Category Archives: meetings

A Possible Topic For Meditation Or A Meeting

I was at a meeting on Saturday (online, of course). We had a discussion of the good things that have come from the pandemic. I’m not going to mention specific things that were brought up, because I don’t want to do your thinking for you. However, I challenge you — and perhaps your group — to consider the matter in some detail.

It’s easy to bitch, moan, and complain. “It’s not fair!”, “Someone should…”, “Why me?”, and similar laments are the default setting for us addicts and codependents, and stresses like we’re suffering these days — so alien to so-called normal behavior for most of us — can bring them out in abundance. One of our default behaviors is to automatically look for the worst scenario and then fixate on it. The pressures of confinement, especially close confinement with family and partners, money worries and the other things that plague most of us these days are guaranteed to challenge our sobriety and strain our sanity (in the sense spoken of in Step Two).

So let’s pull our minds out of the mud for a few minutes and really consider carefully the possible things we’ve gained or have the potential to gain from our current circumstances. I’ll bet if we actually stop and think about it mindfully, we’ll discover that things could certainly be worse and that some things may even be better.

Whenever anyone, anywhere, reaches out…

I’m still amazed – although, by now I guess I shouldn’t be – by the extraordinary ways that people in the fellowships step up and do what needs to be done in a crisis. I’ve seen that so many times: when arrangements need to be made for holiday meeting coverage; when members are going through devastating personal crises; when a new meeting site is suddenly needed, organizing picnics, bonfires and other get-togethers, and numerous other ways. For some odd reason, sobriety seems to bring out the best in folks.

Never has that willingness to be of service been more obvious than over the past month. As our options for mobility and meeting face-to-face have contracted to – finally – our own living rooms, members have, without being asked, set to work establishing online and phone options to continue the fellowships that keep us sober and relatively sane. Those who are able to host Skype and Zoom meetings have done so and spread the word. Phone meetings have been set up and information has gotten out with astounding speed. Websites have gotten extensive and prompt attention. The information has been spread by phone calls, text chains and probably smoke signals for all I know.

In short, the things that need doing to meet the Responsibility Statement of AA, which is generally adhered to in spirit by all the fellowships to which I belong and most others, are getting done. That is happening with a minimum of fuss and bother: just people helping others in the best ways they know of. The way it’s been for the several years I’ve been around the rooms, and for decades before that.

If you’re having trouble finding meetings, support or just folks to hang out with (electronically), check around. Call your local Intergroup office, or look on the website. If you haven’t explored those sources before, now is a great time – a critical time – to do so. The folks in the fellowships have been there and done that. Help and support are always available if you look for them, and that is even more true in the current test that the entire human race is undergoing. Anyone who has been around the rooms for a while has experienced the hollow feeling of arriving at a meeting and finding no one there, for whatever reason. In my case, at least, it seems like there was usually an oldtimer who showed up “just in case,” and who was up for a cup of coffee and a chat. I’ve been the newcomer and the oldtimer, both, and I guarantee that the feeling – for me – was the same in all cases: relief. Oldtimers need love too.

If you’re looking for support, reach out; it’s there. If you’re bored, reach out to another addict; the means are there. This pandemic is likely to change the world in ways we haven’t dreamed of yet. Perhaps that will be for the worse, perhaps not. We can dwell on the good versus bad question, or we can choose to move forward. One thing is for sure, in my not-so-humble opinion: the fellowships are going to change, expand, and become even better at achieving the intent of that Responsibility Statement.

Stick around. Be part of the change. Be part of the solution. You’ll be glad you did.

And please be safe! May whatever part of the universe you choose to think is watching keep you that way.

The “Religion Thing”

The issue of religion arises at least once a month at any 12-step meeting that includes people. It’s amazing how it causes confusion. Some folks claim that you have to believe in God, while others say all you have to do is admit you aren’t Him. Others, myself among them, maintain that the spirituality aspect of the program has nothing to do with God unless we choose to make it so. Only one thing’s for sure: put two alcoholics or other addicts in the same room and it will soon be overflowing with opinions. Continue reading

Re-post, with some editing: Don’t Wait ‘Til No Fat Ladies Sing!

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Close to thirty years ago I checked into treatment for my alcoholism and addiction to other drugs. It was a terrific relief.

I’d known for a long time that I was an alcoholic. I was essentially unaware of AA and its purpose, or that there were effective treatments for addictive disease. I wasn’t entirely unaware, because I’d been dealing with drunks and addicts for years as a police officer. It had simply managed to escape me that AA and other programs were anything other than a place to dump problems that turned up back on the street later.

By the time my boss more-or-less forced me into treatment, I’d had most of the jackpots: divorce, foreclosures, evictions, loss of other people’s money as well as tons of my own, estrangement from relatives — all the fun things that we addicts collect along the way to perdition. My denial about my surface problems was pretty weak, and it didn’t take much for me to become accepting about treatment, then hopeful, and then enthusiastic. I ended up damned grateful to the Chief of Police and whoever advised him about how he should deal with his relatively high-ranking and increasingly visible problem.

So I got sober and became a credit to my mother, my school, my family, my country and all that good stuff. I worked in the recovery field. I talked recovery. I even became a bit of a recovery guru, writing about addiction on my own and for treatment facilities that needed a down-to-earth approach to some of their material. But to a great degree I was a fraud, and I didn’t even know it.

Continue reading

This Should Stir Up A Fuss!

Note: “What, Me Sober?” has many opinions on outside issues and believes that controversy is exactly what the treatment field and the various support groups need. 

Thinking in recovery circles has been too stagnated for too long. Our knowledge has come a long way from the early 20th Century, and it’s time to start thinking outside the “traditional” boxes when it comes to treatment. That said, we are not encouraging anyone to stop going to meetings. One thing that is necessary in recovery is support from folks who understand. People who lack it rarely get sober, whatever their particular addiction(s) may be, and the various support groups are the best place to find like-minded folks. Just don’t let the “Bleeding Deacons”  panic you. After all, isn’t a closed mind one of the worst curses of alcoholism and other addictions? If WE, the people who’ve been there and done that, don’t keep open minds, how can we expect the folks who make decisions regarding legislation, insurance and so forth to do so? Hell, a lot of them are probably in denial about their own issues!

Read the article. If nothing else, it’ll be good for your circulation.

The United States already spends about $35 billion a year on alcohol- and substance-abuse treatment, yet heavy drinking causes 88,000 deaths a year—including deaths from car accidents and diseases linked to alcohol. It also costs the country hundreds of billions of dollars in expenses related to health care, criminal justice, motor-vehicle crashes, and lost workplace productivity, according to the CDC. With the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of coverage, it’s time to ask some important questions: Which treatments should we be willing to pay for? Have they been proved effective? And for whom—only those at the extreme end of the spectrum, or also those in the vast, long-overlooked middle?  Lots more…