New Member

New to AA? Got questions? Here's the place to ask. Note that no one person speaks "officially" for AA. AA meetings in your local area are always the best source of information. Note that anyone may post and reply to messages in this forum.

New Member

Postby alloyed_suitor » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:02 pm

Hi Everyone,
I'm a 38 year old high functioning addict. Alcohol is my biggest issue but addiction is genetic in my family so it affects other areas of my life as well. I also dabble with some other stuff but not extremely often and mostly things that will help me continue on benders. I started mindfulness behavioral therapy about 5 years ago which is when I began my inward journey and realized my addictive tendencies and started to build other avenues to deal with my stress and anxiety. I've since started running, meditating and doing yoga. I still drink about 3-5 times per week and can consume up to 20 drinks in an evening as I have a high tolerance. I'm stuck in a bit of a groundhog day where as soon as I'm over the hangover and a few days from my last bender I think I can have a drink or two and end up going over the deep end and going through the whole process again. I feel guilt, shame and pain the next day and then start it all over again.

I'm due to be married around this time next year and want to kick this habit or at least get it under control. I'd do anything to see what it's like to quit for 30 days. I haven't gone that long in about 15 years. I'm also a CEO of a very successful company and it does have a negative impact on my ability to be as effective of a leader that I know I can be and also gets in the way of my philanthropic efforts. Anyways, that's my story. I'm hoping I can speak with some of you and help get me through a nice break from drinking so I can see what life is like on the other side and finally establish a bit of an equilibrium.
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Re: New Member

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:25 pm

Hi alloyed_suitor and welcome.

My name is Mary and I'm an alcoholic who got sober in southern California. Glad you found this forum and have reached out for help with your drinking problem.

AA has a pamphlet entitled "This is AA - An introduction to the AA recovery program" which will help answer your questions about how the program works. Most AA meetings have this pamphlet on their literature shelf or you can read it online by clicking on this link:

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-1_thisisaa1.pdf.

Here's an excerpt from the pamphlet on AA's 24 hour plan as a way to not drink one day at a time:

"For example, we take no pledges, we don’t say that we will “never” drink again. Instead, we try to follow what we in A.A. call the “24-hour plan.” We concentrate on keeping sober just the current twenty-four hours. We simply try to get through one day at a time without a drink. If we feel the urge for a drink, we neither yield nor resist. We merely put off taking that particular drink until tomorrow…."


Have you ever been to an AA meeting? I ask because my experience is that AA's 24 hour plan is a lot easier to follow if it is used in combination with going to an AA meeting every day. If you are willing to do this for about 30 days, it should give you a nice break from drinking and the space you need to decide whether or not you want to continue sobriety or go back to drinking. Might help and can't hurt, right?

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: New Member

Postby alloyed_suitor » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:08 pm

I have been to two meetings and both were very difficult for me to be engaged in or to speak up. They were made up of mostly people that had hit rock bottom. Smoking crack in hotels and drinking for weeks without sleep, losing families, jeopardizing other's lives, etc... I felt much empathy and compassion when hearing everyone's story but felt a bit guilty as mine just wasn't as bad as everyone else. I've had some tough times but i've managed to stay away from breaking any laws or hurting anyone around me. I've mostly only hurt my own emotional being by drinking. I'm not sure if there's a high functioning group or business professional group out there but that might be better for me then the meetings i went to. They were both discouraging for me.
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Re: New Member

Postby PuppyEars » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:37 pm

Sorry the little bit of exposure you got was just war stories. AA offers more than just removing the obsession to drink, it allows us to live happily and usefully whole once we apply a few principles.

Are your intentions set on just sobering up for 30 days then get trashed the 31st day? Do you have reservations. Have you even thought about if you have reservations to drink after some sober time?

Welcome.
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Re: New Member

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:52 pm

alloyed_suitor wrote:I have been to two meetings and both were very difficult for me to be engaged in or to speak up. They were made up of mostly people that had hit rock bottom. Smoking crack in hotels and drinking for weeks without sleep, losing families, jeopardizing other's lives, etc... I felt much empathy and compassion when hearing everyone's story but felt a bit guilty as mine just wasn't as bad as everyone else. I've had some tough times but i've managed to stay away from breaking any laws or hurting anyone around me. I've mostly only hurt my own emotional being by drinking. I'm not sure if there's a high functioning group or business professional group out there but that might be better for me then the meetings i went to. They were both discouraging for me.


There are all kinds of AA meetings and all kinds of people in the AA fellowship, i.e. young, old, rich, poor, white collar, blue collar, ex cons, judges, hookers, soccer moms, gay, straight, celebrities, etc and from every ethic group. AA has a fairly diverse membership and most areas in the US have a good mix of both "high bottom" and "low bottom" sobriety to help newcomers identify. Let me know what your nearest big city is and I'll help you find a meeting directory for the area?
“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: New Member

Postby Brock » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:01 pm

Welcome here. It is a bit difficult when everyone in the room is giving testimony of things much worse than those we experienced, and sometimes it causes us to stop going because we aren't 'bad enough.' I was in and out twice over a thirty year period, finally going back seven years ago with a story to beat all others, a walking skeleton discharged from the psychiatric hospital in a third world country. Of course I wish I had 'got the message' all those years ago, because I found a way of living I never expected, not only did the urge to drink disappear completely, but also a new peace of mind and calmness entered my life.

When AA first started it catered to low bottom cases only, here is a section from one of our books we fondly call the 12 & 12, which shows how this changed some years later -
It is a tremendous satisfaction to record that in the following
years this changed. Alcoholics who still had their
health, their families, their jobs, and even two cars in the
garage, began to recognize their alcoholism. As this trend
grew, they were joined by young people who were scarcely
more than potential alcoholics. They were spared that last
ten or fifteen years of literal hell the rest of us had gone
through. Since Step One requires an admission that our
lives have become unmanageable, how could people such
as these take this Step?
It was obviously necessary to raise the bottom the rest
of us had hit to the point where it would hit them. By going
back in our own drinking histories, we could show that
years before we realized it we were out of control, that our
drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed
the beginning of a fatal progression.

You will find this book by Goggling 'AA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions,' or for our main text 'AA Big Book,' in the big book you might read 'The Doctors Opinion' and 'More About Alcoholism,' these give a good bit of useful starting information.

I am afraid that groups for professional types are few and far between, and not advertised. Understandably those who might not fit the bill think that these groups are elitist, and not in keeping with AA philosophy, all in the same boat sort of thing. Some cities have 'high flyer' meetings for airline pilots, they let others in depending on their profession, you would qualify for this. But it is also a good idea to shop around by going to various meetings, they do vary quite a bit, and you may find one more suitable.

Best of luck, and ask any other questions here, we enjoy doing this.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: New Member

Postby alloyed_suitor » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:10 pm

My intention is to go as long as i can without it. I've been thinking of looking for some sort of a retreat whether it's a week, 2 weeks or a month. Something to get away from it all, understand this battle more, then going back to battle with it in "the real world". For some reason this feeling is constantly with me that this is the way to get over this challenge. With the daily grind and the patterns that life puts us in it's sometimes hard to gain perspective and break away from those things that are holding us down until we can get away completely and learn to be free.
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Re: New Member

Postby ODAAT » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:25 pm

alloyed_suitor wrote:...I'm a 38 year old high functioning addict. Alcohol is my biggest issue .... I still drink about 3-5 times per week and can consume up to 20 drinks in an evening as I have a high tolerance.

Sounds like a lot. That's about what I was drinking when I decided I couldn't continue. I needed to quit and needed help.
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Re: New Member

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:41 pm

alloyed_suitor wrote:My intention is to go as long as i can without it. I've been thinking of looking for some sort of a retreat whether it's a week, 2 weeks or a month. Something to get away from it all, understand this battle more, then going back to battle with it in "the real world". For some reason this feeling is constantly with me that this is the way to get over this challenge. With the daily grind and the patterns that life puts us in it's sometimes hard to gain perspective and break away from those things that are holding us down until we can get away completely and learn to be free.


Okay. I hope that works for you. In the event it doesn't quite work the way you wanted it to, just know that AA will still be here whenever you feel like you might want to give the program another try.... :)

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: New Member

Postby johnd » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:53 pm

Hello Alloyed,
My name is John I was once like you.. I came to a point where I wanted the crazy thinking the guilt and the shame to stop also... I checked myself in for two weeks in a rehab for alcohol treatment. I can honestly say I had no idea what to expect or was I just unduly alarmed.. Truth be told I had to learn a whole new way of thinking and living.. The only solution I had was taking the suggestions of the experienced elders who had to learn how to live one day at a time,,, No one could give it to me I had to go and get it.. I had to attend a lot of meetings and get soaking wet in this fellowship of A. A. They don't ask us for anything,, They simply show us by example how to recover from a helpless and hopeless state.
I had to be taught how to live just one day without a drink... I was one of the fortunate one of many who had been able to grasp the concepts and principles of sober living... Not all of us are that fortunate.. If you are questioning or seeking a way to stop drinking then you are being convinced that there may be a problem.. If you are looking to control your drinking well the problem is that there is no control over a drink... You just try out the A.A. fellowship for 30 days at no cost and if you like the results then you can continue on with us,, If you are not completely satisfied with the results in 30 days Then you can seek another path.. There is no commitment to no one but you. Good luck on your journey .. John D. Grateful alcoholic.
Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans- Anonymous
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Re: New Member

Postby Roberth » Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:25 pm

Hello alloyed suitor and welcome to E-AA. My name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic. I don’t know about anyone else but there are two things can’t at once and those two things are control and enjoy my drinking.
It’s funny where we find a home group. I have been a member for the Skid Row Drifters which I call my home group for many years. We hold meetings for the homeless in downtown LA. One of my big changes came the day I realized just because I have always had a job and a home didn’t mean I wasn’t one of them. But for the grace of the powers to be there go I.
Just in case you are curious, my current employment started on 12/14/1974 so I guess that might make me a functional alcoholic. Not that it means much but one of my projects is rolling around on Mars. With that said my place is still on the row. I have help get a skid row meeting started in Salt Lake City, Utah as well and I am trying to get one going in Oakland California. I am a lot more proud of those than I am about the Rover. I am so grateful that I know I am just a drunk like everyone else in AA.
Robert
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Re: New Member

Postby alloyed_suitor » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:52 am

3 days in and was feeling VERY good and on track to break the pattern. ran about 30 miles this week, hit up the weights, did some bikrim yoga, passed on booze at my usual restaurant after yoga and went for the chocolate milk... then almost unconsciously slipped into the old bad habits and it went from 4pm to 4am(currently). no idea how i will finally break this pattern. back to square one. :/
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Re: New Member

Postby Brock » Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:15 am

... then almost unconsciously slipped into the old bad habits...

Please do not be disheartened by this, many of us faced the same trials, these things help us see that for the alcoholic will power does not help that much, sometimes we don't even raise a defense. In fact our book likes to remind us we have no defense, here is a section from the chapter 'There Is A Solution' -
The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

The internet gives us a concordance to search words in the big book, under 'defense' I also see these entries -
There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove...They had said that though I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and more...Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink.

If you give this program the opportunity to work in your life, you will find usually at about half way through, by step five, a defense automatically kicks in, you don't even notice it you just don't feel to drink. And it's a good life sober, congratulations for posting what happened right away, don't worry move on, we have all been there and wish you well.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: New Member

Postby alloyed_suitor » Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:46 am

brock, thank you. this is why i'm here. i'm being kind to myself rather than judging and beating myself down. just glad to finally not feel like i'm alone in this journey. i will keep coming back to seek inspiration and hopefully evolve where i can do the same for others. slightly bummed that i slipped into the trap but acknowledging it at this level is new to me and tells me that i'm much more aware and trying despite the pitfalls. thanks again.
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Re: New Member

Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:16 am

then almost unconsciously slipped into the old bad habits and it went from 4pm to 4am(currently). no idea how i will finally break this pattern. back to square one. :/


This is exactly what the big book talks about on page 24:

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.


Thats the blank spot the book illustrates using the stories in "More About Alcoholism". Welcome my friend. Atleast you now know the problem. We need Power. That the reminder of the steps gives us.

My mentor would say, everything in our life needs effort. Like getting a degree or even like your body maintenance. You run, lift weight. But for our spirit we have to do something. Hope you have a copy of that blue book. You will find all the answers there. There are some great workshops that you can make use of.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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