Welcome AA Loners

A Loner is an A.A. member who is unable to attend meetings regularly because there is no A.A. meeting in the vicinity where he or she lives. Men and women living in isolated areas throughout the world (or in areas where it has not been possible to form a local group) are listed at the General Service Office as Lone Members. Many achieved sobriety solely through study of A.A. literature. They correspond with G.S.O. and with their counterparts in other sections of the world. In a number of cases, Loners have been responsible for establishing local groups.

A Homer is an A.A. member who is unable to attend A.A. meetings because of physical incapacity

AA Communication Can Cross All Boundaries

Everyone must agree that we AA’s are unbelievably fortunate people; fortunate that we have suffered so much; fortunate that we can know, understand and love each other so supremely well. Indeed most of us are well aware that these are rare gifts which have their true origin in our kinship born of a common suffering and a common deliverance by the Grace of God.

Co-Founder Bill W.

***  This share was taken from the Grapevine Publication “Daily Quote Book – 365 Inspiring passages. Please contact GSO South Africa on gso@aasouthafrica.org.za for any literature enquiries or to obtain books/leaflets.

Resources for Loners

Register on our website as an AA member and join the “Let’s talk Forum” where you can chat to other members. Click here to access the Loners Forum

Join an online group – You can find a listing, along with details of how to join at: http://www.aa-intergroup.org/directory.php

You can subscribe to Alco-Solo.  This is our meeting in print for members who cannot attend regular meetings.  This publication is available electronically at no charge.  Anyone interested can send GSO an e-mail and we will add you to the list.

You can Click here for online help  This online help option is manned by recovered alcoholics on a 24/7 basis.

This is our quarterly magazine containing shares from members in SA.  All subscription details are available on the website. A printed copy can be posted to you or an electronic copy can be accessed via the AASA App

You can join a Skype meeting. Meetings arranged by AA members and assistance with sponsorship. Please contact GSO for details

Follow this link to join the Loners WhatsApp group: https://chat.whatsapp.com/2L9zxN59vrE6Z57qzP4H6t

Sample content from the Alco-solo newsletter includes the following:

Progress in Alcoholics Anonymous

Looking back at the last eight and a half years, I marvel at the progress I’ve made jut by following the words written in the Big Book and constantly reading AA related matter.

The interesting part of my journey has been how one’s focus and priorities change as you grow within the program. Let me explain: I remember very well when I left rehab and the same night attended an AA meeting. The stuff people spoke about was so weird and new to me that I did not understand a word they were saying. At first I thought that this was some sort of cult and I was waiting for someone to ask me for my bank account details for a monthly debit order.

Thankfully, I stayed and came back, and as I allowed myself to listen to people in the rooms of AA, I could identify with a lot they were saying.  My first year was spent trying to understand the Big Book and relate to people sharing their experience, strength and hope.

As my second year ended, I found a huge satisfaction in doing service. I realised that service was helping me as an alcoholic to stay sober and in giving back to this great fellowship in a very small way.

The old saying that if you are not going forward you are actually going backwards is so true in AA. I found that if I did not continually live my whole life with all its aspects in the ways of the Big Book, I tend to think along old alcoholic ways. I was very fortunate that my sponsors and my friends in AA would very soon call me out.

We are very fortunate in Johannesburg – we can attend an AA meeting every day of the week while a lot of alcoholics do not have this luxury. This is why I depend and advocate reading the first 164 pages of the Big Book constantly. Every time I read it, I get a new message. It’s not that the text is different, but my understanding and journey in the program is at a different place. The non-drinking aspect of the program has become so small for me – I now concentrate on the spiritual aspect and grow within that realm.

I understand for the first time why old timers say “I am so glad to be an alcoholic.” I realise now: so am I. I have grown to be who I was meant to be, and not what alcohol made me.

To all of you in far out places, living and working without another alcoholic to talk to: read as much AA literature as you can put your hands on – it works!

May the God of your understanding be with you this festive season.

Yours in fellowship

Corrie J – Alberton

Carrying the Message

I came to hear the AA message of hope in a non-traditional way. I came to believe; receive and live this new way of life via AA 12 step meetings online. In addition, due to geographical and physical limitations the first year of sobriety was without any type of real life face to face AA fellowship. But 1 year and 1 week after my AA birthday I saw the real life Love of AA for you see – a group of 6 wonderful people travelled many miles and held a real life AA meeting in my home.

 It was with hugs and handshakes and tears in eyes that I saw the face of AA, it was with words of tradition and serenity prayer I felt AA. It was with wonderful sharing of experience, strength and hope I heard AA. And it was the kind and gentle spirit of generosity by these AA friends presence I felt the love of AA…for me. 

This gift of love will forever be a part of my experience. And to those special people I remain grateful for showing me the true heartbeat of this wonderful way of sober living which can be ours. Day by day; one day at a time. So if this day you know of someone who may be alone, in need of a real heart felt touch…give them a call, or a visit, or send an email, or a card – share with them the love of AA. Love is best when we pass it on….in fellowship or wherever we are.

Many Paths to Spirituality

A time came when we could no longer look the other way and pretend that we were in control of our drinking. Angry, defiant and suspicious as we were, something had to be done.

Asking for help didn’t come easily to many of us. We saw it as a sign of weakness or a character flaw. But when we finally did surrender and reach out for help with our drinking, we got back far more than expected.

Having finally found something that worked in our struggle against alcohol, we clung to A.A. like a drowning person clutches onto a life raft. But some of us soon encountered some questions about spirituality that seemed to present obstacles to our full acceptance of the A.A. program. Based on our prior beliefs – or the lack thereof – we felt at odds with what we perceived to be a religious approach to A.A. or pressure to adopt certain religious or spiritual concepts in order to remain in A.A.

Recognizing, first of all, that we needed to stay sober, many of us began to discover that we could utilize the A.A. program without conforming to religious or spiritual concepts we either disagreed with or didn’t have. As we became more familiar with A.A., we began to realize the deep significance in the phrasing of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, which emphasize “a Power greater than ourselves,” and “God, as we understood Him.”

These words and A.A.’s traditional commitment to inclusivity provided comfort to many of us, leaving the door to spirituality open for alcoholics of all faiths, beliefs and practices, and allowing each of us to determine for himself or herself just what to believe.

***AA General Service Office Conference-approved leaflet (Code P-84)

Wording Context of Big Book

The word: sanity: At first, I considered this term in context of the confused mental state of my early sobriety, or those seemingly bi-polar rollercoaster emotions, etc. … or perhaps the legal definition of being a danger to self or others. But today I realize that Bill used this word more in the context of drinking booze, e.g.: He speaks of the insanity of “Jim” pouring whisky in his milk (pp. 35- 37), or the opposite: Fitz Mayo’s sanity, who “seemingly he could not drink even if he would” (p. 57). I now think of alcoholic insanity as the inability to see and act on the truth in drink, and sanity as the ability to do so. Although this is not always the case, this new insight serves as a handy learning tool.

The word: cured: A bit of confusion arose when I read Dr.Bob’s Nightmare and he wrote: “. . . but had been cured” (p. 180), or where Bill D. wrote: “. . . curing me of this terrible disease.” (p. 191) . . .. There are other examples in the “Story Section” of the Big Book. Confusion arose when I read on page 85: “We are not cured of alcoholism.” A contradiction! But by studying this book I learned (p. 29) that the clear-cut directions are in the first 164 pages, but the story section of a different ilk. It does not contain the clear-cut directions! These member’s words are not necessarily in conjunction with the instruction pages.

Page 85 tells me: “The problem has been removed.” Does this infer that I can now drink like a gentleman? Well, not if I have studied the Big Book! If so, I will that realize the physical allergy is chronic—it will never go away.

Consequently, this is not the mentioned problem … so, what is left? Of course, it is the mental obsession which has been removed. But, hold the phone! It has not been destroyed, eradicated or beamed to outer space. It will be ever lurking just waiting for me to exit from my fit spiritual condition. I maintain that I am a fully recovered alcoholic. This means that if I throw AA and God under the bus, I would likely be drunk by next Thursday, or sooner.

Bob S., Richmond, IN

Holidays, Schmolidays

I’ve heard it said that among those who wanted to quit drinking, some found it especially difficult to do so around the holidays. I never understood that. What was so hard about quitting drinking on Groundhog Day, Flag Day or Boxing Day? With all seriousness though, these had about as much significance to me as any of the real holidays, like Thanksgivings, Christmas and Easter. They were just another day I felt compelled to consume alcohol in great quantity.

Having stepped into the realm of reality thanks to my re-discovered Higher Power – God – and the Fellowship of AA, I can now somehow envision the horror my wife and kids must have experienced the day of each new holiday. Here we go again, or, how drunk will daddy be today? They might have thought. And for good reason. I would often pre-drink, hiding it in the garage (the “war room” where I would strategize how to combat the world – my enemy) even though I would usually drive to the relatives’ holiday party.

In retrospect, through the clear vision of today’s sanity, my wife always drove home; not to do me any favours, but most likely to preserve her life and her children’s. Imagine the nerve of her, assuming I couldn’t drive just because I drank a 12-pack of beer and half a bottle of a strong liquor. After all, I had 30 years/ experience of driving drunk with only one DUI, and that was not my fault; I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Heck, I could drive drunk better than most people could sober. And besides, you’d drink and drive too if you had my relatives! This was the insane mind set of a man whose cognitive rationale was completely taken over by the disease of alcoholism.

Each and every time, this saint of a woman, whom I still admire for the courage to stand by this pathetic man whom she seriously didn’t deserve, would pour me into the car after I miraculously staggered somewhere near it. Passed out most of the ride home, I would often wake up in the middle of the night still in the car. This was probably my wife’s part, as I’m sure she was sick and tired of trying to wake me up to go into the house.

For most people, the holidays were a perfect time of reflection and thanks, punctuated with a celebration of a couple of drinks. This of course was the opposite with me. The holidays meant reflecting how the world had screwed me, and how you “normies” got all the breaks. So volatile were my thoughts of disdain and hatred that thankfulness was the last thing I possessed. I resented, with a passion, everything and everyone. I remember distinctly that every year when Thanksgiving rolled around I would get especially depressed, knowing that another year was going by and that I, still clueless about how to escape from my self-incarceration, was going to have to endure at least one more.

But for some reason, on Dec. 6, 2006, I relinquished the power of will (which I never had to begin with) to God and the Fellowship of AA. Almost immediately, I began using the tools (some of which I’ve always possessed) the program gave me, and discarded the one I was using my whole life: the shovel.

Today, when Thanksgiving comes around, I have a choice about how it will affect me emotionally. Today I choose to be thankful to have a mostly serene sobriety, with a new understanding for the holidays and what they really mean. Every day truly is a holiday, if you have the right spiritual awareness.

Matt S. – Buffalo Grove, Illinois