Condescension in AA

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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby tomsteve » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:09 am

Splicer_777 wrote:
I get it, I get how the program's supposed to work and everything, but I often can't overcome the notion that people in AA act like robots parroting one another, and if you dare challenge the program at all and not act like a parrot, they tell you that YOU WILL RELAPSE the last thing an alcoholic needs to hear. There has to be more than 1 way to work the 12 steps. If rigid adherence to dogmatism is what it takes, then I suppose some people let themselves get hypnotized while others will perish.

that definately happens,splicer. ive been sober a while. when i got to a meeting ill start with,"greatful for the program and the choices its given me, the greatest choice being whether or not i pick up that next drink."
ive been hammered with,"you dont have a choice!!"
and ill think,"really? so if ya slap a bottle of jim beam in front of me i wont have a choice?" :)

there is a stipulation in the BB to remaining recovered- the maintenence of our spiritual condition. for most it is a necessity. there are some who dont need to do that and they can remain sober.how? i dont know.

there are close minded people in AA just as there are in every other organization and even out in the world in general- their way or no way! :) quite often i have had to tune certain people out at meetings.
there is more than one right way to work the steps. ive heard of people complicating the crap out of it with a jillion worksheets and a bunch of other crap found on the net. theres ones,like myself, who have done it just as the big book says- kept it simple. the simpler i made it the easier it was.
the end goal is to recover from the hopeless state of mind and body. however it works, achieving that end goal is important.

there is also more than one wrong way to work the steps.i think many of us here can add up a few people that shared that after returning from a roadtrip.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Brock » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:32 am

Splicer_777 wrote:So I picked up the 12x12 on a seat next to me and started reading through the 5th step, got inspired, and spoke up about how in my recovery this is the one part that I haven't done yet and quoted directly:
"until we had talked with complete candor of our conflicts, and had listened to someone else do the same thing, we still didn't belong. Step Five was the answer. It was the beginning of true kinship with man and God" so I told that I believe I'm now at Step 5.

It also says this in the big book after step 5 (with a little highlight by me) -
Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.

Since you have said that with various sponsors you have reached step 4, and have lots of notes, it’s a shame you never got to 5, which is a vital step. Not casting blame on anyone, but a good sponsor wouldn’t allow that. He might instead say at the start of #4 something like, ‘you have three weeks to complete this and we are meeting on X date to do #5,’ no backing out.

The writers go to the trouble of including stories of early AA success, like the lawyer in ‘A Vision for You,’ two members helped him with the steps while in hospital, they say - “On the third day the lawyer gave his life to the care and direction of his Creator, and said he was perfectly willing to do anything necessary. His wife came, scarcely daring to be hopeful, though she thought she saw something different about her husband already. He had begun to have a spiritual experience. That afternoon he put on his clothes and walked from the hospital a free man.” Yes a free man, it says further on he never drank again and had a successful business and life. Maybe three days is rushing it a bit, but there is no excuse for dragging it out like many in meetings seem to believe is necessary. Perhaps you can have a listen on you tube by typing in ‘AA Chris R,’ a good no nonsense speaker, who after being around AA for years like yourself, (and myself), met the right people, and two weeks later sitting on the tray of his truck crying tears of joy, obsession gone!

Also keep in mind that step 5 can be done with anyone, if you review your notes and feel ready, go for it, it’s much easier than it appears on paper, once you start talking it will flow. You might ask someone in AA simply ‘will you hear my #5,’ if that’s a problem, a priest or other professional is a good choice. Get this done and start feeling the power of the program, it’s hard to describe but it works very well.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Frihed89 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:39 am

tomsteve wrote:[
that definately happens,splicer. ive been sober a while. when i got to a meeting ill start with,"greatful for the program and the choices its given me, the greatest choice being whether or not i pick up that next drink."
ive been hammered with,"you dont have a choice!!"
and ill think,"really? so if ya slap a bottle of jim beam in front of me i wont have a choice?" :)


That's really wild. AA has taught me that I do have choices and how to make good choices. Knowledge comes in two forms, through authority and through experience. AA is program based on philosophical pragmatism, not authority.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Blue Moon » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:56 am

Brock wrote:Since you have said that with various sponsors you have reached step 4, and have lots of notes, it’s a shame you never got to 5, which is a vital step. Not casting blame on anyone, but a good sponsor wouldn’t allow that.


A good sponsor would never do that. We do not get to dictate if or when any person will become ready for any step. A "good" sponsor will hold the individual accountable (including question why anyone apparently got through several sponsors and several inventories yet without ever taking their 5th). A good sponsor will question what was overlooked at Step 1 which resulted in a loss of willingness further along, or maybe talk through expectations (eg don't expect the inventory to be "perfect").

Many balk at Step 4. That's not the sponsor's fault, it simply means that the individual is not yet ready to fully look at self. The sponsor who tries to force an agenda has no business calling themselves "sponsor". Instead, they should take a long, hard look at their own ego.

The writers go to the trouble of including stories of early AA success,

They also go to great lengths to discuss willingness: a necessity prerequisite that AA itself doesn't provide. We can only try to encourage it to happen. Willingness, open-mindedness and honesty come from within.

IMO there is only 1 reason to stop in the middle of Step 4: if the individual has not really taken Step 1. Once you realise what untreated alcoholism really entails, then having taken Step 3 and started writing, you will stop at nothing.

In this regard, I think AA meetings are a problem. I rarely sit in a meeting with someone dying right next to me.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Splicer_777 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:06 am

OK so I went back to that meeting and it was a lot better. I got over my resentments. There's this pattern where if I spend too much time alone, and it's like a timebomb and my thoughts become morbid and self-devouring and its a scary-good, seductive feeling and I never see it coming. I guess you could define it as "taking the power back" and "turning my back to God" or "slamming the door shut to spirituality" but I do this instinctively, its like an unconscious defense mechanism, its my very nature that I've relied on my entire life.
The problem is I love being alone, being around other humans throws me into anxiety overload and then there is such a wonderful sense of relief when I shut the door and I'm in my room again. Honestly "fellowship" has always been the roughest part of AA for me... especially with all those cursed cigarettes!

So I was at the meeting and there was a greater variety of people and it all sounded good, although one lady got a little too excited talking about God and whatnot, like a fervid bishop or something, but anyways, the meeting went well but one other lady said that she loved drinking in a bar, she said that for women it made them feel sexier while for men it made them feel "bulletproof and 10-feet tall" the word bulletproof planted a seed in my mind, it sounded really nice, I want to be bulletproof, I am invincible, wow... then I thought that since all I've drank recently was Bacardi, I should try beer again... I haven't had quality beer in such a long time... and I think it was kind of too late at this point. So I went to the gym, got a decent workout and then picked up a sixpack of really good quality beer called "Voodoo Ranger".
Shockingly, I only drank 3 of the beers while having a steak and a nutrient-rich kale salad... right, very controlled to minimize damage and prevent the hangover but I woke up with a massive headache. I have 3 beers left for the evening... I don't wtf to do... my life feels like a time bomb there's a dreadful sense of inevitability to it all and its rather tragic because I am such a gifted person with tremendous potential... this disease is so unstoppable and so destructive. And destruction seems to feel good initially, lead us not into temptation....
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Spirit Flower » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:12 am

Check out page 35 of the Big Book, the story of Jim. If he put whisky in milk, it shouldn't affect him!

And then it focuses on the type of thinking, plain insanity. And then why self knowledge doesn't work. And finally at the end of the chapter, that our defense has to come from something other than myself.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Spirit Flower » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:12 am

Some clubs don't allow smoking.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Tosh » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:35 am

Splicer_777 wrote:
It seems like I have to yield to some kind of Groupthink in order to really "get" this and I have to choose total submission or inevitable early death.


There's only one requirement to be a member of A.A., and even then I've never seen that enforced (and I'm not sure how it would be enforced either).

I just tip up at meetings, listen, I don't have to agree with anything or everything, and I share the stuff that I think might be helpful.

Then I go home and eat dinner, watch some TV, and go to bed; sober, tired and happy.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:01 am

I don't wtf to do... my life feels like a time bomb there's a dreadful sense of inevitability to it all and its rather tragic because I am such a gifted person with tremendous potential... this disease is so unstoppable and so destructive. And destruction seems to feel good initially, lead us not into temptation....


We all get there and stand at the end of the fork. The key is to realize deeply the futility and hopelessness the way we living as the big book puts it. Its a good spot to be in, we could then realize something got to change. Or else, we will be stuck in that vicious cycle of alcoholism. The mental twist, the spiritual malady takes us right back to that first drink. You will see that in the meetings. Many just sit and grind and not move forward, then that insidious thought comes back. The 1st drink. And out and off to the races.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby PaigeB » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:53 am

Splicer_777 wrote:OK so I went back to that meeting and it was a lot better. I got over my resentments. There's this pattern where if I spend too much time alone, and it's like a timebomb and my thoughts become morbid and self-devouring and its a scary-good, seductive feeling and I never see it coming....

Did you ever hear the one about the guy who goes to the doctor and says, "When I do this, My elbow hurts." And the doctor says, "Ok, well, don't do that!"

Seriously though, I totally know what you mean. And I can tell you somethings from my experience
1. The Steps are the answer to long term sobriety. Period.

2. The Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous brings a ray of Sunshine to my life like nothing else ever has. I had to open the meeting last night. It was rainy and cold (sorta lol). I pulled in and NO ONE was there. I felt like turning around and going home. But I have the key and "integrity" is not something I care to give up. So I walked a few steps from the handicap spot to the door. Inside is a long walk (for a person with a cane she is too vain to use) to handle the all the opening chores. But I have been doing it for a couple years now, so I set about it. Of course I was joined quickly by others who lent a hand. And it was like my thoughts had never been rainy or cold. For a Big Book reference see: A Vision for You. I too love my time alone and the longer I go to AA the longer I can go without calling myself dreadful things I would never say to another human. It took some practice and several months of sober time, but I am now pretty comfortable in my own skin. Too much time alone is unnecessary when you can get to a meeting. If you can't get to a meeting, say the opening prayers & listen to a speaker tape.
I have 3 beers left for the evening... I don't wtf to do... my life feels like a time bomb there's a dreadful sense of inevitability to it all and its rather tragic because I am such a gifted person with tremendous potential... this disease is so unstoppable and so destructive. And destruction seems to feel good initially, lead us not into temptation....

I note that you feel the same when taking too much time alone or when deciding about those last 3 beers. Indecision SUCKS! Once you make a decision, you'll feel better. You might feel scared to death, but you can dump those down the drain. You never HAVE to drink again. I made a decision to try this thing (AA) for 3 months. They told me that my misery was refundable - I could have it back if I wanted it. I made it to decision day and I decided maybe I will get a sponsor and work the Steps and see what happens. I never looked back for very long - It hurts to think "maybe I over estimated my disease - maybe I can do it this time". I Know better. I cannot drink safely ever again. Even back then, before the Steps - I KNEW I had this disease and that it would get me and there are many ways to die of this disease. Conversely, there are many ways to recognize such a SOBER gifted person with tremendous potential. Quit putting out your own Light with all that booze!

Glad that meeting didn't suck so bad. Keep going back - hit a few others just to make sure you know where they are and see who ya see there. It WILL come in handy later.

And now you have a Light to light the path - "Lead us not into temptation" VS "I never see it coming" :wink: Peace.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Brock » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:11 pm

Splicer said -
...my thoughts become morbid and self-devouring and its a scary-good, seductive feeling...

That's why things like resentments are so sneaky and hard to kick, they give a weird but real pleasure, the program does cut these down to size and eventually remove them entirely.
Honestly "fellowship" has always been the roughest part of AA for me…

All the more reason to commit and get through the steps, when we do that we don’t need ‘fellowship’ or meetings to stay sober, but rather as a way to give back and help newcomers. You can do that in other ways if you choose to, everyone replying here is attempting to help both yourself and any other new reader, and it feels good to do.

The thing is we need a source of strength, the books say that comes from a higher power, some folks may say it comes partly from a higher power and partly from the power of the ‘fellowship.’ I disagree, because if fellowship was essential, all those who live & work where meetings are non existent, or few and far between, would be in trouble. But it means that your belief in, and connection to a higher power, needs to be solid.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby positrac » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:18 am

Spicer, you know like my drinking when I got tired or got bossed out of a bar due to my inabilities to play nice I found another bar. In AA finding other meetings can help and provide something that you need and the desire to want what they have. Sweating the small stuff like "God" will get you drunk! I was told a long time ago to take what I need and leave the rest.

I am a loaner and at times I was my worst enemy because of the crap between my ears started to grow bigger and bigger and stinking thinking got me in some funks! I had to find a person I could relate to and just try and trust that they were in my best interest for the recovery aspect of my life.

If you are looking for the easier softer way then you can go back out and see if you can wrangle that drinking into some logical control! But I am thinking the same result will happen and so I suggest that you have nothing to lose and so much to gain by submitting to step 1 and press forward as you did when you drank. Rain or shine you met your daily dose of the booze and so same should go into AA and your well being as 1 hour or so a day is not much to give up if it keeps you sober and becoming a changed person.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Splicer_777 » Fri Aug 24, 2018 4:20 am

OK I got drunk again last night, exercised all day, and started really late. Drank an entire bottle of dessert wine which isn't much at all by my standards. Made sure to eat a really nutritious salad afterwards and woke up feeling OK with no hangover.
You see, I know that it's all an illusion of control. Mitigating factors allowing myself leeway and a small slip-up. I know it's BS so I've removed some triggers to prevent that from happening again.

I think it's imperative that I don't become too resentful at AA but its so painfully outdated and dogmatic. There are secular AA meetings out there that get rid of all the ritualized nonsense and I think that's what it ought to be everywhere. Maybe then we'd have a higher success rate. If I didn't hear the words "steps" and "submission" I could get more into this. The wording needs to change.

IDK I feel everything I say here and in AA meetings is so inappropriate so it's better to keep my mouth shut. Here I can come on to vent because, gotta love internet anonymity.
At meetings you're not really anonymous. It's always the same people. Always! SAME people. Day in and day out. Telling the same stories, saying the same things. How dull can it get?
I am a great believer in "take what works and leave the rest". Sobriety, "fellowship", sponsorship is always cute and refreshing at first. But then it gets stale because I get to know my sponsor too well and it all falls apart. I've had 10 different sponsors and it seems that I eventually relapse because of my sponsor! I don't think I can handle others telling me what to do. AA is so flawed, unfortunately. Best I can do is take some distraction material to meetings to keep myself mentally stimulated and sit there and glean what I can, without becoming bored to death and fidgety and develop a resentful attitude towards AA. I can't afford to be resentful at AA.
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby Brock » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:37 am

Yes it is outdated, and some of us believe the wording could be ‘modernized,’ blaming that and too much God talk, or people who say the same things day in day out, is all very normal for newcomers. I used similar excuses for about thirty years, going in and out of AA, finally reaching a bottom so low that I accepted what the language was, and that many people repeated themselves every time they spoke. In one part of the big book it says ‘the wording is of course optional,’ that is in reference to a certain prayer, I apply it to all of AA.

Like many others, the time will probably come when you have no option but to overlook AA’s perceived shortcomings. As I said before, do the work, find recovery, then you won’t be dependent on the outdated language and boring people or meetings. My experience is that recovery comes with a dose of humility, which has me looking at the meetings and people there with a new understanding. I still don’t like it when certain members are called to speak, and I know basically word for word what they are going to say. I mentioned Chris R to you, and he goes on about this ‘problem’ sometimes, he says some people feel that their war story is all they have, and just repeat it over and over, when my turn comes to speak I let that be a lesson, and try not to do the same thing.

A couple weeks ago, a new lady member on two occasions recommended to other newcomers, that they read Russell Brands book, (Freedom from our Addictions), on the 12 steps. Most AA groups get upset with recommendations like that, they say ‘AA approved literature only,’ so wanting to find fault with this fellow, I watched him on you tube and he has a show on Netflix. I found fault all right, skinny effeminate excuse for a man, with shoulder length hair and every second word starting with F. But still I persevered to give him every chance, and managed to get a free download of his book, I read a bit and pretty well changed my mind. For some people, his explanation of the steps and how to approach them, would no doubt be helpful, like you he hated the meetings for the same reasons at first. Maybe you can get a hard copy or download of this, the language is certainly ‘modern.’
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Re: Condescension in AA

Postby tomsteve » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:31 am

splicer, something on the success rate:
why blame AA for it? it isnt AA that is successful or not- its the drunk.
plus, people that attend/work every other recovery program/plan dont have the greatetst of success either.

however, there are millions upon millions of families past and present that are very greatful for AA. AA helped their loved one not be a drunken,arrogant, self centered, egotistical SOB.

ive heard and read many people say the BB is outdated, yet nothing to really back it up. yeahyeahyeah- science has discovered this and that and all that jibber jabber- how alcohol effects this that and the other in the brain and body. that doesnt do anything to treat the underlying issues alcohol is just a symptom of.

dogmatic-yup. and greatful that it has helped athiests,agnostics,satanists, muslims, hindhus, jews, and people of every faith and belief get sober for a very long time.


sure hope ya get to the point real soon that ya decide yoouve had enough.
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