10.20.09

Posts Tagged ‘acceptance

dénouement

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Many a newcomer will immediately feel comfy and cozy in the rooms of AA simply because the dynamics of the group mirror that of the newcomer’s dysfunctional family of origin.

  • Don’t think, don’t feel.
  • If you do feel, be advised that certain feelings are not allowed.
  • We know what’s best for you.
  • You don’t know what’s best for you, and we won’t even ask your opinion.
  • The family is correct, it is your feelings which are screwed up.
  • You must honor and respect us. You must be grateful for us. We gave you life. You are not allowed to be angry at us.
  • “Ouch! It hurts!” you say — “We’re only doing this because we love you” — they respond
  • “This doesn’t make sense!” you say — “Do it because I told you so!” — they respond
  • We will love you only if you do “this”, “that” or “the other”… we will love you conditionally
  • Don’t speak the truth — We can’t handle it.
  • Be sure to always pretend that everything is allright, otherwise the family will fall apart.

from AA Deprogramming

I’m almost finished with this tedious string of AA angst. I know it’s boring or upsetting to probably everyone but me, and why am I apologizing?  I notice my mind simply will not allow me to have these feelings, examine the Program and my experiences with it, without a sense of alarm, that I have stepped outside a force field and better scurry back in before my skin melts.

Pretty chilling stuff, that quote above.  It’s true – for the most part. Fortunately I have spoken with three people in AA that have been open-minded enough to allow me to be where I’m at without castigation or telling me without hesitation that I am an arrogant narcissist  who is judgmental and has no idea what she needs.  Three. I am blown away and very happy to report this has been helpful – I’m not 1000% alone. I can be rigorously honest with folks without them being threatened and retreating to knee-jerk one-size-fits all fundamentalism.

I see my language and tone has tempered but a little. I’m accepting thatanger and resentment are healthy emotions and responses sometimes. It is the longevity and handling of them that can be a “character defect.” These feelings will pass and I will have experienced reality in person and move on. I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater then.  As I said in an email:

“I realize the problem is definitely centered in me and what I expect in the way of support and friendship.  that isn’t what aa is for.  AA is A A.  Take it or leave it. Quit hoping to get something out of it besides what it is.”

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Written by xty

September 22, 2010 at 10:35

puerile mantras and self-respect

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Here I am in day 3 of tears, guts hurting, huge conflict and misgivings. It is astonishing how heartbreaking and fear-inducing contemplating quitting AA is, how identical the feelings are to quitting drinking:

Can’t live with it or without it. Maybe there’s a way to make it work. I’ll just try one more time…only on weekends….

…and no matter what transpires when I try one more time and it is a ridiculous frustrating experience it will be my fault and my defects and lack of willingness that caused failure.

Can that really be true? Is it a fact that everyone in AA is healthy, has a good sense of boundaries, is openminded, values helping others as if their life depended on it, is reliable and honest, except me? Is it also true that if I have a feeling that is pro-AA I am in spiritual light, and if something about my community causes me disturbance the only truth about it is there is something wrong with me? I believe that self-examination and humility are crucial to sobriety, but some of these black and white premises are unrealistic moonshine that undermines the program’s credibility to me.

Fuck.

An AA told me yesterday that “I have no idea what I need.” An AA who has had about 5 superficial under-ten-minute conversations with me. I’m turning to the handful of people who actually know me for support, but none of them are around in person and I’m lonely. Clearly I am troubled and need to work some things out.

I feel like I’m going through a horrible detox. I am going to visit a couple of churches, keep being mindful and spiritually focused as I can.  I have overreacted to recent events, yes. I also refuse to accept all my questions and thoughts and feelings are to be patronizingly dismissed.

After writing the above I am in the end able to see this :  I am indeed  hurting the most because of my own heart in the end. It is my fault.  I have wanted things to go smoothly, I have wanted compassion, support, and friends.  That’s why A A causes me so much anguish. That’s not what AA is for. AA is AA.  My challenge is  to be ok, at peace, and move forward.

Written by xty

September 21, 2010 at 15:39

done?

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Accompany him to his first meeting. Take him along with you when you call on the next patient. Telephone him when there are other patients. Drop in at his home occasionally. Telephone him as often as possible. Urge him to look up the new friends he has made. Counsel and advise him.  [……]  He probably will be lonely. He may be too timid to seek the companionship of his new friends.

Experience has proved this to be a very critical period. So your labors have not ended. Give him as much attention as you did when you first called on him — until he can find the road by himself.

Remember, you depend on the newcomer to keep you sober as much as he depends on you. So never lose touch with your responsibility, which never ends.

via The Akron Manual from 1939-40

The above is quoted from  the purported first written study guide/ pamphlet used in the earliest meetings of AA.   It is an example of the material used in the AA that had a 75% success rate.

Read this this morning pretty much first thing. I’ve been enjoying reading historical AA writings, but this made me feel sick. I had woken up sad because I am about to give up trying to use AA for support.  I’ve been hurt more than I’ve been helped. And if it’s all my fault, so be it; I’m going to have to accept it’s not a helpful fit and whatever psycho-social-emotional wherewithal is required I lack.

I have a couple of numbers for members of Women for Sobriety I am going to call; I wrote asking about local meetings after visiting their forums/website a few weeks ago.  I’ll talk about that some more later.

I threw my AA books in the trash. I didn’t want to. I might get them out. I wish it would be helpful to me, it is a place where I can ostensibly meet people but, if I’m honest, I’m banging my head against a wall. It reminds me of alcoholic drinking:  the little good bits here and there create hope for more, and what I get over and over is…not helpful.

Written by xty

September 19, 2010 at 09:40

transcript

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Me: hey. doing ok love getting first wrkday of week overwith…what’s the name of yer friens place in boca?
Sent: Sep.14.10-02.22.08PM
Sponsor P: Hi-just getting home sorry missed call. Wellness Center in Boca.
Sent: Sep.14.10-08.53.17PM
Sponsor P: I should be available later
Sent: Sep.15.10-05.52.29PM  (wasn’t)
Sponsor P: Just home. Sorry missed call. Sponsor P
Sent: Sep.16.10-09.28.52PM
Me: how late you up kid?
Sent: Sep.16.10-09.31.07PM
Me: hey.
Sent: Sep.17.10-08.05.34PM
Sponsor P: This is my life- sorry not available this week. Sponsor P
Sent: Sep.17.10-09.37.29PM
Me: this isn’t really working then
Sent: Sep.17.10-10.08.40PM
Sponsor P: I understand. I want you to be supported- later.
Sent: Sep.18.10-08.29.37AM

Written by xty

September 19, 2010 at 09:36

antabuse

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I told my Dr today that I was relieved to be on Antabuse. I am. It is an acceptance of powerlessness on a different level, a mechanical level, about which I have had mixed feelings but now do not.

I have drank on Antabuse 4 times – amounts ranging from trace to full-blown in my system –  and have been afraid or reluctant to use it again until now. I feel comfortable with it now. There are some ethical gray areas with this drug, or at least one. One can die combining it with alcohol…but one can die from just alcohol too.  The idea is that impulsive drinking is ruled out, and the several days required to clear it out of one’s system provide an opportunity for a return to sanity or a request for help.

The difference in my reaction can be described in how I thought about the possible inevitability I would want to drink while taking it. I used to think “Oh god I might drink on it and have that horrible reaction or at best have to wait days before I can drink safely, no way. Too risky. Too risky, I might suffer if I change my mind.” Now I think “Good no chance I can ruin my life again without an interval where I can run around telling everyone I’m thinking about that and throw myself on the mercy of…whatever…support network, higher power, common sense, a decision to watch all the seasons of Lost back to back in my free time while being monitored by friends…”

Does it matter what I think? I think so.

Written by xty

September 8, 2010 at 13:32

moratorium on omniscience

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be careful, because the problem with clever is that when everything’s just fodder for the next punchline then eventually everything you take in is just a “yes, but…” and that’s a hard thing to have riding shotgun in your head when you’re alone and it’s late and you realize your alcoholism has been whispering in your ear for the past hour, and suddenly you are very seriously considering picking up your car keys and going out to do something very, very foolish

via Mr. SponsorPants: they don’t warn you.

The topic at the clubhouse noon meeting today was humility, acceptance, and the First Suggested Step. I confess I asked for it, and also confess I am pretty sure I have never in 20 AA years asked to hear experience on humility, acceptance and the 1st step. Always assumed I had it cold. Seemingly hundreds of things are coming together at once these recent weeks (insert several long boring stories here) and when my Hopefully-Sponsor-to-Be asked me to tell him about my understanding of powerlessness it occurred to me that the question seemed fresh for the first time in a long time so I’ve been thinking on it. There are so many things I gotta accept, mostly globbed together in one giant-ass pill the size of a Buick I foresee having to swallow.

On anothernote, this meeting also features the Quintessential Betty who makes me smile because of her southern oldtimer perfection, among a serious arsenal of AA archetypes; in fact, it is now also clear to me that I must henceforth refer to this meeting as the Archetype Meeting.

Written by xty

August 26, 2010 at 19:33