4 weeks sober- need help

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Wrongful_suspicion
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4 weeks sober- need help

Post by Wrongful_suspicion »

I'm Peter and I'm an alcoholic.

I've been struggling today.
Because before battling the drink in my teenage years I battled my beliefs, and as a result of that, I don't believe in a God or higher powers.
So in regards to the 12 steps I believe coming to the program means I've done the first step. But I don't understand how I'm going to get better if I can't get past this step because i have no faith.

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PaigeB
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by PaigeB »

I also do not believe in a supernatural entity. I will get my 2 year sobriety chip next Monday. I just finished Step 8 and will begin that and Step 9 with my sponsor next week. As for a higher power, I use the World Wide Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Somewhere around that world on the hour a Group Of Drunks is meeting and I can draw on our Primary Purpose and stay sober one day (or hour) at a time. Call it miracle if you want.

As for moving on to the 2nd Step, be sure that you HAVE read the Big Book up to & have worked Step 1 with a sponsor. I can tell you that AA has restored me to sanity. Working the Steps and accepting my sponsor's input on my skewed perceptions has been invaluable in aiding me to a new way of living based upon that sanity and the rest of the steps. IF you come to believe in a supernatural entity later down the road is up to you. Good Luck! Keep coming back - it works IF YOU WORK IT!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

Wrongful_suspicion
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by Wrongful_suspicion »

Thank you very much, I grew some confidence from your post that it's not a lost cause.

happycamper
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by happycamper »

Hey, welcome and congrats on stayin sober!!

Id suggest going to some AA meetings and bring up your concerns to see what other members have to share. Also, read the first 164 pages of the BB and the stories in the back. You might find some you can identify with.

Dont give up hope, this program CAN work for you :D
Faith without works is dead

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Tosh
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by Tosh »

Wrongful_suspicion wrote:But I don't understand how I'm going to get better if I can't get past this step because i have no faith.
Here's some advice from Bill W the co founder of AA:
What about the alcoholic who says that he cannot possibly believe in God?

8A - A great many of them come to A.A. and they say that they are trapped. By this they mean that we have convinced them that they are fatally ill, yet they cannot accept a belief in God and His grace as a means of recovery. Happily this does not prove to be an impossible dilemma at all. We simply suggest that the newcomers take an easy stance and an open mind; that he proceeds to practice those parts of the Twelve Steps that anyone's common sense would readily recommend. He can certainly admit that he is an alcoholic; that he ought to make a moral inventory; that he ought to discuss his defects with another person; that he should make restitution for harms done; and that he can be helpful to other alcoholics.

We emphasize the 'open mind,' that at least he should admit that there might be a 'Higher Power.' He can certainly admit that he is not God, nor is mankind in general. If he wishes he could place his own dependence upon his own A.A. group. That group is certainly a "Higher Power," so far as recovery from alcoholism is concerned.
I'm not sure what I am to be honest; but I can still pray and meditate no problems. Prayer helps me adopt a correct mental attitude and I get so much out of meditation that posting about it here would do it an injustice. I can pray for you to get a sponsor, do the 12 Steps, and live a happy life, but I know without action, that prayer isn't going to mean squat. But if I prayed for that to happen, it would hopefully motivate me to try my best to 'carry the message' to you that AAs 12 Steps is a roomy program suitable for all, regardless of their religious or non religious beliefs. Just keep an open mind, be honest and willing; be motivated; and they will work.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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leejosepho
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by leejosepho »

Wrongful_suspicion wrote:... I don't understand how I'm going to get better if I can't get past this step because i have no faith.
No faith is even needed at Step Two, only a simple willingness to believe the necessary might actually be possible.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Tosh
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by Tosh »

leejosepho wrote:
Wrongful_suspicion wrote:... I don't understand how I'm going to get better if I can't get past this step because i have no faith.
No faith is even needed at Step Two, only a simple willingness to believe the necessary might actually be possible.
Fully agree. "Came to believe...", doesn't mean 'Believe right now and have this 'God thing' sorted.' It's a process, so you can move onto Step 3. And with regards Step 3, 'Giving your will and your life over...', well if there is a God, He would want you to do Steps 4 to 12. If you don't believe in a 'God', and you make A.A. your Higher Power, then A.A. wills you to complete Steps 4 to 12. And Step 1 - powerless - if you accept that, means that you're powerless to stay away from the first drink unless you go through Steps 2 to 12; this should be the motivator.

So there's no problems; honest. Someone recently posted here that just by taking the actions contained in the Steps, that in itself answers the 'God problem' (if you see it as a problem, not everyone does); and that's been my experience.

I'm currently working with two guys, one's a practising Catholic and the other is somewhere between atheist and agnostic; and they're both progressing well through their Step 4; this 'God thing' should not be a hurdle for anyone.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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jakpar
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by jakpar »

hi Peter, welcome to eAA!
Jack

"We are of service by accepting responsibility for the authority God has given us and by respecting the authority God has given to others"
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leejosepho
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by leejosepho »

Tosh wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
Wrongful_suspicion wrote:... I don't understand how I'm going to get better if I can't get past this step because i have no faith.
No faith is even needed at Step Two, only a simple willingness to believe the necessary might actually be possible.
Fully agree. "Came to believe...", doesn't mean 'Believe right now and have this 'God thing' sorted.' It's a process, so you can move onto Step 3. And with regards Step 3, 'Giving your will and your life over...', well if there is a God, He would want you to do Steps 4 to 12 ...
Fully agree, and I often tell people Step Three is simply a decision to take Steps Four through Nine and then see what happens ...

"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development ... We will suddenly realize God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves." (pages 83-84)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Duke
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by Duke »

What I found was that the problem was not so much with the idea of a higher power or God (if you choose to use that term), but with the pre-conceived ideas about it that I came into the program with. It was hard for me to get my mind around the notion that a higher power of my own understanding really did open all options for me to choose.

I did what the book and my sponsor suggested and approached it under the "open mind" theory. What I found was that after some time in the program, my faith in a power greater than me had grown on its own as a result of working the steps, and the need to compare "Gods" with anyone had disappeared completely.

Today, I have absolutely no doubt in the power of faith and I fully embrace the mystery of why it works.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

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Tosh
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by Tosh »

Duke wrote:What I found was that the problem was not so much with the idea of a higher power or God (if you choose to use that term), but with the pre-conceived ideas about it that I came into the program with. It was hard for me to get my mind around the notion that a higher power of my own understanding really did open all options for me to choose.

I did what the book and my sponsor suggested and approached it under the "open mind" theory. What I found was that after some time in the program, my faith in a power greater than me had grown on its own as a result of working the steps, and the need to compare "Gods" with anyone had disappeared completely.

Today, I have absolutely no doubt in the power of faith and I fully embrace the mystery of why it works.
I like that, and that's been pretty much my experience too, (though I did complicate matters by reading several theological type books; which didn't help me at all).

You've articulated that very well. Thank you.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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leejosepho
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by leejosepho »

+1
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

parmm
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by parmm »

Peter,
Welcome. I don't believe in the same God as I was raised with. Not the God that the Catholic school catechism taught me about. Not the same God that the Catholic nuns taught me about. Today I have found a God that I have somewhat of a understanding about. It has taken a lot of 24 hours, but it worked, just like they said it would. Once you have been around here for a while, pick up a copy of William James' "Varieties of Religious Experiences". It has a interesting section about different concepts of God, as we understand him. Because it was written in the early 1900s, it is difficult to read, but it really opened my mind. In the mean time, seek out a God of your understanding one day at a time for six months. At the end of those six months, you will be closer to God than you were when you started. I can make that promise to you, but you have to do the footwork!

MaryT
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Re: 4 weeks sober- need help

Post by MaryT »

Wrongful_suspicion wrote:
I'm Peter and I'm an alcoholic.
I've been struggling today.
Because before battling the drink in my teenage years I battled my beliefs, and as a result of that, I don't believe in a God or higher powers.
So in regards to the 12 steps I believe coming to the program means I've done the first step. But I don't understand how I'm going to get better if I can't get past this step because i have no faith.

Hi, Peter

I'm Mary and I'm an alcoholic.

Welcome to AA!

I assume you joined for the same reason I did: my drinking wasn't working for me anymore (or anybody else in my life!) and I needed to stop drinking and find a better way. I don't know about you but AA was last choice, not my first choice. I tried not drinking on my own, anti-depressants, two years of intensive one-on-one psychotherapy, group therapy, atheism, agnosticism, religion, drinking beer only, community service, meditation, organic macrobiotic diets, marriage, divorce, new clothes, hairstyles, jobs, cars, houses, etc and if any one of those things, or combination thereof, had worked for me or given me a different way to go, I NEVER would have called AA. In fact, I was in a black-out when I made that call and didn't even know I had until an AA member showed up on my doorstep with a Big Book!

I'm going to pass on to you what my sponsor, the AA member on my doorstep, told me when I had similar concerns and asked similar questions::
"I don't know the answer. What I do know is there is an answer. And, if you don't drink and keep going to meetings, you will hear the answer in a meeting."
Her advice has always worked for me. I hope you let it work for you too.

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