Alcoholics Who Feel Unique

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Re: Alcoholics Who Feel Unique

Postby Dean C » Tue Jul 17, 2001 11:00 pm

One of the reasons for AA's success over the years has been its singleness of purpose. Those who come to AA have a common problem, and that common problem -- alcoholism -- is all we can really help with.<P>There's a pamphlet published by AA World Services called "Do You Think You're Different?" There's a link to it on our web site (the "About AA" page).<P>Alcoholism is a great leveler. It doesn't care how much money one has, how smart one is, how handsome or beautiful. It will drag you down and kill you no matter who you are.<P>Sure, we're all terminally unique, "legends in our own minds." But when it comes to recovering from alcoholism, we're all the same. The Steps work the same for all, and all work them the same way.<P>Often, alcoholics have gone through life taking from everyone, because we are oh so special and our needs are much more important than the average Joe or Jane. Well, "our egos must be smashed," as the literature says. And, through the Steps, that is what happens, and, for many of us, for the first times in our lives, we learn how to give to others.<P>Hope that helps.<P> :)
"Whatever can be said can be said clearly."
-- Ludwig Wittgenstein
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Re: Alcoholics Who Feel Unique

Postby Arie P. » Wed Jul 18, 2001 2:54 am

Hey KC,<P>When I became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous I was often told: "Look for the similarities rather than for the differences."<P>When I became willing to work the A.A. program to the best of my ability I was gradually presented with the truth about myself. Most of the time that was very bitter but later more and more sweetness was added.<P>In working with others I was likewise presented with the truth about others and still more truth about myself. That too was often quite bitter but it also became much sweeter over time.<P>Eventually it dawned upon me that I wasn't so different from my fellows after all, whether they were alcoholics or non-alcoholics. And I started to bit by bit love them and later myself. Mind you, some days are better than other days.<P>I haven't been able to find a guideline which specifically explaines in one or two sentences how to cope with or solve the problem of "being terminally unique". And this applies to quite a few other downsides of being an alcoholic (or of being alive for that matter). That doesn't mean that the guidelines aren't there. I just couldn't find them.<P>But over the time I've also seen that often it just doesn't work like that. Life isn't a set of problems where, whenever you encounter one, you grab the appropiate solution, which then neatly fits. End of problem<P>Life as a sober alcoholic is something I am learning, a day at the time, to live by living it. And when I live the AA-way of life I do that with my fellow sober alcoholics. I, personally do that very often kicking and screaming and not very elegantly. I find it a lot easier to be good friends with you guys: AA's at the other end of the world, than with MY alcoholics over here. But I do it nevertheless.<P>Life to me is no longer something outside of me. Life is part of me, at least my life is, and parts of the lifes of the people who are important to me are also a part of me. And as I'm happily living along I encounter relationships, circumstances and situations, wherein I play a role and have my part. And wherein others play a role and have their part. The AA-program teaches me and the AA-fellowship helps me how to cope with all these relationships, circumstances and situations without having to drink.<P>And since I can't drink and since I have to deal with my life in a way that I can continue living with myself, I'll have to do it in a way that is beneficial to myself and to others. That way, on a personal level, is described in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. By practising that way of living I learn to not only work with others, but to co-operate with others. And there I learn by experience how important it is for me to have other people on my side and as friends. Not just because it is convenient, like in the beginning, but also because it is nice. With me it always creates more or less stress but it is still nice though.<P>And by living in the solution I don't solve the problem. The problem simply dissolves. Or it transforms into something else.<P>You're very good at finding the problems, my friend. You already found quite a few we had very carefully hidden for you. I for one would also be very interested to hear what solutions you have practised so far. That would help ME make it thrue the day sober.<P>Greetz
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Re: Alcoholics Who Feel Unique

Postby Ann » Tue Jul 31, 2001 3:09 am

KC, I, too, have difficulty getting outside myself. It irritates me because that's not who I want to be. I am finding I really need to get to a meeting. I had intended to go yesterday but had lunch with a friend instead. Have you found a sponsor yet? I'll bet a sponsor could really help with that. I need to find one too.<P>I found interesting what you said about your mom. My mom was also an alcoholic. (she is now deceased) Her alcoholism, I think, was very similar to mine. In the last year or so I started noticing some patterns in my own drinking that were very similar to hers. Her disease did not progress rapidly. It wasn't until her mid 40's that it got severe. I also just hated it when she got drunk. I could see what it did to her health. I also, at age 14, had to answer phone calls from creditors threatening to repo the house, turn of the electricity etc. My mother was a good loving intelligent person, but powerless over alcohol. She did find AA and after a few starts and stops she did stop drinking for good. She did not drink for the last 20 years of her life. Now I see the same patterns in my drinking. Thank God she found AA and acknowledged her disease as it enabled me to recognize it in myself earlier. One thing she told me and I have heard this in meetings too is that alcoholism may be hereditary. If one of your parents is alcoholic, you are much more likely to be also. <P>Keep the faith KC, you are doing great!<P>Ann
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Re: Alcoholics Who Feel Unique

Postby Arie P. » Tue Jul 31, 2001 4:00 am

Hi KC,<P>Well it takes time. Lots of time. And quite some hard work too, I might add.<P>There's nothing wrong with feeling different, as long as you participate in doing the dishes.<P>One of us, popular as a speaker and as such worldfamous within and maybe even without AA, has in his story a part about the difference between the AA-program and the approach commonly used by treatment centers. One of the things he says about that is this (and I experienced that a be a very to-the-point observation): "In treatments centers", he says, "we are taught to think ourselves into better living. In AA however, we learn to act ourselves into better thinking."<P>My father was an alcoholic too and since about 95% of the total of my conscious denial was concentrated around the wrongs (real or imagined) he had done me as a child/teenager ("If HE wouldnt have .... , then I could/would have ........", just fill in the blanks) I was devastated when I started realizing I was more and more doing the exact things I hated and despised him for.<P>Statistically speaking the odds are against us, but in reality it happens frequently that the disease, which, in different manifestations, often goes from generation to generation, stops with us, at least as far as the acting-out part is concerned.<P>You may be the finest example of recovery from "a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body" (BB, p.xiii) that your mother will ever come across in her entire life. So every day you are trying to be the best possible KC that you can be, you are making a big contribution by showing her (and you) that there is hope for alcoholics.<P>All along in the time that AA has been existing we have been trying to live according to a simple principle that, almost worldwide, has now become practically synonymous for Alcoholics Anonymous: "Living a day at the time."<P>But there's anonther principle we try to live by that's far less famous, but it's equally basic and in AA in almost has the power of law. It's the principle: "Only the footwork is OUR business. We leave the results to God, as each of us individually understands Him/Her/It/Whatever." Sometimes more more commonly formulated as "Suit up and show up."<P>So every day we do what we can according to the simple course of action, laid out in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and hope for the best. We try to do the best we can in any given situation. When we are successfull we share it with our friends in AA, and when we fail we do so likewise. And in the meantime we don't pick up the first drink, so we won't get drunk.<P>And we do that one day at the time. And if a day is too long we chop it up. In manageable little pieces.<P>That's all there's to it. But it takes time, patience and dedication. And that makes sense "for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last." (BB, p.75) What a reward.<P>Greetz<P>Arie
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