This is Donny B, AKA Troll.
I’ve had about 10 people ask me to try this, so here goes.
This blog is about recovery from addiction and alcoholism. That’s the last time I’ll write that. They are the same thing.
I’m 16 years sober and I got this thing the first time. If you want to hear my story there is a link in the Party Sober site. I’m dedicated to saving the lives of addicts and hope this blog helps some of you who are so inclined to be more effective.
We in the world of 12 steps are facing some very big challenges. If we don’t address them I honestly fear the one process that’s free and effective will evaporate like the ones that have come and gone before.
Our membership numbers are static, we are not growing in any appreciable way. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to explore why this is true. I’m going to express my opinions here, they are mine, I don’t speak for AA, or any other 12 step program, with the possible exception of NEA, which I co-founded.
Ok here goes, let’s piss some people off. The biggest single difference in recovery today with a 95% failure rate, and the early days when it was a 75% success rate, Is (wait for it) meeting based recovery.
We have become so damn lazy in our sobriety that we think going to a meeting is 12 step work. This is pure bullshit. When the Big Book was published it was set up so some poor bastard in Boise Idaho could buy it by mail and work the steps. He then found another drunk or junkie and cleaned him up. There were no meetings and AA grew exponentially for 2 decades.
These early guys and gals started meetings, they made themselves available and in went by twos to jails and treatment centers. They 12 stepped drunks 2 on1. The ones who were willing started on the steps immediately. If you read the forward to the second edition on the next to the last page it says “Of those who took this seriously ½ sobered up and stayed that way. ½ of the rest did so after some slips.”
That is 75% my friends, in those days new comers meetings were common. A newcomer or “pigeon” was taken through the steps with 4 or 5 other new people. When they finished the steps in 30 days or less they were expected to become sponsors immediately.
Today I hear crap like you should have a year or even 5 years to begin sponsoring.
It’s a good thing Bill W and Dr. Bob didn’t know that or AA would never have existed. Being a sponsor is part of the step work and is (according to Bill the key to sobriety.)
So what do I see today, I go to meetings and people identify as newcomers, the meeting ends and they stand there wandering what to do because you selfish fucking drunks clique up and ignore them. They are scared, sick, and have no idea what to do. How dare we treat someone courageous enough to come to a meeting that way? The twelfe step doesn’t say waited for someone to come ask for help. It says “carried the message to others”. The tenth doesn’t say ask yourself what the man who is still sick can do for you. I hear you guys say “I give em my number but they never call” well call them you dumb fuck. They are new and scared and don’t know how this works. I was damn lucky that I had a sponsor who took the job seriously and made sure I knew what to do, and how to do it.
I’ve bitched now I’m going to tell you how we can fix this crap.
- Get through your own step work quickly, I suggest the book Back to Basics by Wally P. it will outline the way it was done in the old days. I’ve done I do it, it works. My sponsees will attest to that.
- When you’re in a meeting, try to remember the name of at least one new comer and walk up to them and introduce yourself. Take them to coffee and make them feel safe and welcome. I guarantee your sobriety will be greatly enhanced by this simple act. The best way I’ve ever heard it put is “At the end of the meeting look around, find the face of hopelessness and make the approach.
- As soon as you complete the steps start sponsoring. The literature is very clear about this. Even if your success rate is low, you will stay clean, every one of us that survives means one more out there trying to save a life.
- Try to remember people, we have been given a great gift, where else can common people learn a few simple words and actions and go save lives.
Sobriety is uncomfortable, recovery is joyous, and the difference between the two is how much you give.