I have stopped going to AA meetings. I felt pressured to attend meetings and pray daily. I am not religious and I did not find that part helpful. There are things I gained. I don’t think I would have stayed sober this long without starting with AA. The accountability was helpful.
I belong to a couple of Facebook pages. Secular AA, Moderation Management and HAMs. (Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation). We are called HAMsters. I am leaning towards trying to moderate drinking to about two times a year. We are going out of town over my birthday. Someone gave us a bottle of champagne and I plan to have some. Then I plan to go alcohol free until our wedding anniversary in October.
My therapist warned me it is a “slippery slope” and how do I not know I won’t go back to drinking more often. And, that I plan to drink because we have champagne makes no sense to her. I feel like if I have a plan, I can stick with it. And, that AA is not the program for me because I want to be able to drink occasionally, like twice a year. I won’t be alone. I won’t be driving.
I had therapy, virtual, on Wednesday. I went over what was going on in the present. Then my therapist started asking questions about when I was school age. Jr high and high school were not the best years of my life. I had a friend drop me in 8th grade to hang out with more popular friends. I had a boyfriend in high school who was very critical and was sometimes mean.
My home life was horrific. My father had an undiagnosed, but quite obvious in hindsight, mental illness and my brother had a severe psychotic disorder. He was nice, just a bit scary to me. Everything was unpredictable. My dad would be fine one day and raging the next. I could not deal with being there so I spent most of my time out, with friends, drinking alcohol or smoking weed. I was very sad, and quiet.
After answering her questions she asked for my thoughts and I said they are discombobulated. I don’t know what to think. So, she told me to write down my discombobulated thoughts when they come to me. She used my own words but I don’t what she wants. I am going to email mon.
She gave me other homework. To write what you can gain from AA, without spirituality. That is easier for me. I belong to a secular AA Facebook group. I tried one meeting but I felt out of place and have not looked at others. I did think the accountability and recognition for time sober helped me. I have not gone to meetings lately but I am staying sober,
I have had problems with the spirituality part of AA. I am not religious and don’t feel comfortable praying. I am okay with the Serenity Prayer at meetings, but don’t usually pray on my own. I also started getting busier in my life.
I started a new job this month and am also starting the ketogenic diet. It is fewer days, but 8 hr shifts so I have to plan lunch. I have been bringing nuts and cheese and making it more of a break. So far that is working well. But, I do have to think more about meals and planning until I get keto down.
I have lost 10 lbs in a month, which is great for me, but the main reason I am doing the diet is for type 2 diabetes. When I stick to the plan, 30 g total carbs moderate protein and fats to satiate I am good, but the store bought “keto” products that go by net carbs, not counting sugar alcohols and fiber, still raise my blood sugar a little. It is still better than when I started.
I am in a program through my insurance called Virta. They provide me with supplies, a health coach, a dr and a forum. I report weight, glucose and blood ketones daily. At first the additional fat in my diet upset my stomach, but I think I have adjusted. My sister started when I told her how well it worked for my blood sugar, so I have someone to talk about keto. It is a huge change for me. I am a big fruit and sweets eater but I don’t get many cravings and rarely feel hungry.
The job is going well. I am a peer advocate in mental health crisis stabilization unit. Basically, a mental health urgent care. We just opened and it has been quiet, sometimes they send me home early because I have nothing to do, I have been making a binder of resources, I will be providing therapeutic communication when we have patients, so far, I have only been there with one patient who was not very talkative.
As far as AA, I had cut way back in going to meetings because of things going on in my life. My sponsor suggested I go to more meetings and pray every morning and evening. I thought about it and decided to take a break from it all. I can meditate but I don’t want to pray every day and I felt pressured about going to meetings, I have not been drinking. I just don’t know if it is the right program for me.
I went to a zoom AA meeting and someone said that you don’t try to control things that are already under control. That was what I needed to hear.
I had all of these rules and thought my drinking was under control because: I didn’t drink and drive, I only drank in the evening, I got chores done before drinking, although I was pushing even those limits.
But, normal people just need one rule. Don’t drink too much.
I listed in a previous post how my life was unmanageable. I have to refer back to it to remind myself. I still have cravings even though I logically have decided I don’t want to continue drinking. I just remind myself of reasons I don’t want to drink.
I have schizoaffective disorder and I don’t want to interfere with stability, and alcohol does not play well with my medications. And, I am not very productive at home if I am drinking. Also, I think I was walking around with a mild hangover. My head feels more clear, I feel lighter now.
I heard someone say their higher power comes to them through meditation. That is something I can believe in. Some kind of intuition, or inner wisdom. I can’t define my higher power. I don’t think I have to. I am finished with step 2. My sponsor has me reading stories from the Big Book. We go over them once a week.
I have bought a kindle version and paperback of the Big Book. Neither of them match pages with the hardback, I am debating getting another copy. The kindle is convenient because I can take it anywhere easily, but it is a totally different version. Different stories. The paperback has the same content, just different page numbers.
My mood has improved. I just had some sad days. I guess everyone does.
I noticed it in the tone of my texts. I am insignificant I told a friend. Another friend asked me to be on a podcast. At first I said yes, but now I am having second thoughts. No one would be interested in anything I have to say
My husband held me, the dog licked me and my son texted he loves me. I can’t feel it. I just feel sad
I have schizoaffective disorder and take antidepressants and an antipsychotic.
Maybe it is a response to sobriety? I am not going to drink I will probably try to get sleep instead
I have been thinking of a higher power and talking with people and now I don’t know what to think. My sponsor says all I have to do is believe something, anything, outside of myself could, possibly restore me to sanity. That I can do, but choosing what to believe in is more complicated. I have trouble believing in a man in the sky. I started with the Universe or nature. I feel more connected with the world outdoors. But, I don’t know how the Universe could help me. They say you can have the fellowship of AA as your higher power but I don’t know about turning my will over to the group
I talked to.my therapist about my issue with psychosis and she reassured me that it is unlikely I will start getting delusional. It has been 15 years since my last psychotic episode. She thinks my issue is with religion I am getting support and staying sober. I don’t like going to meetings every day and calling my sponsor everyday. My therapist thought maybe I should cut back but do something with that time I have trouble expressing what I want. My sponsor said I don’t have to do anything and that they are suggestions.
The meeting tonight was on step 2 and our higher power. People spoke about their faith or issues with religion. One woman said she can’t define her higher power but it helps her. I have been reading “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. In the book she listens to an inner wisdom that she calls God. I know my inner voice could help me, but that is not something outside of myself.
My friend does not think I have a problem and should not identify with an illness. That gets me wondering if I really need something outside to restore me. Is that something you can do on your own? I think my mind is shattered in a way and I have been searching for someone/ something to repair it.
So far I am staying with AA because it is not hurting anything and I am sober
The Universe is my higher power. I am tasked with describing how the Universe can help me. I had a point where I was seeing messages everywhere. I thought my therapist was suggesting things and guiding me by controlling the media and my environment. I imagine the Universe could guide me, but how do I trust it is not a delusion
ETA: I spoke with my sponsor about my concerns. She told me to stop for now.
My sponsor has me send her a gratitude list. Five things I am grateful for every day, except when I forget. I have so much to be grateful for. My family, our dog, a home, food, furniture, our health and my sobriety, I am grateful my sponsor is understanding. I feel like my thinking is clearer. I have not had any other changes since stopping drinking that I have noticed.
I have moved onto Step 2. We read about agnostics and spiritual experiences in the big book. She gave me an assignment but I will have to think about it. I am not religious so she had me choose a higher power. I chose the Universe. She wants me to write about how the Universe can help me. I don’t know. I will blog once I figure out what to write.
Today is Thanksgiving. I was invited to a relative’s but I have a cold, and my daughter wants to stay safe from Covid so we stayed home. I went to an AA meeting about gratitude by zoom. I am grateful for zoom meetings.I missed everyone but hopefully we can see them sometime soon.
I volunteered to lead one day in my AA group. It is not very complicated. They have a format and I pick a passage from AA literature to read, talk about 5 minutes and then open for discussion. But, I have social anxiety. It is much better than in the past but I am still nervous. On top of that, I told my friend I would speak on her podcast in January. That I am a bit terrified about.
I picked a chapter from the Big Book, More about Alcoholism, and will talk about doubting we are alcoholics. I think it will be good for me to hear others experiences. I just finished step 1- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.
In my youth my life truly was unmanageable. I had rules for myself about when and where I could drink, by the time I stopped, to keep my drinking from getting out of hand. It is hard for me to see my life as unmanageable. I made a list and will continue to add to it, about being powerless and my life being unmanageable. I will refer to it when I have doubts.
As far as the podcast, I am going to be talking about myself, my experience with mental illness. I had an older brother who has passed away, who had a psychotic break in the 1970s. I am going to talk about his story, too.
My friend called to discuss the podcast with me. I froze on the first question. She asked me about being a mental health advocate. I think of myself more as my job title, a peer support specialist, or someone with lived experience. I have written letters for certain bills but am not very politically involved. We are going to talk again and hopefully I can relax. She can talk enough for the both of us. I just want it to go well.