- Which came first: religion or alcoholism?

Which came first: religion or alcoholism?




Sobriety quotes and sayings heard in Meetings

Postby garden variety » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:13 pm

Well here's a funny thing.

I don't have that nerve in me that "jumps" when you say "Jesus saves". I don't have that nerve that starts twitching when you start talking about "Our Lady" and the "Ascension". I even don't twitch when you start talking about "Joseph Smith" or those various forms of "Scientists".

So with all that said, my view of "religion" and "spirituality" sometimes morphs. I know Catholics, "Born Again's", Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Taoists, and Buddhists who are all very "spiritual". They mostly believe "their faith" is the "right one", but even saying it like this adds a sort of "prejudice" to them and the way they understand God. What I'm saying is these folks are "spiritual" and they've "found" a concept of God that works for them. They might even try to convince you to believe in "their way", but even if you don't, they will still love you. And if they are in A.A., they will sponsor you and let you find a God of your understanding.

I don't profess to be a "Christian", but then there's some in that group above that will tell me I'm one of them in spite of myself. I tell them there are some in AA that I know who call themselves "Christians", but they can't help it, and its not a reason to look at them badly. The one's that are Christians give me a look that is pretty puzzled when I say that. But here's one for the books folks, my "religion" is what is classified as "Pagan". So if I have to be "something religious", you can safely "classify" me as a "Pagan".

I try to do what the book says which means I need to "lay aside prejudice" toward anyone's concept of God. If I post something that uses the words "Jesus" and "salvation" in the post, even if its mentioned in passing and with a ton of qualifications, I know I'm always gonna touch somebodies "nerve". What happens then is they don't read anything else I was trying to say and express because the words "Jesus" and "salvation" pricked a nerve that sent them into a prejudged way of thinking. For me, I can't work a program that way. I can't be "tolerant" of another (remember "tolerance of others is our code") if I have old ideas painting my mind with prejudice.

Some of my most spiritual learnings and teachings came from spiritual folks who are "devout Catholics". I learned a lot about "Our Lady" not from them, but from my own reading. And I understand and respect the title the Catholics gave to her. After laying aside my prejudice which came from a Southern Baptist belief system, I found the whole dogma around the "Blessed Virgin" was based in good, and meant for the good of whoever wants to "find God" in that denomination.

But I had to quiet that "nerve" that jumped when someone said "Virgin Mary". I always have to quiet my nerves when someone says "Methodist" based on the cutting and backstabbing experiences I had with preachers in that denomination.

What has happened today, one of those "intuitive responses" to things which used to baffle me, is that I've been making friends with the denominations. You can be a Baptist, a Catholic, a Christian, a Wiccan, a Druid, a Pagan, a Jew, a Muslim, and even a Methodist, and I can love you and learn from you. I can even "tolerate" the hundreds of times you tell me I need to be "saved" or be "born again". Why?

Because most of the time the people in these different "religions" have enough "spirituality" to tolerate and love me even if I don't agree with their dogma. They want me to be "saved" because they don't want to see me live a life in misery, and they just think that what they "found" in their belief system will work for anyone because that's what their religions tell them. Now all in all, why should I care, or get offended, or go off on my self-centered tangent that turns off an honest or sincere expression of love from somebody who believes different then me? That takes too much energy and it sure isn't simple.

Talk to me about Jesus all you want. I'll listen and I won't judge you. You can even try to "convert" me. As long as you're showing me love in the way you know how, to me that's a blessing. So I guess that's the round-about way of saying I don't care if you call it "religion" or "spirituality", if it's good and from the heart, its my responsibility and part of my sobriety to shut off MY irritated nerve and give YOU my full "un-prejudiced" attention. Then I add to that that any attention I give to someone else should also be kind and appreciative.

But all of you know that for me its "progress", sometimes only a little, but progress over prefection.
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More sober quotes...

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:44 am

More sober quotes:

Problems -- and open-mindedness:

If I don't like what's going on, or what I'm seeing or hearing -- I'm always free to leave (unless... I'm locked up). :lol:

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It's kind of like television -- if I don't like what's playing I can change the channel. Or, if I don't like the movie -- I can walk out of a theater.

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It doesn't disturb me what other people do. When they are doing what they do -- and it is at an inappropriate time or place that they are doing it -- I can get disturbed.

And, if I get disturbed -- I have tools to use -- so that I can become undisturbed. :lol:

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If I were in a church -- I wouldn't appreciate listening to the President of the National Athiest Society (if there is such a thing) -- talking about atheism. I don't take my lawn mower to a barber shop to fix my lawn mower. If I'm eating a steak in a steak house -- I wouldn't appreciate a bunch of vegetarian activists protesting about meat eaters in the steak house -- and I believe it is totally inappropriate for a Reverend -- or his followers to come in to an A.A. meeting, even if they are A.A. members -- talking about their unique brand of religion or Theology.

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I don't have a God problem, a theology problem, a religion problem, a gambling problem -- and if I did - I wouldn't come to A.A. to talk about it.

I have a sobriety problem. Talk to me about sobriety!

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I don't like to hear too much talking about alcohol and drinking -- in an A.A. meeting.

Alcohol -- is not my problem. When I hear too much talk about drinking -- it makes me thirsty! It reminds me of when alcohol was my solution. I know I'm going to get locked up or covered up drinking. I know how to get locked up, covered up and drunk. I want to know how to stay sober!

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When I first came to A.A. -- I landed in A.A. meetings -- where just about all they talked about was drinking. If I think about drinking -- it keeps me on the brink of having a drink!

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I didn't want to hear about God -- because some puke would come in to a meeting and announce "I came to A.A. and now I found God!" And, two weeks later -- the puke would be drunk again.

Then, another puke would stand up and say "Well, this time I gave it all to God. Turned it all over to God. And, now I'm sober and happy!!!"

So, I would ask that puke -- I've got some stuff I'd like to turn over to God, show me how to do it! I owe a lot of money! I've got a whole bunch of law suits filed against me -- the mortgage is due on my ex-wife's house -- and, she's asking for more money! Show me how to give all that stuff to God! I'll be glad to do it!

So the puke says to me "Turn your life over to God, and turn all your problems over to God -- and then, just let go and let God!"

So, I say "Can you show me how to do that?" And, he says sure -- it's easy!!! Just read that prayer on page 63 and mean it! That's all there is to it!

Guess what? The following week -- that puke got drunk -- and the cops came to the meeting looking for him! :lol:

Heck, I had enough problems going on -- I didn't want to end up drunk with cops coming to look for me at an A.A. meeting -- just because God forgot to pay my child support or something!

And, I didn't want to get that dreaded phone call from my ex-wife saying "God forgot to pay the mortgage again -- and next week, they're having a foreclosure sale! And the food cabinet is empty, your kids needs shoes, the health insurance was cancelled and your mother-in-law just paid the past due electric bill to get our lights turned back on! Please call me back before 5 p.m. -- because the phone will be disconnected at 5 pm!"

I really don't think she would have appreciated me saying something like:
Gee honey! I've plugged the jug and joined A.A.! I'm putting sobriety first! I've turned it all over to God -- and that's what I think you should do too! Just turn it all over to God, Sweetie! That's what they guy in A.A. told me to do!!!

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That kind of message, sounds to me, like:
"The sober alcoholic A.A. member -- is like a tornado -- roaring his way through the lives of others, creating wreckage and damage where ever he goes... doesn't have to pay his bills or become responsible -- and you just need to accept it, because he has put his sobriety first -- he's going to lot's of A.A. meetings and he turned it all over to God!" 8)

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I don't think a judge would think much of A.A. -- for the A.A member to stand before him and say "Your honor. I turned my fines over to God. That's why I didn't pay my fines. I heard in A.A. that God would solve all my problems -- if I turned it over to Him -- and I turned it over to Him, so you should be sentencing God to jail instead of me! God's the one that failed! Besides -- I have to be at an A.A. meeting tonight so that I can get my court card signed. So, don't sentence God too fast! Wait till I can turn over my court card to him, also! :shock:

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

Before my first A.A. meeting -- I knew I was crazy. When I would drink alcohol -- I wouldn't feel crazy!!! That's why I say that alcohol was not my problem! Alcohol was my solution -- to treat my crazy!!! :lol:

Then, I came to A.A., and someone said that I needed a Higher Power because I wasn't sane! And, that pissed me off -- because I thought they were saying that I was crazy!

:lol:

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Sometimes -- I would sit around all day thinking about God! And, nothing changed!

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It was just like those damn exercise videos -- I could sit there all day and watch those videos -- and watch the skinny girls in the exercise video -- and I never did lose any weight!!!

So -- I tried the Diet Shakes.

They didn't work either!!! The box said "Drink one can at each meal" -- so each time I ate a meal -- I drank a can of diet drink and I kept gaining weight!

So, I figured I was doing it wrong -- and started drinking three cans of diet shakes with my meals!!! And, I couldn't lose weight that way either!

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Here is my problem: It's sobriety!!!!

I can't handle being sober! I can't function -- sober! I can't stay sober because sober sucks so bad that it drives me back to drinking!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


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I need a sobriety solution!!!

Alcohol fixes a sobriety problem! :lol: And, I can't stay sober until I can find a solution to fix my sobriety problem -- that doesn't contain alcohol!!! :wink:


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

Sobriety is my problem. Sobriety is my problem because I suffer from alcoholism. I know how to drink. I know how to stop drinking. I want to hear about "How the heck can I be happy... while I'm sober?

How can I live a good life -- sober? What can I do about my sobriety problem -- besides drinking?"

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If all I hear in an A.A. meeting -- is all about drinking and God -- I'm going to end up drinking my way back in to hell. :lol:



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Re: More sober quotes...

Postby garden variety » Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:54 am

I don't know if I've ever heard some of these quotes before at a meeting. They sure are not the "typical" AA quote that seems like slogans that get repeated over and again. The idea of how to talk about "God" and "religion" at meetings can be strained sometimes if a person has a particular theology leaning.

But again, it's something I need to deal with because the book says, when I'm sharing my expereince, strength, and hope with another alcoholic, I'm supposed to tell them exactly what happened to me.

Now this quote, I've heard varieties of it, but the bottom line is it's still the same.

Dallas wrote:If I were in a church -- I wouldn't appreciate listening to the President of the National Athiest Society (if there is such a thing) -- talking about atheism. I don't take my lawn mower to a barber shop to fix my lawn mower. If I'm eating a steak in a steak house -- I wouldn't appreciate a bunch of vegetarian activists protesting about meat eaters in the steak house -- and I believe it is totally inappropriate for a Reverend -- or his followers to come in to an A.A. meeting, even if they are A.A. members -- talking about their unique brand of religion or Theology.


To me, that's like saying tell your story my way, and not how it exactly happened to you. Again, it looks like religious prejudice that the book says I need to get rid of. I've heard folks talk similar to this. Oh well - they better not read Dr. Bob's Nightmare when he talks about his "Heavenly Father".

What I've been taught is "Tolerance for others is our code" which comes out of the book. I've heard speaker meetings where 2 speakers were ordained Catholic Priests. I've heard a speaker who is a Cistercian Monk living at an Abbey, and there is a "born again" I heard speak. All 4 of these guys told their stories exactly as it happened to them. It was their responsibility to talk about how they "got well" which is how they came to "find" the God of their understanding. Guess who they talked about? They used the "J-word" many times.

Let me qualify this by saying that none of them said that anyone had to believe in God the way they did. They sepcifically said that each new person has to find God in way that they best understand - they did not preach. The presentation they gave was exactly how it's outlined in the book "Our stories disclose in a general way, what we were like, what happened, and what we are like today." You walked away hearing some very funny drunkalogs. You walked away amazed that these men were so much "worldly" - they were definitelt alkies. You walked away knowing the 12 steps got them well. And you also walked away knowing that the "J-word" was the God of their understanding, but you also were not "indoctrinated" or "evangelized". Each one of these speakers had 20 years or more of sobriety except the Monk. He had 18 years.

Let me ask for some thoughts about this. Were they wrong in leading a meeting this way? Should they have not used the "J-word"? I'm curious.
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Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:54 pm

Gardenvariety wrote:I've heard speaker meetings where 2 speakers were ordained Catholic Priests.


When I lived out on the West Coast -- we had several Priests who were also A.A. members. They gave such good A.A. talks -- that I would make it a point to go hear them, or to have them speak at Speaker meetings where I was Secretary and had the responsibility of picking the speakers.

When they gave their A.A. talk -- they talked very minimal about God or their religion. Many of them started off by saying something like "My name is X and I'm alcoholic! Some of you here already know me and know my line of work -- and I want to insure you that I'm not here to convert you, pray for you, or preach to you. I'm here to tell you what Alcoholics Anonymous has done for me and, as an A.A. member, to carry the message of A.A. -- However, I warn you now! If you show up at Sunday Mass -- I will be attempting to convert you, pray for you and preach to you! And, I can assure you that I will not be talking about A.A.! When I'm in an A.A. meeting I talk about A.A. -- and when I'm in my church I talk about my religion. It's not important that you know anything about the God of my understanding -- you have to find your own Higher Power, and while I'm here -- in an A.A. meeting -- I'll follow our 12 Traditions -- and I hope that you will do the same. If you want to talk about God -- go where they talk about God, if you want to stay sober -- go to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Now, with that said... I was born.... etceteras -- rest of story."

We all laughed. We loved them. Some of them spoke at many conventions. I can't think of a single person -- that I ever knew -- who had a negative thing to say about any of them. Most of us felt proud to be in the same fellowship with them -- because, they too -- were great examples of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

And, when some of us wanted prayer or wanted spiritual or religious counselling -- we called them. We went to them and they talked to us of what they had to offer. We discussed God in terms of their Understanding and prayer and religion -- in terms of their understanding. We felt, that it was us who went to them -- at their church -- and it was inappropriate for us to be talking to them about the God of our understanding, or our religions -- we weren't there for that. We were there seeking their help and guidance.

When in A.A. -- talk about A.A. -- When in church -- talk about church. I don't see that as any sort of prejudice or closed-mindedness. I see it as respect. Tolerance is part of the code -- Love is the other part -- and we all know what Love is -- and how can one truly Love -- without showing respect?

I'm not an Anti-God, Anti-Religion, Anti-Jesus person. I don't know many alkies who have been able to stay sober being an Anti-Anything.

Gardenvariety wrote:Let me ask for some thoughts about this. Were they wrong in leading a meeting this way? Should they have not used the "J-word"? I'm curious.


I guess I didn't understand the message enough to be able to understand the question.

I do understand our 12 Traditions, and someday ... I might even know something about Love and Tolerance. I think I might even know something about churches and religion.

And, if I were in a Christian church -- I would be talking about Jesus -- and not about Bill Wilson, Ebby and Dr. Bob. And, I wouldn't be talking about "my belief about having a God as you understand God -- and I surely wouldn't complain about any of them drinking.

So -- let me ask the question for some thoughts on it.... if I were in a Church, and I did NOT let them know "I'm alcoholic" and I DID NOT let them know I have to keep it secret which Anonymous Organization that has helped me -- and I DID NOT talk to them about A.A., and I DID NOT tell them what A.A. has done for me -- and I DID NOT tell them about Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, Ebby, and I DID NOT talk about our 12 Steps -- and I DID NOT talk to them about our Traditions --- would that mean that I was "ANTI-AA"?

Dallas

NOTE: The same Priests that I mentioned above -- I did go to them in my early sobriety -- because I had conflicts inside me -- about "Shouldn't I be talking about God and Jesus in an A.A. meeting? Isn't God going to be pissed about me saying things like 'God as you understand Him'? I had had certain religious beliefs before I came to A.A. -- and I felt that God might think I was Anti-God, if I didn't go talk about Him and Jesus!

It was those Priests -- that I admired as A.A. members, who sat down with me, and gently explained to me the importance of the 12 Traditions, and why we keep religion out of A.A. -- and A.A. out of religion. They helped me to get rid of the conflict that I felt and the confusion that I was experiencing over the matter.

So -- if it ticks off anyone -- that I hold the views that I have -- blame it on the Priests!!!! -- Not really. I can take my own heat -- and face my own responsibilities. I know who to call and where to look -- when I'm concerned with something about sobriety or A.A. -- and I know where to look, when I want prayer, or to know about religion.

Oops: A little side note here: I left out a couple of Baptist Ministers, and a few other Unity Ministers, a Methodist, and a few other denominations -- that told me the same thing that the Priests and my Sponsor told me.

Also -- as another little side note -- I know for a fact that my Sponsor sponsors ministers and reverends -- I talk to them regularly :lol: And, they too -- are saying the same thing that I wrote about. They understand the Traditions -- the same way that I do. If they didn't -- I would be looking to change my mind! :lol:

I don't have any problem with this stuff -- and I don't know why it seems to keep popping up like it's a problem. For me -- it's "Just don't do that." :lol:

Thank you
:lol:
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Postby DebbieV » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:03 pm

So -- let me ask the question for some thoughts on it.... if I were in a Church, and I did NOT let them know "I'm alcoholic" and I DID NOT let them know I have to keep it secret which Anonymous Organization that has helped me -- and I DID NOT talk to them about A.A., and I DID NOT tell them what A.A. has done for me -- and I DID NOT tell them about Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, Ebby, and I DID NOT talk about our 12 Steps -- and I DID NOT talk to them about our Traditions --- would that mean that I was "ANTI-AA"?


I think that is the first thing that has made since to me on this whole thread. :D
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Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:45 pm

Thank you! :lol:
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Postby carol1017 » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:23 pm

Paul, I understand what you're saying about people sharing their experience -- if their experience included religion and the "J-word", I don't object to their including it in their story, as long as it is just that -- a part of the story. Too often, I have seen people digress into a "salvation experience".

I also understand and share Dallas' point of view on this topic. My theological beliefs are private between me and my HP -- I do not feel the need to include it as part of my story. My story is that I drank because I liked to drink, until I drank because I had to drink, until I found a way to choose not to drink (through AA).

My story does not include a "J-word" experience, and even if it did, I would probably not discuss it in AA, because that experience would be personal to me -- sharing it would be going beyond "describing in a general way what it used to be like, what happened and what it's like today".

I have seen many devout, religious, sober alcoholics, and I have seen the alcoholics who (usually early in sobriety) grasp on to a religious concept and use that to convince themselves and/or others that they "get" the AA program. Usually, this latter group does not make it with that approach, and sometimes, they keep coming back until they grasp the concept of spirituality instead of religion. I have also seen AA meetings and online AA message forums devolve into a "My God can beat up your God" situation.

To me, (and also to Ernest Kurtz) what makes AA work is the level playing field -- no religion, no class distinction -- just a bunch of alcoholics sharing a common bond and helping each other.

I think Bill & Dr. Bob had it right -- leave religion and medicine to the people who know it best, and we of AA will stick to what we know best -- alcoholics.
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Postby garden variety » Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:46 am

Well howdy everyone.

I see this has been a lively discussion. I really thank you Dallas for your post - I guess you could say I "tried" to pry a little piece out of you I knew was there all along. Posting those last meeting quotes you did sort of threw me - threw me into trying to make sense of them and then relating them to some of your feelings about the meetings you've attended in your town. I'm almost seeing the faces some of the guys who were talking - good job on describing these folks but keeping anonymity there and not passing judgement. I'm also guessing you were in there somewhere in early sobriety.

You must know that I am, and will always be something of a "weasel", but hopefully a weasel for the good.

You summed up quite a bit there in your last post. I really appreciated your thoughtful words, and your pointed questions and comments. I can so much relate to what you've said - and I'm in agreement.

The thing I've been enjoying about this thread is that it has been on a topic that, as your meeting quotes show, can be really "divisive". But I think we've covered some pretty heavy subjects here - and it shows how the fellowship has an "Automatic Pilot" that steers it to unity. Just plain cool stuff to see in action.

Thanks for your thoughtfulness - you really do encourage all of us think a little bit (for some that can be a trip into the "bad neighborhood" - so let's be careful out there!)

Also - thank God for "Rule 62", huh?
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Postby Dallas » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:47 am

Hey Paul -- Thank you!!!

I've got the meditation forum set up for you! (And, us...) :lol:

I'm excited that we'll now have a place on the site where we can focus our energy into another Power Tool -- that we can use in helping to transform our thoughts and attitudes.

I look forward to your sharing and trying some of the techniques that you've learned that you can pass on to us!

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