the exact way to stay sober

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positrac
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the exact way to stay sober

Post by positrac » Wed Aug 26, 2015 3:12 am

Lately I keep reading all of this big book related posts and if I were new to AA and or any point of recovery I might run out the door because it seems more about being right than about being and or showing compassion to the new comer.

We can verbally greet and we can't shake hands and or give a hug to a soul who needs to know they actually matter.

We can throw the book out and make all this noise about Steps, Steps and more Steps. That comes later and that comes when that person is able to smile, look like they are actually breathing, and or have that shine in the eyes that provides hope to us and to them if this were F2F. I am not sure is their is a specific signature day by day rules book on AA membership. In 1989 no such thing existed and outside of living sober, 12X12 and the BB it was pretty thin and pretty easy to navigate.

We need to be willing to express our Experience, Strength, and Hope without chasing folks away and without judgment and overall I believe most are trying to achieve that part when welcoming.

The following I believe are important and online it is solely up to that individual to reach out and make it happen if they expect, and or want to find sobriety via that desire that is spoke of in our literature.

1) find a F2F meeting as to have accountability and so another human can actually see you and help answer questions on the fly as thoughts are poised to questions.

2) Find a sponsor who is actually being sponsored and active in AA.

3) Find a home group and attend Big Book/12X12 meetings as they lay out elements of recovery.

4) Work the steps.


#4 work as necessary as this is a life long event.

It is difficult enough to admit we have a problem and express that desire let alone having to read passages from some foreign book call the Big Book. We all go at this differently and since I haven't found the exact no bull format I know that is why it is called suggested---------- Suggested because we have nothing to lose if we try it and a lot if we refuse. Oh yes many will come and go as they are not ready yet to and haven't the desire and thus is why and how the seed is planted.

Bottom line is I can want it more than they do each and every time a new comer posts; although if they aren't ready then no amount of pressing will change that mental attitude. That is why we pray they will see the light why they are still with us and not on the way out.

If you are new and trying to figure this out all I can say is we all have been through hell via our excessive drinking and who knows what else. We sincerely want you to get sober and join this lifestyle. It is all up to you if you are willing and yes it will hurt at times as we didn't get this way over night and we will not get better over night. It takes times for all of this to settle and it shouldn't scare you although it might.

Keep coming back and it works if you work it is really all I know. I am far from AA member of the month or year and never want that recognition either.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

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avaneesh912
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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by avaneesh912 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:20 am

I think most of us here are suggesting the same. Some focus on where to find the direction on working the steps more than some others. You mentioned there was nothing outside "living sober" "12 and 12" and big book back in 1989. Are you referring to the book "Living Sober" book? Before that book and even before 12 and 12 we just had the big book. So what do you think of that period?

Everybody is going to carry the message the way they received it. Some get a sponsor who thrust them immediately into the 12 steps and that worked for them, some took 4 years to even get to their 4th step inventory and he is going to share his experience. And then there are scores of people who struggled with the powerlessness and un-manageability part and they too going to share their story.

Yesterday at the beginners meeting, a person was harping on the phenomenon of craving part, nothing about the mental part of the disease, nothing about the spiritual malady. Thats how it works. What are we going to do about it? Stop him and tell him that its just not the craving part? Thats why its important to point the newcomers to the basic Text. Even then, there is no gaurantee, he /she is going to absorb the key piece of the puzzle.
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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Brock
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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by Brock » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:43 am

avaneesh912 wrote: Everybody is going to carry the message the way they received it. .
This of course is one of the problems I point out every time I get an opportunity, it may not be quite as bad as saying everybody does that, but certainly it would be safe to say the vast majority of sponsors have this “that’s the way my sponsor showed me” feeling about the steps, and unfortunately there is probably very little we can do about it. Some folks have more brain power and common sense than others, some perhaps a natural ability to understand like a trained psychologist or psychiatrist might what a person is feeling, and therefore to adapt what they were shown to be of maximum benefit to others. The guidelines for sponsorship given in ‘approved’ literature covers only the obvious pitfalls to look out for, perhaps one day we may have a more complete guide.

I find positrac’s list fine, except for # 2, --“Find a sponsor who is actually being sponsored and active in AA.” Early on he says “In 1989 no such thing existed and outside of living sober, 12X12 and the BB it was pretty thin and pretty easy to navigate.” The book living sober is the only place I know of where we get an ‘approved’ AA view on how long we keep a sponsor, I have quoted it many times, basically it recommends show them the steps then say goodbye. We have also discussed here under the topic of ‘should a person be allowed to sponsor if they don’t have a sponsor themselves,’ there was the view that if I get stuck I can call my sponsor for advice on how to deal with the new man, and this has some merit. If I were the new man I would much prefer my sponsor put up the problem on a site like this, and from the various answers pick the one(s) which would best apply to the personality and needs he thinks I possess.

The very fact that more than one answer would be suggested is often used as the main line of defence, by those who are quite probably flirting with a co-dependency addiction to long term sponsorship. They say that if they are offered different suggestions like sometimes happens on forums like this, the alcoholic thinking might have them taking the easiest softest route; therefore I need a sponsor to call me on my BS, try having a little backbone and call yourself out. Anyone who can’t see where they are going wrong by applying the tools learned in this program, and has a need for someone to point BS out, I am afraid should reconsider whether they have the ability to properly sponsor someone else.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by BPG » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:21 am

positrac wrote:Lately I keep reading all of this big book related posts and if I were new to AA and or any point of recovery I might run out the door because it seems more about being right than about being and or showing compassion to the new comer.

We can verbally greet and we can't shake hands and or give a hug to a soul who needs to know they actually matter.

We can throw the book out and make all this noise about Steps, Steps and more Steps. That comes later and that comes when that person is able to smile, look like they are actually breathing, and or have that shine in the eyes that provides hope to us and to them if this were F2F. I am not sure is their is a specific signature day by day rules book on AA membership. In 1989 no such thing existed and outside of living sober, 12X12 and the BB it was pretty thin and pretty easy to navigate.

We need to be willing to express our Experience, Strength, and Hope without chasing folks away and without judgment and overall I believe most are trying to achieve that part when welcoming.
Nice post, Positrac. I think this needed to be said.

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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by ezdzit247 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:47 am

BPG wrote:
positrac wrote:Lately I keep reading all of this big book related posts and if I were new to AA and or any point of recovery I might run out the door because it seems more about being right than about being and or showing compassion to the new comer.

We can verbally greet and we can't shake hands and or give a hug to a soul who needs to know they actually matter.

We can throw the book out and make all this noise about Steps, Steps and more Steps. That comes later and that comes when that person is able to smile, look like they are actually breathing, and or have that shine in the eyes that provides hope to us and to them if this were F2F. I am not sure is their is a specific signature day by day rules book on AA membership. In 1989 no such thing existed and outside of living sober, 12X12 and the BB it was pretty thin and pretty easy to navigate.

We need to be willing to express our Experience, Strength, and Hope without chasing folks away and without judgment and overall I believe most are trying to achieve that part when welcoming.
Nice post, Positrac. I think this needed to be said.
I agree.

The only way there could ever be an "exact way to stay" sober in AA is if all alcoholics were exactly alike, were all exactly the same exact sex, age, education, ethnic group, culture, etc, all drank exactly the same, and all had exactly the same issues, etc, etc, etc. If that were the case, alcoholics wouldn't need AA. All they'd need a is software engineer to replace their fried microchips and/or circuitry because they'd be alcoholic robots, not human beings.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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PaigeB
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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by PaigeB » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:27 pm

avaneesh912 wrote: You mentioned there was nothing outside "living sober" "12 and 12" and big book back in 1989. Are you referring to the book "Living Sober" book? Before that book and even before 12 and 12 we just had the big book. So what do you think of that period?
What about before the Big Book? What of the "flying blind" period? Bill & Bob used many pieces of life and experience to cobble together the Big Book. One book I recently found was Emmitt Fox, Power Through Constructive Thinking. Is that an even better way?

NO. I think the spirit of positrac's post is that we do what we can and the rest is up to the sufferer.

Around here the rally cry is:
1) Do you have a Big Book? If not we can get you one.
2) Here is a meeting list with all our (gender match) phone numbers... Call us.
3) Get a sponsor and a home group
4) Work the Steps, that is where the recovery is
5) Keep coming back - we'll be here.

My sponsorship line is big on using the 12 & 12 alongside the Big Book. I never read Living Sober and do not suggest it to my sponsees. I sponsor the way I was sponsored. I guess I am lucky to get sober in an area where conference approved literature is used. If anyone's area is not, then maybe someone needs to go to a local district meeting and talk about how you can get such a message to your groups.
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by Tommy-S » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:31 pm

Well put Lee,

And I'm glad we are all having a discussion on "How to best help the newcomer"

If, when I came through the doors, someone had thrust a book at me and said it held my answers, I would have left and maybe never returned. While I'm grateful we have members who know the book in depth, I sense at times the approach may not be as effective as it could.

For me, the first thing AA had to do was make me feel welcome... They allowed me the freedom to listen and learn, so I could come to an understanding that they really were interested in helping me without receiving anything from me in return... I didn't have to buy a book, subscribe to a belief, do any homework, endure any lectures, etc. I had to be free to share without fear of being told I had 'it wrong' in according to some book. When I finally saw those AAs had no hidden agenda, it was the little trust I needed to start opening up and sharing a little of how sick I was.

I wasn't interested in what a book said, I was interested in what the people shared with me. (The Big Book became a tool only AFTER I had a sponsor, someone who could field my questions and help me understand what I had to do to find a way out of that Mad Realm of Alcohol)

And for quite a bit of those early days, all I was capable of understanding was how to set up and put away tables, chairs, books, ashtrays... but that was enough to help me feel I was part of AA.

I realize that's a huge difference between face to face and online, so there's a greater challenge of how to get to know the newcomer and make them feel part of, instead of apart from... At times, I wonder if posts I read on e-AA may be creating more 'apart from' rather than 'a part of'.

I can know the book inside and out, but if I can not transmit that knowledge to someone new, I'm failing in my responsibility to carry the Message of Hope and Recovery AA offers and the Big Book records for those yet to come

Just thinking out loud...

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!

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Niagara
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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by Niagara » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:22 pm

It's a tricky thing I find to transmit a message online. A big part of it is missing....how do we carry ourselves? I can hear the best message in the world in a face to face meeting, but if the person speaking it is dead behind the eyes, and quite clearly miserable, the words hold no weight and depth. Here, we have only words on a screen.

That's not to say it's valueless...indeed, if it were not for E-AA giving me a good starting point, I likely would never have made that first face to face meeting, and so on. But for as many replies as I got, and as many posts as I read, I didn't relate to all of them.

The best I can do is give my E/S/H as it is...if someone relates to that, great. If someone doesn't but relates to a completely different post in the same thread....also great.

The book thumpin' approach worked for me...and that's my E/S/H. People telling me like it is, also worked for me. I didn't run a mile at the 'G' word, or the suggestion that I have a spiritual malady. That same approach might send someone else scurrying for the hills. I have to carry the message that I believe in. What works for one, doesn't work for another, but the fact that so many welcome newcomers here, with very different methods, suggests that all of our hearts are in the right places, and hopefully the newcomer can relate to at least one of us.

I have wondered if perhaps it's different for women. It was a bit of a short, sharp shock for me when people actually started telling me the truth....people can tend to be very soft and nurturing towards women, more so I've noticed than towards men. As a woman, I was used to that, I'd used it all my life to get by, after all. I needed something 'other' to get the job done here.

I might get stoned to death for this ( :shock: ) but I don't hug in AA meetings. I know how offputting I found it at first. Jeez, get out of my personal space, will ya. If I feel a person is approachable and not too terrified, I do shake hands, but a lot of this stuff is done by reading the situation on the spot, and I daresay I often get what is needed completely wrong - but my heart is in the right place.

I guess that my sponsorship could be considered long term sponsorship now, as he took me through the steps quite rapidly, and the obsession was removed back then. But I am under no illusion that he can do my growing for me. I find it valuable because sometimes with my own best thinking (despite the inventories,prayer and meditation) I sometimes still misdiagnose the problem, if that makes sense. It happens a lot less these days ( I think ) but I know if something keeps cropping up repeatedly, I'm probably missing the point, and he can usually direct me without actually giving me the answer. That stuff is mine to deal with. He more shines a light, if you will ;)

I am thankful for the guidance. I realized pretty quickly that I actually know very little about love, life, relationships. I have the maturity level of a toddler sometimes I think, but perhaps I'm fortunate in that I don't have my answers handed me on a plate. I learn nothing when it's given for free. Got to touch the fire, to realize it burns.....someone else telling me just doesn't get the job done, most of the time.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month -
Theodore Roosevelt

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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by Duke » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:29 pm

Wow. The articulate, thoughtful responses to this post tell me that we're in good shape whatever your opinion on the post or the responses. Thanks for caring so much folks. It's helps me remember why I make the effort to come here each day. Even with all the differences inherent in the method of communication, we are obviously the first place many people come to. I'm glad there's so much passion about assuring we do our best to make sure they come back.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by Lali » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:48 pm

Positrac, when you say that the BB was pretty thin in 1989, I wonder what edition that was? Wasn't there one edition where there were no stories included?...And instead, the stories were all in the Language of the Heart? It wasn't the 3rd, so it must've been the 1st or 2nd.

I'm just curious and I know that some of you guys...Tosh... are big on AA history so I thought I'd throw this out atcha'
Step 1: I can't
Step 2: He can
Step 3: I think I'll let him

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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by positrac » Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:02 am

Clarification on points:

1. No template, no app, no spread sheet ect that is the exact no holes barred war to get, stay, live sober besides what I kind of mentioned. BB like it is now except with older stories in the back and the original 165 pages up front on how it works. 12X12, living sober (Yellow book) andf in fact that little jewel saved me as I was lost and it did explain details like time management no that I was not drinking. Thought for the day -- 24 hour meditation book in which I have two. My grandmothers when she got sober in 1955 and mine I bought in 1990 and as Bill sees it and I might be missing a few more although these are my favorites.

2. Pre AA the possibilities of sobriety were a death sentence.

What I can say is this: If we all had it in one sock then AA wouldn't exist and we'd be doing something else in life. Obviously we all missed that memo because here we are..... :wink:

I am not opposed to the self seeking work necessary to survive and one person who really helped me and it was when I was willing to take chances with step work was my grandmother. She spoke of a lot of stuff in a loving manner and I was so green that I had heard these ideas and yet I wasn't smart enough to know the direction. She said going to meetings is the awakening and reaching out is the promise and the more I give back the more I receive as it is a two way street. For me in 1989 our meetings in San Francisco were in two arenas. Stoners still using and old timers laying it down the hard way as they delivered the message as they had received it years earlier. Lucky for me I came from the rougher side of things and they just growled and I smiled and was willing to comply. 21st century people need to be treated a certain way or else they take it personal. My grandmother died with over 50 years sober and what she taught me is all of the current literature will work and all of this other stuff is a mere distraction to the current problem and the symptom of our disease.

I believe we need to be brought down a few rungs on the ladder to remind us all how fragile our gift is and that we are not cured until our last breath.
If the shoe fits then put it on and a reminder we aren't supposed to be playing with peoples lives now that we have completed our steps and are trying to mentor the new comer.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

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Re: the exact way to stay sober

Post by ezdzit247 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:44 am

positrac wrote:Clarification on points:

1. No template, no app, no spread sheet ect that is the exact no holes barred war to get, stay, live sober besides what I kind of mentioned. BB like it is now except with older stories in the back and the original 165 pages up front on how it works. 12X12, living sober (Yellow book) andf in fact that little jewel saved me as I was lost and it did explain details like time management no that I was not drinking. Thought for the day -- 24 hour meditation book in which I have two. My grandmothers when she got sober in 1955 and mine I bought in 1990 and as Bill sees it and I might be missing a few more although these are my favorites.

2. Pre AA the possibilities of sobriety were a death sentence.

What I can say is this: If we all had it in one sock then AA wouldn't exist and we'd be doing something else in life. Obviously we all missed that memo because here we are..... :wink:

I am not opposed to the self seeking work necessary to survive and one person who really helped me and it was when I was willing to take chances with step work was my grandmother. She spoke of a lot of stuff in a loving manner and I was so green that I had heard these ideas and yet I wasn't smart enough to know the direction. She said going to meetings is the awakening and reaching out is the promise and the more I give back the more I receive as it is a two way street. For me in 1989 our meetings in San Francisco were in two arenas. Stoners still using and old timers laying it down the hard way as they delivered the message as they had received it years earlier. Lucky for me I came from the rougher side of things and they just growled and I smiled and was willing to comply. 21st century people need to be treated a certain way or else they take it personal. My grandmother died with over 50 years sober and what she taught me is all of the current literature will work and all of this other stuff is a mere distraction to the current problem and the symptom of our disease.

I believe we need to be brought down a few rungs on the ladder to remind us all how fragile our gift is and that we are not cured until our last breath.
If the shoe fits then put it on and a reminder we aren't supposed to be playing with peoples lives now that we have completed our steps and are trying to mentor the new comer.
Great post, great food for thought.

I particularly like this about what you learned from your grandmother:
positrac wrote:...."She said going to meetings is the awakening and reaching out is the promise and the more I give back the more I receive as it is a two way street...."
I agree on every point.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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