An Obsession With Doing It Alone

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David A
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by David A » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:45 pm

No need for apology. Actually, the one thing I wish I had added earlier (and this is proof that I am just as vulnerable today as I was 2 months ago) is "thank you." I could have been more generous with my reply, incidentally. Your other post was wonderful! And I didn't even mention it. Thank you so much. I thought over breakfast about how many opportunities there were at my homegroup last night to practice compassion, and how I can try again the next time I go to a meeting. Indeed.

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tyg
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by tyg » Tue Jan 12, 2016 7:05 pm

This is a great topic: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

I have heard in AA that, alcoholism is a, "sickness of isolation." It does seem like an obsession, though my thinking wants me to believe that I am somehow better off that way and that I, "Got this." Kinda like how booze did. Not that doing it alone is a bad thing when in a healthy balanced state. But before this program, I had no clue what a "healthy balance" was in spiritual matters.

I had been a loner, not much need for others, (master of my universe :lol:) for as long as I can remember, even as a young child. When I came to AA it was uncomfortable to do the things required to recover and be a "part of" the fellowship and not give up. Sometimes I would feel exhausted being around people, interacting, helping others. But I was determined to do whatever it took so I stuck with the fellowship, no matter what. I have to say, even today it can be very easy for me to slip back into lonerville again. But, all the program work I've done over these 6 years has shown me, I "really" am better off and happier when I am not doing it alone (being a part of), even when my thinking tries to convince me otherwise. This goes for in and out of AA. Without AAs program, I would not have all these many wonderful relationships, that have formed, in & out of the fellowship.

I have learned more about the different aspects of isolation and how it affects my life. It really hit me when I let work isolate me from the fellowship for about 5 months. I was doing online(long distance) service but not face2face much. I started doing it outside the fellowship too. Little things in my attitude started changing for the worst. When I isolate, I don't really learn and grow spiritually. I need others, especially the AA fellowship. For some reason, this is where I really get practice with spiritual principles: Love, patience, acceptance, tolerance, humility, getting out of self, open mindedness, being non-judgmental (add to the list). I find now when I isolate (aka do it alone) how quickly things can turn to pot, then it is a struggle to get back on that path again. My imperfections teach me a lot. But I would have never discovered this stuff & learned more about myself if I didn't do all that work in the first place. I still get amazed how toxic denial can be...Cunning, baffling, powerful!

One of my sponsors used to tell me a lot, "How uncomfortable are you willing to get, to get comfortable?" that statement has always stuck with me. I think of it often when I start to baulk at things. Change is usually uncomfortable in spiritual matters and I want to resist it. Especially when I don't see results fast enough.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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Brock
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by Brock » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:59 am

Not that doing it alone is a bad thing when in a healthy balanced state. But before this program, I had no clue what a "healthy balance" was in spiritual matters.
But having been in the program for a bit over six years I now have a pretty good idea of what a 'healthy balance' feels like, I probably got that knowledge years ago when I completed the steps. And for me a person with such a 'going it alone' obsession that I never had a sponsor, while I appreciated the fellowship of meetings at the outset, over time the importance has greatly diminished. I respect that everyone is different, my wife isn’t interested in leaving the house very often, we are retired and staying at home is an option, I find it nicer to go out more often but not necessarily to AA meetings.

Those who find they grow spirituality by attending meetings I am happy for them, I can see the spiritual benefit to be gained in service and helping others, but keep in mind that isolation is an important ingredient in the practice of many very spiritual people, hermits might be an example.

I guess my main point is, that I don't want anyone falling into the possible trap of believing they must do something, (apart from the steps). I have met seeminly well rounded individuals in everyday life, who confess to doing certain things, going to the beach or playing a sport, because 'everybody' else thinks it's fun, so if I don't then something must be wrong with me. Same deal with AA, the one size fits all approach is too common for my liking. I turned my back on religion as soon as I was allowed to, nobody is going to tell me kneel down stand up come every Sunday, and sometimes the instructions people report getting from sponsors sound just as bad. I say once you have gone through the initial meeting attendance necessary, to understand and recover from alcoholism, further spiritual growth is best had by simply if it feels good do it, if it doesn't don't. And often my best lessons and practice of all those things like love, tolerance, etc etc come from driving in my third world country, or in the grocery or anywhere we interact with other people or animals.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by BPG » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:16 pm

Brock wrote:But having been in the program for a bit over six years I now have a pretty good idea of what a 'healthy balance' feels like, I probably got that knowledge years ago when I completed the steps. And for me a person with such a 'going it alone' obsession that I never had a sponsor, while I appreciated the fellowship of meetings at the outset, over time the importance has greatly diminished. I respect that everyone is different, my wife isn’t interested in leaving the house very often, we are retired and staying at home is an option, I find it nicer to go out more often but not necessarily to AA meetings.
This isn't to disagree with you; each of us can offer only our personal experience and perspective on such things. But speaking as one who craved isolation at all times --- including my drinking --- I have found personal, face to face engagement with the world of AA to be absolutely essential to my healthy, long term sobriety. I view it as a kind of medicine that I'd often rather not take --- my default position is still to be alone, to read, to think --- but I cannot recall ever regretting a dose of AA 'medicine' after the fact. Meetings and face to face 12th step work enrich my life in a way that nothing else does, and in those occasional instances where circumstances have prevented me from such regular activity, I have felt the absence in my soul.

As you say, one size doesn't fit all. But for alcoholics of my stripe, isolation is a sad and dangerous place precisely because it's where we'd rather be.

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Spirit Flower
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by Spirit Flower » Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:58 pm

Very few people actually carry on spiritual practices if they stop going to meetings. If someone takes on the responsibility for spiritual growth, then understand this is a real thing, not a half axxed thing.
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PaigeB
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by PaigeB » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:27 pm

Spirit Flower wrote:Very few people actually carry on spiritual practices if they stop going to meetings. If someone takes on the responsibility for spiritual growth, then understand this is a real thing, not a half axxed thing.
And I need all the help I can get! What I was doing before - and what I can so easily slip back into - was DEFINITELY not working!
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

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Barbara D.
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by Barbara D. » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:31 pm

I have decades of sober hindsight, and I conclude that I am a loner. I have an extroverted side that pops out in social situations, so I knew how to talk but had to learn to listen. My original Home Group was male, hardcore, religious-background recovering alcoholics. I was/am a female, high-bottom, non-religious drunk. I hung on to my recovery without the fellowship or an official sponsor for self-supporting period of 15 years. As long as I don't forget that I am NOT in charge, it doesn't seem to matter if I don't know what my HP looks like. And as long as I can talk I on 1 with other recovering alcoholics, I can maintain a spiritual condition. I believe I find what I am looking for. I had to stop focusing on the differences and concentrate on the similarities. I had to drop that right or wrong mentality and treat others as I want to be treated!!! The Steps have shown me how to live life on life's terms, that reality is more about my perspective than the skimpy facts.

Thanks for listening. Happy Wednesday! Barbara D.

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Brock
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by Brock » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:37 pm

Very few people actually carry on spiritual practices if they stop going to meetings.
Nobody has recommended that anyone should stop going to meetings, that would not be a responsible thing to do.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Tosh
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by Tosh » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:14 pm

I did a hill repeat session this evening. I really dislike running up hills; it hurts - it's like there's not enough orifices in my body to breathe from - but by doing the thing I dislike, I end up a stronger runner.

If being alone gives some sense of security and being around others creates insecurity, seek out our fellowship and get stuck in; ideally we end up being comfortable alone, or amongst others.

Embrace your hill.
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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tyg
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by tyg » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:39 am

All I know for me is that my life would not have transformed like it has without the 12 Steps and the fellowship. I found they go hand in hand. One doesn't really do well without the other. Probably because my mindset is no longer "I" need a meeting, instead it is, I need another alcoholic to help and carry the message, what can I contribute to whatever F2F meeting I will be going to. For me my "Obsession to be alone" was a sickness, and this program taught me how to live another way that is way more fulfilling. But I had to put in a lot of work all these years, even when I didn't want to. It payed off big time.
~The secret to the AA program is the first three words on page 112~

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David A
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Re: An Obsession With Doing It Alone

Post by David A » Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:44 am

I wouldn't post again, however my experience has changed substantially in the past several days. As I mentioned I'm back in an area where I kind of fit in better. And I've started saying yes to the fellowship aspect in a way I was just too afraid to for a lot of years.

It is really pretty great. The gift of these other people's friendship is something I took for granted. I'm grateful I'm still alive to be able to experience it. Last night I got the opportunity to see a bunch of people I know and love... Had a friend call me after he got off work and invite me to an improv comedy festival around town. Reconnected with a musician friend who I'm gonna get together and play music with. Got invited out to the big group dinner after the meeting. I had to decline because I was getting up early this morning, but in retrospect I wish I hadn't. I'll say yes next time.

Glad to be alive. Grateful to have both friends and meetings.

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