And secondly the fact that you need to have some kind of faith in 'God' (which I know means any kind of higher being), which I really don't have, so that really put me off.
I'm an athiest, and there's many many like me in A.A.. In my area I reckon the athiests outnumber anyone who believes in some deity. There are also many different concepts of 'God'; athiests tend to use G.O.D (Group Of Drunks); the ethos of A.A. as their 'Higher Power'. It means very little anyway since A.A. has a program of action; not beliefs. It's about dealing with our often messy pasts (alkies normally have them) so that we can live comfortable in our own skin without having to drink. I mean it's impossible to 'live one day at a time' when we're dragging around the whole of the 1990s with us. Many folk just come for the coffee and support too; you don't have to do anything to be a member of A.A..
At my homegroup we've a Jumbo jet pilot (hardcore athiest), a government scientist (agnostic), a priest (sometimes agnostic; honest), me (athiest), Gareth (panthiestic view of God), Michael (dunno; he just grins a lot), Shiela (dunno, she never talks about that stuff), Joy (believes in a traditional concept of God)... and I could go on and on. We don't really care what anyone believes; it's A.A., not religion. To understand more you really need to look at the history of A.A., how it's got it's roots in the Oxford Group (who had to change their name to Moral Re-armourment once the alkies finished with it ).
So a belief in anything 'woo woo' isn't a requirement to be a member; the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. I've seen many people turn up minging drunk to their first meetings; and that's fine too; as long as they're not disruptive.
I'd also be surprised if there was no A.A. meeting in your town; I live in a tiny place and we have two meetings a week. In my nearest city there's over 90 meetings a week; breakfast, lunch and evenings. The A.A. website meeting finder isn't very good; best phoning the A.A. 'hotline' (from the website).
I always explain to newcomers that A.A. is pretty weird (what would you expect; it's 100% staffed by alkies), but after a while the weirdness becomes normal. I love the diverstity of membership too. I can be sat at one meeting next to some well known actor/actress, and at another by some guy who has been living on the streets.
I also agree with you; (A.A. has no ownership of recovery) and that folk should keep on trying till they find something that works for them. A.A. is normally the place of last resort (prior to suicide); and I personally like it like that. But keep an open mind and if you find yourself in a tight spot, try a meeting; it costs nothing (which is why expensive treatment centres aren't keen on A.A.). I bet when you were drinking you would've went to any lengths to get booze; treat your recovery with the same determination and you need never drink again.
sinbad113 wrote (see)Np EDI bang those cymballs as much as you like. Its a nonjudemental thread,
Thanks for your patience!
I love sailing too, btw; I learnt on the Möhne Reservoir in Germany and then got my formal RYA 1 with Tiger Bay Training in Cardif a few years later. I used to be the proud owner of a Mirror Miracle - a classic 14 foot sailing dingy - but my ex wife sold it for me when we split up. She knew it would hurt me, but I deserved it I guess.
Because I don't want to sound like a foaming-at-the-mouth AAer, which I secretly am, on the sly.
I've been sober for a good few years now, but I've been down Sinbad's road; I think I've tried most ways to stop drinking including fitness. I've also used education (I thought if I did an OU degree it would give me another focus other than drinking), I've taken up golf, heck, I even got married and had kids; I thought that if I had a 'normal life', rather than living in a barrack block full of other drinkers, that I could overcome my drinking problem.
I tried staying sober for periods, I tried drinking different drinks, I even tried not drinking by using will power; which always failed me. Later on I tried my GP, the 'shut me up tablets' my GP gave me, and alcohol counselling.
As a final resort prior to suicide I found myself at an A.A. meeting; which I found rather strange; but I really identified with what the other alkies there shared about themselves, I loved the sense of humour I experienced there, and I just kept on going back. At five years sober I still regularly attend A.A.; help with the running of a meeting (my homegroup), I'm a huge fan of their 12 Step process, and I have the honour of helping other guys recover from their alcoholism. This part is brilliant; watching unhappy people get sober, stay sober, get their lives back together and get happy is like watching a real life death and resurrection of the human spirit. I love it.
Mrs Easy (who is a fab runner and hardly drinks herself) has even recently started going to Al-anon (A.A.'s sister group for people who have been affected by the drinking of others) because I think she sees how useful A.A. is and would like some of it.
I personally think my alcoholism has been my best 'teacher'; it's taught me so much about life - what's important and what isn't - and if I was given the choice, I'd choose to remain an alcoholic. A.A.; weird though it is, really works; it offers a solution with real depth and weight. All this counselling talk of 'why we're an alcoholic', or 'trigger avoidance' just didn't work for me because it didn't change the way I was feeling. Feelings are powerful things; at a simple level if I'm feeling hungry it'll drive me to eating. And if I'm feeling restless, irritable and discontented; eventually those feelings can drive me to drinking.
Today 'not drinking' doesn't bother me; I have that sense of ease and comfort without having to resort to a chemical solution - but I have these metaphorical cymbals I like to clash whenever I come across someone else with a drinking problem; I've a tendancy not just to plant seeds, but rip up young shoots.
I know there's a lot more to not drinking than just not drinking. Just not drinking is like Japanese water torture; eventually I always cracked and drank.
I know quite a famous runner in A.A. too; obviously I can't mention names; but this person is a world class athelete; still up there too. I know quite a few runners in A.A. and have considered starting a Triple A (Alcoholics Anonymous Athletics) Club, but I'm not sure that'd work.
Anyway; there's my sales pitch; I'm not on commision; honest.
AA doesn't appeal to me and it's difficult to seek help from my GP, as in the industry I work in whenever you change jobs the new employer asks to see your medical records as part of their pre-employment checks (and I fear that having treatment for alcoholism on there wouldn't help my future employment prospects!)
You could contact your local alcohol counselling services direct (I was referred to mine by my GP), and I'm pretty sure nothing would appear on your medical record. It would be worth a phone call.
I don't want to sound 'scary', but alcoholism is progresive illness; it tends to get worse over any given period; never better. There's a good chance it may affect your future employment prospects; I was a Warrant Officer with 17 years service in the army and due to my alcoholism, I was forced to leave the army five years prior to my pension, but things got a lot worse before I eventually had my last drink.
Hangovers and feeling ill isn't conducive to being productive and feeling 'down' can produce some pretty erratic behavior.
And contrary to popular opinion (my Mother's mostly); it's a tough way to live having to drink everyday.