Member: Gina W
Time: 9:22:03 AM
Hi all. Looks like I'm the first one here. How about the topic "Principles not personalities". I have heard the saying that alkies are very sensitive and some are insensitive. I am no exception to the sensitive type. I find lately that I am frightened to share what is really going on for me at meetings in case I will be judged or given unsol' advice etc from people barging up to me. I have realised that over the course of doing my 8th step, my very low self image has come to the fore and I have started worrying more about what others think of me than what I think of myself. Has anyone has self esteem probs? I know this is a core issue for me- it is largely why I drank.
Time: 10:36:48 AM
Either you are going to the wrong meeting - if people are "barging up on you"; or you are afraid of what people will tell you. Take a good look at yourself. One of the best things anyone ever told me was " so-and-so is not making you feel like.. (feel in the blank); you are ALLOWING yourself to feel that way. Why are you so concerned about what other people think of you?
Location: Newark , De
Time: 10:42:28 AM
Morning all,,,this is a good topic for me. Cause with my recovery came living with myself.and to have principles,as well as morals and integrity. see cause with some 24 hours in recovery now, I have learned that if you like everyone in AA ,,,odds are you haven't met everyone yet. which goes for me to. cause I wanted everyone to like me.
So in my recovery now I try to live my life to the best of my abilitys.and not worry if people don't like the way I dress or what I do for a living,cause thats not what I got sober for.
I got into recovery to save John"ME" from becoming a statistic or a obituary,an not worry about the rest ..see cause I do have Friends in recovery today,that like me for me,an those that don't ,welp thats there problem not mine today,cause I like myself today.and the principles that i'm learning to live by.
Thanks all for being here,and hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and have a safe an sober Christam as well as New Years Signed John.L
Time: 10:49:02 AM
If you don't feel comfortable about bringing something up in a meeting that is bothering you, I would suggest talking to your sponser one on one about whatever it is. It's important that us alcoholics not hold these things in. I have done this in the past with some of the personal things that were threatening my sobriety, & can tell you that this does work. I don't worry about what others think of me anymore, however I did worry about that the first years of my sobriety. All I can say about that is that the worry will go away slowly as you become comfortable with yourself & who you are. Just remember that how you feel today is not how you will feel the rest of your life. It took a lot of meetings & working the steps for me to become comfortable with myself, & every minute of it was worth it!
Member: Bob E
Time: 11:57:20 AM
Gina: Good Topic! Just a few thoughs for you about others within the program. They can only hurt me if I allow them to. Their personalities are theres not mine. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. That the only person that I must make happy is myself. That my program is mine and that I am the one person that must work it. Others have the right to express their thoughs regarding what I have expressed however it is I who I must live with and must make the final dession on any subject. As long as a person is working to become better with the use of the principles than no personalities need worry them as they are growing within AA. Bob
Member: Kerry B
Time: 12:25:56 PM
I'm Kerry, an alocholic
Principals before personalities - always a great topic.
When I was new, not knowing really what principals were, I fell under the impression that if I worked all the steps and came to believe in a power greater than myself, then I wouldn't have to deal too much with feelings. I took on a very altruistic ideal regarding what this program could do for me. Rude awakening when I found out that "hey, there are some sick people around here, yours truly included" LOL
The program has not given me a suit of armour, has not made me invincible to all that goes on around me, like I thought it would. I still feel hurt sometimes. And I am grateful for that today.
What it has done is given me tools to use when these feelings arise, taught me how to let go of the resentments and petty pride I used to carry around in my guts all the time, the very things that I used alcohol to try and obliterate. I am no longer dependent upon myself, no longer the center of the universe either. I have a higher power, and by golly, it is even alright with me for there to be other inhabitants on this planet as well. LOL
I share in a general way what it was like, what happened and what it is like now in the meetings I attend. I share my innermost feelings with my friends in the program. Sometimes the unsolicited advise I have received from some folks has been met with absolute rejection by me, and alot of the time it was the truth that I couldn't bear to hear. Sometimes I have to realize that even though the suggestions may not be what would be good for my situation, most of the time it is offered with love and a genuine desire to be of service from others in the program.
Member: Pat B.
Time: 12:27:06 PM
My sponsor told me that not everything can be discussed at a meeting. And if I do open up the door with my problem, then it's in God's hands who answers me. Because He speaks to us through people. So, I gotta listen. I don't like that. I'd rather run the show. Asking for help is not easy for me. I want everyone to think I'm doing great. The truth is, I'm often in pain. But if I let someone know what's going on (and it doesn't always have to be a group; it can be just one person), then I know I have someone sharing the load. I need help...I was told they are the 3 most important words in recovery. Once I ask, tho, I have to let God do His work.
Location: Newark Ohio
Time: 12:33:07 PM
Didn't think I liked the topic till I read some of what you all had to say.I have been having a problem with people.Even though I have offten said I don't care what people think sometimes I really do care.When I first got out of rehab there was this old timer who seemed to have all the answers.......I soon learned to beware of those who think they have all the answers or whom you feel that they have all the answers.I noticed that even though this old timer talked a good program......he almost always seemed to come to meetings late and always left after he spoke.Thats not how I want to work my program.I hope I never get to the place where I think I have all the answers.And I feel its not only a sign of dissrespect to the people in the meeting to leave early but to the program. It bathers me that some people in the program feel I should not have mentioned that I'm a bisexual woman......I did this because its a big part of my life and also so that I could talk freely about my partner.And because there are those that are uncomfortable with my life styal ,and I didn't want them to find out later should they become close to me.Not tilling is (to me) the same as the men who dress as women and then pick up straight men with them not knowing.Not fair. I am in no way in this program to pick up anyone.The 13th step has no place in my program. I know that what I preferr to do in my bedroom should not deter people in the program from earning their sobriety in helping me...but we are but human.
Member: Bob M
Location: East Coast
Time: 12:42:04 PM
Gina, Your question was "Does anyone have self esteem problems?" I do. I like to think everyone does to some degree. (Makes me feel better to think so anyway).
There's two of us that admit it anyway. Good luck with it.
My self-esteem intefers with how I react to things. I jump to conclusions. When someone says "Your hair looks nice" I take it to mean they think I usually don't keep it nice. Etc.
I won't give you any unsolicited advice. I'll just say good luck to you and ask for you to wish me the same.
I'd like to one day feel good enough about myself that whatever someone says, whatever their intent, that I'll be alright with it because I'm alright with myself.
I've got a lot to be thankful for and to feel good about. I don't stack up with everyone but I realize I'm not in the worse shape either.
I feel like I've been drifting for a long time. I haven't tried to improve anything because I always could just get drunk and go to bed. I didn't focus on improving anything and didn't notice (much) how much everything was degrading.
I've only been sober since August and so I'm not expecting any great epiphany. But I notice that, although today doesn't seem much better than yesterday, I feel a lot better than I did 3 or 4 months ago.
I'd like to think it will keep getting better.
Member: Jeff B
Location: Northern CA
Time: 12:44:08 PM
Hi, My name is Jeff and I am an alcoholic. When I drank I was completely out of control. I used to start drinking and the booze would kick in eventually and I would some how become the center of attention. Usually in a negative way. Once I delayed the take off of an airplane because I was in the bathroom puking. I was woken up at my destination with puke on my coat on an empty plane. I got drunk once and got up to the microphone in a restaurant/bar that had a live band and sang a Buffett tune. People liked it and were clapping and encouraging me until I started adding f___ing to the beginning of the lyrics –then they pulled the plug and threw me out of the place. I could not drink for very long without needing to stir some poop. (he called the shit poop). I used to break things – once I got drunk and threw my JD bottle collection at the brick wall in my dorm room. I don’t know why. Anyway , it got me in some serious trouble sometimes but I was willing to take the risk. Some people liked me because I was wild and they never knew what would happen when they drank with me. They usually did not like me for long. When I sobered up in the morning or afternoon there was not much I liked about me either. This type of behavior went on for years. I would get messed up and do stupid, crazy stuff and then cool off and be more “normal” and then it was like one of those tipping birds that dump the water when it gets too full – I did it again and again and again.
What happened was that some power greater than me gave me a real look at myself in the mirror and I decided to call AA again and give it another shot. I remembered that I would not have made it if I did not have several short stays with the great people in AA. I remembered those times fondly and wanted them back. I threw out my beer and started digging through boxes in my attic to find my old AA book and other stuff. I had not thrown them away. I read and prayed and found hope. I called AA from work and the lady told me where there was a speaker meeting on Tuesday night and I went. I have not had to drink since. These have been some of the best days of my life.
Today principles before personalities means that I need to keep the Steps and Traditions right in my own face. Most of the time it means that 12 steps (principles) come before my somewhat twisted personality. The thing that has to come first for me is not drinking. I can’t not drink without adopting the steps and traditions of AA as my own (I’ve tried and failed). I don’t even get close to following them the ideal way I can imagine sometimes but when I compare me today to the drunk singing bottle breaking plane stopper I have come a long way. It was not because I was anything special that I have a closer to normal life today. I did some special stuff. I show up here and at meetings, I try to read the book, I try to take the steps, I pray and I don’t give up on AA. No matter what I know that I should not drink today and I know that things can get better if I keep doing my part. I don’t always know what I should do – but I usually know what I should not. I try to take the simple actions that have gotten me away from my old drinking self. The simple acts seem to get me closer to where I should be when I remember what I am and what I could be. I could be a drunk (described above but worse) or I could keep doing the stuff that seems to keep me sober like you guys. I try not to attract attention to me because I still screw up often. If I got everything I deserve I would most likely be dead. I try to remember. I can get more comfortable, I can be more free, I could be happier. It does not matter as much to me what you think of me..it matters what I think back and how I act. I hope that I’m getting better –I believe that I am thanks to God and AA. That’s it. Except that I need to say that this site is very important to me and I will keep acting like it is. I found it when I was very new. It has been one of the consistent parts of my sobriety through 4 states in as many years- Thanks to everyone for being here.
Member: Jerry S
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Time: 12:49:24 PM
My name is Jerry and I am an Alcoholic. I also have been snared in the trap of worrying needlessly about what other people think of me. I recently read that it is more important today to have sanity over respectability. It is hard for me to not attempt to make everone I come in contact with like me. I have to have daily reminders of what is really important to my sanity today. I do this by visiting this site, prayer, and meditation. If I skip these important steps though I am destined to fall back on my own way of thinking and that leads to more drinking to escape myself. A good friend once told me that I was insignificant and people are not concerned with what I do. I only think they are concerned because I am selfish and self centered, therefore Alcoholic.
Location: NW USA
Time: 12:56:45 PM
Principles before personalities. Tradition 12 "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities." "Spiritual foundation of all" Have you ever been to a "convention" and at the close together we all do the closing prayer (usually the Lord's Prayer but it can also be like the closing Prayer as a member described experienced at a "A.A. pow wow") then we say "Keep coming back". For this alcoholic, the experience is a "Healing Power" ... a "Spiritual foundation of all" I need that "Healing Power" so I'll keep coming back. Hope you do too. Thanks, one and all for sharing Experience, Strength and Hope.
Location: So. LA
Time: 12:57:11 PM
Hi guys. I'm Gage and I'm an alcoholic.
Thanks for the topic, Gina. Yes, I very much have problems of low self-esteem. There's an old guy I know who puts it this way: I judge my insides by other peoples' outsides. I think we all have holes in our personalities, and some of us tend to be very needy people. I, for one, have attempted throughout my life to fill up the gaps with pride -- illegitimate, unearned pride. Whether or not I was able to fool anyone that way doesn't really matter, because I never was able to fool myself that way for long. Of course, I gave myself this problem for the most part by wanting more attention, love, and esteem than I was entitled to, I believe. I discovered that in my fourth and fifth steps. Today, I'm giving that to God to remove. In the meantime, I try to be useful to him and my fellows in some way. Thanks!
Time: 1:27:18 PM
Very interesting comments on this topic! Gina, I have extremely low self-esteem because of my looks. I find that an important part of the program, the fellowship, is very difficult for me because I literally must force myself to talk to others. My introversion is so extreme that I get almost speechless because of my nervousness, and I used to be a salesman! Imagine that. I guess the booze helped when I was selling; without booze, I can't even talk to people.
As far as principles before personalities, I find that a vital concept for me. You see, I don't like being told anything, and I am liable to do just the opposite of what others say. When my sponsor told me I shouldn't start looking for another job (I am miserably broke) I became defiant inside - without the guts to actually say anything. And of course I've had my experience with those who think they know everything, and those who begin every f**king sentence with, "What I hear you saying is..." No, a-hole, what you HEARD me saying is exactly what I DID say. I need to keep everything in perspective and remember that I can take what helps me and leave the rest. I do not agree with everything in AA, but I do take what I need from the program, without which I could not stay sober. Peace to all, and I think I'll manage to stay sober for today, God willing.
Member: Pam B
Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Time: 2:52:13 PM
Hi, I'm Pam, an Alcoholic,
(((Gina))) it may be instinct keeping you from sharing things openly in meetings that do not belong shared in a meeting.
In the meetings we do not give details, names nor any other specifics: we share only in a General Way (ie: I am held by back Fear of such & such instead of doing as I need to do for me - or - I am unable to control my Anger when a person disrespects me - or - I am having trouble being in ongoing Conflict with someone I am in direct contact with every day) whatever.
We do not get into details as to who, what, where & when. Some act as if they're guests on Jerry Springer airing the sordid details of very personal stuff and/or seeking to use meetings to put down or slander another (which is dishonest attempt to portray self as their 'victim') This reveals a person who does not work with their sponsor or the sponsor would advise them that this stuff does not get aired in the rooms.
We are not to share anything in the rooms that we may regret or drink over later when we've cleared up & have grown in learning to be honest.
As others here suggested - we talk over the details or specifics of our problem with our sponsor in private.
We all come in with no or low-esteem. Trust God, Clean House, Help Others. As BB tells us: Self-esteem develops from doing Esteemable things (which naturally result from living these Steps/Principals) Give Time TIME - just keep putting one foot in front of the other & you are going to get there.
Applying the Principles before MY OWN Personality (that would seek to run the show my way & would have all people places & things be as I think they all should be & thinks I know whats right & best for everyone, including myself)is what "Principals before Personalities" is to me. Thanks - really good topics. Pam
Member: Michael B.
Time: 2:57:26 PM
Hi! My name is Michael, and I am a recovering alcoholic and addict, sober today only by the Grace of God and the Fellowship! Welcome newcomers! Thanks for all the sincere shares!
One major practical benefit of "principles before personalities" is that this principle helps maintain unity, a vital goal of the Traditions and our society for obvious reasons.
Good topic, Gina!
Time: 3:14:25 PM
hi im brent im an alcoholic this is the first time i have done the online thing. i have been sober for a little longer than a month .i have been going to the aa meetings in my town but they only have three a week ,so im greatfull for the internet right now ,and just wanted to tell everyone thanks .
Time: 3:33:28 PM
sometimes I feel invisable here.
Location: NEW YORK
Time: 3:52:54 PM
Hello to all fellow AA's. Thanks for the excellent topic Gina. I suffered from low self esteem for most of my life. I drank to fill the void. I still have low self esteem, but as I continue to go to meetings, share my true feelings, and work the steps in the program, I feel I am beginning to believe in myself. As far as Principles before personalities, My sponsor told me at the very beginning of my journey of sobriety, keep principles upfront at all times, and be tolerant of the many personalities of the program. I continue to concentrate on getting healthy and becoming more confident and believing that the PROGRAM WORKS IF YOU WORK IT. Thanks everyone for all your comments. YOU ARE KEEPING ANOTHER ALCOHOLIC SOBER FOR ANOTHER DAY!
Location: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Time: 4:22:56 PM
HI, Bill here. Alcoholic from Arizona. "Principles Before Pesonalities" is an excellent topic. I may double dip this week and share on that. I feel the real topic is self esteem. I suffered a lot from low self esteem. I was a skinny little kid that folks like to pick on. Rather than stand up for myself. I quit. I lacked the personal courage to be Me.
I was a "50%" quitter. :).Quit high school after my sophmore year. Took a 3 year apprenticeship and quit that at 18 months. Joined the Navy and broke my service at nine years. i eventually finished all of the above; but by the time I did, I was way behind in life.
I am one of those alcoholics that do NOT lay Fourth and Fifth Steps on the tables of AA. Anonymity is not what it used to be. I was told (tongue in cheek) that if I didn't want something to show up in tomorrow's headlines, do not tell it at an AA meeting. :)
What I was taught was that specific issues were discussed one on one with a trusted sponsor or a "close mouthed friend". At meetings..."Our stories disclose in a general way....".
Self esteem is a developmental thing. We all may take different pathways. I got my old job back at a brickyard as soon as my former boss heard I was sober...(again). I worked on a one man shift. So in the beginning it was God, me and the bricks. I learned to operate a kiln
At 17 months I started college in a major that only allowed 15 seats. I won one of them. So now I only had to deal with 15 people. I gradutated at age 55. And had the courage to go into the field. This is the first time in my life I ever went from start to finish without knowing the end result.
Now I was ready for corporate America. I was in the major work force. Now I am ready to face the world with confidence. I went on to become published in "The Journal of Nuclear Medicine"
I recently became a member of a Sky Diving AA Group, and at age 71 am getting my license to jump. Now I am not sure whether this is self esteem, courage, or insanity. But it is growth. LOL
The key to all of this was God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Through those Steps I found a new me.
I have self esteem and courage today. Sigh. Now all I have to work on is EGO :)
Member: jessie j.
Location: the west!
Time: 5:03:08 PM
I too have had self esteem problems, as have alot of the people in my home group. Throughthis program I have gained some self esteem. With your group I think that they will not judge you. I recently had alot of problems come up and I was very close to a re-lapse, I had to let go of my pride and just call people and ask for help, that was very humbling for me. But, the people that I called all helped me to the best of their abilities and didn't question or laugh, I am 17 and the only one in my group that isn't legal, so it came as a real shock to me that they understood. So, in conclusion, trust your group, if they don't give you the respect you deserve try a new group, eventually you will find a group that cares and it will all work out by the grace of god. if you (or anyone) ever needs someone to talk to my e-mail is CMmember@lycos.com and I will be happy to be a friend, alcohol is "cunning baffling and powerful" so we all need some help. also, alcoholics are caring and unique people which makes me proud to be one, so there are people to help. Have a nice day and live it to the fullest... "dance like no one is watching and love like you've never been hurt" love always jessie
Member: South of
Location: the Border
Time: 5:53:57 PM
Sorry JR-its not personal~but I for one cannot relate /idenify with you~other than being another alcoholic
Time: 6:31:57 PM
Low Self-Esteem is a very common trait among many of the most successful people in the business world. In this context, success defined by many just means material wealth, not personal happiness. We have all heard the phrase, the best things in life don't cost a penny. It is true. Do, be, say, act only what makes you happy and the ones you care about. Forget about other peoples perception about you, it doesn't matter, WHAT matters to you IS the FOUNDATION for which all other activities are born from. Life is not that difficult.
Time: 6:34:52 PM
I agree, not everything should be brought up at a meeting. Some things are better left for one-on=one discussion. Remember, if everyone at meetings were perfectly healthy, they probably wouldn't be at the meetings to begin with. Just like everywhere else, there will be people who like to hear themselves talk and who will always put down others.
Time: 6:36:45 PM
Hell, you are ALL CRAZY.
Member: Harry K.
Location: United Kingdom
Time: 8:17:30 PM
Hi folks, Harry, a page 58 alcoholic here. Gina,I suffer from "Grave, Emotional and Mental disorders." This does not make me retarded or anything like that, it just means that I can manufacture the most dreadful outcome in my head out of the smallest thing. My saving grace so far has been my ability to be honest with myself. I drank a long, long, time. I've developed a history of failure and damage to myself and others. My getting sober 9 years ago hasn't healed me as yet but I'm making progress. The fact is, I live a good, sober, healthy life today. I'm a good husband to my wife, supporter to my friends and good worker to my employers. I'm active in service and do my best to practice the principals behind each one of the steps as best as I can on a daily basis. However, when the commitee is having its session in my head and the band starts to play, making sure I can't absorb anything positive I may try to tell myself, I get into the alcoholic's favorite indoor sport....SELF PITY.
I tell myself i'm a worthless shit and have been "faking" it all this time and pretty soon everyone will catch on. In times like this I recognise whats going on and tell myself that this will pass. It always does (and it always returns) but today in spite of all of this, I can live inside my skin. I know who I am and can thank my personal GOD for the grace provided to carry me through the tough times.
I guess I caused myself a bit more damage than others, I don't know. Most seem pretty serene to me most of the time, I sometimes struggle. But I can't expect MY expectations of what I connsider GOOD SELF ESTEEM to happen so fast. I just know its a hell of a lot better than it was but so long as I stay sober and do the last three steps daily it will get better.
As for "principals before personalities", It boils down to this, honour the work being done, not the person doing it. In the traditions it was reffering to our work and practices in A.A as a fellowship. In our homegroup we would serve out of love for the group, not the recognition we may want by doing it. And at the meetings, OUCH!! Thats where the bullet hits the bone. I hear alot of non A.A drbble in meetings where I now live and feel compelled to keep the message as the same that was given to me when I was getting sober. When drunks come into a meeting and start babbling I'm the one that says "Excuse me friend, I don't wish to be rude but I think you would do yourself more good right now by listening" This upsts alot of people here, they are to polite for their own good. Remember, our 5th tradition reminds us that ech groups primary purpose is to carry ITS message to the suffering alcoholic, not provide a forum for the other. A sober message is far more attractive to listen to, and if we want to keep newcomers comming back, we have an obligation to our own sbriety by insurring that they hear the same A.A message we had.
Time: 8:52:36 PM
Hi, my name is Trudy and I'm an alcoholic. Self esteem is very hard for me right now. I first entered the rooms in 1988 and by the grace of my higher power and a good sponser and alot of meetings stayed sober 5 years ( no rehab) One day short of my 5 year aniversay I drank, not because I thought I was cured but because I just gave up. Since 5/22/93 I have been in and out of the rooms ( and rehab )Because of my track record I feel ashamed because I gave up 5 years for something really stupid. They say the first time you get sober its a gift, and I gave it away and everyday I struggle with why. I am ashamed to see people in the rooms who have known me for a long time which makes me not want to go to meetings around home. I feel like I am the poster child for everything you SHOULD NOT TO DO to stay sober. I have alot of shame and guilt but want to be able to go into the rooms and hold my head high. Sometimes those personalities ( including my own ) get in the way of my recovery. I know I'm rambling but I'm really floundering and want so much to get back and stay on track, each time it gets harder and harder. I'm quite young but my doctor told me my bloodwork showed substantial physical damage and If I do drink I will die. This is a hidious disease and all I can do is urge anyone who is out there thinking about taking that drink, that it'll be different,,Don't. Please just don't. Thanks for listening.
Time: 9:26:08 PM
There was a lady who spoke at a state convention about 6 years ago in Indiana...her name was Francine. She talked about self-esteem and what her sponsor finally said to her.
"Francine, If you want self-esteem, do esteemable acts."
Member: To JR
Time: 10:00:52 PM
You are not being ignored ("invisible") the top of the page asks that we try to post only once in a week, staying on the topic - that this is not a chat room. On the Coffee Pot page anything can be discussed & requests/replies for help can be made.
Member: Jack D
Time: 3:46:58 AM
Hi, I had 30 days under my belt on 11/21/01 I went to a meeting to recieve my 30 day chip from my sponsor, all was well...I was a little concerned about the holiday...11/22/01 I woke up on the floor drunk...I was told that I wasn't home at 3:00am that morning and I was driving my car...I also found out I took my girlfriends ATM and emptied her bank account...needless to say I was horrified and devestated...I called my sponsor and went to a meeting where I proceeded to figure out what went wrong...I had been attending a meeting everyday sometime twice a day...I was reading the big book everyday and I made contact with my higher power every morning, evening and through out the day...I got a sponsor on the 3rd day and had been contacting him every other day...so I asked what in the world could have gone wrong...then it hit me like a ton of bricks...I had been smoking pot everyday of those 30 days and for the last 20 years...my sponsor has never done drugs but the group seemed to all agree that this was the challenge...I never told anyone about the pot...so I wasn't honest with myself or my sponsor or my fellow AA members...if you have any thoughts on this I'd appreciate it...I have made a desision to stop smoking...I don't want to drink ever again and if that means stopping everything then so be it...I Love all of you and hope you never have to feel like ending your life over drinking...something I was very seriously concidering after I woke up that day...but I have hope again and I'm back this time CLEAN & SOBER.
Time: 9:49:47 AM
Hi - I'm LeeEllen and a recovering alcoholic. I too am a victim of low self-esteem, but am getting better everyday that I stay sober.
Thanks for the topic, Gina. I think all of us can relate to the feeling that we're a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Fitting in --- that was always my goal. I wanted to be as good as, as successful as, as pretty as, etc. Everything seemed to be centered around someone else's achievements/gifts. I had trouble acknowledging that I had my own "assets."
I'M the one that made myself feel that way --- I compared myself to everyone else and in my mind I never measured up. My perception of myself was pretty screwed up, but with professional help & AA, I'm making progress. I got like this over a lifetime, so I can't expect that in 8 years sober I'll be "healed."
Trudy J - You are not the only one who has gone back out for further investigation --- I'm sure many in your group have done the same thing. Hold your head up --- you had the strength to go BACK to the tables. Many do not. Forgive yourself just as your Higher Power has.
Thanks all for being here and letting me share. Peace, Lee
Time: 10:58:58 AM
I don't think my self-esteem could be any lower at this point. I have drank for years and hit bottom so many times. Fortunately I still have a job but that is about all I have right now. I met a wonderful widower 2 months ago (I'm 39 and he is 44 with a 1 year old daughter). This was my chance at having a family. I went home to the west with him over the holidays to meet his family. Unfortunatly, as I was putting away the baby food, I ran across a case of beer and hundreds of bottls of wine. I drank and got drunk in front of his family. Of course, he dumped me. I just don't feel like going on anymore.
Member: Linda C.
Location: Dominican Republic
Time: 11:02:43 AM
Hi everyone, I just dicovered this format and have decided to join in....Self esteem,HMMMMM,Big battle for me....I did a good job all my life to wear a mask so I appeared to be like everyone else, only inside I knew I was different somehow.....Years later the battle became harder to handle and the drinking began...Man I could feel so important with a few in me....Everything I said and did was so important....Or so I thought.....One way to make one feel more than is to make those around you feel less than....I was good at that..... Today after 12yrs.of AA, I finally really feel comfortable in my own skin...But that doesn't mean all the time....When I do have a relapse into low self esteem it usally is because I have let my attention wonder away from my higher power....I find in my case they are directly related.....Thanks for the topic Gina and thank you guys for being here....
Time: 11:04:06 AM
Gee, Jack, what part of "freedom from all mind altering substances" do you not understand? What do you think is gonna happen when you get high????? You want to drink. You're an ADDICT, man. Cut it all out. How can you pick up a chip when you've been toking for the whole time? God, you can't be THAT stupid.
Time: 11:56:48 AM
Chris here an alcoholic. JB don't leave before the miracle. This program works if you work it. Today is a new day. My mom died a few weeks ago. I am an only child and my dad's in a nursing home in Mexico. But, just for today, I have my sobriety. You too can have it a day at a time if you want it.
I have a friend that used to tell me, "Chris buddy, you drink too much." I have 18 years, a day at a time, and he is dieing. The only difference is a single day at a time in the doors of AA. I am sponsoring a guy that had 20 years and now has 19 days. He was worried about coming back, but is now so greatful that he's doing the program because his life is soooo much better TODAY. He just quit going to meetings for a couple of years and went out. He had a very rough time coming back but did and now he's had 19 of the best days of his life because he's willing to do what it takes. I am sharing my experience, strength, and hope with you because all I have is today. Life isn't easy, but it gets better if you want sobriety.
There are other guys and other options in life if you just "want" to be sober. You don't have to do this alone, I'd recommend going to meetings, getting a "same gender" sponsor, and doing the steps. Also, you may feel like you don't have much to give, but you do, everytime you share your experience, and try to help another alcoholic you are making a difference!
On the topic. Well, some meetings are better than others. If I keep going, I'll get what I need. Like this site, most people offer their experience, strenght, and hope, and some don't have that to offer. So, we take what we want and leave the rest.
To thine own self be true!
Keep coming back
Member: Kim D.
Time: 12:18:34 PM
Hi everyone - Kim D. here - recovering alcoholic.
I've always interpreted "principles before personalities" as a UNIFYING concept in AA. Goodness knows there are TONS of "personalities" flying around the halls. Hey, we come from all walks of life with the common, unifying desire to stop drinking. There are BOUND to be personality conflicts in our groups and in the program in general.
We I use the concept of "principles before personalities" I am saying that, no matter what differences I have with someone in the halls, no matter how much I disagree with someone's actions or words, that he/she/I still have earned our seat in AA and OUR RECOVERY - AND CARRYING THE MESSAGE TO ANOTHER ALCOHOLIC - must come before any individual differences.
For example, I knew of a woman who didn't like someone I knew. So, when this woman chaired a meeting and he showed up to speak, she didn't call on him. That is NOT putting principles before personalities. Who was she to decide not to call on him just because she didn't like him or his message???? There might have been a person in the halls who needed to hear this guy and didn't because he wasn't called to share.
That's how I interpret the slogan. We can not let our personal (human) differences get in the way of our sobriety - or anyone elses.
Time: 12:29:34 PM
I like to liked, nothing wrong with that. Where it seems to go wrong is when i feel that i am not likable and use my people pleasing skills to ensure that outcome. For the most part i will end up with more aquaintances but less friends, as any relationship that ensues will be based on my opinion of what i think they like and what i think they want me to be. Much simpler to just be me. Still doesnt stop that people pleasing happening sometimes, still doesnt stop me from trying to be what you want me to be, sometimes. i thought when i embarked upon this process of getting to know myself that i would be cured in the process, half the solution is knowing the problem is it not. I wish it were that simple, in gods time. But i do know the harder i try to stay away from people pleasing and the closer i am to being honest, and congruent the less alone i feel. the more connected i am, and i believe my esteem looks after itself. I was once told, to build self esteem, do esteemable things, and that is so true, i mean it is really true. The next time you see an old lady needs help crossing the road, and you think its ok, someone else will help her, help her yourself, she is actually helping you more than you will ever know. You see i am a selfish person, and good deeds dont come naturally as i am a bit (ok a lot) of a sulker. so do some esteemable things today, (jeez i need to listen to me sometimes i am sure i would recover faster) and you will be fixing your self esteem.
On the issue of the drugs thing, as far as i am concerned your sobriety date is the date you took your last drink, at least AA is here to deal with alcoholism, i only gave up smoking two months ago do i have to change my sobriety date, cause i can tell you, nicotine is very addictive and does alter your state of mind, so does caffiene, ever tried cutting out coffee. AA has no opinion on outside issues. So in the best principles before personalities way all i can say is AA deals with alcoholism, if you want to do other drugs it is your business (pot, coffee, cigeretts, doctors pills. But remember to gain self esteem do esteemable things.
love and light
Member: Jack D
Location: Las Vegas
Time: 12:41:04 PM
Dear AA, Pride comes before the fall...I thank God that I may be struggling, and I don't know everything...I'm not sure how long you've been sober? from your response it doesn't sound like it's been very long...your judgemnets towards what I did, you comment about being stupid, don't define me...they define you as someone who still needs to judge...I pray for you...I may just be coming to a time in my life where I now face my demon...but thank God I relies that I must have compassion for my fellow men and women...anyways thanks for offering your gift of judgement from your pedestool...but I decline the gift...so that means it can stay with you. God Bless.
Member: Craig L. Dogmanor@Yahoo.com
Location: Aloha, Oregon
Time: 12:47:32 PM
The first group I tried to join, was full of personalities. I’ve been told this is common when there is a recovery clubhouse. On one hand I saw lots of behavior I didn’t like, but on the other hand I was new to recovery and also knew I was one very sick puppy. The motto of this club was “It doesn’t matter who is right, only who is left” The click was very tight and they behaved like willful children, bullied new comers, and generally disrespected meetings, with chatter and other noise. Fortunately alcohol beat me into complete submission, so I kept coming back and eventually heard those people who actually had recovery. This prompted me to get out to as many meetings as I could. Doing this showed me the things I saw at the West Side Center was not the norm. I found a warm welcome in every other meeting of AA, I found. I now have many close friends in AA and try to practice the principles in all my affairs. “Anonymity is the Spiritual Foundation of all of our Traditions”, this tells me we are all on level ground in the rooms of AA. It doesn’t matter what your politics, religion, sexual preference or time in the program is, we are all seeking recovery just for today. My message to the new comer is “Please Keep Coming Back”, it is worth it.
Time: 1:38:44 PM
For your info Jack - I have been CLEAN and sober for over 10 yrs. If you don't want our opinions, don't post. Anyone in here ever hear of CROSS -ADDICTIONS? I guess you can stand up in mts and say" Ihave ---- days/years sober, but i'm still doing illegal drugs. Get a grip and be HONEST with yourself.
Member: Jack D
Location: Las Vegas
Time: 2:07:00 PM
AA, I believe the challenge hears is your pre-judgement...I was introduced to the program 30 days ago...what makes you think after 25 years of being sick, I or anyone else would know everything...no one in the program in that 30 days said a word about pot...my sick mind told me that pot had never done those awful things to me and those around me like acohol, and wasn't legal while acohol is...that doesn't make much sense but that's the way it is...you say get a grip be honest with yourself...did you read my first statement...I stopped smoking I got honest and understand now that I must not to any type of drugs...even the drugs that are mild comared to acohol...but I imagen you were to busy thinking about judging my response...as far as posting I welcomed your response I just chose to not except your judgement and lack of human compassion...no big deal...but you know whats funny, when I chose not to accept your gift it really did stay with you...it shows in you response. Love you Brother or Sister ;o)
Time: 3:09:23 PM
Fuck yourself Jack. I think you really must be stupid to think that one drug (pot) is ok and that another drug (alcohol) is not. How about heroin!! Yea! I am sober, but shootin' up - now there's a thought.Idiot.
Member: Jack D
Location: Las Vegas
Time: 3:57:12 PM
AA Ok it's clear that you don't know how to read or communicate...if you have 10 years sobrity my heart goes out to you...I don't know you personally but your response sound like there coming from a dry drunk, at this point I don't believe you are sober...and if you are I can't believe your working a spiritual program at all...how unforunate that you need to judge people so harshly...but like I said brother your not judgeing me you showing all of us that your a poor soul that needs to judge...since you have such a hard time understanding let me repeat...you are net defining me or anyone else just yourself as a person that needs to judge...do you get it yet? your like an orange when you squeeze it all that can come out of it is whats inside (orange juice) when you get squeezed we can all see what comes out anger and hostility...are you sure you sober? ;o)
Time: 4:45:57 PM
yep! sober AND drug free for over 10yrs. I am sorry if i offended you. (sounds like i hit a nerve, hey, guy?) It sounds like you are working your own program, not the AA program of total abstinence. Anyway, go have a toke, then come back and tell me what's wrong with me, ok?
Time: 4:57:08 PM
Please refrain from using profanities here.
Member: Charles B.
Time: 4:57:28 PM
Prinicples before personalities.
Let's keep it simple AND civil.
Member: Jan BB
Location: Paris, France
Time: 4:58:22 PM
((Gina)), thanks for the topic I have read so many great shares here, thanks everyone. Learning the principles of AA plugged a huge gap I had in my understang of my self and others. I have learned to think and feel beyond the borders of myself and tap into AA as a whole and to care about AA as a whole. I feel good in my skin today and most days. This has taken time. I have learned to get out of the "How Jan see's it" mode and get more into the big picture. Prayers of Gratitude are especaially good for this alcoholic, I feel my egoism lowered and I become aware of life's true values. My higher power and the people in AA loved me long, before I could love myself, for that I will always be grateful. I do try to give back to AA what has been so freely given to me. I have never found the balance to that; AA always given me more than I could have ever dreamed.
Member: 20 yrs and counting
Time: 5:09:35 PM
Wheeeeeeeee. AA, not nice. I understand where you are coming from, but why the anger? Jack, go back and read the big book and work your steps; you can't have total sobriety with the Big Book in one hand and a joint in the other. I hope that you can find a "high" in living without mood altering substances. I fooled myself by thinking for years that I was ok,cause ALL I did was smoke a little dope, and had given up on alcohol. Read up on addiction and addictive personality. We have not surrendered when we substitute one drug for another, be it gambling, sex, work, etc. Good luck Jack. I hope you find serenity.
Member: dixie m
Time: 6:55:34 PM
unfortunately, jack, alot of aa meetings don't mention drug addiction, and so people might miss the message, complete abstinence from all mood and mind altering substances. as you obviously did. but glad to hear you're on the right track now. welcome back. keep coming back. a lot of people do the same thing you did, smoke pot or pop pills and think they're sober as long as they don't drink.
as for you aa from alaska, how rude you are. sounds like those ten years of sobriety you have under your belt didn't teach you much about compassion. you are in my prayers.
Member: Jack D
Location: Las vegas
Time: 7:33:05 PM
AA Are you reading what I wrote "I STOPPED SMOKING" Dixie M and 20 years and counting thank you for reading what I wrote...I thought I was lossing my skill to communicate...everything I share was based on the fact that I just learn that I can't do that and I have dumped the pot in the tolit and through the pipes and papers out 4 days ago when I made the decision to be clean and sober. Anyway I just got back from my home group where I share this and told my sponsor I would call him before I smoke or drink. It's over and time to move on. Love you all ;o)
Member: Chris K
Time: 7:39:35 PM
Self esteem is one I struggle with. I am wondering if it's an inside job :-) I graduated with my master's degree, have all the trappings of a wonderful life, yet still struggle with wondering if people love me. Gang, I have had a tough time letting the love in, and it's been a dangerous place for me. What I have been doing is praying a lot and talking a lot, but I guess that my self esteem is so low that I don't think that anyone wants to hear it anymore. This is not based on anything that anyone has said to me, just in a pretty bad place right now. The thing is, my job is in the legal field, and I go to meetings where some of my clients are, and even so, I share my pain because I don't want to drink no matter what. I guess this is the bottom line for me. I have over 20 years in the program but for today feel like I am back at square one. And I want to say that I have been here before, and am repeating the steps today that have got me through before. There is no shame in recovery. Where would I be without it?
Time: 9:01:19 PM
Dixie, you don't know shit about me or my ability to have compassion. Tell it like it is is my motto. if you dont like it tough shit, bitch.
Member: dixie m
Time: 9:34:44 PM
aa i can see that you are showing us all right now your ability to have compassion. as i said you are in my prayers.
Member: Melissa B.
Time: 9:49:41 PM
Mari in Indiana said it, and Sonia echoed it. "If you want self-esteem, do esteemable acts." I heard this pretty early in my sobriety, and it's working for me.
AA, you poor thing.
Time: 10:23:58 PM
Member: Jack D
Location: Las Vegas
Time: 10:34:29 PM
Bravo! Dixie way to keep your head...and ditto on keeping AA in our prayers. AA, if you "tell it like it is"...could you tell us the truth about your need to try and degrade and your need to insult and judge everything...or will this just cause you to curse some more ;o)
Time: 11:05:16 PM
sounds as though aa has a wee bit of an esteem issue himself? poor baby! get a life! or does that concept elude you? serenity and understanding will achieve much more than "tell it like it is". that was an old 60's song...remember?
Member: Lyla D
Location: Polk City, Fl
Time: 11:25:28 PM
When I was new to the program, there was a woman that I didn't like. She was crass and coarse and told the truth and I didn't want to hear the truth. I made the mistake of leaving the room whenever she spoke. My sponsor (who, by the way, was not overly fond of this person, either) and I were sitting next to each other when this woman started to share at a noon meeting. Well, I started to get up to leave the meeting on some pretext or other. My sponsor actually reached up and grabbed my ear and made me sit down. "Never leave a meeting when someone is speaking, just because you don't like them or what they are saying." That was my first lesson in "principles before personalities". It is one that I have never forgotten and I have sat in many meetings and listened to people that I did not want to listen to. Guess what? I learned a lot from those people.
Member: Chuck M
Time: 12:20:56 AM
My name is Chuck and i am an Alcoholic.Who here can stay sober on their own... if you are an Alcoholic like i am then you can't. You need the help of other Alcoholics and the help of a Higher Power.This is to "aa" I understand why you said what you said. But i don't think your attack on a fellow alcoholic was the best thing for your sobriety. this is a program to help people feel comfortable in sharing. Its sounds to me like Dixie doesn't look forward to being called a bitch, Who knows one day she could have told you what you needed to hear 5 minutes before the miracle. by the way 10 years sober doesn't mean a damn thing. its quality not quantity.This ladies and gentlemen is not practicing principles before personalities.
Member: Andrew N.
Location: Mucky Muck
Time: 12:22:52 AM
Member: Dutch Girl
Location: Southern Indiana
Time: 2:24:18 AM
TO JB location SE: You said you just don"t feel like going on anymore. I felt the same way after my husband of 34 years left me - talk about low self-esteem! He told me I was "no fun" but I have come to see that it is just his opinion.. Remember - "THIS TOO SHALL PASS". I have found out that we must 1st love ourselves before we can love others, i.e. the wonderful widower & the chance at having a family. Make AA your family 1st. Another person isn't our answer. We must learn to turn our life & will over to our Higher power & trust that he has a better plan for us - EVEN if we don't think it is! My self-esteem is in direct proportion to how well I am working the steps - living the program - working with others. In regards to principals before personalities: when I don't like someone in the program - I tell myself that we both have the right to be there. I don't want to run them off & I ain't leav'in...
Member: Jack B
Location: Palo Alto, Pa
Time: 2:24:36 AM
Hi, I am Jack, a real alcoholic. As an alcoholic, I find that I am an egomaniac, with low self esteem. The most important dose of humility we get is when we look at ourselves honestly in the fourth step, and accept ourselves for who we are and what we can become. The key to good sobriety for me is I am usefull, no more no less, just useful. I have a reason to get up in the morning. Alcohol allowed me to be anyone I wanted to be, except who I really was. It took me anyplace in my head I wanted to be, except where I actually was. Feeling good about one'self does not happen overnight, it takes years just to finally come to grip with who we are. As far as principles before personalities, go there are many people in A A who I do not like, and who probably don't like me either, but there is no doubt in my mind no matter how I felt about someone,personally, if they asked me to help them stay sober, I would do everything in my power to help them, and I truly believe it would work the same way if I asked someone for help that didn't care for me. I once made a statement that I loved everyone in A A, an old timer looked at me and said you don't go to many meetings do you son? Thanks for allowing me to share and God Bless.
Location: Southwest US
Time: 2:46:23 AM
Hi! I'm CG and I'm an alcoholic. I remember once someone floored me with the statment, "When we walk into a room and worry what people are thinking about us we would be startled to find they wern't thinking about us at all. Most people are thinking about themselves! As I got a little time in the program I learned about people, places and things. Then someone explained Rule 62. All of these things went a long way to helping my situation with low self esteem. Seems I don't find it needful to do things with others in order to be their friend [I used to need to drink because that got me 'in' with others]. Now I can look at my self in the mirror and like what I see because "God Loves Me, no matter what." And time has made it eaiser to be in a room full of people and be comfortable. As to advice from others, "Take what you need and leave the rest." It's possable that the Promises when they said, "we'll intuiativly know how to handle what used to baffle us..." Thanks for letting me share! CG
Member: Sue B
Time: 10:21:13 AM
hi all,, my name is Sue and I am an alcoholic,, this is my first time in here,, I have read the comments, and wow,, can i relate or what.. I have been sober a few 24 hours,, but I still struggle,, got some heavy stuff going on in my life,, and yeah, it affects my self esteem,, I ask myself,, will I survive this? what will others think of me? thus, being hard on myself,, and the negative keeps drawing me closer,, fear, and more fear,, can anybody relate to that? I would love a response from some fellow alchoholics,, I need you guys,, thanks for listening,,, er reading,, :o) Sue.
Member: joe skee
Time: 11:49:46 AM
i need hekp
Member: mark d.
Time: 12:19:37 PM
Gina- I went out after 9 months of trying to work the program. Low self esteem was my stumbling block as well. At my sponsor's advice I had to go outside the program for some individual therapy. I was careful to find the right provider. The 'right provider' is one that is supportive of AA. This is very important. An alcoholic mind is no place for conflicting input. it has been 3 months now and I feel more in tune with the program than ever.
Member: Sara B
Time: 12:40:04 PM
i'm sorry, just don't get it.....what the hell u all talkin about.....all i want to know is why i am trying to kill myself.....i have everything.....(well in my realm its everything)i just left my mate....i have met a wonderful man.....i have a wonderful job (two)....and i am losing it.....why why why.......
Time: 12:42:09 PM
well good afternoon all! sue b.....it's one day at a time girl! learn to love u TODAY! remember...u are not going to drink TODAY! and suddenly TODAY becomes a learning tool. joe skee.....whaaaas up??? have a great day all!
Time: 1:56:05 PM
Self-esteem is a most difficult thing to hold onto these days, so I have found! In Chapter Five we read: "Resentment is the 'number one' offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically."
Evidently then low self-esteem stems from a resentment against one's self! Why should anyone have a resentment against himself? It is because something important is missing that will supply a sense of fulfillment for some happiness! You can't change the spiritual conditions of the environment you are exposed to; you can only change the way that you look at that condition! And if the spiritual condition of the environment you are now in is indeed as miserable as it is, such as all the news events of these days tell us it is, how can one feel as though he has any self-worth that is deserving of any happiness? And where can you go to escape the misery we are all now immersed in, without resorting to a toxic escape which experience has told me was a losing proposition? So as far as I can see the present "spiritual malady" exterior to my self cannot be overcome until some kind of improvement in the exterior to ourselves spiritual condition changes for the better!
A bit deep, or not keeping it simple, but true nevertheless! Let it help someone!
One who has been through it all!!
Member: gebhard z.
Time: 3:27:32 PM
hello, I glad I found this meeting. My name is gebhard and I am an alcoholic from austria here in the alps. I am looking forward to join this meeting from now on at a regular basis. Super.
Location: The Beach
Time: 4:28:04 PM
I called my sponsor after a particularly troubling meeting that we attended. I had a hard time listening and relating to some of the alkies that shared that morning. What he told me was that the people that I had a hard time understanding or relating to were the ones that I must pay the closest attention to. If I only listen to those that I can identify with, I am certainly not putting principles before personalities.
Location: Mt Vernon,IL
Time: 5:51:36 PM
I am an alcoholic and an addict in recovery. My sponsor told me that not everything can be discussed at a meeting. And if I do open up the door with my problem, then it's in God's hands who answers me. Because He speaks to us through people. So, I gotta listen. I don't like that. I'd rather run the show. Asking for help is not easy for me. I want everyone to think I'm doing great. The truth is, I'm often in pain. But if I let someone know what's going on (and it doesn't always have to be a group; it can be just one person), then I know I have someone sharing the load. I need help...I was told they are the 3 most important words in recovery. Once I ask, tho, I have to let God do His work.
Member: greg n.
Time: 7:54:29 PM
hi iam greg i was sober for ten yrs. i slipped last may. i stopped in otc. my wife found out and she left me after 22 yrs. i am still sober and iam grateful. i do miss my wife. greg
Time: 9:33:36 PM
Gena, alot of good ideas from other people have came out of your topic, it goes to show you all the defferent ways to overcome on thing, to bad we have more than one thing to overcome. For me I have always been strong in that area, but since I have stopped drinking Im emotionally handycaped, because Ive always keeped things inside and hidden by drinking, but it feals good to share & express things to other people. I was in Alaska in june and found the people to be quite educated and I could be wrong too. This is my first time online, it took for ever to read all that was shared, I thought you are only suppost to comment once a week, thats probly why it took so long to get to this comments block. Thanks for letting me share.
Member: Steve D.
Time: 10:17:55 PM
Gina I have to agree with boxer. It took me about 10 years to get really comfortable with myself in AA. I was like that for a long time and it just seemed to go away one day. I worried that they would call on me all the time and I would be very shakey when I talked. I did start going to a smaller group and got to know everyone at that meeting. That might have had something to do with it also.
Time: 1:11:46 AM
Good Topic Gina, I was at a meeting tonight, and I brought up the topic of resentments. I told the group that I was working on my fourth step, but hadn't gotten rid of all of these resentments yet. I told the group that I resented the all kinds of things, which is true. What I had failed to mention is that I was getting over alot of these. This topic stired up alot of things in the group. I would like to say I didn't feel a little vaulnerable but I did. It seemed as though people had some- thing to say regaurding the matter, but no one mentioned having any resentments, and alot of people passed on the topic. It seemed to me that no one in the room had anymore resentments which is incredable, or they didn't wan't to bring up any that they had.
Member: Sandy C
Time: 7:37:18 AM
My name is Sandy and I am an alcoholic. The first few AA meetings I went to saw me mainly listening to the principles and weighing up the personalities while getting the message that it was all about people who had learned or were learning how to change. When it came to sharing I initially found it difficult - everyone else seemed so certain and assured and able to talk so well. I found myself rehearsing what I would say as I walked up the hill to the meetings.
But last week I was able to speak much more openly about what has been happening in my life, such as my inability to stay in the present and not worry about tomorrow; how a tremendous weight of guilt has lifted because admitting that I am powerless over alcohol has removed the need to lie and how my wife and I are much closer. I also voiced my doubts about AA - all the usual stuff I suppose a newcomer is overly concerned with like the God thing, the low percentage of AA attenders who actually “make it”, is it a cult and so on. I was doubtful even as I spoke about whether this was a good idea, but as I live in a small Scottish village and can only get to one meeting a week and have no sponsor, I needed to let it all out.
The result was - from my standpoint at least - the best meeting so far. My fellow alcoholics addressed my doubts openly and in their usual friendly and helpful way and while I’m not saying they made them dissappear, they did reinforce my belief that I wouldn’t be sober today (still struggling) if I hadn’t started going to meetings and learn more about AA. And they are such nice people!
This site has been a lifeline for me in the days between meetings and the archives have been really useful in answering many of my questions, questions which my low self-esteem has prevented me from asking at meetings. I still have a few outstanding such as when and how I get a sponsor. If anyone wants to e-mail me my address is email@example.com and I would be delighted to hear from any fellow Scots. Thanks to everyone.
Member: John E.
Time: 9:31:26 AM
I've been working on stopping trivial head-trips on what I think is going on with other people, because it takes me away from getting on with my life and it makes me mean and pissed off and it brings me closer to drinking. The principles guided me to the understanding that I am not prepared to deal with all screwed up people and others are better equipped.
Lately, when I believe I'm being wronged, I've held my tongue, and almost every time I've been shown that I had it wrong and that I was misjudging someone else. I believe this is an example of a Higher Power at work within me.
Member: jules h.
Time: 10:00:15 AM
principles before personalities is a good topic because if I'm not reminded of this, I'll start judging others at meetings,and I'd focus on the differences instead of the similaries! Then I'd soon be in trouble because I would know what good for you and me.(Self-will run riot!)Thanks to you all for sharing............Jules h.
Member: jules h.
Time: 10:08:25 AM
principles before personalities is a good topic because if I'm not reminded of this, I'll start judging others at meetings,and I'd focus on the differences instead of the similaries! Then I'd soon be in trouble because I would know what good for you and me.(Self-will run riot!)Thanks to you all for sharing............Jules h.
Time: 12:19:43 PM
Principles before personalities - NOT understanding this is why I went to 2 AA meetings 10 years ago and then kept drinking. I probably was not ready for AA, but the personalities in the meeting gave me just the excuse to leave. I am recently sober and think I was ready for AA this time because of other therapy I have been in for 2 years. I drank to avoid painful memories, or dreams. The therapy took most of that away and left me with a feeling that, Yes I do deserve a better life.
Those of us that were abused have learned at very early ages, pre-verbal even, that we are not worth much. We can be used by someone else whenever they want and then be ignored. It takes a lot of work to get past that lie....to some extent the lie affects us forever.
Thanks for all the wonderful posts (aa excluded)
((JR)) I have the same guy in my noon meeting. Speaks his wisdom to us as if he were King and we are lucky he spends some time with us and then he leaves! Trouble is, what he says is really good stuff, I just resent the delivery.
Similar to ((Jack D)) I drank to be someone else. Often with no link to reality. Now I am learning S-L-O-W-L-Y to like the person I really am.
"Be honest in the little things (to yourself and others) and prepare for great things!" My wife heard this on Oprah...but hey...the truth is where you find it.
Member: Al D
Time: 12:46:23 PM
Hi,everyone!!! I`m new to this site,so I`m a bit lost as to what to say.Anyway,as regards personalities,I think this had a lot to do with my drinking.I`ve been the type of person that usually holds everything inside,until the bubble bursts and I`m back to drinking.I`ve now stopped this behaviour altogether,and will always pour out my feelings to someone sympathetic.Also,I really have stooped caring what other people think about me,I think that we all have separate lives and people should learn to mind their own business. By the way,concerning my drinking history:being on the wagon for 2.5 years,had a lapse about a month ago.In retrospect,reason for lapse was not talking about a failed relationship.Afterwards I poured my heart out to a sympathetic friend,and I`ve decided to stop bottling in my feelings. I would advise all of you out there to talk about things that may be troubling you,lest you end up drunk again.It`s O.K to come to terms with the past and admit ones feelings. I guess this is all, Al.
Member: erin f.
Time: 2:45:43 PM
Hi Everyone, I'm an alcoholic and my name is Erin. I am here because I haven't been able to get out to meetings lately. Well, the truth is, I had no excuse until I injured my foot yesterday and am stuck at home for a few days with a bum foot. So, here I am.
Good topic and I have gotten a lot from the shares I have read so far. The biggest thing that comes to mind about "Principles not personalities" is what I was continually told in the beginning: "stick with the winners"!
I can really relate to the first share. There have been many times in my sobriety when I have been going through something that is painful and my nerve endings are showing...it is really difficult to share that in meetings, especially because you never know what might come back. But my experience has been that God shows me who are the people to trust, when I trust HIM. I have been approached by those people who "barge up to me", claiming they have the Answer...I just smile, say thank you and then move on. If they say something that resonates in me for a while, I check for it in the big book...if it coincides with what the literature says, then its good. It is sometimes hard to be brutally honest with ourselves about the advice we are given. Sometimes I am being rebellious and looking for an answer that is more suited to my own personal means...not Gods. If I continually seek to get better, God shows me the difference eventually. The important thing is that we reach out and try to find a solution to what is bothering us.
Some of the people who have helped me most, are the ones who don't say a word but give me support and understanding and just an ear. They let me figure it out on my own, because the answers are inside me, I just have to be willing to search deeper for them.
The sponsorship suggestion is key. I have been bouncing around sponsors for some time now, and I am so thankful to God that he has placed the right one in my life, whom I can share these more personal and vulnerable stories with. She listens to me, thinks about it, then points me to the Big Book or 12 & 12 to the exact passage that gives the solution to my problem. Then she encourages me to look for more.
The important thing for me is to have someone I trust, who I can tell everything to. Including the things which I would rather keep to myself...I have to let them out if I am to find the help I need.
Thanks for bringing up this topic because it is really making me grateful for the "winners" I have in my life and the renewed faith I am discovering after a dry spell.
God bless, erin
Time: 6:33:28 PM
Hello all! This is cool! I feel connected to a.a.'s everywhere. ((Gina))- thank u for bringing this up. i am just beginning to see the depths and magnitude of my problem with this.!!My sponsor always suggests an asset list and/or a gratitude list. sometimes, usually this helps alot. for me, i think i am learning that my low-self-esteem and the very powerful, very subtle habit of self-pitying are very closely related. i have been sober for 4 months, and have only begun to grasp these slippery thoughts of mine, and see how they further affect my thoughts, emotions. i try to remember to ask my higher power to direct my thinking, and i think that my breakthroughs are closely related to this. if you have a problem with the god-thing, maybe just another confirmation to yourself that what u need will be granted. well, before i start talking too much, i'll be signing off! your sister in sobriety-
Member: Lessa E
Time: 7:23:11 PM
Hello all, Lessa E, grateful recovering alcoholic. Thanks for the great topic(s) Gina. I'm finding that the two are tied together for me. Sure I had/have low self esteem. But I've found most of it is rooted in fear. Fear that I won't measure up. Fear that if people see the 'real me', I'll be found wanting. You know whose impossible standards I can't live up to? My own. We're told in Chapter 5 of the BB that we seek progress, not perfection. Well, this drunk is still learning that. I want perfection. In myself first of all. Inevitably I fall short. And think badly of myself. And am afraid to let others see that I'm a failure.
For me acceptance is the key. Acceptance of myself. And acceptance of others. How can I do this? By placing principles before personalities. All of us have common goals. We want to get/stay sober. We want serenity. And we want to help others. By placing the program principles before personalities, we can get along. We don't have to love or even like each other. But we do have to listen. And discard what we can't use, hang onto what we can use for dear life.
I am SO grateful for this program. Thanks for letting me share.
Member: Jason N
Time: 8:57:50 PM
What's up everyone...my name is Jason, I'm new to this. I'm a recovering alcoholic, and it ain't easy. Like a lot of you said, it's a tough world out there with a lot of assholes. I find myself often trying to be someone other than the real me...the real me wants to party and have a good time. But with having a good time like that comes reprucussions that are most times too costly. I've realized that more and more every day in the past two years of my life. It's unfortunate for myself that my understanding of alcoholism an me came at a high price. Now I'm miserable and lonely.
Ummm...I'll see you guys in a couple days. Everyday is a new one, keep a positive attitude and be cool. Later.
Time: 10:54:39 PM
((GINA)) Thanks for the topic. My name is CD and I am an alcoholic. I have been in the program for 11+ years now and life is good. I learned much of what I know about staying sober from first and foremost reading the big book and working through the steps. I also have listened very carefully to aa members sharing over the years. I always learn from people regardless of what they have to share, maybe I just learned more tolerance at times if nothing else. To me the concept of placing principles before personalities deals with the historical aspect of aa as a growing fellowship. The traditions evoloved out of the development of aa and bill wilson and Dr. bob made great efforts to make aa a tolerant society of men and woment without segregation based on race, creed, etc. We are all welcome if we meet the only requirement for membership, a desire to stop drinking. What a gift isn't it? I want to comment briefly on the self esteem issue. I have to put a shot out there for the ego-maniac alcoholics because I know you're out there. I was afflicted with the ego frequently referenced in our literature as destructive. Some have described alcoholics as ego-maniacs with inferiority complexes. There may be some truth to that. I have to live with humility and God rather than self determined hedonism. I have had difficulties in my life related to thinking i am more than i really am. I don't meet the criteria for a narcissist but I suffer because of inflated self esteem. I know when alcohol had destroyed my life and I only lived to dull pain, my self esteem was that of worthlessness. I was hopeless and at times couldn't care if i lived or died. So at this point in recovery it's not such a bad problem to have(ego), given where I once was. Any personality defect to the extreme is dangerous and can lead directly towards relapse but we are all works in progress. The bottom line is keep going to meetings. Almost every relapse I have heard of in people with a few months or longer of sobriety come's back to one thing only, "Quit going to meetings". There are always strange exceptions to rules but in the years I have been in aa if someone gives a gut answer this is what you will get. So our greatest tools in times of need are "God help" and going to a meeting. Thank god for sobriety and another day of life. Thank god for aa. Thank god for you people.
Location: Altadena, CA
Time: 1:48:04 AM
Hi I'm Ciciley, a real Alcoholic. Thanks for everyone's sharing. I feel that if I'm working on myself I don't have time to worry about what other people think of me or if I like so and so at a meeting. This is a selfish life and death program. With a full time job, 60 mile commute, my family, and my few meetings and service commitments, I have not time to worry about If they like me at meetings. OR MAYBE I AM THE PERSONALITY EVERYONE HATES IN THE MEETING..LOL bottom line....did I do what I needed to do to stay sober today? For today this Staying Cyber is me staying sober. Thanks for reading
Member: Nat T
Time: 3:58:04 AM
Hi all, I'm new to this and AA. I have been sober now for a few weeks thanks to AA and God. SUE I think I can relate to how your feeling at the moment. Each day seems to get easier, but at first it is hard to live this new sober life, But I relise now that it has a lot more to offer than living a drunks life, even though it seems harder at times. Gina I have low self esteem and I am only just starting to talk at meetings, I prefer smaller meetings, but that's O'k. I am just "taking it easy" and one day at a time, or trying to and that's all I can do at the moment. I have been meditating and praying alot to my higher power which has helped still my racing thoughts and fears alot. Also to SARA B I know howw you feel, I have been where you are and tried killing myself. It dosent help. Have you been to see your local doctor, maybe you can go on antidepressents if you think you have nothing to feel bad about, they will help take these feelings away. Anyway keep talking to people and I'm here to listen if you need
Thanks all Nat T
Member: Gina W
Time: 4:30:23 AM
I have found everyone's comments IMMENSELY helpful- thanks all.
Time: 8:49:46 AM
I'm no longer living in the past.Yesterday is gone, today is a new day, and tomorrow may never come.What really matters to me is how I feel about me.You can never please everyone all the time, so I might as well please myself.If I cant love myself, I cant love others.Glad to be on the recovering side of life!
Member: erin f.
Time: 10:29:54 AM
Hi again everyone,
I usually don't like to share twice, but since this is a weekly thing and I'm stuck at home, I will.
I just wanted to offer my encouragement and hope to Jack D...*
There is a member of my old home group who started coming to AA about a year ago. He was brand spankin' new and came to AA for a lot of the same reasons we all did...to look for answers to our hopeless existence. After about a month, confused and tearful, he admitted that he had still been using pot since he first came. The compassion and understanding and support that the group gave him was amazing...and I felt really proud of AA that night. Needless to say, he cut out the drugs and is now clean and sober and a wonderful member of our Fellowship.
You are right. This is not a program of judgement and condemnation. It doesn't mean that there won't be some people in the rooms who maybe aren't getting the spiritual part, and would rather point out the flaws of others instead of looking at their own...but that is why sticking with the winners is so important. The slogan "take what you need and leave the rest" helped me enormously.
I understand the confusion of being a newcomer. I am over 5 years sober now but it still seems like yesterday that I stumbled into AA for the first time. I didn't come to AA to get sober, I didn't know why I came...God led me here...but I discovered by coming back that I belonged here and that I am powerless over alcohol. It is you people who have taught me everything I know about living a good life and I am so thankful to AA.
Jack, please keep coming back and keep talking to your sponsor. You are on the right track and don't let anyone tell you different. As long as we stay sober today, tomorrow is going to get better and better.
Lots of love and prayers, erin
Member: John J.
Time: 12:13:04 PM
TO Trudy from a couple of days ago, who was struggling since '93, at which time she relapsed after 5 years. I recently relapsed after seven years, and while I have flashes of regret for having given up the continuous time, I also have turned it into a posititve for me, with the help of AA and God. The key was I came clean about it to EVERYONE in AA. At first (as detailed here last week) I did not want to do that. BBut I quickly realized that after that relapse I have two choices: keep it a secret, have that gnaw away at me and probably drink again; or two, share my experience with others, accept what happened as part of my story, figure out what went wrong, and live AA one day at a time so that it doesn't happen again. I have realized with new force the one day at a time concept. Lots of time is great, but it led me to a false sense of confidence to think of my seven continuous years. SO, I recommend to you, think of yourself as a newcomer everyday. I am doing this, and I have had great joy in AA for the last 10 days since I drank anything. I am getting my butt to meetings, which I had stopped doing. I am grateful for my relapse, because it has reminded me of how I need this program and what it does for me. So, please come back if you don't want to drink, and humbly admit your weakness, and your desire to get help. THis site was bery helpful to me last week working through dealing with my relapse. Those of you doing so: ignore those who try to lord it over you, like that aa in Alaska guy did with the guy who had been smoking pot. I tried to argue with some such people last week, and it didn't do my state of mind any good. Just silently pray for the person, and remember that some people are sicker than others. peace, John J.
Time: 2:13:35 PM
Self-esteem, I had zero when I walked into the doors of AA; and it's only through this AA program and working it, today, I have alittle. What others think of me is there business, not mine. What I think of me is most important. When others feel the need to interfer in my growth, my baby steps as it is; they are performing the Little White Knight syndrome, which is treading to help when I have not asked for help. Is it not my porches that I must clean off with my broom with my Creator's and sponsor's help and the steps? No where do I see that others performing this simple complicated task on my porches helps me, but helps them to have a false ego.
Member: Al L
Time: 3:51:12 PM
This is my first message on the www and after reading some of your messages I know this is where Im supposed to be.But for the grace of God,there go I.
Time: 5:09:47 PM
Try to remember that " most people have more important things to do than evaluate me and my actions." Also " I don't need everyone's approval." Think positive, say positive things,dream positively.At least we are still here, alcohol did not kill us or some innocent person, we are fortunate to be alive each day. We are fortunate to have sobriety and AA.
Location: North & Zion
Time: 5:47:22 PM
I have always gone on the theory, IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS RIGHT IN YOUR HEART SAY SO! And let the scoffers rant on! For they will always be around! Well let the scoffers be damned! I have this to say today!
Time: 5:56:41 PM
steps 1-3: I can't, He can, think I'll let Him, step 4: looking at me and my past with the 7 deadly sins plus more/ writing step 5: finding someone I trust and sharing with him - me; step 6 & 7: my Creator + my defects of character step 8: list making step 9: amends except where to do so would harm others step 10: spot check inventory: what part did I have in this? step 11: getting with my Creator step 12: practicing these steps and traditions in all my affairs: in my life, in me, with you, with all of us, with the world - always remembering for me, my Creator runs the show, not I; being there to catch the hand who reaches out for AA + service work. My life is filled with gratitude, love and compassion for not only myself but for you too. I must remember that I may grow slower than you or miss something that you caught. I don't have to be perfect any more. I have found love, compassion and forgiveness. My heart full of gratitude. Without AA and you people all over the world + my HP, I would not be sober today. Thanks for being here!
Member: Sue M.
Time: 7:49:13 PM
Hi,I'm Sue and I'm an alcoholic. Gina I enjoyed what I read of the topic. Do you notice how we seem oblivious to what others think of us when we are feeling good about something we've just accomplished? I guess that's what causes workaholism. But I tell you what, ifI can do some thing (especially if it is some trivial thing I don't want to do) each day that I know is succcesful, no matter what,I am buffered from the criticism of othrs. I've stayed alcohol fre for 23 years doing this. I began washing ashtrays. At home. Mopping floors. I hated the man who told me this. I had no where to turn so I did it and I stilldo. God loves you and so do I. Keeepcoming back.
Time: 8:13:27 PM
how does one communicate on thepot now? and i mean NOW i want what i wnat when i want it
Member: Jean B
Location: Northwest NJ
Time: 10:29:32 PM
Thanks for the topic, Gina. All the responses really got me thinking. Principles before personalities teaches how to act rather than react. The simple fact is that I need the people in AA. I was a hopeless drunk without them. It takes everyone in the rooms to teach me how to live without drinking. I asked my Higher Power for help and He gave me you (all). I don't get to choose where my help comes from because when I chose I was drunk all day and all night.
Step Three in the Big Book is the principle which shows me how to live without MY personality (which always wants to run the show.) Self-esteem is always going to be a battle for me. The Prayer of St. Francis is not concerned with improving my self image, but with teaching me to give to others.
The best part of all of this is that learning to live the principles is FUN.
Member: Jack D
Location: Las Vegas
Time: 2:04:24 AM
Dear erin f Thanks for your words of encouragement...I never felt ashamed at the fact that I didn't think pot was as damaging as acohol (regardless of aa's judgements) but anything that can lead me back to the drink has NO business in my life (including pot) it's funny but I fell 1000 times better (even though I'm still recovering from the beating) now that I've let the weed go and I can be completely honest when sharing with the other members of AA and my sponsor...I have a new found freedom (one day at a time) in the fact that I'm not under the bondage of any drug and it feels like a huge wieght has been lifted off my shoulders...I look forward to a life without any dependance on mind altering drugs of any kind (one day at a time) with the assistance of my higher power, the big book, my sponsor, the meetings, working the steps and eventully assisting others that are suffering like we all have...I thank my God everyday (something I couldn't do in the dease) for leading me to the solution to what I thought was a hopeless exsistance...I have been raising my son by myself for the last 10 years (he's 15) we lost his mother 10 years ago... and somehow through this whole nightmare God has givin me the ability to show him love and we have always had a very close relationship...he knows what I've been going through and he's very compationate towards me (I think God gave me an angel)...but I'm an acoholic and we lost his Mother to Drugs and acohol, so you know what that means he has a good possibility of having the dease...so next time I even think of drinking I will remember the next drink my be a life or death situation for me and for him...I want him to know that if this happens to him that AA will work because it worked for his father...and if my life is filled with relaps then there come a time that he's ready to end it all like me, the last think I want is him to think of AA and then think what good will that do it didn't work for my Father, and die.
By the way were French ;o)
Member: Patt O.
Location: Veneta OR
Time: 2:36:12 AM
Gina, Self-respect and self-confidence will come to you as you work to gain them in doing service, working the steps, talking with your sponsor, praying and meditating--in other words, doing what is suggested for us in this blessed program. If you are having trouble talking/sharing in meetings, perhaps, as has been suggested earlier, you need to air your concerns with your sponsor rather than in a meeting. I love mixed meetings, but you might consider going to a women's meeting. Women's meetings are good for sharing on topics that only women can relate to, and the same with men in men's meetings. Finding out who I was and where I fit in this world was something that totally eluded me until God got me to the Program. Since then, it's been an amazing process of learning each day and I grow stronger and more able to stand tall and say, "This is who I am, I am a child of God, and I have a right to be here." Stay well and sober, dear. Good luck to you. Thanks for letting me share. Pattw/2tees, grateful, recoving alcoholic.
Member: Kurt J
Time: 2:07:45 PM
My name is Kurt and I'm an alcoholic. Great to be hear today. John J. was glas to read your post. It shows me that I am not alone. I too, relapsed after 6 years. I came back in Sept. and am very grateful to be sober today. I too have had a few flash backs about losing my continuous sobriety, but realise that I am alive today and the past no longer exists. ** of course I will remember things, but not to dwell on them. So, here I am . My wife also had 14 year sobriety, we both slipped at the same time. She is now going back to AA. Although, she is leaving me , which I feel sad and hurt about,** I am glad that she found her way back. Enough said. I believe in this program, I believe that this program is designed to help anyone who wants to stay sober. I am grateful and hope ya'll keep coming back. God Bless and be with you all!!!!!!!!!! Kurt
Location: high country
Time: 4:47:29 PM
I am an alcoholic. The principles of the program keep meetings safe and healthy, and for that I am greatful, but people are people and we're not perfect.
Right now I am experiencing lots of grief. I lost someone very close to me, and it hurts, and I miss her very much.
I went to a meeting today, and a guy who lost his wife said grief hurts, loss hurts, and all injuries take time to heal, and big injuries take longer to heal than little ones.
This helped. How do alcoholics deal with losses like this and keep sober? Surrender... continue to surrender? I have no skills for this experience, and faith... it just plain hurts. Are their any grief web sites?
Member: Jen B.
Location: W Coast, USA
Time: 5:14:47 PM
Jen B, alcoholic. Timely topic and shares. I get a snicker out of the rows as well, I cannot tell a lie.
Anyway, self esteem is a huge component of the whole disease for me. Not only did it drive many of my binges, it is a large speed bump on the road to recovery. Lately I've reminded myself (daily) that I would never speak to another human being the way I do to myself. Sobriety and recovery and stepwork can be going along fine, but then 'Ole Critical pipes up with the yardstick and her red pen and I feel like a failure. Sigh. It's better than it used to be, but I'm beginning to think it'll be a lifelong struggle.
On personalities...everything that's already been said is so true. I've been the recipient of some dreadful and unsolicited advice, and this being a program of honesty, I've doled out a fair amount too. I remember (sometimes) that people do it for the same reason I have done it: the need to feel like I have a clue and look like I have my act together, can help someone out, can relate. Sometimes people can't relate to others in any other way than the medium of 'instruction.'
What people think of me? Sh!t, I spent ALL my drinking moments trying to manage everyone else's perception of Jen. It made no difference. They loved me or hated me, it rarely had to do with the image of myself I had attempted to sell them. I'm in the process of really letting go of that, sometimes making myself do or say something that is authentically me but I know will be sneered at by others. And this is silly stuff, like wearing eccentric clothes. It's a process, but I'm finding it liberating.
Thanks for letting me share.
Member: Chris S
Location: Asheville, NC
Time: 9:23:10 PM
Hi everyone, I'm Chris, and I am an greatful sober alcoholic!
What a meeting. It has taken me an hour to read all the comments! It is almost like going to a face to face meeting. Except many of the comments made, I believe, would not have been made in a f-f meeting..
Thanks for the topic Gina. I too have suffered with low self esteem for most of my life. However, I have atempted, maybe successfully on many occassions, to hide it behind false pride. So scared of what people thought of me, I acted like I thought others wanted me to act. I was very successful in many areas of my life, drove nice cars, wore the latest clothes, tried to hang around the people who looked like they had life under control.
When I discovered how easy it was to be someone else or to hide by drinking, I was hooked. I spent several years burying myself in bottles. I was so miserably low and wrapped up in self pity when I found the rooms. It was emotionally so painful I didn't care to exist anymore. Thank God, I found the love and compassion of these rooms!
Working the steps, reading the BB, asking for help, taking suggestions, offering help, many meetings, getting involved in aa service, lots of writing,talking with sponsers, retreats and lots of TIME have gradually built me up. I feel great about myself most of the time now. I have my moments when I am trying to control the show, and things don't seem to be going my way that I get on the pity pot. The same things that have worked all along pull me off the pot and help me humble myself to ask for help. Usually a prayer to God and a little gratitude will fix me! Coming to meeting and hearing some the stuff gives me a "there but for the Grace of God go I" attitude and I feel much better about myself.
I found a card about Priciples. Not sure were I got it but it reads: Step 1 - Honesty, Step 2 - Hope, Step 3 - Faith, Step 4 - Courage, Step 5 - Integrity, Step 6 - Willingness, Step 7 - Humility, Step 8 - Brotherly Love, Step 9 Justice, Step 10 - Perserverance, Step 11 - Spiritual, Step 12 - Service.
I'm carefull with who I share my secrets or personal life. I try to stick to general topics in meeting. I have attended some small men's groups where I have shared more after a trust was developed.
Jack, Thanks for your honesty about the pot. I used all kinds of drugs when I drank. For a couple years I attended both aa and na. I now go to aa only, feel it is the root of my problem and I have an abundant of defects to work on. I have hit many bottoms in aa in the areas of addiction involving money, sex, food, work, etc. I am glad the steps keep working on whatever I honestly apply them too.
Thanks to everyone for helping me stay sober another day.
Member: Joe K.
Location: Huntsville, TX
Time: 1:22:32 AM
Gina - The principal "principals before personalities" is to be applied to ME, and at no time am I to assume everyone else lives by the same principal. If my sobriety and peace of mind is contingent on the behavior of others, I'm screwed. It is my behavior, my feelings, my thoughts, and my words that I work on, and thereby have hope of recovery. Talk to your sponsor, share experience, strength and hope in meetings and with others seeking sobriety. See what you can contribute to life rather than what you can get out of it. These are the things my sponsor taught me, and seem to work well in keeping peace within myself.
Brent - Welcome to online meetings and congrats on having over a month sober. It is no small task for drunks like us. God bless you and keep coming back.
JR, Newark - Welcome to the world of "invisible" people. You're not alone.
Jack D., Vegas - You have already experienced the outcome of the "marijuana maintenance program." Some groups define sobriety as "not putting anything in my body that affects me from the neck up." Unless it is prescribed by a physician, and taken as prescribed, I am in agreement with this philosophy. I agree only from the testimony of many who have tried it, not from my own experience. One day at a time, I haven't taken a drink of alcohol or put anything in my body that can affect my mind, and I am still sober after many one-day-at-a-times. You seem to be on the right track. Keep coming back.
JB from SE - Having a family is not the answer to your life or drinking problems. There is a lot of love in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, and a lot of opportunity to return love to those around you. You can feel whole, alive, and like a Child of Creation, if you will go to meetings and do the things that are "suggested." God bless you and keep coming back.
joe skee - We hear your plea for help. Unfortunately, other than sitting at your computer and reading suggestions, you are not going to get any help. Go to a real meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and ask for help. God bless you.
Sara B., Canada - There are no answers to "why." Alcoholics Anonymous offers a way out of the "pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization." If your self-destruction involves alcohol, you will be in the right place to go to AA. God bless you.
Joe from F - Not many of us like to admit our flaws. Believe me when I say we ALL have resentments, or it wouldn't be an issue in the program of action. Looking at other's resentments does me no good, but it does me a lot of good to look at my own. Talk to your sponsor and keep coming back.
Jason N., Indiana - I agree the world is full of "assholes," and after some self-examination, I have discovered that I am one of them. But, I can be sober today in spite of those assholes or the fact that I am one. Keep coming back.
sorrow, high country - I am sorry for you loss. You are right, it does hurt. Thank God you can experience this emotion. The pain will subside over time - perhaps you need grief recovery. It has been my experience, I can suffer an enormous amount of grief and still be sober. How wonderful! God bless you and keep coming back.
Thank you all for sharing. My wife and I are truck drivers and we are on the road constantly. Sometimes, our schedule allows me to go to face-to-face meetings and visit the fellowship all over the country. I am grateful for this. I am also grateful for all your experience, strength and hope in the intervals. I keep in constant contact with my sponsor and those wonderful guys who call me their sponsor. One day at a time, I remain sober and life grows richer. God bless you all.
Location: Even More Anonymous
Time: 1:24:36 AM
If anyone is wondering what happened to the Coffee Pot - someone got very angry and 'carpet-bombed' the site with Serenity Prayers. Whether it will get up and running again - only time will tell.
Member: Dean S
Location: Streamwood, IL
Time: 2:05:48 AM
My name is Dean and I am an alcoholic. Haven't been to this site in a long while, but am glad I stopped by. Gina has brought up a good discussion topic. In fact two. I'll address the low self esteem thing. Why is it that a person will examine a beautiful flower and marvel at God's handiwork, and look up into a starlit night and stare in awe at the moon and the stars and all the galaxies that make up that wonderous creation and at the same time put himself (or herself) down? Is it not true that man is the greatest creation of all? I believe it is true and I believe that is as God wants me to believe. Therefor, I can only think of myself as a good person and will do my best to help my fellowman to think well of himself also. Is this our 12th step? I try to share my experience, my strength and my hope with others that they may be encouraged, strengthened and changed. I can't change them, but I can show them the tools to use to change themselves. There are 12 of these tools. The great reward for me is not only improved self esteem, but a more solid sobriety which guarantees me a more enjoyable and fulfilling life. Wow!! Is this a change from what I was like back in the horrible old days?? You bet!! Thanks for letting me share. - And - Thanks for your love. Thanks for my life. Dean
Member: Jack D
Location: Las Vegas
Time: 2:48:42 AM
Hi everyone I want to thank you for all your support. Dean S I agree 100%, We are much greater than we appear to be and that is true for us aloholics as well as the rest of the world...as a world we suffer from a disconnection from our true selfs "we are not humans having a spiritual expience, we are spirits having a human expience" I know one thing that I believe to be true for me " without our forms (bodies)what would you see? I am you and you are me" can you see into the mystery without us there is no you and me. These are things that come to me when I'm writing songs and trying to understand why we are here and why would come here as acoholics...one time God shown me a teenager in a wheel chair and ask do you still feel sorry for yourself?
Member: Peter M
Time: 4:14:45 AM
Hi everyone. Self esteem entered my life from the first time I ever got drunk. Self esteem disappeared from my life every time I put it down. Life was a total game of pretense and by the time I got to AA, pretense was the only way I knew how to survive. The false became true. Almost 10 years on, finding the courage to be me is a daily task, made easier through this magnificent program. This tour of self discovery continues to leave no stone unturned. Some rocks are just seemingly heavier than others. My great support network always offer to help meroll them over. When I have said no to their help, I am generally taking the long way around. Have really enjoyed everyones input on this self esteem thing. Thanks all, Pete.
Member: Tom M.
Location: Homosassa Florida
Time: 9:33:30 AM
Princicles Before Personalites, is easy for me. If it ain't in the Big Book, it ain't for me. I don't care what anyone is thinking or saying. If I can't find it there, it's not for me. Lot's of us try to put our ideas into the program, or some one elses program, and that's not the A A way. The folks who are living by the "Princicles" out lined in the Big Book are the winners. Thoses who want to put their "Personalites" before the "Princicles" are headed in the wrong direction, and are setting themselves up for diseasters. We have all seen people do it and they are usally back out drinking. Thanks for the opertunity to share. Tom M.
Member: Rich R, s-l-o-w-l-y recovering compulsive person :-)
Location: Detroit (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Time: 9:45:54 AM
Hi. I would like to focus on the 'principles not personalities' part of the topic (as opposed to the self-esteem part).
I am an engineer. Furthermore, I am a very detailed kind of guy. I prefer to look at the 'small picture' (as opposed to the 'big picture'). I have been trained to find 'what's wrong with this picture'. Having said all that, it is very easy for me to focus on the personalities (or individuals) in my recovery groups and completely miss the principles (like staying sober, group unity, contact with higher power). As they say, I can't see the forest for the trees. Too bad for me.
After one of my first recovery meetings, I told an old-timer that I didn't like what so-and-so said at our table. He said 'remember, we are ALL sick, come are sicker than others.' That really helped me develop a little bit of tolerance for others. In addition, as someone said above, I am sure at least one person over the past 10+ years has said, 'I didn't like what Rich R said at our table'. So tolerance works both ways. It's a miracle, given all the sick puppies in recovery, that we behave ourselves as well as we do!
Thanks for letting me share. This was a great topic for me and I learned a lot from everyone's sharings (especially the personalities who were going at it, how apropos).
Member: Rocky Gray
Time: 5:36:03 PM
I am rocky an alcholic, today is my 9 month anniversary(1 day at a time).. thank all of you for your experience ,strength and hope.It is my expierence that i am not perfect but i do my best to put principals before personalities,i takes what it takes and every day is a new experience that i may reflect upon and that i work these principals in all my affairs(not always easy)but if i stay close to my fellows,call my sponsor ,study the big book and work the steps to the best of my abillities i can have another day in the win column..!!Thanks to you all & GOD BLESS
Location: NEW HAMPSHIRE
Time: 7:09:59 PM
Not knowing whether or not you are a spiritual person,a beliver in GOD,i am and i used to feel like that to.But i learned through playing with my 6yr old son,in public places,in front of friends or aquantinces to be myself and not worry about what people were thinking about me.I began being more concerned about my relationship with my son than what people thought of "ME" playing with my son. Later i somehow transferred those thoughts to my relationship with GOD and only became concerned with "what HE thought of me.
Member: TRISH H
Location: MICHIGAN CITY, IN
Time: 8:00:16 PM
THIS IS MY FIRST TIME CONTRIBUTING MY COMMENTS. I FIND IT EASIER SO FAR TO JUST READ OTHERS' COMMENTS TO START. I HOPE TO BECOME MORE COMFORTABLE AS I PROGRESS.
Time: 8:46:46 PM
Hi, Trish H., and welcome. My name is Gage, an alcoholic. I read here for a long time before I ever posted, so take your time. Good that you're here. I thought I'd let you know, that in "cyberese", putting words in all caps is considered shouting. (No big deal, though. I did the same thing. That's how I found that out.) Again, welcome!
Member: Curtis L.
Location: Goliad, TX USA
Time: 9:53:45 PM
Thank you dear friends in the fellowship of recovery, and thank you Gina for the topic. This past week I have not practiced principles before personalities because a person in another 12 step program where I was "living" behaved in a manner that really pushed my button. Then the cyber group reacted to his childish behavior by giving him what he wanted. I totally forgot the words on page 84 "Love and torerance of others is our code." I forgot about him being sick too. My ego took over and I wanted to CONTROL; old behavior; old ideas that availed me nothing but misery. No understanding or compassion. Just my childish self acting out. My self esteem took a beating a while back when I got into another behavioral addiction and went to Gamblers Anonymous. I'd backed off my AA meetings and program since I'd retired in 1997, and I'm extremely grateful to God that he has given me a second (or seveny-second) chance to get back on the path. I'd let self will replace God's will in my life again, and although I haven't had a drink for 6123 days, I was not spiritually fit or emotionally sober. I'm coming back to AA. It saved my life, and is my basic program. So much honest sharing on this topic has really given me some renewed hope. I'm back into the steps and back into recovery. Thanks to you. Curtis L.
Time: 10:53:55 PM
hi, all. recovering addict here. AA and NA are hard for me to relate in as I do not believe in God. I have been clean and sober for over 9 yrs and so far, so good. Are there any others here who feel as I do, that you don't have to belive in higher power or religion to stay sober?
Time: 11:13:58 PM
YOU ARE ALL FUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member: Robin A
Time: 1:57:07 AM
Whoever told you GOD had to be your Higher Power? As long as you believe there is SOMETHING there that restores YOU to sanity-that is your HP-be what it may.
Time: 10:16:59 AM
I'm an alcoholic, my name is Scott. My sponsor told me "it dosen't matter who or what is your higher power, as long as you know you're not it".
Why is that important? Because the whole base of this disease, is being self centered to the extreme. That is my problem. I never could figure this out on my own, and I tried.
Curtis, I am sober about 10 mos. less than you, and I can hear my sponsor's voice now saying "the further you are away from your last drink, the closer you are to your next." Keep comin', brother, because a) we need people with sober life experience and time in the program, and b) those who forget are destined to repeat.
Time: 1:47:21 PM
Gina, good topic. For me, this topic reminds me that there are no "celebrities" in AA. I got sober in a city with several well-known AA speakers, and they had groups of followers who would hang on their every word and try to be just like them. To a certain extent, this was good, but not totally. For example, one of these men was a fabulous speaker--he could make his audience understand the pain of alcololism and laugh at the same time. I love to hear him and have several of his tapes. But on a one-to-one level, he was hopeless. That wasn't his gift.
The danger of AA "celebrities" is that if we try to be EXACTLY like them, and they go out, we're all in trouble. We're all just 24 hours sober today, and there is nobody who has experience that is more valuable than your own. Or mine. That is the point of this principle to me.
Once when I was worried about what people were thinking about me, my first sponsor told me that I wouldn't worry so much about what people were thinking about me if I realized how seldom they did. I find this strangely comforting. But then I'm an alcoholic.
I like the advice you've gotten about doing esteemable things. The only other thing I would say is that we can each only do the best we know how each and every day, one day at a time. Then, tomorrow, we have to get up and try again. Share what you feel comfortable with in meetings, but remember two things:
--we are only as sick as our secrets, so we should share everything with SOMEONE. Sponsors are good for this.
--we need to be comfortable sharing in meetings. If this takes time, then it takes time--start with small things, and work up to the bigger ones.
Good luck, and keep coming back.