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markdohle

A talk with a man from AA

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A talk with a man from AA

I talked to a man in AA this morning. He just got his white chip; he has done this a few times. He was happy about it, the new beginning, the chance to start anew, and a community wherein he can in fact return to, and be understood.

I had a friend who was very critical of AA. So I asked him to spend a month going through the 12 steps. After a week he came back to me with a different idea about those who live their lives seeking to live out what the 12 steps ask of them. I have found that those in AA are the humblest, most respectful and down to earth people you can ever know. Is it perfect (?), of course not, are their problems within the movement (?), again yes, do many fail to live out what they say they believe, yes again, yet when it is lived out, the fruits are easy to see. Also we all mature at different rates. The same can be said for Christians as well, we also have many troubles and failures, yet we continue and those who do it well are lights and an oasis of hope for the rest of us.

Has anyone here lived out the 12 step program. If so what is the most important for you. All of them seem to be so important that I am not sure any are more important than others, they are so connected, yet we are all unique, so I would be interested in the thoughts of those who do the program. I think anyone can learn from the 12 steps.

Edited by markdohle

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In 2 days I will be 3 years sober. That first day I was nearly dead. For me the most important step - and the one that cost me the most - was the First. "We admitted we were powerless over (fill in the blank) and that our lives had become unmanageable". Admitting that one cannot on the power of their own will direct the outcome of their life is probably the hardest admission any of us can make.

Edited by and then
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I've been through the 12 step programs, etc. AA, NA. I've struggled with addiction my whole life. Currently, cold turkey, with the help of medication (I know, sounds like an oxymoron, but the medication I'm on has kept me sober and has helped me build an empire with my business and family!), has kept me sober for 7 years. However, I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the rehab center called "Passages". I see commercials on TV about it, claiming they are not a 12 step program. I was generally curious as to what program they use. Cognitive therapy? I'm not sure, but dude was getting a massage and it looked as if it were a resort of some type. I think they are out of Malibu. anyone have info on it, or a review from someone who has been through their program? I stopped going to the 12 step programs because, I constantly ran into people who were still using and peer pressure is a mofo.

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In 2 days I will be 3 years sober. That first day I was nearly dead. For me the most important step - and the one that cost me the most - was the First. "We admitted we were powerless over (fill in the blank) and that our lives had become unmanageable". Admitting that one cannot on the power of their own will direct the outcome of their life is probably the hardest admission any of us can make.

Congrats And Then!! That is very amazing. It takes tons of will power to follow through with being sober. Especially, since it is so easy to relapse in today's society!!

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*shrugs*. i tried a program that has a similar philosophy to aa, and had a very bad experience. while the orginization itself (like aa) had a religous background, i had told them that i was atheist, and didn't want a religous approach. not out of hostility, i just wanted to make it clear that it wasn't for me. they said that was fine.

at my first and only session, the person spent the entire time trying to convert me. never talked about anything else. it was not pleasant, i left very angry. also had a relapse that night. so my opinion is on the negative side.

that said, i think that people need to find what works for them. i know of some people who have had a lot of success with these kind of programs, and that is wonderful. i'm very fortunate in that i have a close family who have been willing to help me no matter what, and it's worked for me for two years. not everyone has that, i know.

anyhow, that's my experience.

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*shrugs*. i tried a program that has a similar philosophy to aa, and had a very bad experience. while the orginization itself (like aa) had a religous background, i had told them that i was atheist, and didn't want a religous approach. not out of hostility, i just wanted to make it clear that it wasn't for me. they said that was fine.

at my first and only session, the person spent the entire time trying to convert me. never talked about anything else. it was not pleasant, i left very angry. also had a relapse that night. so my opinion is on the negative side.

that said, i think that people need to find what works for them. i know of some people who have had a lot of success with these kind of programs, and that is wonderful. i'm very fortunate in that i have a close family who have been willing to help me no matter what, and it's worked for me for two years. not everyone has that, i know.

anyhow, that's my experience.

The founders were Christian and struggled with the idea of how much religious dogma to include in the steps. They finally realized that if it were to work, it had to be free for EVERYONE. Those today who use a religious rather than spiritual approach limit themselves to help only those who are ready for God - and I think that most addicts and alcoholics are in full flight from their concept of the Creator when they get there to the rooms. Sorry for your experience. Most AA or NA meetings are pretty good about keeping the two issues religion/spirituality separate.

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Congrats And Then!! That is very amazing. It takes tons of will power to follow through with being sober. Especially, since it is so easy to relapse in today's society!!

Thanks MC but in my case I don't take credit for anything. I was just BROKEN. I could not do anything except change or die. I don't follow AA as such but I did use the steps to make my changes and I've been a part of that fellowship and it has helped me over the hardest parts of the road of recovery. It's a process and I've found it really isn't a destination - just an ongoing journey with the help of a lot of like-minded people. Relapse is something that is ALWAYS there and waiting. I was once dry for 16 years... there are no guarantees - just today's actions.

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Relapse is something that is ALWAYS there and waiting. I was once dry for 16 years... there are no guarantees - just today's actions.

Hi and then, glad your doing well. I was pretty much at death's door too when i made the decision to quit drinking whiskey ... went to AA more out of fear of the Judge. (was expecting a phone call which only resulted in talking to a cop instead of a Judge) But AA was a good experience for me for a few years .. i learned a little more about people and myself. Thanks for reminding me not to take my "sober" time for granted, 16 years huh!? Iv'e been whiskeyless since 95. May sound strange to a fellow AA guy.. but i took up beer drinking a few years ago (with the wife who is an ex wino!) .. but we only split two beers .. and i wouldn't recommend that for anyone other than ourselves) I just don't react the same as with whiskey . No off switch for me with whiskey.. it's drink till i drop time. Anyway.... thanks for being here :tu:

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I was in an Alanon group for three years, I learned some important stuff about myself & my life there. That led me to a couple of years of counseling (transpersonal), which in turn led me to a spiritual path. I think 12 steps are wonderful, but you have to find the meeting that's right for you, as they're all different. And the recommendation is to go to 6 meetings before making any decisions about future attendance, which is smart, because this week's meeting may be different from last week's.

Back in the 1920's, I believe, the Bloomsbury Group in England came up with something called the Bloomsbury Rules, which is essentially the 12 steps without the religious aspect. I'm sure if anyone is interested it can be found on the net.

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The founders were Christian and struggled with the idea of how much religious dogma to include in the steps. They finally realized that if it were to work, it had to be free for EVERYONE. Those today who use a religious rather than spiritual approach limit themselves to help only those who are ready for God - and I think that most addicts and alcoholics are in full flight from their concept of the Creator when they get there to the rooms. Sorry for your experience. Most AA or NA meetings are pretty good about keeping the two issues religion/spirituality separate.

i know that not all, or even most of these groups aren't like the one i went through. but many of them still have that "recognizing a higher power" step, which for me is not appealing, in the light of my own beliefs and the really bad time i had there. for me, going to one of these places when i so desperately needed help, and getting none, was like a slap in the face. like i said, i've got no hostility towards people who have success with these programs, but i also think there's a need for other approaches.

i hope i'm making myself clear. i'm not trying to attack anyone in this topic, at all. i just want to get across my own experience.

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i know that not all, or even most of these groups aren't like the one i went through. but many of them still have that "recognizing a higher power" step, which for me is not appealing, in the light of my own beliefs and the really bad time i had there. for me, going to one of these places when i so desperately needed help, and getting none, was like a slap in the face. like i said, i've got no hostility towards people who have success with these programs, but i also think there's a need for other approaches.

i hope i'm making myself clear. i'm not trying to attack anyone in this topic, at all. i just want to get across my own experience.

Try this: http://www.aa-atheists.com/

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i know that not all, or even most of these groups aren't like the one i went through. but many of them still have that "recognizing a higher power" step, which for me is not appealing, in the light of my own beliefs and the really bad time i had there. for me, going to one of these places when i so desperately needed help, and getting none, was like a slap in the face. like i said, i've got no hostility towards people who have success with these programs, but i also think there's a need for other approaches.

i hope i'm making myself clear. i'm not trying to attack anyone in this topic, at all. i just want to get across my own experience.

I doh't see a problem. Start your own group, it is obvious that AA as it stands uses the term "higher power" for its program, and it works for many of them who do the steps. If that does not work, find something different, perhaps you already have, I hope so.

Peace

mark

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*shrugs*. i tried a program that has a similar philosophy to aa, and had a very bad experience. while the orginization itself (like aa) had a religous background, i had told them that i was atheist, and didn't want a religous approach. not out of hostility, i just wanted to make it clear that it wasn't for me. they said that was fine.

at my first and only session, the person spent the entire time trying to convert me. never talked about anything else. it was not pleasant, i left very angry. also had a relapse that night. so my opinion is on the negative side.

that said, i think that people need to find what works for them. i know of some people who have had a lot of success with these kind of programs, and that is wonderful. i'm very fortunate in that i have a close family who have been willing to help me no matter what, and it's worked for me for two years. not everyone has that, i know.

anyhow, that's my experience.

I heard of a guy that went to AA,and did not like what you went thru.They told him to humble himself to an inanimate object.He worshipped the radiator in his room,and from what I am told he is sober to this day.

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May sound strange to a fellow AA guy.. but i took up beer drinking a few years ago (with the wife who is an ex wino!) .. but we only split two beers .. and i wouldn't recommend that for anyone other than ourselves) I just don't react the same as with whiskey . No off switch for me with whiskey.. it's drink till i drop time.

One of the criticisms of AA is that they say that an alcoholic can never have a drink ever again, however some alcoholics are able to drink socially and are aware when they're drinking to excess.

Another criticism is that AA's supposedly high success rate excludes people who drop out. They only track people who have completed the program and only for a year or two afterwards.

I have no personal knowledge of AA. The only good thing about having alcoholic parents is that it made me have no interest in alcohol! :unsure2:

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AA helped me alot back in the day when all seemed to be lost. I was killing myself one drink at a time...one after another after another...I mean drinking to toxic levels.

I still have to be very careful. If I do not watch what things I ingest, it can be a short trip back to the ugly side. I recently took some meds that set me off on a tirade...I don't know why it did that to me, it just did. I try to deal with colds, flu's and such as natural as I can. It seems like the normal meds react terribly on me...

Best of luck to all of you fighting the sickness. It's not an easy fight and it is never ending. I try to remind myself that one drink is too many and 12 are never enough...there are those that know exactly what I am talking about....

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I'm listening to you guys... Toxic levels? tell me about it. It's a wonder i didn't die of alcohol poisoning hundreds of times. Looking back.. it seems completely nightmarish . That whole 20some years is kinda fuzzy ! I can remember my entire life before that, and since, much clearer. Life is so much better and simpler and fun Again! Much more PEACEfull.

As soon as i quit it felt like i was back at the age when i started! .. (bonus ! lol) but really, it's like i hadn't grown or matured at all in those years .

Anyway... when you drink WAYYYYYYYYYYY too much, all the time, (twice on sunday) like i did, it's such a relief not too ! But ya, that crazy temptation still happens!!! but, it doesn't last, all i have to do is think back. I know it 's weird for an old boozer like me to drink one beer most nights now ( not tonight ) but it never makes me crave more .. like whiskey did for some goofy reason.

Like i said, i gained from my AA experience .. it helps a lot of people . I noticed the court ordered ones seemed to have a much higher ' fail ' rate than the ones that came looking for help. Peace.

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One of the criticisms of AA is that they say that an alcoholic can never have a drink ever again, however some alcoholics are able to drink socially and are aware when they're drinking to excess.

Another criticism is that AA's supposedly high success rate excludes people who drop out. They only track people who have completed the program and only for a year or two afterwards.

I have no personal knowledge of AA. The only good thing about having alcoholic parents is that it made me have no interest in alcohol! :unsure2:

I believe success is important, but for many, who don't have a perfect record, it gives them a community to belong too and when they do fail, or fall, they can begin again. For me that is one of the most important aspects of AA, or any community for that matter. I have areas in my life that I have struggled with all my life. Some times I am better at it than others....however....failures is only as bad as how one reacts to it. We get up, or give up, to not give up perhaps takes more courage and it is there of course where growth comes from. The humility of those in AA is real, because many do fail, take responsibility and begin again.

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Best of luck to all of you fighting the sickness. It's not an easy fight and it is never ending. I try to remind myself that one drink is too many and 12 are never enough...there are those that know exactly what I am talking about....

I have never been able to understand alcoholics but I am trying to stay the same weight as I get older. It's ridiculously hard. I run 12-16 miles a week, I rarely eat anything that tastes good, and I'm hungry all the time yet I'm barely maintaining my weight. Is this what it's like to be an alcoholic?

I actually don't drink. I've never felt any pressure to. This is a huge change from the days when every real man drank booze all day.

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Bill Wilson co founder of AA said it the aa handbook or the big book as it is often called ...Alcohol is but a symptom of deeper underlying issues and I believe the the steps of the program offer a new way of thinking maybe even understanding what causes one to self medicate ..ie some folks can drink again and not have the same problems as before ..now as for the relapse ..I never trip and fell into a bottle or a pile of coke or anything else for that matter ..users and abusers of alcohol and drugs will at some point set themselves up to have something to medicate

..just my humble opinion

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I may be a bit overly critical of AA due to my father's inability to follow through with it, but I realize that isn't necessarily a reflection of the program, but the person.

I had attended several of the meetings with him as a demonstration of my support and desire to grow with him, an attempt to understand him and his affliction better, and definitely met other individuals who had benefited and overcame their addiction "one day at a time."

I've never really been an organized religion person, but for my dad, the devout catholic that he is, it definitely benefited him for the short period he was involved. Our house is still littered with decorations with the Serenity Prayer on them.

But to answer your question, I don't really think the AA program is one that does get outlived or that one "graduates" from. At least for my dad, it was always something that he'd planned on being involved with, probably until the day he dies. Unfortunately, his depression consistently overcame his relationship to AA and the friends he'd met there, maybe even to God himself. I've had all kinds of people recommend ALANON over the years, but never went to any meetings and sadly, the local chapter was shutdown a few years ago so I can't really vouch for that.

And as I mentioned, my dad fell off of the wagon multiple times, and I worry on a daily basis that he'll never be able to live a sober life. Just this year he was hospitalized for a terrible series of binges that led to stomach bleeding. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, so I hope that other people have better luck with AA than my dad did. Best of luck to all who are struggling and to the family and friends. I have hope that there is light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. xoxo

Edited by Novella

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I may be a bit overly critical of AA due to my father's inability to follow through with it, but I realize that isn't necessarily a reflection of the program, but the person.

I had attended several of the meetings with him as a demonstration of my support and desire to grow with him, an attempt to understand him and his affliction better, and definitely met other individuals who had benefited and overcame their addiction "one day at a time."

I've never really been an organized religion person, but for my dad, the devout catholic that he is, it definitely benefited him for the short period he was involved. Our house is still littered with decorations with the Serenity Prayer on them.

But to answer your question, I don't really think the AA program is one that does get outlived or that one "graduates" from. At least for my dad, it was always something that he'd planned on being involved with, probably until the day he dies. Unfortunately, his depression consistently overcame his relationship to AA and the friends he'd met there, maybe even to God himself. I've had all kinds of people recommend ALANON over the years, but never went to any meetings and sadly, the local chapter was shutdown a few years ago so I can't really vouch for that.

And as I mentioned, my dad fell off of the wagon multiple times, and I worry on a daily basis that he'll never be able to live a sober life. Just this year he was hospitalized for a terrible series of binges that led to stomach bleeding. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, so I hope that other people have better luck with AA than my dad did. Best of luck to all who are struggling and to the family and friends. I have hope that there is light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. xoxo

I am sorry that you have to go through this. AA works, but many drop out because of the severity of the disease, for it is that. AA perhaps gives people community, a chance to take responsibility and if they fail, a 12th step to do to get back on track. Many however do make it, even if they fail from time to time, they have a wagon to get back on to. Many in my family have this problem, two of brothers and a sister still have that monkey on their back. The rest, have done better with it.

I was giving talk on the 11th step once, and as I told them about my family, and how I was not affected, I do not drink, have not for over 40 years, the thought came to me, or the memory of my time in the Navy. I drank and partied a lot, especially in New Zealand, on my way to the Antarctic. I think the only reason my drinking did not stick is because it did not touch me deep enough. Why? Well I am not preaching here,believe me, I think it was because I have always had a relationship with God, so perhaps that reality touched me on a deeper level than any kind of addiction would. Not sure, but I know now, that I could easily fall into becoming an addict if I had no relationship with my 'Higher Power', as they say in AA. With my family, I do not allow their problem to affect my life, though I still love them and talk to them on a regular basis. If you don't mind, I will pray for your dad, I am sorry that all of you have to go through with this.

The people I know that have made AA work for them, are the best people I have ever known, and they are easy to talk to as well as love as friends.

Thank you for your deep sharing.

Peace

Mark

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I believe success is important, but for many, who don't have a perfect record, it gives them a community to belong too and when they do fail, or fall, they can begin again. For me that is one of the most important aspects of AA, or any community for that matter. I have areas in my life that I have struggled with all my life. Some times I am better at it than others....however....failures is only as bad as how one reacts to it. We get up, or give up, to not give up perhaps takes more courage and it is there of course where growth comes from. The humility of those in AA is real, because many do fail, take responsibility and begin again.

Not much of a drinker myself. Luckily I reached the age of reason and realized that alcoholism runs in the family before I'd even started drinking. Still, I have a habit of drinking a lot at one time, then quitting for months at a time, before doing it again. It's not an addiction but it's certainly not healthy either. :P

However I had weight problems when I was younger, and I see kicking a drug addiction as very similar to losing weight. Part of it is kicking an addiction to comfort foods, or in my case, 2l bottles of Coca Cola. It was hard. I failed multiple times. I'd start to slip back into my old ways, sometimes for weeks on end, and then I would realize the fact and kick myself back into action. Changing oneself is always an uphill battle.

I've never had any experience with AA or people who have been through the program, so my understanding is limited. The only criticism I'd make is of the idea that we're powerless. We have power to make change, it is just elusive at times. If they're helping people better their own lives who am I to protest though?

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Not much of a drinker myself. Luckily I reached the age of reason and realized that alcoholism runs in the family before I'd even started drinking. Still, I have a habit of drinking a lot at one time, then quitting for months at a time, before doing it again. It's not an addiction but it's certainly not healthy either. :P

However I had weight problems when I was younger, and I see kicking a drug addiction as very similar to losing weight. Part of it is kicking an addiction to comfort foods, or in my case, 2l bottles of Coca Cola. It was hard. I failed multiple times. I'd start to slip back into my old ways, sometimes for weeks on end, and then I would realize the fact and kick myself back into action. Changing oneself is always an uphill battle.

I've never had any experience with AA or people who have been through the program, so my understanding is limited. The only criticism I'd make is of the idea that we're powerless. We have power to make change, it is just elusive at times. If they're helping people better their own lives who am I to protest though?

To say one is powerless is based on a paradox. Once one understands the need for help, then the illusion of not needing community is taken away. For many in AA, the higher power is the group, their friends in the program. Willfulness comes and goes, to be willing is different. Thanks for sharing.

Peace

Mark

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In 2 days I will be 3 years sober. That first day I was nearly dead. For me the most important step - and the one that cost me the most - was the First. "We admitted we were powerless over (fill in the blank) and that our lives had become unmanageable". Admitting that one cannot on the power of their own will direct the outcome of their life is probably the hardest admission any of us can make.

How much long term damage was there? Also well done!

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