I don't like the person I've become

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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Mike O » Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:43 pm

WakeUp wrote:Hi everyone. It's been a few months since I posted so I thought I'd check in again. Unfortunately I don't have progress to report. I haven't attended a meeting. I haven't really done anything and not surprisingly things are not any better. In fact I think I am sliding. I'm worried about how much farther this can go before it is too late. I feel like I am pissing my life away.

I know you will say go to meetings so let me explain why I haven't. First I am a professional that deals with the public and I am worried that "outing myself" could damage my career. Second I worry about the impact to my family if I out myself in the community as an alcoholic. By all outward appearances I am healthy and normal, but in reality I am far from it. I suspect the consensus will be that those reasons are absurd, or maybe that they are a better choice than the alternative, and I don't disagree.

I'm just feeling really frustrated, depressed, hopeless, pick your negative adjective and wanted to vent.


You lay a lot of emphasis on meetings....have you worked the steps, which is far more important?

Meetings are NOT what keep us happily sober.

I, too, am a professional who deals with the public and for this exact reason I have never attended a face-to-face meeting. I have, however, worked the steps and I live the principles contained in the steps on a daily basis. I've been happily sober for almost 7yrs.

So, this...
First I am a professional that deals with the public and I am worried that "outing myself" could damage my career. Second I worry about the impact to my family if I out myself in the community as an alcoholic.


...while it may be a reason why you are uncomfortable attending meetings, is no reason why you can't work the A.A. programme. It is also no reason why you have to fail to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Who ever told you that this was all just about attending meetings?
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby WakeUp » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:03 pm

I appreciate the replies.

Ezdzit247 - yes, in that scenario I would be much more open to attending a meeting. I'll look into those options in my area.

Lali - too late, I've embarrassed my parents plenty! At this point though, I'm more concerned about my kids. Kids can be brutal and I would HATE to have my kids teased because of me.

Mike O - I'm glad to hear that. From what I have seen on here it seems as though most push the meetings as a critical step. I'm glad to hear that the program can be used successfully (at least for some) without face to face meetings. That path is far more appealing to me personally if I can navigate it successfully. If you don't mind my asking, how did you go about it? Read the big book and start implementing the steps?
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Brock » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:07 pm

There is a story in the 3rd edition big Book which I use called “Lifesaving Words,” it’s about this officer in the Indian army who couldn’t make it to meetings due to his remote location. At the time the story was written he was over three years sober, says he was happy and going fine all by reading AA literature. With the availability of so much more via the internet who knows, you might just make a go of it without meetings. Saying something like this probably has some other members shaking their heads, but if you can’t go to meetings I am not one to argue, maybe there is an alternative. By your own words you already know what step one is, as you say “pissing my life away.” So type step two in Google see what comes up, some good sites like “Barefoot’s World” will explain things in a way much easier to understand than the big book, when you get to step five find someone you can trust to keep their mouth shut.

I enjoy meetings myself, and am a bit of a big book thumper, the book makes more sense when you have been around a while and read it with your heart rather than like a novel. That’s why I suggest alternative descriptions of the process, the sort of description a sponsor would give if you did go to meetings, there is tons of good stuff on line. The main thing is to do the steps, otherwise it is just an unhappy existence battling the urge to drink, all the best to you.

Brock.
PS. I just saw what Mike wrote, good stuff, glad someone agrees.
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Squawking Hawk » Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:17 pm

I have always attended f2f meetings in and near the towns where I have lived, and I predate online meetings. :lol: That being said, as others have said, it is possible to stay sober without attending f2f meetings. As some have already said, the program is in working the steps. And you can come here to these forums and share and get a little AA fellowship.

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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:21 pm

WakeUp wrote:I appreciate the replies.

Ezdzit247 - yes, in that scenario I would be much more open to attending a meeting. I'll look into those options in my area....


Here's an e-AA link listing the different AA groups by profession with contact info:

http://www.e-aa.org/links/links.php?ID=12

When you decide to attend one of these closed AA meetings in your local area, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised to see people there you already know but were not aware that they were also sober "friends of Bill W".... :wink:
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby kjay » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:47 pm

I would have to agree with what's been said. Coming here, and staying in touch with other alcoholics has been a large part of my sobriety. It gives me the opportunity to study the Big Book, reflect, and interprite what I read, discuss, and help others. All of which is what we do in the meetings.

The f2f meetings do hold me accountable, and I enjoy the fellowship, so I don't really know what I would do without them either. This is a tough call, but I would would say there are enough resources online between here, and xaspeakers (google it) that sobriety through the steps can be had.

In my area too we have closed meetings for those who have to protect themselves professionaly. I was told you have to call the local Central Office. I guess they keep track of the when and where for those meetings.

Welcome back!
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Stepchild » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:15 am

I always like what Doctor Bob had to say about this subject in his story....

If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you. If you still think you are strong enough to beat the game alone, that is your affair. But if you really and truly want to quit drinking liquor for good and all, and sincerely feel that you must have some help, we know that we have an answer for you. It never fails, if you go about it with one half the zeal you have been in the habit of showing when you were getting another drink.
Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!


The solution is the steps as laid out in the book. I look at meetings like this...In early sobriety they were a lifeline for me. Now I go to them to be there for someone looking for a lifeline. What better place to carry the message. Plus I like being around people that are like me. There are some pretty good folks there.
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Layne » Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:02 am

WakeUp wrote:I know you will say go to meetings so let me explain why I haven't. First I am a professional that deals with the public and I am worried that "outing myself" could damage my career. Second I worry about the impact to my family if I out myself in the community as an alcoholic.
I certainly had those same fears for the same reasons before sobering up and in my case they proved to be baseless. In my experience, I don't know of a single alcoholic in recovery whose career was damaged while in recovery, more often that usually occurs to those that are still drinking actively.
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Stepchild » Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:10 am

That's a great point Layne....I've yet to meet an alcoholic that lost a job for trying to get better. As far as losing jobs due to drinking....I have a long history of that. A very long history.
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Mike O » Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:34 am

WakeUp wrote: If you don't mind my asking, how did you go about it? Read the big book and start implementing the steps?



Well, basically, yes. The way to approach each step is quite plainly laid out in the chapter "How it Works". Before this, though, I read the preceding chapters carefully and thoroughly, taking on board all that was described there. Much of it, I could relate to my own life as a drunk.
Alongside this, I sought advice on this forum where needed. I still do so now where required.
Another person is an absolute necessity for step 5. For this, I was, and remain, very grateful to a member of this forum for his continued support when I need it.

I pass the message on daily through my service on the 'gethelpnow' committee, which again is online, person-to-person when required.

I would add though that, at the forefront of my mind at all times is the warning not to take the "easier, softer option". I realise that non-attendance at meetings could easily lead to resting on one's laurels, and the dreadful consequences of this.

Make no mistake about it....work is involved. But, the rewards are almost unimaginable.
:D
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby tblue818 » Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:03 am

Hi, Wakeup and All ~

I got sober by online AA in 1998 - and was still drinking when I signed on (and said so in my intro - a good idea, from my experience). I didn't have a desire to stop drinking; I was looking for ways to drink less and less often, as well as stop the last few months of the dreadful places my mind would go when drunk. It was a very active group and it only took three days of sippin' and readin' (before finishing the drunk) to 'get the bug' (a desire not to drink). Those folks may have been speaking a language I didn't understand, but their life was a lot more interesting than mine <s> - and, more significant, was the growing Hope.

http://www.aa-intergroup.org/index.php

The above link is OIAA and has the online meetings. There are a few men-only meetings if you would want to start there. I was glad for the really large group of over 100 emails a day because it felt like the encouragement was there all day long as well as being available for questions as I thought of them - and not just an hour meeting and being on my own until the next meeting (I was a loner-type).

I didn't become comfortable and confident enough in sobriety to tell my supervisor for about nine months. Since no one had known (I worked two 16-hr shifts on the weekends out of town), I felt it was better to wait until I knew AA would work for me - no sense opening that can of worms if I wasn't already "into the Solution". It was no problem at all.

It was my experience to discover that AA was not about not drinking - that's just what I had to do to find what AA *truly* had to offer. I didn't become an alcoholic without 'underlying causes and conditions' driving the desire to medicate obscure mental dis-ease.

*Getting* sober does rather suck. A lot, for some of us. However, using the tools of the Program to get through that short time (relative) is what builds confidence that AA truly does work - that it would work for *me*. It does get easier. There was one saying that came back to me in 'crisis' moments that made the difference (more than once):

"There is *nothing* you will experience while getting sober that someone, somewhere in AA hasn't experienced - and came out the other side sober. Trust the Process."

oh, and:

"When you are going through hell, keep moving. The only way you are guaranteed to stay there is if you pick up that next drink."

I had done the first three Steps without realizing that I'd done them - all the while refusing to do them in my head because I was not about to 'surrender' to anything/anyone and would not admit that my whole life was unmanageable (I didn't 'lose' anything in alcoholism except my mind and power over the drink - not that I could see at the time, that is <g>.)

But when I admitted I had a problem with alcohol that I couldn't fix - Step 1. When I *made a decision* to jump into AA with both feet and an ember of Hope - Step 2 (even with lingering suspicion it may be a cult, I decided to just stay long enough to get what I needed to get off the drunk bus - but ended up loving the sober bus and those on it <s>). Step 3 - As an agnostic, I found Group of Drunks for GoD was not only 'palatable' at that point, but it turned out to be helpful in many ways. While I refused to be 'under the thumb' (as I saw it) of a sponsor - turns out I had/have hundreds of them online - in and out of AA. Ambrose Bierce, George MacDonald ....<g>

I hit a place in early sobriety where some unknown internal pressure was making me crazy; AA was supposed to 'restore me to sanity'! I wrote to the group that I felt like I wanted to blow up something - a bank, a city, a country.... This one guy simply wrote, "Well, you can do that....but most of us have found an easier, softer way. Just remember, don't drink - no matter what." It made me laugh at the absurdity - blow up a bank (but do it sober if you do it), as well as what it would look like if everyone in AA hadn't found the 'easier, softer way'.

I was six weeks' sober when I experienced the rage on the outside that had been driving my insides for many years below the radar (I was passive-aggressive). AA had the 'mind tool' for that as well. It worked beautifully - I became hooked on finding mind tools - and using them.

Many say that "Acceptance is the answer; willingness the key." In early sobriety, that is useful because alcohol hasn't drained from the brain enough to do more than put one foot in front of the other - not heading for the liquor store. But after the rage and the tool for rage, and finding other mind tools, eventually I realized that "Awareness is the answer; willingness to see, the key."

It was suggested that I look for in meetings the answer to the three aspects of alcoholism (my first 'job' that kept me focused) - physical (what craving looked like in my life), mental (what situations brought on the thoughts to drink, specifically), and spiritual ('hole in the soul'). If no one was sharing that part of their story, to ask - "we love to share our story of Freedom from Bondage" (a story in one of the versions of the BB).

I had no clue what a 'craving' was - until others shared what it looked like on them. Then specific instances came popping in. How if I drank more than I intended on Friday night (surprise), there was only an inch or two in the bottle when I came home on Sunday night from work out of town (and the liquor stores were closed). I would chose to go to bed rather than drink that 'little bit'. There was a real reason, unrecognized in consciousness, of why I didn't take that drink or two in the bottle...because the misery that would come from not being able to have more would have been more miserable than not having any booze at all (and sleep would take care of that).

Stopping in the bar for one drink after work - and after each drink telling myself I *really* had to go. It was my step-daughter's birthday party. "We don't regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." We need the past to get to the second part - I lost the regret when I came to Understand, truly (big word), why I did the things I did (with or without alcohol - it's a comprehensive Program <s>).

I didn't become an active, full-time drunk until I was 40. But a memory came back of my twenties when there was a work party that night. A friend called to ask if I was going. My response, "Nah, Tina, I don't feel like getting drunk tonight." The incredulous, chuckling tone of her answer, "Why, Pam, you don't *have* to get drunk!" Little did either of us know in any real way - that if the booze was flowing, I went swimming. I had all the 'ingredients' for alcoholism in early life, they just didn't all get on the same page adding up to non-stop addiction until later in life.

That reminds me of one last example of what craving looked like on me. My husband could quit after one drink. When he insisted on leaving after one drink (that I'd talked him into in the first place), I would be downright miserable for the rest of the night. I knew I had wanted to stay at the bar for 'one more' but had no idea why I was so miserable when I couldn't - the activated craving. And when I went to a function where I *couldn't* have more than one, I always made sure I had booze at home to 'finish the drunk' later. A behavior begun without ever thinking about it.

At the risk of speaking where I have no direct experience, I will caution concerning the idea of 'trying' AA. Make a decision. Failure to do so often leads to relapse, which can be painful for many years trying to 'get back on the horse'. Once the 'brat within' can say, "See? AA won't work for you, stick with me (alcohol)", it's much harder to get past that hump that caused taking the first drink. Not from experience, but from many, many stories taken to heart. It isn't a matter of pride 'getting it the first time', it's compassion for the misery of those who struggle repeatedly to 'get it' after missing the ring.

Another crucially helpful word from a fellow alkie in early sobriety when I was beside myself with nameless fear/dread was, "I know it's hard; we all do. We understand. But I will guarantee you that, if you don't give up, you will never, ever have to do this part again." Words cannot express the balm that came from knowing that 'this part' was going to end at some point and that others had survived their own version of it. I kept trudging through the knee- and ankle-deep quicksand, and came out the other side on firm sober ground. Yowzer! *Applying* suggestions cuts down on the white-knuckling periods, from my experience. <s> "AA ain't no wising well nor a spectator sport - DO something different!" :) "You can't get sober using the same mind that kept you drunk." New thinking, new doing. Tis amazin'.

Not everyone feels the pull to solve mysteries. But if anyone reading is the sort who comes to experience the wonder of AA and gets to thinking of how and why it works, there's a whole nother level. Many in AA say, "I don't care how or why AA works, it just does and that's good enough for me." And, "Utilize, don't analyze." In early sobriety, that's the way to go. But to get out of 'spiritual kindergarten', pondering <s> is essential. Not many find the Great Reality Within (BB p. 55 and other places) today, but it's right where Bill W. and others said it could be found. Philosophers told us It was Within; religions tells us to believe it - but into the mind of a drunk came the Path to (stripped of religion) discovering It for ourselves. Whatta deal! :)

"Don't think. Don't drink. Go to meetings" becomes, "Think. Think. Think." On the spiritual side, it is "Do. Then Understand." Things *work backward* in early AA and the spiritual side. It became a lot of fun after I learned to 'embrace the bodkin' and peel them onions. <bg>

Sober AA heart hugs to All,

Pamela
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby ezdzit247 » Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:52 pm

Thank you for your beautiful share, Pamela!

This part really resonated with me:

tblue818 wrote: Not everyone feels the pull to solve mysteries. But if anyone reading is the sort who comes to experience the wonder of AA and gets to thinking of how and why it works, there's a whole nother level. Many in AA say, "I don't care how or why AA works, it just does and that's good enough for me." And, "Utilize, don't analyze." In early sobriety, that's the way to go. But to get out of 'spiritual kindergarten', pondering <s> is essential. Not many find the Great Reality Within (BB p. 55 and other places) today, but it's right where Bill W. and others said it could be found. Philosophers told us It was Within; religions tells us to believe it - but into the mind of a drunk came the Path to (stripped of religion) discovering It for ourselves. Whatta deal! :)


What a deal is right on!!!
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Stepchild » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:43 pm

That's a great share Pamela....I love this.

At the risk of speaking where I have no direct experience, I will caution concerning the idea of 'trying' AA. Make a decision. Failure to do so often leads to relapse, which can be painful for many years trying to 'get back on the horse'. Once the 'brat within' can say, "See? AA won't work for you, stick with me (alcohol)", it's much harder to get past that hump that caused taking the first drink. Not from experience, but from many, many stories taken to heart. It isn't a matter of pride 'getting it the first time', it's compassion for the misery of those who struggle repeatedly to 'get it' after missing the ring.


I'm curious if you attend F2F meetings today?...Or if you ever have.? Also curious how you fifth stepped?
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby WakeUp » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:01 pm

I just wanted to thank everyone for your comments. It's really helpful to hear from others who have scaled this enormous mountain that is right in front of me. Have a good weekend everyone.
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Re: I don't like the person I've become

Postby Stepchild » Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:13 pm

Yo know how you deal with that mountain right? One step at a time. Have a great weekend!
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