Sobriety (off topic or not)?


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Trad climber
Aug 19, 2014 - 01:41pm PT
One week from today(Tuesday, 8/26) I will be celebrating my 18th Anniversary of sobriety. Though it is a One Day at a Time thing, it's likely I will make it; I am one of the lucky ones. Any Gunkies who might like to get out for a day of easy TRing next Tuesday, or maybe dinner in town? I don't usually "make a deal" out of birthdays and anniversaries, but this year for some reason, I want to acknowledge it. I remember, early on, seeing some of the people in my AA home group who I admired and they all seemed to "have 18 years" at the time. For some reason, "18 years" has always seemed a milestone to me.

Relying on peer pressure to keep the demons at bay can a be a spotty proposition. A small number of people who are very close can make a difference - but a whole bunch of AA buddies who really aren't that close?

I have never had "good friends." I don't actually know how to do that, eve with all the practice over the years. What I have is "acquaintances" and LOTS of them. In early sobriety(years 1 through 5, comes to mind), those people in my AA group, who I hung out with as if we were new-found survivors on what we thought was a desert island, were the foundation for my learning HOW to interact with other people in a more balanced way. Some of them were strangely insane - men with double digit sobriety trying to bed every pretty new girl, one guy a child of a a mobster, another who got sober in prison serving time for bank robbery, a woman who worked for the Dept. of Defense, another who had become famous with a million dollar record deal, ex-hookers and porno actors, a Franciscan monk, cops, lawyers, and plenty of just plain folks - all with ONE common denominator.

I do still have contact(Facebook, occasional email) with abut six or eight of those people who made up "my" early sobriety. I still wouldn't, even these years later, consider them "friends," even though they are some of the most important people in my life. It is because I haven't committed to ME being a friend, I think. Maybe that is something I can work on....

But I can assure anyone reading, that without those people, I wouldn't have made it.

The 'make amends' step can be a disaster for those on the other end. That girlfriend from a decade ago? Newsflash: She really doesn't want to hear from you.

Interesting point! I didn't rush through my steps, and I sometimes wish I HAD had a sponsor in my first year who blasted me through them before I had any clue whatsoever.... We are SO believing that we are the center of everyone who knows us' universe.... Or that they are still pining from the sting of our behavior all those years later. I have received two amends for other AA's. One, a girl I saw come in when I had about two or three years, apologized for "brushing me off" when I provided some suggestion about sobriety. I have NO recollection of what she referred to. Yet, it bothered her enough to put me on her list. The other, from a lady with twenty plus years, was actually an attempt to tell me how they thought I had wronged THEM! Crazy alcoholics.... me included.

But....making amends isn't actually about the other person. It is something we do to free ourselves from self-inflicted pain. Full of funny paradoxes, the AA way.

East Bay, CA
Aug 19, 2014 - 01:45pm PT
5 last month and a friend of Bill.
I encourage those inclined to find their own path, there are many to choose from.

Aug 19, 2014 - 02:41pm PT
Congrats pb!! Do you remember Baby Steps?

Sport climber
Sonora Ca
Aug 19, 2014 - 03:06pm PT
There is plenty I don't remember, much I'd like to forget, some I can't risk losing sight of. Good friend Cragar, still have those old hexes scratched and smoothed?

Aug 19, 2014 - 03:34pm PT
Thanks, you too. They are long gone, but the memories are not. One thing I have not forgotten is your way with words; awesome for sure. Do you remember that day we went up Burst and put a couple bolts above a crack on the E. face? My Sonora time was short and I don't see y'all often in a physical sense, but I smile every time I think of one of those Burst, Grotto outings or just the hanging out.
I really need to get my '49er on the next time I am down there! Oh, and you always got a place in MT and there are fecal loads of chossy climbs ta'boot!
Stevee B

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
Aug 19, 2014 - 05:01pm PT
The 'make amends' step can be a disaster for those on the other end. That girlfriend from a decade ago? Newsflash: She really doesn't want to hear from you.

Curious where you got the idea that the twelve steps suggest to do that. It's always seemed to me and been reaffirmed by my sponsors that we are to leave those people alone.

"except when to do so would injure them" seems pretty plainspoken to me.


Aug 19, 2014 - 09:07pm PT
A recognition that AA isn't the most effective program for everyone isn't a critique of the success rate that AA does have with some people. The evidence suggests that it's more effective than no program at all,
and about as good as other therapies like RET. There have been few studies with regards to whether AA can actually be harmful to some people. That's a valid question (for any therapy or program) that should be looked into more scientifically.

The important thing for any individual to remember is that AA is not the only program or therapy available, and it may not be the most effective program for them. Combining AA with other therapies, and perhaps switching from AA to other programs an individual finds to be more effective for them is probably a much healthier approach than sticking with one program, regardless of how old or how many members it has, failing, and then giving up in despair.

One of the big downsides I found with AA is a pervasive Us (alkies) versus Them (Normies) mentality. Some find this form of mental insulation helpful or deem it necessary - I found this to be a form of false tribalism and, as such, needlessly isolating and therefore counterproductive to a person who is, after all, attempting to connect more fully with the world.

I also found it difficult to take the anthropomorphizing and demonization of a simple chemical seriously. Such mythology just didn't do much for me.

I was successful, and, truth be told, AA didn't play a significant role in that success. For those AA works well for, it's a great program. This message is for the other folks who may require another approach - there are other approaches, and they can be successful.


Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Aug 19, 2014 - 09:32pm PT
Buried my brother-in-law last week. Very sad. Hep C, cirrhosis, too many tylenol for back pain, liver cancer = no liver function. 55, saw his kids graduate from high school - thanks to 18 years of sobriety. Left behind a wife and kids 19 and 23. These were all reasons to live. He knew that he had made mistakes, but spent many years of sobriety doing the very best he knew how.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Aug 19, 2014 - 11:01pm PT
I'm always impressed at the civility of this thread, despite the differing opinions.

I'm curious about the social queues that indicate one might be over the top. What's your experience or in watching others, what have you seen?

I'm thinking here primarily of those queues from another to someone that's basically acting out and already next to rock bottom. One incident? Several? Heinous incident?

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Aug 19, 2014 - 11:28pm PT
hitting a bottom does not mean you will be good at AA,

it is more about deciding that you want to change your life,

people can hit bottom during sobriety also,

Jebus H Bomz

Peavine Basecamp
Aug 20, 2014 - 02:53am PT
I'm sorry to hear about your bro-in-law's death, Seamstress, I'm sorry for his loved ones. It sounds like he pulled his life out of a nose dive and left a good example for his kids to follow, and that is very honorable.

Aug 20, 2014 - 09:16am PT
Some common cues that you may want to think about quitting the sauce:

Legal sanctions (DUI, etc)
Degradation of personal relationships
Physical or verbal violence
Advice from friends
Low self esteem
A feeling of impending disaster
Guilt about driving drunk
Planning your schedule around drinking
Inability to dream of or plan for the future
Lack of cash
Defensiveness about your drinking or behavior
Obesity/poor health/poor diet (grease to soak up the booze or hangover)
Loss of time, productivity, motivation, and energy
Lost productivity and energy during the day due to hangovers
Quitting things you used to be passionate about
Drinking "friends" you don't actually like being with
Telling yourself "This shiite is getting old"

Have a pal video tape you while drunk and watch it.

Very effective.

It's much, much easier to just quit than to try to 'control it'.

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Aug 21, 2014 - 12:56am PT
what about going to the liquor store in your pajamas?


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Aug 21, 2014 - 06:19am PT
At what time of day?

Trad climber
Aug 27, 2014 - 11:19am PT
Yesterday was 18 years sober - made it!

Two of my sisters "just happened to show up" to my place on Monday. They live in Wisconsin and Michigan and were on the return travel from being Camp To Belong(reunites foster kids with their siblings for a week) counselors for a week up in Maine.

They stayed an extra day and we did a long hike out to the Mohonk Mountain House. out for 8 hours. I didn't think about a drink even once. It was a nice surprise and a good way to spend the anniversary day!

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Aug 27, 2014 - 01:40pm PT
Happy - that's my kind of celebration - a lovely, long hike. Excellent.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Aug 28, 2014 - 03:02am PT
Congrats Happy! i know yours is right arround mine every year. I went climbing on my 8th and totally forgot about it untill two days later.. i guess thats a really good sighn!
Linda Jarit

Aug 28, 2014 - 08:51am PT
14 years today. Its been filled with ups and downs. So grateful to be present through all of it.

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Aug 29, 2014 - 10:41am PT
i've been courting wellness:
batting my long lashes,
putting on clean digs.
trimming my nails.
even pleases and thank yooz.

she's got no eye for me.
a tough catch, she.
she holds pretty high standards,
and i just don't know
if i got it in me.

i mean, some chicks just are not cut out
for my disaster.

my mold is toxic.

so i'll turn my pursuits away
from her and just stumble on down
to the local corner market,
crack a camo and hit
up the idle ladies with short skirts
and long jackets.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Aug 29, 2014 - 10:44am PT
You can be a really depressing guy to encounter here,on the Taco, Norwegian...
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