- Slips

Slips




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Slips

Postby Buck V » Fri May 05, 2006 8:44 pm

This something that has been wearing on my mind for the last couple of days. I'm 5 mos. 10 days sober and a 1st timer in AA. Up until just recently I've been floating on that pink cloud and really have had no desire to drink at all. But lately it seems that all I've been seeing or hearing or thinking about is slips (or relapses or "going back out") We had a member of a nearby group who announced in a meeting that he was going back out for some more research and did! We had another come back in after 4 months of "research". This was after almost 5 years of sobriety. Since I joined this forum the other day, I read all the introductions. It seemed that the majority of the folks here have slipped one or more times. I went to a meeting this morning and the topic was...you guessed it...slips. I had a drunk dream the other night and it took me almost a full minute (doesn't sound long but it was) to realize that it was just a dream.

I think of my disease as this huge, ugly, extremely strong monster that is sound asleep in the deepest, darkest part of my colon I can imagine. But as the PC started to fade, I think he's tried to wake up a little. He started sending these little signals to me saying "See? All these guys have gone back out, but they've come back and are as good as new!" Shutup "Even the BB says try some controlled drinking (p.31)" Shutupshutup."Bill.W even says that slips aren't that big a deal ("As Bill Sees It" p.11). SHUT UP!!!!

Why?

What?

I said "Why?"

The miracle of this program will never cease to amaze me. Because of this program I was able sit down, relax and honestly ask myself that question. Why am I dwelling on slips? I'm dwelling on slips because I'm an alcoholic and am powerless over my disease. In step 3 I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him. In step 7 (for me anyway) I acted on that decision and DID turn my will and life over to Him. I think that today His will for me is not for me to drink, so I won't. I think his will for me today is contemplate the dangers of "self", so I did. I think His will for me today is to go to bed tonight happy, healthy and sober. So I will. His will, not mine, be done.

Thanks for letting me share.

Buck
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Postby Dallas » Fri May 05, 2006 10:49 pm

Hey Buck, great message!!!

As I've looked over the posts in our forum... sometimes I shiver to wonder if the message that's getting carried is that slips... or returning to alcohol is a normal part of recovery or the AA experience.

I know literally HUNDREDS of oldtimers... with much more time than I have... who got it the first time in AA and never returned to alcohol. I can remember how upset they would get with me when I would mention, that I had failed in AA my first time.

SLIP = Sobriety Loses It's Priority.

It is NOT mandatory for AA members to slip and it's not an essential to recovery.

This is one of the reasons that I admire you grabbing on to the program as you have, and sharing the other side of the message... that slipping is not mandatory and not everybody does it.

Sometimes, I think alkie's may rationalize and justify their next drink, by saying "well... it's okay. I'll have a few and then return to AA."

Most of the people that I know who did fail, like I did, did much of the same thing that caused me to fail. They only thought they had hit their bottom and were not really convinced in their innermost selves that they were real alcoholic... there by not ever actually taking nor completing the First Step in recovery.

Some alkie's do like to justify and rationalize their return to alcohol, so I'm sure we'll hear some "other sides" to this topic.... And, I guess as a formal reminder and an example of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous... we can look at Bill W., himself. After he practiced the program that he discovered that would work for all of us... he never drank again. From reading Dr. Bob's story... how he returned to drinking after he met Bill, it does seem to indicate that when he actually applied the six step program that they were using... and disappeared one afternoon (when everyone thought he was drunk)... he was out making amends (our 9th Step)... and he too, never drank again after that experience.

So... thank you very much for your message and your experience on this very important topic!!!!!

Best regards,

Dallas
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Postby JR » Sat May 06, 2006 1:20 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of what Bill W. writes about slips is, in my opinion, written to keep members who have returned after a slip from feeling so guilty and ashamed it impedes their progress after returning to AA.

As for contemplating a slip, well that business is infinitely grave. The alcoholic mind once bent on a course of self-destruction is difficult to reverse. I've only got a little over 7 months but, I had some time before I relapsed so I do have some experience with relapse. Alcoholism is a disease, which is why I prefer the term relapse. The disease of alcoholism is a disease of the mind and body.

Buck, I recommend that you seriously read the Dr.'s opinion in your BB. I also recommend that you consider revisiting step one.

All alcoholics hit some sort of bottom before arriving in AA. I think I read, Buck, that you drank for 35 years and are a somewhat high bottom alcoholic. I was told many years ago by a man who ran a treatment facility for alcoholism that some alcoholics only have to hit one bottom, go to AA and get sober and never have to return to alcohol. Some alcoholics have to hit one or perhaps two or three bottoms, each lower than the previous before alcohol convinces them of their disease and they treat it with the program of AA and never return to alcohol. Some alcoholics hit bottom after bottom and bounce around on the bottom until they are dead. He didn't seem to know what made the difference between each of these types of alcoholics, or at least I never heard him say.

Frankly, the bottoms of many alcoholics scares the living #*$@ out of me. And I know for a fact that I will end up at a rock bottom level if I drink again. It may take 6 months or a year or maybe 10 but eventually I'll end up a toothless cackling old woman living out of a dumpster in spite of anything that has happened up until now.

Plus, there is always the joy of living without alcohol, but I am not going to get into that on this post because I don't have enough time. Suffice it to say the rewards of sobriety are many and well worth it.

I'm glad you're here, Buck, because you are certainly 12th stepping me.

Easy Does It,

Jr
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Postby Dallas » Sat May 06, 2006 9:00 am

Buck, I would suggest you keep doing what your doing... and learning from the research and mistakes of others... and taking the advice of your sponsor. As I said before... failure to stay sober the first time in AA, is not mandatory for recovery in AA. The statistics that were kept by the early AA's is documented proof... that many early members in AA were making it, the first time around. And, a high percentage of those who did return to drinking after their first visit to AA returned... and stayed sober.

The Forward to First Edition: Alcoholics Anonymous

"We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book. For them, (i.e. those who will be reading this book) we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary." .... In other words... experimental research and developent is over!!! Here's the Deal that Works!

Preface to the book, Alcoholics Anonymous:

"Because THIS BOOK has become the BASIC TEXT for our Society (meaning the AA Fellowship) and has helped such large numbers of alcoholic men and women to recovery, there exists a sentiment against any radical changes being made in it. Therefore, the FIRST PORTION of this volume, DESCRIBING THE AA PROGRAM OF RECOVERY, has been left untouched in the course of revisions made for both the second and third editions. (this same statement is also in the latest 4th Edition)... The section called "The Doctor's Opinion" has been kept intact, just as it was originally written in 1939 by the late Dr. William D. Silkworth, our Society's great medical benefactor."



If Bill W. wrote something about slips... in such a way as to help the alcoholic escape the feelings of guilt and shame... because it would impede their progress... I'm sure glad that I never read it!!! And, if I ever did read it... it wouldn't make sense for him to do that.

The feelings of guilt, remorse, shame, embarrassment, terror, bewilderment, and utter failure are what influenced me to put down the shovel, stop digging and seek help. I think the Big Book also refers to it as "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization." My sponsor called it "hitting bottom."

I've seen more than a few alcoholics who have come to AA, all beat up and ready to take the Steps, and ready to go to any lengths to be free from alcohol... when a few sweet talkers slide up to them and try to comfort their feelings with sweet kind words of encouragement to "help them not feel so badly...." and the ones that I've seen, who bought in to the damaging work of the sweet talkers... invariably went back to drinking.
(Like I did... after my feelings of guilt and shame and remorse had been comforted).

When I was new in AA, I was concerned with how it appeared to me that the Old Timer's were harsh on newcomers... because they didn't seem to want to comfort their feelings... I was told then... (I didn't believe it then... but I do now, based on my own personal experience of more than a few hundred 12 Step calls... ) "you'll kill the alcoholic with the sweet kind words of comfort when you're trying to ease the pain of what they are feeling and you become more concerned about their feelings than you are concerned about their alcoholism and recovery." I was told... "if they leave because they think we're too tough on them... the bottle will beat them back in, and when they do return, they'll be ready to surrender." I didn't understand that then... but I sure understand it now.

Pain, defeat and failure... is the great motivators that convince the alcoholic to search for a solution to their problem. If you remove the pain, defeat and failure... realistically... what alcoholic would want to stop drinking and do what is necessary to recover once the pain is gone? "Who cares to admit complete defeat?" Until complete defeat has been admitted... I would suggest that the person who wants to feel good and not admit it... should be the one who should be taking another look at the First Step!

I would suggest they read the entire Big Book... starting with the front cover and the blank pages... and pay particular attention to the Forwards, and the Prefaces, and the Dr.'s Opinion, and Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 7, 8, 9, 10, & 11....

The Big Book "IS" the text book for Alcoholics Anonymous, and "IS" the precise instructions for recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book was not written by Bill W..... ALONE. It was a group effort... and not just the ideas and opinions of Bill W. Yes, Bill W. was our Co-founder, and it's easily recognizable in Bill's other writings... which in many places would appear different from the "Group Conscious" instructions and efforts that produced the Big Book...

I wouldn't care who wrote what... even if Bill wrote it... and it didn't line up with what is in the Big Book.... Some of his ideas expressed in some of his writings, in more difficult times of his own sobriety and mental health... are contrary and different than the instructions in the Big Book.

For me, what creates the Spiritual value of the Big Book... is the fact that it was not the works of just one man. For me, then, as it is now in AA... God was working through the Group.

Once, I heard a famous preacher say that... "What creates the significant Spiritual value of the Bible... is the fact that it is not the work of one man... it is the work of many men that God was working through."

I use that reference only as a metaphor... and not in such a way as to push the Bible or religion... even though, they also.... are a spiritual path.

Again... I'm not demeaning or degrading the value of anything that was authored soley by Bill W. .... I do value his writings immensely... and naturally, I have a tremendous gratitude, respect and honor for Bill W. I'm just saying that I have a higher regard, to the combined work of the Group, which produced our precise instructions on recovery in AA... that are contained in the Big Book.

Thanks for letting me share!

Dallas

P.S. Of course, my recovery experience has been in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) I have no experience in recovering in "Bill W. Anonymous" (BA) or... Dr. Bob Anonymous, or Clarence Anonymous... so the experience I've related will probably only make sense to someone who has recovered in "Alcoholics Anonymous"
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Sat May 06, 2006 11:53 am

i smelled that word Pink Cloud! ... buck, glad to see your asking questions... real important... my know it alttitude got me here... and your answers IMO are coming from the winners as we say... as far as slips, they can be a one drink one, or the death sentence... my lady had a slip... not on booze, pills ### #### and shes one month dead.... self-sabatoge is what my old sponser use to call what you were reffering too... Buck, from the 12 & 12 step 12, pg. 113 in my book " In A.A. slang that blissfull state is know as "two-stepping" The best intentioned of us can fall for the "two-step" illusion. Sooner or later the Pink Cloud stage wears off and things go disapointingly dull. We begin to think that A.A. doesn't pay off after all. We become puzzled and discouraged "... Buck...it is with ALL of the steps have i been able to come to terms with my recovery buddies death... take life as on life's terms, deal with the number one culprit, Me! and stil ride high on the Pink Cloud... Buck, as i tell my sponsee's... plenty'o room on that cloud for anyone that cares to hop on.... Buck, its not a free ride tho... it takes, work, courage, faith and a understaning of the 12 steps....i'm root'n for ya Buck'y... agw, & tol.... (_z_)
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Postby Buck V » Sat May 06, 2006 1:17 pm

Dallas, Jr and Zip

This forum is exactly what I was looking for. There are only two groups in my immediate area which have a total of 10 meetings a week of which I attend 9. I don't think anyone knows the exact number of members, but there about 60, I'd guess. There are usually about 20 - 25 folks at the weekday meetings and 10 to 15 on the weekend meetings (On Superbowl Sunday this year there was just me and one other guy at the 8:00pm meeting...we held a meeting). There are only about 30 "regulars". These are those who attend one or three or five meetings a week, always on the same day. The others may attend four or 5 meetings in a row, then skip a couple of weeks, etc. What I'm trying to say is that my human resources are limited. Believe me, I'm thankful for everyone of them, and I've learned an incredible amount in my short time. But this forum so far is filling my need for more information, more stories, more insights, more experience, strength and hope. My HP must have been guiding my Google Search that day.

Dallas, you are so right when you say that slipping is not essential to recovery. That many people slipped because they've not yet reach their bottom intrigues me, but I suspect you're right. What is baffling is whether they do it consciously or unconsciously. I my case the contemplation of a slip is very conscious. As Jr suggests, I had a fairly high bottom. I wasn't a binge drinker, I've never had a blackout, I've never been in treatment. I just drank enough, everyday, all day to keep that buzz going. So my disease (I'll get to that in a minute Jr) keeps trying to convince me that I can conrol my drinking because of that. I promised my wife I'd go to AA for 30 days...to check it out and see if it was for me. When I got a sponor after the first week he "suggested" the 90 and 90. I agreed and am glad I did because when I picked up my 30 day chip, I still hadn't accepted step one. Somewhere in the next 60 days I did. And I was off on my journey. I have convinced myself that I am every bit an alcoholic as anyone one in this program, and I remind myself of that every morning during my my meditations by reading all or part of the first step.

About the disease part. I accept that for the most part. We have a chemistry Phd in our group who likes to meticulously explain how ingestion alcohol triggers an enzyme in the brain which causes the brain and body to relax and eases the stress and strain of every day living. In "normal" people, there is another enzyme or chemical or something, which is released at the same time which acts like a watchdog and sends a signal to the brain to release another enzyme or whatever to suppress the first enzyme, essentially suppressing the desire to drink. Evidently we alcoholics have too much of the first or not enough of the second or something. The point being that there is something physically wrong with us. But I also believe, as did Dr. Silkworth, that there is a psychological element involve as well. Since we can't do anything about the physical part, we address the psychological part, hence AA.

Jr - about Bill W's letter I referenced. It was written in 1958 and it was written to an alcoholic who had slipped but was afaid to return to the program because of his guilt and shame. I didn't mean to imply that Bill condoned slips as I'm sure he didn't. I guess my point was that he understood why people slip and did not want to discourage anyone from returning afterward. This is one of the things I really like about AA. The program welcomes those back who have slipped with open arms, with no judgements imposed or penalties applied. And hopefully a good sponsor or another member will sit down with him to help him determine the reason for the slip and what needs to be accomplished to help deter another one.

For me, thinking about these types of things are essential in my recovery. I know that I'm vulnerable, but I also know that I'm rational. And as Zip points out the problem is ME.This program offers me the tools that I need to continue my recovery. Six months ago my f*** it button was a very prominent part of my life. Today, I don't even know where I hid it. My monster is back to sleep now cause of you guys. Hey Zip move over on that cloud and make some room!

Okay. I promise I won't be so wordy in the future. Take care and God bless.

Buck
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Sat May 06, 2006 1:45 pm

Buck'y.... yap away..... (~~~~~~~~~~~)feeble attempt at a pink cloud :wink:
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Postby Buck V » Sat May 06, 2006 1:57 pm

p.s. - Zip - Sorry about your recovery buddy. I've not had to experience that...yet. I hate to say "yet" but I'm reasonably sure it will happen sooner or later. I pray later rather than sooner.

Buck
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Postby JR » Sat May 06, 2006 7:03 pm

Buck,

I knew exactly what letter you were talking about. In fact, I'm including it below. It has brought me great comfort. Please do not think I recommend a relapse in any way. Avoid relapse at all costs, and the only way I know how to do that is through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

From As Bill Sees It:

A letter written by Bill W. 1958:

"About this slip business - I would not be too discouraged. I think you are suffering a great deal from a needless guilt. For some reason or other, the Lord has laid out tougher paths for some of us, and I guess you are treading one of them. God is not asking us to be successful. He is only asking us to try to be. That, you surely are doing, and have been doing. So I would not stay away from AA through any feeling of discouragement or shame. It's just the place you should be. Why don't you try just as a member? You don't have to carry the whole AA on your back, you know!"

Another letter written by Bill W. 1958:

"Though I know how hurt and sorry you must be after this slip, please do not worry about a temporary loss of your inner peace. As calmly as you can, just renew your effort on the AA program, especially those parts of it which have to do with meditation and self-analysis.

"Could I suggest that you look at excessive guilt for what it is? Nothing but a sort of reverse pride. A decent regret for what has happened is fine. But guilt - NO.

"Indeed, the slip could well have been brought about by unreasonable feelings of guilt because of other moral failures, so called. Surely, you ought to look into this possibility. Even here you should not blame yourself for failure; you can be penalized only for refusing to try for better things."

An excerpt from a talk by by Bill W. 1960:

"Some of us suffer from extreme guilt because of vices or practices that we can't or won't let go of. Too little self-forgiveness and too little prayer - well, this combination adds up to slips."

The above are taken from As Bill Sees It and it is an AA General Service Conference-approved literature. All conference approved literature is approved in accordance with the traditions. A group conscience approves AA approved literature. A loving God expresses Himself in our group conscience according to tradition two. It would be extremely presumptuous on my part to disregard one piece of AA approved literature in favor of another. All AA approved literature has value toward recovery.

My personal opinion regarding guilt and shame, once you have achieved sobriety is that they are completely counterproductive. How are we to be happy, joyous and free while feeling guilt and shame for the past? We must forgive ourselves, we must forgive others, we must accept God's forgiveness. The way alcoholics in recovery accomplish freedom from guilt and shame is through the 12 steps.

Easy Does It,

Jr
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Postby Dallas » Mon May 08, 2006 3:28 pm

SLIP = Sobriety Lost It’s Priority

1. First things first. Don’t take the first drink. You do not have to take the first drink. There are options to not drink in AA., regardless if it’s your first time in A.A., or if you are and Old-timer. Again, you DO NOT have to take the next first drink.

2. If you were a sober A.A. member and you gave up your sobriety it’s normal to feel guilty about it. Do not let the guilt stand between you and coming back to A.A. and taking the 12 Steps which will remove the guilt.

3. If you are a sober member of A.A., and you have been looking for reasons that you can rationalize and analyze to justify you taking the next drink... or, if you were a sober member of A.A., and you are looking for reasons to analyze, rationalize and justify your drinking.... or, if you were a sober member of A.A., and you are looking for reasons to analyze, rationalize and justify you not coming back to A.A. and doing the next right thing... I’m sure you can read this forum topic thread (or some of the others... or possibly read some other AA approved literature... or read the Bible or watch the TV news) ... and find plenty to rationalize about – but I highly suggest that you DO NOT do it! Just stop reading – ask God for help, call another sober AA member, or try going to a meeting.

Alcoholics are genius when it comes to rationalizing, analyzing and justifying. Rationalizing, analyzing and justifying are also normal – for the unrecovered alcoholic mind. There are options to that also, in A.A.

Dallas
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