Swapping One For The Other!

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Swapping One For The Other!

Postby Brock » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:48 am

We recently had a member who was worried about breaking off with their ‘clique’ of AA friends, who together with their sponsor formed a ‘support group,’ and said they “rely on it.” This member had more than a year in the program, and it concerns me that some people think leaning on others is the idea behind AA. We hear of ‘codependency’ and the need to avoid it, but hardly about what it actually is. In today’s daily message by Fr. Richard Rohr, who is a good friend of AA, in part he says this -
All of life is a lesson in learning to love more deeply and truly.

As we start trying to love, we begin to realize that we’re actually not loving very well. We are mostly meeting our own needs. The word for this is “codependency.” This kind of love is still impure and self-seeking and thus is not really love at all. So, we have to pull back and learn the great art of detachment, which is not aloofness but the purifying of attachment.

This defines codependency for me in a simple way, ‘loving for selfish reasons,’ and I believe our program is about standing on our own feet without dependence on other humans. Maybe we should talk more about the dangers of codependency, which is sometimes described as an addiction itself, since we don’t want new people swapping one problem for another.
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Re: Swapping One For The Other!

Postby Spirit Flower » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:50 am

In our area, someone started what is called "Commitment Group." That seems to be that 3 people commit to each other for sobriety. I don't really agree with that as it seems more reliant on people rather than spiritual experience.

This is quite different than having a group of friends who are in AA who decide to hang out together. There was a group of young people I did stuff with when I was young both in sobriety and age. We had a lot of fun going fishing or to dances.
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Re: Swapping One For The Other!

Postby PaigeB » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:09 pm

I have "sister sponsees" and I use them as "10th Step buddies" too. Our group of sister sponsees meets once a month together with our sponsor for an hour and a half to do prayer, meditation, 10th Step stuff and maybe a growth topic like addressing "shame".

I have issues with the idea of co-dependence. The connotations of the word reek with treatment speak and another alanon way to be crazy without the need for alcoholism. I believe and alcoholic has all they need in the Steps. Alanon too. Then you have NA, CA, ACOA and an infinite number of other branches of the same thing. My issues, just sayin'.

I know that we are all "inter-dependent." How can it be any other way? We will never perfectly "detach". AND I believe that I am right where my HP wants me to be, however defective that is. The rest is just part of our personal inner journey of progress and not perfection. Even in the quote from Fr. Richard Rohr:
All of life is a lesson in learning to love more deeply and truly.
... we’re actually not loving very well... So, we have to pull back and learn the great art of detachment, which is not aloofness but the purifying of attachment.

So we learn to amend our attachments. We will still need other people and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is the very basis of AA... Bill & Bob made meetings so that alcoholic people could find other alcoholic people. Why? Because we need something and we need to give something away.

I have said it before & I will say it again, "I learn and practice in AA what I need to learn and practice in the world."
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Re: Swapping One For The Other!

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:26 pm

As long as people don't think its about calling others and expecting the others to talk them out of drinking, I wouldn't term this as bad. There are steel on steel groups where people open their gut out among close set of individuals.I would say it adds more power to their recovery.
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Re: Swapping One For The Other!

Postby Shoreline » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:11 pm

I think it is important to think about what happens if your sponsor/AA friends are not available for some reason. People get busy, move, relapse, even pass away. What if you have to move, and you could not see your old AA friends that often anymore, this should not lead to a relapse.
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Re: Swapping One For The Other!

Postby Spirit Flower » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:31 pm

What if you have to move, and you could not see your old AA friends that often anymore
I've moved. I connected with new AA friends. It is so freaking easy to make friends in AA. Adults otherwise don't have a way to become friends with anyone. You have to join a group of some sort.
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Re: Swapping One For The Other!

Postby Brock » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:29 pm

I believe absolutely, that if I were never to see another AA member, my serenity and chance of relapse would be no different. Perhaps because I don’t see the need to discuss problems with other alcoholics, sometimes with my wife yes or doctor if I am unwell, and I am not saying I am a ‘better AA’ than those who do things differently. As Spirit said this "Commitment Group" business seems very much like relying on people instead of our higher power, and is quite different from just having friends who happen to also be in AA.
We will still need other people and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is the very basis of AA... Bill & Bob made meetings so that alcoholic people could find other alcoholic people. Why? Because we need something and we need to give something away.


There is nothing ‘wrong’ with that yes, but I can’t agree it’s the “very basis of AA.” We need something certainly, other alcoholics who have found the solution to identify with, and to help give us the remedy, in fact we don’t even need live people for that, because if we did nobody would get sober without meetings, and people have, including a member here with over ten years and never been to a live meeting. And we can give our message away fine on sites like this, and even if we couldn’t, I like to believe that the other activities mentioned in the book - “It works when other activities fail,” will see us through just fine, personally I depend on those activities, and my relationship with my higher power, way more than anything else.

As Shoreline mentioned, what happens if certain people are no longer available, should we be scared to move to a lonely area or something like that, I can’t imagine the program depends on other AA people once we have done the steps and live in the solution, and don’t see that written in the maintenance steps of 10, 11 & 12.

I would never advise someone to go it alone if meetings are available, but surely people need to know that it can and has been done when there is no other choice. What we are warning against here is clinging to people in a codependent way, if anyone thinks after doing the steps, that their sobriety would be in danger, if it weren’t for Mr. X or Ms. Y, or a group of X’s and Y’s, I say they have missed the mark of the AA program, and may be codependent.
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Re: Swapping One For The Other!

Postby Greywolf » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:58 pm

Brock wrote: There is nothing ‘wrong’ with that yes, but I can’t agree it’s the “very basis of AA.”

Here's what Bill W. has to say in Chapter One of the BB:
"We commenced to make many fast friends and a fellowship has grown up among us of which it is a wonderful thing to feel a part."
If there were no fellowship, there likely would be no AA. It was the fellowship of the first 40 or so AAers, who agreed they had enough success to justify writing a book that would spread the word of hope to still suffering alcoholics.

The 12 Steps are suggested as a program of recovery (from the affects of alcoholism). We can call them the basis of AA, but they aren't. The basis of AA existed before the steps became 12 steps.

Brock wrote:I would never advise someone to go it alone if meetings are available, but surely people need to know that it can and has been done when there is no other choice.
That it can and has been done seems to be from a very, very small sample. They also should know that going it alone is a very high risk venture.

The problem is not when there is no other choice, but when there is a choice and we chose "our way." Our way got us here.

Brock wrote:What we are warning against here is clinging to people in a codependent way, if anyone thinks after doing the steps, that their sobriety would be in danger, if it weren’t for Mr. X or Ms. Y, or a group of X’s and Y’s, I say they have missed the mark of the AA program, and may be codependent.

As we sometimes say in American football, you may have out-kicked your coverage. I liked the "experience, strength and hope" era better than the "warning, assessment and judgment" era we seem to have entered. ESH may also have been more effective in helping alcoholics.

'Don't take a drink -- no matter what." Co-dependence, or whatever this label is suppose to convey, is easier to recover from than death by alcoholism.
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