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Thread: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

  1. #201
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    So much great stuff in this thread since I left it, and I hate to pick one, but this post is excellent, IMHO -

    (I also think this turned into one of the better & more heart-felt threads here)

    Quote Originally Posted by Removable Mind View Post
    I can respect your opinion. You're certainly not the first to express malcontentment (or disapproval) for 12 step programs in the manner in which you have and I apologize for having to delete part of your post..I ran out of the allotted character space.

    But I would say that the issues around chemical dependency is more than complex than most of us can even begin to realize.. The variables involved are as many as their are people with different levels of intelligence, creativity, religious beliefs, education backgrounds, life experiences, etc, etc, etc.

    I don't want to try to defend the mantras often used in AA. Or the repetition of sayings that people use to make a statement of condition or simply an act of being or existing.

    Most people who attend AA go their with a lost sense of self. They've become disconnected with their families, possibly co-workers, etc. Critical thinking has been one of their better skills for sometime. They have diminished problem solving skills, which usually impacts so many aspects of their social skills in general.

    But people who find it difficult to get sober and/or clean have very skewed concepts about their dilemma. And many just want to know how to find solution that isn't as complex than their current perspectives on life, which a lot of people believe is basically hopeless. What they want is something like a "paint by the numbers" sort of solution. In other words, life is damn complicated for them and they need to see something that has a not so complex of a starting place, which at some level makes some sense to them. And where they can see some continuing path that "could possibly lead to some positive end result".

    What AA (and like programs) has to offer is a paint by the number solution - which is comprised of common sense principles which has the ability to apply in some positive way for all of the various types of people who find themselves participating in the program.

    Because every person's life is different, the manner in which they actively participate will not bear the same exactly outcomes for each person. That's not the intent. In fact, there is no way to mold people's minds to live their lives in a controlled like environment once they walk out of an AA meeting. No matter where people go - there they are. Their problems still exist. They aren't exempt form life's sometimes harshness and non-discriminating random acts of challenging hardships.

    But, make no mistake. There is an intent involved. It's to help people, via a very rote method, to deal with life on life's terms. People need to be able to get sober or clean long enough to become teachable and to see their world and problems through different eyes (metaphorically speaking). It's like parents with children who have ADHD and they have their kids put on a medication - thinking that all their problems will go away. They don't. The meds might make it possible for kids to become teachable. But the hard work involved to get to some positive results must be viewed from two perspectives. One is providing the types of information that has the possible chance to promote positive change. The other is helping those who are in situations where learning is difficult - to actually learn.

    No, AA isn't a one-size-fits-all type of solution. It is, however, the potential to be a huge stepping stone from a place of feeling terminally unique to knowing that they aren't alone, there is a other options than the one an alcoholic or addict has repeatedly used thinking they could solve their own skewed concepts of what the hell has gone wrong in their life.

    We can't think ourselves into acting right. We have to act ourselves into thinking right. (Not an AA saying - but maybe it should be)

    Thanks, DG...
    Thank you for composing this - it shows good excellent into both addiction & 12 step programs.
    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

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  2. #202
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    It is a religion. There are those that need that cult brotherhood in order to find strength because they are weak. Much the same as religion helps people "be kind to others" when that ability is already within them.
    You really don't know what you are talking about, Bodi. Not at all.
    "Never fear. Him is here" - Captain Chaos (Dom DeLuise), Cannonball Run

    ====||:-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    This is what I hate about politics the most, it turns people in snobbish egotistical self righteous dicks who allow their political beliefs, partisan attitudes, and 'us vs. them' mentality, to force them to deny reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Navy Pride View Post
    You can't paint everone with the same brush.......It does not work tht way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    See with you around Captain we don't even have to make arguments, as you already know everything .
    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
    Had you been born elsewhere or at a different time you may very well have chosen a different belief system.
    Quote Originally Posted by ernst barkmann View Post
    It a person has faith they dont need to convince another of it, and when a non believer is not interested in listening to the word of the lord, " you shake the dust from your sandels and move on"

  3. #203
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    All good and not every case is the same but in my experience the strength is already within the individual. The group, like a teacher, can't do anything without the student.
    And the students are stronger as a group then as individuals. And the student, also can't do anything without the teacher. The relationship is symbiotic: each gains strength through the other.
    "Never fear. Him is here" - Captain Chaos (Dom DeLuise), Cannonball Run

    ====||:-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    This is what I hate about politics the most, it turns people in snobbish egotistical self righteous dicks who allow their political beliefs, partisan attitudes, and 'us vs. them' mentality, to force them to deny reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Navy Pride View Post
    You can't paint everone with the same brush.......It does not work tht way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    See with you around Captain we don't even have to make arguments, as you already know everything .
    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
    Had you been born elsewhere or at a different time you may very well have chosen a different belief system.
    Quote Originally Posted by ernst barkmann View Post
    It a person has faith they dont need to convince another of it, and when a non believer is not interested in listening to the word of the lord, " you shake the dust from your sandels and move on"

  4. #204
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    I don't care if it is a crutch. If it helps it helps. I am just stating what I think that it is with no judgement.
    No. Here are some of your "judgments":

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    It is a religion. There are those that need that cult brotherhood in order to find strength because they are weak.
    You are saying it is a religion. That is your personal judgment, and one that is incorrect since it is not. You are also saying that those people need the group because they are weak. That is also a judgment. Wanting or needing help does not equal being weak.
    "Never fear. Him is here" - Captain Chaos (Dom DeLuise), Cannonball Run

    ====||:-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    This is what I hate about politics the most, it turns people in snobbish egotistical self righteous dicks who allow their political beliefs, partisan attitudes, and 'us vs. them' mentality, to force them to deny reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Navy Pride View Post
    You can't paint everone with the same brush.......It does not work tht way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    See with you around Captain we don't even have to make arguments, as you already know everything .
    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
    Had you been born elsewhere or at a different time you may very well have chosen a different belief system.
    Quote Originally Posted by ernst barkmann View Post
    It a person has faith they dont need to convince another of it, and when a non believer is not interested in listening to the word of the lord, " you shake the dust from your sandels and move on"

  5. #205
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCourtesy View Post
    No. Here are some of your "judgments":



    You are saying it is a religion. That is your personal judgment, and one that is incorrect since it is not. You are also saying that those people need the group because they are weak. That is also a judgment. Wanting or needing help does not equal being weak.
    Have you ever derived income from counselling people about their alcohol/drug addictions (outside of AA)?

    Yes or no, please. No 12 page dissertation...just yes or no, please.

  6. #206
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    I want to stress that for people whom can quit alcohol/drugs on their own, - without AA - you are my heroes and all the more power to you.

    As an addict/alcoholic and a "mentally ill" person as well, I am finding AA to be very helpful lately. AA is giving me the tools (a road map, that is) to be happy, joyous and free - I'm for all intents and purposes an "atheist," but call GOD Good Orderly Direction. That basic concept is helping me get through the steps.

    I have exactly one week sober now. I haven't felt this good in years and just landed a good job yesterday (as a direct result of working the steps). All AA wants to do is give me a good life - and get me out of the sheer hell I was living in. I'm meeting girls as well, though am going to focus on my recovery first - girls are a "danger zone" for me, as I always seem to go for the ones whom are sick (mentally). I tend to attract needy girls whom are clingy and obsessive - borderline stalkers. I don't need that. I hope - one day - to find a nice girl via AA, especially one who has been sober for a number of years and has her head screwed on straight. I don't want any more relationships that purely revolve around sex - I just want someone who cares and share hugs and stuff with. Someone to hold and cuddle with, in other words.

    Anyway, I intend to keep going to AA, one day at a time. I do have a question for anyone whom cares to answer at this point: "AA maintains anonymity at the level of press, radio and film." Does this forum count as "press?" I mean, am I jeopardizing my sobriety by continuing to post here? Because if I am, I don't want to do that.

    AA also "has no opinion on outside issues." In other words, they are non-political, from what I gather that means. So, am I endangering my sobriety by continuing to post in a debate forum? - when the literature says to "resign from the debating society and quit bothering myself with what came first - the chicken or the egg."

    Anyone whom cares to respond to that is welcome to do so. Thanks in advance.

    In the meantime, I will either ask my sponsor this stuff and/or bring it up in a meeting.

    Thanks for reading.

  7. #207
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    First of all, I was responding to a person who implied that if someone goes to meetings for 30 years, AA is a crutch because they're not "strong." I don't agree. Lots of reasons to go to meetings, and there are lots of incredibly strong and inspiring people in AA, successful outside AA, etc.

    Second, if it's a "crutch" so what? Obviously those who attend even 1 meeting voluntarily have tried to quit 'on their own' and failed. If they're not manly enough to white knuckle it and need some help. what's the problem? It's sort of the general attitude in this country on mental health in general - if you need some help, you're not "strong" or something. It's a wrong headed way to look at it IMO. Yes, some people cannot just white knuckle an addiction that actually is potentially fatal if self treated. Withdrawal is a medical event that requires medical supervision, and getting over the physical addiction that makes quitting a medical event is damn hard and some people do need help. They're not some kind of failed human being because of it. Some people need the support of others, and often those who attend AA do not have support anywhere else.
    This is my thought on it. It may be a "crutch" for some. So what? Seriously... so what?

    I will never understand the mentality... the hubris... of believing what worked for them *will* work for everyone else, no exceptions.
    Roger Rabbit: Yeah. Check the probate. Why, my Uncle Thumper had a problem with HIS probate, and he had to take these big pills, and drink lots of water.

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  8. #208
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrider View Post
    Anyway, I intend to keep going to AA, one day at a time. I do have a question for anyone whom cares to answer at this point: "AA maintains anonymity at the level of press, radio and film." Does this forum count as "press?" I mean, am I jeopardizing my sobriety by continuing to post here? Because if I am, I don't want to do that.
    Not everyone will agree, I think I've even seen an issue of Grapevine on it, but as far as I know Nightrider isn't who is listed on your social security card or birth certificate, so I don't see how you've compromised your anonymity.

    AA also "has no opinion on outside issues." In other words, they are non-political, from what I gather that means. So, am I endangering my sobriety by continuing to post in a debate forum? - when the literature says to "resign from the debating society and quit bothering myself with what came first - the chicken or the egg."
    As you've seen, there appear to be several people on here who are in AA and participate in political debates. Unless a person purports to speak for AA on, say, minimum wage laws, there shouldn't be a problem. And on issues directly related to alcohol, the general tradition in AA in my area is to speak about our own experiences and not make broad statements of THE truth, etc. E.g. - this is what helped me, might not be the same for you. That kind of thing.

    In the meantime, I will either ask my sponsor this stuff and/or bring it up in a meeting.

    Thanks for reading.
    Both questions have been frequently addressed in meetings and by sponsors. It's never a bad idea to get alternative ideas. Especially early on. I made a conscious decision to quit worrying about sports and politics for quite a while. Seemed like my energy was more productively directed closer to home. But being sober and in AA doesn't require a person to check out of public debates or discussions. More than anything in my view is making sure to keep these things in perspective. I look at these debates as entertainment and a good way to force myself to critically examine my beliefs by defending them in a discussion with people who disagree. But I don't pretend that I'm changing the world here - just mostly having fun.

  9. #209
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrider View Post
    Hi Deuce,

    I'm still going to meetings and have told those people in AA what I posted here. They understand - even laughed.

    If I own an apology here, though, I apologize. I was wrong what I said in that OP (didn't know it then - but know it now).

    For more info, please see my thread *My parents and I* in the self help/advice forum

    Thanks.
    That is a pretty special thing to say, but apologize for offense to others, but not for being honest about your thoughts and ideas. You might or might not be 'wrong', but saying all the right words when, for you, it is a lie, withers us a bit when we are well. For the alcoholic it can be deadly. That is what AA and Al-Anon is really all about--helping us not to lie to ourselves and others and to be brutally honest, however emotionally uncomfortable that might be.

    Not directed at you personally but just as a general observation, being openly and brutally honest is not always feasible everywhere but in the AA or Al-anon meeting, it is not only allowed but encouraged. Sometimes we have to listen for a very long time and talk it through before the light come on and we know what the truth is. But AA is a safe place to do that. Nobody can say anything in an AA meeting that somebody else hasn't seen, heard, and done. Nothing you say will upset or shock anybody. They hear you, understand you, and provide a supportive and safe place to learn and implement a self help process of getting clean and sober and being comfortable and happy being clean and sober.

    AA is no more a 'crutch' for the alcoholic than is going to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic is a crutch for learning or going to the gym and using a personal trainer is a crutch for getting fit.
    "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin 1776

  10. #210
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    That is a pretty special thing to say, but apologize for offense to others, but not for being honest about your thoughts and ideas. You might or might not be 'wrong', but saying all the right words when, for you, it is a lie, withers us a bit when we are well. For the alcoholic it can be deadly. That is what AA and Al-Anon is really all about--helping us not to lie to ourselves and others and to be brutally honest, however emotionally uncomfortable that might be.

    Not directed at you personally but just as a general observation, being openly and brutally honest is not always feasible everywhere but in the AA or Al-anon meeting, it is not only allowed but encouraged. Sometimes we have to listen for a very long time and talk it through before the light come on and we know what the truth is. But AA is a safe place to do that. Nobody can say anything in an AA meeting that somebody else hasn't seen, heard, and done. Nothing you say will upset or shock anybody. They hear you, understand you, and provide a supportive and safe place to learn and implement a self help process of getting clean and sober and being comfortable and happy being clean and sober.

    AA is no more a 'crutch' for the alcoholic than is going to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic is a crutch for learning or going to the gym and using a personal trainer is a crutch for getting fit.
    Unconditional love, something I never really had:


    I know what you are saying and get your point (I was *right* to say it in a meeting, but perhaps wrong to post it here - maybe, maybe not to that last one). What I know for sure is that being honest is what is saving me these days - both in AA and dealing with the real world.

    Now. To be honest, I carry a lot of weight over all types of abuse that happened to me growing up. A lot of that abuse came in that AA group I attended in Miami. Hence, my prior rage towards AA. However, that was NOT real AA - didn't know it then, but know it now.

    I have a strong support team these days - that includes my AA home group. They told me I'm one of those people whom just needs a lot of love - PLATONIC love, that is. I'm feeling that love these days and the folks in my home group are my new moms and dads. They told me that's all I need and I accept their love/understanding/encouragement/support and they are now my mentors.

    One thing's for sure - they won't be letting go of me. They got me now and I'm happy and grateful.

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