Saturday, December 31, 2011
The topic? The Joy Of Living... as suggested due to the Daily Reflections reading. You know... 12th Month... 12th Step sort of thing.
Many of us had our relationship with our Creator as inspiration for this new-found Joy. But near the end of the meeting, the chairperson felt the need to let the "newcomers" know that being this is a spiritual program and not a religious one... that it could be misleading to think that someone must find a "God" as their "Higher Power" and that agnostics can go on being agnostics and remain sober in A.A. and atheists can go on being atheists and remain sober in A.A.
Same "Don't let the God Talk run you off" bullshit.
It is my opinion that the chairperson is wrong. It is my understanding that "We Agnostics" is a chapter written for most all of us, if not exactly all of us. It is my belief that our original founders... about half of them came in as agnostics and became believers of God... or even better, had formed a relationship with God and walked away with faith... and sobriety. That, in my estimation, makes them no longer agnostics.
Our co-founder said that it's his belief that very few of us... those that walk the earth... are atheists to begin with. Go look for yourself and see.
But I live in a world of many many atheists... true atheists, and coffee-shop God-killed-my-puppy-dog-atheists.
So, I disagree that you can come into A.A. and do the program and remain agnostic or atheist.
This ought to stir the pot.
What say you? More importantly, what's your experience? If you're a true atheist and you are "sober in A.A.", I say you're perhaps sober, and you may be in A.A., but you ain't doing A.A.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I will not enter an A.A. meeting if I don't have a buck on me. I usually have two bucks handy and I'll put that in... but sometimes I'm running late so... if I can't dig up 4 fucking quarters, I just won't go.
I can turn the couch upside down and find two bucks. Any bum can scrape up two bucks.
But that's just me. I could care less what you put into the basket... unless it's our 4 member home group. There, if everybody doesn't contribute 2 bucks minimum, then come rent time, somebody has to pony up the rest.
If you're a cheap drunk who had to steal or mooch or drink mouthwash, then I say you weren't/aren't alky. You're just a fucking cheap-assed bum. Or worse. You're a fucking thief.
Ask yourself... how much does one drink cost? Now how much does one fucking A.A. meeting cost?
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Hope y'all have a sober and happy holidays and enjoy your fellows about you.
If you're not sober, have one on me. As my dad says, "There's a baby in every bottle."
Monday, December 19, 2011
This describes the efficacy of the recovery "industry" pretty well... imo.
This is why books would seem so vital... and why some feel so threatened by such books... if they are trying to "invent" a more profitable "industry".
Look back at the conditions of the early/mid 30s with regards to alcoholism and addictions. Was this not a hotbed of "stock" for this recovery industry? Was it not also a hotbed of spiritual application and practice?
Friday, December 16, 2011
I think it's a good point in the fact that I need to come to terms as to whether I'm an alcoholic or not and if I need divine help to get and stay sober... or at very least to stay sober.
I see nothing wrong with organized religion... if used properly. A lot of folks in A.A. seem to have had a hellfire and brimstone God shoved down their throat. I did not. But regardless of how wonderful a person's religious upbringing, if they're alcoholic now, how good could that religion be doing with regards to the booze?
Can a person who is accustomed to some religious path do A.A. and come later to incorporate that discipline into their life as well? Can someone who was never too strong in religion come to incorporating some religion of their choice whilst also staying plugged into A.A.?
Can a person who walked away from religion long ago but found sobriety in A.A. find a way to just keep their trap shut as to suggesting others to do likewise so as to solicit some form of approval or whatever it is they do?
It just seems to me that many bleeding deacons who go to meetings feel the need to paint a rosy path for the newcomer so as to not let any mention of God scare the new man off.
Back in the days of our cofounders, did the folks who were agnostic/atheist generally stay that way? Or did many come to believe in some form of God that may be associated with some religion? I know many will argue that A.A. was generally based on Christianity. I don't buy it. I also hear the same garbage about the forming of the US of A. To me, our great nation was formed on Spiritual Principles, not religious dogma. But, this is something we can argue till the cows come home. I argue that our nation is spiritual rather than religious because we generally have the freedom to worship how and if... without giving up our rights and freedoms. Not so in many parts of the world during the forming of this new nation. Same goes with A.A. in my experience. I am not forced into believing and practicing the dogma of any particular religion.
The books itself tells us in very specific detail what we are called to do... be quick to point out where religious people are right... make use of what they offer. I am called upon to be open minded. As my mentor's mentor says, "I used to think open minded meant adding to the vast knowledge that I already possess. What I found out was that I'm called to start anew with the whole deal... and to choose... all the way down the line." That's a paraphrase, but I think I got the jist of it.
Yesterday in this same meeting, we had a group of gals graduating from the local treatment center, so the chairperson yesterday chose to cater to these ladies and let them share where they are now and what they plan on doing going forward. Just about every gal talked about how they used to hate other girls and only hung out with guys and how they have come to open up to their female companions a bit. It's a good thing I didn't get called on to share because I was going to explain to them my opinion about their tendencies. Many of these women hate other women because they see them as competition. They see men as providers. It's about that simple.
I would have gone on to talk about how it is my opinion that these gals... whether they go on to get sober/clean or not, do A.A./(fill-in-the-blank A.) or not... they at very least try to get back on their own two feet and put themselves in a position to provide for themselves. This would entail, get a job, pay the bills, don't cheat, steal, fight, break the law in general, etc. Then maybe, if they can face up to the fact that the best deal they got is to look at those steps. Am I alky? Do I need God's grace and protection and care? Am I willing to let God be my Provider? Will God do for me what I cannot do for myself? Will God provide for me so long as I do not place others or myself in the wrong position?
It's got to be a bit tougher for women though. See, they will not hear that shit that I would spew in a meeting... not ever... especially the cute ones. Ever notice how women, specifically the cute ones, get treated different? It's as if nobody has the balls to give it to them straight. This particual meeting I have been going to has no recovered women in it. The "elder statesmen" don't want to see the new man/woman get run off with God talk or ... perhaps step-talk.
But unfortunately, I think people get what they want. They want the easier softer way. I don't think they spend enough time discussing what an alcoholic is and if they are one or not and whether they have really come to terms with whether they are going to decide into this spiritual path or not. Until all this stuff is ironed out, the God talk is just talk, imo.
Friday, December 9, 2011
So I went to the nooner by the courthouse yesterday and the one the day before.
This gal describes how things are going after about two months of sobriety now.
She's coming up on the holidays and is bummed she don't have much money. She knows she'll receive gifts from her folks and she is remorseful that she cannot afford to buy them gifts... again.
So her mom tells her, "This is the best gift you can give me." Just calling her sober is something new. She described how her mom used to call the hospitals and morgues trying to locate her.
It was sort of a touching moment... guess you sort of had to be there.
The topic of the meeting seemed to be reliance on God vs reliance on self and... something to do with pulling off the mask and being our true self in sobriety... as opposed to putting on our A.A. cloak and saying "I'm fine."
I liken the latter topic to locating our ego... drunk or sober. A lot of folks come from the place that they are free of this mask "now that I'm sober" and that's that. For me, it's an ongoing battle. Without diligent step work, the ego rebuilds and manifests itself eventually. I eventually go back to running the show, arranging the lights and the stage characters in my own way. In other words, I eventually play God in some way or... there's some area of my life I've not turned loose of or I'm not fully aware of where I'm off the beam.
For example, with my coworker, I felt bullied at times and taken advantage of. When I fought back, it was a battle between his character and mine. I wanted to shed light on each and everything he did wrong, whether I was involved or not. I wanted assurance and approval of me being in the right and him being wrong. With that, I'd gone to far. What was this lack of faith based in? Fear. Lack of control. Lack of power. I got away from doing my work for God rather than not doing it for him.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Ok, enough frivolity about death and dying. Some more sober (?) shit here. This was sent to me a week or so ago. Don't know the pedigree, who wrote it or when, but it makes for some interesting reading. Many points the author makes have been made on this blog.
I was talking to my old (80 years) friend Millie the other night, and she was reflecting on the disappearance of 12-step calls. (Anyone gone out in the middle of the night to make a call with a pint of vodka in their pocket recently? ) I wonder if this observation isn't tied into society becoming more familiar with the concepts of Detox or Rehab being the miracle answer, and viewing AA as sort of an after care or something. "Got a drinking problem? Go to a Rehab facility" as opposed to go to an AA meeting.
Another thought that comes to mind is the idea that nobody, including AA in my opinion, screens folks anymore to see if they really ARE alcoholics. I look around some of the meetings I go to and listen to the shit that's spouted sometimes. I'm convinced that some people have no business being at a meeting as they're not alcoholics. Maybe insecure wanabees who drink too much and are looking for a little sympathy or something, but not alcoholics.
And I've got mixed feelings about the role of the newcomer. I've heard some wise words out of the mouths of babes and drivel from the people who've been around for "a few 24 hours".
But anyway, this will be on the test, so study it well. I threw in the cool picture 'cause it's a guy thing.
That question is being asked by a lot of alcoholics lately. What happened to our high success rate? 30 & 40 years ago, we were keeping 75% or more of the alcoholics who came to us for help. Today, we aren’t keeping even 5%. What happened? What happened to that wonderful A.A. Group that was around for 20, 30 or 40 years? There used to be 50, 75, 100 or more at every meeting. It is now a matter of history; gone! More and more groups are folding every day. What happened? We hear a lot of ideas, opinions and excuses as to what happened but things are not improving. They continue to get worse. What is happening?
Bill W. wrote,
“In the years ahead A.A. will, of course, make mistakes. Experience has taught us that we need have no fear of doing this, providing that we always remain willing to admit our faults and to correct them promptly. Our growth as individuals has depended upon this healthy process of trial and error. So will our growth as a fellowship.
Let us always remember that any society of men and women that cannot freely correct its own faults must surely fall into decay if not into collapse. Such is the universal penalty for the failure to go on growing. Just as each A.A. must continue to take his moral inventory and act upon it, so must our whole Society if we are to survive and if we are to serve usefully and well.” (A.A. Comes of Age, pg 231)
With so very few finding lasting sobriety and the continued demise of AA groups, it is obvious that we have not remained willing to admit our faults and to correct them promptly.
Seems that the Delegate of the Northeast Ohio Area, Bob Bacon, identified our mistakes and our faults when he talked to a group of AA’s in 1976. He said, in essence, we are no longer showing the newcomer that we have a solution for alcoholism. We are not telling them about the Big Book and how very important that Book is to our long term sobriety. We are not telling them about our Traditions and how very important they are to the individual groups and to Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole. Rather, we are using our meeting time for drunkalogs, a discussion of our problems, ideas and opinions or “my day” or “my way”.
Reflecting on what Bob Bacon had to say, it would appear that we have permitted newcomers to convince the old-timers that they had a better idea. They had just spent 30 or more days in a treatment facility where they had been impressed with the need to talk about their problems in Group Therapy Sessions. They had been told that it didn’t make any difference what their real problem was, A.A. had the “best program”. They were told that they should go to an A.A. meeting every day for the 1st 90 days out of treatment. They were told that they shouldn’t make any major decisions for the 1st year of their sobriety. And what they were told goes on and on, most of which are contrary to the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous!
Apparently, what they were told sounded pretty good to the A.A.
members who were here when the TC clients started showing up at our meetings. And a lot of the A.A. members liked the idea of the treatment centers because the centers provided a place where they could drop off a serious drinker. That eliminated some of the inconveniences we had been plagued with before; having to pour orange juice and honey or a shot of booze down a vibrating alky to help them “de-tox”.
When A.A. was very successful, the folks who did the talking in meetings were recovered alcoholics. The suffering and untreated alcoholics listened. After hearing what it takes to recover, the newcomer was faced with a decision; “Are you going to take the Steps and recover or are you going to get back out there and finish the job?” If they said they “were willing to go to any length,” they were given a sponsor, a Big Book and began the process of recovery by taking the Steps and experiencing the Promises that result from that course of action. This process kept the newcomer involved in working with others and continued the growth of our Fellowship. Our growth rate was approximately 7% and the number of sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous doubled every 10 years.
With the advent of the rapid growth of the Treatment Industry, the acceptance of our success with alcoholics by the judicial system and endorsement of physicians, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc. all kinds of people were pouring into A.A. at a rate greater than we had ever dreamed possible. Almost without realizing what was happening, our meetings began changing from ones that focused on recovery from alcoholism to “discussion or participation” types of meetings that invited everyone to talk about whatever was on their mind. The meetings evolved from a program of spiritual development to the group therapy type of meeting where we heard more and more about “our problems” and less and less about the Program of Recovery by the Big Book and the preservation of our Fellowship by adhering to our Traditions.
What has been the result of all this? Well, never have we had so many coming to us for help. But never have we had such a slow growth rate which has now started to decline. For the first time in our history, Alcoholics Anonymous is losing members faster than they are coming in and our success rate is unbelievably low. (Statistics from the Inter-Group Office of some major cities indicate less than 5% of those expressing a desire to stop drinking are successful for more than 5 years; a far cry from the 75% reported by Bill W. in the Forward to Second Edition). The change in the content of our meetings is proving to be death-traps for the newcomer and in turn, death-traps for the groups that depend on the “discussion or participation” type meetings.
Why is this? The answer is very simple. When meetings were opened so that untreated alcoholics & non-alcoholics were given the opportunity to express their ideas, their opinions, air their problems and tell how they were told to do it where they came from, the confused newcomer became more confused with the diversity of information that was being presented. More and more they were encouraged to “just go to meetings and don’t drink” or worse yet, “go to 90 meetings in 90 days”. The newcomer no longer was told to take the Steps or get back out there and finish the job. In fact, they are often told, “Don’t rush into taking the Steps. Take your time.” The alcoholics who participated in the writing of the Big Book didn’t wait. They took the Steps in the first few days following their last drink.
Thank God, people in our Fellowship, like Joe & Charlie, Wally, etc., recognized the problem and started doing something about it. They placed the focus back on the Big Book. There have always been a few groups that would not yield to the group therapy trend. They stayed firm to their commitment to try to carry a single message to the suffering alcoholic. That is to tell the newcomer that “we have had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps and if you want to recover, we will see that you have a sponsor who has recovered and will lead you along the path the 1st 100 laid down for us”. Recovered alcoholics have begun founding groups that have a single purpose and inform the newcomer that until they have taken the steps and recovered, they will not be permitted to say anything in meetings. They will listen to recovered alcoholics, they will take the Steps, they will recover and then they will try to pass their experience and knowledge on to the ones who are seeking the kind of help we provide in Alcoholics Anonymous. As this movement spreads worldwide as it is beginning to, Alcoholics Anonymous will again be very successful in doing the one thing God intended for us to do and that is to help the suffering alcoholic recover, if he has decided he wants what we have and is willing to go to any length to recover, to take and apply our Twelve Steps to our lives and protect our Fellowship by honoring our Twelve Traditions.
There is a tendency to want to place the blame for our predicament on the treatment industry and professionals. They do what they do and it has nothing to do with what we in Alcoholics Anonymous do. That is their business. That is not where to place the blame and also is in violation of our Tenth Tradition. The real problem is that the members of Alcoholics Anonymous, who were here when the “clients” began coming to our Fellowship did not help the “clients” understand that our Program had been firmly established since April 1939. And that the guidelines for the preservation and growth of our Fellowship were adopted in 1950. That they must get rid of their new “old ideas” and start practicing the Twelve Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous as it was given to us. That until they had taken the Steps and recovered, they had nothing to say that needed to be heard except by their sponsor.
But that didn’t happen. To the contrary, the old timers failed in their responsibility to the newcomer to remind them of a vital truth, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program.” We have permitted untreated alcoholics and non-alcoholics to sit in our meetings and lay out their problems, ideas and opinions. We have gone from, “Rarely have we seen a person fail” to “Rarely do we see a person recover.”
So there we are. We have had 30 years of unbelievable success by following the directions in the Big Book. We have had 30 years of disappointing failure by wanting to hear from everyone. We now have something to compare.
We now know what the problem is and we know what the solution is. Unfortunately, we have not been prompt to correct the faults and mistakes which have been created by what would appear to be large doses of apathy and complacency. The problem we are trying to live with is needlessly killing alcoholics.
The Solution? For those who are willing to go to any length, recovery is promised. They will find a Power greater than themselves by closely following the clear-cut directions found only in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Do you want to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution?
Simple, but not easy... a price has to be paid.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
So what do y'all think about snuffing?
I swear that all the secular folks take all the fun out of even fucking kicking the old bucket.
I try to converse with rational folks about the holidays on my states forum and damned if some radical atheistic fucks don't come along and shit on the thread about how their mother died on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas so... they want to shout "God is evil" out one side of their mouths and shout "Materialistic lunacy" out the other side.
So what do you think about death? Is it so bad? If my loved one dies is it to me to say to the universe, "How fucking dare you take this poor cancer suffering soul away from ME!"?
My cousin died on November 20th of kidney cancer and do you think she or her family shy'd away from Thanksgiving
? No. They had it one week early and considered it a blessing. I think that's graceful.
So... tell me of a spiritual discipline that doesn't start off with the acknowledgement that we are going to die.
Knowing I'm going to die is a great starting point and building block to living.
What say you?
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
You know the shirt
Thank you to Rob for this tragic irony. Do I find this funny? Not the act... but the baboon-faced fuck with the stupid look on his face is sort of funny. I wonder if he doesn't have a resentment on his shirt. I doubt he'll be sportin' that baby during his hearing.
We've all seen the shirt or the bumper sticker. Funny, until someone gets hurt. He's lucky he didn't kill that cop. He's a fuck-up... imo. He may or may not be alky. In any case, that's his problem.
As I commented on this elsewhere, "Maybe this time the guy will spend less time mocking folks who are committing to a better way of life and more time finding a way to get his own shit together."
The next shirt he's gonna need is a D.A.M.M. shirt, Drunks Against MADD Mothers. Then there's always the I'm With Stupid ^ shirt. Anyone remember those?
Thank God A.A. is notorious, cultish, and religious enough to not have to deal with some of these fuck-ups... imo of course.
Monday, November 14, 2011
I am an alcoholic who's becoming a little (more) confused. In my area several new meetings have been started, most likely because of resentments and egos. The reasoning in starting a new meeting I understand. The fact that there are already over 300 meetings listed in our directory does cause me to wonder about the need for another step study meeting, however.
Here's my dilemma. At every meeting I attend there's always someone announcing these new meetings and inevitably ending the announcement with a plea for everyone to attend the new meeting "because it really needs your support". This tells me that the new meetings are hurting for attendees and my support is desperately required.
So, should I abandon the Wednesday meeting I've been attending for years to support the new one? How about the Monday meeting? You see my confusion here. People are starting unneeded new meetings, no one is showing up, and then it's suddenly the fault of the rest of AA because we're not "supporting" them.
Or perhaps these fucking people are just morons? If resentments arise in a home group (and they do), why not just switch to another home group? Instead, the "I'm not drinking better than you're not drinking" attitude comes out and a new, unnecessary meeting is started. And no one attends. And pleas are made for support. I feel like I'm being asked to back a local baseball team.
This problem would go away if the ones who started the new meeting realized the errors of their ways, accepted the fact that nobody's gonna come to their new meeting and just let the fucking thing die. But they don't. So we end up with a hundred suck-ass AA meetings controlled by ego maniacs where, if they're lucky, 8 or 9 people attend.
My question, Mr. Manners, is this: Should I wallow in guilt because I don't support these new meetings. I know I'd feel some guilt if I abandon my home group to offer this support. I'm fucked regardless. Or maybe every time I chair a meeting the topic could be idiots who plead for support for suck-ass meetings? That would liven up the discussion....Maybe I could refer to that tradition the deals with autonomy "except when affecting other AA groups". That might work, too.
So please, Mr. Manners, help out a confused alcoholic here. You'll be saving a few lives in doing so.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
With Dog's monkey video up. (great btw) I figure some of the lurking atheist types would get to thinking that we humans are just high tech monkeys.
But we do monkeys one better. We not only drink, get drunk and fall down; we sing about it too. In 7/4 time no less.
Just another proof that there IS a God.
Monday, November 7, 2011
This was a rough one. I was so packed deep into this garbage that I had painted myself into a victim's corner.
Not only had I refused to see my part, but I refused to treat any of this spiritually.
This one really exposed my ego. No wonder I've been physically sick lately. I've been spiritually sick too... though I usually don't think so.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I'm that one... that throws tables, steals others' drinks... kicks ass, takes the girl, and staggers away.
Friday, October 28, 2011
A fellow poster/author here asked what is this ST we refer to from time to time. I answered him in a comment and decided to make that two-part comment the current post topic. So... my current view of our friends across cyberworld...
They are technically the reason for our existence here on this blog... our reason for our banning from Sober Recovery when you get right down to it. I don't blame anybody for that fact... it just is. Add: Z and one unmentionable girl-troll were the ones who baited us and brought about my banning and some soon followed me as a seeming stance on principle and some have joined me here and have been made authors and part/administrators of the blog. But... they have their antonomy and have since recovered from the purpose of the blog and have no axe to grind. But they are always welcome here as they know. I'm quite sure those minions from ST and perhaps Orange Papers and elsewhere infiltrate http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/alcoholism on a regular basis and flood the topics with anti/XA rhetoric with a cycling bunch of new users/trolls and stir the pot from what's left of that sickened and soft-petered recovery site... no offense, just a notion I have. No proof of this, just a notion.
It started off with me having some stuff brought to my attention. We'd post away at sober recovery and some snarky smart-asses were mocking our posts and bashing our dedication to spreading the A.A. message via the program outlined in the A.A. book... and answering questions from a few that dare attempt to follow that simple path.
I came onto this site called "DonewithAA" at wordpress which became "Stinkin'-Thinkin' dot com and the rest is history. There was MA, aka Mark... an Adolph Hitler mustache superimposed onto our beloved Bill W-wearin' author, ftg aka friendthegirl aka Ilse, and of course Speedy.
As we responded to the at times welcomed notoriety, it was soon apparent what they were up to; bait us into anger, they'd then sit back and watch us retaliate in anger, then they'd point their bony fingers at us as being unserene crazy mean-spirited assholes. As we whipped their asses at debate at every turn, they tried to "project" their own weak techniques and accusations at us... with words like "gas lighting", "red-herring", bait-and-switch, ad hominems, strawman arguments... etc... just a bunch of stuff they've burped up from Agent Orange via Orange Papers.
Then... as time went on, they amassed a bunch of anti/XAers ("anti AAers" from the start and "ex-AAers"... experts who been there done that and are now more qualified and more sober than you and I and cannot hear any arguments for or against from you or me because they are just frankly better than us... thus my abbreviation "anti/XAer") who were downright nasty to me, RobB, Jim, TonyJ, Karl aka Cuda aka PinkCuda... and they were somewhat cordial to Joe I think.
But the bottom line is they have been honking on and on about being anti-censorship, welcoming of debate, and open-minded to looking at both sides. But what we’ve found quickly is that they hate anything pro-A.A., hate actual debate, refuse to accept any evidence against their and Agent Orange half-truths and outright lies, etc. They built a site around it and built a community of folks who frankly get off on trying to put us and bring us down. They search tirelessly for ways of spinning anything recovery or A.A. related to make the A.A. fellowship to look like a bunch of tyrant white male sex abusing raping 13th stepping sick old bastards who want to control and abuse its poor poor victims who get sent to A.A. or come searching A.A. for a gleam of hope.
They are endlessly finding ways to reiterate and add to claims from Agent Orange about what a sex-crazed belladonna induced lunatic that Bill W was and they have an equally vicious character assassination for Dr Bob and anything A.A. We all know these guys were never saints. They even said so.
They go on tirelessly to reiterate Agent Oranges’ claims that A.A. has a success rate of 5% or less and that doing nothing will lead to the same spontaneous remission as the aforementioned program. They spout the good works of many other mostly secular recovery organizations but spend no time actually directing people to how and where these programs are doing better works within the annuls of recovery… because frankly they are too busy bashing A.A. and bullying its inhabitants.
Do I sound dramatic? Well… being the site is temporarily gone… I have not much proof. Some of my peeps will shed light on the accuracy of my findings/experiences with these folks.
I’ve had an on again/off again/on again positive relationship with FTG and MA. I do not claim to be their equal in writing techniques, dedication to their cause, or their ability to grow a huge following. They whipped our asses in that regard. But we hang in here and my/our main purpose for this here blog is to have a place to hang your hat and speak your piece. I don’t claim to keep this place free of censorship. If you come in here and call me names and get nasty with me, I’m gonna censor that. Everyone who knows me knows that I can get nasty, mean, and flat out rude to those who cross me. I’d like to think I’ve been baited and falsely judged from time to time, but whatever. Don’t recall… water under the bridge, right? If you threaten me, I’ll answer the threat back. If you threaten one of my colleagues in recovery… or MA and ftg on here, I’ll send you away as best I can. There’s no room for that shit.
I feel bad for the crap MA and ftg got into with an irate and perhaps dangerous poster. I don’t know both sides of the story, but this guy seemed to find an actual address for ftg and perhaps threatened her physically. She and those at ST could have probably fought this guy right into incarceration if they/she wanted to. This was not the cause for the site to temporarily/permanently shut down. MA and ftg were looking to take a break and head in other directions for now. It’s just coincidence. But I feel for them and wish them well.
We actually have a common goal. We want to help see that drunks and addicts and victims of those afflictions get the help they need. We see the path to that end differently. To the other “minions” of the site who not only see our path as wrong but also leave no room for our worthiness, I say, “Good day.” But something strange happened between some of those minions and I… they started to see I wasn’t such a bad guy after all. They just see me as mislead and think I’m too smart to be snowed-over by the A.A. program. To them I say, “Come see the A.A. that I know. As far as MOTR stuff and all the bad A.A. that’s out there… and the knuckleheads that make such a mess out of trying to control people and the poor folks who truly are in need of and want help and willing to do something about it… I understand that most of A.A. is a huge mess. But even still, it works for some and provides something for others that we cannot explain.
A.A. should be totally voluntary and the courts/judicial system, healthcare industry etc., should let some of us explain what A.A. can do and cannot do and how it is to be 100% voluntary and how it’s not just a place to dump criminals to be punished and a place where children can be babysat and raised. A.A. is for drunks who need and want the help that A.A. has to offer.
It works pretty good for me and that’s that.
Goodbye ST. Go well.
An aside for Gunthar:
That's right. Stanton is a former board member of MM and a former MM apologist. Sorry for my previous claims. Apologist and A.A. accuser. So he no longer actively supports Audrey, but wants to make it clear that it's probably A.A.s fault for her drinking too much due to the dangers of... abstinence? Does abstinence lead to binging or something? I thought binging was for underage drinkers. I'm confused.
One more thing about abstinence... as some anti/XAers are claiming abstinence out there... but not all. It's ok to be abstinent... so long as you don't do it in A.A. To do so in A.A. is cultish and harmful to others... aka causes more harm than good. Oh, and don't preach now. It's no fair to preach at anybody these days!
In Stanton's defense, I understand what he's saying; the woman who drove drunk and killed people is at fault, not A.A. and not MM and not the car and not the wine. But... he believes that had she been able to voice her situation freely and without guilt... that she was drinking to excess and that she needed help... like perhaps a ride somewhere so she didn't drive drunk... the harm would have been removed. As O'Reilly says, the sober AAer would not have driven drunk anyway.
What's the upshot of the story for me? The founder of MM drove drunk and killed two people. So... is she special? The anti/XAer and secular type folks want to bewail the institution of A.A. and its claim to spirituality and any talk of "disease". But they're willing to agree that folks like Audrey might be different that others. For some moderation works and for some, not so. Well you can't have it both ways. Either there are physical ramifications or there are not. You want us to believe that it's all culture and behavior. I think it's more complicated than that... as in perhaps physical as well as something perhaps physiological. Pretty much what A.A. has been saying since 1935.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Within the economy of spiritual living one can extrapolate four distinct phases that individuals may be passing through as they progress onward, or not. The remarkable fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous provides the diversity of these phases without interruption or standardization from an ecclesiastical board of creedal dictators. Most of us need a heavy dose of structure upon entering this new way of life, we need the rigid dictates of a tuff sponsor, with specific instructions and the assignment of a simple routine job within the fellowship. But if we are to gain true independence of the spirit we cannot stand still, not if we really want to get well.
The first phase is that of conformity, we surrender to tradition and authority. We had little to no confidence in ourselves so we could readily adapt to direction from anyone. This is a phase in spiritual development where we could be swept up by damn near any movement. Fortunately for us it was God centered AA.
The next phase is where we leave well enough alone; our potential development has become arrested on a level where we do just enough to get by. We stagnate in a cycle of complacency.
Then there’s logical intellectuality, AA becomes legalistic, the Big Book is our scripture and anything beyond that is an annoyance to our comfortable perch of righteous finality. We delude ourselves into avoiding such questions as those of the fourth step inventory in the Twelve and Twelve by claiming that such a book is heretical to the original Law. No longer is God a living presence in our group conscience rather he has been replaced by a sort of spiritual science.
The fourth phase attains freedom from conventional and traditional handicaps; this is where one dares to think, act, live fearlessly, truthfully, honestly and loyally. This place is the second mile of spiritual living, a place of tremendous possibility, mind expanding experience and truly dynamic living. We are still firmly grounded in unity but not bound by theological uniformity. Here we can enjoy the liberty of free thinking without becoming “freethinkers”. We are no longer encumbered by non existent creedal pressures which the “third phase’s” dream up and attempt to impose.
“Yea will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”
Monday, October 10, 2011
Danny, one of our fellow "recovered" alcoholics in the trenches, posted this in a study session I'm subscribed to. It brings up a very interesting couple of points with regards to qualifying.
Note: Have you had similar experiences; blackouts? Non-alcoholics and alcoholics BOTH experience this amnesiatic effect when too much alcohol is ingested.
Many non-alcoholics, who have no problems with alcohol, can recall blacking out when they had abused alcohol in the past. ("Don't remember a thing".)
That is because eventually everyone "blacks out" when over imbibing. Even non-alcoholics. It's a human physical fact.
Backouts are NOT symptomatic of alcoholism even though it is symptomatic of an alcohol abuse event. Some non-alcoholics blackout every time they drink! Drinking "too much" is not a qualification either. Sometimes we hear an alcoholic attempting to qualify as "One of us" with a history of "Blackouts". This means nothing to a real alcoholic because everyone blacks out when they drink too much – not just alcoholics. It is just incidental to this particular story, just as incidental as the whiskey/milk concoction in Jim's the salesman's story before it.
So, I've been wondering where my blackout experiences fit in here.
I think Danny just may have found my loophole for me. I didn't black out each and every time I drank, but I damn well blacked out most of my drunks and about every third drunk throughout my life, I damn well could have been diagnosed with "accute alcohol poisoning syndrome" or some such thing. But I don't really remember recall being "struck drunk".
No, I was that guy who started drinking again with the "vaguely sensed" that this might not be too smart, but here goes anyway.
So, maybe I'm not a real alcoholic after all.
And after all these years.
Wouldn't this be embarassing? The waste of time and the ranting.
I'd like to learn more about the drinker who blacks out everytime they drink, but they aren't alcoholic. How does this work for them? They have the physical craving but not the mental obsession? How do you know that they do infact not have the obsession? I'd like to see some links to case histories on that one... maybe find more about this black-outer the next day. If they don't have the mental obsession, then surely they can make their mind up to not drink any or it would result in the blackout. How do they behave during the blackout and through the drunk... through the night? Do they continue to drink while in the blackout? I have experience with this. I've been told I was cut off at the bar, but not kicked out yet. So my friends tell me I just make friends two tables over and drink these new stangers' drinks for them. I srsly don't know how or why I did that, but I did... as witnessed by two of my last co-workers.
Now, so since the dangerous amounts I drank doesn't qualify me, how do we explain the stipulation of physical craving in my case? Does my experience demonstrate that, or not?
I know that something doesn't pan out for me when I drink booze. I guess the "my off button is broken" is no longer a valid qualifier and I should quit using that?
I've heard some of your stories and have tried to remember what makes you a real alcoholic. Was it because you drank every day no matter what? I was not a daily drinker. Was it because you were a New York stockbroker like Bill W. and Danny S? I was not. Did you screw your secretary? I did not.
I'm getting confused here. If I'm not a real alcoholic, then that means I don't need A.A., right? That's ok. I'm not too keen on it these days anyway. I'm kind of burned on the steps too... but I'm willing finish up what I started. I don't sponsor people, so no worries there.
I still have the right to stay sober and seek spirituality, so I guess I see no need to shy away from the blog.
We'll just not see eye-to eye on certain key issues so... no big change there either. The biggest thing is that I would have to stop going to closed A.A. meetings for sure because I'll have to say, "My name is Patrick, and I just found out that I'm not really a real full-blown alcoholic, but I want to continue with my sobriety and seek God", akward. I don't think that would go over in our MOTR open A.A. meetings either. Maybe I need to shorten it up. My name is Patrick and I'm just here to listen. My name is Patrick and I'm a supporter. No. My name is Patrick and I'm in recovery. My name is Patrick and I'm... Any ideas?
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Yup. This topic... again.
It was brought up by my good friend at the Thursday night meeting tonight. I was called on to share... because my bro always calls on me... and I was brilliant... in my mind. Srsly though... I had something to say. Two... make that three folks thanked me for my share after the meeting.
I, as well as several others, complimented the chair person for a good topic and a good meeting.
But... someone chastised my share. Someone who is really a good fairly long-time spiritual friend and fellow warrior on the path. She dissed my mention of my cyber-life and quest to find truth and do battle with fellow skeptics, atheists, agnostics, anti/XAers in general... on the internet. She had a spiel about how she hates computers to begin with and how ridiculous it is to engage in some argument with a skeptic over the internet when there's a whole world right in front of you to deal with.
She certainly has her point, I'm sure. It's also so not like her to cut someone else down... in any way. It's so like her husband to do that though. I like them both. I really do. They are way better than me in every way. They are sober 20 + years, have two beautiful children... etc. It is their porch where everybody goes to do fellowship, steps, etc. They are the organizers of the best A.A. meeting in town, and they have taken on ICYPAA and turned it into one of the best step-doing chapters in maybe the whole country. Doubt me on that? Come check out their Friday or Sunday meeting and see for yourself.
But, laying that aside, I gave them a peek at what I've found in cyber-world. The real truth and reality of what we in A.A. are judged as... from all sides. We get to see what our enemies think about us. Good bad of indifferent, I'm told we owe a debt of gratitude to our detractors. This is so not seen down on the group level... street level. At least, I have yet to see it. What this is about is the fact that there are a huge faction of folks that just flat out refuse to meet us even half way on what it means to consider the spiritual approach.
There isn't a chapter in the A.A. book about the atheist who says, "Well fuck you, your A.A. [g]od™, your steps, your book, your founders, and your meeting." Our current retort to that is obviously, "Well fuck you back. Why don't you just go away and stay away from here?"
Face to face, down on the street, I have yet to meet the anti/XAer with the balls to come up and say, "Fuck you A.A. people. You are wrong. God isn't the only way. God isn't the way period. Your [g]od™ and your religion and your cult is destroying the lives of others, children, women, and non-white old conservative Hitler-loving men across the planet.
But, let's not get dramatic here. You know what I'm saying? There's a world out there who seems to want to meet us half way, knowingly or not, on what self-indulgent middle-of-the-road bullshit there is out there.
To folks who come into A.A., get the spiritual gift of surrender, courage, acceptance, decision, and harmonious action, you get a pass on this topic. This has nothing to do with you whatsoever. I'm talking about the person who's been sober in A.A. 8+ years, is burned out and confused about whether they're even alky or not, is confused about their ability to obtain and hold power, is seemingly chronically depressed... and just seems to be missing something. Either that or they're just playing small and in fear of stepping up to the plate. I think they lack faith and/or realization of what it really means to be an alky. But who knows?
I'm talking about the person who maybe a true atheist or they may be just so clogged up with and sick of having another's form of God so shoved down their throat... that they cannot nor will not submit. There are also abuses done upon others' from those who do spiritual manipulation to try to control and exploit another. If you are spending your time trying to constantly trim another or corral them into your way of thinking... are you maybe the predator here? I agree with the anti/XAers that the whole dynamic of "sponsor" makes this very possible and perhaps prevalent.
Part of my share was the notion that there are skeptics out there... and that I'm not one, but I should at least acknowledge them and respect them... and to at least appeal them to skepticize this... maybe "Under God's protection and care with complete abandon" is real. What if it was true? Would I be willing to go for that deal?
If not, I say choose God is nothing and go from there. Do God is nothing and see what comes of it. The battle should be over. You have nothing to fight, no one to oppose. But what about the orthodox steppers and internet-skeptics? They'll surely be there to point their fingers at you when you fail and get drunk and say, "See, maybe you'll see the light now. Come in, get a sponsor, put the cotton in your mouth, take on a coffee commitment... yada yada yada."
They can, in essence, run you away from A.A. Gee, I wonder how many folks have been chased away from Jesus due to born-again Southern Baptist nominal-Christian zealots and Jesus Freaks.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I ran across this statement in a Time Magazine article recently:
And being the inquisitive type of guy that I am, I read the study, brought to us by our friends, the PhD's at NIAA. Here it is, in a nutshell:
Recovery from DSM-IV alcohol dependence: United States, 2001-2002.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Spiritual to me simply means beyond the 5 senses.
I think folks who drank like me were spiritual seekers from the start.
The haters are astounded and offended when A.A. claims that the summoning of help from God is a must.
There are wonderful scientists, doctors, therapists, chemists, etc. out there. But even they are not immune to the need to appeal to the Divine... imo.
David R. Hawkins says this about depression in Power vs Force on page 278;
"Subtle grades of depression kill more people than all of the other diseases of mankind combined. There is no anti-depressant that will cure the depression that's spiritually based, for the malaise doesn't originate from brain dysfunction, but from an accurate response to the desecration of life. The body is the reflection of the spirit in its physical expression, and It's problems are the dramatization of the struggles of the spirit that gives life. A belief that we ascribe to "out there" has its effect in here." Everyone dies by his own hand- that's a hard clinical fact, not a moral view."
Hawkins loves A.A. So it stands to reason that he's got his haters.
I haven't gotten to the "how to understand radical atheism" section yet.
I may need to write that one myself.
Now to be fair to the garden variety atheist, Hawkins says this,
"Religions that fall below 500 may preach love, but they won't be able to practice it. And no religious system that encourages war can claim spiritual authority without the blatant hypocrisy that's made atheists of many honest men."
Ouch. That's a tough one to swallow.
Rob B's therapy vid for MA;
Now, my brain chemistry vid for MA;
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
So... I was directed to this little PDF here.
I'd like to hear your views on it. It's written by Christine Timko and talks about why A.A. outcomes should be studied in special populations... such as outcomes of A.A. for women, youth, older people, racial and ethnic groups... such as for African-Americans, American Indians, Hispanics, outcomes for Disabled Groups, Cognitive impairment, individuals with Dual Substance use and psychiatric disorders...
In the reference section, there's a reference to White Bison Inc., The Red Road to Wellbriety: In the Native American Way, Colorado Springs. This may be run by our friend Don C?
In any case, I've not looked it through much yet. I'd like to check it out more and see what's good/bad about it.
It's a 30 page PDF that you can download if you'd like.
Monday, August 29, 2011
SOMETHING WE DON'T SEE TOO MUCH OF AROUND HERE.
By Marya Hornbacher, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Kicked back with his boots on the table at the head of the smoke-dense room, the meeting's leader banged his fist and bellowed, “By the grace of this program and the blood of Jesus Christ, I’m sober today!”
This was not an auspicious beginning for the project of getting my vaguely atheistic, very alcoholic self off the sauce.
I wondered if perhaps I’d wandered into the wrong room. I thought maybe I’d wound up in Alcoholics Anonymous for crown-of-thorn Christians, and in the next room might find AA for lapsed Catholics, and downstairs a group for AA Hare Krishnas and one for AA Ukrainian Jews.
But a decade later, I’ve become aware that 12-step programs are home to people from every religion, denomination, sect, cult, political tilt, gender identity, sexual preference, economic strata, racial and ethnic background, believers in gun rights and abortion rights and the right to home schooling, drinkers of coffee and tea, whiskey and mouthwash, people who sleep on their sides or their stomachs or sidewalks.
Anyone who cares to sober up, in other words, can give it a shot the 12-step way. The official preamble Alcoholics Anonymous states: "The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
And millions of people want that and find a way to do it in this program. I’m one of them. I was, not to put too fine a point on it, a raging drunk. Now I’m not.
It wasn’t magic; it was brutally hard work to get from point A to B. I do believe I’d be dead without the help of the people and the structure of the steps in AA.
But I don’t believe in God.
And this can be something of a sticking point when you’re sitting in a meeting room, desperate for almost any route out of hell, and someone cites “the blood of Jesus” as the only way to go. Or when you realize that six of AA's 12 steps explicitly refer to God, a Higher Power, or He.
But this shouldn't be a deal breaker. I’m going to make a lot of old-style AA’s cranky with this, but it’s perfectly possible to sober up, sans belief in God.
At first that wasn’t clear to me. It’s unclear to most people because AA has a reputation as a cult, a religion unto itself, a bunch of blathering self-helpers, a herd of lemmings, or morons, and it isn’t those things either. It’s a pretty straightforward series of steps, based on spiritual principles, that helps people clean up their lives in a whole lot of ways.
But if you are of an atheistic or strongly agnostic mindset, chances are you’ll walk into a meeting, see the steps hanging on the wall, and want to scream, laugh, or walk back out.
I tried another tack: I made a valiant attempt to believe. I figured a) these people were funny, kind, and not plastered; b) they believed that some kind of higher power had helped them get sober; c) they knew something I did not.
So I did research. I read every word of AA literature I could find. I read up on the history of half a dozen important religions and a wide variety of frou-frou nonsense. I earnestly discussed my lack of belief with priests, rabbis, fanatics and my father.
People told me their stories — of God, the divine, the power of love, an intelligent creator. Something that made all this. Some origin, some end.
I told them I believed in math. Chaos, I said. Infinity. That sort of thing.
They looked at me in despair.
And not infrequently, they said, “So you think you’re the biggest, most important thing in the universe?”
On the contrary. I think I am among the smallest. Cosmically speaking, I barely exist.
Like anything else, I came into being by the chance, consist mostly of water, am composed of cells that can be reduced and reduced, down to the quarks and leptons and so forth, that make up matter and force. If you broke down all matter, the atom or my body, you’d arrive at the same thing: what scientists call one strange quark, with its half-integer spin.
And I find that not only fascinating, but wondrous, awe-inspiring, and humbling.
I believe that the most important spiritual principle of AA is humility. The recognition that we are flawed, that we can and must change and that our purpose not only in sobriety but in life is to be of service to others.
I believe that I exist at random, but I do not exist alone; and that as long as my quarks cohere, my entire function on this hurtling planet is to give what I can to the other extant things.
That keeps me sober. Amen.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Marya Hornbacher.