Doesn't AA teach you how to treat other people?

A discussion of topics about relationships in Recovery
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Doesn't AA teach you how to treat other people?

Postby LibertySAV » Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:32 am

I am just wondering if any of you have REALLY considered how your new life affects others? I am searching for true advice here and not casting judgments on anyone. Someone in my life is going through AA and becoming a different person, it seems to me that they have a hard candy shell around them and won't let me in. Why isn't it taught that it's not all about just the individual recovering addict and their relationship with a higher being but their relationship wtih EVERYONE else around them?

Rusty Zipper
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Sat Apr 22, 2006 12:53 pm

well hello Lib-SAV... real good question... ask yourself how much do you realy care and love this person?... as in recovery my self, three years +... it brings to mind a reltionship with my mother... she asked the same question... i said, for a person thats not in my boat , its hard to understand... recovery has to come first... we do what we have to to not pick up... its a time process.. some quick, some not... everyones differant... as i began to live life on lifes terms.. in early recovery i was somewhat of a prick... dont fence me in, dont push my buttons... its about feelings, emotions not handled sober before.. i had to learn a balance with others... its a two way street for me... compramise... the unconditional love angle... i was a selfish person ... all about me, my wants, my needs... a understanding on both partys is a good beginning... talk'n about it was a big help to the other person and myself... there were times where i know i hurt my mothers feelings in recovery... what was important to her, was not for me... as i learn more about humility, freely giving of my self, and a thing called grace. it is all comeing together... please be patiant with your loved one... it aint all about you either... Hmmm, we tend to rub off on the other, and in a good way, when receptive... the Big Book has a chapter that may help ... The Family Afterwords.. check it out.... Lib -SAV... i hope some of what i have said may also help... good wishes to you, and teach only love... Rusty

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Postby wareagle10 » Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:50 pm

Welcome to the board: By your post I take it that you are not and alcoholic or and addict. As a result it may be very difficult for you to understand what the person in recovery is going through. Mr. Zipper gave some good advice, BE PATIENT. We all go through the recovery process differently, but, almost all of us have these emotional ups and downs. Sometimes we act like the old person you used to know, prior to the addiction, and then we become removed and distant. We have hurt so many people during our drinking that the guilt and shame come over us and we are overwhelmed. We are trying our best to be that person you once knew and loved but in the beginning it is very hard for us to act like nothing happened and we know very well that it did.

When we begin to get into the steps, especially #8 and #9, where we can start to make the amends that will assuage those guilt/shame feelings we will probably remain a little distant and allusive. I would support Mr. Zipper's suggestion that you be patient and offer support/comfort/love and most of all understanding. That person you want will arrive, just not on your timetable, but, on his/hers as they progress through the steps and sobriety.

Take care and straight ahead, John.

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Postby Dallas » Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:28 pm

AA is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership, we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution, does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

In AA the highest rank that any of us get is to be a member of AA. Many of us are taught, and many of us learn... yet, as such, we have no teachers. Our membership should include anyone who suffers from alcoholism... yet not all of our members suffer from alcoholism... some have a desire to stop drinking... and others are still drinking... that's because in AA you're a member if you say you are.

I know all that sounds weird and strange... but, somehow... it works.

Some people come in to AA as liars cheats and thieves.... and they remain that way... and some stay sober and some do not.

Some people come in to AA as priest, preachers and saints... and they remain that way... and some stay sober and some do not.

Our primary purpose is to stay sober... and to help another alcoholic to recover from alcoholism.

I don't know about you... but a long time ago, I thought I could help alcoholics by teaching them something. Have you ever tried to teach an alcoholic anything? It sounds like you may have also tried to teach an alcoholic something... and your results were just as nil as mine were!

Alcoholics are great learners... and I'm sure that many are great teachers... even though in AA, we have no official AA teachers. :lol:

There are many in AA, who would probably qualify as a Saint, yet, in AA we have no official saints.

And, there are probably many in AA, who could probably qualify as Demons, yet, in AA we have no official demons!!! :lol: (Depending on what day and what time of day you ask me!)

The one thing that some of us learn, the longer we stick around and stay sober in AA... is that none of us are judges, either... even though some of us spend many an hour and long-winded orrations in judging others. :wink:

Yep. This thing called AA is pretty strange and different... and weird... and sometimes intelligent, smart, genius, and to all appearances normal.
I spent a lot of years trying to figure it out... because I'm a "figure-outter" and I want to know how and why things work... and just as soon as I think I've got it figured out... I learn something new and different!

I also spent a lot of years in amazement... trying to figure out why certain ones stay sober and others fail. The ones that I would have judged as sure failures... stayed sober... and the ones that I just knew had this thing down like a rocket science ended up drunk again.

So I guess perhaps, right now... anyway (before I change my mind about it, which might be in 20 minutes from now)... In AA we don't teach anyone anything about anything.... even with our textbook, which is Alcoholics Anonymous. We do seek to inform... by carrying the message of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is the 12 Steps... but all of us are at the same time carrying our own message... and that is "what worked for us." Then, we leave it up to the other alcoholics that we might help... to decide and judge and learn for themselves... through our examples... more than through our words.

I doubt if that helped you any... but, maybe it helped me... by teaching me something I needed to learn "just for today"... and if it did... then today... you were my teacher!


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Postby cinderbobble » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:41 am

You know, I really view this as a sticky topic, and I can only mention one thing: Have you tried Alanon? Alanon is for family and friends of alcoholics. In Alanon, they are taught detaching with love... not giving up on their alky family/friends.

In my own experience, I had to go through the slow process of stopping treating people the way I did. I was very angry, and frustrated. I thought the whole world was out to thwart me! I was so very self-centered, that I took out my anger on unsuspecting strangers (store clerks, and people at the unemployment office). I was very remorseful after these horrible episodes, but after awhile, I started apologizing on a regular basis, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Sometimes more! This grew so tiresome. Sometimes, somebody would act as if they didn't know what I was talking about, but I knew. I knew what I did, and I was the one who had to live in my own skin. I used to haunt the thrift stores,, and I was even banned once, because a clerk thought I was going to jump over the counter and throttle her! (I wasn't though... she was just trying my patience!). Needless to say, I have never really overcome myself... I have just been able somehow to stop due to the tiresomeness of continuing to apologize, and I wanted to prevent that. I actually thought that the only way that I could successfully stay sober was to move to a secluded and isolated island so I would quit hurting people. Some of us really are sicker than others. I do not know what would have happened if I didn't finally slow down on that behavior. When I slip up, I am reminded that this is only a red flag, and if I don't pay attention, then I could slip even further into that twilight zone known as alcoholism. Learning to treat people for somebody like me, who has had a fear of people for so many years, and a fear of myself, has been an arduous process and without a sponsor, I would not be able to continue this road. She taught me that I do not go to a meeting and apologize to everybody there, that would be an ego trip, and seeking approval. At that point, the best that I could do was to try to stop doing what I was doing.

If the worst your friend is doing is building a shell around themselves right now - give 'em credit! At least they're not lashing out at you. Be grateful they are not drinking. There is a story in the BB about a wife who thought she ought to nag her husband about smoking. Well, not to sanction his behavior, he did however, go out and get drunk just to spite her! Now, what did that help? Remember, you are dealing with a sick person. If you go to Alanon, you will find all kinds of support if you want.

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