Step 12 Conundrum

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Step 12 Conundrum

Postby emeraldg » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:30 pm

Hello friends,

It's been quite some time since I have posted! As some of you have suggested to me previously, I have indeed been keeping busy, including taken up a new hobby! haha ;)
In all seriousness though, you all have shown me when my thinking is not sober. Thank you for these gifts.

I have a question I am putting out here, because I'd really be interested in hearing about varied and different experiences on this situation, as this is not something that I have personally encountered much while in recovery to be honest.

I recently had some new clients hire me for a one time job, in which the consultation was at their home, and I would not be dealing with them after that. They were a fairly recently married couple around 50 years old. I immediately noticed the amounts of liquor throughout their home, many of them empty bottles that they were collecting and presenting throughout their home on display. I have seen this before, but what took me back was the sheer quantity of these bottles, I've never seen a collection quite that vast displayed proudly in someone's home. I mentioned nothing to do with it, but shortly afterward the conversation we were having took quite an interesting turn. The husband had immediately struck me upon meeting him as someone with an extreme amount of narcissism, who bragged about accomplishments that seemed very stretched. As this is not a rare thing, I moved on to discuss business. Somewhere in the conversation he began bragging about his alcohol consumption, very proudly. He could drink anyone under the table, he could drink 50 shots in an evening and still walk, he was also telling stories and laughing about all of the (quite frankly, and in my opinion only) humiliating and pitiful things he had done when drinking. He seemed very boastful and proud of this fact, and his wife (no idea her drinking status, none of my business, she didn't mention it) was laughing right along with it.

Neither of these 2 seemed to view this as a problem, nor did they mention alcoholism being a possibility. They did not seem distressed about this at all, in fact I seemed to be the only party in the room with this thought process. They both even laughed and downplayed the fact that their grown children, each from previous marriages, were estranged and refused to speak to them.

I did not mention my being in recovery at all, or do any 12 step work in this situation whatsoever. I typically do not in a professional context anyhow, simply because I haven't needed to yet. It was the first time the situation occurred in a work setting. That being said...when dealing with this couple, the part in the big book where it mentions not to waste time on a person who doesn't want help, when so many do, came straight to mind. I did say a prayer when I was driving home.

To be honest, I haven't really encountered this situation also in the fact that the vast majority of individuals I see in such a situation, who are 50 year old parents and spouses, typically lie and hide the amount of alcohol they consume. They are scared and ashamed of how much they drink. I have yet to know any beyond perhaps teenagers or college age kids who are proud, brag, and display this issue via empty bottles in their homes for public display.

I would love your experiences, strength and hope on this issue. Could I do anything differently next time if in a similar situation? Have you ever encountered something like this?

Thank you all so much, as always. Blessings
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Re: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby Noels » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:37 pm

Good morning Emerald, good to hear from you again :D

This is a very interesting topic and very interesting question, thank you for opening it up for discussion :D Ive actually had the same or similar question when I just got sober and most members at that stage here by us was of the opinion that business is business and someone else's drinking habits, unless they specifically ask for help, is none of our business, quoting the "anonymous side", "desire to stop drinking aspect" and "attraction rather than promotion" attitude.

For me though, living spiritually means that it is in and reflected in my entire life including my business side. It is not as if I can "switch off" or "put aside" my spiritual in the morning when I come into the office and "switch it on" again when I go to an AA meeting or onto this site. No, it is all me so I am the same with the same beliefs in all I do whether business, personal, relationships, meetings, chilling in front of the tellie, out shopping, meeting with a client, cooking etc so I needed to find a way to help the still suffering alcoholic without being intrusive as I do agree that unless we are specifically asked for help it is not up to us to comment or think anything about that particular person's drinking habits.

So what we do is to place our pamphlet which now have the AA helpline number on in our presentation folders that we hand to each and every client who comes through our office. That to me is unobtrusive yet if there is someone who is suffering but too ashamed to mention it, can phone the AA helpline number and get assistance. I'm happy knowing that i am doing "my bit" to help the still suffering alcoholic by providing the details for incase and i leave the rest to Creator.
Hope this helps and thank you once again for bringing this topic to us.

mwah xxx Noels
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Re: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:05 am

In your situation, you probably will be fired. You say its a one time job, maybe you will find another. But if you keep doing this, then you may not find another job. So I will be bit hesitant. Let them figure they have a problem.

On the other hand, if it was one of them in my friends circle, I will not hesitate. Few weeks ago, I 12 stepped a couple. They started avoiding me. :lol:
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: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby emeraldg » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:26 am

Thanks friends. I did not mention it because as you eluded to, it was a work situation but also like I mentioned in my OP, this alcohol "issue" did not seem to bother either of them in the least, so I didn't feel it was up to me to tell someone who views his behavior as a source of accomplishment that he is an alcoholic, or even go down that path.

So with that in mind...even outside of a work situation, I have honestly not met anyone who bragged about openly and was proud of drinking that heavily, and talking and laughing about such harsh consequences as a result like it was a source of pride and accomplishment. Like I mentioned in my OP I just personally haven't seen that in anyone yet that was over the age of late 20's at most and perhaps a binge drinking college student.

For me, in my sickness, I would lie and cover up the amount I drank. I was ashamed and scared. I would not have been proud to say that I could drink 50 shots and still walk straight, and that my family had cut off contact from me. So while it made me puzzled, it did reflect back to me the passage in the big book where it mentions leaving the drunk who doesn't want help alone, don't waste any more time on him, if he is desperate enough he will want help. This man certainly didn't seem to think he needed help, or that there was anything desperate about his condition. I'd love your thoughts on this. Thank you friends!
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Re: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby D'oh » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:40 am

Good to hear from you again emeraldg

Easiest I have heard it explained (Alcoholic vs, Heavy Drinker) No matter How Much, How Often, When, Where,

1 Alcoholic, once they start to drink, they don't control the drink, the drink controls them.
2 Alcoholic, Drinking causes "Trouble"

"The dubious luxury of Normal men and women"
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Re: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby tomsteve » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:58 am

ive been in situations where a person didn't know I was sober, but started talking about their drinking in a boastful way. I personally had no problem sharing my experience with alcohol- not the amount consumed but why I drank- the underlying issues- and how stopping drinking started to change those underlying issues.
something like," I used to be pretty proud of how much I could consume, but then didn't care if I could drink more than anyone else. I had a pretty low self esteem and didn't like myself much so I just wanted to drink to try and get rid of that feeling. i didn't realize for a long time it didn't work- the feelings were still there."
if they aren't interested in more, i leave it at that.
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Re: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby Noels » Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:01 am

:D I must say ... now that I'm sober depending on the company, if they talk about drinking I do share stories of the nonsense I got up to when I was still drinking but I make it helluva funny and then like Tom said I do include a little bit of information afterwards incase. You never know. Business again depends on the person I'm with. My personal clients and I are on a very friendly footing and most of them have been with us when I was drinking even so I have no problem sharing funny stories of my drinking days with them - again throwing in some AA information at the end in a very subtle way. I am already on excellent terms with some of the newer clients on my side and have put a joke or two out about my drinking days especially when they invite me around for a drink and I need to "gracefully decline" in a humorous manner. The first time or two they seemed to not believe that I'm an alcoholic as I don't "look" like an alcoholic :lol: but they've gotten used to the idea that I don't drink.

I would however, NEVER discuss my drinking days with hubby's clientele unless it is a person looking for assistance referred directly by hubby. Again, he has a very good relationship with his clientele so my alcoholism, bi-polar-ism (when I still had it) have come up a few times between him and his clients when their wives or girlfriends seemed to have "similar" tendencies as I had at that time. I have no problem with him mentioning it as I know some of his clients have already been helped simply because he mentioned his experience with my alcoholism and craziness from the past.

The clients' behavior towards me have not changed at all. They are very respectful, appreciative and loyal so we must both be doing a good job whenever these defects are mentioned.

I do think though that your personality plays a very big role in "getting away" with discussing alcoholism with a client regardless of the terms your relationship are on. If you're normally a jokey person and suddenly turn serious the "message" may be interpreted incorrectly and vice versa. The words used and way we discuss alcoholism with a client is also very important as you can never come across as being disrespectful, argumentative or pointing fingers. In general unless you are really comfortable with yourself and your message I would suggest caution and even refrain from discussing alcoholism with a client direct. Remember how we were when we were still drinking ...... we never had a problem. It was always other people, places and situations and if you had a problem with me drinking well ... I wished you luck as I waved you goodbye.

This particular person whom Emerald is referring too clearly doesn't think he has a problem so I would not have indicated any different either.
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Re: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby avaneesh912 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:56 pm

1 Alcoholic, once they start to drink, they don't control the drink, the drink controls them.
2 Alcoholic, Drinking causes "Trouble"


But the main problem of the alcoholic is, his/her mind. They can't stay away from that 1st drink. Thats the mental part of powerlessness. What you have here is just consequences.
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: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby D'oh » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:33 pm

But the main problem of the alcoholic is, his/her mind. They can't stay away from that 1st drink. Thats the mental part of powerlessness. What you have here is just consequences.
It is why I put it as #1.
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Re: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:52 am

#1, the way i read it, is AFTER we take that first drink. All the out of control and bad S*** crazy thing happen.

But we need to talk about the spiritual malady. After the alcoholic puts down the drink. And then that leads to the blind spot. Page 24 talks about it.

So the alcoholic, without any help WILL take a drink.
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: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby D'oh » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:25 am

So you have never said "This time it will be different? Only 1, I have to pace myself, What's the use anyways."

Most know there is a problem with life, most suspect that decreasing alcohol will help but can't even with the Best intentions.

It is the first drink, even if it goes well, the thought of "It went ok that time" comes from it. It is totally "Why do we need it? When we know what follows." Life and the way we are living it, is the "Ism", Alcohol was only a symptom.
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Re: Step 12 Conundrum

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:32 am

yeah. precisely. the alcoholic will come up with some excuse.

Thats why the book says the alcoholics main problem is the mind not the body (Craving and consequences).


These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.
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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