Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Sayings from the rooms: Moving forward and backward

They say:

I’m either moving

toward a drink or a drug

or away from a drink or a drug.

It can feel like a tug of war.

Tug of war

They also say:

Drop the rope.

It’s important for me to remember

that any thought that makes me want to use

is a lethal thought.

If I find myself thinking something

that makes me want to use, drink,

or behave compulsively,

I have choices today.

I have tools:










(Did you know that scientific studies have shown

that practicing gratitude actually reduces health problems?

Aside from just making us happier.)

G is having a hard day and trying to do the next right thing, not always successfully.


  1. Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.” (p89)” Chapter 7 Working with others.

    Chapter 11. A VISION FOR YOU page 159
    They knew they MUST help other alcoholics if they would remain sober

    Chapter 1. BILL’S STORY page 14
    Particularly it was it IMPERATIVE to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without works was dead, he said.

    Chapter 2. THERE IS A SOLUTION page 20
    Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.

    Chapter 1. BILL’S STORY page 15
    If an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could NOT survive the CERTAIN trials and low spots ahead.

    “Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery.” (p97)
    “A kindly act once in a while isn’t enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.” (p97)

    “To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action.”
    p93 Big Book

    “happy in their release, and constantly thinking how they might present their discovery to some newcomer”
    p158 Big Book

    Moving toward… moving away.. Not ? sure what that means exactly.
    All I know is that I want to stay well and I don’t mind having to pick up the phone to call a newcomer for 5 minutes in order to have a good day.
    I was never encouraged to resort to acts of faith, a better code of morals, or increased self knowledge should my mental defense look shaky. Merely to help alcoholics. Newcomers mainly. Those closest to a drink. Thats all I’ve done really. except go through the steps once (a very long time ago) with my sponsor, and maintain it with 10 11 and 12. But 12 comes first in line, very much like the p89 recommendation above. Nothing !!! ensures immunity from drinking like helping the newest and most suffering alcoholic I can find. As I live in a city there is at least one very !!! seriously ill person in every meeting I go to, so I am never short of people who need help if I am willing to ask others how they are feeling when I attend any given meeting.
    If Im honest, I speak to a newcomer or a very disturbed person most days. I look for someone to help in every meeting I attend, out of habit and rack my brains for what is of most use to whomever I am presented with in meetings. It seems to have worked for 20 ? something years so there must be something in it 🙂
    So my hot !!! 🙂 tip for anyone who is suffering is to look for the newcomer closest to a drink in any meeting, and try to help them. I usually take them for coffee after the meeting and speak to them then. Or else I take their number and call them the next day, and give them my number. That is 90% of my program right there. Helping others .Thats it. I credit 95% of my mental and emotional well-being to ‘constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.’ The rest is wisdom. Meaning I try to educate myself as to what seems to be working and what isn’t. referring to outside teachers when required.
    I have yet to meet an alcoholic who consistently makes helping newcomers their priority who has relapsed. Thats what attracted me to it in the first place. yes I know some ‘two-step-‘ but I mean in conjunction with completing the first 9 steps. I just haven’t met them. all the people I meet who consistently assist newcomers and try to help them stay sober, all stay sober. Its the most consistent thing Ive done in AA. The other stuff was presented to me as a sort of side salad. optional. whereas helping others was mandatory daily fare. Its helped me tremendously so I always mention it to people who are concerned that they might drink. i feel guilty saying it, but I literally never think about drinking. But then I help newcomers a LOT. Always have. and I am sure that is why.

    I like the ‘drop the rope’ though 🙂 Haven’t heard that one 🙂
    Anyway sorry for long comment but i am WIDE !!! awake. gawd ? knows why. 🙂

  2. guinevere

    August 26, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I agree and, as it happens, am meeting a sponsee tomorrow morning… “Drop the rope” is one I heard in AlAnon. … Thanks for being here. I’m a relative newcomer–I have eight months after having taken a Vicodin in January on top of 14 months sober. So you helped me tonight.

  3. dear g,

    i for one am so impressed by your commitment to sobriety. you give me so much hope. it’s true.

    i know i’m on the other side of the fence with all the parents but i have to say i’m more inspired here. i get very confused on my side of the fence.

    my intuition tells me my son is not ready yet. but i swear to god that i’m not sure about that. i don’t want to give up on him b/c of a feeling.

    this whole thing is so confusing to me and i go to 2 meetings a week and read like crazy. so i just have to do the best i can each day. i hope my intuition is wrong.


  4. Yes, if I quit struggling and just let go of the rope then I can free fall into God’s hands.

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