Has Hard love gotten too Hard

Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery
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Postby sunlight » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:22 am

I experienced this kind of treatment when I first came in. I was told to "Suit up and show up, suit up and grow up, suit up and shut up!" I remember this one man was really hard on me, so I tried to avoid the meetings he went to. And every other meeting I went to, there he was! :?
I started to think it wasn't coincidence. Then, a moment of clarity struck, and I began to think maybe he was right. Maybe I was a sniveling, self-centered, self-righteous, arrogant drunk. :shock:
But never for a moment did I doubt that these people loved me. They helped me in many practical and personal ways to learn how to live sober and I am eternally grateful for that.

But I think "tough love" is often a disguise for cruelty and unresolved anger. Too much tough and not enough love.

I believe we need never clobber the newcomer with insults, preaching and "shoulds". ( or anyone, for that matter .)

Our group is of the conscience of using the "I" form of speach, so that I can only speak from my experience. I can tell you how it was for me and what I needed to do, but you don't have to do anything if you don't want to. Of course there is a good chance you will drink again if you do nothing, but you'll find that out for yourself. And you will certainly have nothing to share if you do nothing. You'll discover this as well.

A hearty sense of humor is essential for my sobriety! :lol: Our group tries not to get to get too excited about things. Love and tolerance and a sincere desire to be helpful is the focus.

When I chair a meeting, I always pray for inspiration and an intuitive thought. Then, I'm able to get any distortions and perversions of our primary purpose back on the beam. Works for me. :wink:

Thanks for the topic Keith! :mrgreen:

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Postby Dallas » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:45 pm

The predominant "thing" that attracted me most when I first came to AA is: AA's share -- they do not tell. They share their experience of what it was like for them, and what THEY did -- to find a solution. Rather than, to tell me -- what I HAD to do.

This type of environment hooked me. All my life people had been telling me what I HAD to do.

After my first failed attempt at staying sober in AA, I was desperately trying to find someone that could and would TELL me what I HAD to do -- to stay sober.
And, I couldn't find them.

I needed structure. I needed discipline. I needed someone who's ideas worked better than the ideas that I had -- which weren't working.

The one person in AA that seemed to "tell" people what to do more than he shared with them -- I was afraid of him. I sure didn't want him telling me what to do! But, as I began to observe the success of those that he sponsored -- I'd try to sneak up behind him and hear what he was telling his sponsees to do -- and go do it myself -- without anyone knowing that I was doing it. And, my life started to get better.

After I moved away from my Home Group environment to a new state, where I needed a strong sponsor influence I couldn't find it. And, I ended up calling the guy who "told" people what to do -- and asked him to become my sponsor.

Most of my life was lived pretty much as a "Wild Child." Doing what I wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it, when I wanted to do it and if I didn't want to do it -- I didn't do it -- regardless of how much better my life would be if I did it. I think my nickname would have been "Freedom" if I had a nickname. I was like a wild horse that simply wanted to run free.

I left home running away from a strict authoritarian parent when I was 13. And, the only authority in my life were those that wore badges and guns.

Sober -- if I was going to stay sober -- I had to change. But, on my own -- I couldn't change. I needed an authority figure in my life. Someone that would say "do this" -- and by MY CHOICE -- I would consider it an order, rather than a suggestion.

I still have that sponsor. I'm still sober. And, my life has gotten incredibly better than anything that I could and did ever imagine for myself.

As far as "telling" others what to do -- I don't do that. If they want to know how I dealt w/ a particular situation -- if they ask, I'll tell them how I did it.

I've often wondered if: am I robbing another alkie, who's just like me, of obtaining what I got -- because I don't tell them what to do.

I've tried to sponsor others like my sponsor sponsors me -- but, their skin doesn't seem to be as thick as mine. So, I prefer not to sponsor. I don't mind makeing 12 Step calls. I like it. I enjoy taking others through the Steps. But, to be a long time sponsor for the long-haul, I usually suggest that they find someone else and if they have a problem that their sponsor can't handle for them -- to give me a call.

I think what I wrote about might be different than KB was referring to. Maybe. Maybe not. I think what he was referring to was what I call "the AA Police."

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Postby Dallas » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:48 pm

Note: when I first read the Big Book, when I'd come to the parts where the words said that "I MUST" do something -- or that it was a REQUIREMENT -- I made the mistake of changing the word to "suggest" and "suggestion" that I could ignore -- if I wanted to ignore it. Needless to say... I didn't stay sober while I was doing that! :lol:

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