12 Steps - could it be an option?

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So I am exploring all options for recovery. Yesterday I posted about moderation & today another question. I have been reading up a lot on alcohol addiction. I have just finished Russel Brand's book on how he used the 12 step program to overcome his addictions. When I was reading it I thought there is no way I would follow the 12 step program it wouldn't be for me the only bit I connected with was the meditation & taking a spiritual path. I am not in anyway religious but I do believe you need to go within & connect to your higher self in order to move forward. In the last few months I have thought this is my life problem that I need to overcome. Maybe it is my life purpose to overcome this &  then help somebody else as I will understand the struggle. 

Last night when finishing the book I had an overwhelming feeling that this is what I am supposed to do. I had I'll admit a few drinks in me but today the thought is still with me. Russel Brand talks about how he had an awakening while doing the steps & understood his life's purpose. I know this sounds like a lot of hippie stuff & I'm really not that far out but I do believe that we have a higher consciousness & we need to fulfill something & this is mine. The question is is the 12 step program the key as you use these steps to surrender to your higher self or God as some people would prefer & you go on to help another as a sponsor. The part for me is attending meetings I just can't imagine myself going. I've checked can you do this by yourself & the answer seems to be in order to be successful you need a sponsor. 

I have been considering TSM also but I don't know if I am actually meant to take that route.

Has anyone done or is doing the 12 steps program & how did it work for you? Do you know where I am coming from & I don't just sound like a new age hippie lol

Finding the right route is key - I don't know whether it is quitting by myself, trying TSM, the 12 steps or just moderating for the rest of my life.

A bit confused but learning more as I go & I feel the more I explore & read that I will eventually find the right path.

Thanks in advance


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11 Replies

  • Posted

    TSM is the way forward and C3Foundation with the videos and descriptions. Like you, I was not convinced about the 12" Steps and God although I am not an atheist. I am a believer but simply stopped and 5 years ago as you might remember😀

    We are with you all the way! Be honest with yourself, family and us and I think you will reach your goal.. Robin

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    • Posted

      Thank you Robin. Did you just stop drinking yourself? Did you use TSM?  5 years is so fantastic!

      I haven't told my family. My husband knows my problem but actually not the full extent of it as in how much I was actually drinking. He is in agreement with me moderating at the moment & thinks that I'm on the right path but he doesn't know I drank last night even though he was in the house with me that is how devious I was. My reason for moderating was not so I could still drink so I could have a glass in my hand socially & not get questioned as to why I am no longer drinking.

      I would love to be free from this & be happy to be free. I will say that when I drank last night I did not feel the same amount of pleasure from it I usually would & as of yet today no urge to drink again tonight. 

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    • Posted

      Dear SadieDee. I never took any medication at all. Dangerous to most people. I had been drinking a lot for many many years and secretly! One bottle of with a day approximately and hiding cider, vodka etc anywhere. My wife finallyhad enough since I drank even more at Xmas 2012 due to unemployed both of us and 2 year old twins! My parents visiting and very sick with dementia and more...up to one bottle vodka a day!!!! My wife wanted to throw my out of the house literally! From 31st dec2012 no more! In my mind one thought: if I drink one more and then carry on I will die. I said to myself that I will see them grow up, live their lives etc and happy together. All clear liver tests, cholesterol, bp low at79 over 120 and pulse 60. Keep a healthier body in mind when you stop since chances are that you will live longer without drinkin g 😀

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  • Posted

    Try them and see.  At the end of the day, there is no one way to recovery - what works best is usually the one that suits the person the most.  We are all individuals, all unique and can all find a way that suits us best.

    I was in AA for over 10 years and I did the Steps numerous times.  Lo and behold, there was no awakening for me. I was stuck in a cycle of sobriety and relapse, there was no relief for me.  But that doesn't mean they won't work for you.

    According to the founders of AA, the Steps ARE the program, which are explained in the Big Book and the 12 x 12 book.  Based on my experience, it could be difficult for you to find someone who has done the steps themselves and will sponsor you, without attending the meetings too.  Usually, someone in AA who is comfortably sober and has worked the steps will suggest to you that you do the process exactly as they did, because that is what worked for them.  If you asked them to sponsor you, I think they would expect you to do the program complete with the meetings as they would likely consider the meetings to be useful (otherwise why would they still be attending?).

    For me, I think the reason that the steps didn't work for me was because I honestly didn't believe that I was a morally or spiritually weak.  The Steps are all about accepting the powerlessness over alcohol and then working a daily program that will free you up from the cravings or need to drink.  If that works for you, brilliant.  If not, then move on.

    But yeah, try whatever you feel comfortable with.  If something doesn't work after you have give it a good go, then move on and try something else.  Don't let anyone tell you that there is only one path to recovery.

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  • Posted

    I think it's possible to find something bigger than alcohol that can give life new meaning.

    ?But I have no idea what that could be except for something 'religious'.

    ?I'm a lapsed atheist and have always known that the twelve steps would never have worked for me. To misquote the comedian Doug Stanhope, if I need to find something that is more powerful than myself then I've already found it. It's alcohol.

    ?Which is why I've nailed my colours to the 'alcoholism is an illness and can be treated with medicine' tree. 

    ?Another reason I've gone down this path is because in 2015 I had a booze free year. It seems I grew a new liver but I didn't grow a new brain. After one year I thought I'd have a glass of wine with a meal for old times sake and three years later I was drinking three bottles a day. So it's 'chemical castration' from now on!

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    • Posted

      I did stop 7 years ago and thought after 5 months sober that one drink would be fine!!!???eh?? No. Not as all and drank more than before...did not work. Stopped following year and now sober for 5 years and 3 months and no drinks! Not even one..all is well now. I hope you manage to stop Alex 😁

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  • Posted

    Hi Sadie,

    sorry to hear your predicament, but a lot of us have been there and the replies so far will give you a lot of good advice and food for thought, so here’s my tuppence worth!

    i was drinking heavily for 20 years. The last 10 years, I’d be drinking a 4 pack of cider before going to work at 6am, then pub for 3 pints at lunch, home to the pub, bed and repeat all week. I ended up with a liver transplant, not due to cirrhosis (which I did have), but a serious infection when I broke a leg. The cirrhosis reduced my immune system and therefore I couldn’t fight the infection and it killed my kidneys, liver and I lost the leg.

    i went to my GP and was told to gradually reduc the amount I drank over a 3 week period as at that level of intake, cold turkey quitting could give withdrawal shock and kill me outright.

    The first thing you should really do, and I know it’s difficult, is tell your family the problem and the true extent. It is pointless hiding it and to be brutally honest, they will find out one way or another. Plus, no matter what, you’ll find they will be of greater use to your recovery knowing everything. I’m guessing you will be feeling ashamed admitting it, as we all do, but there is nothing to be ashamed of at all. You are admitting an illness, not something like you’ve murdered someone. Do NOT be ashamed, we all have a weakness of one thing or another, albeit alcohol, right down to being addicted to a TV programme. Before I carry on, I’ve been dry for 9 years now.

    I did go to AA for a couple of years but did not complete the 12 steps. I utilised those steps that were going to keep me sober, the first and most crucial being “admit we are powerless against alcohol. The second step is about the higher power that can restore us to sanity. This is where you seem to have a bit of a conflict by what you posted. However, you need to know that the higher power does not necessarily have to be God. I can’t tell you what it should be, that’s your decision, but it does not have to be a religious thing. I’m not sure I ever decided what my higher power is.

    You don’t have to believe in god or become religious to join AA. The only criteria for membership is that you want to stop drinking and keep sober. Anyway, the higher power aside, number 4 is ASL very important.....a moral inventory of yourself. Try to find all the things you do wrong, maybe you’re snappy with people, maybe you are racist (not saying you are at all, these are just examples), so try to recognise your faults and work on them.

    anyway, I would suggest that:

    1. You open up to family and friends. They will only support you and not think any less of you. If anything they will see you as stronger for admitting a problem and 99.9 times out of 100 will do anything to help.

    2. Get to the doctors, not only for blood tests to see where you are at, but they will discuss quitting tactics as well and tell you what services are on offer. Above all, be honest about how much you drink as that is critical to your quit plan. You may need to carry on drinking and taper it down gradually, as I mentioned earlier, withdrawal shock can cause your body to shut down if you are drinking large amounts daily.

    3. Look up AA meetings in your area and go to one. You do not have to speak...I think I didn’t chip in at mine until the 3rd week. Just listen and get a feel for things. Everybody in that room is in the same boat as you with the same goal, getting and staying dry. Nobody will look down on you or judge you, it is a room full of equals.

    Having a sponsor will help, someone you can turn to when you have those moments of temptation, to discuss different thoughts and approaches with. You do NOT have to be a sponsor yourself as it may be a pressure you could do without. Generally a sponsor will be a more experienced quitter who has been dry for a few years. Not always, but the majority of the time.

    Heck, if you are serious about quitting, I’ll even offer to be your sponsor, honestly, it’s about time I offered my knowledge and experience to others.

    so, enough of my (hopefully helpful) rambling for the time being, so be determined, be strong and above all open up to family and be 100% honest. That’s your start point.

    When I realised I was into it too deep, I called my mum and just said “mum, I need help, I’m an alcoholic’ and that was it.

    if you need anything, private message me and I’ll gladly go through anything you need.

    hope this helps and all the best for quitting. It’s a new life awaiting you, believe me, and as I said I’ll gladly sponsor you to begin with if you need.


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    • Posted

      Hi Matt,

      First of all thank you for sharing your story with me. It sounds like you have been through a lot but 9 year under your belt is amazing!!

      My own drinking is mainly half a bottle a night on a Saturday & Sunday night mainly in secret. Sometimes I may drink one other night of the week but mostly it is 2 nights. If I go out socially which isn't that often I will get drunk. I would also drink beforehand at home. I was drinking 3/4 sometimes 5 times a week so I have cut down a bit. During the week I can get through without drinking & not miss it. I don't have a physical dependency on it & would only drink in the evening. I would not bother to drink if say I was home alone for the evening if I drink secretly at home I then like to sit watching a film with my husband if he wasn't going to be home I wouldn't drink & if that was to happen on a Saturday I would feel put out that he won't be home for to drink & then be in his company. Strange I know but that is how my pattern is. For instance if I was to be alone every night for a month I wouldn't drink but I would crave a night of company so I could drink. I have noticed that in the last few years once I go passed the second drink I want to keep going.

      My family do know I have had a bit of an issue with alcohol as there were a couple of occasions over the years that caused concern like finding bottles. I went to the doc & then it just kinda got forgotten about as I suppose most of  the time I appear very together. My husband knows for than anyone but he still doesn't know how often I secretly drink or the feeling of wanting to keep going. I feel each time I want to do something about it I get closer to completely giving up but I'm not 100% there yet if that makes sense. I have managed to stop drinking for 3 weeks or 2 weeks & then go back to secretly drinking at the weekends & I say to myself I can stop secretly drinking & just drink when I go out socially I don't have a major problem. My doc even said to me that in the future I'm sure I will be able to enjoy a drink at a wedding & I think yeah I could. I know deep down one won't be enough at the wedding.

      To be honest the thought of AA terrifies me.  i'm afraid someone I know will see me, that I will feel paranoid it would be the worst thing I would have to do.I'm like I don't drink everyday so I can do this myself it will be easier. Then I go from that to I can moderate. The battle in my head continues. I don't see myself walking into an AA meeting anytime soon. I considered doing the program myself & trying to find a sponsor. Thank you so much for your offer Matt, it is so kind of you.I would most likely have to be attending meetings though?

      Matt you have been so helpful & kind. I am at that point of do I quit & face up to a life of no alcohol & I can taste the freedom of that I just don't know am I strong enough yet. The thoughts in my head are conflicting everyday. This is so hard. I do want that new life just this obstacle of doubt is still in my way.

      I am not going to turn your offer down I just need to get a bit stronger or is that the drink monster kidding me? 

      Sadie x


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    • Posted

      I have to admit, that’s a strange one.....being able to go without but wanting someone to be there so you can have a drink! I’m no Sigmund Freud so I can’t tell you what’s going on there, but it does still sound like you are wanting to drink. That’s the worry for alcoholics like myself (even though I’m dry for a long time, I’m still an alcoholic, we’re just “in recovery”), is the wanting to drink. As Robin said, after stopping, you just can’t ever have “just one”. It’s a nothing at all situation. I’m single but the opposite of you, I curbed my drinking around family but got slaughtered when home by myself.

      To be brutally honest, I think you have to make the decision as to wether you can control the drink to a sensible level, or give it up and abstain completely. It’s a bummer but there is no middle ground. I’m mostly over it now, but when it’s a bright sunny summers day I think it would be nice to sit in a pub garden with a quiet cold one, but it’s just a definite no no.

      If you’ve read the 12 steps, maybe look at step 4 and make your decision. It’s the one about taking a very critical moral inventory......look at what the drink makes you do, how does it affect those around you etc. and think what you need to change. Are those things you need to change bought about by alcohol? That’s up to you to decide. 

      Pits not my place to tell you what to do, but it does sound like if you don’t take control then it could very easily spiral into the physical dependency.

      How about this.....have a dry week, then go to you doctor and explain you’re worried you might be overdoing it and just want to get some LFT’s done to check where your body stands (liver function tests). See how they come back and if there’s a sign of liver stress then you have to quit 100%, but if they are OK, consider it fortunate to be in that position and stop anyway before the demons take hold. I personally would advise quitting it and leading a sober life as it is so easy to slip into something much deeper and then it’s an awful big hole to get out of.

      Im always here, you can private message me if you need and the offer of sponsorship is always open, even message if you’re just not sure or struggling.

      Please, get to the docs though and get some LFTs done.

      Good luck and be strong.

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  • Posted

    The other thing I forgot to mention is there are different types of AA meetings. There are ones where people just share and support each other, there are ones which take the 12 steps as a bible and discuss them at length, and others. I found the in depth 12 steps too much myself. It is a very good theory to practice, but as I said, I just took the few I needed. I went to the support type meetings as the 12 step specific ones got too deep for me. I’m STILL stuck on step 9, making amends. My ex from college (20 years ago) won’t talk to me so I can’t get my apology out for the way I treated her (not physical.....just avoiding her for weeks, not turning up to meet when arranged etc. Etc.)

    The main one is number 1. Admit we are powerless against the drink.

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