Slipped and destraught

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Andrew45
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Slipped and destraught

Post by Andrew45 »

HI everyone, I am just coming off a 9 day drinking binge which was just awful. Prior to that I had just done 86 days without drinking and going to AA meetings most days. I just dont understand how it happened those 86 days had been great and my health, work and family life improved beyond belief. Now I have to go into work tomorrow and explain, or make up a reason why I missed all of last week.

I did have a drink of wine an hour ago but it made me physically sick so I threw the rest away. I am now sipping water and crying.

Before this slip I did become bit disillusioned with the religious side. We read step 11 in the 12 and 12 book in one meeting. My interpretation of that chapter is the notion of a "God of your Understanding" is just there as a temporary solution for athiests like me and eventually you need to find the real god. I then started to think differently in meetings and walked out when the Lords Prayer was said at the end.

Is this thinking and my resentment the reason for my slip? I cant afford anymore slips. How do other agnostics on here interpret the steps? I actually did a very good 4th and 5th step but without telling the God bit.

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice.

Lali
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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by Lali »

Andrew45 wrote:Before this slip I did become bit disillusioned with the religious side. We read step 11 in the 12 and 12 book in one meeting. My interpretation of that chapter is the notion of a "God of your Understanding" is just there as a temporary solution for atheists like me and eventually you need to find the real god. I then started to think differently in meetings and walked out when the Lords Prayer was said at the end.

Is this thinking and my resentment the reason for my slip? I cant afford anymore slips. How do other agnostics on here interpret the steps? I actually did a very good 4th and 5th step but without telling the God bit.

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice.
A potential sponsor once asked why I had drank (as I was coming back from a relapse and had been "fired" by my sponsor) and as I started going into my reason(s), she interrupted me, saying "You drank because you wanted to drink." Just food for thought.

So are you back now? What are you going to do differently this time? I would suggest that in the future you call your sponsor before throwing in the towel and walking away from the program. If your sponsor is a "bible thumper" as opposed to an atheist/agnostic like you and that is a problem for you, find an atheist or agnostic to sponsor you.

It is true that one needs to find a HP (higher power) to work the steps but that can be anything you want it to be. Many people use the fellowship of AA as their HP since a group of people is more powerful than one individual.

(In your post, you claim to be an atheist at one point and then an agnostic at another. I'm not sure of the distinction, but I think a person is either one or the other???)

I hope this was helpful.
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Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

shaunagus
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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by shaunagus »

Hi there

Sorry to hear about your relapse - I don't have much wisdom to share on that, you might be right about the resentment as the big book says "resentment is our number one offender it kills more alcoholics than anything else" or close to those words and I try to avoid resentments for that reason. Avoiding resentment is easier said than done I guess but there is a certain way a resentment feels inside that I find really unpleasant these days. I think I used to enjoy resentment it used to make me feel powerful, resentments gave me juice now they just feel "dark" and hard to live with and will do almost anything to avoid then or let them go.

As for the god thing - there are pages and pages of people's thoughts on this forum on the god thing you won't have to read far before you run into an argument about the nature of higher powers etc but I think it's fair to say that there are plenty of atheists and agnostics who have never gone the whole hog and become fully fledged religious types with a belief in god and yet have still taken the steps and recovered. Telling god in step five? Well I think I did that when I told my sponsor because "god" is within us both and was in the room. Plus I sat quietly after it in a sort of peaceful thoughtful space of mind searching within for anything I had missed which I also think of as a sort of god moment. I feel like god of my understanding heard me anyhow.

I went straight from step five to steps six, seven, eight and started step nine with my sponsor within an hour of completing step five and had a spiritual experience as a result, a real euphoria, a connection with the universe, a glimpse of reality call it what you will. I still don't believe in god, don't go to church etc.

I am not sure if that helps at all but if it does the great


All the best

Shaun
“I am a seeker, a poor sinful creature, there is no weaker than I am,” Dolly Parton

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ezdzit247
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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by ezdzit247 »

Andrew45 wrote:HI everyone, I am just coming off a 9 day drinking binge which was just awful. Prior to that I had just done 86 days without drinking and going to AA meetings most days. I just dont understand how it happened those 86 days had been great and my health, work and family life improved beyond belief. Now I have to go into work tomorrow and explain, or make up a reason why I missed all of last week.

I did have a drink of wine an hour ago but it made me physically sick so I threw the rest away. I am now sipping water and crying.

Before this slip I did become bit disillusioned with the religious side. We read step 11 in the 12 and 12 book in one meeting. My interpretation of that chapter is the notion of a "God of your Understanding" is just there as a temporary solution for athiests like me and eventually you need to find the real god. I then started to think differently in meetings and walked out when the Lords Prayer was said at the end.

Is this thinking and my resentment the reason for my slip? I cant afford anymore slips. How do other agnostics on here interpret the steps? I actually did a very good 4th and 5th step but without telling the God bit.

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice.

Hi Andrew45,

Glad you made it back and put the plug back in the jug!

One of the founding members of AA was an atheist named Jim Burrell aka Jimmy B and he is the person responsible for the term "God as we understood him" being edited into the final draft of Step 11, I don't think he ever intended this term to imply anything else beyond what it says or that the phrase was only to be used as a temporary solution until we accepted some "mainstream" version of God down the road. So I'd say, yeah, there's a causal link between your "stinking thinking", your resentments and your drinking spree. I'd also say that if it hadn't been this issue it probably would have been some other totally unrelated issue that set off your binge. If our bodies crave alcohol, our "cunning, baffling, and powerful" alcoholic brains will provide just the right kind of excuses and rationalizations we need to justify taking that first drink. I speak from experience as an alcoholic who collected 18 30-day sobriety chips during my first two years of AA. My last drunk was my best drunk because that was the drunk that totally surrendered me to the AA program. This drunk can be your best drunk too.

About the God bit. My concept of a higher power is the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent spirit in every particle of everything in the universe. I generally choose to refer to this entity/energy as "God" for the sake of brevity. You can choose any concept of a higher power you want to so long as it's something outside of yourself and that will allow you to work this program as well as anyone who uses a religious concept of God.

Glad your here and keep coming back!
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by Squawking Hawk »

Hello Andrew45,

Glad you are back. Keep sharing. As others have shared, there are plenty of atheists and agnostics in AA, including these forums. My experience, strength and hope regarding what I call the spiritual part of the program, is that it is important that I have a higher power. And my higher power can not be me. So, I do have a higher power whom I rely on. I'll leave it at that, ok. :D That I have a higher power.

I am sober because I have a higher power and because I have and continue to work the 12 steps. You drink because you are an alcoholic, working the 12 steps out of the Big Book with a sponsor who has worked the steps out of the Big Book will help you not to drink. Hang around and you'll other stories. I myself took a little longer to go through the steps than many around the forums. Many folk around the forums worked the steps very quickly, within the first month of sobriety or even quicker. And we don't stop after going through the steps once, we continue working the steps.

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Squawking Hawk
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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by Squawking Hawk »

Squawking Hawk wrote:You drink because you are an alcoholic
Opps, what I should have said is that I drank because I am an alcoholic. I learned from the two women who introduced me to AA that they could not tell me if I was an alcoholic. They told me that I had answer the question about whether or not an alcoholic for myself. Hard to explain how I learned that I am indeed an alcoholic. All I could say is that it within a two or three days after those two women introduced me AA several years ago, I answered the question for myself. I knew that I was an alcoholic. I knew from the meetings that I went to.what I was beginning to read in the Big Book and in the step 1 in the 12x12 that I was an alcoholic. The thought of not drinking terrified me, but I saw others in the meetings I went to not drinking and I got hope. And I learned about the disease of alcoholism from reading the Big Book.

Hang around.

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ezdzit247
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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by ezdzit247 »

Andrew45 wrote:HI everyone, I am just coming off a 9 day drinking binge which was just awful. Prior to that I had just done 86 days without drinking and going to AA meetings most days. I just dont understand how it happened those 86 days had been great and my health, work and family life improved beyond belief. Now I have to go into work tomorrow and explain, or make up a reason why I missed all of last week.

I did have a drink of wine an hour ago but it made me physically sick so I threw the rest away. I am now sipping water and crying.

Before this slip I did become bit disillusioned with the religious side. We read step 11 in the 12 and 12 book in one meeting. My interpretation of that chapter is the notion of a "God of your Understanding" is just there as a temporary solution for athiests like me and eventually you need to find the real god. I then started to think differently in meetings and walked out when the Lords Prayer was said at the end.

Is this thinking and my resentment the reason for my slip? I cant afford anymore slips. How do other agnostics on here interpret the steps? I actually did a very good 4th and 5th step but without telling the God bit.

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice.
Just to clarify, are you saying you worked Steps 1 thru 10 during your first 86 days of sobriety and then stumbled on Step 11?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by PaigeB »

temporary solution for athiests like me
I am an atheist too. The BB says that either God is everything or nothing... I had make the decision and move on. I have a daily solution.

For me, with no helping entity in the sky, I chose a helping entity in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. All I have to do is look around and see the people around the tables living happy lives, coming back again and again. I can see what works and what does not work. For me, AA works to restore me to sanity. I see prayer as a speaking meditation of sorts and I practice 11 a lot.

Since I do not believe in god, they can say whatever they want about sobriety as a "Gift", all I can believe is that I see them sober... If I want what they have, I have to do what they do. Around here that is Steps, Sponsorship & a Home Group to name a few.

One thing I heard early on... "I never saw a person actively working a Step get drunk."

Also... "If you are having a lot of trouble with a Step, check your work on the Step prior to it."

This thing works IF & WHEN I work it.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by Tosh »

Lali wrote:
(In your post, you claim to be an atheist at one point and then an agnostic at another. I'm not sure of the distinction, but I think a person is either one or the other???)
I'm strange ( :lol: ) in that the closest understanding I can find of God is a pantheistic one (where God is everything; you, me, trees, cancer, happiness, tsunamis, love, hate, vengeance, the wind, the rain; EVERYTHING). And this would mean God and the Universe don't add upto two. I don't ascribe any human persona to this pantheistic view of God; it's just 'life' aka the Great Reality.

Now what does that make me? Atheist? Agnostic? A believer? Spammer?

I just take the actions to the best of my ability (which to be fair isn't always the best) and keep trudging. And luckily enough the 12 Steps is a program of action, where beliefs aren't really the emphasis. We've a Texan priest in A.A., in my area, who often says that his beliefs didn't keep him sober.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Peter.H.
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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by Peter.H. »

Hello Andrew45.

All slips are preceded by a resentment of some sort. Spiritual indifference is one of many pet resentments.
The point is to maintain your desire to stop drinking regardless of other people, places, things, and situations.
We need to practice tolerance, forgiveness, allowance, understanding, patience, listening, being humble and meek, etc. These virtues help us to stay sober.
We need to practice them because alcoholics are not known to have these qualities in early sobriety.
For me, whenever I get tense about something, most times it reminds me, it is time to practice these virtues.
With this new attitude, what seemed to become a resentment quickly turns into a blessing - or else how could we get to practice these virtues (if you follow my drift).
"...unless this person can experience an entire psyche change there is very little hope of his recovery" - Dr. Silkworth. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed, p xxix.]

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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by avaneesh912 »

I actually did a very good 4th and 5th step but without telling the God bit.
What about the reminder of the steps? Dr. Bobs story illustrates we need to go to the full extent. He got drunk because he didn't want to make amends. Only after making amends, did he eventually sobered up. With me, as a started making amends and using the disciplines of 10 and 11 did the tolerance level improved.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by Tom S »

This is my experience and is offered in the hope someone may find it helpful ; I did when it was showed to me.
In our basic text, the Big Book, on page 568, three lines down begins a quite short paragraph describing the necessity of accepting a Power Greater than Ourselves. It does go on to say that our more religious members call this power God. Then there is a "period" and the paragraph ends.
Oh how we love to intellectualise and distract ourselves with trying to do ever so much more with this simple paragraph than the simple declarative statements included therein.
It becomes "woo hoo, game on" for mountains of bullshit.
Why? Because we are alcoholics and our egos do not want to accept the consequences of accepting that there is a power greater than us. We will fight it until we drink ourselves to death and view ourselves as, fill in the blanks, rugged individualists, unfortunate victims, seekers of enlightenment and a million of other descriptors of self will run riot.
We have to get over ourselves or we die.

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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by Blue Moon »

Tom S wrote:It does go on to say that our more religious members call this power God.
So our less religious members don't, and that is OK.
We will fight it until we drink ourselves to death and view ourselves as, fill in the blanks, rugged individualists, unfortunate victims, seekers of enlightenment and a million of other descriptors of self will run riot.
It's a bit of a stretch to refer to all Buddhists as self will run riot.

Contempt prior to investigation keeps us ignorant.
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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by hecramsey »

Welcome back! Early recovery is not easy, many of us did not "get it" until a "convincer" (as the call slips in the UK) hit hard enough.

Regarding the religious stuff I would focus on Step 1 for now. With a clearer head it will be easier to handle the heavier lifting that comes with ST2-12.

I am an atheist and have been a thrilled AA customer since June 1 1993. The word "GOD" comes from "god" which meant in some ancient language
"supreme or ultimate reality". Sounds good to me. God of my understanding is the way things are.

I rec meetings, stay away from people places and things associated with drinks and drugs, sponsorship and give yourself a break. This is simple but not always easy.

I have a bit of a quibble with the "I drank because I am alkie" logic, I don't find it helpful or enlightening. What works for me is I drank for relief. My mood ran the gamut from uncomfortable to incredibly uncomfortable, a couple of belts or toots and that discomfort went away. AA taught me how to get that relief without chemicals, and then how to live a life that did not make me so unhappy.

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Re: Slipped and destraught

Post by Roberth »

He stuck his hand out to me, and asked my name. I blurted out my name, and before I drew another breath said, "I know you've got it, but I don't know what it is you're talking about, this Higher Power thing, can you please define it for me?".

Joe laughed, and with that magnificent grin and eyes full of love said "BOB, FOR THOSE OF US THAT KNOW, NO EXPLANATION IS NECESSARY. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON'T, NO EXPLANATION IS POSSIBLE, AND ONLY A DAMN FOOL WOULD ATTEMPT TO DEFINE IT. I DON'T PROPOSE TO BE A DAMN FOOL, BUT I CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO FIND IT FOR YOURSELF!"

With that Joe reached under the podium and pulled out an old wore out copy of the Big Book. He opened it to page 59 and stuck it under my nose and said "This is how you will find it."

I had to look, of course. That's the page the Steps are on. AND THAT'S THE WAY I FOUND IT!!
Hello Andrew, the above was passed on to me from my friend Barefoot Bob who got from Joe Q, do the work and the answer will come even for an atheist like me.
Robert
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in pretty, well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming WOW What a ride!!!!

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