ugggh... potential for relapse

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

Postby garden variety » Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:46 am

Hi Anne Marie

Good work on the sponsor.

Please don't get the wrong impression. What I share isn't to say that I had it so much worse than you. It's not comparison. Struggle is struggle no matter what it's stripes or colors, and it hurts. My heart goes out to each of you because I understand how you feel.

The point I'm trying to make is that just like you, I only had 3 days, then 5, then 9, then 45 and so on. Today my life is good, but I had those struggles that each of you new folks are having. I'm glad I can recall that time because it makes today is so much more beautiful.

Another thing I'm saying to you is take advantage of these tools and gifts so you don't have to suffer like a fool. It's not that you might look like you're going through "less" suffering. Why suffer needlessly? I should have been detoxing in a hospital but I didn't know better. Today, I'd be in detox - I would have also learned about AA a lot sooner.

I heard a girl say it right the other night at a meeting. She said she doesn't have to be the "gunea pig". Her sponsor told her to let others be the guinea pigs that she learns from. You got a good bunch of guinea pigs here and in the rooms. It's much easier to listen and learn from the mistakes of others - let us be your guinea pigs :lol: (our experiences, or our "adventures before and after") so you don't hurt as badly.

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Postby Position3DAT » Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:13 am

Hey gang. Just thought I'd stop by to say hi real quick. Day 42 today. Finished step 4 the other night. Working on Step 5 with my therapist. Continuing to live just 24 hours at a time.

It's funny. This post is how I feel at most meetings. I don't have much to say but thank you so much for everyone's little pearls of wisdom. They really help keep me going. And on that note I think I'll just "listen." Thanks again.


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Postby Lou » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:16 pm

Just checking in. I am on Day 8. My lovely, non-alcoholic wife came to visit me for the weekend from FLorida. She loves and supports me, but bless her heart, she does not understand this disease. But she's so loving and supprtive, I thank God for her every day. SHe said that she's going to start going to the Al-Anon group when she gets home.

So I am attending meetings and church every day. I am working the steps with someone I hope may be my permanent sponsor, but who is patient wise and sees right through my B__ S__. I am greatful for him. I am also greatful for this forum, because I know that the Ego waits just beneath the surface. If I say, I got it, I don't got it. Ego WILL deceive me. I have identified traits that I myself have over and over again in the stories I hear in these meetings, and on this forum. Seeing the length of sobriety and the level of emotional and spiritual maturity, not to mention self-awareness in you guys and girls makes me hopeful that someday I will be there as well. But for today, I say I Want What You Have.

I have been told several times in this last week, that I should temper my enthusiasm. It's just so exciting, only a week ago I was wallowing in the depths of despair, and today I see hope. I've met people with a combined total of hundreds of years of sobriety. It makes me want to work the steps as quickly (yet as thoroughly) as possible. Is that wrong?

I am still trying to sleep, but its getting better. I am starting to exercise and I can eat almost normally. SO i see the results of the physical, starting to get better emotional, feel pretty good mentally and spiritually, asking for help from my higher power many times throughout each day

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Postby Position3DAT » Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:57 pm

Lou wrote:It makes me want to work the steps as quickly (yet as thoroughly) as possible. Is that wrong?

Absolutely not! It sounds like we're on the same page. In fact the other day I ALSO said in this open meeting I've been attending "I want what you guys have." And I mean it.

We want what they have, and in order to do it we're going to have to work the steps as quickly as our HP will let us. Rock on buddy!

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

Postby garden variety » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:04 pm

Lou wrote: It makes me want to work the steps as quickly (yet as thoroughly) as possible. Is that wrong?

Heya Lou! Good to see you checking in and thanks for helping me again today. "Is that wrong" you asked and that is the very "child-like" attitude that will make you well. Bless your heart. What that says to me is "I wanna ride my bike, too. Just like you guys." Boy does that ever help me. You are on the right track.

The book says when we are trying to "get it" (grasping recovery), we've reached a certain realization. That we're not living and we want to learn how to live again. And the book gives the instructions of how and when and how fast to work the 12 steps.

You don't want to sit out there in the ocean treading water waiting a year for someone to throw you the life preserver, do you? Then when you grab hold of the life preserver, you don't want to wait another year for someone to pull you to the rescue boat, do you? Sounds pretty absurd, huh?

But there are longtimers and oldtimers that will tell you you're not ready to take certain steps. Or some will tell you that you should work on a step for a year.

Hogwash, I say!

This is what the book says about when you're ready to work the steps:

"If you decide you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps."

This is what the book says about how fast you work through all 12 steps:

"With all the desperation of drowning men."

If someone tells you otherwise, they might not have been reading the book in some real important areas.

You go ahead brother - you're dealing with a life and death situation with alcoholism. I know because I've been close to where you been when it comes to having sobriety, then throwing it away, and living in hell for 4 years. That's something we both have in common. So work those steps as quickly as you can.

There is a gal in this forum who was like you wanting to work the steps full-speed ahead. She got through them quick all right, but she needed them quick too because she had a very serious illness that landed her in surgery. A life and death situation of a different type (You know who you are girl, so chime in at any time!). God bless her sponsor who also was willing to help her get through them quickly.

I personally believe that you can't work the steps too fast as long as you are honest, open-mind, and willing.

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Postby carol1017 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:13 pm

I agree with Paul -- those who say there's no rush in doing the steps was never as desperate as I was to learn how to live without alcohol.

As long as you are honest, open and willing, you can get through the steps quickly AND thoroughly.

There's a lot of merit in the saying that only Step One needs to be done perfectly -- admitting that we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. There is always time to go back and rework some of the steps more thoroughly if we are living them.

Go for it, Lou!!!

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Postby Dallas » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:36 am

If I had waited until I perfectly did Step 1 -- I would have never made it through the other eleven Steps.

Here's the deal.

Step 1 says "you're an alcoholic and you're going to drink again no matter how strongly you don't want to drink again! and you can not manage to stay sober -- you can not manage to avoid it. No matter how strong your desire to stay sober... you can't do it. And, guess what? The entire Fellowship of AA... cannot keep you away from your next first drink."

Step 2 says "there is a solution".

Now, how long do you want to wait for the solution?

Imagine this.... You're laying in your bed. You smell smoke. You hear peoples voices saying "your house is on fire." And, you just lay there in bed thinking "Oh! Well, someone has called the fire department... and I'll just lay here and wait until the firemen come and they'll put out the fire. No need to rush."

Now, you not only smell smoke... but, you see the flames coming up underneath the door. And, you say "Well. If I need to rush, the firemen will tell me to rush when they get here. No need to hurry. I'll be fine."

Next, you see that your bed is burning... and now your clothes are on fire. And, you still lay there... waiting."

Guess what? If we used the above example... as our "alcoholism" ... we smelled the smoke, saw the flames, and felt the burn.... long before we made it to A.A.! :lol: :lol:

Now, what are we going to do? Sit in a chair... go to meetings... and wait to see how long we can stay sober "on our own?"

The book says "lack of power" is our problem. Then, it explains, that the instructions in the book... to take the Steps... is what will plug us into the Power.

So... how long do you want to keep doing it on your power? Do you need more convincing proof... that "you can not control your drinking and you cannot control your alcoholism, and you cannot control your sobriety"?

Why live in a house... that's wired for electricity... and you're using batteries? The batteries are going to die. Why not do what you have to do... to get the electricity turned on... before the batteries are dead?

"Oh... well... when the batteries die... I do have a few candles." :lol: :lol:

Yep. And, maybe it was the candles that set the house on fire!" :lol: :lol:

If you had cancer... and the doctor told you that surgery was the solution and without the surgery you were going to die... how long would you wait to have the surgery?

"Oh... well... I don't want to rush in to have the surgery.... I'll wait and when God want's me to have surgery... He'll let me know!!!" :lol:

After the firemen show up and put the ladder up to your window... and your clothes and house are on fire... and you are on the second story and the stairway has already burned down... would you tell the firemen... "well, I don't want to rush down the steps of that ladder! I might trip.... and I do want to take each step down the ladder perfectly!" :lol: :lol:

If that isn't enough......... look in Chapter 3, for the Jay Walker's story! :lol: And, ask "how long do you want to keep jay walking?"

It's ALL 12 STEPS -- that get the "jay walking idea" out of the mind!


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Postby Dallas » Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:00 am

Carol wrote:There's a lot of merit in the saying that only Step One needs to be done perfectly -- admitting that we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

I certainly agree with the merit in that saying.

What does it mean -- "to perfectly take Step One?"

Here is what it means: It means that we do not take the next first drink.... in any form at all! That's the only absolutely perfect way -- to take Step One! :lol: That is how "we know" that we have taken the first Step perfectly... because we know that we are perfectly sober! :wink:

So, if we are alcoholic -- and we do not drink today, we have practiced Step One -- perfectly... today.

If we do have a drink today -- we screwed up and didn't practice it perfectly. And, just because I take the first Step in this moment, perfectly... there is another moment, waiting right after this moment! How am I going to do in that moment? That's the real question. And, if our answer is... I'm powerless over the next moment... then we better get our butts through all 12 Steps, and continue to practice the principles of ALL those Steps... or, we just might not perfectly practice Step One in the next moment! :lol:

Step 1, is the door... and until we step through the door, we cannot pass through to the road to freedom.... that will lead us through the arch to freedom.

While some could debate over "well, perhaps you haven't perfectly stepped through the door"....... if we have landed in an A.A. meeting... "if" we could manage to use a few existing brain cells... we could look at our previous experiments... and, conclude that "I better get my butt through those Steps!"

but.... but... butt... butt... That's the problem. In regards to our alcoholism... we might as well been thinking with our butt. :lol: We've had our head up our butts for so long... in regards to our drinking... that our heads are still thinking about crap when we try to figure out what to do about our "alcoholism."

Alcoholism... is the only illness... where the problem is actually the solution. The alcoholic must drink to treat their alcoholism.... because alcoholism demands drinking to treat it. And, that's why we're screwed.

We can't "live without it. (alcohol)." -- so, the 12 Steps treat the "living without it" problem. And, by treating the "living without it problem" we suddenly find that we are no longer interested in drinking. :lol:

I do believe... that the reason AA's drag their feet in regards to the 12 Steps is because of one problem. They are not convinced of their inability to manage to stay sober. So, in reality... when a person has trouble with taking Steps 2 through 12, the problem is not 2 through 12... it's a Step 1, problem.

Either they are not convinced, that they are a "real alcoholic"... or, they don't understand the fatal nature of their alcoholism. Drunk or sober... their alcoholism will kill them... if they do not address the "living without alcohol" problem.

It isn't the drinking -- that leads the alcoholic to the gates of insanity and death.... even though the drinking will cause premature health problems and will most likely cut many years off the life of an alcoholic.

It's "sobriety".... that leads the alcoholic to the gates of insanity and death.

Remember reading of Dr. Silkworth, telling Bill's wife, Lois, "you can either watch until he drinks himself to death... or lock him up to keep him away from drinking... and watch him go mad!" ???

Alcoholism will not allow the alcoholic to "live without alcohol".... unless the problem of "living without alcohol" has been solved. :lol:


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Postby carol1017 » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:44 am

Well said, Dallas!

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Thank You All... Again

Postby Lou » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:39 am


This is why I read and post to this forum.


Thank you for sharing that you want it too(sobriety) and are willing to go to any lengths to get it. And for encouraging me to go for it. I am going for it. This time without reservation and, as much as possible, without the burden of self and ego that wouldn't allow me to turn my life and my will over to God as I understand on him my first pitiful attempt at sobriety.

BTW. I am a musician, almost everyone in New Orleans is... so lets rock this sobriety thing! 8)


Thank you for reinforcing what I already felt. I HAVE to work the steps with all the desperation of a drowning man, because in Alcoholism, I WAS drowning. Every day in meetings, when I share that I am on Day X, I hear congratulations, keep coming back. But I must do MORE than keep coming back: I must useon of the most important tools that we have, working the steps. I must clear away the wreckage of my past, or I will be right back where I was 9 days ago. And then I'll be dead; no way to be of service or turn your life over to the will of God when your life is over...


You are an inspiration to me. When I think of what you have overcome, I know that God lives. God loves us. God watches over us. I know on that last night, he saved my life. Now I am beginning to see why, not so I won't drink, but so I can lose myself in His service. He loves all of us and He wants us to bring that love into a world that needs it so much.


I love the fire analogy. I fought and fought over working the steps the first time. I knew I had a problem, and thought that if I just didn't drink I would be O.K. (smelled the smoke). I conscously decided that I was right and you all were wrong, I could beat this on my own. (Saw the flames). I drank, with several out of control episodes. (Felt the heat) And then my life devolved into complete lack of control and Powerlessness, I said and did things I never thought I would, swore I never would, and very nearly lost everything, including my life. ( got burned) I am greatful to you and to all AA's for not judging me and accepting me back. I am running down that ladder with all the speed I can muster, because I do not want to get burned again. I realize that it's a lifelong journey, but I am so happy to be taking the journey honestly open-mindedly(is that a word?) and willingly this time....and the journey is One Day at A Time. I can't wait to see what the next day brings, because I truly feel with the grace of God, that whatever it is I can handle it without drinking.

SO, again, thank you all for helping this alcoholic get better. I feel the outpouring of love and support and it's overwhelming.


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