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Thread: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

  1. #211
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrider View Post
    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.
    When you post on 'debate threads' you are not posting as a member of AA coming from that perspective. You are posting as Nightrider, U.S. citizen (or whatever you are.) You aren't required to be neutral on anything as a member of AA. You are just expected not to "out" your fellow AA members and not presume to speak for AA on social or political issues. I'm pretty sure there is no requirement that you cannot tell others that you are going to AA. (If so that is a new thing.) But for sure you aren't expected to stop being yourself as a person with convictions, perceptions, beliefs, passions, and opinions. But. . .if that is causing you personal problems and detracting from your No.1 priority of getting sober, then of course you should not engage in it.

    Edit: I'm pretty sure the 'debating society - chicken/egg' concept is regarding our attitudes about AA, the religious aspects of it etc. and is an encouragement to stop worrying about 'how it works' but just give it a chance to work.
    Last edited by AlbqOwl; 05-08-15 at 12:26 PM.
    "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

  2. #212
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    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.



    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.



    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    When you post on 'debate threads' you are not posting as a member of AA coming from that perspective. You are posting as Nightrider, U.S. citizen (or whatever you are.) You aren't required to be neutral on anything as a member of AA. You are just expected not to "out" your fellow AA members and not presume to speak for AA on social or political issues. I'm pretty sure there is no requirement that you cannot tell others that you are going to AA. (If so that is a new thing.) But for sure you aren't expected to stop being yourself as a person with convictions, perceptions, beliefs, passions, and opinions. But. . .if that is causing you personal problems and detracting from your No.1 priority of getting sober, then of course you should not engage in it.
    Thanks so much to both of you for setting me straight on this.

  3. #213
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Evidently, AA and , all of us can stand for improvement. A refusal to think and extremism are problems .

  4. #214
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    When you post on 'debate threads' you are not posting as a member of AA coming from that perspective. You are posting as Nightrider, U.S. citizen (or whatever you are.) You aren't required to be neutral on anything as a member of AA. You are just expected not to "out" your fellow AA members and not presume to speak for AA on social or political issues. I'm pretty sure there is no requirement that you cannot tell others that you are going to AA. (If so that is a new thing.) But for sure you aren't expected to stop being yourself as a person with convictions, perceptions, beliefs, passions, and opinions. But. . .if that is causing you personal problems and detracting from your No.1 priority of getting sober, then of course you should not engage in it.

    Edit: I'm pretty sure the 'debating society - chicken/egg' concept is regarding our attitudes about AA, the religious aspects of it etc. and is an encouragement to stop worrying about 'how it works' but just give it a chance to work.
    I agree with all that, but just a comment on the anonymity. Obviously someone is free to say they're in AA to family, friends, employers, etc. What's generally frowned on is speaking in a public setting and identifying oneself as a member or attendee of AA. The idea is when a person speaks on issues related to alcohol, if he said he's a 27 year 'member' of AA, it might imply that his views are somehow endorsed by AA when they are not.

    So I don't worry about it much. If the person isn't implying they know THE truth and THE way to sobriety, and they say they're in AA or attend meetings, fine with me. And there is no AA police, or sanctions for violating any rule. Your own sobriety is what really matters, so my view is if discussing something online helps a person, and they're not speaking for "AA" then that's great.

    As a general rule, if not in the company of good friends or family, I don't publicly mention AA or that I'm an alcoholic for lots of reasons, among them it's no one's business and few people actually understand what it means to be an alcoholic or in recovery and tend to change the way they interact with you in a bad way. They tend to think that the slightest sign of alcohol might send you off into a drunken rage. Even good friends early on were sometimes apparently embarrassed or reluctant to have a beer in my presence. I don't want that - alcohol is my problem, not theirs. If I'm not ready to be around drinkers, it's my job to avoid them, not for them to accommodate my problem.

    The only cardinal rule is to NEVER publicly out another person who attends meetings. Not ever, not for any reason, under any circumstance. I'll even avoid acknowledging other people in public unless it's just the two of us OR I can answer "How do you two know each other" in a way that doesn't require "in the basement of the church..." I remember a guy who had a senior position for a big company and was walking downtown back from lunch with coworkers. A pretty low bottom AA person still mostly on the streets (but sober) said hello to him by name and it made the person furious because he was afraid (and perhaps legitimately so) that his coworkers knowing he was in treatment threatened his career. It was just an innocent, "Hey Bob" (literally, that's all that was said) on the streets, but a HUGE deal to one of the parties. VPs aren't usually on a first name basis with street people. Here, always, always err on the side of caution. As crazy as it may be, I've known several people who came in without any family knowing (in the beginning), so it's not even safe to assume the wife or husband knows.
    Last edited by JasperL; 05-08-15 at 01:55 PM.

  5. #215
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    I agree with all that, but just a comment on the anonymity. Obviously someone is free to say they're in AA to family, friends, employers, etc. What's generally frowned on is speaking in a public setting and identifying oneself as a member or attendee of AA. The idea is when a person speaks on issues related to alcohol, if he said he's a 27 year 'member' of AA, it might imply that his views are somehow endorsed by AA when they are not.

    So I don't worry about it much. If the person isn't implying they know THE truth and THE way to sobriety, and they say they're in AA or attend meetings, fine with me. And there is no AA police, or sanctions for violating any rule. Your own sobriety is what really matters, so my view is if discussing something online helps a person, and they're not speaking for "AA" then that's great.

    As a general rule, if not in the company of good friends or family, I don't publicly mention AA or that I'm an alcoholic for lots of reasons, among them it's no one's business and few people actually understand what it means to be an alcoholic or in recovery and tend to change the way they interact with you in a bad way. They tend to think that the slightest sign of alcohol might send you off into a drunken rage. Even good friends early on were sometimes apparently embarrassed or reluctant to have a beer in my presence. I don't want that - alcohol is my problem, not theirs. If I'm not ready to be around drinkers, it's my job to avoid them, not for them to accommodate my problem.

    The only cardinal rule is to NEVER publicly out another person who attends meetings. Not ever, not for any reason, under any circumstance. I'll even avoid acknowledging other people in public unless it's just the two of us OR I can answer "How do you two know each other" in a way that doesn't require "in the basement of the church..." I remember a guy who had a senior position for a big company and was walking downtown back from lunch with coworkers. A pretty low bottom AA person still mostly on the streets (but sober) said hello to him by name and it made the person furious because he was afraid (and perhaps legitimately so) that his coworkers knowing he was in treatment threatened his career. It was just an innocent, "Hey Bob" (literally, that's all that was said) on the streets, but a HUGE deal to one of the parties. VPs aren't usually on a first name basis with street people. Here, always, always err on the side of caution. As crazy as it may be, I've known several people who came in without any family knowing (in the beginning), so it's not even safe to assume the wife or husband knows.
    Well said and all true. You said it much more cohesively and completely than I did. Well done.
    "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

  6. #216
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    I agree with all that, but just a comment on the anonymity. Sorry, had to snip your post #214 because of the allotted characters space
    As AlbqOwl as stated, "Well said, Jasper".

    I rarely reveal my association (my membership, if you will) with AA for all of the reasons you've made clear in your post #214.

    If I'm introduced to someone in a public place that I recognize as someone "who I believe to be in the program", but not sure. In the course of general conversation I might ask, "Have we met before at Bill Wilson's house?" If I'm at a public function where alcohol flows freely and I'm asked if I want a drink. I simply reply, "No thanks" (and no reason is necessary for not accepting). If I'm pressured by someone, I'll say, "If I have just one drink, I get deathly ill, but thank you for offering anyway." Most let it go.

    But let's be honest here. Alcoholics are a minority that are viewed by many folks as persons of weak character (and the descriptions of weak character will vary). Alcoholics are believed to be people who avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Alcoholics are believed to be people who deny their personal abilities to be the master of their own ship. Alcoholics are believed to be people who could easily rise above their weaknesses, pull themselves up by the bootstraps, man up or woman up and get their **** together by simply employing will power that everybody inherently has. Then alcoholics could join the normal majority in their blissful, everyday adventures of being "ordinary people who don't let silly things like alcohol rule their lives".

    The reality is that most people don't understand the dynamics of alcoholism. I can't fault them for not knowing - or even wanting to know. I'd love to be able to educate everybody who isn't alcoholic about the complex biological/physical/mental mechanisms of alcoholism in a such way that they could truly grasp. And possibly persuade them to accept that this problem is an actual disease - based on why it actually is. Or the significance of alcoholics/addicts having a recovery program or process. But unfortunately that isn't a reality.

    The only true means I have in educating anybody about alcoholism is simply being a living example of my sobriety, my beliefs, and my values. If someone sees any merit in the way I live my life, they're free to make inquiry. Inside the walls of AA all I can do is share my experiences and what has worked for me. Having a sponsor is so important. However, I always tell newcomers to take the time to make inquiry with numerous members who have a reasonable amount of sobriety, listen to their experiences and what's worked for them. That's the power of being in a GROUP environment. Even after 29 years of sobriety, I don't possess any magical words to share with someone struggling with their alcoholism. If it were only that simple.

    As you well know, sobriety is a process and not an event. And there's gonna be successes and failures in practicing the principles. It takes a lot of hard work, personal devotion, and perseverance in order to really get the benefits of the principles found in AA. Once we walk out of the doors of AA, the very same life that everybody else must live is happening in full swing. The true test is - can we be constitutionally honest with ourselves when we walk out of the doors of AA? Can we remain honest with ourselves as we navigate through our daily tasks?

    Thanks for your posts.

  7. #217
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    AA and psychiatric meds:

    Anyone have an opinion on this? I just got off the phone with my sponsor, whom wants me off my meds entirely - he says:

    1) Psychiatry can "shove it"

    2) When I go to AA meetings all "pilled up," I'm not really living and not really sober

    3) I need to talk to my doctor - if he does not agree with pulling me off my meds entirely, I should find another doctor

    4) He said I sounded drunk on the phone, like I was on drugs (which technically speaking, that's what psychiatric meds are)

    Sponsor has a point - will say that. When I spoke to him just now, my speech was slurred and my thinking process was very slow, having just woken up from a deep nap the instant he called (waking me up).

    I'm still waking up right now and my mind clearer. But, a few minutes ago, I was out of it. My life has more or less been this way since they put me on meds initially. It takes me several hours to fully wake up in the morning these days, for instance (and that's only, lol, after I've had about five cups of coffee).

    Thanks - will look forward to replies.

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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrider View Post
    AA and psychiatric meds:

    Anyone have an opinion on this? I just got off the phone with my sponsor, whom wants me off my meds entirely - he says:

    1) Psychiatry can "shove it"

    2) When I go to AA meetings all "pilled up," I'm not really living and not really sober

    3) I need to talk to my doctor - if he does not agree with pulling me off my meds entirely, I should find another doctor

    4) He said I sounded drunk on the phone, like I was on drugs (which technically speaking, that's what psychiatric meds are)

    Sponsor has a point - will say that. When I spoke to him just now, my speech was slurred and my thinking process was very slow, having just woken up from a deep nap the instant he called (waking me up).

    I'm still waking up right now and my mind clearer. But, a few minutes ago, I was out of it. My life has more or less been this way since they put me on meds initially. It takes me several hours to fully wake up in the morning these days, for instance (and that's only, lol, after I've had about five cups of coffee).

    Thanks - will look forward to replies.
    No worries, folks, 'bout responding to post #217. I mean, you can if you want, but I have a new sponsor now - a real mean old redneck s.o.b. with like 40 years of sobriety. Just the type of sponsor I need to call me on my s**t and keep my a** in line.

    I have to sign out for tonight - sponsor wants me to call him promptly at sun up tomorrow morning (he gets up when the rooster crows and the rooster crows in rural Maine at 5:30am). So I bid everyone good night and thanks again for all your insight in this thread.

  9. #219
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    I honestly have no idea about AA. Currently have a family member going through it, and he has seen improvements. But I also have heard many negative things about it. Honestly, the overwhelming majority of things I have heard have been negative. But that is not my biggest beef with the OP. My biggest disagreement is with alcoholism not being taken seriously as a disease. I know there are studies done on both side of this issue but does that mean we should not possibly let the consensus and study the issue further? Also does this mean we should not medically and psychologically treat the issue as a disease
    Just a democratic-socialist in the heartland of America.CHECK OUT MY TUMBLR(BLOG)HERE "Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression, and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

  10. #220
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrider View Post
    My current girlfriend dragged me to an AA meeting tonight. To be honest, I've never heard so much BS in my entire life. Alcoholism a disease? *Scoff* In my opinion, it's very simple - don't drink and you won't become a drunken ***h***e. More specifically, ever heard of the "steering wheel" concept? Keep your hands on the wheel and don't turn into those convenience store parking lots. It's that simple.

    Furthermore, these people (cult members - from my perspective) say that if you don't work the 12 steps, you will either die, go to jail or a mental institution. Guess what? I left AA in a huff over 20 years ago and still am alive, happy and free. Furthermore, all my old AA "friends" are either dead (most of them are dead - young or old at the time I knew them), in prison or in mental hospitals. I have News: AA does not work and is nothing more than a cult! And I'm living proof of that, being that I'm still around - if my niece or another family member ever has any problems with alcohol/drugs, the last thing I'm doing is sending them to AA.

    AA - what a waste of time. I spent two or three years going to them stupid meetings, working the steps, serving on committees, sponsoring others - I found AA at 19 and left at 23 in disgust (haven't been back since until tonight).

    I couldn't take it any longer: When it came my turn to share in the meeting, I said just about everything I just posted. You should have seen the looks on their faces.

    AA - A Big thumbs down and screw those people.
    Doesn't matter what you think of AA. Your girl thought you needed help. You should probably look at your life. Good luck.
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