Hi, I'm posting this to see if anyone has experience of attending Alcholics Anonymous Meetings.
To start from the start, I've gotten myself into some serious trouble through my excessive drinking. On Saturday night, I did the worst thing I've ever done in my life. My girlfriend and I were out with friends. A lot of drink was consumed and on the way home we had an argument. The argument continued inside our apartment. I verbally abused her over and over, saying some absolutely horible things, none of which are even close to what I think in reality. I totally lost control of myself. I punched the wall and door of the apartment, injuring my hand. I trashed the bathroom, throwing the furniture around it. Despite my girlfriend being totally distraught and terrified I continued into the sitting room, smashing a number of plates and crockery off the walls. I even tried to break a cup over my own head, I was totally out of control, I didn't care about anything or anyone.
It culminated in the neighbours calling the Guards. They came and arrested me, handcuffing me and taking me to the local police station. My girlfriend was so terrified and distraught that they had to take her to her parents' house. The police didn't press charges on me and couldn't throw me in the cells as they were too full. They took me to my brother's house and warned me to stay away from my girlfriend's house until the next day.
So, the next day when I contact my girlfriend, she tells me that she has packed my bags and I am to come and pick them up. When I get there her mother basically gives me my things and throws me out on the street.
Basically because of my actions and more specifically drinking, I've lost my girlfriend, my soulmate and someone I was going to ask to marry me in a few months as well as my home. We also work together so it could have implications on my working life: basically I've ruined everything. I realie that this is all my fault and I deserve to suffer for what I've done wrong. I'm not loking for sympathy or trying to make excuses. I accept that when people do things as terrible as what I did they must accept the consequences of my actions. I'm currently living out of a suitcase in a hotel. All this time on my own has forced me to have a long hard look at myself.
All the problems and bad things that have happened to me are alcohl related, all the rows I've evr had with my girlfriend, all the days I've missed off work, all teh times I've let friends and family down. I've always known in my heart of hearts that I have a problem, I've tried things like only drinking beer or going out late or drinking only every few weeks to try and stop me going too far. But it never works. While I now drink much less frequently, I invariably have a black out, can't remember getting home, spend the ext day hating myself and totally depressed. I have no idea how others can show such restraint with drink and just have a few and leave it, i always want to be last at the bar and can't get enough drink into me. I've always noticed I drink faster than everyone else as well.
So today i looked at the AA website. Theres 20 questions on it, they say if you answer "yes" to one you might be an alcoholic, to two you probably are an alcoholic and to three you definitely are an alcoholic. I answered yes to 13 of them
So my question is has enyone ever been to a meeting. What is the protocol? Can you just go and listen the first few times? I've looked at their website and while theres lots of info on where and when meetings are on, theres little about what actually goes on? Also the 12 steps mentions belief in God, why is this necessary, or is it? For the first time I've admitted to myself I have a problem and want to do something about it, rather than laughing it off as something that happens to other people. Any info would be deeply appreciated.
Thanks for reading. I've typed far more than I intended but even that has helped.
You just find your local meeting and walk in and take a seat. Someone will prob recognise you are new and shake your hand and welcome you.
You won't have to speak, they go around the room after the person at the top table tells their story (depending on what the format is on that particular night) and then they may through it open to the room, you just say its your first meeting and you'd just like to listen tonight.
As far as god is concerned, there are believers, atheists and agnostics at the meetings.
Sobriety is the main focus in my experience.
Phone the AA number. You will talk to a very nice person who will be very helpful and advise you of your nearest meeting and may be able to arrange for someone to meet you before hand and help you settle in. People tend to be very welcoming to newcomers and it is not intimidating. just soak up what is being said and get as many meetings in as you can till you feel comfortable. The God part is not necessary, it can be a higher power (presence) (someone said to me they thought of a dead relative who they felt looked over them in a positive way). Don't get caught up with that. There is so much to be gained. It works from what I have seen
You might it useful to read this story posted on a different forum by a guy who's very recently been down the road that you are embarking on. Maybe it'll help.
Story starts here
And continues here
AA use religion as their method so-to-speak of giving up the booze.
If you're an atheist, you may need to look elsewhere.
AA is a spiritual (not religeous)12 step programme. There is talk of a "Higher Power" That can be a God or just something that is greater than yourself!
Give it a try OP! Best of luck to you!
Which religion do they use?:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
ones that believe in god
OP here again. thanks to everyone for the helpful replies. I called the AA a couple of times today and am going to go to a meeting for the first time tomorrow night. Terrified at the prospect to be perfectly honest, but am determined that I need to make some serious changes in my life, one little step at a time.
Thanks especially to the guy who posted the link to the Cardiff forum. I found that particular story inspirational.
It doesn't have to be the christian god, an acknowledgment of any sort of 'higher' power even something as abstract as the universe will do. It is not prayer htat makes AA work but the connecting with other people who are you were are and who have been were you have been and getting suport and drawning strength from it and the help a sponsour gives you.
Hi OP, just to say good luck with the meeting, you have made an important first step and no matter what happens you will not go back to where you were before before you identified the problem.
Just to say that if you find the group situation off-putting you could consider a specialist addiction counsellor. There's a guy in Kildare called Paul Campbell, he wrote a book I read called 'I'll stop tomorrow' which was about his personal experience of alcoholism.
Good luck and I hope you find the help you need.
Hi all, hope no one minds if I bump this as I'm getting great benefit from actually typing these posts out and documenting them here as something i can look back over in the future and see just how low things got.
I managed to get to a meeting last night. have to say just going in was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Didn't speak or anything just listened into what everyone else had to say. i was surprised to see a lot of young guys around my age in the room which was a comfort to me. some of the stuff I heard really struck a note with me. One man spoke of how he had no feelings when drunk and how he lost all his morals when under the influence when under the influence. Really summed up what has been going through my head the last few days and nights. I met a man who I had spoken to on teh AA helpline after the meeting and I'm meeting him again tonight at another meeting. I really think this type of help could be of benefit to me. I'm going to try and summons the courage to saysomething tonight if I can. With regard my worries over the spiritual side of the AA, on my way down to the meeting I was on the verge of turing back when it popped into my head to say a prayer and it really gave me comfort and the strength to go through with it.
Later when I got home (my partner by some miracle has taken me back in, which is far far far more than I deserve) my partner had a massive talk about everyting ths been in my head the last few months, all the dark thoughts and frustrations that havedriven me to teh point of doinf what I did. my main problem is not talking I think, I bottle things up inside. I even managed to pick up the phone to my best friend and admit to him I have a problem and tell him all that has been happening with me, something I never thought I'd be able to do.
Today I feel happier and more positive than I have done in some time. I know I've only taken a tiny step to getting better, but thats all I can do is take small steps day by day. One day at a time, as appears to be the AA mantra.
Thanks again to all who posted their words of help and support. Sorry for going on a bit, but this really helps me.
Its a good move.
You seem to be in a good frame of mind now. I go to meetings twice a week and I'm now nearly two months of the juice. Never felt better.
Best of Luck
Hi everyone, me again. back from my second meeting. found it even more beneficial than the first. got a good feeling when i went into the room. i shared my thoughts today, was very nervous but the main speaker spoke about is first time at AA and really touched a chord with me. was so proud of myself for having the courage to speak to a group of strangers like that.
after the meeting i was overwhelmed with the respponse of literally everyone in the room. to a person they al shook my hand, welcomed me and encouiraged me to keep going. they all had little bits of advice as well. i can see myself going regularly to this particular group, sometimes in life things just feel right. i went for coffee and had a good chat wityh one of the group after. it was hard to talk to a stranger without the crutch of drink but his advice was invaluable
another day down, another day sober. im happy this evening as i type this, and grateful for the blessing of a partner who encourages and supports me as much as she does.
well done to the poster who has gotten to 2 months, i have so much admiration for you.