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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 plac. 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 is not to brag, but just wanted to share with you all a communication I had with a member on that board:

Hi, thank you so much for sending the Chris R talk link. I've been trying to quit for 12 years seriously and nothing has worked, so I joined this site because I can't attend AA a f2f meetings. I've always resisted AA , not liking the powerless bit - despite never having read anything about AA properly. Oh my, I've read this site since joining and the first step literature. and I've been such a fool in not finding it earlier. Chris R's talk topped my resolve to follow the 12 steps. I listened with either head nodding or tears streaming in recognition. I AM an alcoholic and no amount of pretending I can cut back or moderate will save me. I drink 3 bottles of wine a day and have recently managed to cut back to 2 bottles, as part of a taper - but I've been tapering for years. I've lost my career (not because of drink surprisingly, but because I stayed in that job and used alcoholic to combat the bullying and sexism and one day just walked out instead of dealing with the bullies. The so called cure of alcohol made me incapable of standing up for myself or seeking another position. That was a few years ago and I'm stuck in a rut, feeling worthless and without hope. My husband now supports me when I used to be the main wage earner. I feel useless and will lose his support shortly, because he doesn't understand. He doesn't realize how much I drink, but asked for Internet access to our bank account, so may find out. I HATE the person I've become and can't look in the mirror. My health is failing I know. But this site and your link have given me hope. I live in an unpopulated area and have no AA meetings, so this site is amazing. If you can help further, I'd be so grateful. Thank you

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Entha thevadia pullaki vera velaiey kedaiyathu! sori punda manavene, naye. moolaiye kediyathuda unaku!

Vicious Cycle

We had a recent workshop to go through the internal and external un-manageability and the Mental and Physical part of the Powerlessness.

The material can be found at:

Alcoholics never recover control!

We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals usually brief were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.

########

I tried so hard to control my drinking. I could never put together 2 to 3 weeks of sobriety, until I reached AA. Today, because of the program of AA the 12 steps, I am able to live a serene life without a need for a mind altering substace.

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.


The peculiar mental twist!

TS believes that the examples does not potray the peculiar mental twist:

Perhaps I didn't give a complete background of the guy who took his whiskey in milk. 

The peculiar mental twist is not that he took whiskey in milk. Its the thought surrounding the incident, namely it won't hurt taking whiskey on a full stomach:

Leading into this, he comes back to work on Tuesday little irritated because he is working for car dealership he once owned (Spiritual malady) and had series of setbacks. And goes to a place where he has been before to get a sandwich. He orders one, then another, still no thought of a drink. But then the insanity strikes.

"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. (The peculiar mental twist)  I ordered a whiskey and poured it into the milk. I vaguely sense I was not being any too smart, but I 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. (Now the Craving kicks in)"

The other example, why would the person buy alcohol in the first place knowing well its going to make a dent on the relationship with the kids, the spouse?

I see this an affirmation to this fact:

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.


Alcoholic Vervet Monkeys!

Here is a short BBC study video that talks about 3 different kinds of drinkers (vervet monkies) similar to how we have in human beings and the study connects the drinking pattern to the genes. Is alcoholism pre-disposed? Only further study can help us find out.

Most important question!

The most important question I had to ask myself is, "Do I have to walk on egg shells when in comes to alcohol" or follow the solution that worked for several people and empower myself and be a free man. Be able to walk through difficult life situations, celebrations at ease? Or struggle with this problem for ever. Asking people not to bring booze, not visiting parties where booze is served, not being able to go to a base ball game? Postponing drinking to a future date like someone suggests on this forum.

I am so glad I chose to work the 12 steps and have a spiritual awakening and go around places without fear.

Opinion about other Recovery Programs.

Interesting how members from AA share their own experience and strength and share what worked for them while some individuals always seem to be sharing about their opinion about AA. What a shame. And when confronted they just whine that we are bullying them. 

When Do We Get Restored To Sanity?

TS asked a question "how long after being AF was it that you felt that place of neutrality?".

Based on my experience, its not based on how many days I was free of alcohol, but it was around when I shared my inventory (grosser character defects/life story) with another human being and started looking at my character defects and started working on overcoming them, I would say the restlessness, irritiability and discontentedness went away and as I a started making amends, is when, love and tolerance of other people crept in. I started to forgive myself and others. Some where along that time (it was about 6 months) as I was working on my character defects that I felt confident that the program is working for me. The fear that I will pick up a drink went away. But I have to constantly work on being spiritually fit.

Here is a warning from the book:

It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.  

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.

“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 were

easily 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?  


The peculiar mental twist!

Here is another story from the book Alcoholics Anonymous to highlight the peculiar mental twist some of has developed:

Fred is a partner in a well known accounting firm. His income is good, he has a fine home, is happily married and the father of promising children of college age. He has so attractive a personality that he makes friends with everyone. If ever there was a successful business man, it is Fred. To all appearance he is a stable, well balanced individual. Yet, he is alcoholic. We first saw Fred about a year ago in a hospital where he had gone to recover from a bad case of jitters. It was his first experience of this kind, and he was much ashamed of it. Far from admitting he was an alcoholic , he told himself he came to the hospital to rest his nerves. The doctor intimated strongly that he might be worse than he realized. For a few days he was depressed about his condition. He made up his mind to quit drinking altogether. It never occurred to him that perhaps he could not do so, in spite of his character and standing. Fred would not believe himself an alcoholic, much less accept a spiritual remedy for his problem. We told him what we knew about alcoholism. He was interested and conceded that he had some of the symptoms, but he was a long way from admitting that he could do nothing about it himself. He was positive that this humiliating experience, plus the knowledge he had acquired, would keep him sober the rest of his life. Self- knowledge would fix it.

We heard no more of Fred for a while. One day we were told that he was back in the hospital. This time he was quite shaky. He soon indicated he was anxious to see us. The story he told is most instructive, for here was a chap absolutely convinced he had to stop drinking, who had no excuse for drinking, who exhibited splendid judgment and determination in all his other concerns, yet was flat on his back nevertheless.

Let him tell you about it: "I was much impressed with what you fellows said about alcoholism, and I frankly did not believe it would be possible for me to drink again. I rather appreciated your ideas about the subtle insanity which precedes the first drink, but I was confident it could not happen to me after what I had learned. I reasoned I was not so far advanced as most of you fellows, that I had been usually successful in licking my other personal problems, and that I would therefore be successful where you men failed. I felt I had every right to be self- confident, that it would be only a matter of exercising my will power and keeping on guard.

"In this frame of mind, I went about my business and for a time all was well. I had no trouble refusing drinks, and began to wonder if I had not been making too hard work of a simple matter. One day I went to Washington to present some accounting evidence to a government bureau. I had been out of town before during this particular dry spell, so there was nothing new about that. Physically, I felt fine. Neither did I have any pressing problems or worries. My business came off well, I was pleased and knew my partners would be too. It was the end of a perfect day, not a cloud on the horizon.

"I went to my hotel and leisurely dressed for dinner. As I crossed the threshold of the dining room, the thought came to mind that it would be nice to have a couple of cocktails with dinner. That was all. Nothing more. I ordered a cocktail and my meal. Then I ordered another cocktail. After dinner I decided to take a walk. When I returned to the hotel it struck me a highball would be fine before going to bed, so I stepped into the bar and had one. I remember having several more that night and plenty next morning. I have a shadowy recollection of being in a airplane bound for New York, and of finding a friendly taxicab driver at the landing field instead of my wife. The driver escorted me for several days. I know little of where I went or what I said and did. Then came the hospital with the unbearable mental and physical suffering.

"As soon as I regained my ability to think, I went carefully over that evening in Washington. Not only had I been off guard, I had made no fight whatever against the first drink. This time I had not thought of the consequences at all. I had commenced to drink as carelessly as thought the cocktails were ginger ale. I now remembered what my alcoholic friends had told me, how they prophesied that if I had an alcoholic mind, the time and place would come I would drink again. They had said that though I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and more, for what I had learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all. I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will power and self- knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots. I had never been able to understand people who said that a problem had them hopelessly defeated. I knew then. It was the crushing blow.


Obsessive Thought vs A normal Thought!

If we go back to the dictionary, an obsession is defined as "an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a persons mind" making a person "powerless to resist".
 
It is destructive when compared to a normal thought. In an alcoholic/addict, this is so over-bearing that it distorts the normal functioning. His/Her whole life is centered around how he/she going to experience the sense of ease by taking a drink or two. And when they are impeded, they get nasty, mean and obnoxious toward others. And then the compulsion is so powerful the alcoholic would pick up the bottle (he/she probably just few minutes ago made a decision to dump it in the trash can) with the intention of drinking just a shot or two.
 
Unfortunately once they succumb to that thought and take a drink or two, the phenomenon of craving kicks in and they end up drinking far more than they originally planned. 
 
This is excerpts from Bills Story (Co-Founder of AA):

Gradually things got worse. The house was taken over by the mortgage holder, my mother-in-law died, my wife and father-in-law became ill.

Then I got a promising business opportunity. Stocks were at the low point of 1932, and I had somehow formed a group to buy. I was to share generously in the profits. Then I went on a prodigious bender, and that chance vanished.

I woke up. This had to be stopped. I saw I could not take so much as one drink. I was through forever. Before then, I had written lots of sweet promises, but my wife happily observed that this time I meant business. And so I did.

Shortly afterward I came home drunk. There had been no fight. Where had been my high resolve? I simply didn't know. It hadn't even come to mind. Someone had pushed a drink my way, and I had taken it. Was I crazy? I began to wonder, for such an appalling lack of perspective seemed near being just that.

Renewing my resolve, I tried again. Some time passed, and confidence began to be replaced by cocksureness. I could laugh at the gin mills. Now I had what it takes! One day I walked into a cafe to telephone. In no time I was beating on the bar asking myself how it happened. As the whisky rose to my head I told myself I would manage better next time, but I might as well get good and drunk then. And I did.

The remorse, horror and hopelessness of the next morning are unforgettable. The courage to do battle was not there. My brain raced uncontrollably and there was a terrible sence of impending calamity.


Hopeless condition

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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So true in my case, if they had performed a polygraph test on me in the morning I would have passed, but later in the afternoon sometime in the mornings, I would come up with some execuse to drink and off to the races.

I drank because of the disease, not because of my upbringing, not because of any trauma.


 
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