not bad enough?

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Re: not bad enough?

Postby Levic » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:35 am

I can really relate to you kelmac and have also been having a really hard time relating to other folks in the recovery community. I have been dry now for about 7 months and have been going to meetings for about 6. My whole life I've never felt like there was a place that I could belong and so it's really hard now that even in sobriety I feel like I am not enough of an alcoholic or addict (marijuana) to be truly accepted in the rooms. I sit in meetings so attentively just waiting to hear someone's story that sounds like mine but it doesn't seem to have happened. I can of course relate to the emotional unmanageability but I feel like that has a lot more to do with mental health issues than my alcohlism or addiction.

I decided to quit drinking a month after going through a horrible breakup. I was super depressed and was getting drunk in isolation numerous nights a week. I always knew I had a problem with booze but things never really got bad enough for me strongly consider quitting. I never blacked out and never had anyone show concern about my drinking. The breaking point for me was one night I had this internal dialogue where I really felt like I needed to get drunk cause I was feeling so depressed but knew that I shouldn't because I had just come back from a camping trip where I was drunk for two days straight (not a common occurence). I could barely wrap my head around the idea of not drinking and this scared me a lot. So I went home and wrote myself a letter about all the unhealthy behaviors I wanted to stop in my life and drinking was one of them.

I continued to sink deeper and deeper into a depression and began medicating with pot. I would isolate for days and try to smoke the pain away. I finally quit smoking pot but was becoming suicidal from the constant emotional anguish I was experiencing. I met a guy at a meeting who suggested I consider treatment and assured me that he was six months sober when he went to rehab and that he realized he didn't have a drinking problem but rather a "thinking problem". I've been in treatment for about 6 weeks now and though it has been beneficial, I often feel like a fraud for being here especially cause a lot of these guys are hardcore street drug users. I've opened up to a number of the other clients about my insecurity and they assure me that it's not about how much we used or the specific conditions of our lives but rather the reasons we use and the common emotionally anguish we all experience that leads us to our drugs of choice.

This doesn't reassure me and now I've started to obsess over the idea that unless I have a proper relapse, and see how bad my drinking can get, that I won't be motivated enough in my recovery. I know this likely sounds insane but I just can't help but feel this way...
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby KathyAnne » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:52 am

I can relate to you Levic, I too felt 'I'm not that bad' i still had a nice home my own business my own car etc etc I still had it altogether! Or so I thought. It was my disease of alcoholism that was telling me 'I'm fine' I had to unhook from listening to my head and start listening to others. Emotionally I was a wreck, self seeking, dishonest to self, fearful didn't trust anyone thought everyone hated me didn't feel I fitted in anywhere blah blah blah I got a lot of identification from listening to how others felt and these feelings I'd drink on. Squash them all down then go and do it again 2 or 3 days later. I was also extremely isloted, I didn't realise that. When I was in the fog of alcoholism it was so easy to believe my WRONG thoughts I had to reach out & ask for help & Thankgod I did,I got a sponser and did the steps it saved my life. We can justify in our heads all we like but at the end of the day we have 2 choices, go back out & possibly die or stick with the winners & trudge the road of happy destiny (from the BB)
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby PaigeB » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:17 pm

I too sometimes think I may have overestimated this thing... maybe it wasn't that bad.

But it is not the outside things that need to be bad. Not all of us were skid row drunks, not even Bill. But it is the inside stuff... that pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization... that I surely had that told me for certain that I was an alcoholic. That I had this disease.

Read the Doctor's Opinion and read More About Alcoholism chapter 3. See what your insides are telling you.
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby Tracy h » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:55 pm

Hi Kelmac, I relate strongly to your post and to several of the responses, thanks for a thought-provoking topic. It took me a while and much research which included: listening to those i admired in program, reading and conversation with both program"winners" and with aid of an astute therapist, in order to get to the point where i could understand that it's not nothing to experience loss of self-esteem, loss of hope, loss of spiritual values, loss of professional potential, loss of self-confidence, loss of relationships among other losses that I'm sure I'm yet to realize. That these all were manifesting in the form of anxiety and depression, I couldn't have verbalized until recently; and that the underlying root of all was alcoholism I certainly wouldn't have concluded without all I've learned to date within aa. I am very thankful to be learning and an active part of this fellowship, though it was never a "club" to which I thought I'd ever belong, let alone feel fortunate in belonging ... Best of luck with your journey.
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby Larryp713 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:04 pm

kelmac wrote: They had all been to rehab at least once and detailed what seemed like larger problems with alcohol or drugs than I've had and I wonder if I'm not bad enough to be there?

Great topic. It is easy for us to look at our drinking history and let doubts enter regarding our powerlessness over drugs or alcohol. Until I was really convinced I was powerless over alcohol, I was not going to be willing to be completely honest and thorough, and those half measures availed me nothing.

It really doesn't matter what your resume is - if you find it difficult to stop drinking, or if you feel worse when you do, it is likely you have a dependence on alcohol (or any other mood altering substance). That is all you need to begin. That is all you need to belong in these rooms. If you commit to the program of action described in the big book, you never need to drink again.

20 years ago, I was introduced to AA after a DUI conviction. I was told that if I was an alcoholic (and even then, I knew I was), my drinking would grow progressively worse and I would find it much more difficult to stop. Over the next 19 years, I proved that was absolutely true.

My mother was a young woman in 1979 when she entered the doors of AA. She was going there to show up my father, who was trying to get sober via AA but could not follow through. My mom did not think she was an alcoholic, but she was willing to listen to others share their experience, strength, and hope. She became convinced that her life was unmanageable and committed to this program. I proudly gave her a 36 year coin last month when I spoke celebrating my 1 year sobriety. She is such an inspiration. I hope you find the answers you are looking for. Larry
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby Spirit Flower » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:14 pm

I was definitely not bad enough. Never the less, I am an alcoholic and beyond human aid.
I'm so grateful I went to AA and stayed. I got a whole new life (instead of years of misery).
...a score card reading zero...
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby clouds » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:27 am

Welcome everyone who feels they arent really quite that bad! :)

I wasn't able to stop drinking once I had a drink inside me. I could never guarentee how much I would drink once I started or what awful behaviors I would do when I was drunk. I drank until there was'nt anymore left to drink in my house or at a party. When I ran out of people to supply me with alcohol I left. A lot of times I drank until I passed out. I had a lot of black outs and I don't know how the nights ended or how I got home or what I did or said while I was drunk.

Sometimes I would decide to quit drinking for good. I couldn't stop drinking. I always started again. I guess reehab just wan't in the stars for me, I never went to it.

So I knew I was an alcoholic and eventually I tried AA.

I was never asked to qualify myself as an alcoholic by AA members. They just said " keep coming back". I had very little to say at meetings for the first year because I was introverted and had used alcohol to change my personality into an extroverted one.

I like AA, the fellowship, and the 12 steps.

I'm really glad you found AA!

You don't need to qualify for AA. All you need is a desire to stop drinking.
Keep coming back, it works!
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby Layne » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:56 am

I was never enough anything ( I was always better than or worse than) which is one of the reasons that I drank so naturally I took my rating system with me when I first encountered AA. It was a huge stumbling block to my early efforts at sobriety. When I finally started to look for similarities, I began to feel part of, which was the crack I needed to open the door to recovery.
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby cpr123 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:31 pm

I am an alcoholic. I have been struggling with your question since 1997. I now have 3 months sober and couldn't be any more content with life. That may change, but for now it is true.

Every time I decided to drink again I was angry and I convinced myself I could drink like non alcoholics. The results for me would be different. I now have health issues directly related to drinking. Even now if I listen for the differences at meetings I can start to convince myself that I was not "bad enough" to be considered an alcoholic. I love reading post like yours because it reminds me of the cycle I have been on for almost 20 years. It has only been 3 months but I feel like it was my distant past. I could have been overreacting to a doctor overreacting! Cunning, baffling and powerful they say. The AA big book says people like me chase this obsession to the grave. I knew in 1997 I drank different than my peers, but my alcoholism has repeatedly convinced me otherwise. I believe I was the only one in the room convinced I didn't have a problem when I decided AA was no longer for me, but no one will tell you that. I have always made myself the yardstick by which all other alcoholics and drinkers are to be measured. Me being just under the measurement for alcoholism. Arrogant when I put it like that isn't it?

I cannot prevent you or anyone else from doing like I did, but when I tell you about my experience and you tell me about yours maybe we can make it one more day without a drink...
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby Reborn » Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:16 pm

Oldtimer: Damn youngster I spilled more than you drank

Newcomer: Well sir maybe if you didn't spill so much you would have got here sooner.

Don't compare your insides to other people's outsides. Its not how much we drink but how we feel when we don't. No one accidentally winds up in are where you are for a reason. Have you started working the steps with a sponsor yet? That is where the relief is...I sponsored a guy last year who had a similar story to yours...he convinced himself he wasn't an alcoholic. He decided to drink one day...jumped in his car and got a DUI...he is still in jail...and he lost everything he worked for in sobriety. We call these the "yets"...which you are still eligible for. This is a disease of perception...instead of thinking you're not bad enough to be grateful you got here when you did!
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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Re: not bad enough?

Postby Ravensgrl » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:51 am

I relate to your post a lot. I'm new to the program. I did have a DUI, but then I continued to drink for another decade without getting into trouble, so I was able to pretend it was a fluke. But when I look back on my drinking, I realize that I was just lucky nothing else happened. I live in a city, stopped driving to the bar. Instead, I walked sometimes a mile to the bar, and then walked that mile back at 2 am drunk by myself. I'm really lucky I was never mugged or raped. And at the time I would think oh I'm really responsible because I didn't drive drunk. But I put my life at risk every time.
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