Feedback during a call

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Feedback during a call

Postby Alex1 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:49 pm

Hi guys,

I'd really like to hear someone else's opinion on this, I'm not sure I have one of my own.

A fellow from my home group just called me. He shared about a huge resentment he has towards his wife. He tried to talk to her about it and he showed his annoyance so she said if he's getting annoyed maybe they should talk later. That made him really angry and he shouted and swore at her.

After about 10 minutes of this, I wasn't quite sure what to say, but thought I should say something. But he then said "so I'm gonna call a guy with 10 years + sobriety and get some feedback." I took this to mean "Alex, I just wanted to vent, please don't try to help." So I thanked him for sharing and that was that.

What's my responsibility as a sharee (is that a word?)? It sounds to me like he's extremely close to a drink, but he doesn't seem to want to hear anything from me. What should I be doing here?
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby leejosepho » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:28 pm

Alex1 wrote:What's my responsibility as a sharee (is that a word?)?

Experience-born answers to questions.

Alex1 wrote:He shared about a huge resentment he has...she said...maybe they should talk later. That made him really angry and he shouted and swore at her.

I used to cling to bones while digging my holes deeper also. If you wish, you *might* let him know you would be glad to share how you learned to turn those energies to something productive after having cleaned up the previous messes. All he has to do is ask.

Alex1 wrote:It sounds to me like he's extremely close to a drink, but he doesn't seem to want to hear anything from me.

That is likely why he had not asked, and sometimes there is just nothing we can do there but to watch and wait for the next opportunity when one might come along.
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby Duke » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:29 pm

I'm not sure there's a perfect answer. It sure sounds to me like you read the situation right.

I often ask folks who call me if they're calling for my feedback or just to listen. (This really works well with my wife and children, by the way). Usually they are honest with me about what they're looking for and I typically honor their desires. Folks who say they don't want your opinion aren't going to hear it anyway.

I have had a few situations in which I've had to limit my availability for these calls because I found that I was just a backstop for whining and griping and no real progress was happening.

In any case, if you're not sure what he wants from you when he calls, I suggest you ask. Can't hurt.
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby ezdzit247 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:41 pm

Duke wrote:I'm not sure there's a perfect answer. It sure sounds to me like you read the situation right.

I often ask folks who call me if they're calling for my feedback or just to listen. (This really works well with my wife and children, by the way). Usually they are honest with me about what they're looking for and I typically honor their desires. Folks who say they don't want your opinion aren't going to hear it anyway.

I have had a few situations in which I've had to limit my availability for these calls because I found that I was just a backstop for whining and griping and no real progress was happening.

In any case, if you're not sure what he wants from you when he calls, I suggest you ask. Can't hurt.


Hi Alex

I agree with what Duke posted above and his suggestion that you call the guy back. I'd ask him if he's okay and if he's planning to go to a meeting tonight. Sounds like he really needs one! Making the call will probably help you to release him and the worry you have about him.
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby tyg » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:09 am

Alex1 wrote:I'd really like to hear someone else's opinion on this, I'm not sure I have one of my own.
My guess is you have some good opinions about this too.

I've read some great advise so far....The only thing I could add is:
Bring this situation to your HP in meditation and see what it has to say. Nothing wrong with a courtesy call to see how they are doing. But also, no need to be someone's dumping ground if that is where the conversation continues to turn. I'm a great listener, but not if marinading the mess. I inventory and meditate on these things. Helps me better discern my reactions & actions to take and how I can be more helpful to others.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby Alex1 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:51 pm

Thank you for the replies.

I called him the next morning and he was happy to speak although he sounded in bad shape and didn't talk for long. I texted again in the evening and got no response. Thinking the worst I called a few hours later and left a message asking if he was OK, got no response. I assumed he was drunk so I left it.

He called me this evening to say he didn't drink he's just going mad with resentment and was binge-watching TV. I talked to him about it for a while, basically asking him what his wife was going through and why she behaved as she did. I told him that I thought he was taking what happened personally when really it wasn't about him at all, his wife was just going through her own stuff and didn't communicate that with him.

He stopped talking and said something like "oh, I hadn't thought about it like that. Damn you."

So that was that. I hope he makes an amends to his wife. I feel very blessed to have been able to help someone today.

At the same time I need to surrender that my ego swelled a bit after the call. I have to remember that I am not a guru, my life is just as unmanageable today as it was yesterday. God wanted my friend to hear something and he picked me as his instrument tonight.
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:14 pm

I have a joke to tell, this was from one of Don Ps talk, where he talks about one of the sponsee (big hulk) calling him in the middle of the night "I am going to the b* house, I am going to burn it down.......", and Don P goes (after a prayer), "you SOB, you called to tell me something I could have read it in the morning newspaper" and put the receiver down. He warns about we doing same but we need to know what we are doing (and not be trapped in guilt).
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: Feedback during a call

Postby leejosepho » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:36 pm

Alex1 wrote:He stopped talking and said something like "oh, I hadn't thought about it like that. Damn you."

So that was that.

In the sense of a bit of clarity, yes, and it was certainly great you could help with that. Just be cautious not to be distracted by getting into mere "situation management" where someone needs to be looking at how he or she had ever set himself or herself up for something like that in the first place.
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("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:52 pm

Alex1 wrote:Thank you for the replies.

I called him the next morning and he was happy to speak although he sounded in bad shape and didn't talk for long. I texted again in the evening and got no response. Thinking the worst I called a few hours later and left a message asking if he was OK, got no response. I assumed he was drunk so I left it.

He called me this evening to say he didn't drink he's just going mad with resentment and was binge-watching TV. I talked to him about it for a while, basically asking him what his wife was going through and why she behaved as she did. I told him that I thought he was taking what happened personally when really it wasn't about him at all, his wife was just going through her own stuff and didn't communicate that with him.

He stopped talking and said something like "oh, I hadn't thought about it like that. Damn you."

So that was that. I hope he makes an amends to his wife. I feel very blessed to have been able to help someone today.

At the same time I need to surrender that my ego swelled a bit after the call. I have to remember that I am not a guru, my life is just as unmanageable today as it was yesterday. God wanted my friend to hear something and he picked me as his instrument tonight.


Thanks for the update! Sounds like God tapped the right person to be this guy's "eskimo". Any day any AA member gets into that stark raving sober mode, and doesn't take that first drink, is a good day for the entire fellowship. Glad you were there for him.
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby Lali » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:42 am

Does this guy have a sponsor? Has he done the steps? This situation with his wife should be a part of his 4th step.

You may want to have a conversation with this guy about the serious nature of resentments.

Page 64 of the Big Book states, in part:

Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill...In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. (This is where the book tells us how to do Step 4.)

Pages 66 and 67 of the BB state, in part:

"It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die.

If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison..."

The book goes on to tell us the solution:

"...We realized that the people who had wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance we would grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done".

"We avoid retaliation or argument..."

As one can see, I have paraphrased these paragraphs from the book. It might be a good idea, Alex, to tell the guy to read pages 64 through 67 in their entirety.
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby Alex1 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:40 am

UPDATE:

The person in question told me today that after I spoke to him he went to a meeting. Then he went home and got drunk.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. I guess a mixture of irritation, disappointment and frustration. I don't want to dwell on it though, it's not my fault.

He does have a sponsor. He can't get through to him that often since he lives in another country. I do think he should get a local sponsor but it's not my place to say.
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:47 am

All we can do is pray, hope he doesn't go dying on us and next time he comes in he will get hold of a sponsor who shall point him in the right direction next time. The 12 steps.
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: Feedback during a call

Postby ezdzit247 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:26 pm

Alex1 wrote:UPDATE:

The person in question told me today that after I spoke to him he went to a meeting. Then he went home and got drunk.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. I guess a mixture of irritation, disappointment and frustration. I don't want to dwell on it though, it's not my fault.

He does have a sponsor. He can't get through to him that often since he lives in another country. I do think he should get a local sponsor but it's not my place to say.


Thanks for the update, Alex.

Sorry things went south on you, but the guy knew from your previous contact with him that he could call you before picking up that first drink and he chose to pick up the drink anyway. His choice is definitely not your responsibility. That happens a lot among newcomers and it's better to just let them do what they got to do to convince themselves that booze creates more problems then it solves. I bounced in and out of AA for almost two years doing about the same thing until I finally "got it" and was able to stay sober longer than a few weeks or a month at a time. If he can't or won't put the plug in the jug right now, that frees up your time to work with another alcoholic who is ready and willing to get sober and stay sober. Win-win.

Keep coming back....
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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby leejosepho » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:02 pm

ezdzit247 wrote:...the guy knew from your previous contact with him that he could call you before picking up that first drink...

That is not always possible for the real alcoholic and I will gladly share with you the experience-born facts of that from our book if you might wish.
=======================
"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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Re: Feedback during a call

Postby Reborn » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:59 pm

leejosepho wrote:
ezdzit247 wrote:...the guy knew from your previous contact with him that he could call you before picking up that first drink...

That is not always possible for the real alcoholic and I will gladly share with you the experience-born facts of that from our book if you might wish.


Agreed...I had an experience like this tonight. The person texts and says they are not going to make the meeting tonight because they are under the influence. I told this person who has been in and out for almost a year that "if you want the merry go round to stop you have to jump off...do you have an honest desire to stop drinking?" Answer.."yes" I say "I will be over in the morning when you have sobered up and take you to coffee and we will have a chat about your willingness." I plan on giving this person a real 1st step experience...stressing the mental twist...the insanity that leads alcoholics back to the only solution we know..THE FIRST DRINK! That if he doesn't apply a spiritual solution to this restless, irratable and discontent alcoholic mind of his, he will go back to that first drink everytime...PERIOD. I truly believe that people need to hear it just this way as it was revealed to us out of bitter experience....the rest is up to them.
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