First Impressions

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First Impressions

Postby Ron27 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:20 am

Hi Everyone,
I’m new to AA and have been sober for about a month.
I thought it would be a good idea to write down my first impressions after attending three meetings, whilst fresh in my mind. I hope other newcomers find it useful, that it gives some insight and reflection for the experienced member and that it provides a reflection point for the beginning of my journey with AA.
Over the years I have tried several other methods of overcoming alcoholism, with limited success, including psychotherapy, mindfulness, enneagram etc. Coming to AA I was a sceptical person not long after his last drink. Many will recall the dark place alcoholism takes us, a lonely place where the next drink is the only thing to look forward to until the regret next morning. Withdrawal from society takes its toll and the first meeting I faced with high anxiety and apprehension as well as scepticism supported by some internet negativity.
I have been fortunate to have met many caring people in the three groups and enjoyed the meetings, relating to the ‘sharing’ by those who chose to do so. I was particularly impressed with the emphasis put on making the newcomer feel welcome and really pleased when given the opportunity to say a little about myself, it helped me feel ‘part of’ the group. It was also most considerate to allow me the opportunity of passing on saying anything at all if I wished.
I found the discussion group a little difficult as I am not familiar with the 12 Steps. I spoke from a general perspective based upon the words themselves but after researching the ‘book’ they were key words with specific relevance to the 12 steps. Perhaps newcomers could have the context explained at the beginning. For example, one topic was ‘Gratefulness’ but the experienced seven contributors before me related it to what I call ‘thankfulness’. Doing versus saying something. It was confusing but I hope I wasn’t unpleasantly contradictory.
Overall it has been a very rewarding experience. I haven’t decided on a home group yet or thought about a sponsor. I hope to attend another group this week and then will choose. Ninety meetings in ninety days was suggested but I think three or four a week will suit me.
So thanks to everyone and I pray that my current enthusiasm lasts for the rest of my days.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:32 am

If you want to learn about recovery, you may want to go to literature based meetings, especially one that is based on the big book (Alcoholics Anonymous). You will find material related to powerlessness and unmangeability and then the solution. You go from 1 step to another. Open Discussion meetings sometimes could be misleading, it all depends on who is the discussion leader for that meeting.
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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Re: First Impressions

Postby PuppyEars » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:58 am

Hey Ron Welcome. A very important fact to remember is the book was written out of experience, some of it bitter. in open discussion meetings you might hear someone trying to transmit something they haven't got and I have been in rooms where the message can be lost in clouds of opinions.
On the other hand see what I do to equal that out is go to a literature based meeting where we read the book and our opinions are not allowed in between these walls. Sit, read, shut up. I encourage you to look for meetings other than open discussion.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby PaigeB » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:34 am

I am one who loves "open discussion" at Closed AA meetings ~ for those who have a desire to stop drinking. I guess around here we are pretty good at transmitting that the 12 Steps, with a sponsor, are the way to find long term recovery. And we use conference approved literature for most all readings for the discussion groups and whoever chairs the meeting keeps folks from going on too long or getting into private stuff that is better left for one on one talks. Maybe we here in the Midwest USA are just lucky to have such a pocket of good AA and enthusiasm for service and all.

We don't really go to the length of "90 meeting in 90 days", that is sort of a "treatment center" recommendation. We do however suggest that one to to a lot of meeting and find one they like for each day of the week in case crap hits the fan on Wednesday of your 2 year lol. But mostly do a lot of meetings so you can see who has what you want in a sponsor (that they have been through the 12 Steps themselves) and so that you can pick a Home Group that is good for you in the long run... a place where you can begin to do service to AA and sorta try to pay back what has been so freely given to you! Like welcoming folks the way you have been welcomed. :D I have had the same Home Group since I got sober. And I go to about 2 or 3 other meetings a week. Mostly because I love AA and I need the reminders that I am part of... I also meet the newcomers at different places as well as seeing the Old Timers at their meetings.

I hope that your enthusiasm lasts forever! But it won't. You'll just have to trust that AA is a design for living in rough going, so one the "bad days" you can get through without a drink too... AND you will learn and practice as you go along... practicing the principle in ALL of your affairs to the best of your ability on any given day. Some days will be easier than others. You will have glimpses of true peace and I have found that THAT is what I have been looking for all along!

Welcome to e-aa. Peace to you! :mrgreen:
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Roberth » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:20 am

Hello Ron27, welcome to AA and E-AA My name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic. This quote is from the book Alcoholics Anonymous.

“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now.”

We believe in keeping things simple. When I was new a friend told me just you tell them my name and tell them the truth. I will be looking forward to hearing from you the last part of that quote over a period of time……
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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Re: First Impressions

Postby ezdzit247 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:48 am

Hi Ron and welcome.

Thank you for sharing your first impressions of AA meetings and the fellowship with us. Your feedback is important to helping all of us grow in understanding and effectiveness. I'm really glad your first impressions of AA and the fellowship were good ones. My ESH is similar to yours. Early on, my standard lines when I was called on to talk in a meeting was: "I'm Mary, I'm an alcoholic, and I pass".... :D Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

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: First Impressions

Postby Ron27 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:53 pm

Thank you for responses.

May I ask a simple question? Why do people count how long they have been sober?

Is it pride or boasting or a need to justify or what?

Alcoholism harms us and others but is only one of the pitfalls of life.

Do the obese count the days since their last bar of chocolate, the angry the days since their last fight, the cell phone addict how long since their last text etc.?

For me I simply don't want to drink alcohol again, so how many years I've been sober seems irelevant!
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Re: First Impressions

Postby positrac » Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:07 am

Ron27 wrote:Thank you for responses.

May I ask a simple question? Why do people count how long they have been sober?

Is it pride or boasting or a need to justify or what?

Alcoholism harms us and others but is only one of the pitfalls of life.

Do the obese count the days since their last bar of chocolate, the angry the days since their last fight, the cell phone addict how long since their last text etc.?

For me I simply don't want to drink alcohol again, so how many years I've been sober seems irelevant!



I forgot how long I had been sober and twenty years crept up and I had to pinch myself because I had actually accomplished something with total rigor in my life. I never want to forget my last drink as if I ever do I am doomed to repeat my history and if that happens I will surely die.

Each to there own on time and years as your sobriety and actions will provide enough and if another wants what you have then explain to them how to get it.

Addiction is addiction because compulsion is the driver and maybe not the whole part but a driver.

Ego? ya think? yeah humility takes time to learn and to use and just because I've been sober over 26 years doesn't mean I am rubbing it in anyone's face. What I am saying is this can be accomplished one day at a time and it is a life long journey and to me that is the humility.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
Hopi Proverb
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Duke » Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:15 am

Ron27 wrote:Thank you for responses.

May I ask a simple question? Why do people count how long they have been sober?

Is it pride or boasting or a need to justify or what?

Alcoholism harms us and others but is only one of the pitfalls of life.

Do the obese count the days since their last bar of chocolate, the angry the days since their last fight, the cell phone addict how long since their last text etc.?

For me I simply don't want to drink alcohol again, so how many years I've been sober seems irelevant!



As humans, we mark time in many ways. Celebrating birthdays is a chance to express gratitude, share with friends and give hope to those still struggling.

For instance, I recently attended the 24th birthday celebration of a friend. It was at a time and place I would not have normally attended a meeting. Four or five fairly new people were there. I had occasion to meet and talk to one of them about a particular question they had about working one of the steps. I also ran into a fellow I hadn't seen for quite a while and we made plans to meet up again.

There may be the occasional selfish motive show up. We're not perfect, but overall, I've seen it to be a very positive custom in my time.

I hope that helps you understand.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Spirit Flower » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:03 am

Do the obese count the days since their last bar of chocolate
Many people in Weight Watchers count their time since reaching goal / lifetime.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:06 am

May I ask a simple question? Why do people count how long they have been sober?


Initially I did that. I would look forward to picking up the 30, 90, 6 Months, 9 months and was looking forward to that 1 year chip. It was some form of goal setting you could say. I was amazed by the power of this fellowship and best of all the power of the 12 step. Today, its about which year I am in. Its all individual perspective. They say in the rooms that we pick up the chip to show the newcomer that it works. I will do for it.
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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Re: First Impressions

Postby PuppyEars » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:15 am

If you could of seen me while I was drinking, you would be counting with me too. :wink:
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Brock » Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:51 am

There are positives with the practice as others have mentioned, inspiring the new person to see what can be done, but I believe these must be weighed against the possible negatives.

We have had reports here of people slipping on, or the day after an anniversary, and others who didn't slip but reported feeling 'antsy,' if that's a word. It seems that this counting can put a certain pressure on some people. The other thing which I find important, is that the promises in 10 'the problem has been removed,' and things like 'we will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given to us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes… placed in a position of neutrality,' and words like those. These to me are not only true, but are also the best cards we can play to draw a new person in, and if it comes without any thought on our part, it looks strange to say that out of one side of our mouth, and out the other say whoohoo I am X years sober, if you’re counting it doesn’t seem to be coming without any thought.

Personally I don't count, I have a note in my book with the date in September 2009 I attended my first meeting, that has passed two weeks ago and I don't think I told anybody. But if it helps some people that's fine, I don't see the issue as particularly important one way or the other.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Layne » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:13 am

I simply don't want to drink alcohol again either and how many years I have been sober is indeed irrelevant to that end.

However, on my journey I have found that I am not good at multi-tasking. I cannot be grateful and ungrateful at the same time.

For me, being grateful is a cornerstone for not drinking. When my motives are good, reflecting upon the amount of time I have not been drinking is an act of gratitude, which due to my inability to multi-task, means for the time being I can not be ungrateful and thereby more likely to drink at the present moment. Present moments offer spiritual doorways.
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Reborn » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:36 am

I believe the anniversaries are important. I think I was ansty in my first year but have not felt that since. I tend to reflect on my journey the most around my sobriety birthday...not so much the bad as how blessed I am to be where I am today. Also standing up in a meeting and receiving a chip gives the newcomer hope...I remember being new and seeing an oldtimer get a 30 year chip and was blown away. Today its not all about me...its about showing this program really works...receiving chips is more about HOPE than tooting my own horn.
We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. BB pg 132
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