Monday, February 1, 2010

When to do a set of steps and how often ?

It's becoming evident to me that what my group does isn't too popular amongst other A.A. groups.

I'm not all big on slobbering over a guy who once took me through the work and following him around the ends of the earth like an unfed puppy dog.

Some of you, on the other hand, think me or my group is whacko because we do steps yearly.

I'm having a good discussion with Danny about this now. I'm working to respect and understand his side and he's doing likewise with mine. I suppose there's a right and a wrong motive for doing steps... but not to seeking God. If we're doing these steps to fix a relationship or get a better job or to get the IRS off our back, woe is us, right? The 11th Step says, "We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped." Is getting our resentments, fears, harms done to others cleared up and cast away a selfish end? To ourselves? To our group? To the newcomer prospect or suffering bleeding deacon in our group? I don't think so.

I think I understand people who don't feel the need to do an inventory just because a group or a person or a calender tells you to.

But I decided into a group who does it, sort of like clockwork... or as the seasons change. Our group decided up front that this is what we will do. There have been some who have decided out... of the group or out of the process...until it's time for them. No biggie.

We find the time of September to the end of November a good time... a good season... to kickstart the middle-work and get it over and done with. It also makes for good topics. One of the good things about giving a 5th step is the opportunity to hear a 5th step too.

People are busy during Summer. After summer is over, people are ready to settle in and get their feet wet. We do a set of steps and are done with amends by the time Thxgiving and Christmas and New Year comes along. Then we do an awesome spiritual retreat after the Super Bowl.

When working with newcomers or folks who need steps, we get them in the steps and free of sponsorship immediately.

You know the funny thing about the people who do A.A. tapes? The people who do A.A. tapes. It takes an incredible ego to do that stuff. If anybody tells you otherwise, they're a liar.

We believe that the alcoholic ego grows right up alongside the recovered alcoholic. So if anything, the steps become more vital. The path narrows. This is what I've been told and it reconciles with my experience.

Dr Harry Tiebout was ambivalent to the "disease model" for alcoholism. I personally think it's bullshit. I believe alcoholism to be a spiritual malady for me... the real alcoholic.

I don't care if you believe in doing the 12 steps yearly or not. What I'd like to learn more about is why you do and what you get from it and why you do NOT and what you get from that. To me, doing steps yearly is quite natural. It's simply what we do. But when it's time to do the work again, I go out on my own... and decide for myself, if this is what I will continue to do... or not. We question the whole deal. I question the whole deal; Maybe I'm an alcoholic. Maybe I'm not. Maybe I need God. Maybe I do not. When once I decide from there, I'm either in or out. Are you in or are you out?

Based on work with 250 alcoholics during his first 10 years at Blythewood, Tiebout developed the following conception of the alcoholic mind:

"In the normal individual there is a tendency to create some privacy for his inner life, for his motivations, reflections and emotions, so that they are not completely accessible to the environment. Normally this attempt interferes only slightly with the freedom of movement of outgoing and incoming stimuli and impulses. The boundary which the normal individual sets up between himself and the environment may be called a floating or diffuse boundary. In incipient alcoholism, however, it appears that the boundary is drawn somewhat tighter than is usual, and that with each stage of further development of the alcoholism more and more gaps are closed until the alcoholic seems to have erected what may be called a barrier which permits only a minimum of interplay between the inner self and the environment."


  1. Well after reading this I went back to RF and then came back to this. Then I repeated the process.
    After several attempts I can't form an opinion one way or another for some reason.
    What did stand out was the fact that you have a group that does this. If I was to say that most groups don't, the statement could be skewed and taken out of context. The reason that most groups don't is because most groups don't do anything as a group.
    When I see a newcomer come to the group I see an individual player or two take the newcomer on. As a "Group" this isn't necessarily so.
    Therefore the buck has been passed and the group is off the hook.
    Another reason that a group doesn't take the steps every year is that the individual members of that "Group" haven't taken the steps either. One of the things to remember is that "I am a small part of a Great Whole". Flip the coin and see how the great whole is a congloberation of several small parts. Meaning the group is only as strong as the individual members. The very fiber of these individuals is woven into the fabric of the group.
    Be thankful that your group is concerned about everyone that calls themselves a member.
    This time around I was serious. Unlike the past where I stayed sober foe a week or two this time I was serious. Unfortunatley I ended up in a bullshit session with a blue sign on the door with two A's in it. Two years taking a white knuckle ride not a goddamn one of them talked to me about the book, the program or sponsorship. In the mean time I went bankrupt, lost my house and was getting divorced. My life was better when I was drinking. At least I had a grasp on how to get through life. Now I don't drink and I am sicker than I ever was. About the time it seemed like there wasn't any hope left I was taken from that group by someone that was a little more interested in recovery, was in fact a "Real Alcoholic" and knew about AA, Sponsorship, God and the 12 Steps. This was the beginning. My life would turn around right there on the spot. It didn't get instantly better but my slide was stopped right there in its tracks and I could begin my journey on the road to recovery. All because I met an AA who knew what AA was all about.
    Bottom line is Thank God for groups like yours. Regardless of what they do.

  2. Thx 4 responding Karl. It's been the only thing on my mind lately.

    If I'm doing something this way, then I think my mind/ego perhaps defends against that which I don't do... rather than just sit with it and consider the pros and cons.

    I see a strong group in my community that has a couple of guys who have great power... and it's like they bring people into their wing. These people get better and do great things... but then it looks like you've got a strong inner core and a weaker outer core. People come there and see good things... and want to be a part. It's very popular... almost too big.

    My group has one core and that's that. You can't come in and hide behind your sponsor... nor can you hide your sponsee under your wing. Everybody's fair game to the group. We are all equal and keep each other sharp.

    We've got someone in the group who is rebelling now. He's not doing steps, he's in his head, he shows up late, disrupts, leaves early... and it hurts us all.

  3. When ? As soon as possible.
    How often ? As often as necessary.

    I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. The only 'wrong' thing to do is not do the steps. Then, if you're a real alcoholic you're in for trouble.

  4. I was just lurking at Danny's Blog and decided to post over here as not to interrupt.
    It looks like we do the same thing but we just call it something different.
    We're both writing inventories.
    To me, #10 says "Continued to take Inventory"
    When I took Inventory in #4 I was writing. When I "Continued to take Inventory" I'm still writing.
    As I said in RF, "Mental notes are not an inventory". I still have resentments pop up here and there. Both new ones and some that came to my conscious memory from the past.
    Therefore I write since I am of the belief that all inventories are written whether we're talking about our business or our lives.
    #10, "When we were wrong we promptly admitted it". That to me is steps 5, and 9 combined
    I'm married so I don't have sex. Therefore I don't have to take a sex inventory. I'm off the hook.
    Fear gets inventoried too. Written!
    Specific instructions are given on 86-87 asking where had we been resentful, selfish, dishonest (sex) or afraid. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
    "God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn't".
    If I ask God "what corrective measure" should be taken, that's asking where I need to make an amend if one is necessary.
    Isn't a "Corrective Measure" an "Amend"?
    4-5-6-7 are a process yet broken down into individual actions.
    This is evident in the book. We start with the Third Step. Once we take the Third Step it's a done deal and there's no turning back. We say a prayer as described in the book. Not the exact prayer if we can come up with something better. We then "Vigorously" set into action.
    We took 4-5-6 and 7 and in Step 7 we said another prayer. In the book there is an "Amen" on the end of the 7th Step Prayer where there wasn't on the 3rd Step Prayer. "Amen" means we're finished with the process. We can then move on.
    That's my take on the whole thing and in no way indicates that there is any "Wrong" way to do anything that the book tells us to do. As long as we do it.

  5. Ha! You're married, so no sex! Ain't that the truth. Well... it's good to no you don't cheat... or is it properly called Audultry...

    Maybe you owe and amend to your hand. Doah! Did I say that out loud? Maybe you owe an amend for not giving it up once in a while. Put the cheetos away and go to bed once in a while! Too funny. Oh, and I'm sure you never "Unjustifiably arouse jealousy when that waitress with the mini-skirt and the low-cut blouse bends over in front of you and flirts a bit. Woof! My wife once told me, "You were checkin' her out!" I told her, "You were checkin' her out too!" I paid for that later. Is that an amend?

  6. Hey, McGowdog.

    You have some interesting stuff here. Some really nice serenity rants, and some interesting observations. At least you don't have any resentmen....uh, well, uh.....at least you are trying.

    May I hang out here for a while?

    Shark Sandwich, aka, MA

  7. MA, where have you been? I was afraid you went off and joined a cult.
    Hang out all you want. We've spent enough time at your place. The least we could do is welcome you here.
    Good to hear from you again.


  8. MA, what's up? I've been wondering about you.

    Long time no hear. It's been kind of flat out here in cyberspace without SR for some of us and with your site being on vacation for about a month or so.

    Good to see you're up and running again. Resentments are no fun when everybody is out to lunch or just lurking and not testing each other.

    I've come to appreciate our little discussions and to "lend an ear" to our detractors once in a while.

  9. Wow, MA! You really have some interesting shit over there, huh? And to think some of my stuff got edited. Who's this antiAA ass-hat? And who is he going off on?

  10. anti AA, on January 10th, 2010 at 5:54 am Said:
    here is what I left to your spoiled, arrogant. friend, that is Mark on his website, not that I take you out of this context either..

    Hey! ever been to Compton California???..you guys are something else…

    “Hey mark, here is another intellectual wind bag, getting off on our misery. Check website at bottom of page:

    He says your acting immoral about posting us and fueling a debate. i say you are BOTH immoral because, you “both” just can’t see what it is like to come from abuse, mental illness, addiction, brutality, etc etc things that are “every day” life to the BULK of addicts. For example, I know poor women, that have Borderline Personality Disorder, because of their brutal upbringings, I have a life long case of PSTD and major depression. that is why we abuse substances and YOU and this other intellectual, SPOILED ass hole are getting off on OUR misery. You know, it is always been like this, all of our lives. people like you and this other asshole hurting us, at our expense, so you can feel good..

    you guys don’t understand what you have tripped in us and you think this is some game, a way to pass time and you are hurting us, for your own SELFISH needs of feeling superior. You guys are the SICK ones. why are you getting off on all of this???????..

    Perhaps you guys, should do the 12 steps, however, i know that will make you even worse.

    Cant you see there is a very limited way of us getting help???????????????

    You try losing friends , over doses and suicide and then come back here and be the insensitive SPOILED college boys that you are..

    You just do NOT get this and you BOTH are hurting us

    Congratulations!!! You overly privileged assholes…

  11. anti AA, on January 10th, 2010 at 6:12 am Said:
    There was NOTHING wrong with what i posted other that the TRUTH about you and Mark and the anti – aa movement , you are such an asshole..

    I knew you would not post my message, and it didn’t violate any forum rules, but, it made you, look at YOU
    Hey there whitey college boy, life degrees count as well and you know how wrong you are right now…you are just a little boy, still in the library,,,go to mommy little white boy you will never know life the way we do you are so myopic and lost, I feel sorry for you and I am sooo grateful to see life in its entirety and I will simply rest on the fact that you and Mark are just a couple naive losers with nothing better to do

    by by you fucking jerk i hope you get killed…

    anti AA, on January 10th, 2010 at 6:25 am Said:
    thank you for deleting that posting..it really does validate everything that I said…you are such a fucking LOSER and I am feeling really good right now and I will thank you for that,,and again

    please die, you are such a fucking peice of shit…

    i hope you get a cap in your white ass..you fucking loser

    anti AA, on January 10th, 2010 at 6:30 am Said:
    hey here i am again…you are a little man, sitting at your computer provably masturbating to child porn..

    You and Mark are just the fucking SCUM of the earth…

    I really hope you get disfigured or die, I would prefer the death on you,,,

    by by little faggot…if I knew who you were, you wouldn’t exist anymore,

    not that you ever really have lived any life, little college boy…by by bullet catcher..i hope you SUFFER…and then DIE you fucking piece of shit of a person…

    I would love to stab your eye out and then, stick the shank in your ears and GRIND it..by by you PATHETIC faggot and please get KILLED…


    anti AA, on January 10th, 2010 at 6:41 am Said:
    I mean just look at your openeing staments you fucking are HILRIOUS you are such a fucking psueoid inellectual what a GOOF you are I feel great becauwe I know, that you and Mark are such fucking losers,,,I am laughing sooo hard at you above staement and I am going to get lots of people ot jcut look at your ARRGOGANCE

    This post was inspired by what I found to be yet another gratuitous, thoroughly disingenuous use of the ‘AA/12-Step bashing’ card by a blogger whose material is usually more even-handed then most 12-Step adherents but still egregious in this case. The entire blog post can be found here:

    thank you for deleting that posting..it really does validate everything that I said…you are such a fucking LOSER and I am feeling really good right now and I will thank you for that,,and again

    please die, you are such a fucking peice of shit…

    i hope you get a cap in your white ass..you fucking loser

  12. anti AA, on January 10th, 2010 at 6:43 am Said:
    This post was inspired by what I found to be yet another gratuitous, thoroughly disingenuous use of the ‘AA/12-Step bashing’ card by a blogger whose material is usually more even-handed then most 12-Step adherents but still egregious in this case. The entire blog post can be found here:





  13. What side was that guy on? Tweena. We'll call him tweena. Hope he's not on our side.

    He reminds me of that Tweena punk who celled with Teabag on prison break. A white punk who thought he was black and got killed.

  14. McGowdog -

    That is a public blog, so anybody is allowed to post a comment. I don't know Mark or you or anyone else who has posted comments over there. Obviously it is going to attract people who have been harmed by AA, and a lot AA robots, so a lot of frustrations get spewed. If I recall correctly, you weren't exactly cordial when you made your appearance there. This is the internet, you will attract all kinds. Think about it, I'm commenting here in your blog, and for all you know I'm sitting here naked and in a pirate hat, waiting for the aliens to arrive.

  15. Well... isn't everybody?

    I thought I was pretty cordial until I started to get directed to sod off, f-myself twice, drivel, etc. etc.

    I thought my interactions with you were fairly cordial. You even asked me to be an author over there and stuff.

    My peers either commend or fault me for "having passion" for our brand of recovery. Guilty as charged.

    But to be judged as an A.A. asshole big-book thumper oldtimer step-Nazi... user of resistor color-codes and dangerous... come on.

  16. MA's site sounds as if it's worth reading. How about an address?

  17. http://donewithaa.wordpress.com/

    Oh, and let me add some recent works from one of their authors against one of our authors;

    speedy0314, on November 19th, 2009 at 1:17 am Said:

    glad to hear about your salvation. and that’s really the last i want to hear about it.
    this is obviously not a site you should frequent, nor is it a site you will be permitted to comment on if you insist on filling valuable web-space up with tired, empty, completely unverifiable step bullshit.
    stay clean, stay sober, and stay away from this site. whether you’re attending meetings or not, visiting this site is neither good for your ’sobriety’ nor is it anything original or compelling for most of the people who frequent the blog.

    keep your head in the clouds … but keep walking.



    speedy0314, on November 19th, 2009 at 5:59 am Said:

    yes cuda, your comment was deleted.

    yes cuda, your comments will continue to be deleted.

    yes cuda, you can complain all you want about ‘cowardice’ & ‘censorship’ & whatever bullshit word is buzzing around that hollow head of yours’ all you want. but your days of self-righteously crapping in the sandbox here are done.

    go start your own blog. i’ll be sure to ignore it.



    Cuda, on November 19th, 2009 at 2:17 pm Said:

    I didn’t think you had what it took to offer a response.

    What I had to offer was meaningless but I was more interested in seeing what kind of a rise I could get out of you. Since you’ve never offered an intelligent response to anything I’ve ever posted as of yet, your reply this time was no surprise.

    Go ahead and continue with your silly little cause and I’ll continue with mine.