25 Years of Miracles
I am a 43 year old man that has just finished treatment for alcoholism. While I was in treatment I had to go to AA meetings. I didn’t get anything out of them. Why should I go if they don’t apply to me?
Your ambivalent feelings about attending meetings is not unusual in early recovery. However, meetings are a vital part of the recovery process which evolves over time. It takes a conscientious effort to remain substance free. Here are some suggestions that may help you.
There are many different types of meetings including newcomers meetings, speaker meetings, open and closed meetings, Big Book meetings, 1st step, dinner meetings, etc.
It is sometimes helpful to initially attend a newcomers meeting to help you understand AA’s philosophy. Meetings provide fellowship, support, and feedback to cope with life on life’s terms. They help create discipline and structure. They center you and help you to focus on the positive changes you need to make toward a healthier lifestyle. You are better equipped with a plan of action.
Read Chapter 5 (How It Works) in the Big Book. Obtaining a sponsor will give you a personal guide through the twelve steps.
Becoming involved at the meetings will encourage you to attend future meetings. Recovery is like going up a down escalator, you have to keep moving or you’ll go down to the bottom.
I’ve been living with a man for three years. During that time his drinking has gotten worse. When he drinks too much, he says things to me that are horrible. When he is sober he’s really good to me. I love him and don’t want to leave, but these mood swings are driving me crazy. What should I do?
It’s important to realize that you are powerless over this man, but you can do some things to help yourself. Check in your phone book for information on Al-Anon meetings and go to as many as you can. You will find fellowship, support and help in dealing with an alcoholic.
- If this man has been drinking, don’t engage in conversations that seem rational to you, wait until he is sober.
- Avoid enabling him. Let him accept the natural consequences of his actions.
- Learn about addictions yourself. You can offer support and encouragement to get him into treatment for his problem.
- You do have choices available to you. Don’t let yourself get locked into feeling trapped.
How do I know if I’m an alcoholic or just a social drinker?
There are a number of assessment techniques available to determine whether a person is alcoholic or not.
Is another family member alcoholic? How long have you been drinking? Is your tolerance increasing? Have you ever had a memory loss while drinking? Are you having problems in your life because of alcohol? Do others tell you they are worried about your drinking? Do you gulp your first drink? Have you been concerned yourself that you are drinking too much? Do you drink when you are depressed or lonely?
Remember alcoholism is a progressive disease. No one sets out of having the goal to be an alcoholic. If you say yes to some of these questions, take a serious look at why a person who is not addicted would deliberately drink a substance that is so damaging to their health and their happiness.
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All questions will be answered, and ones of general interest will be included in this column.