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Post Info TOPIC: Welcoming People Back After A Relapse
BGG


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Hello Family:

I got a call today letting me know that an A.A. friend passed away this morning.  My heart hurts because I saw him return to A.A. after relapsing a year ago (he was sober 5 years when he relapsed), and know how difficult we struggle to return to A.A. if we relapse after years of continuous sobriety.  When he returned, I shared with him my own process in coming back after relapsing (after 18 years of continuous sobriety), and encouraged him that the guilt, remorse and shame would lift in time.  He shared with me that there were some A.A. members who were harshly critical of him when he returned, and I told him that I understood, since I had experienced the same from some A.A. members.  Unfortunately, despite some attempts at renewed sobriety, he was unable to stay sober, and that ultimately led to his passing.

Bottom line, I don't believe that the vast majority of A.A. members intend any ill will or harm when speaking to people who have returned after a relapse.  But, I think we all can be reminded that anything much more than "I'm glad to see you, welcome back, we need you here," or similar words of hope and encouragement, may do significantly more harm than good, even when we think that we're just showing "tough love."  I was my own worse critic when I returned, and remained that way for well over a year.  I know from my own experience that, given my level of sensitiveness and shame when I returned to A.A., the last thing I needed was for "salt" to be added to my already extremely painful wounds.  By the grace of God, I was surrounded by enough encouraging, supportive A.A. members that in time I was able to heal regardless of what some members said.

When anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. to be there, and for that, I am responsible.

In love and support,
BGG (By God's Grace)

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I had a slip after five and a half years of sobriety and stayed away for over two years. Oh how I hated returning to those rooms but I ran out of options. At that time the group I was a part of was very supportive and I do believe they got me through all the shame and guilt I had. I don't know if I would have made it without their help and support.

The group I belong to now looks down on relapsers and it is sad. Those folks are always made to feel unwelcomed... and yes I say that because you can feel the tension in the air. I always start my talk with saying, "John Doe, I admire your strength and courage for coming back. You have more strength then I did when I slipped."

You are right, they beat themselves up enough without adding fuel to the fire...

I am sorry for your loss
Dave

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I remember after drinking the awful feeling of having to go back to a meeting and admit that I had drank. The longer I stayed away from AA, the harder it was to walk thru the doors. But I knew there was hope in those rooms, and I knew those ppl had something .. sobriety.

For 2 yrs I did the 30,60,90 day shuffle ... at first going back to the meetings most ppl were very welcoming. But after doing it so many times .. I'll have to be honest and say that I doubt anyone had any faith in me, cuz most ppl weren't as welcoming after the 6th or 7th relapse as they were on the 1st or 2nd one.

After ( what I pray to be ) .. my last drunk a good trustworthy friend of mine told me that many of the regulars that I attended meetings with had placed bets on how long I would stay sober this time. Nice huh? And no, I dont have resentments against these ppl, I do know that they did not in fact have my best interest in mind and thats okay with me today. It has taken me awhile, but I have learned that not everybody in AA is well.

I have been in meetings where ppl come back after getting drunk and I Have heard other so called 'long time' members thank them for coming back .. cuz' they claim that they needed that particlar person to 'go out ' there and get drunk, to let the member know that its still out there. HUH, WHAT ???? That kills me, lol. Sorry, but I most certainly do not need anybody to go out and get drunk to prove to me that booze is still out there. I know without a doubt that its out there.

Its my job as an AA member today to be as welcoming, loving, understanding and tolerant of anyone in the rooms ... no matter how long they have been sober. No matter how many times they go in and out the doors.

I am responsible when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help .. right?
( I consider someone coming back to the rooms of AA after the 1st, or 10th drunk reaching out for help , and If Im there, then I should be helping them in any way I can )

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Im glad this post was posted. There is a woman I met when I first came in to the program. She is a very educated and well to do lady. I have been in the program over 2 1/2 years. During this time I have taken her to the hospital during one of her relaps. She has relapsed many, many times since and now I find out many times before I knew her. It was a huge learning experience. She said "Boy I will never do that again" Well her relaps are getting closer and closer, but she keeps coming back. The problem I am having is when she comes back its like business as usual with her. I go between being angry with her or just throwing my hand in the air. I know her sobriety is not my concern. What concerns me is how she jumps right on the new people and tells them how to do the program and is very uppity towards alot of the people in the fellowship. When someone talks that she doesn't like she makes noises and just pisses me off. I know I need to just stay clear and mind my own business. I caught myself judging and talking about her with another AA person and after I felt really bad about it. I have no business putting such judgment on another person in the fellowship. I should always be supportive. So I guess today I will pray to my higher power to guide me and to be helpful and supportive to those suffering. It takes alot of guts to come back it and be humble and honest. If I don't work my program better I will be knowing that first hand.

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Hi BGG,

So sorry your heart is hurting....thank you dear for making this Post.....

BGG, I was a chronic relapser for over 7 years, sometimes getting 30 days, then 60 I believe was the highest number of days.....and I would always go back within a week, not out of shame, although that was my internal kickname, just knew it would help, and to be real honest, I never paid too much attention to the folks with their looks at each other, or some smart ass comment, like thank you, you helped me stayed sober this week, I agree with the other responder that was so out of line, and so friggen  co-dependant...I always looked at the whole groups as people recovering from Alcoholism, some faster than others, and I was just a person that simple did not "get" the program......but to all that had gone on to achieve long term sobriety, thought how truly wonderful for them....

I felt when I would wake up and feel sick as a dog, hands so shakey  that I had an illness, and was doing the best I could do....an illness that only when I was looking into the grave did it dawn on me, and asked a God, (really not of my understanding), I had long ago convinced myself that the God I knew, or believed in as a child really wanted nothing to do with the likes of me....but it was that utter Surrendering to God,
and begging for HIS Help in Showing me a Different way.

My hideous compulsion to get drunk, 24/7, was simple lifted and I believe and I always will, that God was responsible for showing me how to not drink, one day at a time, and get myself into a chair everyday, and just listen, and after that meeting would Pray to that God to help me return to the next meeting the next day, that went on for months and months.
I had a Big Book, I had had for ages and the 12x 12, but it was that little 24 hour book I used as my real life Bible.....

The critical judgements of others regarding others, I find so very sad, it makes me feel like crying out to these people, can you NOT remember where you came from???

I had an experience with a wonderful, wonderful cheery and also positive stuff to say to all,an Englishman, with his wonderful English accent, he had had many many years of continueous Sobriety,....then  came in one day last year, he looked like a different person, so full of shame, (I am assuming),  but could barely speak with out crying, about how hard it was for him, the drinking and the returning...and the hard part was he then stopped coming back.....Pray is doing ok, today, that is all I can do.

It also brings up another topic on Relapsing, like you said, you relapsed at 18 years, and I just had a 20th roll by, thanks to my HP, whom I choose always to call God.....so maybe there is a big difference indeed to having enjoy a lot of wonderful sobriety and having to start over, but We certainly dont lose those long wonderful years, my opinion here,  sure hope I never find out, and if we keep God first always in our lives, but the disease is always waiting....I hear that all the time...

That was then, this is now, and I personal just wonder where the lack of intelligence comes from when we judge  others, I have made it a strong conviction of mine, and Pray also about help with never judging others.  

I sure hope this response has stayed in the  theme  of your heartbreaking Post.....

God Bless us, One and ALL

Toni 




-- Edited by Just Toni on Monday 11th of October 2010 06:34:45 PM

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Personally since I was shown Love and Tolerance when I slipped after many years, and my AA friends even remained my AA friends, telling me "we didn't love you because you were sober, we love you because you are you" and I was welcomed back with open arms

When we get to AA we aren't well, and the truth of the matter is many never get "well" no matter how many 24 hours they string together, every area has large geoups of these people who run around with their opinions bothering everyone and when they approached me with their judgement when I came back I let them know I already had a God, and it wasn't them.

See just like the first time I got sober, the effort I put into my sobriety was all I was responsible for, and if I let the judgmental attitudes of a few sick people keep me from getting sober, the responsibility was on me, me blaming other people for my drinking or running away from my responsibilities because people were "mean" was the first "old idea" I had to let go of in order to get sobriety, when we talk about having to want sobriety more then anything else in the whole world, that's what this means, we let nothing and no one stand in the way of our sobriety no matter what.

I drove 1 hour a direction twice a week, 2 hours a direction once a week, and 15 miles a direction once a week in my first six months of sobriety on a suspended license in an area where the cops knew what my car looked like and knew I didn't have a license, I didn't care, this all falls under the "prepared to go to any lengths" category

With friends that did the same thing, such as still calling me things like "newcomer" between 9 months and a year and 3 months I pulled aside and told them what they were saying hurt my feelings, and they were making me feel unwelcome, and if they continued to give me a hard time I would be unable to remain their friend and would be compelled to attend meetings where I was made to feel welcome.

The behavior stopped, with the others, the "know it alls" from their lofty perches on the hilltop of moral and spiritual superiority stopped in time as well, when they saw me doing the deal, getting a sponsor, working the steps, getting commitments, setting up chairs, sponsoring others, in short when they saw me doing the work required to achieve long term sobriety I earned their respect back

I am sorry alcoholism killed your friend, both his and the people around him's alcoholism, but it happens here, alcoholism kills people and it's nobodies fault, that's why it's called a disease, all I can do is my part to remain loving and helpful towards the newcomer, and sometimes my love might look different then yours

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I think there are ways of talking to a person about their relapse that demonstrate caring and concern rather than criticism. For example if a person blabs and blabs and never listens, but keeps going out and coming back in, it would help them to be told to listen more, but it can be done in a tactful way. We are here to help each other, but not enable each other. It is not my place to judge a person's whole character for having a relapse, but the shame and guilt is all self induced and cosigning a person's bullcrap doesn't help them.

It's a fine line of calling a person out, but doing it in a loving way. Just my thoughts on the matter...

I am sorry for your loss BGG...It is a shame but ultimately it comes down to the disease and to willingness....no person in AA is to blame for someone's relapse. Alcoholism is to blame. I don't need others to go out for me to be reminded to stay sober, but it does make me more mad at alcoholism and that makes me more vigilant.

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So glad this thread came up - just back from a meeting and spent time with a returnee. After 11 dry months, made up of 6 months rehab and 5 months supported sober living, he thought just the one wouldn't hurt. That was 3 weeks ago. He's made it back across the pennines having been on the streets for those three weeks, got himself in a hostel and got to a meeting. He says he'll walk to tomorrows meeting as he has no money for the bus and refused a lift.

he says it get's worse. much worse.



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Great topic and thread.

I'm fortunate to encounter the judgmental crowd very rarely in the Fellowship. I find that when I do, the folks dispensing what they see as "helpful advice" are very well-intentioned.

For my part, I just consider what it says in the Big Book, "Never talk down to an alcoholic from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you. Offer him friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do anything to help." (page 95).

Admittedly, that part of the BB was intended for AA's trying to find new alkies to carry the message to, but I doubt that the same principles don't apply to dealing with folks who have been around a while and have gone out again.

It's not up to me to call anyone out on the advice they give, but it us up to me to share my own experience with the person coming back and what I did when I had a drink and came back (if they want to hear it).

Steve

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Thanks H1 ... ... ... this IS a great thread ... hope everyone reads the whole posting ...


Love ya and God Bless,
Pappy



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I think so too, Pappy.

It has been one of the most difficult things for me to have to do when I went back. I had more sobriety time built up and not just a day, few days or months like before. While I don't expect sympathy, I think I was expecting empathy. I know that I have lost a lot of respect from some of the people in the rooms and they don't make a point of hiding it.  I was bothered by this for the first few days and then I realized I really don't give a damn. They didn't get me drunk and they cannot keep me sober.

The good thing is that there are some folks who have been very nice... consistent with the way they were before I went out and who I feel have been very supportive. So I am grateful for them. I think they really understand this disease and how any of us can go out and it is nothing to feel shameful or be shamed about.



-- Edited by hopefulone on Monday 12th of October 2015 08:39:35 PM

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hopefulone wrote:

The good thing is that there are some folks who have been very nice... consistent with the way they were before I went out and who I feel have been very supportive. So I am grateful for them. I think they really understand this disease and how any of us can go out and it is nothing to feel shameful or be shamed about.


And because it is a disease, any of us who do go out don't need to be forgiven for it. That notion is simply not relevant.

People don't need forgiveness for getting diabetes.



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I was thinking last night if I had any other disease and had a relapse if people would avoid/ignore me. Probably not. Who knows? I think sometimes when we are struggling for any reason there are some who don't know what to say and may not want to put themselves in uncomfortable situations, so end up not saying anything. I remember when we lost our baby and I had relatives I saw shortly afterward who didn't say a thing to me in relation to our loss. My father--for one--although he was an alcoholic and stayed drunk most of the time. My brother and his wife didn't say anything. I was really close with a cousin --nothing. That hurt. Then I had people I barely knew who sent cards and came by or called who were very supportive. I still remember a card with a beautiful comforting handwritten message I received from one of them. That was over 20 years ago. I guess this goes back to the expectations of others thingie. I am learning how to lessen my expectations of others and if I can get to the point where those expectations of others are next to nothing, I'll be so much better in my recovery. If I take all the energy I have used expecting others to do certain things which are only self-serving to me, and put that energy into the expectations I have of myself and what God expects of me, maybe I can stay sober.



-- Edited by hopefulone on Tuesday 13th of October 2015 06:55:07 AM

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'Forgiveness' doesn't come into play for having any disease that you didn't contract on purpose ... or through reckless behavior ...

'Forgiveness' is viable for a diabetic that gorges themselves on sweets, knowing full well what the consequences will be ... it's simply a bad choice on their part ... 



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My god, I can't believe the treatment some of the people in your groups give to returning relapsers. I've never relapsed, but can't imagine how difficult it is to walk back through those doors and tell the group you went out. I always say I'm glad you came back, we missed you. And I mean that, there are people who don't make it back, and wind up dying from the disease. I guess alcoholics are like anyone, there's always going to be haters in the crowd.

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I honestly do not feel like I need anyone other than God to forgive me for my relapse. I didn't do anything to the people in the rooms to harm them. If, however, I did something harmful to someone, like yell at them or do something dishonest to an individual(s) when I was drinking, then I need to make amends. The group as a whole, I have done nothing to, that is except to lose some respect. While having others respect me would be nice, it is not necessary. And if I do things in my life to try for the purpose of trying to earn their respect I feel that is an ego-driven motive and is self-serving on my part. I need no glory or praise and to yearn for it, to me, is foolish. As long as I do what I feel is the right thing to do in all areas of my life, things that are pleasing to God, then I feel I am doing what my purpose in life is. Drinking is not one of them. I know that. I knew it when I was drinking. It didn't stop me. I let my emotions and depressions swallow me whole and one of the reasons I gave myself was drinking was because I felt like people didn't like me enough, I wasn't good enough, I was a loser.
I no longer will allow myself to feel those things...or at least I am going to try and not feel them. Having others "approve" of me is no longer on the top of my list. In fact, I am trying to force it down to the bottom as much as I possibly can. If someone in the rooms doesn't forgive me for relapsing, I don't care. That's their problem, and I am not going to feel guilty or allow myself to make it my problem.



-- Edited by hopefulone on Tuesday 13th of October 2015 09:01:26 AM

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Pythonpappy wrote:

'Forgiveness' doesn't come into play for having any disease that you didn't contract on purpose ... or through reckless behavior ...  


 Do you believe that "forgiveness" does come into play for an AA member who has a slip/relapse?

 

Pythonpappy wrote:

'Forgiveness' is viable for a diabetic that gorges themselves on sweets, knowing full well what the consequences will be ... it's simply a bad choice on their part ... 


 So you believe that "forgiveness" does not come into play for diabetics who unintentionally obtain their disease due to insulin resistance and insulin production problems but that "forgiveness" does come into play for people who acquire diabetes by eating lots of sweets?

If this is your position how do you diagnose the two different situations?

 



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Live and let live.

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Thanks for everything.  Peace and Love on your journey.  



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Thanks Tasha ...



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hopefulone wrote:

I honestly do not feel like I need anyone other than God to forgive me for my relapse. I didn't do anything to the people in the rooms to harm them. 


 You don't need it and it is not appropriate in AA. You didn't do anything to "forgive."

 

hopefulone wrote:

I no longer will allow myself to feel those things...or at least I am going to try and not feel them. Having others "approve" of me is no longer on the top of my list. In fact, I am trying to force it down to the bottom as much as I possibly can. If someone in the rooms doesn't forgive me for relapsing, I don't care. That's their problem, and I am not going to feel guilty or allow myself to make it my problem.


Some people in AA attempt to gain power or status by emphasizing the difference between them and a person who has slipped/relapsed. We have all seen that. Granting "forgiveness" is a means to do that. But it is not an "AA principle" to "forgive" a fellow AA member for falling prey to the disease of alcoholism. There is nothing of the kind in the Big Book. We don't designate certain members to have the power of absolution for anything.

We are all equal. No AA member can legitimately lord his or her sobriety over another.

We have different paths. All equal. None granting authority over another.



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bored.gif



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Hi all, i am truly shocked at some of these posts, when people havent given support to people who have relapsed. I have relapsed several times in five months, but every time i have gone back to the rooms, i have only been welcomed with open arms, i also do the same to anyone else who has relapsed...i always tell them to give themselves a pat on the back for coming to a meeting, and not to dwell on the past(after all, u cant change it). I go to many different meetings and have never come across anyone being critical or looking down on anyone, all i have ever seen is love, good advice and lots of encouragement, maybe it is different over here in England xx

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Karen


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Morn'n Kaz, ... (or evening there I 'spose) ...

Humans will be humans ... some have the capacity for compassion, some don't ... and not all AA groups are the same, actually, they can be quite different ... but overall, most AA groups follow our 12 steps and 12 traditions ... most of us find it hard to 'let go' of the past, but we do if we are to be successful working the AA program ...you sound like you're do'n well ...

How's the 'move' coming along ??? ...


God Bless,
Pappy



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Good Morning, Kaz...
I am so glad that you have been and felt welcomed back in the rooms. That is the way it should be. I remember going to a meeting a good while back and a woman who had years and years of sobriety shared she picked up again. I was sitting there with tears in my eyes, as I felt that she was really suffering with doing so. After the meeting I was shocked that there was only one person talking to her and supporting her. This particular meeting is fairly large. I went over and gave her a big hug. I didn't know what to say (I was fairly new myself) however, I did do that. I noticed that the folks who had been sitting with her at this meeting no longer did so. She had always had the same group of folks she sat with. She sat by herself and then eventually stopped coming to the meetings as much. Because I was pretty backward myself at that time, I feel badly I didn't go sit beside her. I think I thought that since she had so much more sobriety time than me, and we weren't really close that it might embarrass her to have a newcomer sitting beside her after that happened. (My mind has been good about filling in the blanks when I am not clear about something :(. I actually contacted her after this happened to me since she has been through it. I wanted to have coffee with her. She didn't want to meet with just me and wanted to meet with a group of people and I wasn't comfortable with that because I didn't want to take a risk of being with people who may ignore me or tell me how stupid I was for drinking again. So we didn't meet.

There are like I said a few people who have been supportive. The meeting last night was hard. I am not sure how much longer I can continue to go there. It is almost like I have leprosy compared to what it was like before. As they say, this is not a popularity contest. After having some more time to think about it, I believe that there are those in the rooms who are afraid to face their own fears about drinking again...right now my relapse represents that "fear". I have noticed that several newcomers have been pretty nice to me. The ones with longer sobriety time not so much. There are a couple of folks who have answered my phone calls and talked....everything seems okay....that is until I see them in the meetings and they avoid me. I had one of them who came up to my guy friend, said hi and shook his hand...I was going to say hi to him and he avoided eye contact and walked away. He had always given me a hug when I would see him at the meetings. It hurts. He has years of sobriety time. (It is a lot like grade school when "friends" would want to be around you if it was one on one, and then when other friends were around, they would have nothing to do with you.).My mind tells me..."well, just ignore him....that will "show" him"-- or her I don't give a damn. I am a friendly person and it is hard for me to intentionally not speak or stop speaking to someone. I try to treat all people with respect. I guess it was the way I was brought up.

We have a guy in the room who has serious mental disorder(s) from all the drugs and alcohol. There are people who make fun of him...they laugh and poke each other during his shares. (Not loudly, just noticeable.)  I never had and never will think I am "better" than someone else. That is one reason I also detest that slogan "Stick with the winners". I think we are all winners in the rooms. I just think that some of us are sicker than others (of which I am one...) and I think any human being who makes fun or treats someone else like that guy with the mental disorder and like I have been treated are the "sicker" ones.


I will say that it is not easy to go to the meetings. The compulsion to drink is very much alive and I think about drinking every day and especially after things happen during meetings which make me sadder. It will not take much to make me give in to it. So if going to meetings continues to make me feel worse instead of better than I will either drink or figure out another way. To some, I would be considered a "loser". Maybe I am. I don't care what they think....(keep telling myself that). They may be in my shoes one day and I will be one of the few who goes up to them, gives them a big hug, and tell them "I'm sorry this happened. I am glad you're here." (That is if I end up staying in myself).



-- Edited by hopefulone on Friday 16th of October 2015 07:42:31 AM



-- Edited by hopefulone on Friday 16th of October 2015 07:49:24 AM

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I Like to Continue to remind Myself - that .

I have only had 2 occupations.

1 Sailor in th Aussie Navy

2 Long distance Semi Driver.

I Ain't been appointed a Judge yet.

So I leave th judging to th Judges & th judges Will leave -

Th Trucking & Road Trains to blokes like me who are More qualified with Aussie Road Trains.



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Rick.

@ 37 I was too young & good looking to be an alkie.

still too young , still got th good looks. still n alkie.



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I had a woman come up to me after the meeting. I have always enjoyed listening to her shares. She says things which I wish I was smart enough to come up with the words to say. Very inspirational and positive. I am sure she has helped a lot of people with her calm and gentle shares. She was just so wonderful to me. Gave me a big hug and told me all that matters now is that I am sober and "here now". I feel better!

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Relapse is a serious business. It is truly a miracle when someone comes back. Often they dont make it back. There is more than one way to look at this though.

Sister Ignatia, way back, noticed something about the effect relapsers had on her and Dr Bobs recovery groups. She noticed whenever a relapser was in the group, the success rate dropped. This makes sense to me because my little alcoholic mind latched on to any indication that I could drink again. A relapser coming back tells me I could get away with it too. So I tried it and I did. Later I got to know the truth when people I knew didn't make it back.

Then there is the attitude of the individual coming back. What was behind the relapse? People who have known a person a while may have some idea and that may influence how they treat the person returning. Dr Bob himself relapsed because he refused to take step 9. He came back, he took step 9, and never drank again. What would have happened if he had continued to refuse to take step 9?

I have seen a few relapse. Some come back to their sponsors, like I did, even more convinced about their alcoholism and ready to go to any lengths. Some come back, like Dr Bob, and apply parts of the program they thought they could do without.

Others come back looking for sympathy and understanding but are not actually prepared to do anything different this time around, and the question has to be asked "why aren't they doing the same things we did to get well?" "I know" and "yes but" are the catch phrases of the serial relapser.

The book suggests we don't waste time on people who are not interested in our solution as we may deprive others of much needed help. Maybe those that know the history and current attitude of this relapser have a good reason for standing back. Reasons that may not be obvious to someone meeting an expert conman (alcoholic in denial) for the first time.

A common mistake, reinforced by many who appear to be getting away with it, is the idea that meetings keep you sober. For this alcoholic, and many others, this is a dangerous fallacy. It is the steps I take, not the meetings I make, that got and keep me sober.

This might seem harsh to some, but the fact is that the booze beat me into a state of total defeat. I had no options left, no cards up my sleeve to play, no position from which to negotiate the terms of my recovery, in fact I was convinced I would not survive. William James suggests that this state is a prerequisite to a life changing spiritual experience. Further, I did not have the intellect to argue about the process. I just followed the directions with the help of a sponsor, and it worked just as promised.



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Fyne Spirit,
If I understand your post correctly, the treatment I am receiving from quite a few in my meetings, I deserve it because of my relapse?

I had over two years of sobriety. During that time I immersed myself in doing service work. I could post all the different things I did to help other alcoholics. I have done so on this board throughout my sobriety. To do so now, I feel, would be bragging and to try and get you and others to "like" me or to gain acceptance. A wise woman on this board told me very early on pointed that out to me. I took issue with her doing so at that time...now I am grateful to her. She was right. I don't need to make a point to share that with anyone now. God knows. I will say this...I made AA my life and put service work before other things, like working at my job (I am self employed) trying to make more income. Although there are some that will find this hard to believe, I made more money when I was drinking, every year I was drinking, than I have in the years of my sobriety. I worked the Steps as best as I knew how to do during that time. Maybe I didn't do them good enough. But I did them the BEST I was able to.

While I can appreciate your comments and understand the need for others to protect their own sobriety, it doesn't change the fact that it hurts to be treated the way I am. Because of this, I am thinking that instead of spending all that time trying to help others, including relapsers, I should have been spending some of that time trying to help myself and using the time trying to work harder in my business and get the cars that other AA'ers drive, live in a decent place instead of a "dump" and not have to go to thrift stores to get my clothes. Is that selfish on my part? Do I have a bad/sour attitude? Maybe, well, probably so and I am sure this is not the "way" the BB tells me I should be.

Yes, your posting is "harsh"; however, it does seem to be the reality and sometimes the truth is hard to hear. Maybe in their minds, I do need to be "forgiven" for going out by those who want nothing to do with me now. Maybe I will never be "forgiven" for that sin. But I am having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that this is a spiritual based program (notice I didn't say "religious" although I do believe it is just that...we say The Lord's Prayer, The Third Step Prayer, The Serenity Prayer, and God's name is mentioned over 400 times in the Big Book. The principals we strive to adhere to are God-based in my mind because I am a Christian. I don't care what they are to others who don't believe in God--whatever keeps them sober is up to them. I truly believe that we should "do unto others, etc." and treating relapsers the way I have been treated is horrible. You can make excuses for those who do so. You can adopt this attitude yourself. Whatever floats your sober boat. I will continue to go to meetings and try and deal with it and you and those people who have that mindset can be the ones who make the coffee and do the other things to help others who are more "serious" about their sobriety. I will say that the ones who are treating me this way, the largest majority of them I have never seen make coffee, clean up or do any other service work. Their shares, if they share at all, are lengthy and full of themselves and ego-driven--wanting to just "talk" and "be heard". They are the ones who use "You, you, you's" in their shares and tell everyone how ecstatic and happy they are while walking around with frowns and look downright miserable. I really don't want what they have. Respect would be nice but I don't have to have it.

I am glad you shared. Regardless of how "sour" I may sound, it helped, because I think what you posted is exactly what is going on. Sad.



-- Edited by hopefulone on Saturday 17th of October 2015 05:21:54 AM

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hopefulone wrote:

Fyne Spirit,
If I understand your post correctly, the treatment I am receiving from quite a few in my meetings, I deserve it because of my relapse?



-- Edited by hopefulone on Saturday 17th of October 2015 05:21:54 AM


 It is interesting that you think my post was about you H1. It wasn't and you did not understand it correctly. I posted about different effects of relapse on the relapser and the people around them. There were illustrations of positive effects such as those for Dr Bob and myself who applied lessons from the relapse, and an example of the type who slips again and again and is never willing to do anything different. I did not have you in mind at all, when I wrote that post.

I don't know your specific circumstances H1, but I don't think anyone deserves bad treatment/rudeness because of a relapse. To me that shows a misunderstanding of the disease. It assumes the relapser has a choice whether he or she drinks or not when, in my experience, we have lost the power of choice in drink. Neither does the book suggest rudeness as a response to someone who is not interested in our program. Quite the opposite, it suggests we remain friendly.

Relapse does not happen by choice to drink, it happens because we have no effective defense against the first drink. The question I had to ask myself after my last relapse was why did I have no defense? And the answer was that I made a choice NOT to go to any lengths, I had refused the steps, the God bit, to be honest with people, and I was not interested in doing more than two meetings a week. My last bender changed that attitude.

One element of your post reminded me of a young man I met in my travels. His sobriety had lead to a certain amount of success in business and of course he had kept out of trouble with the law. He said he was very proud of "his" achievements but very disappointed that his wife in particular did not share his view and was still inclined to criticise at times and did not show enough appreciation. He explained that he thought his journey with AA was like a contract. he had done his steps, he had done his service, and at the end of five years he felt let down that his life was not as good as he thought he deserved.

He didn't seem to be getting what I was getting and the only thing that seemed different was that he had a lot of expectations of AA, God and the people in his life, that I didn't seem to have. My surrender was unconditional.

 

 



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I went back and reread both of our postings, FS, and realized that you didn't specifically point out me and that you were stating the possibilities rather than your own viewpoints about relapsers, I was the harsh one. It was early and I was not fully awake when I replied. (Which is a good lesson for me to not respond or post anything until I am fully awake and aware (or trying to be aware) of what is actually being said rather than doing so when my mind is still foggy. So I apologize for my error. I guess I am hurting (allowing myself to hurt) and my already sensitive nature was on autopilot this a.m.

I can truly relate to what you said in your last paragraph. That is exactly how I am feeling now. I think I must have misinterpreted that "and the promises will come true" part. I have heard many shares where folks referred to that particular part in the BB and then went on to say how they came to meetings, prayed to their HP, worked the Steps, did service work and the promises have come true for them....new job paying more (or a sizable raise), nice home, kids (or family) talking to them and renewed relationships. The "promises" have been so often connected with these things, it has been ingrained in my mind that if only I did everything I could within my power and aptitude while keeping a positive attitude and really wanting to help others, I too, would have all these wonderful "things" happen in my life. Please don't get me wrong....I could tell the biggest change in me once I worked my 4th and 5th Steps and was really into the service work. I was not just doing it to achieve "things" or changes in my personal situations. I was doing it to of course stay sober and because I truly felt satisfaction and wanted to help other alcoholics. Sadly, I guess this was not enough for me. My expectations were through the roof and I think I lost site of my primary purpose--to stay sober and help others. I got involved with two people I was trying to help who were unkind to me and I allowed myself to be treated poorly and I was unable to be assertive and not stand up for myself. Because both are very assertive, manipulative and controlling, I took whatever they dished out, which made my newly found self confidence and respect for myself to plummet and cause me to doubt myself again. The rest has been said.
And I know I am being guilty of being one of those with the lengthy "shares". Glad this is not a meeting and anyone can feel free to pass over my postings without reading all the crap.




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Thanks for your post H1. The promises throughout the book, really meant nothing to me because they were all beyond my experience. It was only after taking the action and feeling the result that I began to see how the promises came true in my life. I suppose the material things would seem important, and we often talk about the good jobs, cars etc that come along as "rewards" of sobriety, but the real rewards are internal.

The promises are all spiritual in nature. One of my favorites is from the fifth step - "we can be alone at perfect peace and ease" wow! what an experience! or from step three, our new employer will provide what we need.

My life seems to have worked out quite well materially, especially in later years I have been given a lot of freedom. But my sponsor, who had the most amazing sobriety, worked nights a a cleaner for the first few years I knew him, before qualifying as a counsellor after which he worked with our youth justice system up till the day he died. His life seems to have been one of service to others. He set a very tough example for me to try and follow, but there was something about him that I realy wanted.

Going back to my friend who had expectations of sobriety and AA, and reading your post put me in mind of a passage in the big book which might make very good material for meditation.

"Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction from this life if only he manages well?" What could it mean?



-- Edited by Fyne Spirit on Saturday 17th of October 2015 09:35:06 AM

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Great thread! I went to my first meeting in nearly 2 years today and felt very welcomed. Several of the folks recognized me and complimented me on making the decision. I shared that I really had no choice in the matter. God convicted me that I HAD to get back in the rooms. My way didn't work for 35 years earlier and still didn't work for the past 14-16 months. I'm an alcoholic and I can't control my drinking. I can't do it. But God can and this is His way of helping me become who I am supposed to be.

I trust that God will give me the same welcoming attitude when others are reaching out for help, whether for the first time or when coming back. It felt good to be so encouraged in the room and listening is a great thing to do.

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I am so glad that your experience going back to AA have been positive. Your attitude is amazing and I need to learn from you. Although my postings on here are too long, the only share I have done is when I went back and shared that I went out. I have listened and kept my mouth shut during every meeting I have been to since.

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