Are you having trouble staying sober in AA? Like it's not working?
Are you having trouble staying sober in AA, even though: you're going to meetings, you have a sponsor, and you're reading the literature?
You're not alone. It happens, too often.
So, what's the problem -- and more importantly -- what is the solution?
An AA contacted me by email, with this situation and with the same problem. I decided to post my reply to the member here in the forum, for others that may be having the same problem.
If you'd like -- please share your own story or experience and your comments.
Naturally -- the first thing to do is to "keep coming back." But, if "keep coming back" isn't producing the results -- then, perhaps, you need to make some other changes or to change your approach.
I joined the Program in 2007. Was
sober for a few months, then went back out. Started attending meetings
again a month ago. Have a sponsor and am trying to again work the steps.
Am going to meetings daily, with occasional exception, stay in contact
with my sponsor, read the literature, pray and reflect.
Problem is: I seem to only stay away from alcohol for a few days at a
time. Sometimes even going to meetings or reading the literature can make me start to think about drinking.
The only reason for it I can come up with is the fear that I'm not up to
the task, which may bring on a longing to drink for escape. I know it's in
my head and not due to AA or external circumstances. Yet I still struggle.
I'd suggest that you join in on our online forum:
We may be able to help you there.
Possibly, you're waiting to long to actually take the 12 Steps.
There is a difference in "doing the 12 Steps" - "practicing the 12 Steps" - "learning the 12 Steps" and actually "taking the 12 Steps."
To get over drinking requires a transformation in thought and attitude. If you read the Dr.'s Opinion, in the Big Book, this is what Dr. Silkworth is refering to when he writes about a "psychic change."
Similar to what surgery attempts to do with a labatomy -- to cut out the part of your brain that's causing problems, or shock treatment, to do the same thing -- the "12 Steps" is designed to perform the necessary change in the alcoholic brain -- that will allow an alcoholic to recover -- even when labotomys and shock treatments will not do that. (And, I hear they are more painful, too!)
That's what I think your problem is and what I believe the solution will be.
Sometimes, you'll hear alcoholics talk about "grace". My understanding of that is often different than what they are describing.
For me, "grace" is like a "grace period"... similar to a credit card bill. You get a "grace period" of 20 days, then you have to make a payment or pay the bill in full.
Often, when we come into AA, we have a "grace period". This is like a neutral time that is granted for you to do the work that's necessary to produce the "psychic change" in the alcoholic brain.
If you wait beyond the "grace period"... you'll drink again. And, alcoholism is progressive. Each time we quit and then start again, or just quit... the alcoholism progresses. Making it more difficult to acquire one of those "grace periods" and it often results in fatal conditions. The alcoholic dies drinking, because no matter how much they desire to stay sober -- they had their final opportunity.
How long is the "grace period"? No one seems to know. For some, it might be two or three days. For some, a week. For others, it could be several months or even years. But, the fact is, for all of them, whether short or long -- they will drink and die drinking, if they do not have the necessary psychic change so that they can maintain their sobriety.
What if you think you're one of the one's that have months, years or weeks, for your "grace period"? And, then you discover you were wrong about it? You'll drink and die. (Most likely the outcome).
So, why wait? Get it done -- "taking the 12 Steps" and then, live your life sober, learning about and practicing the 12 Steps.
I hope you don't mind. I'm going to post my reply to you in our forum, so that it might help others in your situation. I'll be sure to remove your name and anything that might identify who it is that I'm communicating with.
If I can be of further help to you -- just let me know.
Also, a note about the "other literature." My suggestion to you would be to avoid the "other literature" and stick solely with the Big Book, until you've experienced the psychic change that comes about from actually "taking the 12 Steps." From what I've discovered, the "other literature" will just confuse and prolong the process and leave you at risk.
I encourage all, to share their own experience with this and post your comments below. Perhaps, we can help others in this same, and unfortunately too often, situation.