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Subject: Welcome to Alt.Recovery (FAQ)

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:23:02 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: alt-recovery
All FAQs posted in: alt.recovery
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Archive-name: alt-recovery/welcome Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1996/12/11
URL: http://www.well.com/~dhawk/Recovery.html Alt.Recovery FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) _________________________________________________________________ This article contains the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions often seen in the newsgroup alt.recovery. It will be posted monthly. Version: 1.12 12/11/96 Submissions, corrections, comments, input, complaints, etc., should be directed to David H (dhawk@best.com, dhawk@well.com) or you can post to the newsgroup. If you post, please put the string 'FAQ' on the Subject line. This FAQ is now available on the WWW. URL is http://www.well.com/~dhawk/Recovery.html Note: Upper and lower case matter in that URL. TABLE OF CONTENTS: * A Pre-Ramble * 1) What Is The Net? * 2) What is a FAQ? (Frequently Asked Questions) * 3) What Is Recovery? * 4) What Are Twelve Step programs? * 5) History of alt.recovery * 6) What about Anonymity? * 7) anonymous postings * 8) mailing lists * 9) computers as addiction * 10) What other newsgroups deal with recovery? * 11) Can we break up alt.recovery into subgroups? * 12) serenity and computer networks * 13) posting copy-written material, don't, please. * 14) The World Wide Web and Resources * 15) The Real Frequently Asked Questions A Pre-Ramble = A Generic Story Back in November of 1987 I was having problems with 'YYY', in that things were not going well with my family, my job, or my health. It was clearly time to quit, but how? Well, I'd been on the net for a few years, so I logged into a discussion area devoted to drugs and asked how to quit. I got a lot of replies, mostly along the lines of "Just quit!" with a few of "Hey, you use less than I do and I don't have a problem!" and throughout it all was a constant refrain of "Whatever you do, don't go to meetings!" So I created alt.recovery, since I thought that getting feedback from people who were in recovery might be more helpful. I got a lot of messages -- "Go to Meetings!" But I'm a loner, so I didn't go. (Later I realized I was shy and scared of people.) Things continued on for a while. I wasn't using 'YYY' but I wasn't a happy camper. Then one day I got email from someone on the net: "Hi, I'm new to all this and would you go to a meeting with me for support?" Well, sure. So I went to a Meeting -- and was very impressed. A couple of months later I went to another one! ;-) Then I moved and someone on the net said, "Let me show you my favorite meetings here." and I liked them all and started going to lots of meetings. So, that's how I got started. Things got better after that. 1.1) What is the Net? The Net is a loosely defined term that usually refers to what some would call USENET, or Internet, or other distinct names. For our purposes it's a connection of computers [computer systems] that exchange messages. alt.recovery has to do with the section that swaps broadcast messages -- what is posted to alt.recovery goes out to lots of systems and can be seen by lots of people. This is different from email, which is usually directed to specific individuals. The key point is that alt.recovery is a broadcast media, in a loose sense. 1.2) What is a FAQ? (Frequently Asked Questions) Newsgroups on the net often have newcomers (to the net or group) that ask questions that have been asked before. So the habit has grown of collecting these Frequently Asked Questions into a document called a FAQ, in hopes that newcomers will read the document and not re-ask those questions. For more information about the Net, please read the FAQs in news.newusers.questions. There are FAQs there that will make alt.recovery more useful/understandable. But here's a very short list of commonly used net shortcuts: FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions [document] URL = Uniform Resource Locator (used with the WWW to find pages) WWW = World Wide Web BTW = By The Way OTOH = On The Other Hand :-) = a smilie (sideways smile), used to suggest that this was written in jest JADP = Just A Data Point FYI = For Your Information MEGO = My Eyes Glaze Over (after reading the net too long) IMHO = In My Humble Opinion This particular FAQ (for alt.recovery) covers certain questions that come up from time to time, plus it also provides an introduction to the newsgroup. A separate FAQ for Twelve Step Programs might be developed later. (section 1.4 below). You are welcome to write a FAQ for a specific programs/problems/etc. Other material can be added to this FAQ as well. Just post a reply to this FAQ or send email to dhawk at the email address listed above. 1.3) What is Recovery? Recovery--as used in alt.recovery--normally refers to the process of people trying to recover [or free themselves] from ... something. The something can be as specific as substance abuse, alcoholism, compulsive overeating--or it can be more vague, like codependency [a behaviour pattern]. Some would define recovery even more broadly and go on to say that it has to do with learning to cope with life. Feel free to define it for yourself. 1.4) What are Twelve Step programs? A Twelve Step program/organization/fellowship is one that bases its principles of recovery on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, AA. A frequent abbreviation for Twelve Step programs is '*A' since many Twelve Step groups have 'Anonymous' as the last word in their name. 1.5) History of alt.recovery [from David H, dhawk@well.sf.ca.us] Was alt.recovery started for Twelve Steppers? No. Background: Originally newsgroups on USENET had names like net.flame and net.women and net.jokes, etc. Then there was a big renaming and new categories like soc, talk, news, sci, and comp were created. To create a newsgroup in one of these categories is a fairly complicated procedure, and involves taking votes and posting results, etc. And certain groups, like ones about sex, kept getting voted down. So a few system administrators started up the alt network. It uses the same software and the same format, but it's a more open network. Basically if you're a system administrator and want to create an alt newsgroup, then you can issue a control message and create it, although it is more polite to announce that you're considering doing so, and getting a little feedback. Because alt newsgroups are a little closer to anarchy, they don't have the distribution (for the most part) that the comp and sci groups do. (To give an example of why alt was started, some of the first newsgroups in alt [after alt.config] were alt.drugs, alt.sex, and alt.rock-n-roll. rec.drugs and soc.sex had been a bit much for regular USENET.) [NOTE: presently a group really should be discussed in alt.config to increase the likelyhood it will be carried on a lot of systems. The above paragraph describes how things were in the mid-eighties.] alt.recovery: In May of 1988 (Before I ever attended a Twelve Step meeting), I posted to alt.config suggesting the formation of alt.recovery as an area for all people in recovery to talk. Since I knew that Twelve Step folks had a tradition of anonymity I doubted that they would be participating. After two weeks I created alt.recovery. Its first day was 6/14/88. Since then? Well, alt.recovery has had its ups and downs. Sort of like life. 1.6) What about Anonymity? Most of the participants here are members of various Twelve Step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous. AA has a Tradition that states that we should remain anonymous at the level of press, radio, and film. (Other programs have added 'TV' to that list.) Use of full names does happen within various meetings. Even if you are not in a Twelve Step program, if you are discussing a particular addiction/problem and are logging in from work or school, then you might not want your boss/co-workers/etc. to know that your postings come from you. Again, this is a broadcast medium. So you might want to consider what anonymity means to you before you post. So what does anonymity mean on a computer network? That's for you to decide. 1.7) Anonymous Postings There have been various individuals who have offered to re-post for people so that you can have an article appear with no name attached. Unfortunately many anonymous postings on the net *in general* have been abusive and/or illegal. Many anonymous re-posting services do not stay around very long. But you are welcome to sign up for one and use one. For a list of anonymous re-posting services, check this URL: http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~raph/remailer-list.html It is sometimes possible to get your system administrator to create an account for you to post and read from. However SA's normally need a strong reason for doing so and some make a policy of never creating an anonymous account. 1.8) Mailing Lists Some anonymity is afforded by email lists. This newsgroup is an unmoderated newsgroup, which means anyone can post to it (and they often do.) Email lists normally ask that you meet some qualification in order to be added to the list. You can get information about Alcoholics Anonymous email lists by checking the following WWW page: http://www.crl.com/~pac/aa/lists.html For other email lists you'd need to post on alt.recovery asking for specific groups other than AA. The Meeting of Minds group (usually referred to as 'MoM') is a 'closed' AA group formed to provide an AA meeting by electronic mail and to publish an electronic journal. The Email meeting is a 'closed' AA group which shares experience, strength and hope by electronic mail. The meeting has, currently, a Step Discussion format. The electronic journal published by the group is archived at ftp.demon.co.uk The group can be contacted by sending email to mom-l-approval@netcom.com Another group is Lamplighters. Contact Lamplighters at lls-approval@world.std.com Also, there's SOS -- "Save Our Selves" or "Secular Organizations for Sobriety." Send email to BVYE08A@prodigy.com for admission to that list. 1.9) Computers and Addiction It's worth remembering that networks themselves can be an addiction. If my mental life centers around what I am reading on the network, I consider that a warning sign. 1.10) What other newsgroups deal with recovery? You may find some interesting newsgroups on the net that have the word 'recovery' in their name. Some are serious groups and others were started as a joke. It's always a good idea to read a group and get a feel for its purpose before jumping in and posting. Some have their own FAQ. Also, you might want to check out groups with 'support' in their name, if that's what you're interested in. 1.11) Can we break up alt.recovery into subgroups? At various times the suggestion is posted to break alt.recovery into subgroups, like * alt.recovery.twelve-step [for Twelve Step groups] * alt.recovery.alternative [for non-Twelve_Step] * alt.recovery.rational [for non-Twelve_Step] * alt.recovery.alcohol [for alcohol specific recovery] Anyone can propose a newsgroup in alt.config. You can try creating a group and see what kind of traffic it gets. alt.recovery.aa has been started for those interested in pursuing recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous. alt.recovery.na has been started for those interested in pursuing recovery through Narcotics Anonymous. alt.recovery.adult-children has just been started for those from dysfunctional families. 1.12) Serenity and alt.recovery Reading alt.recovery won't automatically make you serene. Sometimes it can even be counter-productive. Some of the things that can be upsetting: * Cross-postings where someone posted something inflammatory to many newsgroups to stir things up. * Crosstalk, or providing advice when it wasn't asked for. * Discussions of religion [talk.religion.misc is a more appropriate newsgroup for this type of discussion] * Non-alcoholics, non-addicts who know how others should get sober/recover. * Receiving flames in email after making a posting. * Academic debates, esp., whether addiction exists or not. Obviously, it would be hoped that participants in alt.recovery would not do any of the above, but ... What works for me? I do not have to read everything in the newsgroup. And I don't. I use a menu-driven newsreader, trn, and pick which items I want to read. After a while I have learned that certain people and certain subjects get tiresome, so I don't read them. It's a 'take what you need and leave the rest' style and it works for me. Note, there's a FAQ in news.answers and news.newuser.questions called 'rn kill file FAQ' on how to use a kill file to keep from seeing certain subjects or certain posters. You can also use a kill file to keep from seeing cross-posted messages. 1.13) Posting copy-right material == get permission first One of the issues over the years has been whether daily meditations should be posted here. If you want to post a daily meditation from a book that is under copyright, please get permission from the publisher first. There's a great FAQ on Copyrights that's posted to misc.legal and news.answers. Check out what it says on 'fair use.' Also, you can write your own mediations and post them. It could even be a net project. 1.14) The World Wide Web and Resources The World Wide Web (WWW) is an interlinked, uh, web of resources. The following web pages include pointers to more resources, so feel free to keep exploring. The following URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) are good places to start. All were working as of 12/11/96. * http://www.netwizards.net/recovery * http://www.recovery.org/aa/ * ftp://ftp.cts.com/pub/elmo/recovr.htm Al-Anon has at least one official home page. The URL is http://www.al-anon.org/ And the following site is also sanctioned by Al-Anon WSO: http://solar.rtd.utk.edu/~Al-Anon/ Cocaine Anonymous has its own official home page. The URL is http://www.ca.org/ Rational Recovery has an official home page, URL of http://www.rational.org/recovery Alcoholics Anonymous' official home page http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org Narcotics Anonymous' official home page is at http://www.wsoinc.com 1.15) The Real Frequently Asked Questions The following are some of the questions that new readers actually ask. Many of them are of the type that can't easily be answered online. * Q: Where do I get a copy of the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous"? A: Most meetings have one. Some will even give you a copy if you can't afford it. Also, check bookstores, and especially stores for used books. * Q: An electronic version, wise guy! A: AA World Services sells the 3rd edition on DOS diskettes. Your Central Office should be able to order it for you. There are copies of the first and second edition online for reading inside the US. Any copies of the third edition would be in violation of AAWS's copyright. If you have a WWW browser you can check out this URL: http://www.recovery.org/aa/bigbook/ww/index.html * Q: Explain the copyright thing, please. A: OK. AA -- through carelessness -- let the copyright expire on the first and second editions of the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous". The added material in the 3rd edition [footnotes, intro to 3rd edition, extra stories] are still covered by copyright and cannot be legally distributed on the net. AAWS would prefer that the 1st and 2nd editions not be distributed either, but has no legal claim to those editions. By the way, the copyright only expired in the USA. The Big Book in all editions is still protected by copyright outside the US. As far as I know no other group or organization has let its copyright lapse in any way, so distributing any other 'basic text' would be a copyright violation unless you have the permission of the holder of the copyright. * Q: What's the spirituality versus religion debate? A: Twelve Step programs claim to be spiritual, not religious. The distinction eludes some people. There are members of Twelve Step groups who are agnostic, atheist, or have rocks as their Higher Power. If you want to state that Twelve Step groups are a religion, then include the definition of religion you prefer to use. Others may prefer to use a different definition and there may be no resolution that pleases everyone. If you are God and can rule on what one definition all people must use, then proof of purchase may be required at the door. * Q: Got any words of wisdom about the Lords Prayer debate? A: Many AA meetings in the USA close meetings with the Lords Prayer. At least in my area (California) more and more meetings are closing with the Serenity Prayer instead. But since AA is an anarchy, this will only work itself out at the group level. Since alt.recovery is not a group and doesn't close with anything, it's nothing we can do anything about. Please followup on this at the group level. Remember that alt.recovery is a broadcast medium and has many readers and posters who are not in AA, so don't expect alt.recovery to solve AA's problems. * Q: Where's the recovery? A: Sorry, you're a bit late for that. Well, maybe not. Check the sections above about how to filter what you read -- by using menu-driven newsreaders and kill files. Also, there are two things you can do to make alt.recovery more of a place for recovery: + Post about recovery -- post the type of stuff you'd like to see + Don't followup on the negative threads. Takes two to fight, etc. * Q: Any words of wisdom on 12 Step vrs. non-12 Step? A: Troublemaker. Ahem. People tend to be fervently for what works for them. Unfortunately they seldom stop there, but often go into detail about what was wrong with what didn't work for them. Maybe that could be better worded, but the point is: if something works for you, tell us. Say it loud, say it proud. Being defensive or belittling what works for others can be counter-productive. [I tried to word that in as neutral a manner as possible, and hopefully I ticked off everyone.] * Q: What's with the silly slogans, like One Day at a Time? A: Well, if a silly slogan was silly to everyone, then it wouldn't catch on, would it? Slogans, like Steps, can be multi-faceted. They might not mean just the surface meaning. Always feel free to ask, "What does that mean to you?" Don't assume that your understanding is the only one possible. And if you hear something in a meeting that doesn't make sense, ask the speaker what it means. * Q: What if alt.recovery doesn't help me? A: Go to a meeting, or create a program for yourself. Not all the answers are online. I don't think I've seen a posting yet where someone said that they got sober (or recovered) by reading alt.recovery and that alt.recovery is all they need. Maybe some day ... * Q: alt.recovery.* [aa,na,adult-children] isn't carried at my site. A: There are two things to check. First, if you can post to those groups then the newsgroup has been created at your site. Otherwise you need to get your site adminstrator to create the newsgroup for you. Second, if the group is there and you see no postings or only postings that are cross-posted from alt.recovery then it's a 'feed' problem. Your site administrator would need to see that whoever feeds news to your site is carrying the group you want and is passing along those articles. If all else fails then you might need to get an account on a system like Netcom or the WELL or world.std.com and read the group there. _________________________________________________________________ Welcome to Alt.Recovery / dhawk@best.com / dhawk@well.com