Am I stuck???

Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober
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Am I stuck???

Postby gopher » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:22 pm

I've been sober 4 years, took the steps, today I read pg 86-88 at the beginning of each day, HOWEVER, I feel like I am sort of stuck in recovery, seems like as I read they are just words on a page. I wander if I am being given those inspirational/intuitive thoughts, Do I pause when agitated and doubtful? No, not usually. Do I review my day in the evening? No, just being honest. I had thought that if something came to mind I would know it and then take appropriATE ACTION. Any Help, directions?? Spent alot of time reading on the solution but not sure what to do next, or just leave well enough alone? :? :? :?

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Postby sunlight » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:44 pm

Hi gopher!

And, a warm welcome to you!

I was in a similar place when I joined this site. Please read my post on "Slumps" in the Introductions forum. The people here 12th stepped me right out of it! And, reading the posts here lit a new fire in me that's still burning.

Can't post long. Hope to hear from you soon. It's great that you see it & know that you need to take action! :D

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Postby Dallas » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:05 pm

Welcome Gopher! And, thanks for participating on the site. I appreciate you.

If I were having the same experience that you describe... I would consider myself stuck. :wink:

What I would do -- is:

1. Read every word from the front cover of the Big Book, up to page 103. Just read it through and don't worry about doing anything during this reading other than to read.

2. Ask myself these two questions:

a. Do I want to quit drinking for good and forever?
b. Am I willing to go to any lenghts to get over my drinking problem?

If I answered "Yes" to both those questions...

Then, I would turn to the front cover of the Big Book, again.

This time I would read every single word -- and look for any and all instructions. Often, they will be preceded with the words like "We must" Or, "If we neglect"; or "We did" ; or "we made" and "we found it helpful".
(that's just a few of them.

The idea is to "thoroughly" follow the instructions.

Then, with each instruction... as I did it... I would examine myself on it, by turning the instructions into questions... that I could ask myself, such as: Did I do this? Did I experience this? If my answer was not "yes"... I would do it again until I got it.

I would do that all the way from the front cover up to page 103.

Then... when that was complete... I would turn to page 83 through 88, daily... and "precisely follow each and every instruction listed" and be sure that I experienced each experience that was listed.

Now, while I was doing the "daily actions" of page 83-88 (doing and not just reading)... I would start reading pages 104 through 164... doing exactly like I did, from the front cover up to page 103.

When that was done... I'd start again at the front cover... and start looking for another alcoholic that I could help to do precisely what I did. :wink:

That always works for me and if I ever feel "stuck" ... I know what happened "precisely."

Certain experiences happen as a result of taking each action.

Think of it as a recipe. A formula. Follow it precisely and you'll be cooking up "experiences."

That's what I'd do. I hope that helps.

Best wishes,


garden variety
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Postby garden variety » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:52 am

Hiya Gopher,

Nice to hear from you. First let me say I can remember back to my 4th and 5th year in sobriety, and I can identify with the way you say you feel. I felt that I "hit the mark" being sober for a few years, now what was left in life for me to do? I knew I was alcoholic and that I couldn't safely use alcohol in any form, so at first I didn't have the obsession to go out and drink, and I didn't miss drinking either.

So what I did was what you asked if you should do: I decided to "leave well enough alone." I didn't know what I was getting into. I didn't understand that the way I "feel" isn't always my best measuring stick for sobriety. I also didn't understand or grasp "achieving sobriety".

In other words, I decided to pursue what I "felt" was an easier softer way of living that made "logical" sense. I got involved in my "life activities" and a couple hobbies - picked up some part-time work and filled empty spots with "activity". Eventually, I filled spots that were used for meetings with other things that I "felt" were more important. My meeting schedule got down to maybe 1-2 meetings a month.

I had the "Big Book knowledge" that alcoholism is progressive and fatal if left untreated. But that knowledge didn't translate into a "feeling" of the danger my decisions were bringing about. Lack of knowledge was not my problem - I understood full well and accepted that I was alcoholic. My dilemma was lack of power. Like the book says, I needed a Power by which I could live, and it had to be greater than myself. By "leaving well enough alone", I was not engaging that Power.

What was to follow was that my "feelings" began to take on that "peculiar mental twist" common to alcoholics. I began to think in a very negative manner. My "hobbies" took on destructive overtones. I started to become what I thought: a deviant. I began stealing things not because I needed them, but because I got an "adrenalin rush". I started making deviant plans which involved taking potential criminal actions, and I started collecting the hardware that would allow me to carry out my deviant planning. To give you an idea of the extent of how my deviant "feelings" governed my deviant actions, I kept a copy of a "Returned Government Property" form that an FBI Special Agent allowed me to sign without facing prosecution from the US Attorney General for Northern Ohio. I could have served a long term sentence in a federal prison had I not been cooperative - no it was not a "snitch deal" - it was a voluntary surrender.

I stopped praying, reduced my meetings, and began to isolate myself by spending more and more time in with my "hobbies" thinking all was well. My thinking had become deviant and I thought I was "normal" and "sane" because I never used or picked up a drink. I began to focus on the wrongs others were doing, and what some had done to me. I composed a "list" all right, but it wasn't to make amends. My resentment began to fuel my deviant thinking. Suddenly one Saturday evening when I was out of my home driving around, I almost instinctively turned my car into a bar parking lot. I still remember how vivid the neon sign shaped and colored like a tall glass of beer drew me to the bar like a bug to a flame.

Before I realized what was happening, I had a desire to drink again. I wanted to drink. The obsession returned. The obsession to drink was seductive to me - I WANTED the thing that would give me pleasure, and it seemed more "exciting" because I knew in my heart of hearts that I could not have it. I was in deep trouble by the time my 5th sobriety birthday came around. I went to a meeting that night which kept me sober, but what the book said had begun to happen. "At times, the alcoholic has no effective mental defense against the first drink."

I went into detail here gopher, because these were the stages of my "relapse" which almost ended up in losing my sobriety and most likely, my life. What I know today from this experience, is that a "relapse" starts long before picking up a drink. For me, relapse was a clear-cut, premeditated plan of action. Taking the first drink would have completed the process.

"It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do for alcohol is a subtle foe."

It's pretty ironic that this comes on page 85 of the book - one page before what say you're reading on pages 86-88 each day.

No I didn't complete the relapse. I remained sober, but dry enough to be worried about who was lighting a match nearby. Somehow, through what was nothing less than a miracle, I decided to return to meetings. I was going to drink again, and I knew it. The obsession returned and I could not overcome it. I knew for sure with my thoughts and plans that if I drank I would surely die.

Going to a meeting a night was my twisted way of thinking I was "punishing myself". To my relief, it became a turning point. Instead of "self-punishment", I soon found this 4th dimension of living that I never knew existed. It's where I live today.

That was a very narrow escape from death for me.

I was recently diagnosed with a very rare form of Mesothelioma. 95% of the time, this disease is deadly giving maybe a year of life expectancy after it is discovered and treated. The form I have is benign, and I am among the remaining 5% where full recovery is possible. 9.5 people out of 10 die with the disease I'm diagnosed with. I could have been the man before, or the man after. Another narrow escape from the gates of death.

I don't believe that escaping death in my circumstances is a random "coincedence" happening without cause, having no source of reason or power. I believe Something, Someone, Somewhere with Some kind of Power that knows no limits found a way into my life. The way this Power came to me was through faith in a Power greater than ourselves, which was the result of the second step for me. I "came to believe" because I became convinced by listening to you all share your stories of how you found a God of your understanding. As I ponder my life today, I'm even more convinced there is an "Infinite Intelligence", and I believe this Power is personally interested in preserving my life another day.

For me there is a single simple solution that has brought me out of the worst slump in my life and which has saved my life more than once. That is faith in a living God of my understanding. The same single simple soulution will keep me sober and happy every single day. We're all fortunate to have clear and simple instructions about how to "do the deal" in our book.

"For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die." (see page 14)

"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics." (See page 89)

"To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unslefish, construtive action." (see page 93)

It's been my experience that these passages are completely true and prove themselves countless times in my life.

"CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION NEVER FAILS" - no matter what I think or how I feel.

Thanks gopher for helping me today. I appreciate you for being honest and encouraging me to count my blessings.

God bless,

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Postby Dallas » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:24 pm


Thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope through your story. I benefited much by it and I'm sure it will help me in the future. When an AA shares their story, like you did, it really touches something deep inside me -- that seems to always stay with me, and most often shows up at an important time in my present and in my future.


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Postby november6 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:14 pm

First off, garden variety: I Loved every word that you wrote in your last post. I identified with it whole-heartedly. I have had that same exp 6 times. What you wrote keenly described my own, and what I have come to believe the absolute garden variety exp of many an AA.

And so gopher, being that I relate to your exp and to garden variety's exp I will say its often been the things that didnt make sense that have gotten me out of that mess this time around and to where I haven't in years so far finnally not forgotten not to drink.

A few of those things that didnt make sense?:

Getting a HomeGroup and getting a position in it, like treasure or coffee maker. Being a Greeter at a mtng. Taking part in hosting a local AA convention. Commiting to giving a newcomer a ride to meetings.. things that, when I looked at my complicated problems and feelings of uselessness to AA, didnt make sense as a solution. I remember one time about 4 years ago I was really on a downslide and someone asked me to be apart of this really cheesy AA musical play for a state convention and, being that I was depressed and busy, I said no. My sponsor heard about this "no" and was on me like flies on sugar and reminded me I commited to always saying yes to AA when I did my 3rd step. I balked. What the hell does singing in some stupid convention play have to do with service!? Or better yet, what the hell does that have to do with helping my problems? We actually got into a huge fight - well I fought and she just stood there calmly and said, 'look, either im lyin or i aint. either you trust me or you dont'. I actually said "screw you", ha! And I left. And then I went home, to my near ending relationship, to clothes and belongings I didnt feel were cool enough or good enough, and when I went to call someone to bitch to I didnt feel like there was anyone I cared to call or talk to anymore.. and I looked in the mirror and saw it again, like when I had come into the rooms with a day sober - what I was doing, what I thought were the best decisions for me, were nolonger working again. what did i have to lose by taking her direction just one more time? She was happy.. hell she was happy and content enough in life to let me yell at her and not take it personally. I wanted that for me. I didnt have it. So I called that guy who asked me to join the play and I did it. Part of being in the play was driving monday nights 30 min away whivh I didnt have gas $ for at the time, so I got rides with people, who insisted on showing up an hour early for practice to attend the spaeker mtng. At that mtng I was asked to be a greeter. Why not. a few weeks in I was asked to do cooffee. Sure. A few weeks later I was asked to speak there. Oh god. Ok.. And from that speaking I was given a sponsee that rocketed me back into the work. That ended up being a great year. Sometimes when Im feeling that same way, I am fortunate enough to remember what I heard a speaker say once, "step away from my plans!"

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Postby PeaceJoy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:34 pm

What amazing insight and encouragement I've gotten from this thread! Helping another alcoholic was the first thing that came to my mind from the original post. But you all went into depth with practical solutions. I'm still a newbie and I know how much I value hearing from people with a lot of sobriety under their belt that are still active in AA and still working the steps in all of their affairs.


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