- An Alcoholic Suicide Epidemic....

An Alcoholic Suicide Epidemic....




Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober

An Alcoholic Suicide Epidemic....

Postby Dallas » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:09 am

An Alcoholic Suicide Epidemic --
and it isn't necessary, nor is it a requirement for recovery....


I recently talked to some A.A. members that live in a small city that probably has less than 200 members in the A.A. Fellowship. And, they appear to be having an alcoholic suicide epidemic in their area.

Over the last three months there have been approximately 5 or more, (and possibly 8 ) suicides within the fellowship. Lately, about every two weeks they hear of another one. And, they are progressively growing. They used to hear about an alcoholic suicide once in about every five years.

I got sober in a large city that has (probably more than) 100,000 members in the Fellowship. There, we heard of suicides but they were not as common as in the small city that I'm referring to. Mostly, we heard of members who went out and drank themselves to death.

My sponsor lives in the large city where I got sober. I also live in a small city -- that has probably less than 200 members in the fellowship. I wrote to him and called him to describe the problems that the fellowship in the small city is experiencing – and, I told him what I believed to be the root of the problem and what I believed was and could be a solution to the problem.

We were both in agreement to the following:

1. In the area that I'm referring to – most of the talk heard in meetings (which I refer to as “the Message that We Are Carryingâ€
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Postby DebbieV » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:31 am

Hey Dallas,
I am so glad you posted what you did, and I cant tell you how sorry I am for the members of that AA community. That sound like confusion is killing people, and that is such a sad thing to hear. I will pray that a few people will get involved in the meetings and start being a walking example of the BB and maybe less people will become confused, then they can start being a walking example of the BB and even more people will become less confused and so on and so on...

Last Saturday I was at the jumping off place, and I can honesty say that I was without defense against that first drink. I could not pull up in my head how to be willing, even though I wanted to be willing, how to not drink and how to stay sober, did not believe that God was listening to me, didn't believe in AA, Book or meetings. I was insane..... I had let up on the spiritual program of ACTION, and alcohol came sneaking up on my butt.
When I called my sponsor, I was in such a rage and scared that I wasn't hearing a lot at first, I just keep saying I'm not willing, how do I stay sober if I am not willing, and the big one was that I didn't trust God, how was I going to stay sober without God? I hear it all the time: You have to be willing and have God in your life to keep sober. God will keep you sober.
Well crap I was screwed then because God was not in my life ( he was I just couldn't see him and didn't want to see him) My sponsor said I didn't have to be willing, just don't do it.. I taught you the principles of the book, I took you though the steps, now you have to take the next step and God isn't going to come down and pick up your feet for you. JUST DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING..EVEN IF YOU DONT WANT TOO. EVEN IF YOU DON'T WANT TOO.

What still gets me is I was so scared I would drink but I didn't know how not to drink. I had heard that in meetings but I have never felt it like that.
Do I think God keep me sober that night? I'm sorry to say it but no, I don't. I think the fact that I had done my steps, had a foundation down, and have a sponsor who was willing to work with me until I was off that ledge, is what got me through it. I do believe that God works through my sponsor and me, and he was there with me that night. I am the one who had to make the choice not to start bending the elbow again.
I have no doubt in my mind, that if I would have taken that first drink that I would be one of the alcoholic suicides.

Today, I am more careful not to let up on my spiritual condition, I take this program not like a popularity contest but with people who keep it in the book.
Not who says the funny thing in meeting but who says what come out of the book and from a place of experience and who went through hell and made it back happy.
Not what can I get from others while I am sitting in a meeting, but what can I give when I am sharing and keep it in the book myself.
There are many more things I have learned from that night...one of the most important things that I have learned is, that I was taken this program for granted, I wasn't as serious as I should be. The rooms I sit in are not a place where I want to hear how someones week sucked, I want to hear what they did to get it not to suck. It is a place I go to that will literally save my life if I listen to the right people and I do what my book tells me what to do. No more fun and games, it is time to grow up and take this deal like it is, LIFE AND DEATH.

Just so it is known, I am happier than I have ever been today.
I feel I have grown and grown up.
I feel like it will take a great deal to shake me today.
I feel like the book, my sponsor, meetings and God are my breath of air, without them I will die.
I feel like life is what I always wanted it to be but didn't know how to get there.
I do know what that word serenity means now.
I don't let the petty things upset me today.
I can say one thing that I have never in my life been able to say, I am proud of me.
It is up to me and only me to do the next right thing.
It is up to me to keep me noose in the book, my but in a meeting, keep in contact with my sponsor, keep doing the action on the steps, work with another alcoholic and hit my knees everyday.

I do take AA more serious than anything in my life, I do know that it is a life and death program, but I also believe the life part is more fun than anything I have experienced. I think that is part of maturity, knowing that not doing the deal will kill me, so I do it and have a blast while I am. Don't take yourself so serious, is one of the quotes I also understand today.

I have a new motto for myself, stay in the book and stay alive, its just that simple.

Thank you Dallas for the reminder of where this disease can take all of us.
This alcoholic wants to do whatever I can to not die an alcohol death, and also do what I can to help someone else not either.

Deb
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Postby garden variety » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:54 am

DebbieV wrote:Do I think God keep me sober that night? I'm sorry to say it but no, I don't. I think the fact that I had done my steps, had a foundation down, and have a sponsor who was willing to work with me until I was off that ledge, is what got me through it. I do believe that God works through my sponsor and me, and he was there with me that night.

I am the one who had to make the choice not to start bending the elbow again.


:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: Whoa Nelly - look out! :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

If it was you (without the help of God as you understand Him), and you had a choice whether or not you drank that night, then you were not powerless over alcohol. If you were not powerless, then you still have power over drink. If you still have power, then either you do not believe in your innormost self that you are an alcoholic, OR you don't need a Power greater than yourself to control your drinking - which means you are not an alcoholic and don't need to do a perfect first step.

"The FACT is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink."

"Probably no human power could relieve our alcoholism."

"We are without defense against the first drink."

"Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power."

I don't know about you Deb, but I have to be reminded about these things on a regular basis. As far as I can tell, your sponsor falls into the category of "human power" or "other human being". If you are a "real alcoholic" (I believe you are from what you share), then God as you understand Him did in fact keep you sober, even though you don't think so.

So what you said is very true, "Stay in the book stay alive".

You have read chapter 2 and 3 a couple times, haven't you? :o :shock: :D :lol:
Last edited by garden variety on Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby garden variety » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:31 am

...Now about that suicide epidemic.

I stopped and thought about living in a city with a AA membership of "about 200". I'd be in trouble.

There are about 1,300 meetings a week that are in driving distance from my home. There are 300-350 people that come to my home group every week. This is only talking about A.A., and not including N.A. or C.A. or the others.

Everything you said, Dallas, I agree with you. Being "sober" means no drinking or other substances that provide "recreational well-being". No marijuana maintenance, no pills, rocks, or flakes. For me, being "sober" means having a "clear mind". Recreational chemical use does not qualify me if I'm in that category.

I could not agree with you more about alcoholics and addicts. An addict is not an alcoholic and an alcoholic is not an addict. But you can be both. Or you can be one or the other. I think treatment through the 12 steps for one will treat the other just as good. But to me it all centers on that step 12.

The only person that can "carry the message" and share ES&H with an alcoholic like me, is another alcoholic. A cocaine or heroin addict cannot help an alcoholic unless they have the "common problem".

A "heavy drinker" that "goes to meetings" cannot "carry the message" or share ES&H. A "heavy drinker" don't need "the desire to quit drinking". He just has it built into himself. He just stops drinking and that's the end of it. The problem I have is alcoholism, the inability to leave booze alone. I can't do it without a Higher Power, the 12 steps, and a spiritual experience. If any one of those things is missing in my life I WILL DRINK AGAIN. I don't DECIDE to drink. It's just what I do. It's what I am "hard wired" to do. I'm what Dr. Silkworth calls an alcoholic of the 100% hopeless variety. Without A.A., the Big Book, the steps, and a set of "spiritual prnciples", Dr. Silkworth says I'm "doomed".

So naturally if those people killing themselves are real alcoholics, that's what they will do if they don't have solid A.A.'s that sponsor and walk with them through the steps. I don't know how you can manage sobriety in a city like you described, Dallas - with about 200 A.A.'s. Then you got those "fundamental" religious folks that insist on God their way only. I don't envy where you live, Dallas, not in the least.

There's only one solution I can say might work. Lots of prayer and lots of mercy. Even if it's only one person, I think prayer and mercy can heal the world. It's the best and most potent tool I've ever used.
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Postby DebbieV » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:00 am

Hey Paul,

Maybe you didn't read all that I wrote, or maybe I didn't say it clear.

Well crap I was screwed then because God was not in my life ( he was I just couldn't see him and didn't want to see him) My sponsor said I didn't have to be willing, just don't do it.. I taught you the principles of the book, I took you though the steps, now you have to take the next step and God isn't going to come down and pick up your feet for you. JUST DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING..EVEN IF YOU DONT WANT TOO. EVEN IF YOU DON'T WANT TOO.


By my sponsor teaching me the principles of the book, I learned who God was, and that he was with me at all times.

By my sponsor taking me through the steps, I learned that the only person who was going to keep me sober, happy, joyous, free and sane, was God.

Saturday night I did not feel God in my life, and I think that happens from time to time, if it I walked in the doors of AA and I KNEW God was with me all the time and he is all i relied on, I wouldn't need a big book, sponsor, AA, meetings...etc God would just tell me what to do during those hard times and maybe cause me to crash my car on the way to the bar or something, to keep me from drinking.
I think the point of Chapter 6 is, now that I am not drinking, how can I live life to fit myself to be of maximum service to God and the people about us. However, if I do what I did last week and let up on on the spiritual program of action, then I can no longer feel God in my life. Not to say that he is not there, I just cant feel him. I know in time, that this will become more automatic, and I will be safe and protected. With 71 days sober, I don't know that is was possible to pull up God at that moment. So I had to depend on what I felt was there at that moment.
As far as being powerless over alcohol, I that was more clear to me Saturday night than it has ever been in my life....
Page xxx in BB " There are many situations which arise out of the phenomenon of craving which cause men to make the supreme sacrifice rather than continue to fight"
If all it took was God, then why didn't the Oxford group work? Why did Bob need Bill and they both needed Dr. Silkworth? Why wont the Bible keep me sober and never be at a jumping off place again?

I feel like the book, my sponsor, meetings and God are my breath of air, without them I will die
That is where I am today, That is not where I was Saturday.

All I was trying to say Paul, was that night I didn't feel him there. I was lost and insane. I had to pull up what was tangible to me right then. The whole point is, if I let up on my spiritual program, that is where I will end up. So no matter what I have to work the program (where I learn to depend on God) I have to read my BB ( to learn to depend on God) and I have to talk to my sponsor ( to lean to depend on God) or I will die.

I'm sorry if I am not explaining myself right now, or before. I don't always have a relationship with God that will come out and force us to not take that first drink, I think that is why it is so important to read my Big Book, more than once, and do my steps, more than once, So I can be the way it seems you are and always know without a shadow of a doubt, that God is with you. I am learning what use to be a hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of my mind. I do hope I will make it to that point.

Thanks for your input, I hope that clears a little up

Have a great day. :D

Deb
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Postby carol1017 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:39 am

Wow, Dallas, the "suicide epidemic" you describe is appalling. I agree with you about its roots and causes.

The dilution of the AA message scares me -- for me, as Debbie said, this program truly is a matter of life and death. For me, there is no revolving door to the rooms of AA -- there's only one way -- in, and that's it. No "relapse is part of recovery", no second chances -- this IS my second chance.

What you said about treatment centers is very apparent today in the rooms of AA. I'm beginning to think that the treatment centers would very much like to be able to send people to some sort of generic "A" group, rather than having them pick AA or NA. When I was released from my psych ward stay, it was suggested to me to attend a substance abuse group meeting. This group was supposed to address all substance abuse. What I found there was:

1. I could not identify with the others in the group -- they were all crack, heroin, or cocaine addicts, and I felt like a "slacker" by only being an alcoholic.

2. There was no plan of action -- the group was led by an addictions counselor, and all that was discussed was "how was your week?" and "how do you feel about that?"

3. There was no measurement for growth -- there was no discussion of how to cope with life sober/clean -- just how to deal with "feelings".

When I came into AA, the first thing I noticed was that I could identify with everyone in the room -- perhaps not on every level, but enough so that I felt comfortable. Plus, AA had a plan to get and keep me sober -- the Steps. I was told if I wanted to get and stay sober, this is what I had to do. I needed an instruction manual, and AA gave that to me. And best of all, I could measure my growth in the program by using its principles on a day by day basis. Others could see the change in me before I could, but I had a yardstick -- I could say "Gee, I would have handled this situation much differently before".

I have recently moved from a big city to a small town, and I desperately miss the convenience of being able to go to a meeting at almost any time o the day or night; however, it has forced me to become more creative in maintaining that necessary contact -- whether it's online in a forum such as this one, or reading, or calling an alcoholic friend, I know that I must keep active in AA.

My home group here doesn't even have 200 members, yet it focuses on AA principles and traditions. There are one or two people who may venture off into other areas, but at any given meeting, there are enough others to bring them back into focus. This particular group has a lot of oldtimers, which is why I chose it as my home group -- it has a strong foundation, and is less likely to be influenced by the treatment center dogma.

I will keep the group you spoke of in my thoughts and prayers, in the hope that they will ultimately get the message through this pain that sobriety truly is a life and death matter.
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Postby carol1017 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:57 am

(((((Debbie)))))

I understood exactly what you were saying -- after all, we're learning now that even Mother Theresa had "crises of faith".

What I have learned is that when my HP seems farthest away is when I need to reach out -- to my HP, or to another alcoholic. I think God gives us these little "crises of faith" to remind us to be grateful for what we have, and to push us to do whatever it takes to stay sober.

I think you handled your crisis very well -- you didn't drink, you called your sponsor, and you learned a valuable lesson -- all in all, I'd say it was a worthwhile, if somewhat painful, experience.
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Postby Dallas » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:49 pm

(((( Debbie ))))) :lol: :lol: :lol:

I understood what you meant and I've been there, too!!!
I agree.

--------------------------------------------------------

Now about me.... :lol:

I'm powerless over alcohol -- I'm an alcoholic -- I'm sober -- and I don't believe that God keeps me sober.

If I did believe that God keeps me sober - then, why should I bother with "personal house cleaning" - and taking the next right action and making amends? That's one of the points that I believe is the cause of the "Suicide Epidemic." If God's going to keep me sober -- I don't have to go to any length whatsover -- to stay sober. I could go as far as I would go -- and if God didn't step up to the plate -- I'd be drunk. I wouldn't need to have a program of action. I would have limited responsibility for my sobriety. And, by making it God's job to keep me sober -- if I drink again -- it would be God's fault that I drank! :lol:

It's my job to keep me sober. I'm powerless -- and that's why God gave me His tools to use -- they are Power Tools. :lol:

If I don't believe that God keeps me sober -- how can I be powerless?

1. My sobriety is not based on my beliefs -- it's based on my actions.

2. My sobriety is not determined by what I believe about God -- it's based on whether or not I'm applying the principles that God gave to me.

3. God doesn't care what I think about Him -- He cares about what I DO and how I treat others. God don't want me to bend my elbow. If I use His Tools like I've been instructed to use them - my elbow won't bend! :lol:

4. The God that I have today -- is so BIG that there is no way I can understand Him! :lol: My brain is unable to comprehend the magnitude of God's Love and God's Being. So, I gave up trying to figure Him out.

For me -- what "Seeking to improve my conscious contact with God" means is: to experience God rather than to understand God. :lol: And, I've learned that I can surely experience God -- by using His Tools.

Dallas
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Postby anniemac » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:06 pm

Debbie, I agree that having built a solid foundation is what keeps us going through those jumping off places. I have had total fits of athiesm, out loud and in public at meetings, ranting and raving how there is no God and it's all a big crock of you-know-what. Yet, having an AA foundation under me and a box full of tools has gotten me through those times; because as I ranted and raved, I knew I had also felt the complete opposite more often than not. So I knew my thinking was crazy and that it was I who had disconnected by my will going against God's will. I'm glad to hear that you got past that dark and scary place and feel stronger for it.

Dallas, I like what you wrote. If I allowed myself to think too hard about it, I'd get pretty confused about what God does and what I do. I think Dr. Paul said something like he (Dr. Paul) was responsible for all the effort, and God was responsible for all the outcome (by the way, I just saw a picture of him the other day for the first time, and he does not look like what I expected!!). If, when my will is alligned with that of the Universe, my effort keeps me sober -- then, I let go of the semantics as to "who" really did it. But, I do know that I have a big part to play in it...I am not a marionette in a puppet theater.
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Postby Dallas » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:20 pm

Anniemac wrote: If, when my will is alligned with that of the Universe, my effort keeps me sober -- then, I let go of the semantics as to "who" really did it. But, I do know that I have a big part to play in it...I am not a marionette in a puppet theater.


Thanks for your quote Anniemac -- I think I'll steal it!!!! :lol: :lol:

I stole a lot from Dr. Paul, also! :lol: :lol: He was one of the most incrediblly good examples of A.A. that I ever met! He had such a flair with words -- and humor -- as he would crack open my mind and drop little bits and seeds of wisdom, experience, strength and hope. I am so grateful that many of his talks and works and writings have been preserved for us -- and, even though he is no longer with us in body -- his message of experience, strength and hope is still with us.

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