Struggling Newcomer

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Struggling Newcomer

Post by Newtosoberlife »

Hi guys. This is my first time posting to this type of discussion board. I've been sober for 19 days today but have been in and out of the program for approximately 3 months. I have a sponsor and have had this sponsor for the last 2 'months. I struggle with cravings a lot and I don't know how to handle the cravings. I am following the suggestions that my sponsor has been making: go to a meeting every day, pray every morning, pray all day, pray before bed, and I'm meeting with her once a week to read in the Big Book. I'm still on step 1 as I don't know when I get to move on to step 2, I'm guessing we just aren't far enough in the reading. I fully believe that I am powerless over alcohol and I know that my life is unmanageable. I know that I have no control over alcohol and I know that I am an alcoholic. When I relapsed the last time, I had called my sponsor before I drank and told her that I really wanted to drink so she told me to drink and to call her when I was done, and that she would not be my sponsor anymore if I was having doubts. I said ok and I went on a 2 week bender. I called her when I thought I was done and we started the book over. Last night I called her and told her that I didn't know what I was doing but the desire to drink was extremely strong and I didn't know if I wanted to continue with AA or if I wanted to just give it up and drink (even though I know how this will end, again, I know that I'm an alcoholic. My sponsor told me that the program wasn't going to work for me if I was having doubts about drinking, to go drink and if I wanted to come back to call her.

I didn't go drink. I want AA to work for me. But I also crave alcohol really bad and I don't know how to stop thinking about it and I don't know if my sponsor is right and that I should just go drink or if I'm missing something here.

Thanks for helping out a confused newcomer.
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by Brock »

Welcome here.

I believe one of the main 'problems' AA has, is that everyone tends to sponsor someone the same way they were sponsored, the old one size fits all approach. From reading your words like -“I fully believe that I am powerless over alcohol and I know that my life is unmanageable. I know that I have no control over alcohol and I know that I am an alcoholic.” If I was your sponsor I would say 'right steps one and two done, do you believe that you need a power higher than yourself in order to stop?' If you answer yes as I am sure you would, then I would say here's how we do step 4, maybe a week later we are sitting down doing your fifth step, and just like the book says in most cases the stupid urges vanish. Someone had her read the book and go at a certain (snails) pace, you may not be able to crawl along like they did.

I know my words may cause more confusion than help, because if you tell the sponsor what others say, they usually reply you do it their way or find someone else. But when you listen to a speaker on you tube like Chris R, and hear of the years of in and out of AA never finding a solution, then meeting the right sponsor, and two weeks later sitting on the tray of his pick up crying tears of joy, because the stupid obsession to drink had disappeared, then you know how AA can and should work.

I would consider looking at the fourth step yourself, Google 'AA Step 4' lots of options come up, a good one is under 'Barefoot's World,' a very good AA site, read what they say, ask questions here or at your group, and maybe even tell your sponsor you need step 4 & 5 asap, like within a few weeks. If she won't help, consider asking openly in the group for someone else to help, and keep in mind that some people like myself do the steps without a sponsor.

I wish you the best, once we get half way through this thing it's pretty plain sailing, and life will get a whole lot better.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by avaneesh912 »

a confused newcomer.
Yes, we are all that when we come into the fellowship. As Brock pointed out, getting the right sponsor is the key. The whole book the authors of the basic text talk about the peculiar mental twist that precedes the first drink. It practically makes the will power of we alkies non-existent. Thats true powerlessness. Not that stupid craving part. The whole fellowship is hung up on the consequences part. Moreover, the crazy thinking that goes between the 2 ears? nobody wants to talk about that. Restless irritable and dis-conntented is what the state we are in when we don't drink. But eventually we can't handle those emotions and we drink.

Grab hold, literally i mean, a woman who has a good knowledge of powerlessness and un-manageability and ask her to walk you through those paragraphs in the book so you can realize that futility in just going to meetings. You need a psychic change that too quickly. So you can look at the world with a different perspective and experience the 10th step promise.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by Chelle »

Hi and Welcome!
The struggle was real for me in the beginning. I tried the stop and start method on my own before I got to AA alot. When I got there, I was really done and wished to be sober more than I wanted to drink. I white knuckled it in the beginning and called my sponsor alot. I also caled other women I had met at my new home group and went to alot of freaking meetings. By alot, I mean every day. I realize I'm saying alot..alot
=biggrin but that's what it took for me until I really got into the steps. Only then did I find true relief.

I'm not saying you have to go every day to get's just what worked for me =wink

It's OK if your sponsor wants to drop you. It's not her/his fault. I'm guessing she/ he only knows how to get sober one way and that is how she is trying to help you. Exactly the same way she did it. I would hope there are plenty of other people that would be willing to help you. I needed alot of patience and when I was new if my sponsor told me to go out and drink, I might have :shock: before the steps.

This is an experience for you. Hopefully when you get recovered, and you will, if you do what it says on page 58 in how it works of the book, you can use this experience to help a newer newcomer than yourself.

Keep coming back and sharing. You helped remind me today of what is was like.
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by Duke »

Thanks for sharing.

I did not have cravings, but I also pursued the program and the steps with the same passion I brought to drinking and trying to control my drinking. For me that meant a meeting every day, regular lunches with my sponsor, and a whole lot of reading and writing. I must have read all the approved literature within the first couple of months.

I found out early that reading alone was not enough. I also needed to write about what I read and try to put it in my own words. I did this religiously every morning and night. Most of my focus was on understanding and working the steps.

Today, many years later, I still make my first thought in the morning about what I plan to do to work my program today, and my last thought at night to assess how well I did. I also maintain regular contact with other alcoholics.

I don't know your situation with your sponsor well enough to offer any opinions. I don't generally offer them anyway.

I've never seen cravings last very long with anyone who's pursued the program with a passion.

Good luck to you.
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by tomsteve »

personally i say find a new sponsor. one that gets a call from someone reaching out when the mental obsession is strong and says go drink has some serious issues.
good on ya for not drinkin!!
i had the mental obsession- what many call the craving( which the bb says occurs after a drink is taken) for quite some time. didnt stop me from moving through the steps.
in fact, i wouldnt have gotten far if i waited for th emental obsession to leave before going past the 1st step. it was the 10th step where things changed and the 10th step promises occured.
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by ezdzit247 »

Newtosoberlife wrote:
I want AA to work for me. But I also crave alcohol really bad and I don't know how to stop thinking about it and I don't know if my sponsor is right and that I should just go drink or if I'm missing something here....
Hi Newtoaoberlife and welcome.

Congratulations on 19 days of sobriety!

I also struggled with trying to quit drinking and stay sober when I first got to AA. I couldn't stay "quit". I think for me the idea of never taking another drink ever again and staying sober forever was just way too BIG and way too scary for me to handle. When I finally discovered AA's 24 hour plan--just staying sober for one day--that plan worked real well for me. I stopped obsessing over the idea of staying sober FOREVER and the cravings for alcohol went away. There's a description of how the plan works in an AA pamphlet # 1 entitled: "This is A.A.... an introduction to the A.A. recovery program". You can read it online by clicking on this link:

Here's an excerpt from the pamphlet on AA's 24-hour plan also known as the One Day At A Time plan or ODAAT.
"....For example, we take no pledges, we don’t say that we will “never” drink again. Instead, we try to follow what we in A.A. call the “24-hour plan.” We concentrate on keeping sober just the current twenty-four hours. We simply try to get through one day at a time without a drink. If we feel the urge for a drink, we neither yield nor resist. We merely put off taking that particular drink until tomorrow…."
In addition to doing AA's 24 hour plan, I also followed the advice of AA old timers who suggested attending at least one AA meeting a day in the first 90 days of recovery. It's called the "90 in 90" plan. That worked real well for me too. One day at a time, one meeting at a time. I felt better physically, stronger emotionally, much clearer mentally, and was finally able to begin to grasp how the AA program works and the things I needed to do to make it work for me. Another thing that helped me feel more comfortable in my sober skin was volunteering to help set up or clean up after meetings--pick up cups, clean the tables, wash dishes, take out the trash--whatever needed doing.

Keep coming back....
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by avaneesh912 »

I am following the suggestions that my sponsor has been making: go to a meeting every day, pray every morning, pray all day, pray before bed, and I'm meeting with her once a week to read in the Big Book.
Any newcomer that is willing, I sit with them for 2 hours to go through the key paragraphs to drive home that the new-comer has absolutely no chance, relying on his/her will power. These are the content of the material:

(P-92 P-2) Show him (/her), from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power

Why we Drink (Effect) & Internal Un-manageability:

(P-XXVIII P-5) Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol⁴. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented¹ [Internal Un-Manageability], unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks-drinks which they see others taking with impunity.[We could add more boredom, anxiety, depression…….]
Un-Manageability [External]-DUIs, Car Wrecks, Relationship issues, Divorce, Jail/Incarceration, Death…..

Powerlessness-Mental [Obsession of the Mind/Insanity/Blind Spot]

(P-24 P2) The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago³. We are without defense against the first drink².

Powerlessness-Physical [Craving after we take the 1st drink]

(P-XXIX P-1) After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops⁵, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful⁶, with a firm resolution not to drink again⁷. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.

BB Stresses Mind the Main Culprit
(P-22 P5) We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from drink, as he may do for months or years, he reacts much like other men. We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this. These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind (Obsession/Insanity), rather than in his body (Craving Part).

Stories to illustrate the Spiritual Malady & Obsession & Physical Craving

(P-32 P3) Man of 30 – to illustrate the fatal progressive nature of the disease, the blind spot, succumbing to the lie that one can safely drink after long term sobriety.
(P-35 P2) Jim the Car salesman – to illustrate the peculiar mental twist, fails to enlarge his spiritual life, spiritual malady.
(P-39 P3) Fred the accountant – to illustrate the peculiar mental twist, doesn’t accept he is powerless.

(P-43 P-4) Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His/Her defense must come from a Higher Power.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by positrac »

A lot of what has been posted is great and so I'll leave that alone.

Cravings are real and they are powerful and mostly if we think of other stuff and stay busy we will forget them if we allow. Your situation is just like ours and yet it hits each of us differently and yet if we cave in the results will be the exact same.

All of this electronic stuff we have is a huge distraction and it is not busy work. So take a walk in a safe place like a park, wash dishes by hand, clean your house, change the oil in your car. Play basketball. Whatever will pass time and have you focus on something totally outside of yourself and drinking/using. Now if you like darts and go to the bar then all bets are off because if we walk in to a barbershop enough times we will get that haircut! So doing busy work that doesn't directly relate to drinking is the better option and this is merely a suggestion.

Literature is an important stepping stone to our success to recovery and for knowledge as it is written in blood so to speak: What I mean blood is not really blood as you'd think as much as the mistakes of others who came before us. They have tried everything in their time and in the end accepted surrender, and powerlessness over alcohol.

Find meetings and go even when you are tired, because we/you drank when you might not wanted and yet once sober we get picky.


If you allow any of those to creep into you life at any given time then you have a possibility to cave in and drink.

We all have suffered from our disease and this too shall pass and we just have to have belief it will as so many are sober because of the program of AA.

Have a better day.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by PaigeB »

pray all day
I prefer to think of it as contemplation.
the action of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time.
"the road is too busy for leisurely contemplation of the scenery"
synonyms: viewing, examination, inspection, observation, survey, study, scrutiny
"the contemplation of beautiful objects"
deep reflective thought.
"he would retire to his room for study or contemplation"
synonyms: thought, reflection, meditation, consideration, rumination, deliberation, reverie, introspection, brown study
the state of being thought about or planned.

Kinda like I did with drinking ~ only the opposite!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by kdub720 »

What a great share this morning. I like how you sponsor said "go drink and call me when you are done." When I first read it I thought maybe go for a night of drinking, but a 2 week bender is not what I had thought would be the result. I think a sponsor must understand your personality beyond alcohol. If my sponsor told me to go drink when I had the urge, I would drink every day. I see all the people out with their booze for the holiday, and part of me misses it. Yet, I know in my own heart that it is not for me. I think God is the only thing that can take that desire away. I am impressed by your decision not to drink. And that is all it is. You make the decision for yourself, Don't let the booze make the decision for you. Do not be a slave to the bottle. That is what keeps me going.
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by Spirit Flower »

If you fall for a line like that, then you are not done. You must be done or the sponsor is wasting their time.
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by Roberth »

Hello Newtosoberlife and welcome to E-AA. My name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic.
I will put this in terms that I needed that I needed to hear it in. It’s sounds likes you know what the problem is but you not sure of the solution or the plan yet.
I know I played with this thing for 3 months. Then the day came when I wanted a drink more than I ever had before. I told my then wife to take me to a meeting or I was going to the liquor store. She took me to a meeting. At the meeting I heard my story coming out someone else’s mouth. When I did I knew AA would work for me. I knew in not only my head but my heart as well. I made a commitment to AA to keep coming back drunk, sober or crazy.
Right then and there the obsession to drink was lifted and hasn’t returned. That was over 25 years ago. My sponsor told me that I had done my second and third steps. I came to believe and made my decision, which he then walked me through the next 4 steps immediately.
He told me that doing what the big book says is lot better than just reading about what to do.
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by desypete »

hi and welcome
in my early days i had to eat plenty of chocolate or sweet sugery things, as that helped a lot with cravings also i had to drink plenty of water i can remember a time i was really in need of a drink and i had a cold drink of water and i drank it in one go and boy did that hit the spot
the one thing that i had to try to avoid doing was just sitting there thinking about a drink and do noting
i had to keep myself busy when there wasnt meetings to go to, when i was in my flat alone my head would really be driving me nuts. so they had told me to pick up the phone or clean my shoes, clean my flat do anything at all but keep busy
what i found was when i started to clean my shoes which i didnt want to do but when i did i was busy and i would like it so clean more and more and before i knew it hours would of passed and i never thought of a drink while i was busy

of course i went to aa meetings day and night as i had no work and it got me out of my flat and being alone with my head. they told me to do 90 meetings in 90 days just give it a try for 90 days and if at the end of the 90 days you still feel like you feel then you can always go back to drinking with no harm done

of course they knew in those 90 days my head would start to clear and in the meetings i would hear so much and learn so much and it was the start of my road to recovery

the best bit of advice i had given to me in my first meeting was to not pick up that first drink, if i dont pick up that first drink i can not get drunk and its so true

i not only had a problem about drinking my problem was when i took a drink i would get drunk, i didnt take a drink and stay sober i was or would be blind drunk and in that state i could do and did do many horrible things and hurt anyone who cared about me which i hated myself for the next day when i would sober up and have to face the horrors of whatever i had done, but then i am an alcoholic and its what happens, its perfectly normal for that sort of thing to happen to alcoholics as once they take that first drink its game over

anyway try and get yourself over to some meetings and try them out, try different types of meetings and if you can it might help if you could talk in the meeting let them all know exactly where your at, dont worry they will have all been there at some point on there journey, be as honest in the meeting as you are here and you will find real help
good luck to you and no matter what keep on coming back
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Re: Struggling Newcomer

Post by steephills »

Recovery is tough. Just know that you're not the only one struggling alone. I'm coming up on my 30 days, but I don't have a sponsor. I try to think of sober days like a winning streak...the more I keep up the more I'm winning. It's kind of silly I know, and it doesn't always work, but I really try to work the 1st and 2nd steps and remind myself that one sip will throw my whole streak off.
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