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Old 01-20-2013, 10:44 PM
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No pity. No remorse. No fear
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Secularly starting out

Greetings all, I’m putting this story in this forum as i don’t believe it belongs in the newcomers forum. Because I’m not, a newcomer that is. Perhaps “Re-starter” would a better term, or “relapser” to be blunt.

I have no intention of bashing or belittling AA here, I am merely relating my experience of the last few years and why I have chosen this new path of a secular solution.

*Mods I hope you don’t have to edit this post or remove it entirely.*

I’m 46 years old, been drinking regularly since I was 18. Really learnt to do that in the Army. Both my parents were alcoholic, but not nasty ones, just not very “present” while I was growing up. Anyway, Dad has been sober for the last 35 years through the AA program. Mum died 3 years ago leaving half a bottle of brandy on the kitchen bench, after an internal haemorrhage of the main artery from her liver, due to the stress of being evacuated from a bushfire.

Knew I had a problem for quite some time, just ignored it and the drinking got heavier, trying to suppress those feelings. Still had everything from the outside looking in: wife, car, good job, mortgage paid off, no trouble with the police. I would just retire to my man cave and pretty much quietly obliterate myself every night.

So going by my Dad’s experience I went to AA. Started in October 2010, had 2 sponsors in that time; the first was mostly hands-off, “Call me if you need me, hope you find something in the Big Book that will save your life” kind of thing. The second was the polar opposite; call daily, meet him at home once a week for 2 hours with highlighter pens and we’d read through the BB. Told me to get rid of my PS3, close my Facebook account, just to name 2 things. When we got further into the steps I would have to email him with my daily inventory. Don’t get me wrong, we got along well and he was a nice guy.

For the 2 years I was there, I couldn’t stay sober more than 2 weeks at a time.

I could not get my head around the “powerlessness” concept. I have a military background and am still in a paramilitary career. When faced with an obstacle I want to overcome it, not surrender. Through this forum I discovered Rational Recovery, I did the internet crash course yesterday and have made my Big Plan. I will never drink again and I will never change my mind. The RR book is on its way to my place. There is also a once-weekly SMART meeting nearby that I intend on going to, as long as it’s not counter-productive to RR. Although I have seen folks on this board who have made a success of combining a few different recovery modalities.

I thought that being a Catholic (very Catholic, as in still going Mass celebrated in Latin!) AA would suit me, as it seemed God based. But, just for me, something never gelled between my faith and AA. RR seems to make so much more sense!

I’ll close by admitting that I’ve been lurking these secular forums for a while, have read through all of the threads (THAT took me some time!) and would like to thank Dalek, Gerald Twine, soberlicious, shockozulu, freshstart57 and Robbie Robot for helping me come to the decision I have. I’ve been reading your wisdom from the shadows for some time (this may called stalking n some circles, LOL ).

If you’ve stuck with this from beginning to end, I salute you! Thanks for being here.

Matt.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:45 AM
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Great that you found a path you like a lot, hang in there with it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:27 AM
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great post lav,, you have indeed found out "your" way,,, and its the only way,,imo.
keep up the good work,, the book is fab,, i indeed need to re read places ,, i slipped up a wee bit on sat nite,, but nothing too bad,,, im nearly hitting my 3 month mark,, and i aint going back to day one,, cos its always day one if u think like that,, its just a new day for mexxx
hope u find many nice friends here as i have xx
lv cleo xxxxxxxxxxxxxx:ghug3
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:28 AM
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oh,, thanks fo the salute ,,lol xx
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:46 AM
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Thanks Lavy,

Your profile gives a 2010 sobriety date--so you didn't drink the whole time you were in AA?
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by coldfusion
Your profile gives a 2010 sobriety date--so you didn't drink the whole time you were in AA?
Coldfusion...below is from the OP:
Originally Posted by LaVallette
For the 2 years I was there, I couldn’t stay sober more than 2 weeks at a time.
Hi LV, so glad you have decided to change your life and quit for good.

Thank you for sharing. I related to a lot of what you wrote. I'm glad you pointed out your faith, because I think it's important for people to understand that a secular approach to quitting DOES NOT necessarily mean one has to have secular beliefs. In fact, it is my understanding that the author of RR is a religious man. But when you understand the AVRT paradigm, you understand why his religious views (or anyone else's) need not be a factor in ending addiction.

Also, many Christians experience problems with the "God of your understanding " concept because, in fact, if you are Christian, God is not up for personal interpretation.

Again, glad you're here. Feels so good to be free, doesn't it?
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:08 AM
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I know, since I made the BP, I have a peace, calmness and freedom that I can say with certainty I have never experienced.

And everyone you thanked in your post, as well as several more, are..uhm...how did soberlicious say it to me? Oh, yeah..the bombdiggity!

:ghug3

ETA: I get to go out and play today. See y'all later this afternoon.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by LaVallette View Post
...

I could not get my head around the “powerlessness” concept. I have a military background and am still in a paramilitary career. When faced with an obstacle I want to overcome it, not surrender. Through this forum I discovered Rational Recovery, I did the internet crash course yesterday and have made my Big Plan. I will never drink again and I will never change my mind. The RR book is on its way to my place. There is also a once-weekly SMART meeting nearby that I intend on going to, as long as it’s not counter-productive to RR. Although I have seen folks on this board who have made a success of combining a few different recovery modalities.

...

Matt.
Congratulations Matt,

When looking at drinking-some-more as "an obstacle I want to overcome", the Big Plan satisfies that desire perfectly. The Big Plan is so logical and precise all by itself that it defies any further need of explanation.

What cannot be overcome by anyone is the 'obstacle' of thinking-of-drinking. Thinking-of-drinking is a perceived obstacle right in front you which has been blocking you from getting on with your life for a number of years. It had been that way with me, too. For me, making not-swallowing-alcohol an ongoing group project magnifies the obstacle of thinking-of-drinking way out of proportion in my mind. It just doesn't work for me.

AVRT simply takes that perceived obstacle and shows you how to shift it from directly in front of you to a few yards to the left or the right, out of your direct line of "I" thought and action. This way it fairly quickly becomes an idea you can either stop, turn, and look at, or pass quickly by.

Another analogy would be to look at drinking-some-more like a friendly guy in your unit you just found out was a mole, but you can't get rid of him because you've been ordered to play him for a strategic reason. You will listen to him (think-of-drinking), but you will trust him as far as you can throw a piano.

So, AVRT has nothing to do with a brute force sort of control, it's all about sticking to that OATH and, sad as IT may make us feel, facing the loss of that pleasure ... for me and you ... a wrongful pleasure.

Also, after making a Big Plan, my whole relationship with recovery and recovering people took a very good sharp turn that I found quite refreshing.

GT
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:39 AM
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Lavallette, welcome and well met. I'm glad that you have found us here for the reason that your presence and your addition to the team has already made a difference to someone, stumbling on your post, who is just now understanding that they can indeed quit drinking.

For me, facing the 'loss of that wrongful pleasure' has meant that I have accepted the possibility that I can succeed, that I can have confidence in myself, that I can have a life that gives me self respect, and my own measure of joy and beauty in my life. That possibility is realized through my demand that I will accept nothing less, and that I will succeed.

Best to you.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:57 AM
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Many thanks folks for the welcome, support and kind words. My apologies for mis-spelling your name Gerand Twine, didn't fact-check prior to posting!.

Crap 6.55 AM, gotta get to work!
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:52 PM
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Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us here in Secular Connections. Count me among those who learned a lot and hope to continue to hear more from you.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by LaVallette View Post
I could not get my head around the “powerlessness” concept. I have a military background and am still in a paramilitary career. When faced with an obstacle I want to overcome it, not surrender. Through this forum I discovered Rational Recovery, I did the internet crash course yesterday and have made my Big Plan. I will never drink again and I will never change my mind. The RR book is on its way to my place. There is also a once-weekly SMART meeting nearby that I intend on going to, as long as it’s not counter-productive to RR. Although I have seen folks on this board who have made a success of combining a few different recovery modalities.
Hey Matt, thanks for the great personal share and your contributions of your experiences to the forums. Glad you're not just lurking. Its good to get in there and make things happen with a bit of our own spin to it, lol.

Yeah, you can for sure use different tools in combinations to be in recovery and so then become recovered. The most important element in that approach, in my opinion, is being sincere from the start that being yourself is the paramount and essential requirement going forward. Its not for the faint of heart, and not everybody wants to be so personally self-aware and in-the-moment practising the use of their selected tools for their chosen life-style.

I gotta tell you though, its absolutely worth the effort. I'm not a passive guy, and surrender is yet still just 'another tool' to get me and keep me where I want and need to be. Losing a battle to win the war is a common technique, as you know. Giving up the entire war to win freedom is also attractive and progressive. I don't fight with my addictions anymore, but it started out with me fighting for my life back in my earliest days. I have discovered surrender is not always waving a white flag, head hung over... surrender is also a path that leads to enlightenment when we keep our head held up with an open mind, and when we keep our ego well oiled and responsive to the moment at hand.

I hope for you every success, Matt.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:56 PM
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Thanks RobbyR for several things I found useful:

"... you can for sure use different tools in combinations to be in recovery and so then become recovered. The most important element in that approach, in my opinion, is being sincere from the start that being yourself is the paramount and essential requirement going forward. Its not for the faint of heart, and not everybody wants to be so personally self-aware and in-the-moment practising the use of their selected tools for their chosen life-style."

[and] "I have discovered surrender is not always waving a white flag, head hung over... surrender is also a path that leads to enlightenment when we keep our head held up with an open mind, and when we keep our ego well oiled and responsive to the moment at hand. "

I so appreciate 'hearing' the words of wisdom from you and many others here in SR...
I posted my story a few days ago in Newcomers (because I've been relapsing, almost daily - while waiting waiting waiting for my RR book to come in the post.). I even damn well drank again yesterday - AFTER going back to AA that day and the one before. So I didn't even make it fully through Day 2! Arggghhhh.

I struggle with a LOT of chronic depression, and so find myself doing battle with that many times each day, sometimes each hour. So it's like having two Black Dogs snappin' at my heels on each side of me. Fascinating too how we - speaking for myself but suspect others have been there - find the mind to be our worst enemy and our greatest friend.

Great to see btw Matt that you too are in Melbourne, as are a couple of others. Sending good positive thoughts your way once I've managed to find them for myself
Vic (not-a-bloke :-))
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bemyself View Post
Fascinating too how we - speaking for myself but suspect others have been there - find the mind to be our worst enemy and our greatest friend.
Yeah, so true indeed, Vic. BTW, I dig your screen name. Cool.
Cheers and be well, bemyself. Past failures only enhance future successes when we don't quit on ourselves. You can do this!!

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