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Fri, 04/20/2012 - 11:16
I have left AA 3 times and each time I have gone back to destructive drinking. This last time I was very clear that the confusion I was experiencing was from AA and the problems that the steppers and all their drama were causing me in my life was the reason I wanted as far away from AA and my so called stepper friends as possible. The logical place to go was the bar as the alcohol temporarily relieved my stress and anxiety and there were many people at the bar I could talk with to process through all my problems.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 11:22
I had several stints with AA - the longest lasting over 4 years. My problem was that AA builds up the idea that you are either in meetings or out drinking yourself to death. They don't promote any alternative. My problem was I could no longer stand the same people saying the same things over and over again - it became torture.
Over the years I have met many people who went back to drinking. When you knew them from AA they automatically assume you are still going and become slightly apologetic, so it is never long before the reason for leaving surfaces. 9 out of 10 (roughly...lol) said it was for the complete boredom and nothing happening. And the vast majority of these didn't have glaring character defects - they just drank too much.
God damn it, get me a whiskey
Bill W, Deathbed
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 11:42
I guess I could never "blame" AA for going back out and drinking. Just because a person might be bored with AA doesn't mean they have to go back to drinking. I also don't automatically conclude that someone "went back out" if I don't see them around the halls anymore. I don't think it is up to AA to "promote" alternatives and anyone looking for one has the same ability as I do to look on the net. AA isn't unhappy with you; if you are unhappy with AA, find something else. Rational Recovery has a zero tolerance/no relapse policy. Don't expect to be welcomed back. Not sure about SMART, but I do know that AA will welcome anyone back that wants to come and try again.
And if you don't want to, that is fine, too. No one says that just because you leave, the only choice is to drink. Maybe people have gotten what they needed and moved on with life.
Remember Christopher Stevens when you vote.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:33
When I said "alternatives" I didn't mean alternative programs. I just meant that in AA's eyes you are either going to meetings or drinking. They have invented the "dry-drunk" scenario to cover the fact that people had been seen leaving AA and not drinking. Have you ever noticed that someone who leaves and drinks seems more respectable than someone who leaves and doesn't drink, ie a dry-drunk? Strange situation for a non-drinking organisation.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:41
What people tend to mean on this forum about AA and alternative are other options. Don't read more into something just because you want to start something. It isn't necessary. I have also never been told that if you aren't in a meeting, you are drinking. You could be going to a meeting somewhere else. It's been my experience that if you've gone back out, people know it.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 19:22
Or that you were never a "real" alcoholic, if you leave.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 11:53
Getting ‘bored’ with AA isn’t usually the main problem with it, as you would know if you have ever bothered to read and try to understand the testimony of many people here.
Clara, I’m getting a bit confused about you wrt AA. A couple of weeks ago you said that you no longer go to meetings (and therefore are not actually a member of AA) except for those occasions when your husband asks you to go and ‘support’ him. But you seem to be talking now as if you still are a member. But good for you for keeping yourself sober and law-abiding without meetings - probably the best way to do it.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:01
I still consider myself to be part of the herd. I have a large support group of friends in MB that are members, and my husband and I still do our morning readings, which include meditations from many sources. I was referring to Ben's post where he indicated that many left because they were bored. I know other people that feel that they just outgrew the need for it. I have never bought into the notion that when and if people left, the only other choice was to drink.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:25
So you agree that attendance at AA isn't necessary for sobriety - that's good. And you consider that there's such thing as AA membership by proxy? If you hang out with and talk to AA members, you can still consider yourself a member? So presumably anyone else who leaves AA, like you have, can still consider themselves to be members?
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:35
HS, you like to project onto me when I never said things like this. You know very well that I still go to meetings, just not with the regularity I had in the past. I would still be going to those meetings if I were in MB. I consider these people to be my friends as well as fellows. I don't consider myself to have "left." We also go to meetings when we travel, as indicated by recent visits to Ruidoso and Florida.
Having said this, if I had moved to EP with very little time in grade, so to speak, it might well be a problem for me. If you are in AA, I think meetings are an important part of it, especially in new sobriety. But boredom hasn't entered into it for me.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:26
. .. not projecting anything. I don't know anything about you 'very well' because the story sems to change so often (as with your referring to yourself as an 'Irish alkie' once, which you then denied). So you *would* still be going to meetings if you lived in a different place and the meetings were more to your liking? "I would" is not the same as "I do" (as Hamlet once said, but expressed much better). Sounds like an excuse not to put in the work to me.
I have no idea where EP is or what it stands for, but I did see some of your posts objecting to the class of people who attend meetings there. Why don't you set up your own AA group in the area for alcoholics only? Then you could attend more regularly and become a proper active member again, and help your fellow alcoholics in that way. (Because you certainly aren't helping anyone by spending all your time posting here.)
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:36
I wish you could find that because it would not be usual way for me to describe myself. I referred to an Irish great-grandmother in a few posts. It would also be irregular for me to use the term "alkie." They often say that where you got sober stays a special place to you. MB is that way for me. I do not object to the clas of people attending the meetings here. I object to the lack of singleness of purpose. EP stands for EL Paso. It is on the Mexican border.
"Proper active member" is subjective. Why would you care? Who is anyone to dictate who should be here or not? What is your purpose?
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:04
Just driven back from wales with a group of people who had all been through AA and left because they thought it was sick, useless shit. We had many years between us and none had relapsed since leaving. We have all had one on one help that was was not 12 step based and are all pretty down to earth. It was great to see and be part of. We had all been to a great wedding at the coast where there had been a full on party with loads of musicians from the 70's and had a great time. I even enjoyed the church bit, Probably because it half in welsh and I could not understand it so spent the time looking at the beautiful surroundings.
I always think that AA and the depressed characters that hang out there drags you down. Many program themselves to fail . There are so many other ways that are much more positive and yet many just assume AA is the answer and don't bother to look for alternatives. This is not really surprising considering the brainwashing bullshit that you get subjected to as a newcomer.
I remember taking all the relapse talk stuff seriously, and that makes it hard to leave after you have been told the same old rubbish over and over about not going to meetings. Leaving that behind was the best thing my friends and myself have done. I do blame AA and the way it has retarded recovery for the fact that so few manage to change. There is is the potential for so much harm by those nutters with thir made up religon and stupid dogma for the unwary. I am not surprised that some go on a binge after being driven mad by step 4 etc to escape that crap. I never have to hear chapter 5 or those stupid little slogans again.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:09
And that is exactly the point, mfc. It’s not just that AA fails to offer any credible program for stopping drinking, but it piles a whole lot of shit and unnecessary stress on people that makes relapse so much, much more likely. It’s downright destructive, self-defeating and unhealthy. I would go so far as to say that it is exactly the worst environment for people who want – or need – to get sober. For example, how was giving my partner a load of grief for not praying to a god he didn’t believe in, and threatening that if he didn’t convert to the 12-step religion he would inevitably fail, supposed to help in any way? It is almost criminally irresponsible when a person’s very life is at stake.
The main problem with this whole movement, I suppose, (or one of the many serious problems) is that it does not encourage people to just give themselves a big pat on the back for getting themselves off the booze and encourage them to get on with living their lives without drinking. Seems to me that AA members are continuously being dragged back and down into the mindset they were in when they were still drinking and in active addiction, and made to feel constantly guilty about things that are in the past (whether that person necessarily has much to feel guilty about or not). No-one is just congratulated for making the effort to stop and encouraged to move on.
Back to the main post: I have sometimes said, not entirely in jest, that some of the shit that goes on in AA would be enough to drive the most abstemious person to drink. It is completely understandable that, if people have been convinced that it’s either the crap that goes on in AA or drinking again (and this is an idea that AA actively promotes), drinking again – with all the danger and problems that goes with it – might just seem like the better alternative at times.
(Glad you had a good time in Wales, btw! I love the place, and spent much of my childhood there. Sadly when my dad died a couple of years ago the house had to be sold, but I still have a couple of siblings living in the area and it still feels like ‘home’.)
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:31
HS, it was pretty clear to me that there were religious overtones to AA. I do know atheists in the program that fare well, but I don't get why people go there, see that for themselves since the steps are on the wall... yet they stay. Why not just go and find something more for your liking? And there are plenty of people that drinking didn't destroy their lives and leave them with 30 million amends to make. If you don't have any, you don't have any. My amends were to my family for not being the type of daughter I should have been. They worried about me and knew more about my life than I thought they did. While it might not be considered "harm," I wish it hadn't impacted them as it did. The key was to do better and not to repeat that. I felt positive and empowered about AA. Our focus was gratitude.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 14:00
The reason why people stay, Clara is because they have been led to believe that AA and the 12 step program is supposed to be about helping them to stop drinking, rather than its being a religious program that recruits from alcoholics and addicts. If the real agenda of AA was more generally known, I'm sure far fewer people would approach it expecting help. But AA goes on to deliberately conflate commitment to the 12-step religion with a person's commitment to stopping drinking and then go on to try to convince people that if they do not conform, they will inevitably fail. Which is, IMO,a wholly cynical and unjustifiable thing to do to people who have just made massive strides in helping themselves.
You clearly believe that the only thing that is stopping you from drinking again, from driving drunk, from shitting on your family, etc. is your adherence to the 12 step faith. If that is what it takes for you, that's fine. But please have the honesty to admit that you are one of a tiny minority that AA has 'worked for' (so far), and it is a matter of faith, not fact. If you are really concerned about helping alcoholics, and in the face of all the evidence, you would be trying to steer them away from AA and towards something more effective and less likely to end in failure. But it seems to me that the AA members (or ex-members, like you and becket) who post on here are really not all that concerned about alcoholics or the problem of alcoholism in any serious way at all. This is a serious matter - it is much too serious for it to be dominated any longer by a wacky religious movement like AA.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 14:13
You assume alot, HS. I don't drink because I am a changed person through AA. From what what I gather from your posts, your partner was in the fellowship. So what is your dog in the fight? I don't consider myself an ex-AA at all, and if I had experience with the alternatives, perhaps I would steer someone there. If someone isn't happy in AA, I don't have a problem at all if they check into something else. Where you get your sobriety is a matter of what works for you.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:06
As I know now that I can remain abstinent without being in a religious cult or any program for that matter. Abstinence is the goal not religious conversion. I would not have had any problem with staying abstinent and being a part of AA if I could find one person over the years who could show me in their everyday life what they were preaching at AA meetings. I met more confused and messed up people in AA to last me three lifetimes. Black and white thinking is real and AA does a very good job creating an environment where it flourishes. If you do not go to AA you will drink simple message that gets heard constantly from anyone going into that cult. Add that to the sexual and financial predators that I personally experienced and "hell yes, I'll have a beer." Plus I had a huge desire to spend time with some "normies" just to see if they had any integrity which I was looking for and not finding in AA.
Persephone In Exile
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:27
Well, goals are good to have. Much better, IMO, than day to day living.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:52
Just for you PIE - The best history lesson I've ever seen.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 13:25
Thanks, Ben! This guy is a riot!
Much more entertaining than David Starkey.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:40
at first AA was fun, like watching a sideshow circus with real freaks, then it became uninteresting , just a revolving door of unhappy people. When the group think starts to take over and you start spouting slogans you notice your beginning to become one of them and you split .. One of us, one of us..
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 12:57
Dunno, Dorak. Ive seen people whose lives have been transformed for the better. If the people had been so unhappy, I wouldn't have been able to stay. I saw progress and change, which is what I wanted for myself. Eventually, it felt more like going and hanging out with friends. But if you are done with it, that's fine, too.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 13:21
for the 5 percent of people it works for it can really make a difference, for the rest of us it's a very frustrating program. Yes I am terminally unique. Becoming a religious nut in order to quit drinking wasn't the solution.
Sat, 01/05/2013 - 06:57
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 14:08
msafrany you have just described a simple program
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 14:40
Of course people relapse to escape the cult. Of course they do. They are only given 2 options: stay in the cult forever and ever, or drink and die. Nobody ever tells them they can just not drink. So they they do the only other thing they know which is to drink. And it's understandable, after watching all those people trapped in character defects, often probably only induced by AA, for years and years and on to decades. Sick people getting sicker and more entrenched in it. Hearing the same stories repeated all the time. Being told there is no other way day in and day out. Like HS said, the crazy making from most of those people is enough to make anybody drink.
Yes, msfrany, great description, it's enough to keep you off kilter all the time, isn't it?
Troll free AA critical forumhttp://www.expaa.org/
"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 19:36
i am so happy to have found this wonderful site. just a bunch of cool people who make it real.
Fri, 04/20/2012 - 21:03
I have always been told that if I do not drink, I won't get drunk. I know alot of people in the fellowship that have beent here for decades and love it. They are not forced to be there or frightened NOT to be there. There must be some spooky AA meetings out there because I don't feel this way nor do countless others I know. We were there by choice because we were getting something positive from it. And contrary to what HS tries to sell, you are an AA if you say you are. It isn't determined by how many meetings you may or may not go to...
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 12:47
clara you have convinced me that I should try AA again, you have made it sound wonderful, not spooky like i remember. now you can stop posting comments. how's that working for you?
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 13:59
I am not trying to convince you of anything. I just find it ironic that while AA should be open to all, the Antis on the OPF say... they don't believe that of OPF.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 13:02
have always been told that if I do not drink, I won't get drunk.
You actually need other people to tell you this. You seem mighty thick for someone who claims to hold a post graduate degree.
They are not forced to be there or frightened NOT to be there.
Psychic now are you?
There must be some spooky AA meetings out there because I don't feel this way nor do countless others I know.
Countless others? Fuck, you must go to a lot of meetings to know so many!
We were there by choice because we were getting something positive from it.
We? Or is it more like just you?
And contrary to what HS tries to sell, you are an AA if you say you are.
Yet you claim to NOT be in, or speak for, your beloved death worship cult. Which is it now clarietta?
It isn't determined by how many meetings you may or may not go to...
So if I go to none, I am still in aa, if I say I am? What a nonsensical statement troll.
Go ahead, enjoy yourselves - it's getting late, much later than you think.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 14:03
Who says that I go to none? Anything to post, huh?
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 15:21
Is here, real A.A groups don't like her any more than we do, for the same reasons, constitutionaly incapable of keeping her billshit straight. Besides the A.A she belongs to only exists in her head.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 15:39
Not true, Brett, but you keep on coming back.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 15:51
Ya got no other social life no friends, nothing, sad really but thats where A.A recoveryism takes ya. Get out in the real world & get a job.
Sat, 01/05/2013 - 06:58
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 15:14
Of course they would complain! It's called rationalization. Why not just tell the truth and say they wanted to drink again?
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 16:15
OMG Clara, is that really what it comes down to for you? Those depressed or having a problem with the program were actually just wanting to drink again?
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 17:19
Not really, but what a better way than to blame everything on AA? AA MADE me drink. No, it didn't. If you have a problem with the program, don't want it or however you want to phrase it, you can just leave and go find something else. But nothing says that not liking AA and then going to drink has to be related. If recovery is what you want, you will find something else. I do know people that have done this. When they were asked about more in depth, they would agree they had been thinking of drinking for a while before they actually did. Scapegoating AA was just easy.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 17:47
It’s kinda hard to "just leave" the program Clara, when your constantly told that it would be death in one form or another if you did. I guess that you cannot comprehend what the repetitious slogans like, "work it or die", or "jails, institutions, or death", or this is the "only way", can do to a person. It’s fear.
It would be understandable if there were only a handful of people in ones life saying this. It would be easier to break away. But it's practically all members in all the meetings. And of course, the docs and counselors all have the same attitude and aren't shy about saying it.
I'm not even talking about being offered something else. I imagine that if my doctor told me that AA had a 5% success rate and so did quitting on my own, perhaps with loving family support, than I would have broke away a lot sooner. Especially with his support. He actually told me that I'd be found dead on the bottom of the stairs unless I went to meetings. AA was spoken about as if it were infallible and nothing else could help. If I had been told the truth those chapters of my life would have probably ended differently.
Try and look at it from that pov, perhaps and maybe you will understand why people feel that they have to stay when they think it’s against their best interest.
Truth about AA: http://orange-papers.org/menu1.html
Expose AA: http://www.expaa.org/
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 18:10
I am thoroughly shocked and bewildered at the level of vulnerability and gullibility I'm finding on this forum. I'm not criticizing you, avogadno - your responses to what you were being told sound completely reasonable. I just never took anything so seriously (except childrearing, which I did by myself).
“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”
― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 18:51
I'm curious how you can be "shocked and bewildered" by "completely reasonable" responses. Can you explain?
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 19:03
Becket, my guess is that most addicts are vulnerable and gullible. I feel stupid because for 5 years I never googled for alternative methods. I did search for some, but I never 'hit' anything but 12 step stuff. I had also isolated myself, drugging it up for many years. I didn't know shit about the computer. I sought out a doctor, and not only one.
I'm not criticizing you either, but maybe you were "self centered". At least in the sense that you trusted yourself. I didn't. Initially, I was the last one I trusted to make a decisions about my well being. I was a cloud of confusion, my reality either being high or being in a state of panic to a state that I wasn't really rational or aware.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 23:48
In all fairness, I never went to rehab and I don't really know what they say there. I find fault with them for sending people to AA as a one size fits all situation because I believe AA's position on alcohol and wanting to work with one thing. I think it also adds to the confusion people have. Contrary to the argument that some on the board makes, it has nothing to do with image. I also went to my first AA meeting three weeks after stopping the drink and I wasn't white knuckling it. I viewed it all more as an assist to live sober than to quit drinking and to meet like minded people. And I've met some doozies that would be "deadly serious." While I understand that it surely can be that way, I made a move to some meetings that approached the situation with more levity.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 18:43
Well, that's fine, it just sounded like the things I heard early on in this whole mess. This idea that a refusal to go along with 12 step ideas and practices (like self-identification) somehow meant that one was "in denial" or some other such nonsense. They do also give a very strong sense that it's with us or against us, that if you're not all in then you're "back out" while telling people they have a disease they cannot control. It's a contradictory message, but it's also a harmful one. I find it a very bad thing to tell people they must take full responsibility while also filling their heads with ideas that they are biologically incapable of controlling themselves. How many people have relapsed due to this thinking on what would've been a minor slip that turns into a binge, if for no other reason than they felt they might as well go for it as they'd already had that "first drink"? I've talked to more alcoholics who've said this who finally moved on to not drinking at all--once they cleared their heads of this pass/fail form of black and white thinking.
Yes, msafrany, I've read on many, many websites that every person who attends AA is unemployed and unemployable. Every single one of these poor bastards is overloading their livers and kidneys with every kind of medication from Prozac to Paxil to Protriptyline and, of course the young drunks are on Pediacare. They're each issued a snub nose .38 as soon as they come in the door in case they wig out and have to dispose of themselves or others. God has beaten them to a bloody pulp, even the ones who don't believe in God. Well by God, maybe now those bastards believe in Him.
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 15:58
those young returnhab kids were mostly on seroquel, a fun drug if you like walking in cement. A chemical lobotomy followed by lots and lots of meetings..
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 16:12
LOL...there was so much seroquel at the rehab I was at (and not just for the kiddos) it was ridiculous. It wasn't hard to see why, either, as the pens were "Seroquel", as were the clipboards we were given to write on, and clocks on the wall (I'm not joking). That was the main division at rehab, not by what we were there for, but by who was willing to be drugged up on seroquel. The ones who were kept saying, "I love this stuff, it makes me not have to think."
Sat, 04/21/2012 - 16:27
me too. hated that drug. I knew people who actually wanted to get high on seoquel, of course I knew others in returnhab that drank the hand sanitizer.