How do I start...

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How do I start...

Postby highcostofliving » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:07 am

"want to want to stop" from the Big Book...

I'm feeling stuck, especially on how to explain... I have not attended an AA meeting yet, but it's on my to do list. I'm not sure why I haven't gone... fear? But of what... I have attended a few meetings a few years ago, I have no problem with them... I think I'm waiting to get to meet the requirement of going - which is the DESIRE to stop. It's there, but only kind of... sometimes it seems the only reason to stop is because society tells me it's bad...and the insanity behind that thought isn't lost on me. I also feel/felt disconnected from the meeting as I had a heck of a time being ok praying at the end (I wasn't judging them mind you - I respect the heck out of everyone there), but I felt like such a phony saying the serenity prayer....

I am borderline Atheist, and for sure Agnostic, so the preachings of the Big Book and at the meetings where HARD for me... I can honestly say I'm willing, even actively trying to find this spoken of Higher Power.... but how? I've spent weeks in constant thought about this... waiting, looking, hoping.

I have not hit rock bottom, and am not in a desperate situation... yet. I've been able to moderate of sorts, I don't drink often and NEVER around my family... but I premeditate my binge drinking - I plan a guys night away from them once a month.. in which I ditch my friends early, so I can go drink alone in a place I don't have to drive from until morning (my office)... but lately, I've been manufacturing more and more reasons to stay at the office.... maybe twice a month now.... and I know that it's my wife and daughter keeping me under somewhat control (they are my motivation) - but I know it's only temporary, and I need to find a way to change the dynamic, so that... I want to find a way to make sobriety work... and everything seems to focus on the Higher Power....and I can't find it, or connect to it... or phathom it's existence....

Sometimes I hear stories about other alcholics and feel like I shouldn't worry about it... but I know I am. Some mornings after I can barely remember the entire previous day.. even before I drank, my mind was so focused simply on getting to start that first drink that everything else is hazy. And the first drink is often the only one I remember... I've even regretted drinking before I drank, yet drank anyways....

And I get it, the words in the Big Book hit me hard... I do not have the power to beat alcohol on my own... I need a power greater than myself.... it's only been two weeks since that thunderbolt sentence hit me to where I understood, so maybe more patience is needed... but I drank twice since then, I don't want to sit back and wait... but how does one go about finding a higher power...

Anyways, sorry for the length and a bit of a ramble... been a lurker for a couple weeks and felt at least making an attempt at opening up... trying to think about the Higher Power from a different angle than I ever have, I know I need to find it, somehow.... thanks for reading.....
"The high cost of living, ain't nothin like the cost of living high" - Jamey Johnson
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Re: How do I start...

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:45 am

Welcome my friend. That realization is profound. So, hang on to it. Thats the key. We need a power greater than ourselves. Go to a meeting. I was agnostics too. But later on after working the steps accepting things the way it is, I see a harmony in my life. There is this intelligence that carries us through. But most of us don't stop to look around.
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: How do I start...

Postby Brock » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:15 pm

Welcome to e-AA.

I enjoyed reading what your challenges and strengths are, it's very good when someone can speak about the big book and meetings from the start, and recognize that the desire may be lacking, but still knows the problem and that it will only get worse.

The challenge of the prayer at the end puts some off, a few groups in my area have done away with it in favor of the responsibility pledge, at others, non believers I know just don't say the prayer, but still stand with the group while it's done.

This search for a higher power I believe may be futile, in my experience it finds us rather than we finding it. It's a spiritual experience as a result of the steps, and we shouldn't get too hung up on #3, how can I turn my will over to something I don't know or believe in, we just make a decision to try, the wording says it's a decision not an action. Under “We Agnostics” I see this - “But where and how were we to find this power…Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.” The book basically is the steps, something which a sponsor will help with as well, which enables us to find that higher power.

If you like keep in touch here, let us know how it's going, ask any questions, we enjoy writing about our experience, and it helps us as well.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: How do I start...

Postby highcostofliving » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:22 pm

Thanks to you both... some reason it felt good reading the supportive responses, hearing that the realization of needing help beyond my power was profound, that I think was a great way to word it... profound. Combined with being reminded that it's a decision not an action... thanks you for the wisdom.. it took only a moment to realize the gravity of that statement as it relates to my circumstance.

I will for sure be posting some things in here.... meetings (only for a week) are looking nearly impossible to make (unless I find a group with childcare that isn't women only)..... I have so many questions ping ponging in my head it's hard to figure out just where to begin.... I jumped the gun a few weeks ago, pouring through the Big Book. It was an interesting read, filled with self exploration, doubt, epiphanies, eagerness, fear, ignorance and truth...

I read it that first day and was so naive (I realize now I still am). All I needed was a desire... I thought sweet, that's easy. Checked it off the list... (needless to say I was friggin hung over the first time opening the book). Then.. it said all I had to do was be willing to find a Higher Power that worked for me... "well darn it, wasn't that step easy! Check".... I was cruising at a chapter a day, taking careful notes, for each one, really thinking them through.... day 3, as I was reading, I began to plan my next night of drinking... "wait, what? I thought I had a desire to stop?" Not sure what had happened... but suddenly I was back in self pity mode... and worse, I was in the hopeless "I'll never be able to keep up this fight for my entire life... it's not so bad to drink once a month... " I pushed on though.... still a chapter a day, getting excited to start making amends even, I'd be free soon.... I'm already for that step, I was going to be step 12 in no time and living sober and happy... then I started wondering if I could squeeze in one last drunk night... then I did squeeze in one 'last' drunk night... then woke up realizing I was WAY wrong... I hadn't even figured out the very first part - having the desire. Even being willing to believe in a Higher Power wasn't a check... I thought it was, but why was my brain constantly checking me every time I told myself I was willing... I hadn't become willing, I had just tried to tell myself I was because that was easier than finding it within myself to be willing.... crap.. then I read again the humility part, honesty part... why the heck was I excited about making amends! And then it hit me.... I didn't even really KNOW what step one was....

I don't even think I've truly given up the control part. I KNOW I am alcholic. I know it 100%.... but I"m still trying not to be and wishing I wasn't, I'm still insane.... I think maybe that's kept me from the meetings the last couple weeks... I know I don't want to stand there and say I'm Seth, I'm an alcoholic.... the big book is right, oh so right with the motto of 'First thing first'....

One question after all that.... I can't even find anywhere, but I feel like a moron asking this... but what, exactly, is Step One?
"The high cost of living, ain't nothin like the cost of living high" - Jamey Johnson
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Re: How do I start...

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:31 pm

but what, exactly, is Step One?


That you already realized. That we are powerless over alcohol and that our life has become un-managable.

I couldn't life without alcohol, because I stopped growing emotionally. I get restless irritable and discontented, we could add more. Anxious, bored.......So the reminder of the 12 steps helps us manage our life without alcohol.
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: How do I start...

Postby Brock » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:33 pm

I will string together a few of your lines -
...day 3, as I was reading, I began to plan my next night of drinking... "wait, what? I thought I had a desire to stop?" Not sure what had happened... then I started wondering if I could squeeze in one last drunk night... then I did squeeze in one 'last' drunk night...

I like that, because it demonstrates a disease of the mind, big book chapter 2 - “These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.” And the mind will win out, we have no defense against the first drink, the defense must come from a higher power. But some folks manage to 'white knuckle' sobriety, usually the 'sour puss' looking ones at meetings, those who don't think the steps necessary, but the steps really do eradicate the urge to drink.
I KNOW I am alcholic. I know it 100%.... but I"m still trying not to be and wishing I wasn't, I'm still insane.... I think maybe that's kept me from the meetings the last couple weeks...

I also believe that you have done step one, or at least most of it, nobody really wants to go to the meetings at first, so just going is another part. It said we admitted we were powerless over booze, you did that, our lives had become unmanageable, a little easier to say no, my life is not unmanageable. But normal folks don't look forward to, and plan nights of drinking, especially at their office, and if you try to manage not doing that, you will become the 'sour puss' referred to above. Therefore it looks like your life is a bit unmanageable, and just admitting a bit will do for the time being.

I also wished I wasn’t an alcoholic, and probably every other member as well, because I didn't really believe those people who said what a wonderful life they had found. Until I got a taste of it myself, about half way through the steps, and if I said I am glad now that I am an alcoholic, I hope you will see one day that is not as crazy a thing to say as it may sound. This program can give us a new life, not just a life without drink, because it very cleverly manages to address the reasons we drank in the first place. There is a saying, 'it's a simple program for complicated people,' and it really is quite simple, you can't go wrong with AA.

There are only a few of us around on the forums right now, perhaps later some others will add their own experience.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: How do I start...

Postby highcostofliving » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:30 pm

Once again thanks! I really appreciate the insight, and the time spent to give it. It helps put some of all this overwhelming barrage of thoughts into some sort of order. I think I still am hanging on, if I'm honest with myself, to some control... even reading the 'my life is unmanageable' portion, I immediately was skeptical. I have not thought or paid much attention to that until you it... and now I have a new set of rolling thoughts on it to sift through :)....
"The high cost of living, ain't nothin like the cost of living high" - Jamey Johnson
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Re: How do I start...

Postby Noels » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:38 pm

Good morning High cost and welcome to e-aa. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with us. Your posts actually made me think about step 1 - in terms of how did I actually 'do ' it when I realised that I could and would no longer allow alcohol to control who I had become at that time.
Thinking back. .... I was drinking that particular night. My ex and myself were going through a pretty hard time. I thought I stumbled upon him betraying me with a secretary who worked for us at that time but I couldn't get a 'yea or a 'nea ' out of either of them so I hit the bottle.
Anyways, eventually through all the pain I suddenly became exceptionally peaceful and realised that whether it was true or not and regardless of what was going to happen in my life from thereon I could not continue the drinking. That was when I made the decision to find and attend an AA meeting.
I didn't realise it until I read this post of yours that ' making the decision would have meant absolutely nothing if I didn't follow through with action ' simply because I 'made the decision to stop drinking ' many many times before and didn't keep it up.
This time though I actually googled and found an AA meeting close to where I live and went.
After this first meeting I went back again and again. I was somehow 'inspired? ' to see it through this time and take my life back.
So thank you for sharing your question and ponderings with us. It made me actually 'think' about step 1 and now I also understand why our 12 step program is called 'a program of action '. Seems it's a program of action from step 1 and Not from step 4 as commonly thought and shared in the rooms and online?
Thank you for your share. I'm looking forward to reading more from you here.
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Re: How do I start...

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:56 am

I immediately was skeptical.


The un-manageability part is a difficult concept to grasp in the beginning. Most think of it as not being able to hold a job, or getting involved in car wrecks, being homeless. But underneath it all there is that mental/spiritual layer. That low level of un-easeness, irritability and not being contented, it could manifest in several shapes and form. And has emotions bottle up, the mind would say, one drink would fix it. And we succumb to that thought. Thats the peculiar mental twist the big book talks over and over again.
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: How do I start...

Postby highcostofliving » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:16 am

Thanks for the supportive posts Noels, and thanks for sharing some of your experiences too! It's odd, but I find I have a lot of apprehension leading up to hitting the submit button for the posts, so the supportive responses seem to be easing that... you're right, of course, it's all talk until you start doing. I will for sure get to a meeting...

Unmanageable - it is exactly a hard concept to grasp. I've spent pretty much all night trying to straighten this out and form that concept into just how it applies to me. I think I may have gotten it.. I'm going to make an attempt here as it seems to help me... Even though my drinking goes back about 20 years now, I believe the portion that applies for step 1 (for me) begins about 4 years ago, when my daughter was born. That's when my wife and I had a very hard struggle with getting my drinking under control, and when I first attending some AA meetings. I made her a promise at that time, that I would never have even one drink when I was alone with my daughter, and we would not drink when we were together either. And I have lived up to the first one without fail... so far. As mentioned, I simply removed it from the home, I would just leave once a month, drink at a safe place so no way for a DUI, my daughter never had to see me drunk, my wife never saw me fall on my ass as I tried to get out of the chair, I was still allowed a night a month to decompress, to be rid of my constant pain (one of my big hurdles - I had a spinal fusion, which has left me in constant pain - this will be in another thread soon as I have some worries/questions about this), and to relax. I had did it! I had moderated and managed alcohol!

And I believe the Big Book calls that thinking insane. What this thread has gotten me to realize, and I think this is extremely important, is that when it comes to Alcohol, I am just that, insane.... first off, why the heck am I trying to 'manage' alcohol? And why do I think how I 'managed' it is ok... it's not ok to stay away from my family to get obliterated... oh yeah, did I mention, I came home hung over and would basically lose another day with my daughter while I slept it off. Conveniently I had ignored that issue. What kind of insane thinking has me actually ok with doing that and even thinking this is an acceptable 'solution'? These were my thoughts last night - as well as the growing dread that my daughter is getting older and she's sharp as a tack, she'll know very soon why Dad is sleeping all day sometimes, even if she never sees me take a drink... and what's scarier, is that as she's getting more self sufficient and easier to handle, I've been finding more and more days to 'manage' alcohol. In short, what I realized is that Alcohol had simply - changed it's tactics on me. It zigged when I zagged. I wasn't managing Alcohol, it was managing me! I have been scheduling my entire life around Alcohol (that's a disturbing realization), and I had been thinking it's ok (even more disturbing).

Damn... I have been thinking of all the ways this is true for me as I typed, it's pretty sad actually. But I think I have a grasp on the concetpt... life with alcohol isn't EVER managed for an alcoholic - or at least for this alcoholic. Life is unmanageable, I am not in control.... it has me whipped, beaten and until this thread started, completely fooled as to how much of an impact it still had, every day of my life, even sober days I was planning my next night...

Anyways, thanks for reading if you've made it this far, and thanks for the responses, I'm glad you guys took the time to respond, I am nearly positive I would have missed this realization had I not been made aware of that part of step 1. It's kind of a depressing realization, but I it also feels pretty huge. I think even until right now, my brain was holding back on me. Alcohol is firing excuses at me while I'm typing (yeah, but you could still have a beer at the Hawks game, what about when you watch your mom - another thread someday maybe for that story, etc..) it's all more ways I'm trying to think it's really me managing alcohol... but it's not, I'm not in control, and I cannot possible, ever 'manage' life with Alcohol. Shucks, I'm actually going to have to do this.....
"The high cost of living, ain't nothin like the cost of living high" - Jamey Johnson
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Re: How do I start...

Postby beginningagain7 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:26 pm

How to you start? Well the first thing is that you need to look in the mirror and see if you like what you see. I am not talking about you physical looks but what you see inside your self. Are you happy, content, have peace, serenity. Or are you not satisfied with life and how it isn't treating you. Do you drink because you can not live life on life terms, you want it on your terms.

I took the mirror test and found out that I wasn't happy unless I had a drink in my hand. I also found out that I was trying to live life on my terms. For some reason it wasn't doing the job. Reason being was that I was going in the wrong direction. I became lost and confused, and for some reason alcohol wasn't doing the job. What happen was that I ended up in detox and spent 3 months in a half-way house and AA. There I got a blue print on how to live life on life terms and not my own. I learned about the twelve steps which is a process of living life on life terms.

And yes there are those that do not like the word God. For they look at the word as being religious. What can be done is look at it different. Look at as Good Orderly Direction. And that what we are after. Our lives have been going in a such a wacky way that we get lost in life and what life has brought us. AA is a spiritual program not a religious program. And to find that all you have to do is go outside and look at the sky and the clouds that are there. Or watch kids play and see how happy they are and having fun. Look at the trees and flowers and see how pretty they are. And while you are doing that you can mediated on the beauty you see. Mediate on what you would like in life, what is important to you. Mediate on what you need to do to bring happiness, joy, contentment, and peace into you life and what direction you want to head towards to make that happen. I would like to believe that you would want a good orderly direction, instead of a bad orderly direction. But the choice is yours.

The battle is about drinking as a whole, but the battle of not taking that first drink. This month I celebrated 20 years of sobriety. I did it because I would not take that first drink. I did it because I wanted my life to go in a good orderly direction. Now I can look in the mirror and see peace, serenity, contentment, and joy in my life. I now can live life on life's terms and not my own. And the Serenity prayer has move meaning to me than just being a prayer.

Thanks for letting me share.
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Re: How do I start...

Postby Brock » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:22 pm

John spoke about the confusion some have with God, and thinking AA may be religious, I saw an opinion today which says AA is itself a philosophy, from the AA book 'Came to Believe,' -
“A.A. Is a Philosophy":
"A religion, properly, is of divine origin; governs the person in his relationship with his Higher Power; and promises its rewards and punishments after death. A philosophy is of human origin; governs the person in his relationship with his fellowman; and promises its rewards and punishments during life. A.A., I submit, is a philosophy...

Also, when I first attended AA I was given a leaflet, it contained a poem that has always struck a chord with me. John spoke about looking in the mirror, and to those who have seen this here before please forgive the repeat, but when I read mirror I think of this -
The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
and the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say

For it isn't your father or mother or wife
who judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts the most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass

Some people may think you a straight-shooting chum
and call you a wonderful guy
But the guy in the glass says you're only a bum
if you can't look him straight in the eye

He's the fellow to please never mind all the rest
for he's with you clear up to the end
And you've passed your most dangerous difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend

You may fool the whole world down the pathway
of life and get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartaches and
tears if you've cheated the man in the glass.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: How do I start...

Postby JohnDaniels » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:45 pm

Thank you Brock for posting The Man in the Glass.

My sponsor used to have it hanging on the wall in his basement. I always loved it.

I haven't seen it for a long time. Thank you for posting it here.

Peace
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Re: How do I start...

Postby Cristy99 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:56 pm

Highcost wrote:
I have not hit rock bottom, and am not in a desperate situation... yet.


Highcost - hello!!!

I did not hit rock bottom either. I did do a lot of really stupid stuff and hurt the ones I love the very most in this world extensively, but I never lost a job, home, kids. Never got a DWI even though I deserved 1000 or more. Never went to jail. Why?? I don't know. For some reason it wasn't in the cards for me. Well, really it's a lie when I say I don't know, but I don't want to hammer on about my belief in a higher power when I can totally understand that HP talk is not in sight for you now.

I hear all the time from people that an alcoholic MUST hit rock bottom before he can recover from alcoholism. Maybe that is true for most, but I'm here to tell you that I have recovered from a hopeless state of being caused by alcoholism. Not cured, mind you...there is no cure. But I am 100% happier than I was even before becoming and alcoholic. I listened to everyone's stories of their "rock bottoms" and I believed them. I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I would hit that bottom if I didn't get to work, for I had lost the choice in drinking. I wanted to stop, but was powerless to do so. My AA family raised the bottom for me. I sat. I listened. I learned with the desperation of a drowning man.

I'm here to tell you.....YOU CAN TOO!!!
Take care my friend!!

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Re: How do I start...

Postby Spirit Flower » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:49 pm

As soon as you hit "pitiful incomprehensible demoralization" you are there. This has nothing to do with jobs or cars.
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