Unmanageable?

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Unmanageable?

Postby Mike O » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:19 pm

This is just a topic for discussion.

In the context of Step 1, I would say that when I stopped drinking and started on the 12 Step journey, my life had not become "unmanageable". It had become "barely manageable" or " manageable with great effort". I was able to function. I only very rarely missed work, I had (still have) a strong relationship with my mrs. and with my kids. I wasn't in trouble with the law. Things were looking pretty tight financially, I guess.

BUT.... I could see my life becoming "unmanageable" if I continued on the same path.

My question is how many of us actually reached "unmanageability" or how many, like me, were functioning ok but could see "unmanageability" up ahead, and still had it together enough to get a grip on things in time.

-Mike
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Joe H » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:29 pm

or how many, like me, were functioning ok but could see "unmanageability" up ahead, and still had it together enough to get a grip on things in time.


Question, Mike, after you picked up that first drink and could not stop there or stop in the "high" stage or even stop drinking when drunk, was your life manageable?
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Mike O » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:34 pm

Hi Joe,
In the context of your question I guess I can say that my drinking was unmanageable.

I don't intend the discussion to be about me though - it's a discussion for discussing.
:)
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Karl R » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:48 pm

Really great topic Mike,

I had similar external circumstances to you although I had no quality of relationship with kids or my wife. I could finally see that the external circumstances of my life would continue to crumble should I continue to drink.

The real unmanageability in my life was between my ears and in my spirit/soul. That hopeless state of mind which the book speaks of. It had several components. First of all, the insane idea that I could manage to take that first drink everyday without the physical craving to drink more. The insane idea that I could somehow "control" my drinking and not be ruled by the mental obsession to take that first drink everyday. Secondly, the selfishness/self-centeredness between my ears which led to actions which were ALWAYS selfish/self-centered rather then being "other" centered. Thirdly, my life was unmanageable because I was cut off from any type of higher power besides alcohol. I was cut off from my creator and the "sunshine of the spirit" by my own selfish/self-centered actions in trying to run my life rather then turning that life over to an "other" who could provide power for living..

These are the insanity I saw in life as I turned to step 2 and found the belief that I could be restored to "sanity".

Great topic,
cheers,
Karl
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby John Boy » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:21 pm

This was my unmanageability.............


"We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people"
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Karl R » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:12 pm

Step 1 in 12 steps and 12 traditions talks about this topic.

It is a tremendous satisfaction to record that in the following years this changed. Alcoholics who still had their health, their families, their jobs, and even two cars in the garage, began to recognize their alcoholism. As this trend grew, they were joined by young people who were scarcely more than potential alcoholics. They were spared that last ten or fifteen years of literal hell the rest of us had gone through. Since Step One requires an admission that our lives have become unmanageable, how could people such as these take this Step?

It was obviously necessary to raise the bottom the rest of us had hit to the point where it would hit them. By going back in our own drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression. To the doubters we could say, "Perhaps you're not an alcoholic after all. Why don't you try some more controlled drinking, bearing in mind meanwhile what we have told you about alcoholism?" This attitude brought immediate and practical results. It was then discovered that when one alcoholic had planted in the mind of another the true nature of his malady, that person could never be the same again. Following every spree, he would say to himself, "Maybe those A.A.'s were right..." After a few such experiences, often years before the onset of extreme difficulties, he would return to us convinced. He had hit bottom as truly as any of us. John Barleycorn himself had become our best advocate.



cheers,
karl
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Mike O » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:19 pm

Karl R wrote:Step 1 in 12 steps and 12 traditions talks about this topic.

It is a tremendous satisfaction to record that in the following years this changed. Alcoholics who still had their health, their families, their jobs, and even two cars in the garage, began to recognize their alcoholism. As this trend grew, they were joined by young people who were scarcely more than potential alcoholics. They were spared that last ten or fifteen years of literal hell the rest of us had gone through. Since Step One requires an admission that our lives have become unmanageable, how could people such as these take this Step?

It was obviously necessary to raise the bottom the rest of us had hit to the point where it would hit them. By going back in our own drinking histories, we could show that years before we realized it we were out of control, that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that it was indeed the beginning of a fatal progression. To the doubters we could say, "Perhaps you're not an alcoholic after all. Why don't you try some more controlled drinking, bearing in mind meanwhile what we have told you about alcoholism?" This attitude brought immediate and practical results. It was then discovered that when one alcoholic had planted in the mind of another the true nature of his malady, that person could never be the same again. Following every spree, he would say to himself, "Maybe those A.A.'s were right..." After a few such experiences, often years before the onset of extreme difficulties, he would return to us convinced. He had hit bottom as truly as any of us. John Barleycorn himself had become our best advocate.



cheers,
karl


Nicely put. I hadn't read this before. Thanks Karl.
:)
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby martin08 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:33 pm

I had a delusion that I was a "functioning" alcoholic. I was hoping against hope that I was an exception, since I did not experience the losses that others had.

After two months of being dry, I tried drinking again one night. It wasn't pretty. Thus began the demolishion of the delusion, and I was shown that my life was indeed unmanageable.
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Karl R » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:41 pm

functioning alcoholic.....

LOL Martin. I remember that when I lurked in here I introduced myself as a "functional" alcoholic. Truthful, I guess if functional, means broken in mind, body, spirit, and soul. I rather think I was using the term functional to pretend that my life had not yet become unmanageable. Things couldn't have been further from the truth. I came here broken and defeated. I had to surrender that pretense of control and management before I could begin to make progress. You've taken me back 18 months Martin.

cheers Martin,
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Spirit Flower » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:03 pm

When I first worked step 1 with my first sponsor, she had me spend several days making lists of what I thought was unmanageable in my life and what I was powerless over. After a week or two of living these questions daily, you have a clear answer. it leads very well to step 3.
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:43 pm

Every time I "needed" a drink, my life was unmanageable to the extent that I needed a drink.

Other forms of unmanageability come and go, drunk or sober.
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:24 am

After i put down the drink and walked into the rooms of AA there was a sense of relief that i wasn't alone. It gave me some power to go without a drink for few more weeks. However: there was constant fear that i might pick up a drink. Also i was restless, irritable and discontented. So, i knew I had to do something. Then i ran into some powerful speeches that shed some light on what i should to be totally protected and lead a serene life. Then, i picked my first sponsor, wrote down my story looked at the selfishness and self-centeredness around the fear, resentments, relation-ship issues..... and started making amends to the ones i can do then and started working steps 10, 11 and 12 on daily basis.......slowly my life turned around......but the fear vanished rapidly after doing my fifth.
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: Unmanageable?

Postby sammie » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:42 am

Hi Mike - and everyone. To respond specifically to your question, Mike, it sounds like I was in the place you describe - my life on many levels was "manageable" (actually looked great from the outside!)

But it's as if I had a limp-- I got around just fine and people didn't really notice my limp (I think...). But I could see that my limp was getting worse all the time and I knew that I couldn't skip or run or leap with my limp like I really wanted to. I wasn't crawling!- I wasn't laid out, but just I wasn't functioning at the level that I wanted to.

How I had the wits to stop drinking when I did (next Wednesday will be 60 days) I just don't know -- perhaps I was just worn out. I felt like a juggler with too many balls in the air, expecting any minute for the balls to start falling to the ground...

So, now I have a new awareness of and definition for "unmanageable" - and among the few things that I'm certain of now as I reconstruct my internal life is that my relationship to alcohol is unmanageable, so we've parted ways. YAY! Waking to another sober day! YAY!
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby Layne » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:16 am

When I got here I considered myself a functioning alcoholic. I knew in my early twenties that I was an alcoholic, but I was functional so what was the harm. Twenty some years later I still clung to that same line of thought. I hadn't lost any jobs, I didn't have any DUIs, no jail time, no divorces, no lost homes, paid my bills, owned a successful restaurant, didn't turn into Mr. Hyde when drinking. I WAS HIGHLY FUNCTIONING DAMNIT!!!!

The first time I tried to sobered up, I went cold turkey and had a seizure from acute alcohol withdrawal and nearly impaled myself on a wrought iron fence in front of my wife. Ambulance ride to the ER, IVs in the arms, etc, etc. etc.

I lived through that and because I was a functioning alcoholic, I went back to drinking.

It got to where I couldn't sleep through the night without having to get up and pound a few beers so that I could lie back down and get some sleep because my body was screaming out for alcohol even when I was asleep (actually unconscious more than asleep). But I was functioning don't you know.

I almost pursued it through the gates of hell.

I stayed in denial a few years into sobriety even. The longer I am sober, the more I realize how unmanageable my life had become.
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Re: Unmanageable?

Postby ann2 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:44 am

Layne wrote:I stayed in denial a few years into sobriety even. The longer I am sober, the more I realize how unmanageable my life had become.


That was/is my experience as well, Layne. I constantly called myself a "high-bottom" drunk when I got to AA because I had a place to live, a job (several), had never received a DUI (should have), etc. After a few years my rear-view mirror cleared up and I started remembering some events that demonstrated clearly that I was no where near the highness of the bottom I claimed. After more years . . . I started to see the unmanageability of my life due to my untreated alcoholism -- before I actually tooks certain steps.

I believe that my life as an alcoholic is unmanageable without the help I get in AA -- foremost meaning the conscious contact with my higher power, but everything in AA that assists with that (including fellowship, service, and step work) is helping me stay manageable as well.

Powerlessness yes, without the program of AA. Unmanageability, also, unless I continue in my spiritual development. I tend to see the two as different, so both terms are important to me, but the treatment for both remain the same.

I have to laugh when I remember some of the ridiculous and humliating situations I landed in drunk, some of the insane behavior I took as normal, some of the horrible pain I caused others because of my desire for the next drink, and considered myself still "managing". Oh, boy! What joke.

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