Attending 12 STEP PROGRAMS...

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    Aug 16, 2010 2:01 AM GMT
    I've been in and out of these rooms for a LONG time... I mean, going to them and relating to these people have really become second nature to me.

    Recently I had to move from a city where I was in walking distance to AA meetings and I have been realizing I need to go back to them. I am in the process of trying to move back to a city where I am close to these meetings again. It feels like forever long wait!

    It's really hard to confess this shit to people but, in October of 2008 I had my final Cancer surgery and while at work, I was checking out some camping gear because I wanted to go fishing. Well, my boss comes up to me and asks me to do the impossible on a job and I got ticked off and quit. Soon after that I lost everything of course and I began getting drunk again. One day I got drunk in the morning but, at night I was completely sober (except for smoking some weed) and I tried to kill myself on a freeway and totaled my car... I mean, I wasn't even looking out for other people when I did this and I am SOOO damn glad I didn't hurt anyone.

    Last year I was on state disability and my drinking progressed, I destroyed a computer I owned and really became a riot in and out of the rooms of AA. I didn't have the slightest clue that it needed to stop. Recently where I moved to I began really abusing drugs and alcohol and with kidneys that might be going bad... I am beginning to wonder how long I am going to survive. I DID stop the drugs with the help of going broke but, hey at least it worked.. I just keep thinking DAMN I really have to move to a closer location. I have a friend that is going to them but, he is too far to pick me up until I can move closer to him.

    I have had Sponsor's... LOTS of them, I worked the steps up until sharing my inventory with them... I thought that was suppose to be it and then step 5 would just happen naturally although it never seemed to work out the way I thought it would... I usually give up right about then. I go back, observe what others are doing BUT STILL DON'T GET IT! I mean, WHAT IS THE EXACT NATURE OF SOMEONES WRONGS if that alone is suggesting it is ONE CERTAIN THING? I mean, I have searched my mind for what it could be but, I don't know what the hell it is!

    I see a Psychiatrist, don't get me wrong but... AA was suppose to cure all that I thought too! I have also noticed I have regressed a LOT from how determined I use to be in revealing this STEP 5 to someone. Part of me wonders maybe for ME they are in the wrong order... Like maybe I am too smart for my own good. Then some meetings are so religious like that I clash with it's authority. I've gone to church, done all the things they suggest we do to fix the problem but, I still cannot deny these people were RIGHT about something. I don't KNOW what that something is!

    Many times quite often I feel as though I confess myself as an Alcoholic but do not even BELIEVE this disease exists without SCIENTIFIC PROOF... Like the WHOLE thing should just be based upon that 5th step they go through... Some groups seem very spiritual to me and some groups just DON'T... So I forget that I believe it works even though I have never honestly tried it. I don't MIND introducing myself as an Alcoholic just to be respectful and not end up with a swarm of people wanting to know WHY I didn't introduce myself as one... Kind of like going to a Christian church but you aren't Christian. My IDEA of an Alcoholic differs just a little... To ME I always believed it was someone that had a serious drinking problem and desperately needs to talk about that problem. I probably wouldn't be so bad off if I DID learn that I have an allergy to drugs and Alcohol.

    Does ANYONE here relate to what I am going through at any lengths? Or am I doing like they sometimes say "you're trying too hard to figure it out." I KNOW I have to stop drinking or it is going to kill me. My kidneys are actually beginning to cause me strange sensations. I am sobering up today and very conscious of this fact. It's keeping down that path I'm worried about though... Once I feel all great I end up trying to make room for it again. Like if my Doctor says I'm fine tomorrow I am going to run out excited to go have another drink... But I am really praying right now that I will NOT be that stupid. I guess I am surprised that this topic is not listed under the health section... I wish it were.icon_sad.gif

    I really hate reaching out for help... If I admit to my Doctor tomorrow that I have been drinking again I am REALLY going to get reprimanded and I don't have much esteem even left to be humiliated much further. This trap I am in really does suck!
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    Aug 16, 2010 2:31 AM GMT
    Back in my early 20's when I really started partying (sheltered teen years), I got to know this drug dealer who was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, alcoholic, and serious drug addict. I knew him long enough to realize his problems started long before the drugs and alcohol...all those were just a crutch to deal with the mental bullshit he had to deal with. One day he'd be your best friend, the next don't even knock on his door or he'll start screaming and breaking shit.

    I still don't know if he ever succeeded, but he was in and out of drug and alcohol and mental help programs from before I knew him 'till I moved away...about 3 years. While I've never been there myself, I know it's not easy for you and I hope you get better.
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    Aug 16, 2010 3:15 AM GMT
    "I KNOW I have to stop drinking or it's going to kill me."

    That's the right path.

    My grandmother ran two halfway houses and was a social worker for the greater part of her life. I was around quite enough to understand, and I have also dealt with plenty of alcohol and drug abuse issues in the past.

    I don't personally attend AA, but I have been going with my mother/grandmother since I was about 12 years of age. I'm very familiar with the principles of the program. Honestly it gave me many psychological tools to cope with my own everyday problems.

    Regardless, you already know you're outcome. No one is gonna change but YOU. I know all about step 5 and how difficult this is for many, many people. So many years of drug abuse and suppression can make even recent memories and behaviors seem difficult to be honest about. There becomes that line of humiliation that no one wants to endure. Why would we ever humiliate ourselves? Because it's really the only way to develop a true personal relationship with Self. If you admit all of your faults to another human being than you put yourself at risk of being judged. No one wants that, but TAKE YOUR TIME. The 12 step program is about getting to know YOU through your own eyes. It's an ever developing process.

    Reminder, there are alcoholics that don't drink and never have. It's all addict behavior. What do addicts do best? Lie, steal, and cheat others/themselves. It doesn't necessarily have to be a manifested through a substance.
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    Aug 16, 2010 3:28 AM GMT
    OK, Jerred...now you've struck a nerve with me. I have been clean and sober for 20+ years...and it took me 10 years previous to that to finally get to the point where I was WILLING!!
    I've only had one sponsor..and he wasn't all that great, as he had about 45 guys that he was sponsoring, and to get him to even remember your name was a challenge. I NEVER worked the steps... I mean really WORKED.

    A couple of things you say kinda bother me... alcoholism IS an allergy to to alcohol. And for me, I strongly believe in a genetic factor, seeing how it runs in my family. Only in the men, however.
    I could really go on for hours on the subject...but I still have a firm belief in the anonymity of the program and do NOT care to open this up in a public forum.
    You may contact me privately, if you so wish. David
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    Aug 16, 2010 5:05 AM GMT
    Thanks for coming to the rescue... You know, I started thinking perhaps the problem has been that I have only been to straight AA meetings. My friend though I kind of want to have sponsor me because he does not judge gay people and I met him at church. He is really an incredible guy but STILL there are things I feel enormously uncomfortable talking to a straight guy about. Maybe what I have needed all these years is to find a Gay AA Meeting. The problem is I am so manipulative I don't know if that would be a good thing to do. Maybe what I do need is a relationship.... But that can't be because they say you shouldn't have them in your first year of sobriety... So what's the point of having a Gay AA Meeting? If I want to stay sober I'm going to lay my guilt out on the table no matter what the guy is... Right? I mean, the whole purpose is to become comfortable with myself... Shit, it's like no matter what I try I'm going to wind up in trouble for something. That defect of character stuff is REALLY bad in my case! Maybe I should just confess to my VERY GOOD friend that I am gay (damn that is hard to do) and see if he will take me to a Gay meeting... It would have to be a real BIG one though so I would just blend right in. Confessing I am gay though seems as hard as confessing I'm Alcoholic... It seems genetic in my family too. I just could never grasp the allergy part. I finally found a good topic here from 2008 that made sense... Like how I was a mess before I became an Alcoholic... I remember those really old AA commercials where they would pass around candles and I thought to myself these people just need to talk about it... I never thought I would be one of them. I was also hoping the disease wouldn't last forever like it apparently does. I do have to admit I am convinced I would probably get a LOT out of trying out a Gay AA Meeting for the first time. Thanks again for the advice.
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    Aug 16, 2010 1:41 PM GMT
    Jerred39 said... Confessing I am gay though seems as hard as confessing I'm Alcoholic...
    You've already confessed your diagnosis with schizophrenia, which carries a much stronger social stigma and misunderstanding than being gay or alcoholic. That was a very bold and courageous step. The rest will probably be easier than you think it's going to be.

    Keep trying. You have my support. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Aug 16, 2010 2:55 PM GMT
    Not being one to use the Quote button... as it only lengthens the reply... I'll try to respond without reading your last post..
    I always felt better at gay meetings... couldn't open up completely in straight meetings, though I DID try.
    I totally understand the "manipulative" thing.. I can be too! But forget the relationship thing... it's really a BAD idea!! They almost never work in early sobriety... especially if both are in early recovery. Just concentrate on Jerred for now... you have much work to do there...not enough time to devote to others.
    If you do some research on the effects of alcohol in your blood stream.. and entire body... you might get some better insight on the allergy part. How WE, as alcoholics, process alcohol differently than those who are not.
    Telling your good friend that you are gay is totally your call. If it makes a difference to him... then it's HIS problem, not yours. But, if you can get him to take you to a gay meeting, get in there and make some good contacts... share that you need a ride... I'm sure you'll find more than one person who will take you and you won't have to rely on your straight friend to take you in the future.
    And, Jerred... we ALL have baggage. I think deep down inside you KNOW that.
    Just because you might be an alcoholic gives you no more NOR no less baggage than anyone else in this world.
    One thing you might start doing is to stop the "terminal uniqueness" syndrome you are sharing.... one thing you can count on, no matter what you have said or will say, do or have done, I can say (as well as most others) "been there, done that".
    YOU ARE NOT ALONE ANYMORE!!! You have chosen the correct path, now see to it that you follow it to the end. You will be amazed at where you will go!!
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    Aug 16, 2010 3:05 PM GMT
    One more thing, Jerred. I wouldn't worry too much about the steps right now... and I mean no offense when I say this, but my gut feeling is that you haven't quite worked Step One yet. Once you have finally, once and for all, admitted this to yourself... there's no turning back. You're where you should be..and you KNOW it's where you belong!!!
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    Aug 16, 2010 3:31 PM GMT
    Jerred39 said...So what's the point of having a Gay AA Meeting? If I want to stay sober I'm going to lay my guilt out on the table no matter what the guy is... Right?

    Well, what if some of the issues you're dealing with, that are leading you to drink, are due to your being gay? Would straights understand that, and be able to empathize with you as well, giving you the support & advice that other gay men might, having gone through the same thing?

    And besides, if you're like me, you could also just feel more relaxed and comfortable with other gay guys, no matter what the purpose of your getting together. One of the biggest initial challenges is simply to want to go and actually do it, and to keep attending, and maybe a gay group will provide an extra initiative.

    Our local gay & lesbian center hosts it's own AA meetings, so I know they exist. I remember a few guys car-pooled, too, because some had already lost their driver's licenses. If you have that option near you it might be worth trying, I certainly don't think it could hurt.

    My late partner had done the 12-step AA thing (he died of AIDS, not alcohol-related) before we had met. He didn't like the spiritual aspects of it. Well, I look at results, and I wouldn't care if the meetings were conducted by a voo-doo witch doctor.

    He had started to drink at the end, which unfortunately masked his symptoms, so I didn't bring them to the attention of his doctors until it was too late. Well, it was actually already too late from the moment he contracted his final disease much earlier, but we might have been able to extend his life a little with more timely treatment.

    So I was trying to get him to rejoin AA, and told him I'd attend with him, or take whatever other courses or programs that could teach me how to better support him at home. Because he had said to me one time, when I had been telling him to stop drinking, that all I was doing was nagging him, and that was no help at all. He said he needed real support, not criticism.

    That hurt, and confused me, because I thought I WAS supporting him, by encouraging him not to drink. But then I began to perceive the meaning of his words, realizing that not being an alcoholic myself I didn't understand his problem. So that's when I looked into programs for family members of alcoholics. But within weeks he was in the hospital, and never came out.

    I think you should stay with some kind of support program, maybe forever, as some people do. And try to hang around with friends who have some understanding of this. Your support network is very important, as AA must have told you. Good luck!
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    Aug 16, 2010 4:01 PM GMT
    WILTON: Damn, I LOVE this little Ignore His Posts button... sorry I can't see what you wrote, but I typically tend to ignore ignorant jerks like you anyway!!!
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    Aug 16, 2010 4:54 PM GMT
    Thanks again guys... You know, I can't believe my friends have put up with me this long... I go into hibernation because I am too damn moody and afraid this will affect them and then I will lose their many years of friendship. You should see my friend's facebook accounts... Most of them have between 200 and 600 friends in their facebook accounts... Some are very popular people and I am always reading about how much fun their having. There's this girl I just hooked up with after many years since High School that went on a talk show recently and spoke so many amazing things about overcoming the obstacles in her life... The stuff made so much sense I got a tingling sensation from it... Like the people are so above me when it comes to stability. It's very overwhelming that I have so many damn hang-ups I don't know where to start... Of course they wouldn't cut me loose if I demonstrated my feelings in a non-hurtful way but, suppose they don't come out like that? I literally have NO control as to how I may feel the next minute... My moodiness is so powerful most the time all I CAN do is bury it some more. I KNOW I am wrong most the time... Still, they are all telling me I have a beautiful mind. I wish it was all that showed! Getting myself out of bed to go to a big event like the US Open of surfing competition is a rare deal for me... I did it because IF I WERE well balanced it would be what I would do... I had fun I guess but, I was still the same old detached person I always am... Just trying to prove to myself I could become more like my friends. It seems I cannot start from the top and work my way down to the bottom like I have thought my only option was. The advice I use to get in the meetings I have so easily swept under the rug. The sponsors (most of them) were incredible people... I am ALWAYS so attracted to incredible people... I want them part of my collection so when the day comes that my number is being called out by whoever runs this life I will be prepared. These floods of truth have always been there, it's the darker side though that I have been living upon... Whatever the reason's why, it feels like I am dying anyway because of them or IT. I am just NOT right when it comes to setting things aside and then realizing I have to explain those things I set aside... Somehow the world got smarter over time in noticing how unnoticeable I move these things around inside. Where I was once clever, I have become incredibly ignorant. And without realizing it, my entire life has missed out on the promises of AA because like a real inconsiderate skeptic I have treated sponsors in AA like disposable experiments allowing me to find ways to REALLY run the whole damn show.