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RevolutionStartsNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-20-10 08:10 PM
Original message
Hi DUers in Recovery!
My name is RevolutionStartsNow, and I'm an alcoholic.

I hope someone reads this, it's pretty long. :)

Just wanted to share what's going on with me. I've been clean and sober for over 18 years (19 years on Sept 21), but have spent most of those years NOT in AA. When I first joined I was all about meetings and service work; I was in a relationship with someone who was also in AA, and our lives revolved around it. I worked with a sponsor, worked the steps the best I could at the time, and felt I'd been given a new life. Indeed, I was fully in recovery. The program works.

Fast-forward a bit, AA relationship slowly went south, then I met someone else who is not an alcoholic, had kids, married him, got a new career, yadda yadda. Started going to fewer and fewer meetings. Had a one-day relapse when I had over 2 years sober. Didn't want to tell anyone, felt a lot of shame, that certainly helped keep me out of meetings. My sister and brother are both in recovery and encouraged me to stay connected to the Fellowship, and I tried, but once my social group had changed, I just didn't feel part of anymore. Eventually I stopped trying, and found a lot of peace and happiness with my family, job, and friends (mostly parents of my kids' friends).

Over the years I had pangs of missing AA, and sometimes I'd try a meeting, but I just didn't make it a priority. I never drank, and didn't feel like I was white-knuckling it, not really. Sometimes alcoholic behavior cropped up, and I flirted with serious danger with prescribed medicines and legal but mind-alterings substances (Kava, anyone?). My compulsion to drink was lifted I think when I did my 3rd step, but my compulsion to alter my conciousness or to try to escape was starting to return. But I was okay. I still identified as an alcoholic and had a touch of concious contact that probably kept me from relapsing. Actually, I don't really know what kept me from relapsing.

Fast-forward again, to 12 days ago. One of my dear friends (most of my friends know I'm in recovery) calls me and tells me that her boyfriend (who I didn't know very well) relapsed the night before, please help. I knew immediately what to do. I went to him, asked him if he was willing to do whatever it takes, and promised to take him to 90 meetings in 90 days.

Then a miracle happened. I walked into a meeting with him, for him, and immediately felt I'd come home. I was with my people. Written on the board behind the secretary was this BB passage: "Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen." Huh, I thought, that might not be a coincidence.

The next morning was the first morning in almost a year that I awoke and felt at peace. For a long time I'd been experiencing some real fear (mostly about financial stuff), the kind of fear that wakes you up at night and grips your heart when you first come to consciousness. Not pleasant at all, but I was kind of used to it. The financial problems are by no means gone, but the fear is completely lifted. Nonexistant. I can put myself into those thoughts about my debt and what could happen and I don't feel ANY fear. That, my friends, is a spiritual event.

For the past 12 days I've been working with Jack, taking him to meetings, and babysitting him while he struggles in early recovery. He's 46, divorced, kind of well known professionally around town, and completely shamed. He'd been sober for 18 months but never really worked the program. Never surrendered. Now his wreckage is pretty severe -- may lose his law license, and more importantly may lose the visitation with his kids that he worked so hard to get back after he hit bottom the first time, about 2 years ago. He's a bit of a mess. But he's willing, so I'm working with him. I've told him he needs to get a male sponsor, and that going to 90 in 90 is part of that process of finding someone more appropriate than me (a woman, his gf's close friend, and freshly back in the program). Meanwhile we've become very close, in a way that only 2 alcoholics can. His gf is truly a dear friend and is very grateful that I'm helping him, but I feel a different closeness with him (I'm encouraging her to try AlAnon). I know enough about myself to be sure to check my motives -- this is a man my own age, handsome and needy, is there something else going on here? -- but I have to say that when I get quiet and pray about it, the instruction I get is "help him." I feel like I'm on a spiritual path and it's not entirely up to me. It's remarkable, really.

And the effect at home has also been tremendous. My husband and I have had several very honest conversations, and I feel our relationship has been transformed. Every time I tell Jack to "be nice" (to his gf) or tell him to be accepting or to be honest, I know I am telling myself the same thing, and I practice it at home. My husband has been very understanding -- remember that I haven't been going to meetings for the longest part of our relationship, so this is new for him. It's also taken a lot of discussion to make him comfortable with me going to a meeting every day with a man -- he knows him, and his gf, so it's okay, but he had to get used to it. But he is so understanding; for a "normie", he really does get the disease and is grateful that AA is here for me. Certainly he will benefit from my improved mental and spiritual state, and he's smart enough to recognize that it's good for him, too. He's even talking about using OA to help with his food issues, for the first time ever.

So onward...I am so happy to be back in the program. At 43, I don't need the social support as much as I did in my early 20s, but I am making a big effort to get women's phone numbers and make some friends. I also intend to get a sponsor and work the steps again. I feel renewed. I'm also coming to realize how very much I was slipping, mentally anyway, and where I was probably headed. Jack keeps thanking me for helping him, but I just laugh and tell him that it's me who is really benefitting. Clearly this is God working in my life. No doubt about it. Ah, I'm so happy...I know I have my own work to do, and I know that Jack may not have an easy road, but for me I feel like I'm back on the path to happy, joyous and free. In fact I already feel that way. Many of the promises have come true for me. I just want more freedom, more acceptance, more peace.

And since this is DU, I'll share this: today Jack told me that he used to have the hots for Sarah Palin. Haha. He's a lifelong Democrat, huge Kennedy admirer, but a bit conservative sometimes. I tried to practice acceptance when he told me that. :)

Anyway, thanks for reading...just so glad to be back part of the fellowship of recovering alcoholics and so glad I didn't have to drink and create wreckage before I got back. Am looking forward to participating on this forum.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-10 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Welcome to our group, RevolutionStartsNow!
Thank you for sharing your story with us.

There is a big sense of relief and comfort when
coming together with fellow addicts/alcoholics.

We get it.

Welcome, again.

:hi: :)
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-08-10 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
2. What an enthralling and heart-warming post. That spiritual experience sounds
Edited on Sat May-08-10 05:45 PM by Joe Chi Minh
life-changing all right. In fact, it reminds me of Solzhnitzin's one, seemingly plagiarised by McCain but morphed into his experience in a prisoner of war 'facility' in Vietnam. I mentioned it in a post here a while back. Suddenly, an infusion of hope transformed his whole outlook on the future.

But it also reminds me of a top soccer striker of the sixties called Jimmy Greaves, who was grubbing about in his garbage bin looking for any dregs left in a bottle he'd consumed, when he suddenly said, 'I can't keep putting my wife through this,' and was able to stop right then. I expect having a strong self-image would have been very helpful, but I was struck how his generosity of spirit/love proved such a catalyst. He may not sound like an alcoholic, but apparently he is - reformed.

It also remimds me of how, when I was a young man, the wise words of an old Polish cafe proprietor renewed a sense of purpose in my life, I seemed to have lost. Really simple advice, but it worked from the very next day at work. He said, whatever you do in life, no matter how humble the task, always do it to the best of your ability. Even if it's just sweeping the floor. (Now, I'm constantly appalled at how slap-dash women are, when they wash the dishes!)

Anyway, the next day, I started taking care about how I wrote stuff in a ledger at work, for example. Sounds crazy, but in a way my life was turned around. Mind you, I write illegibly for myself, and often can't even read it later.
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 03:10 AM
Response to Original message
3. Well, I read it and I thank you for such an inspirational post.
I've been in AA for 20 months, sober for 14 1/2. I finally got around to celebrating my year at the end of June, was joined by a woman with two years who has become my good friend in the program - I give rides as part of my service - and a nice young guy who has a month longer than me. :)

It sounds to me that you're working the 12th step now, reaching out to another alcoholic and improving your own life by doing it. Kudos to you and welcome back! :hi:
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-21-10 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
4. Do you think it possible that the renewed sense of joy/peace/contentment you
gained from returning to AA meetings, might be because it confirms or reinforces a real, if implicit, spiritual worldview, which speaks to our nature as human beings at a very profound level.

I know the founder tried not to push formal religion or much religion at all beyond reference to a Higher Power, but I'm always struck by the profundity of the wisdom of the organisation's teachings, which seems to echo some of the most insightful teachings of spiritual writers of the Christian church, seeking to develop their own interior life - yet with the addition of many personal insights of an immediately practical nature (sometimes referred to be posters) beyond the theoretical; kind of micromanagement.
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