This Open Thread, is a continuing piece of the one that was started three Sundays ago - the last one was the Drunk Politicians Edition, at 2pm Pacific.  And following that pattern, there will be another one next week Sunday at 2pm Pacific.

The discussion is whatever you want to say (it's an open thread ;)), but the reason it was created is a more specific one!  How to get clean & sober - and stay that way.

This is a great place for anyone out there reading Daily Kos Diaries - who might be an Old Timer (a person that has been clean in the programs of Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous for a number of years), and others who are not Old Timers, but rather, folks that want an answer to their drinking or drugging problem.  A place for those two kinds of people to connect anonymously on-line here and discuss it.

More below the Orange Gift Wrapping...

Let's go with a disclaimer first to get a few points across -

DISCLAIMER:  Advice, quotes, facts, suggestions, links, etc., in this Diary (and future Group), are just what their title suggests - suggestions/advice. We are NOT doctors (generally speaking).  Take everything you see and read with a grain of salt!  Look things up for yourself.  Check meetings out for yourself.  If you want to get sober or get off drugs, AA or NA are a good start, but by no means the only pathway to that goal.  Folks get sober and clean in many, many ways.  That said, meander on through...
A few quick links:

12-step Wiki
Other 12-step Programs
Narcotics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous
Local AA Meeting Information
International AA Meeting Information

Okay, so that hairy, scary First Step.  It's the most difficult one.  It really is scary, but it's only scary because we fear what we don't understand.  Here it is in all its glory:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Seems so simple to be so scary right?  From my view, the three most important words in there are, "We", "Powerless", and "Unmanageable".  

The "We" means you are not alone.  Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous only work because it takes another Alkie or Druggie to actually help you kick the habit.  My friend Bill W., and my other friend, Doctor Bob, figured this out decades ago.  See this guy was in the hospital because he just couldn't stop it - and it was killing him.  My friends paid him a visit. Back then, Doctors really didn't know what to do with us.  They tried all kinds of crazy cures.  Some even worked, but were a bit over the top.  As it turns out, these guys figured out that one of us can talk to another one of us - and bring about sobriety.  Doctor Bob had learned about a few 'miracle' moments in which the Alcoholic in question reached a 'Moment of Clarity'.  That moment in time is so brief, but it is life changing in its enormous effect.  As it turns out, with a little help, and a lot of talking, other Acoholics or Drug Addicts can reach that life changing moment.  AA and NA are all about "We".  It takes another one to help us get to where we need to be.  It works better than any medical cure ever invented for the purpose.  It has a fantastic track record.

Next, the word "Powerless".  Kinda vague to most folks.  What does it mean?  For me it means that I am not God.  You don't have to believe in God to get this - and I don't believe in any deity myself.  But there is a group of people that is definitely more powerful than I am - my fellow Alcoholics.  A higher power can be anything you want it to be, as long as you aren't it.  Powerless over your addiction to the substance.  It's very hard to admit that your thinking is what got you where you are, and your thinking is the last thing you want to use to get out of that situation.  It requires actual humility.  Powerless - write that down.

Then, there's, "Unmanageable".  This one is totally obvious.  I think we can all tell when our life has become unmanageable.  If you are drinking a lot, and your life kinda sucks because you are drinking a lot - you may not realize it's the booze.  In fact, the booze drinking itself isn't really the cause - it's only a symptom of the cause.  What is the cause you say?  You!  Your brain would kill you except that it needs you to carry it around! It is a mental and spiritual disease. It's treatable!

So, admitting you are powerless, and coming to the conclusion that you can't do it all by yourself - no matter how many self-help books you buy, and realizing your life is messed up, is essentially what that First Step is talking about.  More steps later.

But today, I want to throw out some of our "sayings".  They're sort of like bumper sticker slogans for those of us that need that kind of reminder.  They are easy to remember, and you can use them in meetings to get lots of approval - if you mean it, and understand it.  Here's a few of my favorites:

Sit down, shut up and listen.

Keep it simple, stupid (K.I.S.S.)

We got a chair here with your name on it.

Get a sponsor.

When you sober up a horse thief, all you have is a sober horse thief.

One day at a time.

HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

Fake it till you make it.

Keep coming back.

The doors swing both ways.

We have a disease that tells us we don't have a disease.

Yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, only today is cash in the bank.

And, just for fun, today's question is, "How powerful are you?".


I'm so powerful I...

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