1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
  1. BitterSweet
    21268.jpg Take what you need and leave the rest; AA is full of suggestions that are asinine at best, harmful at worst.

    In my recovery, I am still often amazed at the kindness and generosity of people who, were it not for our shared affliction of addiction, would otherwise be complete strangers. In building a sober community for myself, I encountered people who cheered on my fledgling sobriety, invited me out to coffee, and shared with me their struggles and solutions. Thanks to them, my experience with 12-step programs has been largely nurturing and positive.

    When I first stepped foot in the rooms, I had no trouble admitting I was powerless over drugs and alcohol. So when presented with the idea “Your best thinking got you drunk," I understood it was time to ask for help and start listening to others who had walked the path before me. Most of what was passed on was simple and worked. Don’t drink and go to meetings. Call your sponsor. No big changes the first year. The very core of 12-step programs is ultimately one fill-in-the-blank working with another fill-in-the-blank. Yet, whatever we identify ourselves as, we’re still human, and totally fallible. The members of 12-step programs are incredibly diverse, and so is the wreckage we bring with us. In that generous sharing of experience and solution, I found that not all of it was for me. Finding my way in recovery has been as much about the “solutions” that are wrong for me as much as it is about the suggestions that are right.

    Once I had accepted the powerlessness of my fight with drugs and alcohol, I found I regained quite a bit of power in other parts of my life. Intuitively knowing what was right for me had been wiped away by pills and drinking; once I stopped, that little inner voice of reason started talking a little louder. It gave me the power of discernment, to understand that, while the solutions of others may be well-intentioned, they weren’t - and still aren’t - always going to be the right choices for me.

    “You Should Move Back in With Your Parents.”

    I came in through an institution, a 28 day program. I was 25; sending myself there was one the first acts of independence I had ever taken from a controlling, abusive, and co-dependent relationship with my parents. Sundays were visiting days at the rehab. My family would drive four hours to check on me during my stay there; once again, I was in trouble and they felt compelled to do what they could to “fix” my life. Who knows what was said during the visitor group therapy sessions, but at some point, the counsellor leading the family meetings urged me to move from my home in New York City and live in suburban Massachusetts with them. “Wouldn’t it be nice to just stay with Mom and Dad in a big house for awhile? Be around trees and just relax?” He seemed to think this would be some sort of early sobriety. . . vacation? Obviously he had no idea there would be nothing nice or relaxing about this kind of set up, that I would be moving into a situation where I would not be able to work, my every move would be policed, my privacy non-existent, my sobriety constantly questioned. He had no idea going to live with my parents would not alleviate any outside obstacles to getting better, it would become its own obstacle. This was one of the first times that long-dead voice of reason piped up and said, “This is a really bad idea. Do not listen.” Substance abuse counsellors mean well, but a CASAC certificate doesn’t mean they always have the right answer for your sobriety.

    “You Shouldn’t Need to Go to a Meeting Everyday.”

    Whether or not that decision to listen to myself actually kept me from an early relapse, I nonetheless stayed abstinent for another three years. By then, I was enjoying some of the positive by-products of sobriety, like a job I had always wanted. But it came with a lot of travel, trips filled with 14 hour days and mandatory socializing, leaving little time to sneak out to meetings. Upon returning home from one of these assignments, I confessed to another program member my need for more frequent meeting attendance.

    “How much time do you have?” he asked me. After replying I had three years, he declared, “Three years?! You should not need a meeting every day by now. You should be be able to function on just two or three meetings a week!”

    This struck me as completely counter to everything I had ever heard from the long-term sober, and exactly the habit to take up from every relapse story I’d ever been told.

    The voice inserted itself again. “Great if he can get by on 2-3 meetings a week, but that’s not for you.” I needed meetings just the same way I needed the drugs I abused - every single day. So, I didn’t listen, and I’m still sober.

    “You Don’t Need to Take Medication for That.”

    At four years, it became clear that what had been working for me before was no longer working for me. I was faced with the fact that it took two hours to leave the house sometimes. Why? I was doing things I knew had no real purpose, some which were downright weird. Sniffing my sheets. Changing my clothes over and over again, because they didn’t feel “right." Feeling an unspecified anxiety trying to just get out the door, or trying to switch tasks. At this point I had also been fired from the dream job. Why? I’m sure the mental drama and physical exhaustion of trying to will these behaviors into submission began to affect my performance.

    For years I had sworn off medications after previous negative experiences with psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists, neurologists. But it was clear: I could no longer deny previous diagnoses of Tourette Syndrome, OCD, ADD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Once again, I had to cede powerlessness over my brain, and with a new neurologist I trusted, began pharmacological treatment for these “outside issues." Discussing my reluctant surrender to medication with a fellow program member was met with the completely earnest counsel to quit the medication, and turn to the 12-steps to “cure” my neurological disorders. He said, “You should apply the steps to your OCD and stuff. You should do the steps again. . . this time harder!”

    Yikes. I had already, and very thoroughly, completed all 12 steps with a sponsor, and I truly made an effort to practice them in my life. And those steps I believed gave me an effective method to manage my addictions. But the “OCD and stuff”? After a few years of nothing stronger than diet soda in my body, I knew the steps weren’t the answer to my brain disorders. Prayer and meditation and surrender and belief in a Higher Power led me to find a doctor I could work with and to accept my situation. It did nothing to stop the brink-of-insanity sensations I felt every time I had to leave my apartment. I am thankful the steps helped me not pick up over the pain and frustration caused by living with a host of neurological dysfunctions, but I am also thankful I knew this person’s advice was not my “next right step.”

    “Don’t Even Bother to Go to a Meeting if You Can’t Be on Time.”

    Years after the choice to medicate my laundry list of comorbid disorders, the symptoms haven’t all gone away. The chemistry of my brain is still the right setup for somewhat handicapped “executive functioning” - like keeping myself organized and getting to places on time. Years of hangover-free living has still not made me a master of time management, and arriving to meetings on time is still a regular struggle. It’s not something I enjoy. Really, who wants to be that person making the scraping chair noises as the speaker qualifies? It’s not fun, and I say this from the perspective of being that person.

    I stayed silent in secret shame as a man in my sober social circle complained about latecomers and advised to all listening, “If you can’t be on time for a meeting, don’t even bother to go.” Being late is not ideal, but had I taken the words of Mr. Punctuality to heart, I would probably attend 10 meetings a year, not enough for this addict/alcoholic to stay stopped. I told myself not to file this one away as an excuse for the days I don’t want to support my recovery.

    One of my favorite lines from recovery literature is “One school would allow men no flavor for his fare, and the other would have us on a straight pepper diet.” We all come in damaged in different ways, and getting better is much the same. Sorting out what to bring with me and what to leave behind has become more instinctive and natural as I grow in my 12-step program. The inner voice becomes more mature and asserts its presence more with each day that I refuse to mute it with drinking and drugs. And I would say that’s one of the great gifts of recovery - getting to know yourself best.

    Author: Jenny Chu
    Date: April 16, 2014


  1. Dawn Godess
    Can i just make a suggestion? If you feel you need to interact in anyway and share with others. but find it hard to get out, or meetings with set times and ruling's aren't what you feel to be right.

    SMART RECOVERY do on-line meetings a few times a week, and there are many people that think and feel like you do. All you need to join in any discussions, ask for help, give yourself coping tool's is a set of headphones with a mike (skype type one's). Or you can use your keyboard and type, you can hear everything using the link on the SMART website.

    I don't know if you've looked in to this at all, and there's tool's on the site to help you handle whatever your going through as well and they encourage you to use YOUR inner power, we're not 'powerless' that's the one thing i don't agree with at NA and AA.

    Its about taking your own 'power' back. We all have it, it's just taking the step's that are right for yourself. There's no 'One size fit's all, whatever your going through :-D
  2. missparkles
    Dawngodess... must have been reading my mind as she came up with most of the things that I was thinking, most importantly (for me) was the powerlessness thing. Yes I can admit that I'm powerless over my chosen DOC, but over the rest of my life...no way. Surely admitting anything meant that I'd taken back my power, cuz after all, no one was admitting it for me or choosing for me to admit it, were they? I used NA/AA when I was first in recovery, I went to meeting for about 2-3 years, I even took up telephone service for a year. But I felt like (as was said in the very first post) I gradually felt that I needed less and less meetings until eventually it felt like I just outgrew both NA and AA. I suppose I've always been a proponent of the " If it works for you, and as long as you remain substance free, then it works, simple as." Recovery is personal to every single person, one size doesn't fit all, you can mix and match different ideas and philosophies, it's up to you. You know as we age our lives and circumstances change, same thing with recovery, after all it's part of who we are.

    Bitterweet... is there anything bothering you, specifically I mean? If there is and you want to talk about it please, feel free to DM me. :)

    Sparkles. :vibes:
  3. BitterSweet
    Hey guys, I didn't actually write that article lol i got it from thefix.com which is a great site dedicated to everything addiction related. It's not uncommon for people to post professional blog articles in the news forum. Personally, I'm not too fond of the 12 step model; I Think AA and NA are great as a support network, but I've never been able to relate to the philosophy. I understand the idea of admitting you have lost control to your addiction, but in my mind, I benefit more from realizing I do have the ultimate power, and it's a matter of recognizing that power instead of surrendering to the addiction demon. That's generally the way my thoughts go, it's a very subjective personal truth. But I do understand admitting the importance of admitting that you've lost control, as opposed to thinking you're still in control. I recognize that things are out of control in my addiction, so that's when I feel inclined to say I have all the power and I've been surrendering the whole time that I've been in my addiction. I'm not sure if I've worded that well enough, I'm a bit mentally scattered right now lol.
  4. Appeal to Novelty
    AA is a joke. It's worse than no treatment at all.
    Google: "The Sober Truth About AA and the Rehab Industry"

    Since, apparently, I am not allowed to post links.

    Also, people don't read online.
    And, by that I mean most people will never read more than 5 lines of continuous text on a screen. This is true. The average bounce rate is something like 15 seconds per page. No one reads online. No one. Think about this next time you go to a 100 post comment section of a news article. No one there read the article. No one.
  5. Dawn Godess
    How true, if your searching for an answer your not going to find it by not reading the whole article. The very answers you seek maybe 3 lines down or 50 lines down a page.

    Its a shame that everyone want's a 3 line miracle? If that existed no one would be on here or on drugs to start with, but will read for 2 hour's 'How to manufacture drugs in your Kitchen?

    That baffles me, people spend day's, week's months, year's, reading articles all acroos the web but can't be arsed reading one article that has all the answer's?
  6. missparkles
    ^^^so true, so very true. The times that I've heard people say that they relapsed cuz they were so tired/feeling unwell and too broke to find traveling money, so that they couldn't manage to get to a mandatory health check (and urine test) to prove that they were still clean, enabling them to continue to claim other benefits. Yet I'll bet that they managed to hustle around to find the money, and were not feeling too tired/unwell to get to their dealer to score.

    It does take effort and determination to not only get, but to remain clean, and how the hell can you say that tip number 25 won't help you in your recovery if you say that you've only read up to tip number 14? If you aren't prepared to try every option possible how do you know that one of these options might not have worked for you? keeping an open mind means just that, it doesn't mean that you only try the things that you think will work for you.

    I suppose it's all part of the quitting process and in all honesty I can say that I've been guilty of skim reading myself.

    Sparkles. :vibes:
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!