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Old timers, when does one consider to be?ashamed



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Helen Beltezore


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Welcome Mira, 

 I been racking my brain to remember where I have read it, and if called to, I will find it,  but in our "AA" literature in the early day's when a person has had a spiritual experience as a result of taking the steps, they were considered a "long timer". AA is now 75 years old and the concept of old timer can just mean they been around a long time and not necessary have done anything but not drink and pound their fist on the table and tell new comers to sit down and shut up. Thats not to say that there are not a plethora of long timers with a wealth of wisdom and experience with living a sober, spiritual way of life, as a result of the steps  because there are. AA is not really designed for us to stop drinking. If one is a real alcoholic, their drinking will do that. AA was designed to bring life back to a spirit that is dead and was destroyed by alcoholism, making us happily and usefully whole, and of maximum service to God and those about us. Just being an old timer in AA wont make that happen, but short timers that have had the change from the steps can...



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Sober time doesn't equal recovery,Social Acceptability doesn't equal recovery,we recover from a seemingly hopeless state of body and  mind,contingent(based) on a fit spiritual condition.a daily reprieve,guided by applying spiritual principles in our lives and actions and being guided by our Higher Powers. EACH DAY ,WE ARE ALL "NEWCOMERS" AS IT IS THE ONLY DAY WE HAVE. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps(and spiritual awarenesses along the way from the time  we  surrendered)    I am an alcoholic, I do not improve my standing or diminish it by identifying other than that(my stuff), I identify with the illness of alcoholism and others just like me,no big I's or little U's ,just one reaching out to another in a loving and caring manner..Haven't yet been to a graduation party :) so I show up daily to do the work,some days better than others but everyday better than  when caught in the grip!!Welcome Mira,stick ariound okay ,good to see ya!!!



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-- Edited by billyjack on Sunday 7th of August 2011 01:01:47 PM

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-- Edited by billyjack on Sunday 7th of August 2011 12:59:41 PM

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20 years is the "rule of thumb", 25 years in some cases at smaller conventions, although at the larger conventions 35 years is now the norm to "qualify" to sign up to be a speaker as an "Old Timer", although at 35 years they frequently feel like "noobs" compared to the other "old timers" (a number of friends have passed that on to me about feeling like a short timer compared to other speakers when qualifying at 35 years at conventions)

length of sobriety is not always indicative of quality of sobriety as is previously touched upon in this post



-- Edited by LinBaba on Sunday 7th of August 2011 02:01:20 PM

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Hi back Mira,,,my answer really is I dont know ,without going into a  big ceremony(you asked a simple question,I gave you a convuluted answer,i'll keep comin:).(see my response below)I do know that staying in the solution ,a day at a time,guided by your Higher Power,will get you there :)smilesmile



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LinBaba wrote:

20 years is the "rule of thumb", 25 years in some cases at smaller conventions, although at the larger conventions 35 years is now the norm to "qualify" to sign up to be a speaker as an "Old Timer", although at 35 years they frequently feel like "noobs" compared to the other "old timers" (a number of friends have passed that on to me about feeling like a short timer compared to other speakers when qualifying at 35 years at conventions)

length of sobriety is not always indicative of quality of sobriety as is previously touched upon in this post



-- Edited by LinBaba on Sunday 7th of August 2011 02:01:20 PM


 Yeah LB,  we've had an "Old timers" meeting  here in St. Pete like forever.  Recently the old farts raised the bar from 20 years to 30 years to be able to speak at their monthly shindig.  And I expect that just before I reach 30 years, they'll raise it to 40.   Not that I really care but it just goes to show you that  people are sick enough to try and preserve some exclusive clique in a place like AA.  "We're the top of the bottom"  LMAO



-- Edited by StPeteDean on Sunday 7th of August 2011 07:14:17 PM

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Mira wrote:

Old timers, when does one consider to be?ashamed


When does someone earn the title "old timer"??? When they get to be my age, that's when. Just kidding...I can certainly qualify for the old part, but the other half has more to do with the "quality" of our sobriety not "quantity". Remember, you should measure the quality of our sobriety by degrees not years. Basically, it's about spiritual growth, and more importantly...to what degree.

Some people call them "spiritual breakthroughs" or giant leaps of faith or whatever you so desire. However, the important factor to keep in mind is how it benefits us long term. Those defining moments can shape our hearts and minds into better living, but by what degree is up to us..

That...my friend is where the program comes in, and has been for this alcoholic "the" defining moment towards a more purpose driven sobriety for the last 10+ years now. I hope the same can be said for you -One Day at a Time...

~God bless~



-- Edited by Mr_David on Monday 8th of August 2011 02:46:43 AM

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Actually I watch what the member is doing compared to what the member is saying and if both are the same and they continue to practice being teachable...that's an oldtimer to me. I've got years being alcohol free...mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at times you couldn't tell and I'm back to newbie status without a tanguery on the rocks with an olive and an onion in my hand or a cooler of San Miguel available.  I have witnessed the demise by alcohol of many "old timers".  Time is not the mean qualification for me.

Good thread.   (((hugs))) smile



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Ya know how old timers get to be old timers dontcha?

They dont drink and they dont die

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StPeteDean wrote:
 Yeah LB,  we've had an "Old timers" meeting  here in St. Pete like forever.  Recently the old farts raised the bar from 20 years to 30 years to be able to speak at their monthly shindig.  And I expect that just before I reach 30 years, they'll raise it to 40.   Not that I really care but it just goes to show you that  people are sick enough to try and preserve some exclusive clique in a place like AA.  "We're the top of the bottom"  LMAO



-- Edited by StPeteDean on Sunday 7th of August 2011 07:14:17 PM


We also have an old timers meeting here, and I think they invite 20+ to speak.  I've never been to the meeting, it's just not in a time and place I can make without taking a half day off work.  I imagine a lot of the speakers there I've heard before.  It's a weekly meeting and it has been going on for a few years now - I wonder how many re-runs they've had   

I remember my first meeting in my home group, being about  12 days sober, and this politburo of wisened oldtimers looking knowingly at me - I just felt right at home.  I still do.  Among our regulars today, only two have more time than me... one of them more than 2x.  I figure anybody who got sober when Lyndon Johnson was President and is still alive to tell about it has something to share that I can listen to.  Then again, I once met a guy who got sober when Harry Truman was President....  I did like listening to him, but many didn't. 

I do think that the long-timers form a connection to our past and our history.  A guy with 40 years doesn't necessarily have better sobriety than me, but he certainly has more experience than me.  Usually there's something I can learn, even if I have to work at it a bit.

Barisax



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When I first got sober in AA everyone looked old. Now they all look young! Does that make me an old timer? Like Barisax says time can equal experience especially if I can learn from my mistakes and aquire some wisdom. In my first years I got so much from the old timers, I really related to them even though they were all considerably older than me, mostly twice my age or more - I was a mere 22. Their stories were so similar, their humility so inspiring. Many others my age seemed to have a thing about the oldies and wouldn't listen to them - times have changed they said! They ain't here now though.

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Fyne Spirit wrote:

When I first got sober in AA everyone looked old. Now they all look young! Does that make me an old timer? Like Barisax says time can equal experience especially if I can learn from my mistakes and aquire some wisdom. In my first years I got so much from the old timers, I really related to them even though they were all considerably older than me, mostly twice my age or more - I was a mere 22. Their stories were so similar, their humility so inspiring. Many others my age seemed to have a thing about the oldies and wouldn't listen to them - times have changed they said! They ain't here now though.


 I came in when I was in my twenties with a TON of people my first few years...we're all still here 20 years later, seriously, there are hundreds of us, we are all still here, still sober...I guess we saw something in each other

we listened

we did what we were told

willingness comes from within

wisdom and good judgment come from experience

most of that comes from bad judgement



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LinBaba wrote:

 I came in when I was in my twenties with a TON of people my first few years...we're all still here 20 years later, seriously, there are hundreds of us, we are all still here, still sober...I guess we saw something in each other

we listened

we did what we were told

willingness comes from within

wisdom and good judgment come from experience

most of that comes from bad judgement


 That's fantastic news LinBaba, hundreds still sober. I notice that  those who survive here do the same things- listen and do what they are told. "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path"! Your post   begs the questions-

we listened - to whom?

We did what we were told - by whom?

I couldn't agree more with your sentiments. I sometimes think a good definition of humility would be the ability to learn from someone elses mistakes.

Best wishes.



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I see a misperception in the labels of both old timer and newcomer. If we are all fives on a scale of one to ten then the labeling can cause a separation in the group. we are all God's kids

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I have over 21 years of sobriety now.  How I got it is simply by the Grace of God.  Sure I worked the steps, far more than once, sure I did service work, at pretty much every level to one degree or another, sure I have sponsored many, many newcomers over the years. And yes I have developed a conscious contact with my Higher Power, who I define as God.

Does this qualify me as an "old timer".  I wouldn't think so.  An old timer to me is someone who not only stays sober over the years, but supports the spirit of rotation, who is willing to take a back seat and let the new man or woman find their way of belonging and becoming a part of.  Who guides with a simple nod, smile or other facial expression that is not degrading, devaluing or belittling of any one else.  The old timer works quietly in the background, and has resolved the need to be the center piece of attention at the group level, but who stays firmly planted as the root that keeps the door open, so a new branch can grow among us, and in their turn keep the door open for yet others on their way.

I remember sitting next to my first sponsor at a meeting one evening, before it started.  There was this "old man" (who was probably the same age as me now) and he was sharing with my sponsor the mess his life felt like.  He was going through a divorce, the repo people had an order to pick up his truck, he couldn't go into the home he built without prior consent, and he couldn't even walk his dog any more.  I suggested that he might want to hide the truck and steal his dog, and he just smiled at me and said, "at one time son, I would have burned down the house.  I still think about it but I don't have to act on what my brain is trying to promote any more".  The pain he was in was obvious.  It was in his voice, in his eyes and his hands shook as he spoke of his situation.  I leaned over to my sponsor and asked, "do you think he'll stay sober?"  He replied, "I hope so".  I asked, "how long has he been sober?"  My sponsor smiled, "next week he will have 37 years".  I thought for a moment and then stated, "I'm glad I didn't ask him to sponsor me, he's a mess!"  My sponsor smiled again and said, "So, am I... because he is my sponsor".  It is not the mess that qualifies or disqualifies him as a sponsor or an old timer, its what he does with that mess".  He again smiled that silly sponsorship smile that I thought he went to some work shop to learn.  "Watch him, and you will understand why I am so proud to have him as my sponsor and why as a group we should be proud to have an old timer of his caliber in our group."

It was a speaker meeting.  That night this old man spoke, and he didn't share his problems, he shared the solutions.  He talked about staying on the firing line of life, in the trenches to help the alcoholic who was suffering, he talked about God, and the ongoing developement of his relationship with God through the steps, prayer and service.  And towards the end he said in the softest voice...

"Today my heart aches, I am in financial disarray, I don't have a clue what tomorrow is going to hold for me, but I know this; I stay here not because I have so much to give to you, not because I feel a need to bless you with my presence... but because you loved me back in the day when I wasn't so lovable, you love me today, and with each interaction I have with you, I get the gift of learning something new.  You are the family that never threw in the towel on me, you held me up many times over the years, sponsors pushed and sponsees pulled...... but it was always in an effort to move forward.  I am going to move forward because I love you, and your work with me was not in vain."

I watched this man move forward, with grace, with love, and with dignity.  And today I can honestly say that he was an "old timer".  A man whose message still resonants with humility and love.

Today I am that man.  My life is a mess.  I hurt at the core of my being still from a broken heart, financially I am holding on by strings, .... and the gift of recovery that AA and God blessed me with is what is hold me up and moving me forward.  One day at a time.

Today I pray, and reach out... because I need the lessons you can still teach me, because I need your love and need a place to dispense my love.  This looks like a great place to do it.

John



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I agree with John

 

I think someone is an old timer who has come out of the "put on a show" side, is incredibly honest, and has lived through the bleeding deacon phase, and shares their truth, in my experience that takes a few decades for all of us, well, for me anyway, and I am not claiming it for my own

 

Today I am that man.  My life is a mess.  I hurt at the core of my being still from a broken heart, financially I am holding on by strings, .... and the gift of recovery that AA and God blessed me with is what is hold me up and moving me forward.  One day at a time.


Today I am that man too....one day at a time...broken heart...hurting from a pretty abusive relationship I keep re-engaging in....still digging myself out of financial disaster/bankruptcy a few years ago along with some pretty serious setbacks on the road to recovery...this too shall pass but meanwhile today is a good day


but this is what we are offered -every day-

 

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy...

 




-- Edited by LinBaba on Tuesday 9th of August 2011 01:19:49 PM

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LinBaba wrote:
I think someone is an old timer who has come out of the "put on a show" side, is incredibly honest, and has lived through the bleeding deacon phase, and shares their truth, in my experience that takes a few decades for all of us, well, for me anyway, and I am not claiming it for my own


Sometimes I wonder why I'm still sober.  I'm not a Big Book thumper, I've never had a bleeding deacon phase... it just isn't me at all.  I haven't chased down any service work, what I've done has been handed to me.  When it comes to speaking, I enjoy being the center of attention, I like to get a laugh.  I'm rarely profound and I haven't said anything in my home group in 10 years that they haven't heard before.  I have my experience, which isn't all that exciting and certainly not unique.  I've long believed that experience trumps knowledge and brains.  My brain may think one thing, but my experience may be quite different - if I'm paying attention and being honest.  Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results... that's brain not paying attention to experience.  But my experience - the sum total - is the one thing that makes me unique.  No part of it may be unique, but no one's life is going to be identical to my own.  If anything in my shared experience is useful to a fellow alcoholic, then I have at least done something to pass it on.

I'm not good at telling people what to do.  Not particularly good at doing what I'm told either, but I guess when it comes to AA I did well enough to stay sober, and build a life where I have no desire to drink today.  I'm grateful there still are plenty of people who can tell the newcomers how it is, that have whatever leadership or attractiveness is necessary for a newcomer to find hope in.

I am probably not alone in that if I went back in time to my first meeting and told them how I was going to work the program - based on how I did it - I'd probably be told that I'd never stay sober.  I was told that by a few people, a few said it after I had a year or two - they said they were surprised I made it this long.  The God thing for me, the real miracle in all of this, is that for some reason this didn't offend me... nor did it challenge me.  Either would have invoked self will, and that didn't happen.  I had some kind of protective envelope around me in my early days, that told me I was home, I was in the right place, and even people who pissed me off did so only superficially.  Not enough to make me doubt the program, or want to stomp out the door and go drink.  This tolerance was a new thing for me, and not something I cultivated.  I feel sometimes it's the one thing both necessary and sufficient for me to get sober, because it's what kept *me* from doing what I usually do - and that's getting pissed off and quitting.  The miracle isn't so much that I got sober, but that something changed me to where I could become part of a fellowship that could keep me sober.  That's my bright white light spiritual experience equivalent.  I wanted to be with you guys, even if I thought some of you were assholes.   If that makes any sense...  I'm used to not making sense too

Barisax



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I guess the statur of "Old Timer" is relative.

During my first few weeks sober in AA, I considered 90 days a Old Timer, I secretly thought anyone who claimed more sober time than that was full of B.S :))

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barisax wrote:


Sometimes I wonder why I'm still sober.  I'm not a Big Book thumper, I've never had a bleeding deacon phase... it just isn't me at all.  I haven't chased down any service work, what I've done has been handed to me.  When it comes to speaking, I enjoy being the center of attention, I like to get a laugh.  I'm rarely profound and I haven't said anything in my home group in 10 years that they haven't heard before.  I have my experience, which isn't all that exciting and certainly not unique.  I've long believed that experience trumps knowledge and brains.  My brain may think one thing, but my experience may be quite different - if I'm paying attention and being honest.  Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results... that's brain not paying attention to experience.  But my experience - the sum total - is the one thing that makes me unique.  No part of it may be unique, but no one's life is going to be identical to my own.  If anything in my shared experience is useful to a fellow alcoholic, then I have at least done something to pass it on.

I'm not good at telling people what to do.  Not particularly good at doing what I'm told either, but I guess when it comes to AA I did well enough to stay sober, and build a life where I have no desire to drink today.  I'm grateful there still are plenty of people who can tell the newcomers how it is, that have whatever leadership or attractiveness is necessary for a newcomer to find hope in.

I am probably not alone in that if I went back in time to my first meeting and told them how I was going to work the program - based on how I did it - I'd probably be told that I'd never stay sober.  I was told that by a few people, a few said it after I had a year or two - they said they were surprised I made it this long.  The God thing for me, the real miracle in all of this, is that for some reason this didn't offend me... nor did it challenge me.  Either would have invoked self will, and that didn't happen.  I had some kind of protective envelope around me in my early days, that told me I was home, I was in the right place, and even people who pissed me off did so only superficially.  Not enough to make me doubt the program, or want to stomp out the door and go drink.  This tolerance was a new thing for me, and not something I cultivated.  I feel sometimes it's the one thing both necessary and sufficient for me to get sober, because it's what kept *me* from doing what I usually do - and that's getting pissed off and quitting.  The miracle isn't so much that I got sober, but that something changed me to where I could become part of a fellowship that could keep me sober.  That's my bright white light spiritual experience equivalent.  I wanted to be with you guys, even if I thought some of you were assholes.   If that makes any sense...  I'm used to not making sense too

Barisax


 That pretty much sums up my experience as well.  I've only sponsored a half a dozen people, and very few new comers (1).  Told my story about 3 times, and not in the last 10 years.  I don't frequent the same meeting enough for folks there to really know who I am. (not recommended)  They probably think I'm a tourist.  lol.    The main perceived "problem" that I have with sharing my E,S,&H  is that it's so co-mingled.  From the beginning I attended both AA and NA,  At 6 months of sobriety, I began attending Coda, and and at a year added ACOA, plus reading all kinds of  "non-approved" literature (still am).  So I'm probably not a "Real member of AA" in  the eyes of the fundementalist AA camp lol.  So most of the time in meetings I just listen, because most of them turn their head sideways, like a confused dog, when I share, and that's the positive responces.  A lot of times I see heads wagging from side to side.  Ocassionaly someone will question my sobriety, and I encourage them to "look at the bigger picture"



-- Edited by StPeteDean on Friday 12th of August 2011 02:33:43 PM

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I guess most of my peers would consider me "conservative AA".  Not "fundamentalist".  I practice a pretty conservative program myself, but I don't really preach one.  Actually I don't preach at all, which is why I don't end up sponsoring a lot of people.  The one sponsee that has stayed sober has the same general outlook. He was in and out for 5 years, finally got it and each time he came back in, asked me to be his sponsor again... glutton for punishment I guess.  Everyone else I've sponsored hasn't stayed around long enough for the second phone call.  Some have come back and gotten other sponsors, but mostly just came and went.

I tend to be attracted to, and attracted by, people who think too much.  I guess that's what we have in common.  My sponsor was kind of a "sit down and shut up" type but he was not the only person that helped me early on.  He knew the value of spreading it around, and his greatest contributions to my sobriety were getting me to a home group, and getting me out to lots of other meetings and talking to a lot of different people.  He never said don't talk to that guy, or anything like that.  I was able to figure out pretty easily who had what I wanted, and who didn't... so I could share 1 on 1 with other think-geeks who had managed to stay sober in spite of too much thinking, and learn from them.

Barisax



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Old timer - Noob - NUG - Bleeding Deacon - Elder Statesman.........all just labels and some of them pretty uncomplimentary too. But one truth there is (oh that wsas a bit Yoda like.......Sober, Yes, will you be!).........age and cunning beats youth and valour time after time.

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bikerbill wrote:

Old timer - Noob - NUG - Bleeding Deacon - Elder Statesman.........all just labels and some of them pretty uncomplimentary too. But one truth there is (oh that wsas a bit Yoda like.......Sober, Yes, will you be!).........age and cunning beats youth and valour time after time.


 How true. Love itbiggrin ! Hope that bike is up and running again Bill.

 

Best wishes,

Mike.



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Not sure you waited since 2011 to get an answer one day today is all we have if you make it sober today you are an old timer. I have been sober in AA since 3-2-1976 and that is 42 years I am 58 years old started AA sober age 15, however I too have only today. 42 years does not make me not an alcoholic it just means I did not drink today my friend {:o]xc 

 



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Welcome to MIP Paul ...  thumbsup.gif



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Keeping it new, eh, PS?

Way to go.

Welcome to our forum....

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