When stopping drinking makes it worse - you may be alcoholic

Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober
garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Mon May 19, 2008 9:10 am

Hi Jackie and Dallas,

Well I'm thinking about you two, too. I take it for granted that I live in the "heartlands" of AA. I read what you said Jackie, then I read what Dallas said, and I thought WOW, they really have some time on their hands without excitement. It's been so long since I've felt the "feeling" of boredom that I almost forgot what that feels like. Now I'm not bragging, but I realized when I was doing a tenth step daily inventory the other night, I have a life that is beyond belief all thanks to working a program, sometimes getting carried away with too many "actions", and tightening up step 11. I say too many actions because I still have a habit of thinking I can do more than I really can, then I fill up my days so full I barely have time to wind down.

Anyway my heart goes out to both of you - I wish you were here in town with me - even in my home for a few days. I could guarantee you very little boredom, a lot of excitement, and besides I really could use the help of a couple more good fellows with all that is going on around here.

Jackie, I understand about feeling less enthused about your job then when you were drinking. I was in a MBA program when I got sober. Suddenly I realized that I didn't want what I'd been striving so hard to get. I didn't want the fast track and high pressure of where a MBA would have took me. Now this is just me, and it's a sorry thing, but I stopped 3 classes short of getting that MBA. I'm still working on trying to figure out a way to tie the "striving" of the old drunk me in graduate school with the new me. It's on the back burner for now.

With my job, well BUDDY let me tell you what. This was the absolute hardest "affair" to "apply these principles". It took 8 of 9.5 years of sobriety to finally get that straightened out and going in the right direction - now it's making progress and far from perfection and a "done deal". I was at my annual performance evaluation with my supervisor a short while back, and she said the same thing to me she said each year. But I let it go in one ear and out the other because I had "issues" that were part of the "politics" of the work world in my office. This year she (my supervisor) was going to give me a poor rating which might have put my job and pay in danger.

Normally, I would have got mad and fought like a badger. But I was so shocked that she wanted to rate me that way, that I actually had to step back a minute away from my own "investment" and take an inventory. This woman had supervised me for the last 15 years, so when she talked with me like she did, I KNEW there had to be something I was doing wrong. The thing was, she had been talking the same way over the last five years, but I was so far into the "struggle" to get reclassified, that I blew her off and rationalized my poor attitude. This is work, I figured, so I guess I'm not supposed to be having fun or getting any kind of "fulfilment" here - it just paid the bills.

But she said the same words she was saying over the past five years, but all of the sudden the light went on. For the first time I listened and honestly heard what she had to say. I just looked at her as she was talking, and I literally teared up. I realized that she really did care about me and my performance and wanted the best for me even though she was going to rate me poorly. I was just honest with her and said what I'm saying here. Wow - you're absolutely right, I really am not doing my best because I have a bad attitude, and I'm letting it affect my performance because I think I'm right. I think I'm justified to let my performance slip because of this reclassification struggle. I was letting a resentment direct my ways at work instead of "practicing these principles" in ALL my affiars. She was telling me all along that it was OK for me to push for fairness and reclassification, but she neeeded me to do my job well regardless and in the meantime.

I was humbled. But I was also very VERY thankful this happened because I really had been praying to understand how to follow God's will at my job. I couldn't figure out how to get "happy, joyous, and free" at my workplace. I just kept praying, and buddy the answer I finally got wasn't what I expected. But it sure did rock my world! Between crying and eating crow, I actually became EXCITED about work for the first time. Even though I was getting a poor evaluation. I was like 'George Baily" in "It's a Wonderful Life" when he comes out of his nightmare of wishing he never was born. I was almost jumping up and down - NOW I could finally apply the pinciples at work. I had the key.

What was the key? The same one that worked for getting started in sobriety - the EXACT SAME KEY fit right there on my job. The H.O.W. of sobriety works for work too! Honesty, openmindedness, and WILLINGNESS. Well buddy let me tell you what, I began turning things around and in a hurry! I also told my supervisor from now on, I would be asking for her help instead of thinking I can do more than I can. God, as I understand Him, showed me how to transform my attitude into a "we" attitude from a "me" attitude. Work has never been the same. And I'm not bored at all any more.

I don't want to say that things always have a happy ending - because sometimes they don't. A lot of people hurt and suffer even when they do the "next right thing" and play by "God's rules". This time for me, however, there was a happy ending. But I know I sure got Grace instead of what I "deserved". I should have been rated poorly and suffered the consequences of poor performance. I told my boss that I was totally willing to accept the consequences if rating me that way was her decision.

Within a couple weeks of that evaluation dialogue, my department got reorganized, my position got reclassified, and all I had to do was hold on for the ride. My supervisor changed her mind about my rating - and that was on account of God's Grace and Mercy. There is no other explanation. Now my former supervisor and me are co-workers with a new boss. Both of us got reclassified, and both of us now have a salary range much higher than we had before. What did I do to "deserve" this kind of a break? I mean I did get a small raise to start with, but I can now earn much more than before if I perform well.

I've been told this from the beginning. Living the steps is like playing by the craziest set of rules there ever was. Today, I don't understand how or why life turns out this way, but the 12 steps, living sober, and this fellowship keep me coming back every day for more. And like they always told me, life gets better. I don't understand how or why, but I don't have to understand. I wish I could promise you that life will get better, or that you won't be tired of working, or that you won't suffer, or that you'll find excitement - but I can't. Sometimes it might not happen that way.

What has always worked for me, is tightening up on step 11. I can never "finish" working that step. Its my experience that the more thorough I am in that step, I start seeing and feeling a revolution in the way I live. I can't describe it any better. And I'm not saying go stick your head in the clouds seeking a spiritual answer, but not keeping your feet on the ground. For me, every step involves taking actions. The book says it this way. If an alcoholic doesn't expand and perfect his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he will not survive the trials and low spots that lie ahead. If he doesn't work, he will surely drink. And if he drinks he will surely die.

So why don't you guys come up this away - like on Founders Day? Maybe you can stop in and give me a hand with all this "work" I have piling up around here.

May God always bless.

Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Mon May 19, 2008 9:56 am

Perhaps the way that you understand my use of the word "bored"... would be too stiff a definition for what I was referring to as bored. So, don't feel too sorry for us! It's only temporary and momentary and it doesn't last a lifetime. :wink:


garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Mon May 19, 2008 12:22 pm

Well OK Dallas. I won't feel too sorry for ya'll. I'll just feel a "little bit" sorry. I guess I'd better learn how to "right-size" that sympathy thing. :wink:

But still, Founder's Day is a real nice event up this way, and it would be way cool to have you or anyone else from the forum come visiting.

Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:29 pm

Postby Jackie » Tue May 20, 2008 7:54 pm

Good evening all!

Thank you Dallas for your pick-me-upper the other day, sometimes its very comforting to just vent to someone who will understand my alkie mind and the holes it takes me to.
Your message restored my sense of humor and as usual you're right the moment did pass.I really do have a sense of humor albeit a very warped one lol.
Just checking in to let you know I still have my day job and I'm using some of Garden Variety's tools. (Or trying them out)
Try not to take on more than I can handle so as I'm not so stressed out at the end of the day.
Try to be a team player. MAYBE ask for help once in a while.
Try to be cheerful and caring to my fellow workers.

But there always seems to be a moment when the expression "Patience my ass I'm gonna choke somebody" pops into my head. LOL
Anyways guys thank you for caring and cheering me up when I'm in a pity pot mood.
Have a great week!

Posts: 365
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:55 pm

Postby GeoffS » Wed May 21, 2008 1:54 am

Jackie wrote: But there always seems to be a moment when the expression "Patience my ass I'm gonna choke somebody" pops into my head!

But the good thing is now you are conscious of it, and identify it and stop it.

Progress not perfection, I wouldn't want to sit next to any saint at a meeting!!!

Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Wed May 21, 2008 10:28 pm

So, back to the original topic "When stopping drinking makes it worse - you may be alcoholic" :lol:

It seems as though we always have a very nice and like-able newcomer that shows up for meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting... talking about how their life has become so painful and miserable now that they are sober.... They often do this until they reaching the jumping off place and return to drinking.

Then, they show up again at the A.A. meeting... talking about how their life has become so painful and miserable now that they are sober.... They often do this until they reaching the jumping off place and return to drinking.

And, we watch as they cycle over and over and over again....... sober one day, two days, maybe a week, maybe a month..... and then, back to drinking again.

Each time they come in... they hear the solution read at most all A.A. meetings... "Chapter 5, How it works" (page 58-60 of the Big Book)... explaining... "If you want what we have" (continued sobriety... a comfortable state of being totally physically sober... with tools to deal with the conflicts and pain and restlessness and irritability that alcoholics suffer from, when physically sober).... "and are willing to go to any length to get it"... (meaning that THEY will do the work that is necessary) THEY are "ready to take certain steps." (meaning... actually doing the 12 Steps... taking them until they are took'n!) :wink:

We explain that the 12 Steps is our solution... the 12 Steps are to bring about the transformation of mind and attitude that is required to reach a comfortable level of physical sobriety... to deal with the pain and conflicts, the un-named fears and emotions, to remove the obsession for alcohol, to treat the alcoholic insanity of picking up the next drink... and to make them feel usefully whole and contented with peace of mind while sober.

The newcomer, when they return after another alcoholic-beating... still doesn't hear the message... they still don't get it... they go back to talking about their pain and misery and how they are back to trying to work on one of the first three Steps.... until they reach that jumping off place again.

It used to baffle me why do they do this... over and over and over and over again... and never seem to get it... in regards to what we're telling them.

It doesn't really baffle me any more. And, I don't think it's a case of "some are sicker than others" (many of us could have claimed membership in that crowd!).

After being sober in AA long enough, and looking at my own experience, I can now listen for the "AA newcomer code speak."

It's a code... that newcomers use when they aren't finished drinking. Certain phrases that they use and hang on to and repeat each time they come back again.... that let's those of us who understand the newcomer code-speak, know... that the person isn't finished with their drinking.

They have not made a decision that they want to stop drinking... for good... and for forever. They are stuck on racking up a certain amount of days sober... until they can once again go out and do a little experimental drinking... to see if they can now control their drinking... and drink like non-alcoholic drinkers. And, I believe that we perhaps fail them when we don't follow the suggestions for working with other alcoholics, that are outlined in the Big Book... where we start by asking them the question... "Do you want to stop drinking for good? Do you want to get over the problem or keep dabbling with it? Are you ready to quit forever?"

I believe that our vast experience shows the truths of what we read in our Big Book. If the newcomer is not ready to quit for good... and not ready to stop drinking forever... they will never be ready to go to the lengths that are necessary to work our solution. They can "practice" "making a decision" for years.... and never make the decision, by following through with the necessary actions.

Sometimes, I think we do them a dis-service when we emphasis the not-drinking one-day-at-a-time plan... for too long... and they get the idea that just not drinking today is the real deal.... Which leaves them the option to drink tomorrow but not today. In essense... from one side of our mouths we are telling them that their will power needs to be assisted.... with a Higher Power... and then tell them to go back to relying on their own will power... because until they have followed our "path" our "solution" the "12 Steps"... they are not going to get the relief that is necessary to stop drinking for good.

There is a Solution. It's the 12 Steps.


Return to “Help for those who want to stay sober”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest