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My Progress Blog

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http://e-aa.org/forum/index.php

e-AA forums is a great place to interact with genuine AAers with wide experience on how the 12 steps works. If you all wish to get answer, thats the place to be. As always there is passionate arguments about certain aspects of the program (thats the alcoholic trait that we dont seem to get over with) but generally if one wants to learn and get empowered thats a solid place. Of course there is a saying when the student is ready the teacher show up. So if one is sincere about learning I strongly recommend that forum.
 
This also a great 1st step workshop material put together by my group

 

Restless, Irritable and Discontented!

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. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.
**------**
Everytime I put down the drink, I gotten into more trouble because I couldn't handle life, got frustrated dealing with people, especially the spouse, kids, work and the road rage was killing me. Then writing down the character defects, sharing them with others, so they can show the selfishness and self-centerdness around each of them I could work on addressing them. Then serenity was restored, started experience the peace. 

Main Problem of an Alcoholic!

We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from drink, as he may do for months or years, he reacts much like other men. We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this.

These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body. If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis. Sometimes these excuses have a certain plausibility, but none of them really makes sense in the light of the havoc an alcoholic's drinking bout creates. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself on the head with a hammer so that he can't feel the ache. If you draw this fallacious reasoning to the attention of an alcoholic, he will laugh it off, or become irritated and refuse to talk.


What Recovery is like?

Recovery for me is total freedom from obsessive thoughts about drinking or not drinking. The "Problem has been removed" like the big book says. When I sobered up, I had this thought: "How am I going to celebrate special occasions without alcohol", but now, just like the books says "We will be placed in the position of neutrality" its totally come true. People in AA would say call your sponsor when you get an urge. I never liked that kind of sobriety. Those came from people (Sadly there are lot of them in AA itself) who don't understand the queer mental twist. It was after listening to the great workshops I became aware of the Power behind working the 12 steps. Today, I can say, the fear that I will pick up a drink is gone. Absolutely.

It sad though, one of my relatives has developed cirrhosis of liver. If he drinks he is going to die. At this moment he is "white knuckling it". Hope he gets the willingness to try the 12 steps of AA and lead a serene life.

Jim the Car Salesman, Another Mental Twist!

“I came to work on Tuesday morning. I remember I felt irritated that I had to be a salesman for a concern I once owned. I had a few words with the brass, but nothing serious. Then I decided to drive to the country and see one of my prospects for a car. On the way I felt hungry so I stopped at a roadside place where they have a bar. I had no intention of drinking. I just thought I would get a sandwich. I also had the notion that I might find a customer for a car at this place, which was familiar for I had been going to it for years. I had eaten there many times during the months I was sober. I sat down at a table and ordered a sandwich and a glass of milk. Still no thought of drinking. I ordered another sandwich and decided to have another glass of milk.
 
(The peculiar Mental Twist)

“Suddenly the thought crossed my mind that if I were to put an ounce of whiskey in my milk it couldn't hurt me on a full stomach. I ordered a whiskey and poured it into the milk. I vaguely sensed I was not being any to smart, but felt reassured as I was taking the whiskey on a full stomach. The experiment went so well that I ordered another whiskey and poured it into more milk. That didn’t seem to bother me so I tried another.”

Thus started one more journey to the asylum for Jim. Here was the threat of commitment, the loss of family and position, to say nothing of that intense mental and physical suffering which drinking always caused him. He had much knowledge about himself as an alcoholic. Yet all reasons for not drinking wereeasily pushed aside in favor of the foolish idea that he could take whiskey if only he mixed it with milk!

Whatever the precise definition of the word may be, we call this plain insanity. How can such a lack of proportion, of the ability to think straight, be called anything else?  


Different methods people try to control Drinking!

Here are some of the methods we have tried: Drinking beer only, limiting the number of drinks, never drinking alone, never drinking in the morning, drinking only at home, never having it in the house, never drinking during business hours, drinking only at parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more physical exercise, reading inspirational books, going to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums we could increase the list ad infinitum.
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This was written in 1939, we modern day people try the same thing even today. Some of the newer methods are using a breathalizer, pacing between drinks, consumer water in between drinks...... 

Hard Drinker vs Real Alcoholics

We got to be careful when taking advise from people who have quit drinking. The book Alcoholics Anonymous talks about two types of drinkers who look very much alike, but when it comes to overcoming this affliction, the hard drunk may overcome it on their own. The Real Alcoholic cannot. There are few on this forum who claim to achieve sobriety on their own and they think others can do the same too. If so, why are there so much churn? Over the past few years i have seen so many come in, and absolutely no one has put together a long duration of sober period. Look at the facts.

Here is the excerpts from the book on Hard Drinkers vs Real Alcoholics:

Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention.

But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.

Here is a fellow who has been puzzling you, especially in his lack of control. He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking. He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He is seldom mildly intoxicated. He is always more or less insanely drunk. His disposition while drinking resembles his normal nature but little. He may be one of the finest fellows in the world. Yet let him drink for a day, and he frequently becomes disgustingly, and even dangerously anti-social. He has a positive genius for getting tight at exactly the wrong moment, particularly when some important decision must be made or engagement kept. He is often perfectly sensible and well balanced concerning everything except liquor, but in that respect he is incredibly dishonest and selfish. He often possesses special abilities, skills, and aptitudes, and has a promising career ahead of him. He uses his gifts to build up a bright outlook for his family and himself, and then pulls the structure down on his head by a senseless series of sprees. He is the fellow who goes to bed so intoxicated he ought to sleep the clock around. Yet early next morning he searches madly for the bottle he misplace the night before. If he can afford it, he may have liquor concealed all over his house to be certain no one gets his entire supply away from him to throw down the wastepipe. As matters grow worse, he begins to use a combination of high-powered sedative and liquor to quiet his nerves so he can go to work. Then comes the day when he simply cannot make it and gets drunk all over again. Perhaps he goes to a doctor who gives him morphine or some sedative with which to taper off. Then he begins to appear at hospitals and sanitariums.


Powerlessness and Un-manageability

Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous states that 

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

This offends several people. How can human beings be powerless over a material thing. We are not talking about the whole human race here but a small portion of the race. Most people could take it or leave it when ever they want. However: I strongly believe that I belong to that small sect of population that couldn't handle alcohol safely. The obsession of the mind which is the constant thought of when I am going to drink and state of waiting for the stipulate time to arrive so I can down a couple and then once I picked up the drink, the inability to control the amount of alcohol that I will consume. That is what powerless really about. The un-manageability part is the state of being restless, irritable and discontented unless we experience the sense of ease and comfort after we consume a drink or two. 

One of the dangerous thing that could happen is, people who have not experienced this or not able to relate to this, having sobered up on their own means start educating people with chronic problem that they could overcome alcoholism by following their ideas. Hopefully people who are seeking help understand the difference. There are the alcoholics and then there are the heavy drinkers. While the heavy drinkers, given a reason, like wife threatening to leave or doctors advice that they may not live longer, could stop or moderate at their own will. But the alcoholics cannot. They need help from a higher power. And AA has a process to reach that higher power.

The Greatest Obsession!

Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

Alcoholics Anonymous-More about Alcoholism

Desparate to Recover!

When I entered the fellowship of AA about 7 1/2 years ago, I ran into a guy who would give away CDs and I thought what a great idea. And I carried that thought with me and when I recovered I started making CDs of my mentor, which I believe is the best and started distributing them to fellow members especially to the newcomers. I do the same on the internet too, I am part of another AA related board and I would send the new-comers the link to the talk. Out of all these people only a handful of them take time to listen and stage a recovery. Such is the state of this disease. The mind is so warped that its very hard to grasp the concepts. But, that has not stopped me spreading the word around through the CDs and links.

We have ceased fighting!

This is one of the best promises in the book:

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.

Stages of Recovery!

The moment we realize that drinking has gotten out out of control is we want to control our drinking. We promise to ourselve we will drink responsibly. It could be the we decide we will drink only on Friday after work. For me it was that. But I would always wait for Friday, so i could experience the sense of ease and comfort after we take couple of drinks/beers. Initially It appeared to have worked but the mental state being I never factored in. The days I was not drinking I was usually miserable, angry and depressed. As the discomfort crept in, slowly the intake of booze also increased. Beer on Friday slowly crept to weekends and then one on Wednesday and suddenly I was drinking all 7 days. And slowly I was drinking during the day and the work started being impacted. Clearly I saw the fatal progression of the disease the book Alcoholics Anonymous talks about. Also realized that if I don't seek a spiritual solution, the disease would lead me into the gates of insanity or death. Once I realized that I cannot safely drink alcohol again, I was lead to the solution where I work on my character defects and I grow spiritually fit the obsession to drink will be lifted and remain that way as long as I follow the principles of the program. What a great way to lead a life.

The Fact

From the book called AA:

 

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.


End of the fork!

People don't realize that they have gone past a stage where they can stop on their own. This is an excerpt from "There is a Solution" chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous.

These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body. If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis. Sometimes these excuses have a certain plausibility, but none of them really makes sense in the light of the havoc an alcoholic's drinking bout creates. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself on the head with a hammer so that he can't feel the ache. If you draw this fallacious reasoning to the attention of an alcoholic, he will laugh it off, or become irritated and refuse to talk.

Once in a while he may tell the truth. And the truth, strange to say, is usually that he has no more idea why he took that first drink than you have. Some drinkers have excuses with which they are satisfied part of the time. But in their hearts they really do not know why they do it. Once this malady has a real hold, they are a baffled lot. There is the obsession that somehow, someday, they will beat the game. But they often suspect they are down for the count.

How true this is, few realize. In a vague way their families and friends sense that these drinkers are abnormal, but everybody hopefully awaits the day when the sufferer will rouse himself from his lethargy and assert his power of will.

The tragic truth is that if the man be a real alcoholic, the happy day may not arrive. He has lost control. At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected.


 
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