The AA Way of Life

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The AA Way of Life

Postby Timothy3012 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:50 am

I am so glad AA offers a completely different way of life to any I thought possible. I quickly lost hope and from a young age became dangerously disillusioned with the things I thought I had discovered about what life had to offer. Like any good alcoholic, I threw myself head-first into as many avenues of pleasure as I could find; drinking, drugs, one-night-stands, working obsessively, social media, travelling, etc, etc. Nothing ever seemed to live up to my expectations.

A great example of this was my university graduation ceremony which turned out to be one of the worst days of my life. I knew I was supposed to feel excited and to be full of pride about such an achievement, but I felt nothing but depression. The most incredible justification for my abnormal drinking was now finished. I had stretched out a 3 year degree so that it took 5 years to complete - I didn't realise I had done this until I got into recovery. Being a student was the perfect excuse for my active alcoholism, and now that excuse was coming to an end...

Suicidal thoughts have always been my default comfort when all else fails. I was getting very close to checking out of this life for good after i graduated. I always knew I was never going to be capable of living life the way I was told it had to be lived. I felt constantly tired, sick, and exhausted. I lived in constant fear and tension. Depression has been my companion for many years...I remember thinking to myself a few years ago, 'How do people do this? How am I ever going to have a family, responsibilities, a long-term job? I can't even take care of myself.'

This is not true for me today. By going through the 12 Step process with a Sponsor I have become a fundamentally different person. That old person, who was in a free-fall into insanity and eventual death, is gone and buried. The Big Book describes this as a Spiritual Experience; a transformation of such massive proportions that it is inevitable a new person emerges out of the process. I don't see any of my old partying friends any more, not by actively trying to cut people off, but simply because I have no interest in seeing them. In the same way, drugs, one-night-stands, workaholism, social media, conscious dishonesty, self-harm...all of these things have lost my interest. It's not been much of a fight - not in the sense I expected it to be - to give all these things up; it's been more like a gradual loss of care about them all.

The greatest and most obvious change in me is the loss of interest in drinking. I couldn't even imagine what life would be like without alcohol. Drinking literally defined who I was and what I was about. I drank at all social gatherings and always tried to create 'parties' wherever I was. I heard someone share at a meeting a while ago that she used to 'buy people's company' with alcohol and drugs...that hit me hard when I heard it because I realised I did the exact same thing. I was so desperate not to be left alone once I had started a session that I would always offer to get more drink and other substances if people would just stay with me and keep going until I dropped.

The Spiritual Experience, for me, has felt as if the walls in my mind are crumbling and I am being shown that everything I have ever thought or believed is not quite the truth. I used to live with a constant sense of disturbance and was always on edge - an edge that only alcohol managed to smooth out for very short periods and then ended up sharpening and making worse. I still feel that edge at times, but AA has taught me that whenever I am disturbed it is because I find something to be unacceptable due to the way I am perceiving it. The answer is to let God change the way I perceive it. Through prayer and by talking to other recovered alcoholics this change in perception is happening more often and at a more rapid rate.

AA offers me the thing I was always unconsciously seeking; peace of mind; or in another word, serenity. The ability to be comfortable in my own skin (a lot of the time); to stop making impossible demands on myself and other people to give me this peace of mind...because I am already being given it directly from the only true source; my God. It's hard to explain what serenity feels like to someone who has never felt it - I didn't understand what I was even feeling the first time it happened to me. Coming home from a meeting about 4 months sober, I felt smooth inside. I felt whole and like I was actually connected to my life for the first time. Nothing was wrong. There was no disturbance or fear. I was OK. The feeling was short lived and I managed to push it away by freaking myself out about something, but it HAS come back on an increasingly frequent basis, and the feeling last longer and longer each time. I've never experienced a drink or drug quite like it. It's kind of like super-strength Valium, but so much better.

I wanted to share this to try and pass on some hope to anyone new to AA, or to those who may be seriously struggling...the Steps work. The payoff from just a little bit of work is unbelievably disproportionate. If you could bottle and sell serenity, it would sweep the world almost instantly. But it costs nothing, God gives it freely. The only requirement is to allow the 12 step process to happen. I believe this is available to anyone who sincerely wants it - over 80 years of AA history proves it.
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Re: The AA Way of Life

Postby Mike O » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:56 am

This is a wonderful share.
Thanks, Timothy.
:D
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Re: The AA Way of Life

Postby JohnDaniels » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:51 pm

Thank you Timothy for your message.

I love the way you describe alcoholism so well and conversely the recovery in AA. As AA replaces the things we drank over little by little. Alcohol used to fill our holes. But now in AA we have found a way of life in the 12 Steps designed to do something FOR us, that alcohol used to do FOR us in the beginning, to fill our holes. The thing is, we get to live in AA. That is the wonderful message I get from you. Good on you buddy! I can't wait to here more from you.

I love ya brother
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Re: The AA Way of Life

Postby Timothy3012 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:57 am

JohnDaniels wrote:Thank you Timothy for your message.

I love the way you describe alcoholism so well and conversely the recovery in AA. As AA replaces the things we drank over little by little. Alcohol used to fill our holes. But now in AA we have found a way of life in the 12 Steps designed to do something FOR us, that alcohol used to do FOR us in the beginning, to fill our holes. The thing is, we get to live in AA. That is the wonderful message I get from you. Good on you buddy! I can't wait to here more from you.

I love ya brother


Hey John,

Thanks for the encouraging message. I randomly read this today from page 8 the book 'As Bill Sees It' and realised how relevant it is to this post;

'A New Life - Is sobriety all that we are to expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning; it is only the first gift of the first awakening. If more gifts are to be received, our awakening has to go on...

As it does go on, we find that bit by bit we can discard the old life - the one that did not work - for a new life that can and does work under any conditions whatever.

Regardless of worldly success or failure; regardless of pain or joy; regardless of sickness or health or even death itself, a new life of endless possibilities can be lived if we are willing to continue our awakening through the practice of AA's 12 steps.'
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Re: The AA Way of Life

Postby Cristy99 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:28 am

Tim wrote:

Depression has been my companion for many years...I remember thinking to myself a few years ago, 'How do people do this?


Wow Timothy!! I relate so much with this. I have had depression since I was 16 years old. I had tried every anti-depressant in the world, along with several combinations. At one time I was taking a combination of a "mood stabilizer" and three (yes!!! THREE!!!) antidepressants. As I aged, the depression got steadily worse. I even spent 3 days in the ICU of a hospital on a ventilator after a failed suicide attempt three years ago. After I worked the steps of AA, MY depression went away. My psychiatrist suggested a trial period without antidepressants. I was GREAT!!!! The more involved I am in improving my conscious contact with my HP and working on my issues with co-dependence, the happier and more at peace I become.

The lifted depression was just one of my gradual spiritual awakenings!!!!!!

*disclaimer before someone pounces on me....Not saying antidepressants don't have their place for someone with chemical imbalance depression....just sharing my personal experience. =wink

Cheers!!!!
"Talk doesn't cook rice."
~ Chinese proverb
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