Why Service Works/Chronic Relapsers
“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can.” -BB page 89
So this is why service worked for me…
- When I help other women, or anyone for that matter, I am bringing God into the room, because before “I” brought nothing but chaos and drama….now that I am recovered; I bring Him. When I do anything of selfless service it glorifies what God did for me…Him using me as a vessel heals me, calms me, and makes me sane. Also I get to be a living breathing example of what AA is-not this white knuckle sobriety or chronic relapsing which seems to be the new normal in AA.
- When I am selflessly engaging with someone I am NOT thinking about myself. It blocks me from selfish thoughts and self-preoccupation, which is precisely what makes and keeps us spiritually ill. Not only that, but I just feel like crap when I am totally self-absorbed, like when I was drinking. In an effort to help them, my mind gets empty and I can operate from spirit, instead of self. Mental clutter begets more clutter, and then suddenly I’ve become a hoarder with all sorts of toxic, self-created problems.
- Service repaired my soul. Working with others healed me spiritually, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and even physically!
- Service/Sponsorship helped me to grow in God and strengthen my sobriety so much so that I haven’t once in the 4 years I have been sponsoring romanced the idea of drinking-Immunity. I get relief and restored sanity daily because no matter how bad my day, someone ALWAYS has it worse. Self pity is instantly tuned into compassion. I get to help them which means that my brain has less time to mess with me….when I am being used by God in service I am sane=whole.
- Sponsoring lifts me up inside, which is perfect for alcoholics who always need to feel good…lol! Seriously, God knew the alcoholic had to have a “good feeling”, something in it for me!
- Service is the opposite of being a selfish alcoholic-I can’t treat my selfish disease with more selfishness-which is why AA is not “self help”-the Self Help industry emphasizes on self, we emphasis on God and others. It’s self that get us crazed.
Impart, I get immunity from drinking when I carry the message of AA. No room to relapse. The real message is in the book-not in slogans, rehabs or meetings. Fellowship is but one part of recovery. Fellowship is support, love and friendships…Meetings are a place we gather to share the solution with the newcomers…But the Immunity comes with working then Steps then Working with Others.
Growing in my connection and knowledge of God-and teaching other women to do the same. Half measure avail me NOTHING. If I go to meetings and am not working the Steps or sponsoring other women my sobriety will reflect that-barley hanging on; that isn’t in the big book. Celebrating relapses as though it’s a normal part of recovery-Relapse is a result of half measures-kinda working the program, expecting my sponsor to fix me, just attending meetings, not fully doing the to Step work, not being fully honest which will result in a shaking foundation that is laid in the first 3 Steps….
The book tells me if I think I have control over my drinking I should head over to the nearest bar and try that theory out…LOL!! Can you imagine if a sponsor said that now?!? Oh wow, she would be racked over the coals! “Hilarie, you think your normal, you still think you have power…go drink and get back to me” Instead we are so afraid that they might “get mad at us” or say something bad behind our backs, that we allow them to breeze through the first 3 instead of going with the gut that says…”I KNOW she thinks she’s still in control, but I move her along anyways” I’ve done this, so I call myself out. I admit it it. What I should have done is what the bb says instead of making myself their higher power by thinking I could make them better.
Getting stuck on those who aren’t completely willing and just want to hang out and talk, keeps me from helping someone who is really ready…I have just allowed my ego to sponsor and developed a savior complex-NOT GOOD! Moving on and being ok with the fit they will throw (because they will) My gut knows when I am playing God…You think God’s gonna let me get away with that…hell no! LOL…Thank God for God who reveled that to me in inventory and then gave me courage to stop people pleasing sponsees. That doesn’t mean I’m always right, or that I am the sponsor for them-but at least I can admit that I needed edification there instead of getting stuck in this old idea.
If you are a chronic relapeser I ask you to stand down for a year or two…wait to speak until you have something of substance to share. I know that flies in the face of “make everyone happy” modern AA, but I don’t care. We have adopted the idea that relapse is normal in recovery and it’s not. If they are doing all the that they should be doing then relapse isn’t even an issue…it’s something we don’t entertain anymore. If that pisses people off-good. We should be pissing people off instead of people pleasing them to death. My biggest turn arounds in sobriety have come with facing the uncomfortable truths of myself and my behavior. Change is not comfortable-sorry.
We spend so much time coddling them instead of teaching them. We practicality throw a party because they “came back” cool, your back…now lets see where you messed up….
Which Step did you stop at?
Were you not entirely honest with your sponsor?
Did you not fully concede to Step 1?
Do you still have a lurking notion that you can drink normally?
Where you not fully convinced that God could do for you what he did for me?
Did you really turn your will over?
What did you leave off your 4th and didn’t say in the 5th?
How about defects? Which ones were you unwilling to let go of? Did you pray for willingness to do so?
How many outstanding amends do you really have?
How is the daily inventory going?
Prayer and meditation daily?
Sponsoring others? Home group? Service commitment?
My guess is that the reason for the relapse is one if not all of these things. But who cares…lets just blame our sponsors, our life circumstances and drink because I always can “keep coming back”….THEN, we get to listen to them…the newcomer then thinks this is normal…and the old timers let it slide.
Shame on us for not having the courage to pull these women aside and tell them to shut up and listen until they have truly entered into the sunlight of the spirit. They use to make people wait five years before they could speak…and made sure they had quality sobriety-that they weren’t just dry and speaking to hear themselves talk. You can’t transmit something you haven’t got…Get it first, then we will hear you…until then-listen, do what your sponsor says, be honest, do the work and pray…otherwise, stand down.
If they get pissed and bring it to the meeting format so that they can draw out and feed off the emotions of other lukewarm recovering alcoholics to falsely justify themselves and their numb hurt feelings-so be it. Integrity has taking a back seat to making sure “feelings” aren’t hurt…Stop it! LOL! That’s why I got so messed up in the first place…my mom never wanted my precious “feelings” hurt! Feelings get hurt-so what, get over it. Our entire fellowship is just handed over to those who think AA is a revolving door of white chips which causes confusion in the minds of those who really do want to live. We no longer have the right to confuse or use people-not anymore. If we don’t start standing up for our fellowship instead of conforming to this wishy washy people pleasing crap-then we will lose it. The message is so watered down that’s it’s almost gone. We are people pleasing drunks into a early grave. I’m not letting go of my fellowship to protect feelings of chronic relapeser anymore.
Thanks for letting me share!