New to AA... NEED guidance

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 to AA... NEED guidance

Postby Yard_Sale3 » Tue May 09, 2017 7:04 pm

Hello everyone. My name is Mark and I am new to these forums. I tried to get sober last year. May 31st was my first day and I made it just over 2 months. However, I fell off the wagon and although I tried to start again many times, and have a great support system in my wife, I have not been able to maintain success for much longer than a day or 2. My last drink was on Saturday night, so I have been sober since Sunday. I thought I would try going to a meeting this time around to see if I can find more support and guidance there. In VT, we have multiple AA meeting sites and times, although only one "beginners" class per week. I am wondering how important it is to start at a beginner's class, as opposed to one of the other classes? If it is not important to go to a beginner's, can someone really explain the difference in the types of classes so I can get a better idea of which one to attend.

Thanks for your help.

Mark
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Re: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby Spirit Flower » Wed May 10, 2017 1:48 am

I am wondering how important it is to start at a beginner's class, as opposed to one of the other classes? If it is not important to go to a beginner's, can someone really explain the difference in the types of classes so I can get a better idea of which one to attend.


Welcome.

Just go to any meeting as soon as possible. The beginner's meetings usually focus on steps 1, 2, 3. But all meetings are helpful for sobriety.
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Re: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed May 10, 2017 3:40 am

Welcome Mark. You may also augment your meetings with listening to workshops on Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous), there are great ones available free on Youtube. Get to know the concepts presented in the first few chapters.

They talk about our warped mind, how it takes us back to the insidious first drink over and over, even though we promise not to touch a drop of liquor.Thats in-sanity.
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: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby Yard_Sale3 » Wed May 10, 2017 4:30 am

Thank you both for your help. I will get to the next available meeting that I can.

Thank you again.
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Re: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby Brock » Wed May 10, 2017 5:58 am

Welcome here Mark. You will likely get a few more responses over the next day or two, we all enjoy responding to inquiries like these.

It is not unusual to hear new folks refer to meetings as 'classes,' as you have done. While I agree with Spirit Flower to just go, and not necessarily just to the beginners one, all meetings vary in the type of folks you will meet, and often in the message they will give. It's normal for members to say how things were, and what they did to get over the urge to drink, and how this improved their lives. Unfortunately some feel it's a place to speak about how their day went, or some problems they are presently feeling, but it's all OK. There is a saying 'take what you need and leave the rest,' and often people say 'look for the similarities,' because you will hear some things which you never did, and often we use this as an excuse to say we don't fit in, but you will here stuff similar to your own struggles as well. And since the meetings vary one to the other, and you have a wide choice, it's good to shop around for those you find the best fit in, where you might relate better to certain people.

Often at first the meetings are not particularly enjoyable, we are stepping out of our comfort zone, but the folks are friendly and there is no commitment to make, come or go as we please. I always like to mention that the meetings are not really a 'life sentence,' it's recommended to go often at first, but once you have done the steps the urge to drink will not exist, and you will find meetings more of an option than a must do.

I endorse what avaneesh said about You tube, by typing in 'AA Big Book Workshop,' we can find good stuff, and also type in 'AA speakers,' and a whole lot come up. Some of these I credit with helping me greatly when I was new to AA, names like Sandy B, and Chris R come to mind, also a good man who has unfortunately passed away, your namesake Mark H.

You can't go wrong with this program, the release from urges to drink is absolute and complete, and as we go along a new sort of serenity and peace seems to fill our lives, best of luck in finding what we found.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby clouds » Wed May 10, 2017 8:39 am

Welcome Mark :)
" 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: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby Roberth » Wed May 10, 2017 11:30 am

Hello Mark and welcome to E-AA. My name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles Area alcoholic. the best way I have see for someone new would be go to a meeting and when they ask for new-comers tell them your name and let them know you need help. you will be surprised a the outcome.
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Re: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed May 10, 2017 1:17 pm

Hi Mark and welcome.

I agree with Roberth's advice. Go to any meeting and raise your hand--let them know you're there.

In AA meetings, the newcomer is the most important person in the room so if the meeting group knows there are newcomers present, most meetings kind of shift gears and automatically becomes a beginners' meeting. That said there are lots of AA meetings with different formats--speaker meetings, Step study, Big Book study, topic discussion, podium participation, Living Sober meetings, etc and I found it helpful to explore them all.

I also struggled with trying to quit drinking and stay sober for several years after my first AA meeting. I could see that others were staying sober, but I just couldn't "get it", couldn't hear what others seem to be hearing. I finally discovered AA's 24 hour plan about two years after my first AA meeting and following that plan worked real well for me. There's a description of how the plan works in an AA pamphlet # 1 entitled: "This is A.A.... an introduction to the A.A. recovery program". 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 also known as the One Day At A Time plan or ODAAT.

"....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…."


In addition to doing AA's 24 hour plan, I also finally followed the advice of AA old timers who suggested attending at least one AA meeting a day in the first 90 days of recovery. It's called the "90 in 90" plan. That worked real well for me too. One day at a time, one meeting at a time, I felt better physically, stronger emotionally, much clearer mentally, and was finally able to begin to grasp how the AA program works and the things I needed to do to make it work for me.

Looking forward to hearing more from you. Keep coming back..... =smile
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Re: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby positrac » Thu May 11, 2017 2:32 am

Welcome and may you find the means to step forward and not look back. Yes face to face meetings can provide the necessary support outside your wife. Honestly the marriage aspect does favor enabling and you need firm guidance to overcome past failures and slips.

This is a simple program that we over think and or feel we need perfection and that is not correct.


The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking and you've met that.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
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Re: New to AA... NEED guidance

Postby PaigeB » Thu May 11, 2017 9:21 am

positrac wrote: Honestly the marriage aspect does favor enabling and you need firm guidance to overcome past failures and slips.
This is a simple program that we over think and or feel we need perfection and that is not correct.

My husband became very worried about this 4th & 5th Step thing... He, as a normal person, thought it was an effort to demean me and truly feared that if I was too hard on myself (he thought "they" were being hard on me) that I would surely drink. There is NO way I could be entirely honest with him lest I HURT HIM more... Oh and then there are a few gory details I would probably skip because, well... I do have to look him in the eye everyday. Little did I know that telling it all, sparing nothing, would be the most freeing thing I have ever done in my life.

If I had chosen my husband to hear the Truth about my alcoholism I would have never made it past Step 2, let alone to 12 and a spiritual awakening. I would be dead by now and obviously he has no way to frame that in his mind. Only another alcoholic was right for me when it came to sharing this disease. He had been through enough already!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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