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crisis of conscience...

Old 09-07-2013, 03:50 AM
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crisis of conscience...

hi all...

i've been sober almost 3.5 months now. and i've spent almost 3.5 months away from my family every night to be in AA meetings... and it's eating me alive.

i'm an atheist... been using the universe as my hp, which has been ok. crossing out all the 'gods' in my books is fine (just uses a lot of ink), but the overbearing god-thumping in meetings is making me angry. so are all the slogans... i feel like there's no room in my head for me with all the 'easy does it' and 'keep coming back' things banging around in my thoughts all the bloody time.

mostly though, i'm just feeling that if sobriety requires me to leave my family every night to go sit with people who have been sitting in these rooms every night for years, hearing the same things, cringing at every prayer... i just feel like that's not the way for me to live sober.

it's frustrating to the point that i almost got booze last night... if this is what sober living is, why bother?

i need to find a better, more authentic way for me to do this. giving up family dinners and never getting to read bedtime stories to my kids is just absolutely not okay for me anymore.

there has to be another way. so i'm here asking for help. please help me find a better way...

thank you.
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:27 AM
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Congrats on your 3 plus months of sober time.

Why do you have to go every day?
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:30 AM
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Well, I found AVRT and it has worked for me. I'm in a similar boat, atheist with no belief in supernatural beings. No 'easy does it' or stretching supine before any sky daddies. ;-) It has given me tools to recognize my addictive voice and make the Big Plan to not drink.

I just passed the 11 month mark of sobriety. No slips and minimal cravings. Perhaps my experience isn't typical, but it's my experience. Maybe it would work for you, too.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:27 AM
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A couple of thoughts:

Have you looked around for some other meetings, others might be less religious?

Who\what do you think is keeping you sober?

Do you resent spending some time each day to keep sober?
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:42 AM
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thanks myth! i'll look into that.

croissant... i guess i go to meetings everyday because, for as much as i'm told that working the steps is what keeps me sober (steps which i am working), they also tell me that those who don't go to meetings everyday will drink. i suppose i believe them, and that leaves me extremely confused.

fg... i've been doing lots of different meetings (different groups, different types, different locations), and there is a heavy, christian-based vibe in all. i'm in northern virginia, and for all its progressive, liberal leanings up here, its still very much a religious, conservative area.

for what keeps me sober? beyond just not picking up and actually liking not being drink all the time, i don't really know why i'm sober right now.

i don't have any deep resentments about spending time everyday on my recovery... except for the pain and emptiness i'm feeling about not tucking my kids in every night.

i'm extremely grateful to be sober... and i am willing to work on my recovery everyday... i just worry that a lot of what AA is isn't my bag, and i'm scared that i'm going to end up saying eff it and go back out. i don't want to go back where i came from...

thanks everyone for your responses. i hope i'm not sounding pissy in my replies. i'm so raw right now i can't really hear my owm thoughts. i do appreciate you taking the time to help me find a way through this.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:50 AM
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You don't sound pissy at all to me. I'm kinda in the same boat. I had 8 years sober with no real program, but lost my way because I forgot how bad it could get. I'm an atheist as well, AA and all the god stuff just makes me want to drink, actually, so I'm casting about for what's right for me too.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:36 AM
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I come from a different point of view on creationism than you, Ersatz, but I feel precisely as you, and for the same reasons, about 12 step recovery. My creator didn't have anything to do with my choices that led to alcoholism, and I am unable believe He was going to have a lot to do with my sobriety. And the Recovery Group Movement as a way of life? It was never going to fit for me.

There are other ideas and ways of thinking of recovery from alcoholism and addiction that are in direct opposition to some things you have been taught, and this forum is a wonderful place to hear about them and find things that will fit you. No one will tell you what is the only way to think, or even the best way to think.

Some people have within them what they need already to find their way forward in sobriety, with contentment and serenity and confidence, and I think you are one of those, ErsatzMatriarch. You have a lot to give to others along with a desire to be a part of fulfilling and meaningful relationships with those you love, and with those who love and depend on you. This is a strong predictor of your success.

You can do this. You can succeed. Believe in yourself, in your natural native abilities and talents, and that you deserve a life free of addiction. Please stick around and ask questions, read about others who have found their way forward, and continue to post here. You are most welcome, and I think you are going to be just fine.

Onward!
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:15 AM
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EM,
yes, there are other ways.

they also tell me that those who don't go to meetings everyday will drink.
.....and i'm scared that i'm going to end up saying eff it and go back out


i pulled those two sentences out of your posts because of the fear. and how the message that those who don't go to meetings every day will drink feeds right into that.
meetings aren't what AA is supposed to be about, ultimately; the steps are.
plenty of people stay sober without daily meetings, plenty others keep drinking or go back to drinking while going to daily meetings.

i got sober in Lifering (The LifeRing Home Page | Sobriety, Secularity, Self-Help) almost seven years ago, and was lucky that there was ONE LR meeting in my area (Pacific NW). it was great to have that, but my main "tool" was their forum, where i did connect daily with others. still do.
life has been such that i have no problems with not drinking, but i'm looking at AA to see how it might help me, since i think it could. with the rest of it.
go figure.
in any case, that's my story and i'm telling it to just demonstrate ONE OTHER way.

about the fear of going back out, back to drinking...not sure if it's the same as the "****-it switch". it helps me to know it's possible. all i have to do is read on SR or LR for ten minutes and will find someone who's gone "back there" even after many years. so yeah, it's a possibility.
but i don't live my sober life based on fear of going back there. fear isn't a good basis for sobriety. it would keep one in chains, really.
being and staying sober needs...well, a sober life that's satisfying, for one. that has some meaning. tucking in one's kids...yes, that's meaning. tucking them in without liquor in your breath. being grateful you can.

i found it a positive to have a face-to-face meeting once a week....maybe you have SMART meetings close by you could check out? or, if you think the steps will be a good way to go, maybe scale back the amount of meetings and keep doing the steps. check out other organizations on the internet.

anyway, this is just a mishmash of a post.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ersatzmatriarch View Post
hi all...

i've been sober almost 3.5 months now. and i've spent almost 3.5 months away from my family every night to be in AA meetings... and it's eating me alive.

i'm an atheist... been using the universe as my hp, which has been ok. crossing out all the 'gods' in my books is fine (just uses a lot of ink), but the overbearing god-thumping in meetings is making me angry. so are all the slogans... i feel like there's no room in my head for me with all the 'easy does it' and 'keep coming back' things banging around in my thoughts all the bloody time.

mostly though, i'm just feeling that if sobriety requires me to leave my family every night to go sit with people who have been sitting in these rooms every night for years, hearing the same things, cringing at every prayer... i just feel like that's not the way for me to live sober.

it's frustrating to the point that i almost got booze last night... if this is what sober living is, why bother?

i need to find a better, more authentic way for me to do this. giving up family dinners and never getting to read bedtime stories to my kids is just absolutely not okay for me anymore.

there has to be another way. so i'm here asking for help. please help me find a better way...

thank you.
The idea of giving up on whatever equates to quality of life for you - whatever that may mean at the time - is a bad idea. There is absolutely no reason except by justification to be so frustrated with your progress that returning to drinking looks more and more like an option.

Without getting into the mechanics and merits of one way over another, I suggest you come to terms with how very important and essential are the freedoms that are yours to enjoy along with your sober living lifestyle choices.

Choices define us in ways that simply thinking about whatever doesn't. When we make choices we become responsible to those same choices whether we like it or not. Re-defining your choices so as to achieve the kind of sober life style you want is the best way I can suggest to ease your crisis. There are many ways forward. There is no requirement for any of us to be cookie-cutter replicas of each other.

Awesome going on your reaching out for a better way for YOU!!

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Old 09-07-2013, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ErsatzMatriarch
there has to be another way
There are myriad other ways.
Originally Posted by ErsatzMatriarch
for what keeps me sober? beyond just not picking up and actually liking not being drink all the time, i don't really know why i'm sober right now.
I can only speak for myself. I am a non drinker because I decided that. What keeps me from drinking is the fact that drinking had no place in my life, nor will it ever have a place. That's it. Nothing mysterious or supernatural about it. I don't drink and I don't experience undesirable consequences from drinking. I quit drinking to be free, to no longer be dependent, so being dependent on a group would put me right back in a prison of sorts.

As far a children go, when you are absent from their lives, you are absent from their lives. It matter not to them the reason. It still feels the same. Not there for bedtime stories means not there. Period. A noble reason for being gone is lost on a child, as they are not short grown ups. They are children, and not for long, I might add.

Fine a way that honors you and your family. Many have.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
As far a children go, when you are absent from their lives, you are absent from their lives. It matter not to them the reason. It still feels the same. Not there for bedtime stories means not there. Period. A noble reason for being gone is lost on a child, as they are not short grown ups. They are children, and not for long, I might add.
.
I completely agree. With no disrespect to the many programs, ultimately you have a life to lead and you need to learn to deal with your responsibilities at home. What i am suggesting is there is a place for growth, but there is also the practical application of the skills you are learning.

Are you scared to spend a couple of nights a week with your family? Perhaps you could go to an AA online meeting after they re in bed?
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:18 PM
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not at all scared to spend nights with the fam... that's actually all i want to do!

and i just think, after so very much leg-work so to speak, i've found that aa just isn't for me. too much compromise of my core values, i guess.

i'm looking into avrt... i'll check out smart (i think that's what it's called?)... try to cobble something together that works for me.

thanks everyone, for your guidance and understanding!
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:21 PM
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and crap... i just realized there isn't supposed to be any mention of 12 steps at all in this forum. i'm so sorry.

i'm definitely not bashing it, just looking for another way.

mods... if you need to move this elsewhere or delete it, i totally understand. all my apologies...
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:44 PM
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Hi EM -- I don't believe there is only one way to stay sober.

We are all different, with our own unique combinations of personality, biology, past decisions, life circumstances.... It seems to me that there can't be a "one size fits all" here.

Don't feel bad about looking for what works for you.

In my experience, those with long term sobriety find an approach that brings them a sense of peace and freedom. I hope you find that.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:36 PM
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For me, AVRT and recognizing the voice behind my addiction was a key.

One very strong motivation was to be there for my kids, really there, in body and in mind.

I spoke to a very ardent supporter of the big recovery club about the fact that the meetings almost always coincided with family time, and the dinner time in my home. I stated unequivocally that to make amends to my family meant being there, not sitting around with a bunch of drunks. After all, that's where I had been for the last thirty years.

And he agreed.

I do go to some meetings now, but I really didn't at all for months of recovery. Now it's about working on some personality defects, but I sincerely believe that I am a recovered alcoholic.

Many many things work, and some people really cling to what worked for them, understandably. But I have adopted a multi tiered approach to my own recovery. I am an individual, with unique experience, so I take what works, and truly leave the rest.

Don't let anyone tell you that you have to listen to their way. There IS no one true path to the exclusion of all else.
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Old 09-08-2013, 01:36 AM
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I know from experience that I can't drink a little. But thanks to AVRT I know it's within my power to not take that first one. And that's all I need. We all need to come up with our own reasons for sobriety. I'm only a years in so I don't have all the answers. And if I did there's no reason to expect my answers would apply to everyone. But I'll tell you mine.

First, I still have goals and dreams that I want to achieve. Although I'm 44 I went back to school and am about 1 year from getting my degree...maybe a little longer depending on my work schedule. I want to graduate and do well professionally. That probably won't happen if I start drinking again.

Drinking was not the only reason I got divorced years ago but it was certainly a factor. Ditto for the only other woman I've thought about marrying, my most recent ex. She drank, too, and truth be told is probably right on the cusp of having a problem herself. But she recognized that I was further along the road to addiction. It didn't break us up but it was a factor in my realizing our goals weren't compatible. She wanted a family- I wanted to drink and do what I please.

Lastly, I want to live a long, healthy life. That's not completely in my control; I could get a disease or have an accident. But I can at least stop doing the reaper's work for him. It's amazing that I didn't damage my liver to the point of being seriously ill, drinking like I did for 25 years. I'm at the midpoint of my life- or at I hope so! Closer to the end if I go back to drinking.

I wont' bash any approach that helps you stop. But I don't think AA could work for me. I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a person. I'm not living one sober day at a time, I'm laying down the bottle and moving on with my life. It seems like it would exhausting to fight the fight every day!
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ersatzmatriarch View Post
and crap... i just realized there isn't supposed to be any mention of 12 steps at all in this forum. i'm so sorry.

i'm definitely not bashing it, just looking for another way.

mods... if you need to move this elsewhere or delete it, i totally understand. all my apologies...
You don't come across as being negative about it. Don't be so hard on yourself!
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:24 AM
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Hi, I didn't use any method, just read SR and did some research online. I'm not saying it was a breeze, but it worked for me. In a way I'd like to go to the occasional meeting, but as an atheist it doesn't sit easily with me, even though Australia is a much more secular country than the US.
Everyone is different, but you sound like the sort of person who doesn't take absolute statements on faith, and I think you should feel confident in thoughtfully exploring your own way. Some people give up meetings out of over confidence; this isn't you though.
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Old 09-08-2013, 06:31 AM
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I could not recommend Rational Recovery The Cure for Substance Addiction enough. I found a copy in a brick and mortar B&N. Given your OP I think a lot of insights in that wil resonate with you.
wish you well
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:12 AM
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Hi there op, it sounds like you're having trouble with the whole idea that if you don't go to meetings you will relapse, so why not drink! I can totally understand your frustration and confusion, I would be exactly the same way. I don't like feeling like someone or something else has more power over my drinking than me. I will not accept that abstinence can be so flimsy, dependent on other people. I am not powerless.

I read RR but there are of course lots of different ways to find what fits you. Do some reading and be proud that you got through 3 months without drinking - that was you who did that, not anything or anyone else. You and you alone.
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