Too much recovery?
So... you think you may have made too many recovery commitments... and all you're doing is?;
I want to pick some brains here.
I have just over two years in the program. It's been life changing, amazing and has brought me to places within myself and out that I never was able to access before. I owe it to AA, the fellowship and my HP. My first year was really about doing the work, focusing on getting well, etc. This past year has really been about doing more footwork - working with others, carrying the message, etc. Nothing bad about all that.
What I am finding (and have been noticing for a while now) is that outside of work, and family, recovery is the only thing I do. I do what I have been told I need to do - go to meetings (about 2-3 a week), work with others (have a few sponsees), meet with my own sponsor, welcome the newcomer, pray, meditate, etc. But I also do a whack of other recovery related stuff - I am fairly active on SR and other recovery sites, I blog regularly on recovery and 12 steps, am very active in the blogging community as well, I write for my treatment center newsletter, am on the alumni committee, speak as often as I can there as well. My books are all recovery related - haven't read a fiction book in years. I have listened to hundreds (literally) of speaker tapes, have a backlog of CD's, books and magazines that I don't have time to read - all recovery / spirituality. I don't have a proper commitment at my homegroup because my work schedule changes every single week (literally). And I feel a lot of guilt over that. If I could make my group, I guarantee I would have a commitment. Any videos or shows or docs I watch are recovery related. I see maybe 2-3 fictional movies a year.
Now, I realize I have no balance in there - it's obvious.
Problem is that I don't have any interests or hobbies. I didn't have more than one or two before my drinking and during, but they got put away pretty quickly - drinking was first priority. My wife has been warning me about using recovery as another "reach". I am inclined to agree, but the strange thing is that I feel I am not doing enough! Mad.
I was visiting an oldtimer friend in the hospital the other day - he was having heart problems and had been there for a week or so. I told him about what was going on with me - everything I just typed out here so far. He lay on his bed, telling me about how he had too many commitments going on, how he was building resentments, how he had too much on his plate re: recovery, and was burning out. He was convinced his health problems was a result of him overextending himself. I nodded. He then looked over his glasses at me, in his retired school principal way, and said "are you listening to this, Paul?".
His cautionary tale didn't go unnoticed.
I guess what I want is a time where I am not thinking of recovery 24/7. It would be nice to get to a point where I know recovery is a part of my life, an important and vital one, but is not my entire life. I didn't go to AA to hide in AA. My work and family life are great - no problems there. I just want to feel that I can "break free" of my own recovery box. I need a balance, but fear the unknown.
So, I guess the question is - has anyone here gone through the same thing early on in their journey? Is there any words of advice that can be given in terms of getting out of this unbalanced attachment to recovery? it's not that I want to get away from the program, but I want to be able to balance it out throughout the rest of my life. And yes, I have spoken to my sponsor and some oldtimers (like above) about it. I just wanted to cull from a greater pool of experience here at SR.
Thank you and forgive the lengthy post.
I do what I have been told I need to do - go to meetings (about 2-3 a week), work with others (have a few sponsees), meet with my own sponsor, welcome the newcomer, pray, meditate, etc. But I also do a whack of other recovery related stuff - I am fairly active on SR and other recovery sites, I blog regularly on recovery and 12 steps, am very active in the blogging community as well, I write for my treatment center newsletter, am on the alumni committee, speak as often as I can there as well. My books are all recovery related - haven't read a fiction book in years. I have listened to hundreds (literally) of speaker tapes, have a backlog of CD's, books and magazines that I don't have time to read - all recovery / spirituality. I don't have a proper commitment at my homegroup because my work schedule changes every single week (literally). And I feel a lot of guilt over that.
Wow. I think I can help this person's cause... but this advice is coming from a guy who believes in yearly inventory... a topic that pisses quite a few off, namely those who do steps once and live in 10, 11, and 12 till they die.
So, stop doing what you're told. Grow a set of nuts and live your own life. Two to three meetings a week is too much. Go to one for a while. Then if you get crazy bored, go to a second meeting in a week and leave it there. This way, you can't bitch about not having enough balance. Stop working with others. Take all of your pigeons and say, "Tag, you're it! You're free! Go and sponsor others yourself and get sponsor-free like me! Then when your pigeons get recovered, set them free and tell them to go tag someone else." [tell me this is NOT what Bill W did] This is exactly what Bill W did in the very beginning; get someone else recovered then tell them to do likewise with others.
I don't understand why folks hogtie their asses to their sponsors. Do a set of steps, get recovered, then walk.
Oh, where was I? Welcome the newcomer. Oh yeah, this is a toughie. "So, what brings you here? What makes you think you're a real alcoholic? Tell me, what exactly did/do you drink like? If it turns out that you ARE a real alcoholic, are you done drinking? Are you ready to quit for good and all? Are you willing to go to any lengths for victory over alcohol? Have you ever heard of SMART or Rational Recovery? How about that Marty Mann Test?" Do this and there will be time to meet newcomers AND take that wife out to dinner!
...pray, meditate, etc. ... On awakening, When we Retire at Night yada yada...
But I also do a whack of other recovery related stuff ... really? Like what?
I am fairly active on SR and other recovery sites... Oh, well that's easy. Get kicked off! It's a kick and frees you up some time. Just go tell a mod that censorship lead to the attempted exermination of the Jews and is otherwise nasty and against the United States of America Constitution. That should get their panties in a wad.
I blog regularly on recovery and 12 steps... Oh really? I do too! Wonder what you think of my blog here. Stop on by sometime! Oh, but you're so busy! I understand.
am very active in the blogging community as well... Well there's a huge waste of time! Oops. Did I say that? Not like anyone really reads this shit, right? Ha.
I write for my treatment center newsletter... Oh boy. On your next entry, I'd like to see an article discussing the price that should be put on guiding someone through a 12 Step program with the goal of achieving a spiritual experience, and should the facility take Century/United Health Care?
am on the alumni committee... Oh brother. And your wife loves you, you say? She doesn't hang out with the mail man or the milk man, right? Oh, and what's that sponsor of yours up to when you're doing this treatment center stuff? Just sayin'...
speak as often as I can there as well... So, what's that take? An hour? You speak like what? Weekly? You're like a Treatment Center Circuit speaker then right? No waste of time there!
My books are all recovery related - haven't read a fiction book in years. Over-rated. Listen to our detractors... the anti/XAers. According to them, we've been reading a fiction book, A.A. all along.
I have listened to hundreds (literally) of speaker tapes... there's a literal waste of time right there. Did Mark Houston get you sober? What part of him justifying his continued smoking and his bragging about how his doctor telling him that his lungs looked like a school girl's vagina appealed to you most? Joe Hawk? Couple of pill-poppers those dudes were, and they're both snuffed now. So what Speaker Tapes do you listen to? Try Frank McKibbon from my link down there at the bottom of this page sometime. He's got something to say. Better yet, put the speaker tapes down and take your wife to a Foo Fighters Concert.
have a backlog of CD's, books and magazines that I don't have time to read - all recovery / spirituality... There's a shit-time waster.
feel a loI don't have a proper commitment at my homegroup because my work schedule changes every single week (literally). And It of guilt over that... Don't. It's a waste of time. Besides, that's not guilt, it's shame. An even sicker game than guilt, that which others put on you. You can't guilt yourself, but you can shame yourself. Shame is for losers, right there one step above suicide. If you want to be free of depression and suicidal tendencies, get a life and find a purpose... meaning. It's really that simple. Oh... Here's what I do; I do steps. Plain and simple. We start in September and race to a finish. Some of us take three months to do them and some of us get them done in a month. Then guess what? That leaves the rest of the year to live in 10, 11, and 12!
I'm trying to learn how to sponsor people OUT of A.A. How about that? I see so many folks in A.A. talking about how they do anything but the steps and continue life sober. So much work to be done in A.A., huh? What I really love is how folks don't want to talk about the 4th step, except to say, "You're as sick as your secrets", nor do they want to talk about the 5th Step, the 8th and 9th step... but they want to talk about gratitude and fear. They want to talk about how easy sobriety is now... how things get better and better and better.
Oh, so you must be living in 10, 11, and 12 now, right? Well, let's talk about that 10th Step. "Well I think I'll pass tonight. I'll just listen." Ok, then how about Step 11? Oh, let's see..."Upon awakening..." Wrong! It's "On awakening" morons! Look and see! 12th Step! Ah, immunity from drinking. Insurance from drinking! Well guess what? Fuck insurance! Insurance sucks and is a ripoff.
God removed the obsession from booze for me so there! I don't need to be feared into staying plugged into A.A. Fear does not overcome fear and leads to more fear! After about page 103 that books goes downhill fast for me. You can read it if you'd like, just don't bitch about wasting your life away, k?
I don't mean to be brutal. You ask a good question. But realize this... Our troubles are of our own making. This is the perfect statement of hope for you and for me. If it's not true, then we are truly fucked. Right? I can choose the A.A. that is right for me and I can create the fellowship that I crave. Do you have non-A.A. folks in your world? I sure hope so. I hope you have your job and your family, friends, hobbies, etc. But guess what? You can put all of these things into "The Stream" of life. Not the Main Stream, or the Side stream... but the Stream of Life. It's all connected.
But you can't cram A.A. shit in places where it doesn't belong. Do a set of steps. Then... go read a fucking book. Read Steven King. I like spiritual books myself. A guy from our group reads out of the bible every day. Play a mindless video game. Take your wife fishing. Ride bicycles with her, but don't pop wheelies.
As far as sponsoring folks, if that's your thing, great. Do it. But how long does it take them to do a set of steps? Should they be dependent on you for the long haul? Do you like keeping them under your thumb? Do you really need to call your sponsor every day? We all have to live our own life. We all have to break our own bread. I did steps with a sponsor and now I'm sponsor-free. That goes off like a fart in church because in A.A. meetings you're supposed to have a sponsor until death do you part... in sickness as in health... no wait! That's called a marriage.
These damned people who talk about what the A.A. program is but so much of it is not reconcilable with the book to begin with. So what's that tell me? Some stuff seems to have been added as we go along. They seem so knowledgeable about every aspect of life... except for an experience in hearing 5th Steps. I want to tell them, "Don't let your alligator mouth overload your humming bird ass." Do a set of steps... again, go to a meeting a week and see how much time you freed up. What are you afraid of? You might miss something? Someone will drink while you're gone? God forbid.