ignore me or offer criticism, anyone.)

Last edited by CatWings; 11-14-2008 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:43 PM
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Gneiss--I totally understand where you're coming from. I know that I started drinking heavily to self medicate. I suffer from depression, anxiety, social anxiety, low self esteem--you name it. There's a part of me that thinks that if I sort out my mental issues, then one day alcohol won't hold such sway over me and I'll be able to drink 'normally'. I don't know if that day will ever come. Right now, I am getting intense cravings for alcohol that are absolutely not normal. If I weren't taking antabuse, I might have relapsed.

For me, it's like I get this itch inside me that only alcohol can scratch. At this point in my life, I'm not worrying about the future and whether or not I'm going to have to swear off alcohol forever. I have enough problems without adding on additional pressure.

People in AA who have benefitted from AA feel very strongly about it. And, with most people who feel very strongly about things, they will often vigorously defend their opinions. Try not to take it personally, and get what you can out of the meetings.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CatWings View Post
As Carl Sagan used to say, "Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out."

OMG--That quote was awesome!!
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:48 PM
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OK....fesss up from the start...I am an "AAer" but also do not believe in god...

I have seen some of the things that have been brought up happen be said and believed in meetings....but seen alot that is different from that.

When I got sober the first time there were no other programs out there that I had ever heard of (and I'm pretty sure there weren't or were far and few between) and no one had much computer access.....So I went to AA and it helped me tremendously.

However at 2.5 years sober I began to quesiton many things in AA, in my life, etc.

I learned how to use the tools that worked for me and to not feel like I had to fit in .... and i still got support.

Then I left the program.

When I got sober again this time I chose to go back to AA. I use it and SR. I see people get sober other ways then AA, but I find it very benificial and very doable without the god stuff.

but you know it seems to me that the thing that gets people sober is having a plan on how to deal with life sober and talking with others who struggle with the same issues.

I don't feel like a sick puppy cause I'm alchoholic and I don't see that being in AA or any other form of recovery means I need to share that all over the place. I can simply say I don't drink...no big deal.

I don't know what else to say...so much that I read here is stuff I see some in meetings and yet isn't what i mostly see.

Anyways...the main thing for me is how am I going to stay sober and work on those issues that I hid from in the bottle for so long. I love the non-aa stuff I get from these threads too. And of course the sharing from the AA people who don't believe in god as well, and the god people for whom recovery isn't a god thing I think there are a number of those people around here somewhere too!
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post

I learned how to use the tools that worked for me and to not feel like I had to fit in .... and i still got support....

but you know it seems to me that the thing that gets people sober is having a plan on how to deal with life sober and talking with others who struggle with the same issues.....

Anyways...the main thing for me is how am I going to stay sober and work on those issues that I hid from in the bottle for so long. I love the non-aa stuff I get from these threads too. And of course the sharing from the AA people who don't believe in god as well, and the god people for whom recovery isn't a god thing I think there are a number of those people around here somewhere too!
I am looking forward to my NA meeting because I am climbing the walls and I know that my using friends will not have a clue what I am going through.

And yes, the big thing is how to stay sober and I do hear some progress in the meetings. How people have evolved and transformed that way.

I go there for tools and support mainly and that is only one of the places to get that.

I am trying to get into a Buddhist recovery group that wants you to have 6 months abstinence in a 12 step program and then they adapt to a "12 fold path" format of recovery.

So I will stick some of what bugs me out in order to get to the other group.
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:00 PM
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Hey Cat...thats neat....I looked and looked and looked for a budhist recovery group in the 80s and couldn't find one....

I also looked for a buddhist treatment center...found one in thailand
of course i didn't go there!

In our small town we only have about a half dozen of us who sit on one night a week. And we are from all different branches as there are so few. But the one man who introduced me to soto zen buddhism has been practicing for about 40 years and even though he doesn't think he is..he is actually the "teacher". I hope someday to have the nerve to ask him to hear my 5th step as i need to have insite that is not based on the christian type mind set. more from a buddhist point of view.

Sorry I'm off topic....you just got me excited is all
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
nd the god people for whom recovery isn't a god thing I think there are a number of those people around here somewhere too!
*wave*

You bet there are some of us here. That's why I love this forum, we have so many types.
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
and the god people for whom recovery isn't a god thing I think there are a number of those people around here somewhere too!
What does this mean exactly? Just curious, especially in terms of AA.
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
Hey Cat...thats neat....I looked and looked and looked for a budhist recovery group in the 80s and couldn't find one....
Here is the one I aspire to go to. It kind of makes me want to get to that six months mark and do my own form of the 12-step thing for a while.

Addiction Recovery
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:02 AM
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Hey Cat...you asked about people who believe in God but for whom recover is not a "God thing." I am one of those people as is Alera. While we both believe in God we don't (at least for me) believe God functions in the way aa claims he will by following the 12 steps. For me, my life experience and my religious background proves this to be true. While this is a secular forum I can identify with many people here whom seek sobriety. I went to aa for 10 months utilizing the felowship...I did have a home group and a service position....some suggestions I took...some, like the steps, I did not. The results...I am sober 17 months and no longer need aa. For me it was a win win situation.

I won't say my attendance at aa was alway easy...my beliefs gave way to many questioning my "program" and the gossip about me ran rampant, but it was all part of what I was willing to do to get and STAY sober.

Do what you need for you...you are in charge of your life and your sobriety. Anyone who tells you that only a "spiritual" cure is necessary is mistaken...they are not at fault...sometimes the truth is hard to see.

Wishing you great success!
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