Well, almost…

I was sorta back Tuesday, but not here. Here’s a letter I got yesterday. It’s also on the Q&A page, but it was pretty good so I thought I’d post it here. Names and identifying info omitted, of course.

Im from xxxxx. I have attended meetings and had a sponsor whom i still work for even though i stopped AA. I didnt make it past 4th step. I want to know when should i attempt to try again. what do i need to feel hopeless? why cant i find a higher power. why cant i believe? why do i think im unique? What is the alternative to aa? Beside jails institutions and death. i want to be happy.

Wow, Anon, sounds like you’re really uncomfortable! I can’t give you much in the way of advice. All I know is what worked for me, but I’ll be happy to comment on your email, based on that.

First of all, I suspect that your non-AA connection with your sponsor may have been the cause of some of your difficulties. A sponsor works best for me if that’s the only connection I have with him. The 4th and 5th steps are particularly difficult with someone we know from outside — especially an employer. Too much other stuff to keep us from being completely honest.

I think recovery is like riding a horse. If we fall off, we need to get right back on. After all, the whole point is saving our lives. If we are afraid to try that again, then there isn’t much hope, is there? I believe if I were in a similar situation I would go to some meetings on my own, listen to what the men have to say, and pick someone who sounds (first of all) happy, who sounds like someone I would be able to trust, and who has a few years in the program. There are many meetings in your city, and you can find them here (link omitted).

A higher power comes with time, and isn’t really essential. What is essential is the knowledge that we can’t do it alone. In that sense, the group and the fellowship can be our higher power — they can, while we (alone) can’t. Sounded like something I could hang onto. I’ve been sober 19 years next month, and I’m an agnostic. There’s plenty of time to consider who our higher power might be later on. For now, the willingness to let someone else help us is enough — but that willingness is absolutely essential.

Feeling unique was natural for me. I convinced myself no one could understand me, that I was different, that I needed special treatment — all those things that would help me avoid buckling down and actually working on a program of recovery. I don’t know why you feel unique, but if the above makes you feel uncomfortable, you might look at the possibility that you’re thinking the way I did.

There are many alternatives to AA. Google “recovery from alcoholism” and you will find all sorts of things. Keep in mind, though, that AA is the one with the 70-year track record. There is no question that it isn’t for everybody, but I felt I owed it to myself to take what seemed to me to be — in this case — the Road Most Traveled. I knew I was gambling with my life, and I wanted what looked to me like the best odds.

Remember that it took us a long time to get so screwed up. It would be ridiculous to think we will get better overnight, and it’s not the easiest thing we’ll ever do. Go to the “articles” section of my blog and read the early recovery section. Might find some enlightenment there.

And whatever you do, DON’T DRINK. You can’t make good decisions when your mind is switched off. Believe me, I know.

Good luck,
Bill

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