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markdohle

AA is a great community

16 posts in this topic

We have an AA group here this weekend at our retreat house. I have a great love and respect for those who live the program and help others to achieve a deep, centered interior life. There is a lot of genius to this movement. Knowing how many are deeply wounded by their religious past they do not use the term ‘God’. A loaded term used by everyone for just about any kind of belief, a generic term really, though loaded. So in AA people of all backgrounds talk about their relationship with their ‘higher power’. It allows for sharing, non-contentious exchanges, which is rare among our species I believe. They are a true community and like all communities they are not perfect.

However, to do the 12 steps takes a lot of courage and they are not made just once but over and over again. Those who do this are some of the best people you can have the honor of knowing. True, some in the program again, like any other group, don’t get it, or pretend they do, but I always judge a group by its best and there are plenty of the ‘best’ in AA.

They know themselves, and when they fail they admit it, and get another white chip and continue. They have deep humility so they are not easily threatened and are easy to be around. A friend of mine one day made some disparaging remarks about AA. So I challenged him to go through the 12 steps. He made it to the 5th step and stopped, and I never heard him make any kind of remark about AA. I am glad that the 12 steps are being used in many programs now, and if work on can bring about deep changes in ones life. It is amazing what humility can do for the soul.

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My late aunt gave me a trinket once which she bought when we were visiting an abbey. The monks were in residence at the time and we were allowed to go in, they also had a gift shop to help raise funds. The trinket has praying hands on one side and the Serenity Prayer on the other side. I've had this trinket for years and carry it around with me in my bag, it's attached to my keyring. Sometime later I looked this prayer up on the internet and was surprised to find that the AA use it.

http://en.wikipedia....Serenity_Prayer

Your story just reminded me of this :)

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Posted (edited)

My late aunt gave me a trinket once which she bought when we were visiting an abbey. The monks were in residence at the time and we were allowed to go in, they also had a gift shop to help raise funds. The trinket has praying hands on one side and the Serenity Prayer on the other side. I've had this trinket for years and carry it around with me in my bag, it's attached to my keyring. Sometime later I looked this prayer up on the internet and was surprised to find that the AA use it.

http://en.wikipedia....Serenity_Prayer

Your story just reminded me of this :)

Yes they end AA meetings with the serenity prayer, a wonderful prayer to say everyday. Thanks for sharing a wonderful memory.

Peace

mark

Edited by markdohle
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I went to a few AA meetings to support a friend who had a drinking problem. Best unofficial dating service ever. But I've never had tendencies to be addicted to anything except caffeine but what I could never quite understand are the ties the program has to God. If I just let go and let God, I will probably start drinking because I just gave up my self control. The Serenity Prayer is a great prayer and I agree with brother Mark on that. But the explicit list that AA pushes is a much stronger version of it. Saying the SP at the end of meetings is almost a gentle release from the AA mindset that we're all powerless to help ourselves fight this demon, and we're still going to be alcoholics no matter how long we've stayed sober.

Recognizing one has a problem is the major hurdle to getting help in the beginning and I understand that. But "My name is Mark and I'm on my way to no longer being an alcoholic." still seems like the better intro.

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Posted (edited)

Having known alcoholics (and people addicted to other drugs) there's no such thing as an "ex addict". No recovery program in the world (at least no successful program) pushes the idea that addicts can recover. They can remain sober, but they can never stop being an addict. Anyone who says otherwise has never had to deal with addiction (either themselves or a close friend/relative).

I have a lot of respect for people who go through programs like AA. They are able to face their demons and attempt to deal with them. Far too many addicts take the easy option and never admit their problem.

Edited by Paranoid Android
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I hear ya, mark. I have been with NA for something over many years. Kinda the same club, I guess. Funny thing, years ago back in the mid west, NA and AA had a confrontational relationship. AA would not accept drugs as an addiction, NA did not think alcohol was a drug. I quit all that. Out here now, more open minds. Anything can be an addiction, be it alcohol, drugs, computers, TV, sex, food... so many things we let ourselves be drawn in to. Addiction is addiction.

Many, many years ago, when I was in rehab for the second time, I found this coin in a Christian shop we were allowed to go to. On one side is a Dream Catcher with the words "Native American in Recovery" above it. On the other side it reads:

Great Spirit

Whose Voice

I Hear In The Wind

Whose Breath Gives

Life To The World

Hear Me

I Come To You As One Of

Your Many Children

I Am Small And Weak

I Need Your Strength

And Wisdom

May I Walk In

Beauty

I am not a Native American, but I carry the coin, none the less.

That is a beautiful prayer, thank you for sharing this.

Peace

mark

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I went to a few AA meetings to support a friend who had a drinking problem. Best unofficial dating service ever. But I've never had tendencies to be addicted to anything except caffeine but what I could never quite understand are the ties the program has to God. If I just let go and let God, I will probably start drinking because I just gave up my self control. The Serenity Prayer is a great prayer and I agree with brother Mark on that. But the explicit list that AA pushes is a much stronger version of it. Saying the SP at the end of meetings is almost a gentle release from the AA mindset that we're all powerless to help ourselves fight this demon, and we're still going to be alcoholics no matter how long we've stayed sober.

Recognizing one has a problem is the major hurdle to getting help in the beginning and I understand that. But "My name is Mark and I'm on my way to no longer being an alcoholic." still seems like the better intro.

To use the word or concept of '[powerlessness' is a paradox, it allows one to let go of a type of control that enslaves, or an illusion of willfulness that comes and goes. Powerlessness does not mean helplessness, that is despair. Those who do the program, are very healthy people and are a very healthy part of our society......Language is a funny thing, words can have many levels of meaning, and yes also deal with paradox.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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I went to a few AA meetings to support a friend who had a drinking problem. Best unofficial dating service ever. But I've never had tendencies to be addicted to anything except caffeine but what I could never quite understand are the ties the program has to God. If I just let go and let God, I will probably start drinking because I just gave up my self control. The Serenity Prayer is a great prayer and I agree with brother Mark on that. But the explicit list that AA pushes is a much stronger version of it. Saying the SP at the end of meetings is almost a gentle release from the AA mindset that we're all powerless to help ourselves fight this demon, and we're still going to be alcoholics no matter how long we've stayed sober.

Recognizing one has a problem is the major hurdle to getting help in the beginning and I understand that. But "My name is Mark and I'm on my way to no longer being an alcoholic." still seems like the better intro.

I remember a friend in the program once saying "your odds are good...but the goods are odd" lol... dating other members is not recommended :)
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I've been in and out of AA for years. I, too, have struggled with the paradox of what it means to be "powerless before alcohol," and remaining solely responsible for my recovery ('recovering' is different from 'cured'). My involvement would have been more consistent had I fully dedicated myself to the program. As it is, I dabble and partake in meetings as needed, finding much support there.

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I've been in and out of AA for years. I, too, have struggled with the paradox of what it means to be "powerless before alcohol," and remaining solely responsible for my recovery ('recovering' is different from 'cured'). My involvement would have been more consistent had I fully dedicated myself to the program. As it is, I dabble and partake in meetings as needed, finding much support there.

You sum up my experience as well. I tried in the early days to devote myself to it wholly but I never could get past the 5th step. In fact I nearly drank stressing over it ;)

But there's no doubt the fellowship has helped me through a LOT and I'm sober today by the grace of God.

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It was wonderful and encouraging reading all of your posts and hearing of some of your battles.

I've never been an alcoholic, but I was a big binge drinker and partier in my younger days. When I went through a personal crisis a few years back, I started going on binges again to self-medicate...and it took me getting arrested for a DUI to put the brakes on my partying. That was the hardest damn thing I have ever been through in my life. I was in so much pain I thought I was going to die. I thought my life was ruined and was over.

But God had that happen to me for a reason. It was a reality check. He saved me from going off a cliff. Who knows what would have happened with all my partying if He didn't have the grace to stop me in my tracks? In the end, I am thankful for that arrest and that whole nightmare.

My prayers are with any of you who struggle with alcohol or any other kind of addiction. Lord knows, I've been there too....

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It was wonderful and encouraging reading all of your posts and hearing of some of your battles.

I've never been an alcoholic, but I was a big binge drinker and partier in my younger days. When I went through a personal crisis a few years back, I started going on binges again to self-medicate...and it took me getting arrested for a DUI to put the brakes on my partying. That was the hardest damn thing I have ever been through in my life. I was in so much pain I thought I was going to die. I thought my life was ruined and was over.

But God had that happen to me for a reason. It was a reality check. He saved me from going off a cliff. Who knows what would have happened with all my partying if He didn't have the grace to stop me in my tracks? In the end, I am thankful for that arrest and that whole nightmare.

My prayers are with any of you who struggle with alcohol or any other kind of addiction. Lord knows, I've been there too....

Yes indeed... the DUI is the 21st century version of the "scarlet letter".
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AA is a great program for addicts of any kind of substances. That being said my own experience within the AA program wasn't quite as positive. In '09 I had too much to drink and decided I could drive home... dumb on me I know. But because I had a job with good insurance the judge ordered me to take a substance abuse "class". I found one that the instructor told me the class lasts about 6 weeks so I figured a month and a half not bad, not drinking for that time was no problem and I might learn a bit about something. Wrong. .. The first day I was basically told I was a piece of sh!t Cuz I have ever in my life taken a sip of alcohol and beat down after that. Long story short my 6 week class lasted 9 months only because my burnt out hippie of an instructor was told by the hospital to keep me in the program cuz somebody had a boat payment to make. Sorry my previous statement still stands and I've seen the program work for many.

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Posted (edited)

:( That's not the AA, Rye. The 'anonymous' in the name actually does mean anonymous. You come and go when you want to, not when ordered. And you must want it, else you are kidding yourself. Your experience sounds more like court-mandated rehab which is totally different. (no offence) Edited by Eldorado
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Judges in this neck of the woods do sometimes order people to attend AA .. those seem to have less success than people who go there for help.

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Posted (edited)

Judges in this neck of the woods do sometimes order people to attend AA .. those seem to have less success than people who go there for help.

How do they know they've attended a meeting where it's first-name only? Is there a roll-call at US AA meetings? You sign-in? I think you're confusing AA with some other self-help group, amigos. (no offence)

Edited by Eldorado

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