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Post Info TOPIC: Are we really powerless over People, Places and Things?


MIP Old Timer

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Are we really powerless over People, Places and Things?
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I heard this a lot when I came into AA...But I never saw it anywhere in the book....It got me wondering about where it came from. I was talking with an oldtimer that does a Big Book workshop I attend about it and he told me..."I'm not powerless over people, places and things...I was powerless over alcohol...But I found that power to solve my problem by working the steps." That's the way I feel about it....He told me..."We actually have the power to save lives."

I found this piece on it and I agree with a lot of what he says....I don't really agree with his daily practice of steps 7, 8 and 9...As I practice those  in steps 10 and 11. I've taken that action already....I don't see anywhere in the book that says I need to do them again. But all in all...I found it a good read. Be interested to see what your thoughts are.

Are we really powerless over People, Places and Things?

 

As it seems inevitable that AA meetings, and ultimately AA practices are becoming diluted with other philosophies let me assure you that as long as we have people RECOVERED from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body through working, taking, doing, practicing, sharing and living the 12 Steps of AA we can thwart the dilution process by remaining vigilant and speak up in meetings by teaching our protégés (not pigeons.thats disgusting) the differences between REAL AA and the other outside influences. Powerless over People, Places and Things is just one of these un-truisms shared in meetings and will probably be around as long as there are white-knuckled, restless, irritable and discontented, dont drink and go to meetings people with sodryity (Dry drunks) around, not in, the fellowship of AA. What I am really trying to say here is the ones in the fellowship of the meetings, not the Fellowship of the Spirit who are leading and living a now productive Happy, Joyous and Free life of sobriety.

Whats the point? The point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The point is that powerless over People, Places and Things is NOT AA. It has drifted into our meetings from treatment centers, group therapy, and 12 step fellowships other than AA. Psycho-babble heard from wet behind the ears newcomers coming straight from treatment centers because they were told to go to AA as well as well seasoned veterans only sharing what they have heard and not from their personal experience. This type of sharing has been infiltrating AA since its early days and if the old-timers of today do not speak up we will soon be headed for AA (Addictions Anonymous) and that would be a travesty for those who have recovered and those who have yet to grace the rooms. Let me put a disclaimer in here. It is not some of the old-timers fault. That is all they were taught and all they know because that is all their sponsors were taught or knew. If they had a sponsor at all.

AA is a spiritual program of action by continuously (day today 24 hours at a time) living the 12 steps by Trusting God, Cleaning house and Helping others. My kids and grandkids have a very good predisposition of needing AA in the future because as far as I can see we are not going to have another prohibition in the near future. I want AA to remain AA in the future so those future alcoholics have the same opportunity I have. The real Program of Action cannot become a thing of the past, a memory of what was and could have been.

According to the Big Book of AA powerless over alcohol means we have lost the freedom of choice when it comes to drinking. Nowhere in AA literature does it say that weve lost the freedom of choice over People, Places or Things. Through my experience, as well as others experiences who I have consulted while doing this research, I have reasoned that with my sobriety comes the power to choose who I associate with (stick with the winners), where I go (to meetings or other functions and not to a bar or other sordid places), and what I do or what I buy (No is a complete sentence). Hence, while I am absolutely powerless over alcohol, I am not at all powerless over People, Places or Things. Today that choice is mine. I do not have control over People, Places and Things and that is a big difference between powerlessness. Are you ready for this next statement? If I do not remain powerless over alcohol and give alcohol the power over me by taking a drink I immediately, if not sooner, am now powerless over people, places and things because I have just given all my power back to alcohol and all of my surroundings. And because of this relapse of thinking before I took that drink all bets are off and I do not have any more power than a dead car battery.

Now, because I do have the power of choice today my emotions can still get up-ended and I might choose to give my power away. That is my choice and a painful one at that. When this happens, and it still does, if I dont practice restraint and humility, I get resentful, restless, irritable and discontented with that Person, Place or Thing for my giving them my power. When these crop up my only defense comes from my Higher Power and practicing steps 8,9, 10and 11. Quite frankly, I do not like to take my own inventory and make amends when necessary. Thats just my nature. Here is the big fat DUH!! When I am spiritually fit I can catch myself before I say or do something I later regret. This daily practice of steps 7 and 10 has given me even more freedom and the power of choice how to respond, instead of react, to People, Places and Things that attempt to knock me off the AA beam and back to my old way of living and thinking.

The only reasons people say they are powerless over People, Places and Things is because they have heard it in a meeting and they see the bobble-heads going off in agreement and know that if they say it too they will get the same reaction. I know, because it was just that way with me until I was confronted by my sponsor who quickly and swiftly corrected me in my pontification after a meeting. He told me he needed AA without the influences of outside sources. I had no clue what he meant at the time, but I can assure you I know now. It all comes down to education of whats in the book and whats not in the book. Though confusion between control and acceptance versus powerlessness is somewhat a fine line....It is not. Acceptance means learning to live with a problem we cannot change. ie: alcoholism. People, Places and Things are all changeable. Is that simple or what? So we have to accept our alcoholism and feel free enough to change everything else. This can only be done with a constant and improving relationship with our Higher Power, or our own conception of God, or Spirit of the Universe, or Great Reality, or Power greater than ourselves, or God, or Sunlight of the Spirit (you get the picture). Only that Power other than ourselves, can give us that NEW sense of Power, that NEW sense of direction. After all, in order to be recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body all we have to change is everything. Right? Does entire psychic change mean some change or entire change? Hopefully, the next time you say or think you are powerless over People, Places and Things and you feel like playing the victim once again just remember that this is the road to being recovered, it is NOT a negative defeatist attitude of pending doom.

Lets look at some references from our literature. We have been given the power to reason (BB P53). Is that powerless over things? We have been given the power to help others (BB P132). Is that powerless over people? We can do all sorts of things (or go to places) alcoholics are not supposed to do (or go) (BB Pgs100-101). Is that powerless over places and things? Bythe way, and think about this. If we are powerless over People, Places and Things there would be no reason to compile a list of Persons We Have Harmed and no need to make the necessary amends. No use to learn humility because we can just chalk it up to being powerless over everything . What a cop out, excuse, rationalization and justification that I do have the choice of using if I want to remain sick, restless, irritable and discontent. We alcoholics have plenty of negative results from People, Places and Things and we now have positive action we can take to change those situations, The Steps. Do you want to live a life of negativity or begin to live a life positively charged by acceptance, forgiveness and helping others?

The Big Book only uses the word powerless once and it is in the 1st step and specifically, and only, in reference to our unique relationship with alcohol. This phrase of powerless over People, Places and Things might come indirectly (not verbatim) from a personal story in the back of the Big Book. The story: Acceptance was the answer: When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. (BB P417). The personal stories come after the basic text of the Big Book and it is clearly stated on Page 29: Each individual, in the personal stories, describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way he established his relationship with GodThat is the purpose of the stories and are not meant to be used as instruction. The instructions (recipe) for taking the steps of The Program of Action are in the first 103 pages.

As hard-headed and set in my ways as I was I found the only recourse I had was to accept Spiritual Help and Set Aside everything I thought I knew and follow the dictates of my Higher Power, even though that meant following the dictates of my sponsor because he was happy and I was not. He told me to pray about, meditate on, share and research any experiences I was having with things I heard in meetings that I have resistance to. If I did not understand something or told myself that what those people are saying is total garbage I was having a negative vibe that would fester in my mind and grow into a resentment and I would quit listening at that point and miss the good stuff because at that point I quit remaining teachable and that I would certainly be drinking by this time Thursday next. That gave me enough motivation to continue on this vigorous course of action.

In summary, powerless over People, Places and Things is NOT AA. It is a diluted adaptation of other 12 step fellowships, treatment centers, uninformed newcomers, old-timers who dont know anything else, and lack of Twelfth Step work in our rooms today. Bobble-heads in meetings are NOT always a good thing so dont be a follower and be a Leader. Leaders lead and followers follow until they too have a spiritual experience and feel that, with Gods help, they are now ready to lead. Remember, We cannot transmit something we havent got and You will surely meet SOME of us as we trudge the road to Happy Destiny.

Powerless over Alcohol.Not the entire world. Relax, take it easy, dont struggle

Greg P, Huntington, WV

 


 


 



-- Edited by Stepchild on Thursday 19th of December 2013 09:12:06 AM

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makes me wonder:
if I was powerless over people,places, and things...why step 9?
BB says this in step 9:
Whatever the situation, we usually have to do something about it.
isn't a situation a thing?
we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along.
no, not powerless over the entire world. however, I am powerless to a pojint over people,places and things. bars and stores are still gonna serve alcohol, but I don't have to go there.
people are still gonna try and use me as a doormat, but I don't have to let em.


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The powerless bit over the world is hogwash. Just like the bit abou everything is exactly the way it should be. That testimony passage used as a blanket statement for everything. What a great post! If you think your words lack power, tell your wife she looks like she has put on a few pounds. Or spend time praying with a sick friend.... Share the AA program with a person in the psych ward and visit them regularly. Walk with them into their first AA meeting. We are far from powerless. We have he keys to the kingdom! Yay Us! Live as an example of that power. Literally share the love! Thanks for the awesome reminder!

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I do have power over my reactions to people, places and things.
I was just thinking a few days ago during a meeting that there are a couple in the meeting who nod their heads to so much being said and they reminded me of bobble-head dolls. (Guess that was shameful of me thinking that, but they were and I did.....need to work on my "reactions to people" :)

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I agree BTY - my hubby told me my feet were nasty LOLOLOL!!!

I get really dry feet in the winter.

First I felt the old me nearly shrink into a mouse... but THEN - the relationship with my HP kicked in and reminded me that I am loved as I am. What other people think of me is none of my business! And I'm seriously okay with other people having negative opinions of me, because all that matters is what I do as a reflection of my HP as learned in the steps -and if I'm good with Him - I'm feeling good enough about myself to not HAVE TO react to people's comments about me! So I smiled at him - gave him a kiss on the cheek - and told him he should buy me a pedicure if he has issues LOLOLOL

But really - I am always shocked and amazed by YOU BTY because what you said is exactly how I feel. I'm responsible for my choices and my reactions to people. If I want negative consequences - I have the choice to get all huffy and poopy. If not - I can remember I'm loved exactly as I am, and change the thing I can change - Me and my attitude about it. If I try and play God again, I'm just spinning my wheels. I'm not responsible for how other people feel. My husband isn't responsible for how I feel about what he says. I always have the choice in the matter, to internalize his truth as mine - or find my own truth with God.

The more I live along side God - the more true love for people I can actually feel and display - but even still - they have to make the choice to let it in. There was a time that no matter how many nice things people said or did for me, I couldn't let it in out of fear of rejection - I know weird - but true. If I let people love me - they might leave me. So I had to work these fears out in the steps and find an all loving HP to guide me through life. I continue to do this and it works wonderfully for me :) I have never been so happy - even in the midst of stress and moving and turmoil - I find the time to be greatful for another sober day - another chance to truly live - another chance to love deeply and walk beside those who are not there yet - showing them that it's possible... always trying to bring hope to those still suffering - as was done for me. And still - it can only work if they let it. It's in God's hands not mine. I am powerless over people - but there is one who has all power - that one is God... may you find Him now :)

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Inventory your own personal lives and past and present and it is agreeable that we are powerless over people, places and things and also for me as I need the time to correctly manage my own life I have less to no time to manage others.  I need a Higher Power in order to manage my own life.  I can and will do nothing about yours...that is your responsibility.  The steps are personal..."just for me"    smile



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justadrunk wrote:

It's in God's hands not mine. I am powerless over people - but there is one who has all power - that one is God... may you find Him now :)


But if you found that power...As a result of the steps...And you can show someone else how to find it...Are you really powerless?



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Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?

Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.

 BB pg 45



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No matter what my answer is Stepchild - you have the make the choice to either agree or disagree. I am powerless over you, and as a result of your choice, you will have consequences for yourself - and you're responsible for them - good or bad for you. HP wants you to make loving choices for you so as to be most useful to Him. But you still have the choice.

What I know about my HP is that if I am making loving choices for myself - I am the most effective tool and only then be most useful to God as I understand Him. It is a selfish program in that regard - but with the ultimate goal of bringing hope to those who still suffer by being an example of working the steps, principles, and entire program to the best of your ability in all your affairs - you do have the power to be an example of what your God looks like. Others might get curious about it and learn from you if they choose to - but ultimately - it is God who gave you that power, and holds all power.

We will each have separate consequences of this conversation as a result of our choices. Mine will feel peaceful. I will continue to pray for you and wish the very best for you. I have given you an example of how my program works, and I am leaving the results of that share to God. I will continue to make loving choices today and be a reflection of the HP I understand. I will give other people the dignity to make their own choices and experience their own consequences so as to not let my EGO get in the way of someone who may desperately need a 'bottom' in order to seek a spiritual solution in our 12 step program.

I have had many more bottoms than just my alcoholic bottom. I've had bottoms with control, with food, with shopping, with chewing my nails, with manipulation etc - and these all in sobriety. They are worked out in the steps just like any other symptom of my fear and lack of faith. I continue to work the steps daily because as an alcoholic I must continue to grow or die. For me this means I continue to reach deeper and deeper as my denial is lifted and more is revealed. It is also why this program never gets old or boring - and tho I've had times where I let it get that way, I was able to recognize my complacency with the help of a sponsor and continue to seek enlightenment from her and my fellowship - and that includes you Stepchild. Bless you xxxxxx

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justadrunk wrote:

but ultimately - it is God who gave you that power, and holds all power.


 Exactly....As a result of facing and ridding myself from what was blocking me.



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A link to another sobriety site. A few opinions from others. A peek into some other web site people in action!

www.soberrecovery.com/forums/narcotics-addiction-12-step-support/170016-powerless-over-people-place-things-not-me.html

The same thing we have talked about made me feel like there are many that don't buy the often repeated sayings that are not in the big book.

Interesting. I can see both sides of many comments.



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angry mob.jpg

 

Old behaviors:

 

YEAH!!!  I DON'T BUY INTO NO CRAP!  WE NEED TO GET THESE DRUNKS AND SAVE THEM!!!   WHO'S WITH ME???   I HAVE GOTTEN 8 PEOPLE SOBER!  I DID IT! ME!  ME!  FOLLOW ME!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

prayer.jpg

 

New life.



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what a Humdinger . Great topic Stepchild .

Like so much of this programme , this too has it's contradictions .

eg- to keep our sobriety , we must give it away .

We are Powerless , but become Empowered .

For me , I found , that when I became humble , I became empowered .

When I look at & say that word , it has a magic ring to it .

 Control , powerful , powerless , mean Exactly what they say .

"If you want what we have" -  When I was a newcomer , what I wanted - was for all the craziness in my head to stop .

I could see , you had that , you Were happy with your 'lot' & were getting on with life .

I was SO powerless - yes I had the pretty lady , yes I had th right job , the fast car , th right friends . BUT I did NOT have ME.

When I was laying near death in a ICU bed , no one came to th hospital to see me .

When I got sober , I left th pretty lady , walked away from all those ??friends?? & left the job .

But I found ME . That IS the "magic energy of Empowerment"

 

 

 



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@ 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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Nothing made me feel powerless like watching loved ones drink and die. But, that is outside of my hula hoop, as I heard from someone here. We can help and empower a seeker, but we can't give them the will to seek. I had to learn the range of power given. I had friends I dearly wished wanted the program. They didn't want it with no reservations. I could not supply what they needed. They placed themselves beyond the help of other AAs. It is a mystery. Why some get it and some don't. I feel like that is where the humility comes in. That has every reason to be me. Grace. I love Christmas and gifts. The power of sobriety is the greatest gift for me.

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In the book they talk about finding a power by which we could live...Not about a power that would stop us from drinking. If you read The Doctor's Opinion he mentions that the natural state of mind for the real alcoholic when not drinking is restless, irritable and discontented....I don't think think anyone of us want to live like that. I quit on my own once for 10 months...I know the truth of this.

Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks-drinks which they see others taking with impunity.

When he says men and women...He's talking about alcoholic men and women. Others being normies.

So if taking the action the book tells us to take...We find this power to live...How can that exclude people, places and things......Those are the three main components that make up life. Would it have made more sense if they said?....You will find a power by which you could live....But it doesn't include people, places and things. I'd have a hard time buying that.

On a side note SS...That post that guy wrote sound like he took it from the one I posted and signed a different name to it...He even mentions the daily practice of step 7.



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Sober Strummer wrote:

Nothing made me feel powerless like watching loved ones drink and die. But, that is outside of my hula hoop, as I heard from someone here. We can help and empower a seeker, but we can't give them the will to seek. I had to learn the range of power given. I had friends I dearly wished wanted the program. They didn't want it with no reservations. I could not supply what they needed. They placed themselves beyond the help of other AAs. It is a mystery. Why some get it and some don't. I feel like that is where the humility comes in. That has every reason to be me. Grace. I love Christmas and gifts. The power of sobriety is the greatest gift for me.


You can't control them...You can't make them willing...But you have the power to save their life.....Where other people can't.



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The big book plainly says we can reach a prospect a way others can't. We can win their confidence in an hour where family and clergy never could. It is true. We do have a power to give it away. Again, quite amazing and humbling. Knowing what I wreck I was personally.... It is amazing. The power in the program is phenomenal. That is the living message of hope!

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It's all in the book SS....The best kept secret in AA.



-- Edited by Stepchild on Thursday 19th of December 2013 03:14:07 PM

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I am new to AA (1 week only) and I can honestly say that my experience has been the exact opposite of powerless. The many people that have come forward to welcome me and ask me back have used their power of experience to get me back to that second meeting (I almost threw-up after the first one). Last night's discussion about humility gave me the power to enjoy a very productive journal reflection/meditation session before I went to bed (and I slept great). I am very encouraged by my initial experience in 4 meetings over 6 days - this coming from someone that watched 9 brothers and sisters go in and out of AA like it was a well-oiled turnstile over the last 30 years (3 of them dying from Alcoholism). I saw them, along with some of their uber burnt-out AA friends relapse time and time again so I just figured success through AA was just for people that got lucky or something?

The severity of my problem does not compare to their's (insert obligatory "yet" here), but I can easily see that they were powerless over alcohol and all other people, places and things. If I thought I was like that, I wouldn't have even come to AA until the court made me...oh, that's coming in about 5 weeks! I don't know if I will be the the best at working the steps without an ounce of belief in god or be the most inspirational contributor to this forum, but if I thought all I had to gain was powerlessness I'd be outta-here and fast.

I am already taking notes and absorbing the many ways in which the people on here and in my meetings are drawing strength from each other and the AA literature. I am not looking for ways to skip steps or outsmart the program, but rather ways to look deep into each one as I learn about it and extract the intended message. My only wish is that I become one of the many success stories so I can have a long enjoyable life and be there that sunday morning when some other schmuck sits in the back corner staring at his sneakers, crying and holding onto the bottom of the chair so he doesn't run out of the meeting.

As time goes by and I am doing my work (arrogance, pride, ego, dishonesty - you name it), I hope to articulate my experiences more as they relate to the program and not just the initial euphoria of fellowship.

Powerless over booze - yep, powerless over myself around booze - possibly, powerless over the other aspects of my life - NOPE!

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Shy Dry Guy,

That sounds like a great plan.





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Welcome to Sobriety..Shy Dry Guy...

Keep it simple buddy..One day at a time

 



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You sound like you have the three ingredients that this program requires shydryguy...Honesty...Willingness and an open mind. I listened to a guy in a meeting the other day...He came in an athiest. He was sharing about when he did his fifth step with his sponsor...Three and a half years ago....And the power he found in doing those steps. It was beautiful. Welcome.



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I am ultimately powerless over other people's choices. I can set an example and attact/influence others. So, no...I'm not totally powerless over people. I have spent my whole career going on 20 years now trying to help people, though I have also learned that I am just a tool for people to use to change themselves and I can only help those that want to be helped and whom I have the ability and knowledge to help.

My power over places and things: Well...I can control a lot of that by avoiding or choosing to be around places and things. That is some power right there. I have the power to avoid certain things (like bars, crackhouses...jail....whatever). I do have some power over those places and things (not that they exist) but over my interaction with them.

It's like the serenity prayer in action to me. I have power over some things in that I can change, other things I cannot and I have some power in recognizing that and accepting it...I also have power in terms of gaining the wisdom to know the difference.

It can all become hair splitting depending on how you define "power" also. Is it power that people, places, and things exist on their own accord? In that case, I am powerless. Is it powerless against how people, places, and things are in my life? In that aspect i am not powerless. Just my take.



-- Edited by pinkchip on Thursday 19th of December 2013 06:55:03 PM

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pinkchip wrote:

 I have also learned that I am just a tool.


It's like the serenity prayer in action to me. I have power over some things in that I can change, other things I cannot and I have some power in recognizing that and accepting it...I also have power in terms of gaining the wisdom to know the difference.


 

Ha! Ha!  

I couldn't resist Pink!

ya know the serenity prayer is proof that we are not powerless.  Well done in thinking of that.   



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pinkchip wrote:

My power over places and things: Well...I can control a lot of that by avoiding or choosing to be around places and things. That is some power right there. I have the power to avoid certain things (like bars, crackhouses...jail....whatever). I do have some power over those places and things (not that they exist) but over my interaction with them.


But that goes against what they tell us in the book.

Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn't think or be reminded about alcohol at all. Our experience shows that this is not necessarily so.

We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything! Ask any woman who has sent her husband to distant places on the theory he would escape the alcohol problem.

In our belief any scheme of combating alcoholism which proposes to shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure. If the alcoholic tries to shield himself he may succeed for a time, but he usually winds up with a bigger explosion than ever. We have tried these methods. These attempts to do the impossible have always failed.

So our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there. That includes bars, nightclubs, dances, receptions, weddings, even plain ordinary whoopee parties. To a person who has had experience with an alcoholic, this may seem like tempting Providence, but it isn't.

You will note that we made an important qualification. Therefore, ask yourself on each occasion, "Have I any good social, business, or personal reason for going to this place? Or am I expecting to steal a little vicarious pleasure from the atmosphere of such places?" If you answer these questions satisfactorily, you need have no apprehension. Go or stay away, whichever seems best. But be sure you are on solid spiritual ground before you start and that your motive in going is thoroughly good. Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it. But if you are shaky, you had better work with another alcoholic instead!

Why sit with a long face in places where there is drinking, sighing about the good old days. If it is a happy occasion, try to increase the pleasure of those there; if a business occasion, go and attend to your business enthusiastically. If you are with a person who wants to eat in a bar, by all means go along. Let your friends know they are not to change their habits on your account. At a proper time and place explain to all your friends why alcohol disagrees with you. If you do this thoroughly, few people will ask you to drink. While you were drinking, you were withdrawing from life little by little. Now you are getting back into the social life of this world. Don't start to withdraw again just because your friends drink liquor.

Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed.

Of course this is in the chapter Working With Others...Step 12....And we have gone through the steps and found that power.



-- Edited by Stepchild on Thursday 19th of December 2013 07:20:53 PM

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I like the idea of usefulness. Not that any arguing is implied or attempted here... It is just nice to think we are useful! No more being a liability, but to be the bearer of good tidings. I like the position of neutrality.

And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.

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No arguing here SS....Just discussion. It's an interesting topic and it makes you think. Usefulness is good....Going from useless to useful....Having a purpose in life. Something I never had before those steps.


Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done. These are the realities for us. We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.

BB pg 130



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I am familiar with that part of the big book stepchild. Possibly from hundred of meetings and um..reading it a billion times too. I have been to bars, though I avoided them for my fist 2 years sober. I have a liquor cabinet in my house for guests and parties we have. I don't crave alcohol. This doesn't make me better and I wouldn't advise any of that for others. I was just stating random places I could have power over if I chose by not going. Could have said the library or a carnival too...whatever. It was just an example. I do pretty much recoil from the thought of drinking liquor. Seeing it or being around it in moderate amounts is OK if my motives are OK and my spiritual condition is fit as the BB states. Fully in agreement there.

And yes SS, I knew the "tool" comment was leaving me wide open but saying "I am a conduit" sounded pretentious lol. Besides, I am a tool also lol.

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I have only conceded to having less power in some scenarios than in others. Sober. Drunk, I'm a powerless idiot. Sober, I'm just an idiot. ;) I become powerless the moment I hand my power to something or someone else. I make that choice. Which means that at some point, I had power, else I couldn't give it away to begin with. Perhaps it varies with people. Like any book of import, there are layers. We can skim the words and do the literal thing, or we can look at the message it's trying to impart. Sometimes, I think " I am powerless over myself". When I set my eyes on something, and an addictive impulse kicks in, I am amazed at how quickly I can give that power up. Set it aside. But it is always a choice on my part, until I've given so much of my power up, it stops being a choice. Then, maybe then I am powerless. But I always have the option of surrendering and taking that power back. I believe it's all about choice.


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I just read John's post on his son and a stranger named Paul.

It had the powerlessness and power in one share. Pretty amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

Who is powerless? The active drunk. That story showed it so clearly. And one guy had some power on loan and did what he could, and kept up this site.

Pretty amazing.

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Great post and responses! Thanks for helping me learn everybody!

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Sober Strummer wrote:

I just read John's post on his son and a stranger named Paul.

It had the powerlessness and power in one share. Pretty amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

Who is powerless? The active drunk. That story showed it so clearly. And one guy had some power on loan and did what he could, and kept up this site.

Pretty amazing.


 That's actually a very good example.



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Philipld wrote:

 

Welcome to Sobriety..Shy Dry Guy...

Keep it simple buddy..One day at a time

 


 Thanks Philip ... a closed meeting group let me sit & listen (they were focusing on the 5th step for some sort of homework assignment?) and after the meeting a guy came over to welcome me and wish me well.  We talked for about two minutes and he immediately picked up on my logical/analytical approach to every thing he said,so of course he said the same thing as you - keep it simple right now, just stay sober and go to meetings.



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Sober Strummer wrote:

Shy Dry Guy,

That sounds like a great plan.




 Thanks Sstrummer,  guidance and encouragement go along way for me and are much appreciated.  It is just such a weird/foreign place for me to be so hopeful in something that I realize that I know so little about.



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shydryguy wrote:
Sober Strummer wrote:

Shy Dry Guy,

That sounds like a great plan.




 Thanks Sstrummer,  guidance and encouragement go along way for me and are much appreciated.  It is just such a weird/foreign place for me to be so hopeful in something that I realize that I know so little about.


 I am an ex navy, musician, biker.  All of the things that should make me fail.  But in not too long it will 20 years for me.  Understanding is over rated.  Stacking up good days and having some self respect...  That is good.  

When I first fame to AA I was quite anti God or HP.  Not saying you are, just that I was.  I would not even read the Agnostic chapter.  Ha! 

Knowing so little about - that is kinda good really.  In the twisted thinking of the past, what I knew of reality was a twisted distortion of it.  So you starting with a clean slate is perfect.  

I like your attitude.  My sponsor told me I was full of just enough piss and vinegar to maybe make it!  Funny looking back now. He has been dead quite a few years now.  What a cool old cat.  

Keep on.  You are on the right path.   Weird and foreign is good in your case.  If it was what you are used to.... Well you know where I'm going with it. 



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Stepchild wrote:

You sound like you have the three ingredients that this program requires shydryguy...Honesty...Willingness and an open mind. I listened to a guy in a meeting the other day...He came in an athiest. He was sharing about when he did his fifth step with his sponsor...Three and a half years ago....And the power he found in doing those steps. It was beautiful. Welcome.


 That sounds awesome - the subject has been touched on a couple times in my handful of meetings, but only in passing. In private conversation, I have run into a couple of people over 10 years sober and they were atheist/agnostic. Of the three ingredients, I need to keep an open mind ... I had plenty of honesty and willingness when I quit drinking for 4 1/2 years on my own (started dabbling again about 4 years ago), but didn't even consider AA or getting serious help.  Had I known what I was really trying to do and had y'all right there with me, I could very well be heading toward a 10 year birthday.

That was then and this is now, so I'll simply thank you Stepchild and go on enjoying my 1 week today!



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Congrats on one week...Yeah...This isn't about just quitting drinking...This about being given a new life...A new freedom...And a new happiness...Three things I was in dire need of. I was pretty spiritually shot when I came into AA...It was the process of those steps where I found the power I live by today. All we have to do is put in the effort..And follow a few simple rules....I can't even describe to you the rewards of this program.....More than I ever dreamed of.

 



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I don't believe so. Lack of power was my dilemna, but through AA I found a Power by which I could live.

When I arrived in AA, I had lost the power of choice in drink, which lead to unmanageability in all areas of my life. Powerlessness over almost everything was my lot. Other people were making my decisions for me as, among other things, I had lost the power to reason and think. At that point I exercised the one remaining power I had, which was the choice to join the AA program and do whatever it takes to get well.

Pretty soon I was connected to a Power much greater than myself, which began to solve all my problems. Much power was restored, along with new ones like the power to help others. It seems there is no end to this Power with one simple proviso, that I remain in fit spiritual condition and try and exercise in accordance with His will for me.

In a practical sense this means, if I don't like the "thing" I get rid of it, I remove it, I move away from it. The same for people and places. I don't have to be a door mat or a victim. Whenever one of these painful situations crop up I ask what is God's will for me, and act on that. Invariably I find, if I take action, I learn and grow, and when one door closes, God always opens another one. With God on my side, it is impossible to be powerless.

However, before I took the steps and connected with the Power, almost everything had power over me or, more accurately, over how I felt. With my incredible self centredness, everything was about me, every action of a person, place or thing, seemed to have the power to make me miserable, a perpetual victim if you like. I was cast hither and yon on the seeming whims of others. The cause was based in my strange way of reacting to life. I am no longer powerless in that sense, far from it.

Today I have as much power as I need to face life without the need to drink. The only power I don't have, and never will have, is the power of choice in drink. In every other respect I have the power to make choices, to make changes, and have been given the grace to accept the things I cannot change. Unchangeable people, places or things, no longer have any power over me.

God bless,
MikeH

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You speak my language Mike H....I love it. Happy Holidays to you and yours bud!

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Fyne Spirit wrote:

I don't believe so. Lack of power was my dilemna, but through AA I found a Power by which I could live.

When I arrived in AA, I had lost the power of choice in drink, which lead to unmanageability in all areas of my life. Powerlessness over almost everything was my lot. Other people were making my decisions for me as, among other things, I had lost the power to reason and think. At that point I exercised the one remaining power I had, which was the choice to join the AA program and do whatever it takes to get well.

Pretty soon I was connected to a Power much greater than myself, which began to solve all my problems. Much power was restored, along with new ones like the power to help others. It seems there is no end to this Power with one simple proviso, that I remain in fit spiritual condition and try and exercise in accordance with His will for me.

In a practical sense this means, if I don't like the "thing" I get rid of it, I remove it, I move away from it. The same for people and places. I don't have to be a door mat or a victim. Whenever one of these painful situations crop up I ask what is God's will for me, and act on that. Invariably I find, if I take action, I learn and grow, and when one door closes, God always opens another one. With God on my side, it is impossible to be powerless.

However, before I took the steps and connected with the Power, almost everything had power over me or, more accurately, over how I felt. With my incredible self centredness, everything was about me, every action of a person, place or thing, seemed to have the power to make me miserable, a perpetual victim if you like. I was cast hither and yon on the seeming whims of others. The cause was based in my strange way of reacting to life. I am no longer powerless in that sense, far from it.

Today I have as much power as I need to face life without the need to drink. The only power I don't have, and never will have, is the power of choice in drink. In every other respect I have the power to make choices, to make changes, and have been given the grace to accept the things I cannot change. Unchangeable people, places or things, no longer have any power over me.

God bless,
MikeH


 Mike,

a very nice summation there.  You have captured some feelings I have and put them in words.  Thank you.  What a great share.  

The power I have not mentioned is the power of reconciliation.  Loved ones driven away, family...  Those are back or reconciled to no longer be enemies.  That was completely lost in my world.  

Now there are reconciled relationships.  It is fun to  joke about ex wives, but I actually get along with mine.

it used to be only compliment I would say about my ex is that she don't sweat much for a fat girl....  :)

but she is really alright.  

 

 



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Sober Strummer wrote:
It is fun to  joke about ex wives, but I actually get along with mine.

I do to...You just reminded me...I have to call her tonight...Belated Birthday and Merry Christamas. Thanks SS.



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"My sponsor told me I was full of just enough piss and vinegar to maybe make it".....
That's a lot better combination than beer and wine.



-- Edited by betterthanyesterday52 on Friday 20th of December 2013 04:52:54 PM

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Got a question guys...where in the BB does it say it's okay and to have fun joking about ex or present wives?   I remember doing apologies and then amends to both of mine and also to several other female relationships I had during my drinking career.  Self righteousness the topic?  I remember being judgmental and condesending as a way to trying to inflate my ego and image and then most of the people I was doing this with were also drunks.  When I got powerless I gave that up absolutely no need for it and I didn't earn points even from the drunks.  smile



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I guess that becomes a matter for conscience Jerry. Are you both ok with it and what is the spirit.

My ex is fine with it. She has her laughs and ribs me. But mean spirited items are a matter of ones continuing inventory IMO.

I see your point for sure!

Being condescending is a tough one. People can claim higher spiritual ground, and be condescending. They may even have pious friends that nod in approval. That was the case when the Pharisees concluded Jesus needed to be crucified. I have noticed people trot out terms like condescending for those of the "other" opinion. Rarely is is used to describe an ally. The spiritual equivalent to racist.











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I only got part of that Strummer...the part where I might use someone else or the other person (ex-wife or whomever) to justify my unacceptable behavior.  I got lost in the reference of justification via Jesus and the Pharisees and the Bible.   The condesending and "put down" behavior was indication of "and our lives had become unmanageable".   I have found in recovery that most often when I changed by behaviors my opinions changed too.   smile



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So you did have power over yourself!

You recognized a fault, you changed your behaviors, and your opinions followed.


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Sorry must have invited you to leave out a big part of the picture just to arrive at that I did this by myself.  I couldn't have and wouldn't have without my Higher Power, Akua O ka lani, and the fellowship and my sponsorship and the literature and more.  If I could have thought my way thru this I would have passed on it as it required way too much humility to suit my "in your face" personality.   As I have mentioned before...I didn't come into recovery on purpose or willingly and I didn't have the mental, emotional tools to sit still and quiet for a long while.  A.D.D. and O.D.D. are reall problems for this alcoholic...I am disabled (also deaf) and have to work much harder at times than others to "get it". Being dyslectic doesn't help much either.  If you don't have those disabilities...count yourself additionally blessed.  My HP goes "hands on" with me and has been doing good work.  My sponsorship has been hand picked by my HP...I haven't had it easy and I am sober and serene and largely more sane than  whene I first got here.   (((hugs))) smile 

 



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The program says most all can recover if we are rigorously honest. Either God has removed the desire to drink or he has not.

I get some people like to claim powerlessness. But also there is the saying that God does not do our footwork. We can't do God's part and God won't do our part.

There is hope and there is power.

As anyone new to the program needs to know, there is one who has all power, may you find him now.




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We admitted we were powerless over people, places and things...including alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

I sure can't find that anywhere in the clear cut directions.



 



-- Edited by Stepchild on Saturday 21st of December 2013 08:10:56 PM

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Lack of power was our dilemma.

There is one with all power.

It seems that the false humility of powerlessness is a somewhat incorrect teaching for recovered alcoholics. My opinion.

Saying we are powerless apart from our higher power is correct. But we are not in that state. Either God has removed the desire to drink or he has not.

Of course people can and will believe as they wish. But for facts and not feelings, I do believe we are not powerless.

Go smart off to a cop at a traffic stop. Or go pray with a sick friend. Your words and actions have power.

Thanks for the thread. I know I need to keep focus on the program.



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My father is a veteran of AA and five rehab stays. He worked hard and made a lot of money on the way, and takes care of my mother as they both approach ninety. But I just googled "powerless over people places and things," because that's what he always tells ME. "Lisa, you are powerless over people places and things," he shouts just before destroying my relationships with other members of the family, one by one. People have enormous piwers, including the power to hurt and even destroy. My sister killed herself after moving in with him. God bless you for these other viewpoints! Use your power carefully!

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Hi;
I'm Marc and I am an Alcoholic.
I am powerless over alcohol... My Drinking Experience convinced me of this fact.
Colorful Heated Discussion going on up there.
I'd wait for them to calm down some before going there, though. :)

Marc



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Lisa Wallerstein wrote:

My father is a veteran of AA and five rehab stays. He worked hard and made a lot of money on the way, and takes care of my mother as they both approach ninety. But I just googled "powerless over people places and things," because that's what he always tells ME. "Lisa, you are powerless over people places and things," he shouts just before destroying my relationships with other members of the family, one by one. People have enormous piwers, including the power to hurt and even destroy. My sister killed herself after moving in with him. God bless you for these other viewpoints! Use your power carefully!


Lisa:

It appears that your father is a dry drunk, having physical sobriety or being "dry", but not any emotional sobriety (and may possibly be a workaholic).  I am not making a diagnosis here, I just see things I have seen before and am suggesting that it may be the same thing (or not).  It is generally true that all people, including alcoholics, are powerless over people, places, and things, all that we can control is ourselves, but that doesn't come quickly or easily for a recovering alcoholic and not all for a non-recovering alcoholic which is the category that a dry drunk fits into.  We alcoholics injure everyone around us, including ourselves!!!  As an example of how alcoholism is a disease of relationships, it is said that we alcoholics don't take a wife (or husband), but take a hostage.

I would strongly "suggest" that you seek out an Al-Anon meeting to begin your recovery from your father's alcoholism.  If you think that alcohol may be a problem for you, then by all means I "suggest" that you avail yourself of AA meetings in addition to Al-Anon meetings.  Anybody else who sees themselves here may also consider these "suggestions"; identify, not compare.



-- Edited by SoberInMI on Friday 23rd of June 2017 11:50:03 PM

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What's the group conscious message here? My ego has the better understanding? If I'm given the power to help others that power is given by myself? Pg 61 has taught us that we can be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing when trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. Living in the root of our problem and not our real purpose. a). When I'm being selfish I'm still living in self-seeking motives trying to manipulate a situation to go the way I think it should end. I've lost the power of choice in drink and have no defense against my first drink. I have the power to hurt others, the power to lie to women to manipulate them for sex, the power to get angry; a dubious luxury, the power to go to jail with two years recovered, the power to live in the solution. Love you guys.



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Personally, I like Stepchild's original post ... power over alcohol??? ... no way ... power over people, places and things??? it's only how we perceive our situation that can limit us ...

with the right spiritual condition, there is nothing we cannot do ... even avoiding alcohol ...




Love ya and God Bless,
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Thanks Pap....I'll just go with, "...the right spiritual condition...." and remind myself that what that means for me is having and putting my Higher Power first at all times.  ((((Hugs)))) biggrin



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" Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee - Thy will (not mine) be done." These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will."

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Amen ...



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