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Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:23 am
by L_S
I identify with "my case is different" syndrome so much. I've never been in jail or risked being sent to jail. I've never risked physical safety though spiritually I've been dead for quite a while when the addiction started. People, places and things actually are better than what I had back then, but I still return to my drug of choice. I have been able to stop many times, but like right now, there is always some fear that I may slip and I even wish I could slip if it will be without any results.

Most of the time I get depressed after a slip or a relapse that affects relationships with everyone in my life, but I allowed myself to slip many times hoping that I wouldn't be depressed this time.

My addiction is still under control - I was never sent to jail or to hospitals. My social life was severely damaged probably, but it never threatened my physical safety. Compared to the time when I couldn't stop even for one day, I now am able to go on without it for months. What's the big deal if I slipped from time to time from month to month, year to year? Each time I slip I seem to get depressed to the point where it affects all of my relationships, but no one can send me to prison for getting depressed once every few months.

I wish I could believe I was not an addict, but the reason I get depressed is because I do. I can go on without it for a while, but then some distorted thinking creeps in, whispering, it's not a big deal, it's not anything illegal... it's not an addiction... even if it was, you can always try again (after slipping only this once)....

A lot of people will say mine is not an addiction. They'll tell me to relax and enjoy. I think maybe I will be able to stop if I did things the way they suggested. There's no guarantee and there is a big possibility that it may make me into a bigger worse addict... I think they're themselves addicts and want me to join them. They even rationalize using Scriptures. Some other people suggested that I may be an addict and could benefit from meetings, but I don't know. I only know I feel spiritually dead because of my behavior. It may not have been a coincidence that my depression was the worst when I was most heavily addicted to my addiction. They existed together though I don't know which came first.

I have no objection or a prejudice in admitting I'm an addict, but I realize I still had all these reasons why I may not be an addict. When life is ok for a few months, I wonder why I bought 12 x 12 or BB. Maybe that's the reason why I slipped recently after months of sobriety...

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:10 am
by avaneesh912
There are 2 powers in AA. The fellowship and then the power you receive once you complete the 1st 9 and start working on 10, 11 and 12 (on a daily basis).
This is just after the 3rd step Prayer:

Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision was vital and crucial step (Step 3), it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th).Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.
This is 10th step warning:

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee, Thy will (not mine) be done." These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.
Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.

Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation.
We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined. But this is not all. There is action and more action. "Faith without works is dead." The next chapter is entirely devoted to Step Twelve

Since we were powerless, we need all the Power we need out there in the world.

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:33 am
by martin08
L_S, I, too, never went to jail, never got arrested, lost a job or a home, but all my relationships suffered.

I'm paraphrasing.. "If, when you honestly want to, you can't quit entirely - or if you have little control of the amount take once you begin to drink, you are probably alcoholic." AA first paragraph in 'We Agnostics'.

This described me. No DWI's, accidents, etc. Just simply, alcohol was my master. Then I "honestly" needed to change. I couldn't do it on my own. I needed something more powerful than addiction and myself.

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:41 am
by Jim 725
I have no objection or a prejudice in admitting I'm an addict, .....
But you do seem to have an objection or prejudice in admitting you are an alcoholic, if indeed you are.
The first of AA's Twelve Steps is, "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."
"Sobriety - freedom from alcohol - through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group." (Pamphlet, "Problems Other Than Alcohol")
If you're an addict, you might be better served by joining an NA forum.
Jim S.

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 am
by jak
"The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking."

Addict or not.

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:34 am
by avaneesh912
thats the loop-hole addicts and other non-alcoholics with (other issues like compulsive spenders, over-eaters) use to enter Alcoholics Anonymous. As long as they follow the singleness of purpose we should be fine.

if they start talking about drugs, divorce, spending.... then it becomes an issue.

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:11 am
by Blue Moon
I've split this off from the Step 1 discussion, as this thread is now steering away from that Step.

We could also discuss "the real meaning of Tradition 3" in the Traditions forum :)

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 12:37 pm
by avaneesh912
But, somebody may ask, isn't this Tradition itself a rule? It does state one requirement for membership. Lets read it again, and ask another question: Who determines whether or not new-comers qualify, whether they do
want to stop drinking?
Obviously, nobody except the new-comers them-selves; everybody else simply has to take their word for it. In fact, they don't even have to say it aloud. And thats fortunate for many of us who arrived at AA. with only a halfhearted desire to stay sober. We are alive because the AA road stayed open to us.
This is an excerpt from The Twelve Traditions Illustrated link at Members services of Alcoholics Anonymous.

There is a Grapevine article by Bill W on singleness of purpose. There he talks about a drug addict going on a 12 step call for an alcoholic. There is no way the alcoholic will be able to identify when the Addict talks about his habits. That was the main reason they want to restrict AA for Alkies.

Today not many people go on 12 step calls, that is probably why many people don't realize the importance of the singleness of purpose tradition.

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:15 pm
by Blue Moon
I'd like to point out that you do not have to be either alcoholic or an AA member to be in these forums. Questions on "are you alcoholic?", "am I alcoholic?" and "what is this alcoholism thing anyway?" should be encouraged.

One problem is that most newcomers don't know if they're alcoholic.

I didn't. I just knew I had loads of problems, that alcohol was somehow involved, and that I seemed to have difficulty controlling and enjoying drinking. Yet I couldn't work out what was more miserable - being drunk or being dry.

Every time I tried to control my drinking, I didn't enjoy it.

Every time I enjoyed it, I seemed to end up spending half the night with dry-heaves in the bathroom.

When I was not drinking, I often seemed unable to stop thinking about it.

And when I did stop thinking about it, the resentments and regrets of other thoughts and memories had me really wanting to do something really stupid.

As a newcomer I really couldn't have told you if that's "alcoholic" or just plain nuts.

I have no problem with a person coming here and, upon mature and honest reflection, reaching a rational conclusion that they're not alcoholic.

I do have a problem with real alcoholics leaving here feeling more confused than if they never arrived. This includes those who have "outside issues" masking their alcoholism.

The other problem is non-alcoholics sharing non-alcoholic recovery :)

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:30 pm
by Jim 725
When life is ok for a few months, I wonder why I bought 12 x 12 or BB.
My addiction is still under control
"Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives."
.....but I still return to my drug of choice.
The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink."
Several years ago I helped an alcoholic check himself into a local treatment facility. Three days later he checked himself out because he couldn't identify with all the talk of drugs and addiction. We started going to AA meetings and as far as I know he's still sober.
The Grapevine article cited by avaneesh912 was reprinted as a pamphlet titled Problems Other Than Alcohol. Perhaps it should be copied and posted on the "Tradition Three" forum.
Jim S.

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:46 pm
by martin08
"Our drinking was but a symptom, so we had to get down to the roots and causes"

Once I reached step four, alcohol was rarely a subject. The roots and causes of my spiritual illness absolutely had to be addressed for recovery to take place.

Singleness of purpose is great if a sterilized fellowship is desired. The "Bedevilments" had to be expunged from me to make me available to the L_S's of this world.

Helping alcoholics/addicts of any kind is what God would have me do now. And it is the most rewarding aspect of my life today.

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:50 am
by L_S

Thank you so much avaneesh, martin, Jim S., jak, Ian S. for your replies. I meant to post earlier, but have been prevented because of computer problems. Maybe the devil played some tricks on me.

I am sorry if being a non alcoholic is a problem in AA. I don't drink either privately or socially because of religious reasons. My father's family all drank heavily and I'm the one who decided never to become like my father and ended up being just like him except for alcoholism.

I was advised to attend open AA meetings from someone at my online groups when I wrote I had no meetings locally. She said that's what she did a few decades ago when there were even fewer meetings or probably none even in Chicago area. I did as I was advised, but there are only 2 regular AA members in my rural town. When I called the main AA office, the staff said she's come across people in AA who had the same addiction as mine, but she advised me not to share about my DOC.

I know I'm not an alcoholic, but I believe I still am an addict. Will it still be a problem for a non alcoholic addict to attend open AA meetings?

p.s. I'm moving next week so I may not be able to respond to your feedback for a few weeks.

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:09 am
by avaneesh912
Group Conscience is the one that decides who is allowed and what should be discussed.

Where I go, it is totally messed up. Alcoholics sponsoring Addicts, Addicts sponsoring Alcoholics......

Somebody pointed out earlier, you pick a sponsor who "recovered from a similar condition" so that he/she may be able to pull you out of the hole with a vision.

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:10 am
by avaneesh912
A drunk fell in a hole and couldn't get out. A businessman went by. The drunk called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him get yourself a ladder. But the drunk could not find a ladder in this hole he was in.

A doctor walked by. The drunk said, "Help, I can't get out." The doctor gave him drugs and said, "Take this, it will relieve the pain." The drunk said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole.

A renowned psychiatrist rode by and heard the drunk’s cries for help. He stopped and said, "How did you get there? Were you born there? Were you put there by your parents? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness." So the drunk talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he'd be back next week. The drunk thanked him, but he was still in his hole.

A priest came by the drunk called for help. The priest gave him a Bible and said I'll say a prayer for you. He got down on his knees and prayed for the drunk, then left. The drunk was very grateful, he read the Bible, but he was still stuck in that hole.

A recovering alcoholic happened to be passing by. The drunk cried out, “Hey, help me, I'm stuck in this hole." Right away, the recovering alcoholic jumped in the hole with him. The drunk said, "What are you doing? Now we're both stuck here." But the recovering alcoholic said, “It's okay, I've been here before, I know how to get out.

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:45 am
by Blue Moon
L_S wrote:I know I'm not an alcoholic, but I believe I still am an addict. Will it still be a problem for a non alcoholic addict to attend open AA meetings?
In general, folks with an interest in AA or alcoholism are welcome to attend "open" AA meetings. What they can't do is become a member of the group, e.g. attend "group conscience" meetings, take on service commitments etc. They may also be expected to respect reasonable requests by the group (e.g. keeping the focus on alcoholism, not get too side-tracked into other issues).

But I think for you personally, for as long as you're bringing a non-alcoholic condition into an AA group, you'll always struggle with the "my case is different" symptom - because it is. If you never drank, you can never relate to and identify with someone's drinking background. For your own recovery and to benefit from feeling useful, I'd suggest actively seeking out the fellowship that you can relate to (e.g. NA, CA, OA, SA, MA, etc.)