What do you want from AA?

For recovery discussion

Postby Coyote » Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:04 am

When I met my once and future sponsor, Bob B., he told me that when I stopped looking for what I thought I wanted and become open to what I needed, my life would begin to change for the better and I would come to accept who I was, regardless of what I imagined others thought of me. What happened some years down the road was that I found out who I was, my own identity, and it just didn't matter who anyone else was. I also came to find out that not everyone who comes to AA is looking for sobriety and a better way of life. He also told me that if what I wanted was sympathy I could get plenty of that from a barmaid or a green-door store, and that he didn't feel sorry for me at all. I didn't like him very much back then.

We are all on the same path when we enter recovery, regardless of how we came to be here. Bob explained to me a dozen years ago that I became myself when I stopped comparing myself to anyone else but me. What we are on, if we truly desire a life of sobriety and happiness, is a quest for identity and a way to become comfortable in our own skin. This program of recovery is a way for us to release the excess BAGGAGE that has bogged us down and made us dependent upon it, sometimes for most of our lives. My case in point, from the time I was eight years old!

I don't want what you have because, basically, I don't want to be you! I don't need the hate, the discontent and the misery. My search is for not the differences between us, but for the happiness and wholeness that draws human beings toward a warm fire. I'm glad I got close to that fire and the warmth I needed instead of the personality I wanted. I'm glad it's me inside my skin and not you. How that happened is the mystery I write about, what it feels like is what I share, and what anyone thinks of it is none of my business.

Thanks for letting me share...
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Postby trent » Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:20 am

I have a box in the carage filled with journaling and writing I did in early sobriety. A year or so ago I pulled it down and read through these old writings. That person is long gone, I don't know where he went, or why exactly he went, just a fuzzy memory. It is like the one passage in the big book about how our lives or drinking behavior has become so ingrained in us that it seems like a norma life. Back then I could not imagine life without drinking, or being happy, it just was not there, it was beyond my imagination really. I mean I could imagine being rich and powerfull or having my ego pumped up because of this or that great deed or the girls wanting me or people feeling sorry for me for this or that misfortune. But real peace of mind, real comfort with just being me? Did not know what that crap was.

When I read those journals, you know I just can't imagine today living that kind of life now. LucasM - I only say it becuse if you stick around change is going to happen, and you don't know what it is going to make of you. Just keep an open mind. I had a sponsor who was fond of telling me that I may just find out I was wrong about a lot of things I thought I knew about me.
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Postby Blue Moon » Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:14 pm

trent wrote:"Since then, by sticking around, I never cease to be amazed at how many of the "happy, clappy, selectively-huggy" people seem to end up drinking again. "

You think it is different for the not so happy, not so clappy, not so selectively-huggy types? Your wrong.


I don't recall saying that.

trent wrote:Most quiet or bubbly people will end up drinking again. Does not matter which way their personality leans.


That's very true. But the problem with some happy-clappy types is that the bubbly seems just a show, a front, perhaps hiding insecurity. Yet by being selectively huggy it can further isolate others, particularly newcomers.

Frankly, I'm disgusted with the way too much of AA fellowship tends to treat newcomers. For example, when a newcomer female is standing in the middle of a meeting where at least half the members are women, she should not be either standing alone looking lost or having some male members calling the other women over to do their 12th Step work. AA fellowship is responsible for this dearth of adequate 12th Step work in our very midst, not the newcomer.

The core mantra of most AA newcomers is "I feel different". So in my opinion, a person in an AA meeting should either be willing to hug everyone, or should not be hugging anyone.

trent wrote:Don't try to divide the rooms by personalities, don't worry about what cliques you do or don't fit in or judge what cliques are more or less likely to stay sober then others. Stay sober an enjoy your life.


Hmm. How else can one "stick with the winners"? I do stay sober whether or not I'm in an AA meeting, but when I'm in a meeting I tend not to hang out with the BS merchants. And as the recovery rates are so lowly, one must be selective in finding the wheat amidst all the chaff. Princples before personalities... there's just far too many non-AA "messages" being shared around the rooms of AA to take chances of principle through ignoring personality types. I don't want what AA slippers have, so try not to do what they do.
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Postby BigBookGirl » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:43 pm

Blue Moon wrote:Hmm. How else can one "stick with the winners"? I do stay sober whether or not I'm in an AA meeting, but when I'm in a meeting I tend not to hang out with the BS merchants. And as the recovery rates are so lowly, one must be selective in finding the wheat amidst all the chaff. Princples before personalities... there's just far too many non-AA "messages" being shared around the rooms of AA to take chances of principle through ignoring personality types. I don't want what AA slippers have, so try not to do what they do.


Dang straight. My sponsor's fiancee finally, finally got done trying to "change" a particular meeting he was attending, trying to "turn it" into a group like his home group, which was his first mistake. The final straw was when a newcomer stood up, asked for a sponsor, and not a single person in the room of at least 30 men with a lot of time would come forward. He did, and is working with the newcomer....but not at that group anymore.

Those groups out there that profess to be AA, but don't put emphasis on the Book, and allow newcomers to sit in meeting after meeting unloading their garbage but don't offer any help, it's scary. Especially the ones that should know better. I know that we are all alcoholics, but I also am beginning to recognize real, solid, desireable recovery in others, coincidentally, they refer to themselves as recovered alcoholics. Thankfully, I can also recognize the BS a lot better too.

I did too much lying and used too many people when I was drinking. I can recognize a half asser and a AA resource sucker when I see one today. And I won't hesitate to grab a newcomer away from that as fast as possible, and show them some other ways that just may be a bit more helpful.
~Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol.~ BB pg.76
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Postby BigBookThumper » Sat Oct 27, 2007 12:09 pm

I"m with BigBookGirl on this one.

I only wanted to get sober when i went to my first AA meeting. That was years ago. I heard a lot of "sharing" about anything and everything. I heard quite a few tips like "90 in 90" "put the plug in the jug" etc.

I went for about 3 weeks until I could stand it no more and went back out. A few years later, again stymied by my utter inability to leave alcohol alone regardless of my consequences and what happened every time I drank. I decided to give AA a whirl again. I tried a different group and again, heard more group therapy BS. I lasted for a few months. I was told to make a gratitude list (not in the book), go to 2 meetings a day (I did), etc. etc. I lasted about 2 months and drank again.

All of the people in these meetings were nice, well meaning, loving people...that had NO CLUE what the message of AA is all about. I had a sponsor who had NO BUSINESS trying to sponsor someone else regardless of his multiple years of sobriety. I harbor no resentment as it was not his fault they we for the most part, are NOT DOING OUR JOB in contemporary AA.

Finally after getting drunk again, after going to meetings every day, after doing everything within my power to stay sober, I didn't want to live. I begged God not for help, but to allow me to believe in his will. I remembered a friend of a friend that was in AA and called him.

We met and he put a book in my hand and took me through the Doctor's opinion. He showed me the difference between the problem drinker on page 21 who CAN quit on his own and whose numbers in AA water down our message. He showed me page 24 which saved my life. He brought me to understand that step one is a death sentence without spiritual help...

My life today is amazing. I have abundance in so many aspects, words do not suffice. As long as I continue to enlarge my spiritual life through hard work and self sacrifice for others and that does not mean sitting in meetings engaging in self, talking ENDLESSLY about me, myself, my job, my dog, my girlfriend, my good days, my bad days and potentially killing a newcomer-real alcoholic by telling him he can do it himself, just keep coming back and pray and put the plug in the jug.

Years ago I only wanted to get sober and finally, after a responsible member of our fellowshipship took me through the work I got so much more. I take this message to treatment centers, work with judges in my local courts, sponsor others that no one else will and am stunned at the gifts that befall me as long as I carry this message. God, not me.

I hope I never get my way again.
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Postby dennis » Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:08 am

I figured out that I'm a real alcoholic, but still haven't figured out how to tell if someone else is - so I take their word for it. If someone says they are an alcoholic I believe them, same when they tell me they're not.

I've noticed that there are people who need to do something and those that want to do something. The folks that need to usually don't and the folks that want to usually do.

Here in the southern US they start most meetings off with the first couple of pages of chapter 5. Back when I needed to quit that just went completely over my head. I doubt there's a thing anyone could have said to me to get me to do those things, I had very selective hearing.

Once I wanted to quit all that became perfectly clear even though I was pretty foggy.

When I needed to quit I hung with the people that were like me. Group therapy stuff. Postive affirmations and thoughts. Staying busy. Meetings. All that.

Once I wanted to quit it didn't take many visits to a group to figure out which people had quit, and who could help me quit.

When I needed to quit the idea that one is to many just didn't compute. Once I wanted to get sober the idea made perfect sense.

You know?

The fact is that most folks that come to AA don't want to quit drinking. They need to, they know they need to but at some level or another alcohol still works for them. If the drink is working for you, hell you'd be insane to quit! :lol:

Blaming groups for newcomers not hearing the message or something is a put down not only of AA but newcomers. These folks aren't stupid you know.

There isn't a bad way to quit drinking. Some are more painful than others tis true, but a sober alcoholic has a much better chance of leading a happy life than a drunk one does. It's a hell of a lot easier to convey the message to a dry alcoholic than it is to a wet one.

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Postby Blue Moon » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:00 am

dennis wrote:Blaming groups for newcomers not hearing the message or something is a put down not only of AA but newcomers. These folks aren't stupid you know.


I don't recall anyone in this thread blaming groups for newcomers not hearing the message. The problem is the prevalence of meeting after meeting taking place and "the message" not even being mentioned.

A newcomer certainly can't hear a message that isn't there. It's like having a radio tuned into the wrong station, it's the fault of whoever's supposed to be tuning in the radio. Don't be surprised if the new listener, hoping to hear some uplifting classic rock, doesn't bother coming back to hear more of the same old talk radio.

When a group is not sharing the AA recovery message in its "AA" meetings, yet is actively enabling a whole bunch of other messages not found in any AA book (and certainly not the Big Book), like it or not the "sober" AA members in that group are at fault for non-AA messages being propagated in and around their "AA" group.

Ironically, in my experience they're often the same people who'd have a collective apoplexy if anyone in the group suggested selling "non-conference approved" stuff like Hazelden literature. Which does make them rather hypocritical when sharing non-AA nonsense like "just don't drink and go to meetings", "do 90 in 90", "wait a year before working the Steps", etc etc.

The fact they don't shut up and learn about the AA program before "sharing" about it to sate their overactive egos then becomes the group's problem... at the expense of the "real" alcoholic with a genuine desire to recover.
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Postby BigBookThumper » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:47 pm

Amen.
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