Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Most of us who recovered with AA's program did so with the help of a "sponsor". But what is sponsorship? How do I get one? Who can be a sponsor? What makes a good sponsor?

Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Feeya » Sun May 22, 2016 12:49 am

Hi everyone,
I'm kind of new to all of this, I haven't really figured anything out yet but I wanted to start looking into AA, because I think it could possibly help my situation...
Now, I have never been to a real life meeting, that seems like a very scary thing... and I just don't really know where to start. What do I do?
Someone told me that I should get a sponsor who guides me along? But where do I get one and how does that work?
I feel kind of lost and everything is really scary right now and I would really appreciate if anyone had any kind of advice.
Sorry if this is the wrong Thread... I'm absolutely clueless.

Feeya, scared.
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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby PaigeB » Sun May 22, 2016 1:12 am

You are not the only one struggling with loneliness... another newcomer posted a new thread today and there are some good words there:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=20464

As for finding meetings & AA folks near you, you can follow the links from this site to anywhere in the world. Then just pick up the phone. Use your feet, rather than your head, and just walk into a meeting and tell someone that you are new! http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-aa-resources

For answers about sponsorship, here is an AA approved pamphlet on the subject, but it is pretty simple - a sponsor walks you through the Big Book called Alcoholics Anonymous and guides you through the Steps. It is one person who you can go to with everything and get some practical advice on what the next right thing is to do. http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/aa-liter ... ponsorship

Above all I found that the people in AA helped me by telling their own stories and allowing me time to see how I fit in. For the first time in my life I belonged to something happy and worthy. Keep going to meeting and don't quit trying before the miracle!
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: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Tosh » Sun May 22, 2016 4:37 am

Hi Feeya,

In A.A. you don't have to find a sponsor or do anything at all; heck you don't even have to stop drinking to go to a meeting. There's only one requirement to be an A.A. member and that's we should have a desire to stop drinking; but even if you didn't, we'd still want you to come and meet us.

I'm just saying that in the hope that it may help you to remove any self-imposed pressure you may feel.

And recovery is a journey - sometimes difficult, but often fun, exciting and just wonderful too - and the first stage of any journey is taking the first step. I'd suggest you put thoughts of sponsors - or anything - to one side for now and just get to your first meeting. The best one will be the next meeting that's closest to you now.

A.A. is a loving and friendly organisation; we always have coffee on the go too. My suggestion would be to just get to your first meeting.

And this site is a great place too; it's been very helpful to my own recovery.

Regards

Tosh
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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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Feeya » Sun May 22, 2016 4:45 am

Thank you guys for the kind words...
yeah, I definitely have the desire to stop, as scary as it seems, I want to stop drinking sooo bad!
Thank you for the advice and for the links, I might take a look at where I can find a meeting nearby...

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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Tosh » Sun May 22, 2016 5:19 am

Feeya wrote:yeah, I definitely have the desire to stop, as scary as it seems, I want to stop drinking sooo bad!


Scary yes, but exciting also! Many of us wanted to 'do stuff', but couldn't because our drinking just dominated us. And although - right now - it might be impossible to think about life without drinking, but trust me, we can get to a point where we just don't need to drink - we're not fighting it - it just doesn't bother us in the least. The problem gets removed. That might sound 'way out', but I promise you it can happen.

The longer I'm sober the better life is getting; I'm loving life right now and it all began with going to my first meeting. I still drank again after my first meeting, but I just kept on going back to meetings, again and again, and then I asked a guy I liked - who seemed to know what he was talking about - to sponsor me; he seemed kind and did service and other A.A. members seemed to like him. And he showed me A.A.'s 12 Step program.

But woah; here's me getting ahead of you; it all started with my first meeting...

wink wink nudge nudge. :D
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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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Feeya » Sun May 22, 2016 5:27 am

Hey,
It actually does sound way out, but I know it is possible... I'm just not sure if it is possible for me!
Someone offered me the other day to take me to my first meeting, so I don't have to go on my own...
should I do that, or should I just go on my own and get over it? Because I don't really know the woman, I guess someone just told her that I'm thinking about going and she offered help... I'm not sure...

Thank you for sharing your experience with me, I really areppreciate that!

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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Tosh » Sun May 22, 2016 8:26 am

Feeya wrote:Hey,
It actually does sound way out, but I know it is possible... I'm just not sure if it is possible for me!


I know that feeling as well. Because I'd tried to moderate and/or stop drinking so many times, even with the help of my doctor and alcohol counselling - and failed - I'd developed a self-concept of myself that I was a 'weak man'. In fact when family used to get on my back about my drinking, I'd yell at them "I'm a weak man - so what?" I wore it like a shield, so they couldn't pick on me for it. :lol:

But I believed it too. I've never been able to stick at anything, I'd failed in my army career, my family, I'd failed my children and I'd failed myself. I believed I was a weak failure.

And here I am - sober and serene(ish) - on the verge of being 7 years sober - and it's all down to A.A..

Oh, and I've learnt not to believe my thoughts; just because I think something is 'this way', it doesn't mean it's actually 'this way' in reality. I like that. My suggestion is to try and not to believe any negative thoughts you may have about your possibility of non-recovery. You can recover. This is a fact. Those negative thoughts are just thoughts; you cannot show me a 'thought'; they're just some neurons firing in your head; they're not real in a sense. So don't always believe them. If they're troubling you, find a solid A.A. member, and run the thought through them. It's good to get another perspective because, as I say, we can't always trust our thoughts/feelings; they're not always facts.

Feeya wrote:Someone offered me the other day to take me to my first meeting, so I don't have to go on my own...
should I do that, or should I just go on my own and get over it? Because I don't really know the woman, I guess someone just told her that I'm thinking about going and she offered help... I'm not sure...


Yes, you should definitely take this lady up on her offer. One thing that helped keep me sober in early sobriety was that I found guys who had even less sobriety than myself and I'd take them to meetings. It really helped me and hopefully it helped them too. And you get a 'meeting on the way to a meeting' and another 'meeting on the drive home from a meeting'.

Give her a ring, or send her a text, and please take up her offer. You may be helping her by doing this.
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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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Spirit Flower » Sun May 22, 2016 10:21 am

Hi Feeya, Welcome!
FWIW, none of us wanted to go to AA. It is the last house on the block. But, sobriety is fantastic and worth getting your butt inside the doors. We all walked in your shoes and know how you feel.
I'd say yes to the woman who offered a ride. After that first time, it won't be so bad.
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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Feeya » Mon May 23, 2016 1:37 am

Thank you Spirit Flower and thank you Tosh!
I've actually never thought about the fact that I might be helping her by taking up her offer...
Why would that be helpful to her? Would you mind telling me how it helped you?
I texted her this morning and told her that I am willing to go and now I'm waiting for her to tell me when! She also said that she wants to introduce me to someone who might be able to give me some advice on not just the drinking but the drugs aswell!
It's so scary but I am kind of looking forward to it too....

Regarding the self concept of being weak, I guess that is exactly what I am doing too... I don't have kids or a partner, but when my parents confront me, that is the first thing I say: "I can't stop, I'm weak!" And that is what it feels like. It does feel like I am too weak... why else would I not be able to stop drinking and doing drugs, even though that is what I want to soooo bad?! I will tell myself: "Today I'm going to stop!" But then I get wasted anyway and I get so upset at myself that I get even more wasted. It just doesn't seem possible, but that is why I am here... because I wanna learn...

Regarding 'thoughts'... I'm a very positive person, when it comes to others I'm always down to motivate people and help them along... even older people (I'm 22) look to me for advice sometimes... But when it comes to myself I never believe in myself, I just don't...

Thank you for the encouragement!
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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Spirit Flower » Mon May 23, 2016 2:59 am

Regarding the self concept of being weak, I guess that is exactly what I am doing too... I don't have kids or a partner, but when my parents confront me, that is the first thing I say: "I can't stop, I'm weak!" And that is what it feels like. It does feel like I am too weak... why else would I not be able to stop drinking and doing drugs, even though that is what I want to soooo bad?! I will tell myself: "Today I'm going to stop!" But then I get wasted anyway and I get so upset at myself that I get even more wasted. It just doesn't seem possible, but that is why I am here... because I wanna learn...


Thats the thing about knowing a group of drunks. We all felt this. In AA we learn about the problem as a malady of body, mind and spirit. An obsession we are powerless over.

You can read our book online for free here:
http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/alcoholics-anonymous

It explains how we can't stop.
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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Feeya » Mon May 23, 2016 3:03 am

Thank you for the link, I will start reading that!
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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Tosh » Mon May 23, 2016 6:51 am

Feeya wrote:. why else would I not be able to stop drinking and doing drugs, even though that is what I want to soooo bad?! I will tell myself: "Today I'm going to stop!" But then I get wasted anyway and I get so upset at myself that I get even more wasted. It just doesn't seem possible, but that is why I am here... because I wanna learn...


What I did was get some strategies in place (I wouldn't have said that's what I was doing at the time, but it's what I did).

In a list, here's some of the things which helped me survive without drinking in the early days:

1. I went to a lot of meetings. Time went so slowly I didn't know what to do with myself and all afternoons and evenings were usually spent drunk, so when I stopped drinking, a big hole opened up in my life. I filled that hole with meetings. I do maybe two-a-week now; I don't live in A.A. meetings, but in the early days I found them hugely important.

2. I used prayer; I'm an atheist (or at least I don't have a conventional concept of God being a Him who lives in the sky), but I still could pray. I could pray for a sober day first thing in the morning. It helped me set my intention for the day. I could pray for help and strength. This might all sound weird what with me being an atheist, but maybe I was praying to my 'God within'? Who cares? Prayer works.

3. I used to do something called 'delay the drink'; when itching for a drink I'd tell myself I could drink, but first I'd have to listen to an A.A. speaker at the website XA Speakers. By the time the speaker had finished, I'd calmed down.

I also over-ate (a lot of chocolate) and drank too much coffee and smoked too many cigarettes too. I consider all these things as being 'lesser evils' and when I recovered I stopped smoking, reduced my sugar intake, and started exercising (I even ran a tough cross-country marathon).

But the real solution is in the steps. I found a sponsor who guided me through them; he helped keep things simple for me (I have a great ability to overthink).

Now you may think you're at your rock bottom, but us alcoholics are resourceful, and we have ways of making our rock bottoms ever deeper. It doesn't have to be this way; meetings, prayer, service, sponsor - it's a program of action (not beliefs or thinking) - my anxiety was useful, it pushed me into action.

My suggestion would be to get stuck in; the Big Book says we should approach this stuff as if we're drowning men (or something like that; I'm too lazy to look it up); but you get the idea. Drowning men put a lot of action in to try and not to drown. Introduce yourself, shake hands, offer to do service, share at meetings; get to meetings early, leave meetings late. If you drive offer lifts to other ladies (beware us men; we're often very dodgy; but you sound wise enough to know that already).

Get excited about recovery; it really is exciting - life changing - stuff.
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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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Feeya » Mon May 23, 2016 7:23 am

Wow. You just made me cry! I guess that is a good thing, because it hasn't happened in a while.
It is probably not my place to say, but congratulations on everything that you have achieved, it sounds like you put a lot of work and effort into your sobriety and I think that is great and really brave! (My apologies if this is weird)

I'm an atheist as well, so praying never really came to mind before... but maybe if I pray to 'a God within' I could give it a try without feeling weird... God seems to be a huge deal in AA and that is something I need to get used to I guess... but 'a God within' sounds okay!

The 'delaying the drink' is something I already do... I always try to delay the point of 'the first drink during the day'... I just never make it past noon, that is usually the time of day where I am not busy and I get bored and then it is on.
I will definitely listen to the Website you suggested, I didn't know that you could actually do that online!

I just got news that on Friday I will go to my first meeting and I hope that after that the fear and the confusion will lighten...

Thank you,
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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Tosh » Mon May 23, 2016 7:55 am

No worries, Feeya, we're rooting for you. Now, I don't want to seem pushy - and all you have to do is ignore me or say 'thanks', and then ignore me - but it's Monday today and Friday is a long way off.

There's nothing wrong with just tipping up at a meeting today.

But obviously I don't know your situation; you may not be able to get to one, or you might be rural and there's none about till Friday, or something else.

However, if it's at all possible, just get to one. If you're frightened try praying for strength to go; just about all of us were terrified about going to our first meeting, but driven by even greater fears, we went.

But what I don't want to happen is that I've pushed you too hard and you just disappear from this website.

That wouldn't be good for either of us. :shock:

Please feel free to ignore this suggestion if it's 'a bridge too far' (one of my favourite war films that is).
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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Re: Confused, alone and looking for guidance

Postby Feeya » Mon May 23, 2016 8:14 am

Well... Friday is a long way off, that is true...
I would probably be able to get to a meeting earlier... but I can't. And there we are again with the "I can't."

I'm annoying myself with the 'Oh yeah, I'll go to meeting, tomorrow... or maybe next week' stuff but I can't help it... and I don't know if that is just me trying to delay my 'sobriety' or something like that, now that I think about it I'm assuming that's what it is...

Don't worry about being pushy or whatever... I'm grateful for any conversation I get to have on here and I take any advice I can get... and I know you are right, when you say that it is a pretty long time until Friday comes around..
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