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I'm scared and could use some support

Old 01-23-2009, 08:42 PM
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I'm scared and could use some support

Right now this secular forum is the only place I feel comfortable posting. I have been glued to this site since Monday and have managed to get a few days in without a drink. Went to my Dr. Wed and told him everything and I think I am going to be ok on the health front, even if my stomach still hurts.

Ok....so what is scaring me. I know I can't do this thing without support. This forum has been invaluable but at some point I am going to have to branch out and see other people f2f - which means AA. There are only two secular groups I can go to and that is only two days a week and I don't think that is enough. I do not like AA. I am afraid I am going to have a very negative reaction if I run into people who start telling me to get a sponsor, work the steps, turn it over. I can't tell you how many meetings I have walked out of only to go to the store and buy wine. (Just thinking about this is making my stomach hurt worse.) That has been my reaction when faced with certain AAers. Don't get me wrong, there are some people in AA who are wonderful. I am afraid of the ones who are very dogmatic in their beliefs and start throwing worn-out cliches at me. I just cannot handle them. And I cannot afford to pick up a drink.

I know some of you attend AA. My question is how do you do it and how do I deal with those I know are going to do me more harm than good? I am not even sure I should even try to go to AA considering I have a LONG history with AA and, well, it hasn't been pleasant. Nonetheless, I doubt I can do this deal without some kind of f2f.

Anyway, I am posting this in SC as I'd like to hear from people who can relate to how I feel and learn how you've done it. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:51 PM
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Just a few questions before I make any suggestions...

When's the last time you went to a meeting?

How many different groups are there to choose from in your area?

I will throw out there that there were some "non-believers" in the group I went to and no one in the group was disrespectful of that. The group I liked the best seemed to be a good mix of traditional AAers and secular people, and they got along very well, and everyone's main focus was sobriety. They HP-geared people shared their stories referencing God; the others did not. It didn't seem to be a big deal, really. That's why I ask about the variety of groups in your area and how long it's been since you attended a meeting. Perhaps things have changed since the last time you set foot in one of their rooms?

There's no harm done in just going and listening, too.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:52 PM
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Gosh, now that I go back and re-read my post I wonder why I quit going to that group. LOL

Oh yeah. I don't want to "have" to work steps that force me to get on my knees and surrender myself to a higher power. That's it.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by TryingSoHard View Post
Just a few questions before I make any suggestions...

When's the last time you went to a meeting?

How many different groups are there to choose from in your area?

I will throw out there that there were some "non-believers" in the group I went to and no one in the group was disrespectful of that. The group I liked the best seemed to be a good mix of traditional AAers and secular people, and they got along very well, and everyone's main focus was sobriety. They HP-geared people shared their stories referencing God; the others did not. It didn't seem to be a big deal, really. That's why I ask about the variety of groups in your area and how long it's been since you attended a meeting. Perhaps things have changed since the last time you set foot in one of their rooms?

There's no harm done in just going and listening, too.
Thanks, hmm, last time I went a meeting must have been a year ago or so. I really can't remember. There are 600 meetings a week to choose from here, which makes it somewhat overwhelming. I am ruling out the AA club nearest to my house, as I had a very bad experience there with all their meetings.

It's just gotten to the point where I feel like I am tired of having had AA in my life for 32 freaking years and I've never felt comfortable. I know that makes me sound really old, but I was only 17 when I went to my first meeting. I am jaded, to say the least.

I would be ok with walking in there, not having to say I am Katie and I'm an alcoholic (I hate labels and conformity), not having to pretend I am interested in EITHER a sponsor or the steps. IOW, if I could just be me and honest without the shunning I've experienced for not following the crowd, I think I could handle it.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:13 PM
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Wow. Well out of 600 meetings I'd think you could find ONE that suited you!!

The group I visited had people who'd say, "I'm Katie, and I have a drinking problem" or "I'm Katie and I have the desire to stop drinking" or even "Still Katie, still a drunk". That always got a chuckle from the group.

I can understand your hesitation now that you explained a little more. Why don't you start by trying out those 2 secular meetings and seeing how they go? You might find that those are enough for you... or at least there you'll meet some people and get the numbers of some people you can call or go hang out with in between meetings.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by TryingSoHard View Post
Wow. Well out of 600 meetings I'd think you could find ONE that suited you!!

The group I visited had people who'd say, "I'm Katie, and I have a drinking problem" or "I'm Katie and I have the desire to stop drinking" or even "Still Katie, still a drunk". That always got a chuckle from the group.

I can understand your hesitation now that you explained a little more. Why don't you start by trying out those 2 secular meetings and seeing how they go? You might find that those are enough for you... or at least there you'll meet some people and get the numbers of some people you can call or go hang out with in between meetings.
Thanks TSH,

That's what my therapist suggested (the alternative labels you mention). However, I don't see what's wrong with just saying "I'm Katie, period." I suppose I could try that. I just have never heard that said before. Maybe you live in a more liberal place than I do. I can remember wayyy back when (like I was 17) having an issue with saying I'm an alcoholic or chemically dependent. I wanted to say chemically free, lol. So I've been dealing with this for sooooooooooo long.

Maybe I will just go to those two support groups. One is at a secret location (I'll have to contact WFS in PA to find the location and time) and the other is a SMART meeting. Good ideas and thanks much! I feel less panicked. :ghug3
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:31 PM
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This might just be a random guess on my part, but I think part of the reason they have you say your name and what your affiliation with alcohol is is because - at least the meetings I went to - the meetings were closed, which meant only people with an alcohol problem were supposed to attend. I've never been to an open meeting, where friends and family are welcome, so I'm not sure how they do introductions at those.

Just a thought. I'm sure if you just said, "Hi, I'm Katie" and stopped they wouldn't kick you out!!
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:32 PM
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Secret location?!? Oooooooh. That has mystery and intrigue written all over it! You'll have to tell me how it goes if you go to that one!!!
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:54 PM
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Thanks T-so-H.
I visited my local AA website for meeting places, times etc... and didn't know what the 'open or closed' meant.
Thanks again. <><
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TryingSoHard View Post
This might just be a random guess on my part, but I think part of the reason they have you say your name and what your affiliation with alcohol is is because - at least the meetings I went to - the meetings were closed, which meant only people with an alcohol problem were supposed to attend. I've never been to an open meeting, where friends and family are welcome, so I'm not sure how they do introductions at those.

Just a thought. I'm sure if you just said, "Hi, I'm Katie" and stopped they wouldn't kick you out!!
Thanks TSH. Most meetings down here are open. It's the same deal. You have to say Hi, I am Katie and I'm an alcoholic. Sometimes at the giant ones or even the small ones the whole room goes around and says that before the meeting even starts, so there is no way of just sitting there and being quiet.

I've been to AA in four different states and each state has been very different. Things were pretty ok back in the late 70s in MN, where I did actually manage to not pick up a drink for 26 months. This was in the day when one didn't need a sponsor to go through any steps or even need a sponsor. I went to one meeting a week, coffee afterwards, and managed to do this for two years, two months. But that was a different time, different era. I didn't know how good I had it back then.

I think I'll stick close to this forum and then go to the SMART meeting on Wed night. It'll be something at least I really appreciate your posts tonight.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by TryingSoHard View Post
Secret location?!? Oooooooh. That has mystery and intrigue written all over it! You'll have to tell me how it goes if you go to that one!!!
I sure will!
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Old 01-24-2009, 06:12 AM
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I have never been to an AA meeting.

A few years ago, I was telling someone about my drinking and how it was getting out of control. He also wasn't a believer, but he suggested AA. I was pretty adamant. He said check it out anyway.

The next chance I got I went online to the AA site to see what was what. The page opened to the 12 steps...and my heart dropped. I knew then as I know now there was no way possible I could twist those tenets around to fit me. I knew if I went it would make my situation worse.

Katie, there are other things you can do if you feel that AA would be a trigger. You could try one-on-one talk with a counselor (I need to do that when I get the money). You can find people to hang around with who do NOT use drugs/alcohol. Surround yourself with positive people.

Ah, I just read that you're going to a SMART meeting.

See, there you go!
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Old 01-24-2009, 07:02 AM
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Good luck at the alternative meetings Katie09, hope it goes well!

I attend aa once a week, a "living sober meeting". I sometimes attend others if i feel the need for it.

It took a while for me attending various ones to find meetings that were a bit more laid back and don't push the religious side etc too much.

Even at those, if i get someone preaching at me or trying to convert me i try not to get into a debate with them. I just agree to disagree and leave it - either out loud or just in my head!

On the whole i think it is entirely possible to find meetings that you're comfortable in - i have a lot of aa friends too, and only occasionally have to deal with someone telling me i must do the steps or must find god.

I'd recommend trying a living sober meeting if they have one near you. The living sober book seems to me to be a much more practical guide on living a sober life and not religious, and the meeting sort of follows that theme.
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Old 01-24-2009, 07:13 AM
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Hey Katie! I am surprised to hear how different meetings were back in the 70's. It seems to me from your observation they were much more liberal.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results...aa is not excluded from this. 32 years in and out of the program would lead me to believe that it is not a viable solution for you. I think going to a smart meeting is a great idea. Let us know how it works out!
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:17 AM
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Hi Katie, I have always known that the aa philosophy is not for me but I kept perservering with the meetings because I thought I might be able to connect with people I liked and shared similar thoughts with.

Sounds to me like you have given it a good old try as well.

I recently realised that I cant put myself through these meetings in the hope of meeting friends and getting support.

Its not just the god stuff, I believe that a lot of people in the meetings i went to are paying lip service, saying what they think they should, one girl I used to really got on with recently got the higher power thing after four years of going to aa for face to face support (brainwashing anyone) and I dont want to make friends only for them to turn round and try and change me!

What I am trying to say in a long winded fashion, is that I know I need support, this is hard work, but I just dont want to put myself in the company of other alcoholics without any other connection between us.

I don't know how I am going to get together with the people I need to but I am sick of beating a dead horse.

P S you are really lucky to have smart in your area, let me know how it goes. x
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:39 AM
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I really do hope SMART and LifeRing grow more in the uk...
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
I have never been to an AA meeting.

A few years ago, I was telling someone about my drinking and how it was getting out of control. He also wasn't a believer, but he suggested AA. I was pretty adamant. He said check it out anyway.

The next chance I got I went online to the AA site to see what was what. The page opened to the 12 steps...and my heart dropped. I knew then as I know now there was no way possible I could twist those tenets around to fit me. I knew if I went it would make my situation worse.

Katie, there are other things you can do if you feel that AA would be a trigger. You could try one-on-one talk with a counselor (I need to do that when I get the money). You can find people to hang around with who do NOT use drugs/alcohol. Surround yourself with positive people.

Ah, I just read that you're going to a SMART meeting.

See, there you go!
Aren't you smart! You figured it out right away! And you knew it would make your situation worse so you didn't have to listen to YEARS of people telling you that you weren't willing to go to any lengths, that you were not done and to come back when you were, that you needed a sponsor and to follow directions, that you were too smart for your own good, to stop thinking so much, etc, etc.

You're right, I am going to have to push myself to go out and surround myself with people who don't use.

Thanks for your post!
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by spark42 View Post
Good luck at the alternative meetings Katie09, hope it goes well!

I attend aa once a week, a "living sober meeting". I sometimes attend others if i feel the need for it.

It took a while for me attending various ones to find meetings that were a bit more laid back and don't push the religious side etc too much.

Even at those, if i get someone preaching at me or trying to convert me i try not to get into a debate with them. I just agree to disagree and leave it - either out loud or just in my head!

On the whole i think it is entirely possible to find meetings that you're comfortable in - i have a lot of aa friends too, and only occasionally have to deal with someone telling me i must do the steps or must find god.

I'd recommend trying a living sober meeting if they have one near you. The living sober book seems to me to be a much more practical guide on living a sober life and not religious, and the meeting sort of follows that theme.
Thanks, I've looked at the list here and never seen a living sober meeting. I will try one more place and that's in the college part of town. Maybe there I could find SOMEONE who I could relate to. I had a friend who moved down here from the SF Bay Area I met at an AA meeting. He had 11 years of sobriety at the time. He left after two months and told me he didn't know if he could have remained sober living and going to AA here. I think that speaks volumes.

One thing I do plan to do today is to go to a Nicotine Anonymous meeting for my smoking. I don't know how it is with those meetings, but I am crossing my fingers that just maybe it might be different. There are only three of those here a week, but I will give it a try.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bugsworth View Post
Hey Katie! I am surprised to hear how different meetings were back in the 70's. It seems to me from your observation they were much more liberal.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results...aa is not excluded from this. 32 years in and out of the program would lead me to believe that it is not a viable solution for you. I think going to a smart meeting is a great idea. Let us know how it works out!
Thanks Bugsworth. Yeah, those meetings were different. In fact, I went to one maybe five years ago at that same club in MN and the AA meeting ended up being a potluck party. They were still even smoking in the rooms (not that this is a good thing, but it IS more reminiscent of the old days).

I agree that 32 years in and out of the rooms expecting different results in a bit insane. But yunno how it goes...one will be told that one just isn't doing it right.

The primary thing, and this goes for all programs (except Moderation Mgmt) is NOT to pick up a drink. I am on day 4 today and I will NOT pick up a drink.

I'll let you know how the SMART meeting goes.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:13 AM
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I am trying to do this on my own and so far SR is my support system. So if you are reading my posts thanks for the support and if you are posting and I am reading your posts, thanks for the support. I haven't went to an AA meeting yet but I know that if I can't do it on my own with the help of all you caring people at SR I will probably have to try AA or something similar and this is enough incentive for me to try to make it.
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