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My feelings towards NA and AA

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  • My feelings towards NA and AA

    I'm going to share my own personal opinions and experiences with NA and AA. When I was in rehab they drilled it in my head that to stay clean you MUST go to meetings everyday and work a 12 step program, and if you don't you will relapse. In my addiction I isolated a lot, and the thought of going to meetings gave me extreme anxiety. My Vivitrol doctor told me that I really needed to start going to meetings to meet other people in recovery. So, I eventually decided to suck it up and started going to meetings. I am not trying to sound conceited, but at the meetings I often felt uncomfortable because a lot of the men (much older) would often stare at me and try talking to me in a way I didn't feel was appropriate. I'm 27 and the women around my age were very cold towards me. After leaving meetings I often felt annoyed, anxious and sometimes they would even trigger me. I have only found one meeting that I enjoy, and I attend it every week. The message in most of the meetings is basically "do EVERYTHING your sponsor tells you to do, or you will fail!" I sure don't believe in that at all and support anyone doing what is working for them. I hear some people call their sponsor to get their approval on some of the dumbest things! I know NA and AA have been a saving grace to some, and that's great. I just felt like they had a negative impact on my recovery, which is only why I go to that same one every week...and haven't failed yet!💜

  • #2
    Deftones,

    Thanks for sharing your own personal and unique experience with AA and NA. In my opinion, 12 step programs and support groups are very helpful and beneficial for a lot of people, but they are not for everybody. Many have shared concerns with me similar to yours. In fact, there's a name for men (regardless of their age) hitting on and/or dating new members. This is called the "13th Step". This is NOT a real step obviously, but it's highly frowned upon. In fact, anyone in the first year of treatment and recovery is typically encouraged not to date (unless they're already in a relationship) and that during that time, nobody should make any major changes in their life.

    While it's not 100% related, I think you might enjoy the article I just published and wrote along with Kristi Tullis, one of our writers/bloggers. it's called "Why do AA and NA Members Smoke Outside of Meetings?" It talks about "allowable" and "not allowable" mind-altering substances and other problems within 12 step meetings.

    Peace and Love,

    William
    Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers.

    Find a Prescreened Addiction Treatment Center & Drug Rehab Facility

    Visit our Heroin Addiction & Recovery Blog for daily articles.

    I do my best to educate myself regarding addiction and recovery related issue, treatment options, etc. however, I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own and any advice you take from me is at your own risk and discretion

    Comment


    • #3
      Deftones 89
      I no how you feel about being hit on at meetings. I have been to quite a few and have felt very uncomfortable while outside smoking a cigarette. A pretty new girl who is shy and quiet getting asked to go to the movies. In my head im thinking what the hell is wrong with these people haven't gone back to that particular meeting. Eventually I came to terms that even tho in my head the men at the meetings should be respectful and treat me like a fragile newcomer its just not that way. They are human and they also have defects of character. Just because they have sober time doesn't make their behavior's or attitude better. I too have found 1 particular meeting where I feel very comfortable and decide to stick with that one. They all know my husband and treat me with respect. As far as some people asking their sponsor permission for everything. You're correct about that but just like anything Thats nit the case for everyone. Some people feel more comfortable being told exactly what to do. I myself talk to a few people and ask their opinion. I don't even call anyone my sponsor. I have friends now. Just people who have been through the same situations as me and came out of it ok. Its great that you found a group where you feel comfortable. Just stick with that one and do your thing. Don't let the stupid people of the support groups to dictate your opinions about the entire group.

      Comment


      • Deftones89
        Deftones89 commented
        Editing a comment
        I understand that some people feel comfortable with being told exactly what to do and if that works for them that's cool, but my opinion is that in recovery people need to learn to make some choices on their own. Even if it's the wrong choice, recovery is a constant learning process and we can learn from mistakes.

    • #4
      You're absolutely right

      Comment


      • #5
        Eek! Is there any way to explore different meetings? I have attended with a friend to a larger group - as we are very geographically limited, and the ages were vast and varied. However, the energy in the room could have lifted me from my seat. There is another closer that I'd like to visit to see how things are, just to explore. I myself, have been struggling to get meetings started in my town since I am not a recovering addict. But I did do an article on SMART recovery and will be beginning the process hopefully next month to learn to facilitate meetings.

        I'd say just as I learned Algebra I only retained information depending on who taught me...keep searching until you find the right group for you!

        I think often that a lot of beginners come across these groups that tend to turn into a anticipated social hour of comfort zones with familiar faces. But, I'm not implying all are.

        I have recently found it to be very discouraging have opinions keep differing in the recovery community. I can agree that the metal work is necessary for maintenance of sobriety, but I don't believe there is just one way to go about it. Bottling up is what I do think is the key to avoid, hence the push for group meetings. I also stand by the addage that meeting new people is important. Depression and boredom do a lot to a solo mind and the objective is to steer clear of that. Not to forget the negative connations and shaming from larger parts of the communities addicts remain in. All in all, I agree that working to become better is successful only when the work is put in by the individual seeking change. The ultimate goal is a good one and won't work without each step on the way up the staircase. Most uneasiness waves though after the first 15 minutes and seeing that the environment is not what was predicted from being accustomed to unacceptance. No group should push or demand involvement, but it should come in its own time, too.

        The fact that you didn't mesh with the one attended, I would say has fallen into the ones attending being the only ones attending. But nevertheless not acting in accordance to beliefs. If groups run with complacency they will run stale.

        Don't give up in searching. And there will always be a few in each group that may rub you wrongly. Always speak up and stand up for yourself. No one can do more than you allow, nor should they, when it comes to your being comfortable. The general beliefs they follow are steps that are proven to work. And talk to people about finding a sponsor. It is taken seriously in the NA/AA communities, but each person is different. Find a sponsor you feel comfortable with and as that may take time, ask around. Never feel that you are limited in options, especially today and in the present time. There are various tools available.

        Proud Advocate,
        Kristi

        Comment


        • #6
          I must say I was absolutely thrilled to read your post! I have been at a crossroads with my own recovery, mainly due to the same conditions you speak of. I suppose I arrived at this point when my "sponsor" broke the "code" and told others what I told her expecting confidentiality. What I have realize (8 months without her), is that I can do it without going to meetings. I am now a little over 3 years clean,(3 years 1 month & 28 days to be exact). I do believe that the initial preaching and socialization in the NA/ AA community were of value. However, I must say as in my story, ( it's a long one), prison is what really really detoured myself from any further chemically induced criminal activity. I do appreciate a good meeting here and there. Yet, my decisions to persue my education into he field of Psychology/ Addiction counseling substance abuse aids me in a way far more spiritually nurishing. I am at the present a 35 year old mother of 7, (3 in the house), disabled combat veteran, full time college student, and part time activist. I find the best rewards in my life were guided by my sobriety.

          Comment


          • #7
            Katie,

            Welcome to our heroin forum community and thanks for relating on this topic. While I am a proponent of AA and NA for some, it was never really for me. There seem to be far too many unspoken rules that you shouldn't tell anyone you've chosen MAT because it's "replacing one drug with another" - meanwhile, before and after meetings and on breaks, 70% of the group lights up a cigarette outside the meeting. I guess some drugs are acceptable while medication isn't. But that said, I do believe they have value for some, but no, I don't believe meetings are 100% necessary for recovery - as long as you find something else for ongoing maintenance. For me, this community and online recovery works very well for me. Kudos also for working to become an addiction counseling. I have a master's degree in counseling and even though I don't work in a clinical setting, I'm really glad I went through the program and possess the degree.

            Peace and Love,

            William
            Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers.

            Find a Prescreened Addiction Treatment Center & Drug Rehab Facility

            Visit our Heroin Addiction & Recovery Blog for daily articles.

            I do my best to educate myself regarding addiction and recovery related issue, treatment options, etc. however, I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own and any advice you take from me is at your own risk and discretion

            Comment


            • #8
              Katie,
              Welcome to the forum! That is awesome that you are pursuing a degree that is helping you in recovery! NA and AA can be a great tool for certain people in recovery, my boyfriend goes to a meeting almost everyday. I met some great people in meetings, but they just aren't my thing. I don't agree with all the "rules" and some of the people in the rooms treat people on MAT like crap and that is just something i'm not okay with. The 12 steps and attending meetings don't work for everyone. Time limits and abiding certain "rules"...yeah not for me lol. My motto in recovery is do what works for you and what makes you happy.💜

              Comment


              • #9
                While I think that 12 step programs can be helpful to some, I do not think they work for everyone. In fact, sometimes I think they aredetrimental. I have found the rooms (many meetings across many states) to be awash in contradiction. Their insistance that it is the "only" way to recovery is absolutely absurd! Where else in modern medicine are we expected to treat our "disease" with a spiritual solution? Imagine if we told someone with bi-polar, or diabetes to find a spiritual solution? They would tell us to "kick rocks!"

                We have to remember that while it can be helpful, AA/NA are NOT addiction treatment! From the AA website:

                The primary purpose of A.A. is to carry its message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking help. Almost every alcoholism treatment tries to help the alcoholic maintain sobriety. Regardless of the road we follow, we all head for the same destination, recovery of the alcoholic person. Together, we can do what none of us could accomplish alone. We can serve as a source of personal experience and be an ongoing support system for recovering alcoholics.

                By their own words it's purpose is an ongoing support system, which is important while seeking recovery. Everyone needs support, however the support they need can differ greatly. While many 12 step members get VERY angry when I say that AA/NA isn't addiction treatment, I always gently point out that the fellowship's own words back me up!

                AA was founded in 1935, long before we knew much scientifically about addiction and the brain. We shouldn't forget that "spiritual solutions" were also used to treat homosexuality back then. It seems laaughable now that anyone would try to treat homosexuality (as it isn't anything that needs treatment!) with prayer, but yet people are still looking at prayer to treat something that is physiologically based!!!! Every physical condition known to man is treated with modern medicine, yet we give addicts treatment from the dark ages! It amazes me with how much tenacity much of the public and also much of the recovery sector still insist on treating this illness with outdated means. In no other area of medicine would this be tolerated!!!!

                That is not to say that spirituality is not helpful to some people. A lot of people who suffer from illnesses find solace and support through religion or spirituality while they are going through treatment. BUT, THE RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY ARE NOT THE TREATMENT!!!! AND IT SHOULD BE THE SAME WITH ADDICTION!

                I think there would be less conlict in the recovery commumity if 12 step programs followed their own published literature and didn't try to pass themselves off as something they are not. They are a fellowship for support. They are not evidence-based addiction treatment.

                Comment


                • #10
                  This post is a year old but still very current. I have seen just about every type of NA AA meeting there is. I went to many to try to find a fit and it was a lot of meetings. I learned that there are people who get the clean and sober but still are not all together yet. Some meetings were just whining sessions where people blamed everybody else for there life. There were meetings where people read monotone plastic covered excerpts from the Book and sounded so bored reading them. I saw so many girls, guys getting hit on it was like being at a bar. You have to find the right place for you. One thing though and I think this is true especially true in your early stages of recovery. If you are that a meeting you won't be using. Think of how people would be treating you if you were at a bar or on the street. I hang out at at a coffee place almost daily and the stuff i hear there I would cringe if people said that stuff at meetings. People are going to be who they are. I don't like meetings but I still go just be reminded of where I was when I see the new people. like Katie said the institution of incarceration was enough for me. I lost so many many people I stopped counting. Milwaukee finished the year with over 400 known OD deaths. Whatever works for you keep doing it. I was clean for ssoooo long before relapsing when my soulmate/wife was killed by a drunk driver and after getting clean again nothing went away so it was a stupid waste of time and I hurt t so many good people. So I say go to the meetings and you will relate to somebody who will help or motivate you. It is pretty much like dealing with people anywhere else you go. Good Luck and do good.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Ciolli,

                    Thanks for your post on this topic. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with responding to an older post because topics are often still relevant. I've never been to Narcotics Anonymous but I've been to Alcoholics Anonymous over 2 dozen times. I went to the same location each time but picked different days and times to see and meet different people. The atmosphere was surely different each time but to be honest, I never felt like part of the group. Yes, I could have been more social, but nobody was interacting with me and we did the same thing every time. Sure the stories were different and a lot of people used profanity (not that it's a huge deal, but surely not professional). But at the end of the meeting, everybody got into their clicks and talked while I stood there alone. It's funny how they tell you that you are welcome but at the end of the day, not many people really try to make you feel welcome. Like I said I know I could have been the social one, but you would think since I announced that I was new that some people would try to talk to me. Nope, nothing beyond a "hi". Too bad. But I'm sure others have had much better experiences. After all, people there were clearly in clicks so they had to connect as newbies at one time.

                    Peace and Love,

                    William
                    Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers.

                    Find a Prescreened Addiction Treatment Center & Drug Rehab Facility

                    Visit our Heroin Addiction & Recovery Blog for daily articles.

                    I do my best to educate myself regarding addiction and recovery related issue, treatment options, etc. however, I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own and any advice you take from me is at your own risk and discretion

                    Comment

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