The Best Test of an Idea...

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.

The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Roly-Poly » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:53 am

...is if it survives the hangover. My first AA meeting is tonight.

I vividly remember my first taste of beer. Dad was driving a stick-shift pickup on the 405 freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic. He asked me (6 or 7 years old) to hold his beer for him so he could shift.
The can of Schlitz was cold with the condensation, the truck had no A/C, and we had the windows open on a hot, smoggy day before catalytic converters were mandatory on cars. He knew very well I was hoping for an opportunity to sneak a sip, and said, "You wanna sip?" I nodded vigorously. "You promise not to tell your Mom?" I nodded vigorously. I very vividly remember my first reaction: "People get excited about this? It tastes like what my pee smells like!"

But of course we go through a lot of positive conditioning to learn to love that urine taste. I was in the Army stationed in Holland and it was a thrill to walk into a bar at age 19 and legally order a beer. ...until I saw 14 & 15 year olds also in there drinking. You could say living there took the magic out of my 21st birthday party, (not that anyone in the US waits until they're 21.)

As someone who can't remember the last time I went a full day without drinking, I always equated recovering alcoholics with weakness, sadness, shame, and lacking self-control. But now I feel pretty positive about becoming one. Better a boring, banal, stereotypical recovering alcoholic than an ugly drunk. All of my friends have seen me have an ugly drunk at least ones (that's how I know they're my friends), so I know they won't ridicule me when I decline wine or beer with dinner. My family might, but perhaps I warrant ridicule; they've seen me have at least one ugly drunk as well.

Tonight I am emptying my condo of alcohol, one armload at a time (I'm on crutches [not an alcohol-related accident] and can't carry much of it or quickly.) It is my signal to my neighbors and community that I am now a recovering alcoholic. Shameful atonement for the fight between my sweetheart (who moved back in with her parents). I'll be 49 in May and I'm going to my first AA meeting at 8:30 tonight. The first thing I did this morning when the alarm went off at 5:00 was shake the empty wine bottle on my nightstand to see if there was anything left in it, and I actually felt relieve it was empty because today is the day. I look forward to the other side, to learning from you good people, and maybe helping some if I can.

-Chris in the San Diego area (sober since 3/14/18)
Sober since 3/14/18. (Pi day.)
Roly-Poly
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:17 am

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Roberth » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:42 am

Hello Roly-Poly and Welcome to E-AA. My name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic. Today is a great day to start on your path of sobriety. one day is where we all started from and we keep doing it one day at a time. I have been to some great meetings down your way, my favorite is the Rings down on the water. I got sober when I was 40 and I will tell you what they told me when I was new and that is "you will never have to take another drink if you don't want to and even if you want to you won't have to if you are willing to do a few simple things." and so far I haven't need to take a drink for 26 + years. hope you keep in touch....Robert
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!!!!
User avatar
Roberth
Forums Long Timer
 
Posts: 703
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:53 pm
Location: In The High Desert of California

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Brock » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:15 pm

Welcome here Chris, great story about the beer tasting.

It’s good that you have your mind made up on a meeting, we often spend time trying to encourage new folks here that it’s not something to fear, just some friendly people drinking coffee and talking about alcoholism. And also if you live where you have a choice of meetings, keep in mind that they do vary a bit, so you may find one more to your liking than another.

Something which you said, and I thought the same when I decided I had enough - “Better a boring, banal, stereotypical recovering alcoholic than an ugly drunk.” And yes I have met a few who would qualify for that, but very few, I can assure you it’s certainly not typical. You have some work ahead, but keep in mind this program is not to just give you the power to resist drinking, it will remove the urge entirely, and open up a new way of living which is pretty cool.

In the next few days you are likely to be withdrawing from the alcohol, it’s not pleasant and many find sweet drinks and candy help, sometimes we need medical help as well, and if you feel the need consider a doctor visit.

I will put up some links to literature that you might have a look at when you have time, also if you can get yourself a ‘big book,’ most meetings sell them and have lots of other literature, some of which is free. You Tube has good resources, you can type in ‘AA Big Book Study’ and find one by Chris R, and another by Joe & Charlie. Also if you type in ‘AA Speakers’ a lot of names come up, if you don’t mind getting the message in a fire and brimstone straight shooting manner, the same Chris R is a good choice to listen to.

Please ask any questions if you have them, we enjoy helping and it helps us as well.


Is A.A. For You – 12 Questions.
http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/is-aa-for ... can-answer

A Brief Guide To AA.
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-42_abriefguidetoaa.pdf

Three Chapters From The Big Book-

1.The Doctors Opinion.
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbo ... pinion.pdf

2.There Is A Solution.
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt2.pdf

3.More About Alcoholism.
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt3.pdf

A.A. Meeting Finder.
A.A. Near You.
http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-aa-resources
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Roly-Poly » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:00 pm

Thank you so much Robert and Brock.
After reading through some of those links, I confess I am an atheist. Are there atheist AA meetings?
I'm excited about this and about becoming a better person, and I have no dread. I went to my usual lunch place and ordered a sparkling water instead of a beer for the first time ever. Maybe the withdrawal hasn't kicked in yet?
I'm giving away all the booze in my condo and I have to take something to my friend at a brewery tonight, and I have no apprehension about going there and not ordering or drinking anything, nor do I feel remotely tempted.
Perhaps everyone feels this confident when they first start out, and that leads to falling down? I gave up meat very easily for many years for less reason than this. Not saying it's a matter of willpower; I honestly have no desire to drink.
I probably have a lot to learn.

Edit: I scored 6 yes and 6 no on the "Is AA for you?" questionnaire.
Sober since 3/14/18. (Pi day.)
Roly-Poly
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:17 am

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Brock » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:25 pm

There is a sort of alternative atheist style meeting, but it’s not really popular, mainly because atheists are most welcome at regular meetings. The founder Bill Wilson was put off by God talk himself at first, here’s a link to a chapter in the big book specially for atheists - https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt4.pdf

And you are right about the confident way we often feel, and I am afraid it can lead to falling flat on our backsides. The confidence is fine, but alcoholism is described in the books as cunning baffling and powerful. The program of AA is contained in the 12 steps we take, it gives us a spiritual experience, yes even atheists get it, a long timer here Paige speaks about it often, and so do other atheists. The big book goes to some length, to show stories of those who felt they could do it without the steps and spirituality, but if we are the alcoholic of the type the same book describes, no way can we stay sober very long without it. And while we are sober we tend to be having a crappy time, what some call ‘white knuckle’ sobriety, or worse ‘dry drunk.’

Have no fear, the steps aren’t hard and the work is worth it.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Roly-Poly » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:33 pm

Thanks again Brock. I'm looking forward to the meeting tonight, meeting people, helping when I can, and moving forward.
I've always been a big believer that we can control our own happiness, that the cirumstances needn't dictate how we feel. And I'm pretty happy about starting this.
I was always a big fan of the book & movie Fight Club, which mocked support groups and portrayed them as dark & depressing. But this isn't something to dread. I'm looking forward to the experience!

This morning I realized how awash in alcohol my life has been:
~About 4 years ago, at least 40 microbreweries opened within 10 miles of my home. I'm familiar with all of them and have friends who work at many.
~There is a luxury theater across the street from my place--you push a button and they bring cocktails to your chair. And since it's right across the street? DUI insurance.
~My sweetheart was also an alcoholic and it something we enjoyed together very much. It was our little conspiracy we kept from our families & most friends.
~I have to cancel my memberships to 5 (FIVE!) wine clubs up in Paso Robles. I used to enjoy taking motorcycle trips up there with family, wine-tasting (while riding around on motorcycles.)
~I'll bet I have at least 12 different beer growlers for nearby microbreweries.
~Last night, thinking about my sweetheart at her parents' place, imagining her not being able to drink up there actually made me cry harder for her.
~I broke my femur 10 weeks ago while training for a bicycle race, and haven't been able to ride or train since then, which means boredom, which means more drinking. I always used to joke about drinking beer with friends after a hard ride or race: "Detoxing's over, now for the retoxing!"

So much of my life has been centered around drinking. I'm hoping this leg will heal soon, so I can get back to racing and training on the bicycle. I love a challenge, and I choose to look at sobriety as exactly that.

Thanks for the link to the big book. Will read that tonight when I get home.

And congratulations Robert on your 26 years of sobriety!
Sober since 3/14/18. (Pi day.)
Roly-Poly
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:17 am

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Roly-Poly » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:32 pm

Newbie question:

What is your opinion on alcohol-free beer? Okay, or just a segue to trouble?
Not looking to go buy some or try some; I just remembered have 5 leftover bottles of 0% beer in my fridge. Bought it after reading some silly story about a German Olympian who said he enjoyed it instead of regular beer; though I may also have bought it because I sensed this change coming.

Do I tell my family members I'm recovering beforehand, or just decline when they offer wine? I've always preferred to keep my vegetarianism quiet: "It's a personal choice, not a social agenda." I'd always say, but I understand this is different.
(I sure hope they're more comfortable with my not-drinking than they are when I declined meat!)
Sober since 3/14/18. (Pi day.)
Roly-Poly
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:17 am

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Brock » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:15 pm

I personally don’t think the non alcohol beer would do any harm, but others have pointed out when we have discussed this in the past, that there is no such thing, and non alcohol beer does contain a small amount of alcohol, generally speaking we in AA stay away from it.

Also others have asked about whether to announce our new non drinking plans, and some feel it’s best to tell everybody, perhaps hoping for support in their decision, and some like myself just say no thanks when it’s offered, and if pushed for a reason say it’s not agreeing with us, or we just don’t feel like. But with people closest to us, I find there is no harm in saying we may have a problem with it.

We had a long thread with some alcoholics who like cycling a few yeas ago, it’s here - viewtopic.php?f=25&t=14795&p=102742#p102742

Funny thing happening, we seem to have a lot of readers on this thread, but not too many writers. Maybe the readers are new folks like yourself, and don’t have anything to add. I hope you make it to the meeting and everything goes OK.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Spirit Flower » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:57 pm

Cool! Your sobriety date is Pi day!

(3.14159...)
...a score card reading zero...
User avatar
Spirit Flower
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 1370
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:49 am
Location: Texas

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Roly-Poly » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:25 pm

Thanks again Brock. I truly appreciate your guidance.

Tonight was not exactly an auspicious beginning to my career as a recovering alcoholic.
~When I dropped off a bin full of my former booze, my good friend Greg said he didn't consider me exactly a hardcore alcoholic.
~Then many people who shared at tonight's meeting had been in prison, been homeless, had multiple DUIs... reinforcing what Greg said.
~When I walked up to the building, a guy was complaining into his cellphone, "It's packed. I'm not gonna stand through that whole thing."
~It was indeed packed inside, but two large dudes on the tiny, wooden, backless bench in the back made room for the crippled guy with a cane. (Broke my femur 9 weeks ago.)
~I forgot my wallet and couldn't even leave the requested two dollar donation.

But I made it, and I listened carefully to everyone who shared (even the ones who appeared to be there to get their court-mandated stamp). And my sobriety day is Pi Day and it kept me out of my lonely condo, doing something besides not-drinking, and I'm going to find a different meeting tomorrow night. A novel sensation to be going to bed sober for the first time in at least 5 years.
It occurred to me on the drive home from the meeting that I might be able to drink one of those non-alc beers tonight, but I honestly don't feel like it. The hardest part of today was taking something to my friend Thomas (whose brewery I used to frequent) at his brewery. He thanked me and asked if I had time for beer. I wasn't tempted at all, but I felt badly about declining. He knows my sweetheart and I recently got separated, and I suspect he knows I'm sober now. He's a kind man and good friend, but the only thing we really had in common was his brewery and his beer.

Thank you again Brock, and spirit-flower for pointing that out. You're fine people.
Sober since 3/14/18. (Pi day.)
Roly-Poly
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:17 am

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby positrac » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:54 am

If you want to get sober in a real way much like that first drink of beer back in the day then everything and that includes distractions, excuses have to fully be eliminated! I got sober in San Diego in 1989 over in IB. Meetings were in this old house and it had all kinds as I recall. I'd been to AA meetings before I got sober in the Navy and this time my drinking had my ass in the ringer and I had no other place to go and if I could of weaseled out I would of.

Religion is just a word and again if you are willing to go to any length then you've got to accept the good with the bad under the conditions that you will have a better life in time. Rome wasn't built in a day and your activity with addictions took time and withdrawals and the mental fog will also take time to change for the better.

I want to give you a point of reference on God: :arrow: (G) Good (o) Orderly (d) Direction and if you can just see your life is totally unmanageable with the drinking and whatever else you have going on then you have nothing to lose by trying things different.

California AA at one time was really a lot more conservative than I thought it would be and for good reason because we are sick souls, and after all these years I've held on to many of the active points from my SoCal days and even when I lived in Oakland. Another time I'll talk about my meeting experiences in Berkley and that will be when you get some time under your belt.

Have a better day
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.
User avatar
positrac
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 1278
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:03 am

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Brock » Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:30 am

One of the common things in AA is comparing ourselves to others, and it caused me to be in and out of the program over a thirty year or so period. They told me you may not be as bad as some of us now, but you will get there unless you stop. I didn’t want to quit and ended up with a story to beat all others, I didn’t just get as bad as them, I got worse.

But on the other hand, there is no doubt that some people who show an interest in AA, because they think they may have a problem, are not in fact alcoholics. One of the great things about our big book is that it goes to lengths to define the ‘real’ alcoholic, In the chapter ‘There is a Solution’ they speak about moderate and hard drinkers, even saying -
Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.

Still not an alcoholic of the type AA was designed for, they also give advise on testing yourself -
We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself, step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking. Try to drink and stop abruptly. Try it more than once. It will not take long for you to decide, if you are honest with yourself about it. It may be worth a bad case of jitters if you get a full knowledge of your condition.

The ‘real’ alcoholic can’t do that and feel anywhere near comfortable, if we have a few drinks all bets are off we continue drinking, or if we force ourselves to stop after a few we feel like crap, because we are fighting the urge to drink more.

Being exposed to AA and reading about the program allows an educated decision, once you keep in mind that it’s a progressive thing, if you can’t drink a few like a gentleman and feel OK, you may have a problem AA can solve. The good thing about it is that you will have the information, and even if you never need it for yourself, one day you may see a friend showing this absolute lack of control once he or she starts drinking, and you may recommend AA to them.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:26 am

-Chris in the San Diego area (sober since 3/14/18)

Welcome to recovery. Did you realize nobody remembers the taste of their first soda or first pizza or first samosa. But the effect produced by taking our first drink is vivid in most of the alcoholics I have run into. But we never remember the consequences. Our book first talks about why we drink in the doctors opinion: because of the effect produced by alcohol. And we know its injurious to our health but we keep going back to it. Thats the peculiar mental twist, which also is talked about, throughout the book. In the meetings though, you will hear lot of drinking escapades, none of which you and I ever would remember when it comes to picking up the first drink. Because our alcoholic mind only thinks of the effect produced by alcohol. So the sincere advice for you is to pick up the dark blue book called alcoholics anonymous and find the truth about alcoholism and keep your ears open so you can connect with people who have worked the steps and are willing to guide you through the process, so you can also experience the power the book talks about.
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)
User avatar
avaneesh912
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 4890
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby tomsteve » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:35 am

non alcoholic beer is for non alcoholics.
tomsteve
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 389
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am

Re: The Best Test of an Idea...

Postby Roly-Poly » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:12 am

Thank you Positrac. Funny you mentioned excuses. Last night's topic was "Getting out of our own way." And everyone who shared tried to make that the center of of their story. I listened to them all, and the first word that came to mind when thinking how I'm in my own way is excuses:
~There are dozens and dozens of microbreweries within bicycling distance.
~Luxury cinema where they bring liquor to your chair in the darkness, right across the street from my home.
~My friends and family are all fairly heavy drinkers and this is going to isolate me from them to a degree, no matter how quiet or polite I try to be.
~I am bored/incapacitated by my broken femur.
~I am sad/lonely because my sweetheart is now living with her parents.... I could go on, but they are all feeble excuses to continue this until I am homeless or in prison.

I was excited and a little proud going to bed sober for the first time in well over 5 years, but I had bizarre, violent nightmares and woke up every 15 minutes. I feel more hungover this morning than I ever did while drinking. I may not have the campaign ribbons to prove I am truly an alcoholic, but this feels like withdrawal to me. I didn't even know the words to the Lords Prayer last night when we stood holding hands at the end of last night's meeting, and then "It works, so put in the work!" Feeling hungover like this after one full day of being sober is enough to put me in a downright industrious mood.

And thanks again Brock. I feel like your first description fits me pretty well. But the thought of taking that test sounds like a recipe for failure and then having to give up what little progress I made yesterday. It was a rough night, and it's going to be an even rougher day, but we cyclists relish pain and work for their own sake. (Thank you also for forwarding the cyclist thread!)

One thing I do dread is telling my father. It would almost be easier to tell him I'm gay than to tell him I'm sober now.

Back to work!
Sober since 3/14/18. (Pi day.)
Roly-Poly
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:17 am

Next

Return to For the Newcomer

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests