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Hi gang

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.

Donny B


  • Daniel Halligan

    Straight to it (Donny Style) ! Lol Well put Don you have definitely put others in front of yourself and live recovery! I have learned a great deal from you and still learning. Great blog !

    November 26, 2014 - 2:47 am/ Reply
  • deanna brown

    Great blog Don!
    I’m glad you taught me to do it this way! I beg and beg people to move forward in this way. Meeting makers dont make it step takers do. it is my goall to get back to basics in every treatment center out there is works!
    love to all of my brothers and sisters
    party sober :-)

    November 30, 2014 - 6:12 pm/ Reply
  • Derek

    Man I love to no bullshit approach. That’s how I got sober in Toledo the old timers put a foot in my ass and kept it there. Finally someone is saying what everyone needs to hear. God Bless you brother!!!!

    November 30, 2014 - 10:42 pm/ Reply
  • Eden

    Thanks so much for this. I got that same feeling going to AA meetings. Thankfully, there is a support group at my church that I attend regularly, and have a solid circle of support through family and friends and have been clean and sober 3 and a 1/2 months but, yeah. I went to a couple AA meetings and though they were nice, it did feel kind of forced and clique-ish. And as someone who had never been to an AA meeting in my life, and really didn’t have a clue about the steps, the process or anything, it was sort of off-putting.

    I appreciate this post for putting those “newcomer” feelings into words, but also for making me aware that I can, even in my early stages of sobriety, reach out and help someone else. This is what I want to do, what I’ve felt compelled to do since getting sober, but have felt like I don’t have the right to try and help someone else because I haven’t been sober very long. There are people that I come into contact with at work that I know are struggling with some of the same issues I was (am) but wasn’t sure it was my place to try and reach out. Thank you for reminding me that helping someone else and reaching out to others is as much a reward and gift to my Self and my sobriety as it is to the other person.

    December 6, 2014 - 1:46 pm/ Reply
    • Donny

      Hi Eden
      Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you have a support group. I hope that you persevere and get through thee steps. Maybe I’ve misunderstood, but it sounds like you’re trying to replace AA with church. I hope you didn’t misunderstand me. AA isn’t perfect but it’s the best game in town.
      Please read about the Oxford group and you’ll get what I mean. The steps work because they are designed for us, At 3.5 months you’ve had plenty of time to get them done. if you don’t you rob yourself of an experience that is available in no other way, and the ability to save a life by transmitting them.
      Afte rall when I had cancer I didn’t say to myself ” this radiation ward makes me uncomfortable I’m not coming here anymore. If a meeting is not to your taste, try another until you find one that fits. You seem very kind, I hope you find the joy in recovery I have and squeeze it for all it has to offer.
      Donny b

      December 12, 2014 - 1:30 pm/ Reply
  • mary

    Wow, like what has been said, im lookin into na meetings to be more informed on how to deal with a heroin addict. You seem to be more old school like me, how the world has changed! Will continue to be informed thanks

    February 13, 2015 - 9:10 pm/ Reply

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