Recovery

Problems other than alcoholism and the fellowship

I’m one of those alcoholics with problems other than alcohol. I qualify under Tradition 3 to attend more than one fellowship for recovery. For the most part, I attend only AA.

Here is what I do.

In meetings, 90% of the time, I identify only as an Alcoholic. I speak only about alcoholism, or alcoholic thinking or actions.

Outside of meetings, in my own step work, I bring up all of my problems other than alcoholism. I work as hard as I can and do the best I can with what God has given me. I try to maintain fit spiritual condition. I pray and keep praying that God gives me the grace and strength to get through each day clean and sober.

With problems other than alcohol, the first step is the same. Just substitute the words for alcohol. I covered all my problems in step one.

As far as sponsoring others in recovery? I just do the best I can. I am not an expert. And these articles and essays are not written by an expert by any means.

My apologies for a short post. It is about 4:30AM and I’m feeling a little ragged. Take care, may God be with you in the fellowship of the spirit.

Surviving without meetings

Now that I have braved the battlefront of surviving without a sponsor, it is time to talk about surviving without a meeting.

I know a couple of alcoholics in sobriety who do not attend AA. They are former members, not current members of AA.

How do they do it? Why do they do it? Huh?

Let’s break down the reasons why these two former AA’s do not attned meetings. For reasons of their own, after working the program and being heavily in service, their attendance dropped off slowly. One of them went to out of state meetings only for awhile, then finally quite going to meetings at all. The other popped a resentment, had had enough, and walked away.

Both are excellent members of society, and they work very hard. They are generous, very kind people. They are a joy to be around.

Wait a minute? What about the 90 in 90 I talked about in the last post? What about keep coming back it works? What about …..?

Breathe. Both of these individuals had over 10 years of sobriety when they walked away from AA meetings. Both of these individuals work the program. Both of these individuals had successfully worked all 12 steps several times before walking away.

There are times in my own history, when I could not physically attend meetings for months. I was stuck in bed and very ill. Here is how I survived.

I joined some online email meetings. I worked the steps, and I did a 5th step with my priest. When I was able to get out of bed, I tried attending meetings to the best of my ability. I also kept in touch with my sponsors and worked as hard as I could.

I was miserable, and lonely.

Again, I do not recommend this for anyone. It is not easy being in recovery, but not getting support and reinforced by other alcoholics. I sunk into a deep depression.

Now, just to let you know, I do attend at least 3 meetings per week. Some times, I attend 3 meetings per day. Most of those are online, due to finances and geography. I do the best I can to get to AA on a face to face level.

That’s all I have for now. May God be with you today and every day.

Going solo without a sponsor

Considering what I have been writing lately, it is time to discuss whether or not it is possible to go without a sponsor in recovery.

I do not recommend this, on any level. The few times I have done it, I have had more problems than I ever had before.

Is it possible? Absolutely. I know several members who have considerable experience and time who have survived the death or drinking of a sponsor and stayed sober. I also know one or two people who have never had a sponsor, who survived sobriety. They eventually fell away from meetings, and I have not seen them since.

Now, how to go about it?

I would recommend hitting both the books and meetings as hard as you can. 90 meetings in 90 days is not a joke. In other words, averaging at least one meeting per day when you do not have a sponsor is ideal.  If for example there are only two meetings per week in your area, then supplemental meetings will be necessary. If nothing else is available, I would hit online meetings as hard as I could in addition to face to face meetings.

Hit the books, work the steps, and live the program. By hitting the books, I mean studying every aspect of the program. I mean putting everything you can on paper, and learning as much as you can. Study meetings can fill in some of the blanks of your education.

I will repeat, it is possible to survive without a sponsor. It is possible to stay sober without a sponsor. Yet, again, it is so difficult to do so, that I cannot suggest any other means of staying sober.

Why can I say this? I have survived without a sponsor at times in the last 20 years. It was pure unmitigated torture. I did not grow, and I did not thrive. However, it is what it is. That’s all I have for you, may God be with you in the fellowship of the spirit.

 

Working on it

Admin Note: I will post study notes on Wednesdays, 6 AM Central Time US.

I have been plugging away at my notes, and I have been trying to survive the heat wave that has hit. It is one of those, it must be July in the Midwest deals that my Dad is always talking about. Today is going to be a scorcher. We are doing the summer time schedule, a siesta in the afternoon, and awake till about 2 or 3 in the morning.

The afternoon siesta gives me time to read. I am an avid reader, and have discovered recently that I have almost 4000 books in my e-books library. I wish I could say that most of those books were about recovery, but sadly, they are not.

I do have a kindle wish list, and the other day I bought a 99 cent booklet on working the traditions at home. I owned it for about 5 minutes.

Why only five minutes? It was only ten pages, and contained information I could have googled instead. I actually could have found the same information in my own website. Sighs. I wrote a customer review, and asked for a refund. Thankfully, Amazon’s refund site is a bit easier than most.

Why did I bother writing a review? I wanted to warn others of exactly what they were purchasing. There are many free versions of that exact same information available. Actually, the same information is available in the twelve steps and twelve traditions book. I’d rather put that same buck in the basket at a meeting, and not bother with the booklet. I made sure to keep my words to a minimum, and to not trash the author of the book. I also did not report the book to Amazon.

Why not? While the information did not help me, it may help someone else.

I still have to work the program online behind an anonymous computer screen. I still have to behave myself. I still have to live as if God is my Employer.

That’s all.

May God be with you as you trudge the road to Happy Destiny today.

 

 

 

What is my duty in recovery?

The newcomer is the most important person in any meeting, as we can only keep what we have by giving it away.

That said, what is my duty as an AA member?

I am to learn the program, and to be able to break it down for others to understand. I work hard to do so here in these simple essays for others. I also try my best to keep studying the program, because every time I read the book, I learn something new.

I am to attend meetings, and when I can not make it to a face to face meeting, I am to attend online meetings.  When I attend, I am to arrive early, stay late, and be available and of service to the others in the rooms.

I am to work the program myself, and to share what I learn with others. I do this here on this website, and in sharing with other alcoholics.

I am to share my story, which I do at a treatment center a about an hour away down the road.

I do the best I can with this website, and with the program itself. I hope that others do the same with you as you work the program, and work with still others.

May God be with you in the fellowship of the spirit.

Why to keep trying

I cannot emphasize enough the value of keep on going. Life in recovery is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is harder than giving my only child up for adoption. It means that I have to trust that God knows what is best for me, and I have to trust in God’s love. 

In this case, I am talking about my own higher power. Please, for your own uses, choose whatever higher power that can keep you sober as is needed.

Giving in, and giving up on sobriety slams the door in the face of everyone who has ever loved me. It also slams the door on all of the effort put into my own recovery. I know, I know, this sucks. It is rough. There are emotions, and thoughts rolling through your head at Mach 80. I know that life is hard. I know that working the program, and going to meetings on top of life’s other challenges is just too much.

Yet you are worth it. The reason I know this? I felt the exact same way. There were days when I screamed out loud, “Why the F*** am I still sober!?!” There are times when I have cried and laid in bed, terrified of what I was capable of.. Yet, I know, I know, that this is the best solution for me. I know full well what waits for me if I go back out there. I choose to fight and to keep fighting this disease. I know you can get through the dark times too.

Just keep on trying, keep on moving, and keep on doing.

Huge hugs, may God be with you today on your journey.

Respect, far will get you.

Finding loopholes.

I’m working the loopholes more than ever. I decided to post my study notes to the blog, and I hope they will be useful to others. However, I’ve also been working on other loopholes. I have learned that being angry does not work. I have also learned that self-righteousness is a waste of time. I have learned that respect goes a long way.

Here is an example. 

When something happens, and there is a problem, I have to deal with the situation. I have to focus on the solution, not the problem. In recent days, I have had a device that was getting overheated without provocation. I called tech support with the provider of the device. I followed directions, and the solution I was given did not work. When the device overheated again, I called tech support again, and was told that there was nothing that they could do.

So, I waited. I thought, and I hit the google machine. I also gathered evidence. I tested the temperatures that the device was reaching. I took notes. I went to the manufacturer of the device instead of the provider of the device. The manufacturer is being quite good to me. I have hopes of a resolution to my problem.

What is different here? I did not blow up at the provider. I did give a feedback survey, in writing to my provider. I was upset, I was angry, but I did not act on my anger. That is a huge difference in the way I used to handle things.

I do not want to be terrified to use a device that I am paying for. I do not deserve better treatment than anyone else, I do, however, want to be treated with respect. In recovery, painfully, I have learned to treat others with respect and dignity. I am not an expert at it, and there are times I fall quite short of the mark. However, I do the best I can.

That’s all for now. I am grateful for your time.