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5 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2009 - 9:41PM #1
AKwinters
Posts: 73

If I go to a meeting and drink some coffee, share how things went that day or what I'm going through, help put chairs away and then go home, have I participated in the program of A.A.? People don't actually recover on the inside by doing these things do they?


What does it mean to get out of the self with regard to the program?


Take on a sponsee?


Talk to a sponsor?


I know there comes a point where issues have to be hashed out, and to do this one has to be serious about their own recovery, no one will do this for you. Is this what is meant when people say "it's all in the steps."


If self is the primary issue for recovery, what does one actually do to be unselfish? Is one perpetually thinking of others, or is this another one of those epiphanies that sneaks up from out of nowhere, where the ultimate goal is to achieve a state of mind that nutures healthy ego without reverting back to alcohol?


Can anyone actually provide any concrete examples of the day in the life of A.A. in action?


What do people do in A.A.?


 

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5 years ago  ::  Mar 14, 2009 - 1:04PM #2
mountain_man
Posts: 39,057

Mar 13, 2009 -- 9:41PM, AKwinters wrote:


If I go to a meeting and drink some coffee, share how things went that day or what I'm going through, help put chairs away and then go home, have I participated in the program of A.A.? People don't actually recover on the inside by doing these things do they?



It's all AFTER the meeting. Either right after when they hang outside the door for a bit, or when they go for pie or coffee. It is at these times when cross talk is allowed that all the AA slogans come out. It's where you hear absurd prhases like; "An addict cannot be in charge of their own recovery."



What does it mean to get out of the self with regard to the program?


Take on a sponsee?


Talk to a sponsor?


I know there comes a point where issues have to be hashed out, and to do this one has to be serious about their own recovery, no one will do this for you. Is this what is meant when people say "it's all in the steps."


If self is the primary issue for recovery, what does one actually do to be unselfish? Is one perpetually thinking of others, or is this another one of those epiphanies that sneaks up from out of nowhere, where the ultimate goal is to achieve a state of mind that nutures healthy ego without reverting back to alcohol?


Can anyone actually provide any concrete examples of the day in the life of A.A. in action?


What do people do in A.A.?




The "sponsor" thing is a constant source of abuse. Some may be sincere and really care, but the potential for abuse is too great.


Some say it's all in the steps, but others see that there is nothing in the steps that actually deal with how to not use anymore. The steps are designed to "break you down" and then rebuild you in their "spiritual" image.


The "self" is the primary issue here. Afterall it is YOUR life it's time to take controll and responsibility for your life, your actions, your emotions. It's not really about egos and such, but about learning coping skills, ways of dealing with life instead of hiding from it.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 14, 2009 - 6:38PM #3
mikeincolorado
Posts: 393

Mar 13, 2009 -- 9:41PM, AKwinters wrote:

If self is the primary issue for recovery, what does one actually do to be unselfish?



Well, no one recovers in a meeting. You may be inspired, but no recovery occurs.


As far as what can you do to be unselfish - paradoxically, not much. However, there is one thing I found to be effective - help others. Compassion is a popular approach in many cultures/spiritual approaches. For the time I'm focused on trying to help someone else, I'm not focused on myself.


I found that a simple place to start.

Mike

*******************************************************
"When I've learned enough to really live, I'll be old enough to die" - Johnny Cash
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 14, 2009 - 8:09PM #4
cherubino
Posts: 7,277
Once again, I can only speak from my exerience in this neck of the boonies.  The pattern described above, of AA members hanging out together and getting into  tight, off-campus cliques and abusive sponsoring relationships, certainly does  apply to some of our members. And they're more visible than the rest of us  precisely for that reason. But at least around here they comprise a conspicuous  and noisy minority in AA, while the majority of us simply mind our own business and blend back into the  social scenery.


As in any other organization, those who have a strong need to be in the  spotlight and/or be involved in dominant-submissive role playing have ample  opportunities to act out. Besides, it's legal, and AA has no authority to  curtail anyone's civil rights when it comes to things like creating hierarchical splinter  groups outside the meeting rooms. I'd say the most amazing thing is that we get  along at all.
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 14, 2009 - 8:32PM #5
mikeincolorado
Posts: 393

The steps (AA as a suggested program of recovery) don't seem to be set up to provide a "How to not use" way of treatment. No coping skills, or ways to not drink. There are other institutions that are better able to provide that.


Rather, what AA can provide, is a simple method to follow, resulting (hopefully) in patterns of thinking change, such that drinking is no longer desired, or seemingly even possible (at least in my case). The thinking that preceded my drinking has been discarded, and new patterns uncovered. Patterns that existed within me the whole time. I don't require coping skills, because there isn't anything to cope with.


The word used is "restored" which means put back to original condition, not " torn down and rebuilt in their spiritual image". If it was that second thing, the step would've been written that way.

Mike

*******************************************************
"When I've learned enough to really live, I'll be old enough to die" - Johnny Cash
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 14, 2009 - 10:51PM #6
AKwinters
Posts: 73

Mar 14, 2009 -- 6:38PM, mikeincolorado wrote:

As far as what can you do to be unselfish - paradoxically, not much.



lol.


Mar 14, 2009 -- 6:38PM, mikeincolorado wrote:

...help others



Truthfully Mike, and I hope I am not being improper, but could you be a little more specific. I hear this all the time, and I don't know what it means.


Do you mean going to a fellow AA's house and help them raise the foundation on their house? Something like that? Or do you mean things like picking up groups of rehabites and taking them to meetings? I don't know what you're saying when you say "help others."


Mountain man, I once had a great sponsor and he moved to Seattle. Great guy. Well, I relapsed, then I got sober again and needed a new sponsor. So this gung-ho guy from that same circle of AAs suggested I use this one guy, a guy who happened to be friend of mine who didn't relapse because we once had the same sobriety date.


So the guy does absolutely nothing, until finally one night: he picks me up for a meeting, brings me before a group of about seven AAs standing in a circle in front of the meeting, and cries, "Hey Everyone!!!!! Check out my new sponsee!!!!! uh-huck uh-huck..." That guy didn't give a flying frog about me or my sobriety, but he made me feel like an idiot. That was 4yrs ago and I haven't been to AA or seen that asshole since.


But my purpose for the thread doesn't concern how to "not" drink since this isn't a problem for me any longer, I was interested in some concrete specific examples of what an AA member has done..specifically...say...this afternoon...that classifies as an unselfish act.

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5 years ago  ::  Mar 15, 2009 - 11:44PM #7
mikeincolorado
Posts: 393

It started simple in my case. "Hold the door for someone." or  "Ask them how their day is going and then act like you're interested."


My head tells me it can't be that simple, but that's where it begins. Just love people, as best you can.


I mentioned that there is not much you can do - because anyone with any kind of ability to reason and perceive is going to figure out pretty quick that my reasons in being helpful are selfish :) A seeming paradox. I'm told I have to be rid of self, but my reasons for doing so are selfish. 


Fortunately, I realized I'm not required to have pure motives first, and then recover. I'm supposed to be selfish in my desire to help others. It can't be otherwise, and I have to use what I have to work with. What I have is self centredness. I might as well use it to build up my life instead of tearing it down.


The task isn't for me to determine "How can I get rid of my selfishness?" I can't. The task is to realize that fact and stop trying. Then I can uncover a kernel of truth. The "self" I center in doesn't exist!


What the steps enabled me to do was get to a place where I can let go of my "self", or (more accurately) my delusional idea of what that is/was. So my first unselfish act today was the first thing that occurred after I let go of the old self idea. Today, I got out of bed.


If you aren't self centered, then you can't be selfish.


I'm sorry this sounds so convoluted. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact I don't have the words. I did the best I could with what I have. Always do.

Mike

*******************************************************
"When I've learned enough to really live, I'll be old enough to die" - Johnny Cash
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2009 - 12:20AM #8
mountain_man
Posts: 39,057

Mar 14, 2009 -- 10:51PM, AKwinters wrote:


Mountain man, I once had a great sponsor and he moved to Seattle. Great guy. Well, I relapsed, then I got sober again and needed a new sponsor. So this gung-ho guy from that same circle of AAs suggested I use this one guy, a guy who happened to be friend of mine who didn't relapse because we once had the same sobriety date.


So the guy does absolutely nothing, until finally one night: he picks me up for a meeting, brings me before a group of about seven AAs standing in a circle in front of the meeting, and cries, "Hey Everyone!!!!! Check out my new sponsee!!!!! uh-huck uh-huck..." That guy didn't give a flying frog about me or my sobriety, but he made me feel like an idiot. That was 4yrs ago and I haven't been to AA or seen that asshole since.



I've heard worse stories than that. "13th stepping" (inapropriate sexual relationships with sponsees) is common. Then there is the concept of having someone that cannot control their own life control your's.



But my purpose for the thread doesn't concern how to "not" drink since this isn't a problem for me any longer, I was interested in some concrete specific examples of what an AA member has done..specifically...say...this afternoon...that classifies as an unselfish act.




An argument can be made that any act is a selfish one. Some might say that doing something nice for someone else - like me putting the  mountain bike that I have not used in 6 years up on "Freecycle" and gave away to a 10 year old that had no bike - as selfish since it made me feel good.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2009 - 5:30AM #9
AKwinters
Posts: 73

Mar 15, 2009 -- 11:44PM, mikeincolorado wrote:

Just love people, as best you can.



I can roll with this.


For selfish people, this is really hard actually. Sometimes a person will think they are being giving, but when a circumstance occurs that interferes with something where a real sacirfice has to be made, this is where the line is drawn between being truly unselfish and selfishness. Some people simply can't sacrifice, where in these cases, they're only pretending to sacrifice until an interference is perceived, and that's when all hell breaks loose: "my way, blah, blah..."


I think the notion of sacrifice sets itself apart from the type of unselfishness you and mountain man speak of, that sort of Ayn Rand philosophy that states that what we are achieving by helping others, helps ourselves at the root.


Helping a friend by jumping on a live grenade doesn't help the self much.

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5 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2009 - 5:01PM #10
trudging
Posts: 159

coping skills...hah yeh right.


Step 1 tells me I can't cope, my life cannot be managed by me. Experience proves it true.


I didn't learn how to cope, I undertook a process that connected me with a Power which does it for me,


not a power I can use, but a power which uses me.


Some days I actually look I'm doing alright, I appear to be coping.


Thats not coping, its just me obeying.

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