Relationships in the family

A discussion of topics related to relationships in recovery and treatment
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Relationships in the family

Postby Dallas » Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:44 am

Almost two weeks ago I lost my little sister. We had been hanging out together often and spending a lot of time together. She had met many of my A.A. and non-A.A. friends in town and all my friends became her new found friends. Losing my sister right before Christmas has made a real sensitive time of year even more sensitive for me. And, I sure do miss her.

I had also gotten close to my older sister this year. She now has 13 years in A.A. and we had never actually been real close or known each other much, on the inside, until earlier this year.

My older sister had some problems with my younger sister and just couldn't seem to move past her resentments. Then, when my little sister died two weeks ago, my other sister still couldn't seem to move beyond her resentments towards my little sister.

I'm not sure if it was the resentments that she had towards my little sister, and then started to resent me for getting close to my little sister, or what was going on with her, but she started taking some actions that were really breaking my heart. It would seem like a death of a family member would have brought us all closer -- something that I really wish that it had done.

Now, it's like I've lost both of my sisters at the same time.

Earlier this year, in July, I lost one of my older brothers to alcoholism and drug addiction. And, the oldest of my brothers..... well, I guess he's been lost in his self for longer than I can remember.

My mom has Altzheimers. I took care of her for 13 years and it was sad to go see her last week -- realizing that she couldn't even remember my name, let alone that I am her son.

I had left home when I was 13 years old and the family members that I stayed in contact with the most, are now dead or can't remember me.

I remember when I came into A.A. to stay. I would look around the rooms and I felt that "these are my mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters." For the last 21 years, I have spent all of my holidays with you... the Fellowship and Family of A.A. And, it's been a pretty good deal for me. I appreciate each one of you for being my family.

There is a line in the Big Book, that says something like "Let no man say that he cannot recover unless he has his family back."

I just want to say thank you, to all of you A.A.'s for being my family. You see, through you ....... I not only got a family back, but I got a family that I never had. It was a new experience for me to have you as my family, because I could come and talk to you about what was going on with me. And, you have always been there. I can tell you how I feel -- and most of you have had the same feelings. When the going has been tough for me, you've stood by my side, and held me up, when I was too weak to hold myself up. You've held my hand and comforted me, through deaths, through the loses of my best friends, and through broken hearts. You loved me -- until I was able to love myself.

My relationships with other A.A.'s has been an incredible bonus to my life. When I first got sober -- I thought that was all that A.A. had to offer me, was to help me achieve and maintain physical sobriety. And, it has been SO MUCH MORE!

Not only was I able to discover God through you -- and establish a relationship with God, I've been able to have good relations with people outside of A.A., by practicing the principles and the way of life that you passed on to me.

And, this Christmas, rather than sitting around feeling lonely, or sorrow or sadness, I'll spend the holidays with many of you. Eating. Laughing. Learning. Hugging. Sharing. Comforting. And, having fun.

Each year, you have been here for me. And, this year, I have another bonus opportunity -- to still be here -- with you, and for you.

Thank you, to you all!!!


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Postby Lee » Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:39 pm

Merry Christmas Dallas and God bless you.
I'm new here and you and others have already shown me your kindness and caring and sharing.
I'm so sorry to read of the passing of your little sister. I'm sure that she is in a peaceful and better place.
I can't begin too amagine how you must feel, but I will say a prayer for you on this Christmas eve that you have Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom always.

Thank you Dallas.
Your helping me with my life.


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Postby Dallas » Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:01 pm

Thank you, Lee.

Merry Christmas to you, also.

And, thank YOU for being here and for participating in my life, and on the site, too!

I appreciate you and wish the best for you. If there is anything I can do for you -- I'm just a click away. :wink:


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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Wed Dec 26, 2007 12:06 am

Whoa, man. Dallas, I had no idea that you've been goin' thru all of this..I make apologies right now for not being around the site the last couple of weeks. You're here for me/us at the drop of a hat. My heart and prayers go out to you.

I read something on one of the other forums ###'t mind me, I'm an alcoholic :wink: , can't remember which board I read this ####...but...this here, is something that I've heard plenty around the rooms...:in 'here', I have gained a family I never had; 'here' is where I've gained/acquired family.

I don't know, Dallas, what your sister's gimmick is...perhaps, though ###just a suggestion####, this is a place to practice the principle of Tradition 10...what ever's goin' on with her is an outside issue for you. Her resentments are hers, not yours. One would think, in fact, that the loss of a sibling, or parent, would bring a family much of what I've seen though, it only seems to intensify any hard feelings. I seen 2 sisters, very close, who never hardly spoke, except for "pleasantries", and that hard feelings were the result of an intervention (my Dad was the alcoholic). The sisters seemed to make a peace with one another as they both began to see the reality of their own mortality, but nothing could replace all of those lost years. What ever your sister's pile is, concern is for you, and that she might want to 'transfer' those negative feelings and resentments onto you. I don't mean to speak unkindly of your sister, I do not know her...but she does sound as though she is filled with so much pain, and in a nutshell to say "I'm mad at her, how could you be nice to her", sounds to be like a cry for help...unfinished business that she never got around to taking care of is not your responsibility.

I don't know what to say--and probably obvious in that I just said a whole lotta nothin'. We're here for ya, lean on us. Anytime you want/need to rap, just tap-tap on the keys.

Peace and prayers,

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Postby garden variety » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:46 am

Hi Dallas,

I really aprreciate you being a part of my family. You're like an older brother I never had but always wanted (and needed). I really appreciate the words you been saying these past couple weeks. You really help me and say exactly the things that I need to hear. I don't know how to say this, but this is meant as a compliment - you wear adversity well. And buddy let me tell you what - I sure have been watching you and learning a lot. Thanks again, brother.

I know about some of those things you talk about. I got a boy who is out there destroying his life, his girl's, and his 5 month old daughter. That would be my grand-daughter. I can probably count the times I seen her on one hand. They never live at the same place for longer than two months it seems, and they never have a phone number that lasts. I really want to be a part of my grandchild's world, but they don't seem to be able to sit still long enough for dust to settle. Then one or the other ends up in jail on a regular basis. It's a heartbreaker for me, and I worry of course about getting the phone call that one of them is dead which is not just a parent's worry - I know it's a real possiblity.

But the thing is Dallas, I know you got kids too, and you been through things that I will go through or I am already going through. It's not because you write good things, or you have 21 years sober - it's that I can identify with you. I can trust what you say and do is the right thing because you've experienced life in some of the same ways as me. Well that's a real blessing and that's part of the magic of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I found myself all through this holiday saying "Action" out loud a hundred times because you remind me so much - and I'll be the first to say sometimes I wish you'd just shut up - just like a real brother would say. But I'm glad you don't shut up. I found myself saying and thinking "Action" so much that I've been going to a meeting a day over the past week. Then doing other things to help others too.That's why I haven't posted in a few days cause I've been too busy doing the "action" thing. You talk about "obsessing" about something during the holidays - its like I got this little "Dallas Parrot" right beside my ear saying "Action, action, action!"

Well, like I said, thanks for being my older brother. And you new folks be careful what you pray for - you just might get it!

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Postby Dallas » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:27 am

Thank you Paul. Thank you for being Paul -- and for your kindness and thoughtfulness that you share. I appreciate you.

Paul wrote:I found myself saying and thinking "Action" so much that I've been going to a meeting a day over the past week. Then doing other things to help others too.

I'll bet that has you feeling pretty euphoric by now! I know that it does that for me. It gives me that "High" that I was always searching for, and knew could be had -- that I had always looked for it in the wrong place or wrong thing. That's what I mean, when I say that through A.A., I've been able to find what I was looking for in the bottle -- "the High" that the actions produce.

Peace of mind, serenity, happiness and joy in sobriety are the promises that a lot of A.A.'s talk about -- and it's wonderful to experience that -- However, the "High" that I get from sobriety in action -- is what really turns me on. And, I believe that it's that "Euphoric High" that Bill was writing about when he was writing about "being rocketed into another dimension" and feeling like he was "walking hand-in-hand with his Creator."

I used to drink for relief -- and -- to get high. Now, I stay sober and active for relief -- and -- to get that natural High that is only available to me if I'm sober! What a paradox that is! :wink:

Thanks for being family Paul. Here I was thinking of you as my older brother and the one that's helping me to learn! Whichever way it is -- in the moment -- keep it up! I need you! :lol: :lol:


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Relationships in the family

Postby musicmode » Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:31 pm

My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic.

There's been some talk over the past little bit about how we, in this program, in essence, become family, thus: relationships in the family. I had something occur with a "sibling" last night, and on one hand, I've dismissed it, but on the other hand, there was something of a feeling of which occured inside of me that I can not dismiss. So, it's not the issue or the incident, but rather the feelings that got stirred up that I need some help sorting through, please? There's a tiny twinge of resentment, but it's mixed with the thought that there's no possible way I can hold a resentment with this person, yet something bothers me?

The incident was very small really. On Christmas Eve, or maybe the night before that, I had nearly a 2 hour telephone conversation with this lady who has 29 years. ### don't get me wrong, I don't mean to talk bad about her at all, I'm simply relaying what ####. We had a good heart to heart conversation, and 2 hours later, we said good night, merry Christmas, etc. Last night, she called and it was almost 10, and I was very tired~~but that's okay. I would just listen, as this lady always has something to share, from which I learn, and always...and last night was no different, I walked away from the conversation with something to meditate on...and that was her perspective of how she has understood the principle of we are not affiliated with any religion. AA is the only religion she needs, she is very works for her, and I learn from her. That is not the part of the conversation that has created a stir within me. The part that creates the stir, is...the very forefront of the conversation, and it was her tone with me, and what she said: she'd been alone Christmas day, didn't receive any phone calls, not even from you (meaning me). Here's the feeling...I felt bad, that I'd done (or not done) something wrong, and I felt guilty, and I apologized, meekly. She says that was okay, but then starts talking on about who had called her, and telling me about those conversations, then trailed her talk onto some program stuff ### I always ####. We ended the conversation on a pleasant tone. It was through the night, after I'd gotten some sleep, and I woke up with this awareness. My "reaction" to her tone, and her words, were so deeply programmed...the child getting "drunkened" sh** from an adult, and wanting to run and hide in a closet or under a table or something--and even now, as I tell this to you, as well as when she was saying this to me, I started to shake, like a frightened tremor. I then had trouble getting back to sleep, because...the more I thought about this, I then got angry, thinking: this is why I don't trust alcoholics...they rope you in with kindness, then hit ya with the rope because of something you did/didn't do, you apologize, then they say with this "loving tone" that it's okay. I know, maybe I should have called her Christmas day. Did I know she was going to be alone that day? Yes, in the 2 hour conversation prior to the day, she said that she enjoyed the quiet time and that she was okay with that. Could I have invited her out? Sure...however, my husband and I had already discussed that this year, we wanted to stay home and not have other people around. This was the first year we didn't go anywhere, or have a bunch of people in, our children were able to open their presents, and play with what they got when ever they wanted to. The lady and I had talked about this, too, during our 2 hour conversation. I said...the trouble that stirs about within me is as a result of what was said and how. I look at the question: where was I selfish? I could have called her, certainly, of that, I am guilty. I did think to invite her out, that would have meant driving into town to get her, then taking her home again, which to me, isn't a big deal...but my husband and I had already predetermined weeks ago how our day was going to be, and this is what we did, indeed, stuck to. It was a no stress, no muss/no fuss Christmas day for us, and a first at that. It was nice. The only phone call made that day was to my Mom and Dad who are a 6 hour drive away. The feeling deep down inside of me is, like a want to cry...curl up against a wall on the floor and bawl. I gotta be honest with ya, I don't like this feeling, guys. What's going on here?

Thanks for your input,

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Postby dahlgren » Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:16 pm

Hi Dallas,

I'm new here, we just recently met here online of course and I've ben roaming around the site reading many of the posts. Well to do that it can't be helped but to read a majority of your posts and I find it necessary to tell you already that I appreciate your words a great deal. You are very honest and open and to me honesty is the number one thing in my program which allows me to be successful in the principles of AA. There was something you wrote in the post that really struch me;

My relationships with other A.A.'s has been an incredible bonus to my life. When I first got sober -- I thought that was all that A.A. had to offer me, was to help me achieve and maintain physical sobriety. And, it has been SO MUCH MORE!

One of my favorite things I came to realize and I say it many times in meeting, "If staying sober was all that AA had to offer me, well screw that, I'd have gone back to drinking and drugging". What the program gave me was a way to live life on life's terms and be out there among the rest of those souls that occupy this planet. That's why I drank and drugged so I could face that day in and day out, as Pink Floyd said, "comfortably numb".

Well I'll tell you what brother, after reading this post of yours, it's evident to me that you got what the program has to offer, facing life on life's terms. Don't get me wrong, I would never minimize what you've gone through, the twists and turns that life has thrown you and I'm not pitying you either becuase I can tell already you're not the kind of person seeking pity from anyone. I can just sense that you've come to an understanding with your HP and you can be OK with that.

I'm sorry for your recent loss and I'm glad I found this place and that you are here. Because here is exactly where you are supposed to be.

In lvoe and recovery,

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Postby Dallas » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:11 pm

Hey Mike, thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate you.


Hello Anne! Nice to hear from you, too! Thank you.

Anne, as I was reading your sharing above, it reminded me of a time earlier this year -- when I got real disturbed about something one of my A.A. friends did. He didn't do anything to me, but his behavior towards someone else just made me feel sick in my stomach about it.

The night it happened, I couldn't see why I would need to list it on my nightly 10th & 11th Step review. I just figured that it was his stuff.

However, when I woke up the next morning and was still bothered by it... that's when I recognized that if I'm bothered by it -- then, now, it's my stuff.

I couldn't see that I was angry or resentful at the friend -- whos behavior was so gross that I had decided that I was no longer going to be his friend -- so, briefly, I was at a loss as to what I should do. How do I use the inventory process on this -- if it didn't involve me harming anyone, I wasn't afraid, or resentful?

Here's what I did:

I took one of the 4th Step Resentment forms that I use and I crossed out the word "Resentment" and replaced it with the word "Disturbed". And, as I went through the process, I did it like this:

I am (replacing the word angry) disturbed at anonymous...
This is what he did that (replacing the word anger, again) disturbed me...

And, then I followed along with the next three columns of the Inventory... for each item that he did that "disturbed me."

Before I was finished... I began to look at the word I picked... "Disturbed" and suddenly I discovered... that disturbed was another word that I was using for anger -- when, at the time I didn't recognize it as anger.

When I got all done with that -- I picked up the phone and called another A.A., and I read through my "Disturbed List" Inventory... doing my equivlent of the 5th Step with them and talking about the "how and why about me" that it disturbed me.

The most glaring of my "exact nature of my wrongs" had been "self-seeking."

The way that I had been self-seeking -- was because "I thought my A.A. friend should have conducted himself with much more dignity, self-respect, self-discipline, and respect towards others, and integrity... because, after all -- he is a sober member of A.A."

The reason I identified it as "my self-seeking" was that I was making a judgement on him, as to how "I" thought he should have behaved and conducted himself.

So, in essense... "I was playing God." I was using the standards, ideals and principles that I believe that I should conduct myself, as a sober member of A.A. -- and making the judgement call on him, that "he should do that, too."

And, it was wrong of me to be doing that. Who says this other guy has to live up to the standards that I set for myself? God doesn't even do it -- so, what gave me the right to do it?

Then, I realized that I needed to "see it from a different angle" before I could really be free of it and let it go.

So, following through with the 4th Step process that I learned in Step 4, (that I use every day in Step 10)... refreshing myself with what it says on page 66-67, Big Book:

pg 66:

"We turned back to the list, for it held the key to the future.
We were prepared to look at it from an entirely different
angle. We began to see that the world and its people really
dominated us. In that state, the wrong-doing of others,
fancied or real, had power to actually kill. How could we
escape? We saw that these resentments must be mastered,
but how? We could not wish them away any more than

This was our course: We realized that the people
who wronged us
were perhaps spiritually sick."

pg 67: continued...

"Though we did not like their symptoms (the other guys symptoms) and the way
these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too.
We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance,
pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant
a sick friend. When a person offended we said to
, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful
to him
? God save me from being angry. Thy will be

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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:54 pm

Thanks-a-bunches :wink:

I do know that the reaction ### be it a delayed #### has more to do with something that is deep inside me. If I follow this thread, via doing some step work, I will get to the root of the real issue. As I'd said, it wasn't so much the incident or the person, what surprised me was how, later on, I realized that something about the situation created a stir in my emotions, got them churning...which...for me, is a good thing. Whether it was her tone/something in her voice, or her words, matters not...something about the situation triggered something in the recesses of my subconscious. Got a real sensation of chains being tightened or something. So yes...I welcome this, I have a start-point per say, to start writing, and see where this trail leads.

What startled me was getting in trouble/side-swiped, about something I didn't even know I did (or didn't do, or whatever?)....almost like going along, everything's good, then someone back-hands ya, and you don't even know what for. I believe that this is the feeling I actually reacted to. I was stunned as it'd come from right outta left was hours later, after I'd had some sleep, when I woke up, and...sure...resentful alright...that I had allowed myself to open up to someone, only to once again, get backhanded. I'm more angry at myself because I didn't see it coming, I'd let down my guard and allowed myself to be vulnerable~~that's what I'm angry about. I'm not angry at the friend, I'm angry at me for, however I did it, setting myself up to once again be floor-mat or beating post. I guess,'s the "however I did it" part I need to focus on??? How did I set this up? What was my part that led up to this? Was I self-seeking? Where? When? These are why I do need to sit down with pen and paper and the BB, asking God as I understand Him to direct my thinking and save me from being angry. What can I learn from this, and how? Perhaps, firstly...I'll call this lady, and see how she's doing today. Hopefully, it goes well.

Easy does it,

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