Scared to start over

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Scared to start over

Postby MikeL » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:31 pm

Hi everyone. I’m new to the forum but not to AA. I was sober for almost 9 years before going back out almost a year and a half ago.

I worked a very solid program for the first 7 years. In that time I had honestly worked the steps 3 times with two different sponsors, been through the traditions, had numerous sponsees, and had held several service positions. The last 2 years of my sobriety I let several things pull me away from the program. One of which was my first sponsor coming to the realization that he no longer believed in a higher power after 10 years of sobriety, therefore left AA to pursue Buddhism (and is still sober). This man literally helped me save my life so his departure left me questioning several things about the program and my own faith in a higher power (God). I used this as a justification to gradually start getting away from those finite daily actions I had been doing up to that point to keep me sober. The other being that my wife who I met in AA came to the realization that she’s not an alcoholic (and doesn’t seem to be). I used this to question whether I was an alky or not. I knew for certain that I’m an addict but somehow rationalized to myself that since alcohol wasn’t really my thing when I initially got sober that I could somehow drink like a normie.

I wish that I could tell you that my relapse was due to omitting something on my 4th step, as is suggested in the text and is somewhat of a stereotypical assumption of when people with long term sobriety go back out. That would be the easiest explanation but the truth is that I was satisfied with half measures and getting by by not being “that sick” if that makes any sense. Cunning, baffling, powerful. I also pretty much stopped going to meetings, save for my weekly meeting I brought in to the county jail.

Where my fear comes in is how to start over at this point. My life isn’t the dumpster fire that it was when I showed up to AA in 2008. I do however have a lot more to loose. My wife and I became care takers of a couple children about a year ago. They mean the world to us and us to them. They call me Dad. These kids have extreme behaviors that always cause a lot of anxiety and fear in me. Right now my tool to deal with that is to drink. I instantly hear shark music when I come home from work and they are screaming for hours sometimes about not getting their way. I have lost my cool with them on a couple of occasions and have had to yell at them which triggers memories of their abuse and neglect from their prior family. This happens drunk or not drunk. I do not like the person I have become. I’m restless, irritable, and discontent basically from the time I wake up until I get some drinks in me. Also I have lost my relationship with God. I know that I am a better husband than this. I know I can be a better father than the ok father I have been. Luckily my drinking hasn’t had an direct negative consequences to parent or impact my career. I’ve always been a “high functioning” alcoholic/addict on the outside while my inside gets shredded. The other side item is that I need to put my dog down soon. Granted everyone’s dog is special but she absolutely is. I am very fearful of how this will impact the kids as well as myself. I have a deep connection with this dog and it’s going to be rough on me.

In a way I’m trying to drag my feet before getting started again, but also I have very real fears (not just about me, surprise) about the time commitment this is going to take and to have to leave my wife alone with the kids that much longer scares me for her sanity. We love them unconditionally as our own but they make it such a challenge.

I miss that good sobriety that I had. Life was beautiful and I was at peace. I want that again. I know in my heart of hearts that God will take care of me like he did before. Luckily I think/hope that I still have just enough humility to go back without any guilt or shame. I recognize that should God be willing to grant me some good sober time again that I can hopefully be more helpful to others than I had been previously due to this experience. I guess I’m just looking for that little nudge and to be told from sober folks who don’t have the fog that I have that God and the fellowship will again take care of me and hopefully hear the experiences of some folks who were in my shoes.

Sorry that got so long. Thanks for letting me share and thank you for this forum.
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby Jojo2 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:47 am

Welcome to e-AA, Mike.

It might be of interest to you to know that we provide a Temporary Sponsor facility here at e-AA.

If you need a temporary sponsor, please complete the form here:

http://www.e-aa.org/form_sponsors.php

A temporary sponsor is a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous who is willing to share their experience, strength, and hope with another alcoholic as a way of service to help insure their own sobriety.

Their main function is to help guide the new person towards the 12 Steps, and also, where appropriate, to help guide the new person to face to face meetings and a f2f sponsor in their local AA community.

An excellent introduction on sponsorship, permanent or temporary, with questions and answers, is this pamphlet
from GSO :

Questions and Answers on Sponsorship:
http://aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby positrac » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:15 am

Welcome back and I hope with all of the positive memories that once existed you'll understand that now you do have more to loose and that those kids need solid futures with good mentorship. Yes I know that coming back and admitting defeat is a serious crush on my ego and I am sure yours as well. But then if I didn't relapse I wouldn't have learned how fragile life is and my desire to stop drinking was my only requirement to come back and thankfully the rest is history.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:04 am

I wish that I could tell you that my relapse was due to omitting something on my 4th step, as is suggested in the text and is somewhat of a stereotypical assumption of when people with long term sobriety go back out.


No that is not the only thing. There are lot of people who don't have a clear understanding of what they are up against. The un-manageability of step one is very crucial. If I don't work on it constantly, I hit the blind spot. Exactly like in the chapter more about alcoholism.

Also interesting that you mention that you were in AA but you thought you were an addict and you had no problem with alcohol. This is the precise reason Singleness of Purpose was meant for. Perhaps if you had aligned with fellow addicts who sometimes drank, then probably it would have worked out well. But again lot of ifs and would and could.

I know we hear lot about this being a WE program, I agree but there is a "I" component in step one. I have to have that deep realization that I am indeed an alcoholic, which is the 1st step in recovery. There are lot of hard drinkers who sit in the fellowship and wait for a year or more to do their steps. And then there could be people like your sponsor who was indeed an alcoholic but pursue their recovery in church and other paths. I had a great friend who did that, he ran workshops with me but suddenly left AA to be with the Church. There was another who use to go with me to the correction facility, he too left for church. But word around, he started appearing back in the rooms again. I havent seen him though. I am so grateful that I had a deep realization and best of all, after going through the steps, the obsession got lifted and got lot of clarity. Why should all these deter me to continue my path?
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: Scared to start over

Postby Blue Moon » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:27 am

MikeL wrote:I wish that I could tell you that my relapse was due to omitting something on my 4th step, as is suggested in the text and is somewhat of a stereotypical assumption of when people with long term sobriety go back out.


After the individual is involved with AA and taken the Steps, every alcoholic relapse occurs due to 1 of 2 things: either they had not grasped Step 1, or they took back Step 3.

Yet the "why" hardly matters at this stage. If you need to reconnect to something, you need to reconnect. The "why" can come up later when you need to decide what to do different to avoid disconnecting again.
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby PaigeB » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:40 pm

Sometimes the best place to start is "I DON'T KNOW". That leaves you open to the essentials of recovery.

Page 567 BB: "Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable."
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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Re: Scared to start over

Postby Frihed89 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:23 am

Welcome back, I hope.

A person doesn't have to know why they drank or why they relapsed to recover from alcoholism. That is one of the really great things about our fellowship.

My guess is you were also afraid to go to your first meeting, but you did and you found a fellowship of men and women who had a common purpose and stories not too unlike your own. You've had some success in sobriety. Hopefully, during that period you experienced some joy and some gratitude. You can use those memories to reduce your fear and get back on the road to a sober life.

Keep it simple this time. Stop trying to look for reasons and look for solutions, instead.
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby Spirit Flower » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:44 am

Thanks for sharing your story. Welcome back.

Many kids are able to make their dads mad in ways no one else can. Use the steps on this or get some help.
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby MikeL » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:55 am

Thanks for the replies. I guess I’m not really hung up on the “why” I left. I know it is due to me slowly getting away from those very simple daily action I did up to that point in my program and gradually I convinced myself that I could drink again. Things became “manageable” again. Today is Day zero for me. I have been dragging my feet. I can’t count today because I woke up still drunk. I have plans to go to two meetings today. I hate to selfishly ask for prayers from people I don’t know but I am going to selfishly ask for prayers from people I don’t know.

There are a few things I know for certain. I know that the promises in this program can happen. I know that if I work the steps and follow direction that I won’t be a bad or mediocre father or husband. I know that if I do this thing I can positively impact people around me instead of being a drain on them or treating them like S***. I am ready for this. Thanks for reading.
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:13 am

Good luck MikeL. I am glad that clarity is creeping back in you. Before that returns back to the old state of un-consciousness, I hope you move forward and act quickly.
I went back to your post:

This happens drunk or not drunk. I do not like the person I have become. I’m restless, irritable, and discontent basically from the time I wake up until I get some drinks in me.

This is un-treated alcoholism some call it spiritual malady. People who had just drinking problem, many in the rooms, they cant relate to this state of being. This un-treated alcoholism is what returns us back to insanity and it will keep us there until we die or have that realization like you are experiencing now.
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: Scared to start over

Postby Theo50 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:46 am

MikeL wrote:Thanks for the replies. I guess I’m not really hung up on the “why” I left. I know it is due to me slowly getting away from those very simple daily action I did up to that point in my program and gradually I convinced myself that I could drink again. Things became “manageable” again. Today is Day zero for me. I have been dragging my feet. I can’t count today because I woke up still drunk. I have plans to go to two meetings today. I hate to selfishly ask for prayers from people I don’t know but I am going to selfishly ask for prayers from people I don’t know.

There are a few things I know for certain. I know that the promises in this program can happen. I know that if I work the steps and follow direction that I won’t be a bad or mediocre father or husband. I know that if I do this thing I can positively impact people around me instead of being a drain on them or treating them like S***. I am ready for this. Thanks for reading.


I'll pray today for you, myself and all of the other suffering alcoholics. May we all find peace and harmony in life. Hang in there.,,
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby Brock » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:58 am

Frihed89 wrote:A person doesn't have to know why they drank or why they relapsed to recover from alcoholism. That is one of the really great things about our fellowship.


Good wisdom there, thanks for that Frihed, and other things you have shared since joining these forums a few days ago.

I have been following this thread closely but had nothing to add until now, I am very happy Mike is getting back to meetings, but a couple things from his original experience I feel he should try to avoid.

The sponsor leaving traditional AA to pursue a Buddhist spiritual path, when Mike was 7 years sober, had an effect where I think it should not. Regardless of someone saving your life or whatever, we have discussed many times here, the potential dangers of depending too much and too long on sponsors, or other people in general. The consensus in these discussions, is usually that after the steps are completed, and we are living in the solution, the sponsor remains a friend, but surely not that influential, that his actions would influence ours several years later. Leaning more on our higher power, and less on mere humans, might be worth considering.

Also, if the two meetings today are what you need more power to you, but you did mention the concern of leaving your wife to manage the kids being a factor. If you never tried them, perhaps consider the countless very good speaker tapes available, to me the easiest route is ‘you tube,’ and type in AA speakers, many members here said these things helped greatly, and we can be at home doing it.

Best of luck on getting back to ‘successful’ sobriety,’ with words like these you wrote - “I know that the promises in this program can happen. I know that if I work the steps and follow direction that I won’t be a bad or mediocre father or husband. I know that if I do this thing I can positively impact people around me instead of being a drain on them or treating them like S***.” - You can’t fail, especially with the best wishes and prayers of us here, added to the mix.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby MikeL » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:14 am

First, I made it through the day without drinking. Despite feeling so awful all day and having a lot of fear, remorse and guilt, it was as awesome a day as one could hope for their first day back. Small “coincidental” things happened around me yesterday. I am amazed at how many miracles are around us everyday if one just looks at things right. Also Brock I did take your suggestion and listened to a speaker tape. This was convenient because the evening meeting I was going to go to was a speaker meeting anyway.

I’m very thankful that God is allowing me another opportunity to get this program. I am excited to find a new sponsor, start working the steps and to get plugged back in to the solution in the first 164 pages of the book. And also back into the fellowship. Right now my plan is to just do the next right thing, put one foot in front of the other and get to another meeting today.

Also Brock to be clear, my original sponsor leaving didn’t have the effect on me that you think. He wasn’t my higher power or anything close to that. I still stayed sober for 2 years after that but did allow myself to gradually slip away from doing the program and working a solution. Perhaps I used it as an excuse. Assuming you are sponsored and your sponsor up and decides that he doesn’t believe in God anymore or in the program of AA and that wouldn’t cause you to question certain things about the program , my hat is off to you. It certainly did me. This was a guy I worked the steps with and shared all of my deepest, darkest secrets with. When he left I interpreted it to mean “yeah all this work we did, you don’t really have to do it”. If he were to leave the program to go drink is one thing but it wasn’t that simple.

Today the one thing I do know and am 100% clear on is that God wants me happy, joyous, and free. I know that once I do the work again I get to be in a position of maximum benefit to others. I know that my experience of relapsing after having long term quality sobriety will benefit others. Whereas before it was just my opinion based on other’s experiences I didn’t have that experience.
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby Spirit Flower » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:04 am

It takes tremendous inner work to be a Buddhist for real. Your sponsor did not get off the hook of conscious contact with his inner being.
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Re: Scared to start over

Postby Mike O » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:26 am

Thanks for sharing your story, Mike.
It serves as a reminder to me of wht I have and what I have to do to keep it.

Welcome back.
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