Getting sober in an AA group is the only way to possibly succeed. It is risky when trying to find the right group. It’s not as risky as not having a group and trying to get sober on your own though. So very few are making it in AA these days and not having a group is the main reason why.
It’s also not easy to know who’s who in those early days in AA. You tend to think everyone knows what they are doing, but in fact they don’t. Staying sober and sane needs to always be the number one priority.
Alkies in normal situations are logical thinkers. It’s only the alcohol that caused them to have problems when drinking. When getting sober they need to know that they are with people they can trust.
If they are not and the situation does not seem normal then the danger is that they can start thinking that there is something wrong with themselves. That is instead of realising that the information they are getting from the meetings is deficient or that they are being told lies on certain issues.
It is said in groups that alkies need to find an Older Sober Member (OSM) to help them get sober. It is said that if they can find one to help them, then it’s the same as winning the lottery. It’s hard to know who to trust in AA and it’s important to know how the OSM got sober themselves.
You can have a situation where a group member will tell you how to get sober when it is in fact not how they did it themselves. They can omit telling the short-termers that they were off the grog before attending AA and that they were attending another 12 step program before coming to AA. They can omit that they had a sponsor from one of these other 12 step meetings and not from AA.
In such a situation they are liable to say that they are sober for x amount of years and that they are a product of AA and the short-termer believes them because they do not know any better.
By an omission such as this it infers that the person claiming sobriety came to AA, met sober members and that they got sober because of it. They imply that they achieved sobriety by following group recommendations. The same ones they advise newcomers to their AA group to follow. They also say that if you do not follow their group recommendations that you will not stay sober.
It can be true, however if you are not in the same situation as the one who is telling you, i.e. who is in a relationship with an OSM, then you will, in fact, be needing different information to operate on then what they are getting. It is a case of them being in a relationship, secretly, and they are pretending to be getting sober as a single person, when in fact they are not. In such a situation they are telling a lie to the other group members. The lie is that you are getting sober the same way as you.
How the lie hurts member of the group who are not in a relationship with an OSM is that they are being pedaled a story that they are in a similar situation to the ones in the secret relationships – when in fact they are not in a similar situation at all. Single people have very different problems to overcome then the ‘married’ person has.
A person in a secret relationship is the same as if being married. They are giving a false impression that it’s easy to get sober as a single person because they are doing it, when they are not. They will say that you can get sober by just going to meetings, talking to sober people and by getting the information from the OSM’s of your group. They often do not mention that it’s the ‘living the sobriety’ on a day to day basis that matters the most. By that I mean Learning how to live as a sober person and getting the information needed, on a daily basis.
Difference is that you have to wait until you see the OSM next time at a meeting, to talk about issues that crop up. The married person who is living with an OSM has them on hand 24/7, there to answer any questions or to satisfy any other needs that they have.
Being involved in the big lie by the person in a relationship while getting sober hides the fact, from the single person, that they have an advantage over the single person. The advantage is that they are learning how to live in a sober relationship. They don’t have to think for themselves in the way a single person does when getting sober.
In comparison, the single and the married persons can both be in the same situation, by going to work, lets say, where both are:
- learning how to handle people on a day to day basis. The married one however has an OSM to talk to about their experience that day and how it relates to them getting sober. They can discuss any problems they have, where the single person does not have that advantage.
- The single alkie when getting sober needs to learn to manage their finances, while if in a relationship this is done for you by the OSM partner.
- The alkie getting sober in a relationship does not have to worry about cooking and feeding themselves when they come home from work or worry about shopping or not worry about getting to meetings each day. They can have a day off to do their washing and it’s quite okay by their own standards. The same is not acceptable for a single member of the same group though. For them there’s no excuse for missing a meeting.
- The one in a relationship doesn’t need to think about planning any trips for themselves, or even buying a new car or buying clothes or have to worry about managing and running a household. All the things that a single alkies has to do for themselves while they’re getting sober, and they have no idea how to do these things properly as a single person.
- More importantly the married one has their physical and emotional needs met where a single person has to cope with a lot of loneliness. At the same time they are forbidden to be in a relationship, unless it’s with an OSM of their own group.
In this situation the person in a relationship with an OSM has never had the same problems as the single person in the group has had when getting sober.
Alkies need the basic information to be getting sober. They also need to know who is who in the meetings, they need a lot of new and different information from what they were operating on when they were drinking. They also need the truth from their group member to enable them to survive and the truth is that none of us will ever be perfect, but that they can still survive – with care and with being careful of who they mix with. They also need to know that they can still be themselves and that they will survive and can even thrive. Staying sober and sane means they have their lives before them as they have never had before as a sober person.