Quote of the Day

First off, if you don’t do the steps of course you go back out. Heck, if you don’t get a sponsor, and won’t do 90 in 90, and won’t do the steps, you were never in! How can you go back out? How can you relapse if you never attain?

When I was taken through the steps I was told that AA required constant and unending spiritual growth until I died. I was told that the character building never ends, and that I was responsible when a suffering alcoholic put out his hand for help. But much more than what I was told, it was what I was shown. My sponsor and his circle of friends were all in their late 60s, and they were 12 stepping machines. You could ask them any day what they were building in their character, and they could and did come right back with the answer of what they were working on.

My sponsor once drove through a hurricane to do a 12th step. Believe me, he wasn’t crazy, just willing. The person he went to told me that he arrived moments before the suicide. On the night he died my sponsor went out on a 12th step at 9pm, and died at 2pm. I might add that he died in his sleep, sober, serene, and loved by very many.

My sponsor was always taking people through the steps. When ever he made an assignment of any kind for a sponsee he went and did it again himself. He said he had seen too many old timers falling into telling people to do things they had long since stopped doing. This approach to serving and character building kept him constantly recycling the steps, and it caused him to apply AA principles in all his affairs.

To the best of my knowledge, all the people he sponsored are still sober. It is my intention to keep doing the actions he took, that kept him sober, and that gave him such a clean and serene end.

From a response posted yesterday on a year-old thread over at Friends of Bill called “relapse is ‘stinkin’-thinkin'”.

The original post is some bonus crazy:

We are speaking of those who are capable of being honest with themselves. Relapse is caused by a lack of spiritual development and we believe in a spiritual solution that recovery is completely and directly dependent on the integrity of the individuals spiritual program. It is not based on support groups from finite man, ((b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism..) but upon the individuals spiritual fitness- how well one “trust God, and cleans house”.

  • tintop

    I think that the 'recovery movement' in general, and AA in particular, is pretty isolated.

    There are no internal checks – aka reality testing -. The mainstream ignores or leaves alone.

    I think that helps explain this sort of magical thinking.

    It is important that someone with a problem maintain critical distance — aka "bs detector".

  • Mona Lisa

    Funny thing. I once drove through a flood to help a woman I knew who was mentally ill and about to kill herself. I'm quite sure I saved her life, but I did it because I cared about her, not because it was "step work". And the idiots in AA said I was "codependent" for doing it, too.

  • tintop

    mona lisa

    "co dependent" is normal human behavior.

    What those people "thought" means nothing.

  • Tintop, It is! I get a little ill whenever we post these quotes, but it's important because this is what people in AA are doing to each other. Benign, my ass. Because their forums are moderated so heavily, and because their meetings are so — as you say — isolated, and their relationships with their sponsors are private, they say this stuff to each other unselfconsciously.

    Mona Lisa, That's true! Oh gosh… Yeah, if I want to help my dear friend who's doctor put her on an elephant's dose of opiates, I'm co-dependent. My very desire to help is co-dependent! But, of course, nothing about the dyamics that AA fosters within groups and between sponsors and pigeons, or between 12-steppers and the still suffering… none of that is co-dependent; it's spiritual; it's service; it's self-less…

  • true believer

    Three of my friends in AA died because the steps, fellowship, and meetings did not work for them. The lies and religious aspects of the program were offensive. The one thing their consciousness would accept was that their only other options were jails, institutions, and death. I drove 1000 miles through a fire, gave money, rescued a rental car off road two hours from home, spent evenings at homes, countless calls; let them puke at my house, you name it. As for anger, if you get in a situation where your life is threatened, I hope you can bring sufficient anger to protect yourself. This fear all AA’s claim to have is the opposite of courage. I would hate to think what would happen to a person consumed by fear that has trained their mind to reject anger.

  • tintop

    ftg,   'codependency' is toxic drivel.

    A root cause of that is the fact that living with a drunkard or other deeply flawed person is a trial; with no painless coping mechanisms or strategies.

    A person does what he/she can, and, frequently, without a positive result.

    Codependency throws out the tub with the bathwater and the baby in it.

    Very simply, you do what you think is right – because you care and have integrity and ethics.  Effective methods may be hard to find; but, life is hard and unfair.

    Again — what those people "think" mean next to nothing.

  • humanspirit

    MonaLisa

    Yes, it’s incredible how steptards manage to award themselves spiritual gold stars for attempting to help others, whereas more lowly people get shat upon as being ‘co-dependent’ for doing exactly the same thing.

    Could some AA person out there please explain?

    • Could some AA person out there please explain?

      I think the explanation would go something like this:

      Condescending, indulgent, knowing, humorless smirk + "You just don't get it."

      I think this blog is one long demand for an explanation. We're not going to get one.

  • Mona Lisa

    We're not going to get an explanation because the only explanation is something they don't want to admit: that they are hypocrites.

  • though i love this site and believe in it, just having that shit in my face again makes my stomach hurt. i am staying sober, so i will never hafta be new in aa again. so i will hafta rely on the retarded and the insane to feel better. WHATWASITHINKING? my ex old man has this sister who is dating ann AA. he blows her off to go on 12 step calls. what IS this? and I loved what mona lisa said–inferred from this that–yeppers, wake yer up ass–your sponsor, yer coffeee buds, they DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU.