AA at risk?

Big Book

I found an interesting article on TheFix, written by Benjamin Aldo. Aldo described his experiences with certain AA groups in New York. He also highlights some behaviours and traits that may be either inviting or off-putting to the struggling newly sober person. I decided to post the article below and ask for your thoughts, opinions and experiences in this regard.

The Fix article HERE

Please return to this page and leave a comment.Please keep an open mind. I believe some discussion is important. Contempt before an investigation is unhealthy. IMO.

Round-up

Some people come to an Alcoholics Anonymous event for the first time when they attend a roundup.

You can lose yourself in the crowd because there are people from all over, and learn about the organization,” said Ian, a 34-year member. In AA, some use only first names to preserve their privacy.

The Roundup, starting today, includes a Friday evening session, speakers and a dance Saturday, with breakfast and a speaker Sunday morning.

Jodi, a 10-year member, is looking forward to the Roundup.

“If I had tried to imagine my life after drinking, I would have shortchanged myself. It is so much better than I would ever have thought,” she said.

She started drinking at 12.

I had a feeling of unworthiness as a kid and drinking made me feel part of it. I came from an alcoholic family and we were allowed to drink at home, it was a normal way of life, she said.

She partied on weekends through high school and didn’t pay much attention to her studies but did graduate.

“I was 18 when I first considered that I’d crossed the line into alcoholic drinking in amount and frequency. I wanted to live a different way but I didn’t know how to change things.”

She worked at a bar from ages 19 to 26.

“A bar is a perfect place for an alcoholic to work. I was drinking daily, morning to night. I still had the desire to quit drinking and live a sober life and at 26 I went to a counselor,” she said.

The counselor encouraged her to go to AA meetings.

“I resisted it for about eight sessions and finally she wrote the name of a meeting to go to, when and where. When I walked in she was sitting in the front row. I was inspired by the stories I heard at the meeting but for whatever reason, it wasn’t my time,” she said.

“I decided I would do it my way and I did for eight years but it was hard. I got to the point where I couldn’t manage my own life. I learned that no human power could relieve my alcoholism. I went to an AA meeting and a woman came up to me and said, ‘I know how you feel. I know where you are, I know how to get out.’ She became my sponsor.”

Jodi started to work the program.

Ian explained that the program is entirely voluntary, individual and anonymous.

“It is a program of attraction. We don’t tell anybody what to do at all. We show them what we’re doing. They see what our members are doing and that they can do that too,” he said.

That’s what Jodi did.

“I admired my sponsor, how she lived, how she handled herself. I wanted what she had. It was a miracle. The steps helped me to have a change in personality, my attitude changed, my thinking changed, my reactions changed. My whole life changed. I could be a better parent and a better friend. The results of doing the 12 Steps brings about a spiritual experience which our Big Book (basic text) calls a change in personality sufficient to bring about recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

“Now I go to five meetings a week because I’m undisciplined and it keeps me living in the solution. I also go to give back what was so freely given to me and to help the newcomers. Now I sponsor girls. I find it rewarding to get out of self and help others and watch the miracle take place in someone else’s life. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

😉

Don’t leave just yet

My name is Jan, and I am an alcoholic. I believe I was born an alcoholic, and I experienced many of the ‘isms’ before I ever even picked up my first drink of alcohol. Before I found Alcoholics Anonymous I believed that was because I of my tumultuous upbringing, We constantly had the police at my house for domestic violence issues, and I frequently found myself in the middle between my parents.

It is not my intent to sound as if I am blaming my parents, but there are certain facts of my childhood that cannot be denied, it was not a happy childhood, and I took the brunt of many problems in the family. I was shy, awkward, hid behind books, and was known to be very sarcastic as a child. I can remember my fourth-grade report card had the word ‘sarcastic’ on it four times.

I didn’t make friends very easily, but when I was 13 I was invited to a sleepover at another girls house. I had not had much to do with alcohol except my parents gave us a glass of wine at Thanksgiving every year and forced us to drink it. At the sleepover, my friend sneaked a bottle of Bacardi 151 into her bedroom and offered some to me. I found out the next day that I drank almost the entire bottle by myself, and her parents (who were paramedics and had probably seen a lot when I look back at the situation) agreed not to tell my parents if my friend and I went to the public library and wrote a report on alcoholism. I saw myself in the words that I wrote, but I did not care because I loved the feeling that alcohol had given me the night before.

I proceeded to drink at every opportunity and almost immediately started putting myself in dangerous situations. I made many, many poor decisions and basically I became known as a girl who would do anything if you got her drunk. In high school, I started keeping a bottle in my locker and took sips from it throughout the day.

At 17, I chose the college that was furthest away from my home in the same state. When I got up there, my drinking took on a whole new life of its own. I started drinking round-the-clock and made many trips to the infirmary for alcohol poisoning, after I had been found in the snow, in the dorm, in the bar, or in the hall, multiple times. ‘Chronic Alcoholic’ was stamped on my file.
I can remember starting to think I was really crazy, I spent most of my time daydreaming, now I think I was dissociating. I can remember walking out of the infirmary one time shaking so bad- I was a skinny underweight kid -and I went right to the bar from the infirmary. I flunked out by the end of my freshman year, and my parents response was to give me a geographical cure. My entire family moved down to Florida from New York.
Continue reading “Don’t leave just yet”

Hope

In my own case, it all began so innocently and by the end, my life was a mess, people didn’t want me around when I drank and my children were very angry and confused, as was the rest of my family. The loneliness and feelings of guilt and remorse were with me so much of the time but I continued to drink. The big problem was that I got to a place where I could not stop! I was functional for some years but things began to go wrong — my marriage failed, I had to go back to work full-time again and my two pre-teens were very active so I was pretty busy. I had to sneak my wine because if they figured out that I had been drinking they would scour the house or my car until they found the bottle so that they could pour it out and they were very astute about the signs.

I knew that what I was doing was not normal — the women I knew did not drink an entire bottle of wine in an evening. They would have one or two and then leave half a glass on the table and not think anything about it again. How I envied them. I kept trying to be ‘normal’ but I didn’t realize that I would never be a normal drinker. I would always be alcoholic because my reaction to any alcohol was very different from those normal people. They did not crave it the way that I did nor had to sit on their hands so that they would not get drunk at a luncheon or a coffee. Wine made me feel more of what my idea of who I thought I should be but it kept getting out of control. No wonder they would look at me strangely although no one ever brought it to my attention. They did ignore me from time to time. So much for being a normie.

The last months of my drinking were not pretty. I kept showing up at work looking very rough and feeling even worse. One of my co-workers told me after I began to be sober that she was positive I had a death wish. I guess everyone knew even though in my mind I was hiding it somewhat. Then came the day it all blew up — I came out of a morning blackout (which had never happened before) and was at work. That meant I drove many miles on a super highway — I could have injured someone or even myself. That really got my attention so I knew I finally had to ask for help. I went to a detox facility to see if they had any solution to what was happening to me.

While I was a patient we had visitors from AA one afternoon. They came to share their stories with us. I could not believe how well they all looked — they laughed and joked and not drinking didn’t seem that big of a deal to them. They had found a solution to their drinking problem. They told us to read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous which would explain what was wrong with us and what to do about it. They also suggested we do a few things when we were released — go to as many meetings as we could, read the Big Book, find a sponsor, get a home group and work the Steps. There was something about these people which made me want what they had found so I made a pact with myself that I would listen to those suggestions and make sure I followed them.

People at meetings are so glad to share especially with new people. They made sure that we ‘newbies’ had Big Books and meeting lists and even gave us phone lists to use if we were having a difficult time of it and needed someone to help. I came to love those meetings — I always feel safe there and so much better when I leave. I did find a wonderful sponsor and a home group and went to meetings whenever I had free time. The more I went the more I wanted to keep away from drinking. One day something came to mind that I had lost that awful urge to drink. Talk about freedom! It spurred me on to keep up what I was doing and not give up even if I had a bad day or life had thrown me a curve ball. It has worked for many years now when nothing else did. AA has given me back the hope I had lost and a better life than I could have imagined.

I urge you to contact the AA Office where you live and ask for meetings near your home. You can also become involved with all the venues here at E-AA where you will find groups to join, meetings in our Chat room, literature and even a Temporary Sponsor venue where you can request a sponsor to help you with your program and working the 12 Steps. There is hope here and some really fine people to help you along the way. Why not give it a try? It doesn’t cost anything and you just might like being there. It has worked for me for quite some time now.

Kathy C

Step Four

“First off, they can be told that the majority of AA members have suffered severely from self-justification during their drinking days.

For most of us, self-justification was the maker of excuses; excuses, of course, for drinking, and for all kinds of crazy and damaging conduct. We had made the invention of alibis a fine art.

We had to drink because times were hard or times were good. We had to drink because at home we were smothered with love or got none at all. We had to drink because at work we were great successes or dismal failures.

We had to drink because our nation had won a war or lost a peace…. and so it went, ad infinitum.”

(Twelve and Twelve, Step Four, pg. 46)