i'm back after a long relapse

Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober
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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:11 am

working with others//My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:19 am

Hidey-ho good friends!! Here it is, Saturday night...and I'm sober again :wink: .

Workin' with others & passin' forward what was so freely given to me has been somewhat of a "mystery" to me in that...holy smoke! It works. No matter what the other person decides to do with it, at the very least, the seeds been planted the same as it was with me a decade+ before I actually got here :roll: , and--as well...it keeps me sober. My first contact with AA was loaded with information (I was just loaded :oops: :P )...but one-a the things Tom said to me that I'm sure sobered me a fraction was that he told me I was helpin' him stay sober just by havin' this conversation :shock: . Ya, I thought...I'm too drunk for that kind-a logic :? . Sure's heck, though--now-a-days, I git where he was comin' from alright. But, 'cha know...another thing I learned early on was that what was so freely given to me, I can carry on out there to others outside these rooms...that is: compassion...practice what we learn here in all of our affairs--ya see someone at a store strugglin' to open a door & git a baby stroller out that door, what's it take to just hold that door open for a second...maybe the person'll appreciate it & say thanks, maybe not--don't matter whether they do or not, cuz it keeps me sober. There was a time I wouldn't-a even noticed that person havin' that difficulty cuz I'd be blitzed &/or in hurry to git back home for my next blast. Every mornin' I wake up feelin' human instead-a feelin' like I'm wearin' my insides on my outside& feelin' like my head's where my feet're s'posed to be& vice versa...that, for me is a 'wow' moment. I pray, askin' what can I pack into the stream-a life today--who can I help today. Another alcoholic, maybe a newbie, maybe one that's been 'round this program lot longer than me, but they's havin' just an outta sorts day, maybe not an alkie at all, maybe all-a the above??? No matter what, though...they all help me stay sober. When that phone rings, and the news is of someone, a friend or family, or someone I just happen to know of dies drunk--heck, even that one keeps me sober, cuz that's the bottom line-a where I'd be if I's still out there drinkin'. I was talkin' to a friend after the meetin', & we got talkin' about how to talk to others/newcomers, & I said that when it was me, it was laid all out in black&white&point blank blunt--this is a life or death choice...ya keep drinkin', it's yir choice, ya wanna live, here's how. Might be a little harsh, my friend says...I said to him bein' out there's a little harsh, it wasn't sugar coated for me and I'm grateful that it wasn't. The way things werefor me wasn't workin' out so good..in fact...wasn't workin' out at all, I didn't like nothin' about nothin',& I didn't even likebooze no more, I just couldn't stop. I'm real grateful that someone was there who carried the message to me and told it to me like it was.

Face it...somethin' that's been around&a successful since the 1930's has gotta have some kind-a substance to it.

Keep it simple kids,

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Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:04 pm

Postby cinderbobble » Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:28 am

Thank you all for sharing, and allowing me to be here! I have never been sober for as long as I have been 'this time,' and I am grateful for it! I still go to meetings, and do service work when I can... and I still have an overactive ego. BUT - one thing I do know is that despite the fact that I stumbled in and out of the AA rooms for over twenty years before I finally stayed awhile... nobody ever turned their backs on me! Now what is that? Plus - I have not always been the most pleasant person to grace the doors of AA! My anger abounded and spilled out like toxic waste... no wait1 It WAS toxic waste... Nothing in my life worked... and I blamed the world.

The fellowship is what kept me sober. People said tihngs like: Do the steps... leave the results to God! They said you do not even have to have this 'faith.' You can do the steps anyway. They told me I did not have to wait for the ninth step to start cleaning up my side of the street... And boy was that needed. They told me 'act better than I feel...' and I tried that. It helped! I thought God was hostile to me... and my sponsor said, 'pray anyway.' I tried the suggestions and I am not going to tell you that I did not miss a beat since I came in to stay... I missed a plenty! And that just goes to show that I am here not because of me, but despite me! I tried to guage who would stay and who would not stay and I was usually wrong and always surprised....

The idea that one alcoholic can help another in ways that nobody else can is the foundation of this program. Why? God knows... but surely we all can relate to that devastating loneliness that we were powerless to release. When I sat in those rooms - people told their own stories and not one finger was pointed at me... (But I sure thought many a time they were talking about me!!! :oops: So.... here I am, and here I will stay. What I have today far exceeds my fondest dreams when I was drinking. I have friends, a fellowship, and am no longer the blight to a society in which I could not fit before.. and I am a useful member of society.

.... you do not have to believe in a power greater than yourself... but you must be willing to believe if you wish to accept the help this program has to offer. You can practice the steps in spite of yourself. You can give away what you have. My sponsor told me that if I had one day longer than anybody in that room then I owed it to my sobriety to tell other alcoholics how I stayed sober. It was through doing the things I did not believe in, and then faith followed. It has never preceded!

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Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:11 am

My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:29 pm

Hey all!

Catsup: Keep coming back. :wink: . I did it...I came in in Nov.2000...lengthy tale short...this past Dec. was 1 year sober. When ya get into the BB and ya look at Jim's story, and Fred's...well...let's just say...I proved the BB correct. I jumped in head first to this program, determined to "get it right and perfect the first time...I was "so unique", I wasn't gonna be like these guys (Jim&Fred...or even Bill W., for that matter), :oops: ...I was quit & was gonna stay quit & that's all there was to it. Yip...proved to myself--sure as sunrise...I's an alcoholic alright. 'N just in case I wasn't absolutelyconvinced...I's an addict too :shock: . Gee...go figure :? . When I come 'round this site here, I'd come around like this 8) ...not to be "cool", but because I's hidin' this: :oops: . How insane is that? Thinkin' I needed the shades to hide my face/identity--over a computer :roll: ...ri-iight :wink: . There's somethin' about "being honest with themselves" in the first part-a chapter 5 (Hi Dallas--how ya doin'?). Funny how that is...the first thing we begin to read when we come into these rooms is that very part &every time cuz it's How It Works...read at every single meetin' I ever been to...& that part 'bout "being honest with themselves" ...I'd roll my eyeballs over real quick, or--if I's the one readin' it outloud, I'd read real fast past it. Last night, I went to a meetin' & I's handed How It Works, and I consciously/slowly really read those words. Might just be that I's finally, finally...fin-a-lly willing to get completely honest with...who? Me. (Ouch :x --not "mad"--just the closest thing to a wincing smiley outta the deck).

Having said all that...my very first year in the program--I did stay sober (& clean) that first year--(lost it in the turn a month after :roll: ), the booklet I found that helped me the most, and still helps today was AA's Living Sober booklet---it helped that every Mon. night meeting was a "Living Sober" meeting...but that booklet does have suggestions as to how to deal with those "firsts"...those summer cocktail parties, for example. It was explained to me like this: All we've acquired up to now is the knowledge of how to attend functions (or life in general) is with the backing of liquid encouragement...we now have the knowledge that we don't have to drink in order to be a part of these functions. We only thought we needed that stuff (booze) for stability, for confidence. When it comes to a toast, it matters not what's in the glass, it's the toast itself, and the person/people you're toasting that's supposed to be the focus. It was with me (the alcoholic) where the focus was on what was in the glass and not on the subject surrounding the reason--the real reason for the toast in the first place. If you're not too sure about attending such functions, then it might be a better idea to decline graciously. If it's something that you can't avoid, there's also nothing wrong with making a gracious appearance, then politely leave by saying you have other matters to attend to. I realize that this is an honesty program...but by saying you have other matters to attend to could mean that you have your own health and sobriety to attend to. You owe yourself (remember--to be good to yourself) the space that you need to protect your sobriety, and if there's anyone who does not or can not respect that, then we still walk away graciously, thus--beginning to practice these principles in all our affairs. Maybe most of this doesn't make any sense to you now...but down the road...it will. :wink:

Give yourself a break :wink: . What you've learned so far outta this program hasn't gone anywhere, you haven't lost anything important (like your life). Good for you for gettin' back up & gettin' back in here--now that takes courage...know that for sure. Get yir hands on a Living Sober booklet--if you've read it before...it is only a suggestion that you look at it again, cuz it's fo' sho' that you'll be lookin' at it from a different perspective, & so's not to step on any toes :lol: , it's not a replacement for the BB, it's just a supplement :wink: .

Keep on keepin' on, kids, :wink:
Anne 8) :lol:

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Postby Zanthos » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:42 am

After more than 3 years of "sobriety" in the mid-90s (going to meetings but not working the Steps and not becoming a member of the Fellowship in any meaningful way) and then drinking for over 7 years, this time around I find that ideas about "not drinking" and "staying sober" play a very small role in my recovery.

Back then, so long as I wasn't drinking, I thought AA was working for me. Since I wasn't drinking and didn't want to drink, I didn't see the need to work the Steps. Looking back, I believe I wasn't "sober" in any meaningful way. Sure it was great I didn't drink. My body sure appreciated the time off. But I was still an anxious, fearful, reactive, controlling person who wasn't comfortable in his own skin and had no experience with serenity or "happy, joyous, and free". Because I hadn't changed emotionally or spiritually, I was a walking timebomb. After a particularly painful experience, I picked up. And, of course, once I started to drink again, I couldn't stop.

Getting into recovery a couple of years ago meant, for me, knowing down to my core that I couldn't stop drinking. And that nothing I could conceive of was going to change that. So long as I saw "not drinking" as something "I" could accomplish, either alone or through AA, as long as my desire to stop drinking remained a function of my will and my ego, I couldn't stop or I remained a dry drunk.

Only after I fully accepted that nothing I knew and nothing I was would lead to a different way of living, a life without alcohol, was I able to reach out, ask for help, and come to believe that the Program and the Steps and a Higher Power would do for me what I couldn't do for myself. And that meant giving myself over to a program of change, which is what AA is to me.

Alcohol was but a symptom, a symptom of a problem, and the problem was me. If I didn't change and become a more spiritually healthy human being, I was going to drink again. And even if I didn't, I would remain miserable. Not wanting to remain miserable, and not wanting to drink, I gave myself to AA as completely as I could and turned everything that is meaningful to me over to my Higher Power. (And what a relief that was!)

I find that if I look back at what I was and how long it has been since my last drink, and measure myself that way, I am to an important degree remaining in my past. That's why the amount of time I have today really doesn't matter.

It doesn't work for me to rock back on my heels, slip my thumbs beneath my suspenders, and get all pleased because I have "x" number of days, months or years. Instead, I examine who I am today in terms of the ideals of the Program, and with patience, acceptance, and love of myself I aspire to keep changing and growing. I try and focus on what I don't know and what I have yet to become. This keeps me (relatively) humble and teachable. If I don't do this, I become a self-satisfied, arrogant, superior jerk that has stopped growing and is therefore sliding backwards.

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Postby Dallas » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:13 pm

Hey Zanthos!!! Awesome sharing!!! I relate!

The surrender. Oh what an order... for such a powerful concept that must be acted upon to make an effect!

Once I knew that I had become alcoholic -- it meant that drinking was no longer an option! I needed relief -- and couldn't seek it through alcohol. I'm so grateful that I discovered the Relief after coming to A.A.

For me, Life has been an incredible adventure of discoveries! Today, I'm able to live and enjoy (most of the time)... my discoveries.

Once I made my surrender -- and I knew that drinking was no longer an option -- I had to get my mind off of "not drinking" and instead get my mind on "living sober" -- which meant learning a Design For Living that Works! And, cleaning house on the inside of me -- setting right the mistakes of my past -- and working towards blotting out the record of those that I had harmed -- by making amends.

What a paradox! Surrender to be free!


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Postby Zanthos » Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:40 pm

Dallas wrote:Life has been an incredible adventure of discoveries!

That's the beauty of surrender, in my experience.

I spent the first several months after rehab going to meetings, working the Steps, etc. and thinking to myself (as well as sharing obnoxiously in meetings): "this better work!". Because the bottom line was I didn't know if the Program would work for me. It was truly an act of faith and desperation for me to put my fate in AA and keep following the Program's suggestions. I feel lucky to have arrived at such a bottom that going back was not an option.

That mindset of "not knowing" has carried over into my overall experience of life. It remains an essential part of surrendering to all the things in life I cannot control (which is just about everything!). But yes, Dallas, it makes for an incredible adventure of discoveries!

- Harry

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Postby anniemac » Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:09 pm

Hey, "Other Anne M."! Good to see you here. I agree totally with what you said about taking it out in to the real world ~ to me, the concept of only helping another alcoholic is a bit exclusionary....why shouldn't I strive to help all others on this planet?

Catsup, you still with us? What's going on in your life?

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