Tag Archives: AA

Must Watch: Drunks (1995)

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“I’ve seen my fair share of movies about the history of drugs, getting high and experimental experience; but what about the struggle of addiction? I can’t say that I have ever watched anything remotely touching on the topic except for the life of Bill, the founder of AA. This was a recommended movie by one of my peers. Both you and I should think about watching it!” -Shanti, Robyn

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Description: 

At the beginning of a nightly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Jim seems particularly troubled. His sponsor encourages him to talk that night, the first time in seven months, so he does – and leaves the meeting right after. As Jim wanders the night, searching for some solace in his old stomping grounds, bars and parks where he bought drugs, the meeting goes on, and we hear the stories of survivors and addicts – some, like Louis, who claim to have wandered in looking for choir practice, who don’t call themselves alcoholic, and others, like Joseph, whose drinking almost caused the death of his child – as they talk about their lives at the meeting.

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How 12 Step Groups Work

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“Do you think you have a problem but are not sure what to do about it? Have you tried to quit using by yourself but have been unsuccessful? Are you looking for some support but can’t seem to find any? Well thats what AA, NA and CA are for. AA is short for Alcoholics Anonymous, NA is for Narcotics Anonymous and CA is for Cocaine Anonymous. AA is the most popular of them all, appearing in social media from time to time. The idea that you feel like you won’t fit in or it will be weird is very common for the newcomer but thats all right. In fact, its more than alright! People in these meetings depend on you, thrive on you and care for you. Without you, they lack the inspiration they need to carry on in their sobriety. They make a commitment, when working the steps, that makes it their duty to help you. You will build relationships with these people where you will feel free to open up and know your not being judged. You’ll actually feel accepted. Maybe even find a sense of relief once you realize that your not alone. Twelve step groups come highly recommend and they prove to work at maintaining sobriety. Not convinced? Read below the way step groups work and consider visiting one for yourself.” -Best of luck, Robyn

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You can decide if have an addiction. You can go to a 12 step meeting and hear other people’s stories and decide if there are any similarities between their stories and yours. You can overcome some of your denial about addiction. You see that addiction can affect anybody. Good people, with good jobs, good families, and a sense of humor, can have an addiction. You may know that intellectually, but you need to believe it. Everybody likes to think that they’re special. But addiction is one of those times when it’s comforting to know that you’re not alone.

You meet people who are going through the same thing. The idea behind 12 step groups is that you feel stronger when you belong to a group of people who are doing the same thing. Everybody’s first reaction to addiction is to deal with it on their own. Addiction is an isolating disease. 12 step groups give you the chance to reach out and ask for help.

You believe that recovery is possible. You see that other people have recovered from addiction, and you develop confidence that you can change your life. The people who recovered didn’t do anything special. They just followed the few simple principles of 12 step groups. If you follow those principles, you can recover too.

You learn other people’s recovery techniques. 12 step meetings are a resource. You can ask other people who’ve been in the same boat you’re in how they handled certain situations. You can ask them if what you’re going through is normal. Some days you’ll have an overwhelming urge to use, and it’s good to know that other people have gone through the same thing and how they dealt with it. One of the fears many people have is that their life will be smaller or less interesting without drugs or alcohol. 12 step groups give you a chance to meet people’s whose live are just as interesting and in many cases bigger and more fun now that they’ve stopped using.

You won’t be judged. Most addicts have difficulty sharing their emotions, partly because they’re afraid nobody will understand them, and partly because they’re afraid that they’ll be criticized. So they bottle everything up inside, which makes them want to use even more. The people at a 12 step group won’t judge you because they’ve have heard it all before. They’ve done it all before. They know that you’re not crazy because of the things you do when you’re using. You’re addicted.

You’re reminded of the consequences of using. I can promise you that this will happen. After you’ve been clean and sober for 6 months or 12 months (it usually happens around those times), you’ll feel stronger than you’ve felt in years. That’s when the voice of your addiction will tell you that you can control your use this time. This time will be different. This time you’ll know what to do. 12 step meetings give you the chance to hear the stories of the people who’ve just come into the program, or the stories of the people who’ve relapsed and just come back. They will all tell you the same thing. They all felt they could control their use.

If you could control your use, you would have done it by now. Addiction is a disease like heart disease or diabetes. You would never think that your heart disease is gone once you started to feel better, and that you could eat anything or not exercise without suffering more heart disease. 12 step meetings remind you of that idea.

You have a safe place to go. 12 step meetings are a safe harbor when you want to be out of harm’s way. If you’ve had a bad day you can go to a meeting and spend a couple of hours knowing that you won’t be able to use. By the end of the meeting you’ll almost certainly feel better and more motivated for recovery.

12 step groups are a source of hope, strength, safety, and guidance. (Reference:www.AddictionsAndRecovery.org)

Progress, Not Perfection

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Many of us have a hard time realizing the progress we make in recovery. We often make the mistake of only focusing on the negative outcomes that would occur if we started using again and not the positives that come from never picking up. When we get trapped in the emotions such as fear, we end up getting caught in a black hole of pity. That is no way to live in recovery. We have to remain optimistic and push forward, always reminding ourselves that the future can only get better from here.

Wherever this moment is to you, it was not your rock bottom. Whatever your rock bottom was, even if you didn’t wind up in a jail or an institution, you don’t have to keep at it  until you do. Why go on digging when you can crawl out from this present point? No matter where your life has taken you, it can progress. That is, if you want it to.

As we recover we start to realize how important it is for us to admit complete willingness to the program. Without that drive to let go and let God, to admit our faults and honestly confined in one another, progress may never come. When we can learn to heal ourselves on the inside, we will start to notice our external worries fade away. Opportunities will arise and dreams that were once lost can come true. So long as we trust in our decisions now and know that they will lead to fulfillment in the future, we can do anything we set our mind to.

A mistake we may make is pushing towards a goal that is too big for us while we are in recovery. We have to remember to take it one step at a time and that progress is not perfection. With everyday we can work slow and steady towards our goals, never letting ourselves spin out of control with those thoughts that make us feel so worthless, when we just can’t see how much we have already achieved. Our growth is like that of a tree. We gain strength, build a  a strong and stable trunk (or mind) so we can branch out with courage when we reach out for help and to help. We will progress and we can succeed. The sky is the limit.

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The other day at a meeting, a young man had expressed he was struggling with temptations after 90 days of sobriety. He was scared. He was so afraid of what that would mean for him. His thoughts warped around ideas of disappointment and failure as a father and husband. I turned to him and told him what I mentioned above about the positives of sobriety. Another woman chirped in and said, “As far as I can tell, you won.” The man and I looked at her, he chuckled and smiled saying, “I guess I did.” He won because, just for today, he didn’t pick up. He was able to surf the wave of cravings and just say no. He did it, and so can you and I.

We don’t have to be idles of AA, NA or CA but we can set an example by following the steps and recognizing our achievements. Even the little things– like not picking up today, going to work or having an honest relationship with a friend or significant other–  can open our awareness, allowing us to express gratitude and pride in our recovery.

– Love and light, Robyn 

For the Sponsee

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What is a sponsor and why do I need one?

Sponsors are people who have worked through the Twelve Steps and are available to help others in their recovery. If you want to work the steps as outlined in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, a sponsor can offer guidance based on their personal experience. However, it is important to mention that your recovery does not depend on having a sponsor. This program will take you on a personal spiritual path, and sponsors are merely messengers of the experience, strength, and hope that this program offers. Several people from this meeting filled out questionnaires regarding the challenges and benefits of being sponsored. This fact sheet is a compilation of their wisdom and suggestions.

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Why is it important to get a sponsor?

While the book Alcoholics Anonymous provides a description of how to work the Twelve Steps, a sponsor can offer specific assignments that help the process along. Moreover, a sponsor’s personal experience can assist us to confront problems, and move through them to change and growth.

“Working with a sponsor forces me to be honest, gives me insight into the disease and its manifestation in my life, opens me to new ideas, protects me from isolating, and helps me see the reality of who I am and what is going on in my life.”

“Life has taught me that together people are able to make more progress than as individuals.”

How do you chose someone to be your sponsor?

Available sponsors usually identify themselves during the introduction part of a meeting. These people are open to talking with you about working the Twelve Step program of recovery during the break or after the meeting, and are also available to call. Names and phone numbers of sponsors can be found on the “We Care” list passed around during the meeting and are identified with a symbol. In choosing a sponsor, we suggest not focusing on who you immediately like or who makes you feel comfortable. Rather, choose someone whose recovery you admire, and who you sense can really help you recover. Sometimes this is a person who makes you feel somewhat uncomfortable!

“I wanted a sponsor who knew the illness very well, and who would not be afraid to confront it whenever and however it might arise.”

“She [my sponsor] had a serenity that I wanted.”

How do you know when your ready to be sponsored?

You are ready to be sponsored when you have recognized a desperate need for help and a willingness to go to any lengths to recover. A prospective sponsor will suggest that you read the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and may make other suggestions for you to follow before you both decide whether to work together.

“What they don’t mention in this article is the idea of a temporary sponsor. This is a common title that is used for those people that don’t require you to make a long-term commitment. Temporary sponsors can be used while your looking for just the right person, are moving or will be leaving rehab soon, or just to give the 12 steps a try to see if it something for you. Make sure to pay attention in the beginning of the meeting when people who are available with sponsorship (1 year or more) will raise there hand. Don’t be afraid to approach them and make sure you contact them at least once a day— even if just to tell them your alive!” -Any questions or comments? Leave it below! Love, Robyn

Yoga for the 12 Steps

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That right! Through the practice of yoga, many people have been able to strengthen not only physically but spiritually and mentally in their recovery. There are a lot of great programs out there for recovering addicts that want to integrate practice with working the steps found in AA/NA/CA. Yoganonymous and Yoga for 12 Step Recovery are both great resources to find specific teachers and classes that use the 12 steps as a guide through yogic exercise. You can look for meetings on there websites and learn more through their intensive programs too!

In the Rooms Applications

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There are so many great applications and online resources available for recovering addicts. One of the best to assure you make your 90 in 90 is the InTheRooms application and its sister Afternoon Affirmation app that is just as useful in its own way.

To start out you have to create a profile. Once you have created a user name and password you will have access to the different tools available through the app. On the menu page you have options to view a status feed, your profile, friends, an inbox, your fellowships and groups. You can upload photos to your profile like a picture of you or the service work you do.

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This is what your profile can look like. On this page you can keep track of your recovery and update your status for those using the app to see. Friends can leave comments on your profile and others will welcome you the InTheRooms.com! Its a excellent community of support that isn’t as anonymous as the chatrooms I blogged about earlier this week. But it will allow you to stay in touch with friends you make in meetings without collecting hundreds of numbers!

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This is by far the best part of the application. The “Meetings” option on the menu will take you to a map view or a list view of meetings based off the information you specify. Select a fellowship (ranging from AA, NA, OA, GA, Alanon, Naranon, SLLA, CA, ANARAA, CODA, EDA, EA, MA, ACA, CMA, NICA, and SMA), a day, ‘from’ and ‘to’ time slots and a zip code or major city. Then the app will do the work for you! Just select the meeting you want to attend and an address is presented, its just that easy and super convienent! You can use this app when your traveling and looking for a meeting no matter where you are around the globe!

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And while your downloading the InTheRooms app, be sure to check out their sister app called Afternoon Affirmations. This app is a very basic app that will send you a reminder to read an  affirmation that will uplift your spirit and guide you through recovery. There is no need to make a profile and theres no cheating by reading the next days writings. It is changed everyday with a new beautiful background photo from Kenny P. photography. Its simple, free and easy to use!

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