AA: is swim being brainwashed?

Discussion in 'General Addiction discussion' started by glitterfly, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. glitterfly

    glitterfly Newbie

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    hi everyone. I am a sober daze right now and has been for 7 days. she's been going to AA meetings despite the fact that she refuses to believe she is an alcoholic. unfortunately I has no transportation so she has to go where her friends go (which is AA) her depression is so fucking bad, which is what led her there to begin with (and the fact that she thought she was gonna lose her arm the other day after a ritalin binge) when swim just drinks and smokes weed sometimes things are relatively ok, but as soon as needles get involved she hits rock bottom and things just keep getting worse. so I finally gave in to her AA/NA friends and tried it out
    swim just got back from a meeting (and the socializing that inevitably comes afterwards). she likes the meetings because she feels like some of these people can really relate, but I feel mentally and physically exhausted all the time from all the introducing herself, and "how long do you have sober", and "are you getting lots of numbers" and "how is sobriety today" blah blah blah. there are still major parts of the program that I has problems with- such as the idea that after so much time of sobriety, one glass of wine or one puff on a joint is a "relapse" and you have to start all over. This seems too black and white to swim, and she feels like if she can keep a needle out of her arm and powders out of her nose then she's doing pretty well. but unfortunately AA/NA does not see it that way. so I am really trying to go with the one day at a time mentality for now, take what she can from it, and go from there. UGH THIS SUCKS. Swim wishes she had never gotten back in to shooting. damnit
    has anyone here been to AA/NA? I want to keep going but really can't agree that drug addiction and alcoholism are exactly the same.
     
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  2. antigenesis

    antigenesis Iridium Member

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    I don't believe in their once an addict always an addict philosiphy either. Isn't an addict characterized by a physical/mental dependancy? Doesn't that dependancy go away with time?

    On the other hand, I can completely understand why they would take that mentality. Instilling that mentality in people would help keep them out of situations where they would be around drugs they abused, and keeps the orginaziation from vicariously 'condoning' drug use by not calling it a relapse/failure when somebody partakes of an illegal substance.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  3. Forthesevenlakes

    Forthesevenlakes Platinum Member

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    I dont buy the aa/na tenets either, such as stating that drugs have complete control over you, surrendering yourself to a higher power, etc. You should look into cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is a faster (and reportedly just as efficient) way of controlling certain addictive behaviors without the cult-like overtones of aa/na or the lifelong commitment of going to meetings (ironically guzzling coffee and chainsmoking the entire time).
     
  4. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    I see that the AA is not optimal for you, but since you are going there, what are the positive sides of the meetings for you? Alcoholism is another drug addiction. A sneaky one to I might add. But that all depends in what stage of it you are in.
     
  5. glitterfly

    glitterfly Newbie

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    I am now leading the double life of drinker/user on the side, all the while still attending AA/NA meetings. they call this a relapse. I don't know what she calls it. I will gladly report a longer update very soon!
     
  6. oldman

    oldman Gold Member

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    yeah AA/NA is what made me initially give myslef the name "oldman" cause that's how I felt while I was going to the cult rituals. yes there is usually some good things that maybe you needed to hear. I do not condemn the organization for providing a place for people to seek comfort from a group of people with similar problems. but remember everyone is different and there are no degrees given in AA/NA no matter how long you're sober. many cult members fail to realize this.

    on another note a good read is "My Name is Bill" by Susan Cheever. obviously a chronicle of Bill Wilson's life. I found it very interesting to read because it made human the man that has been martyrized by the cult and legacy he left behind. one thing you will rarely hear in meetings about Bill W. ,whom everyone speaks of as if they knew him personally (he died in 1970), is that Bill was for anything that would keep a person from being a drunk (junkie). whether it was a new drug, therapy, vitamin, or even lsd. Bill aparently loved lsd (while sober). thought it may be a helpful tool for drunks and was a participant in many of the experiments with guys like Huxley in the late 50's. in fact the AA trustee's (people like the Rockefeller Foundation that gave them start up loans) confronted Bill at one point and asked that he please not endorse things like that in public else they would discontinue their support. he agreed to do so. anyway there were a lot of interesting things about the man you never hear of in meetings.

    another good book is "the complete guide to rational recovery" by Jack trimpy. very good if you have problems with AA. just another way of looking at addiction besides te 12 steps.

    I had a sponsor that continually wanted me doing work, he had been sober nearly 20 years. felt he worked the program well. he had the worst road rage and anger outbursts of anyone I've known. he always wanted to fight. this just seemd not healthy to me. seemed like denial more like. anyway sobriety is not all bad. it just is not a lifetime commitment to this oldman anymore. I'm still learning. I do know there are certain things I cannot control at all. I said bye bye to cocaine 14 years ago and know for a fact it is not an option. alcohol is a sneaky one too, especially because of it's availabilty and the fact that it's socially acceptible.

    good luck glitterfly, sometimes a period off everything is not bad. especially if deression is a factor. remember booze is a strong depressant, if your already halfway there it'll finish the job for you.
     
    1. 4/5,
      Very good realization/research, thanks for sharing!!!
      Nov 7, 2006
    2. 4/5,
      Interesting info and reading recommendations!
      Jun 25, 2006
    3. 5/5,
      Good post
      Jun 25, 2006
  7. Voices

    Voices Titanium Member

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    I don't disargree with anything previously posted.

    I do think, or I do believe that AA IS intended to 'brainwash'. That is why it is refered to as a program. It is a free service that helps an individual reprogram there point of view with 12 steps or rules or codes.

    Don't knock it, though, until you've read all the books Oldman listed and all the rest you can find. AA actually helps people.

    We all program ourselves or allow ourselves to be programmed. Hell, every single day the TV re-affirms everything about life that is phantasmagoric. We change the channel when something makes us uncomfortable, scared or anxious, and actively seek where we think and feel we belong.

    I can only suggest that if you have found yourself smoking and drinking coffee with a room full of folks that read the Big Blue Book, you should probably stay behind and help someone clean up the meeting space a couple of times. Just see what the hype is all about. IF there is nothing problematic in you, then it is all just a fun experiment in brain change.

    The great Annie Lennox said "Dying is easy, it's living that scares me to death".
     
  8. oldman

    oldman Gold Member

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    AA/NA is a cult. they will deny it, but it is. doesn't mean all cults are bad. they meet regularly, adhere to a written creedo, and are primarily only open to those seeking refuge from alcohol, drugs. I don't think it was set up to be a cult, I just think it has become that in order to preserve it's core values. we're talking about drunks and addicts who admit their lives are unmanagable operating this. I guess the few problems I have with the cult is their belief that it is the only way people ever stop using. this is false. in fact only about 2% of all those who enter a (AA)room for the first time will continue to stay sober. this is a generous figure. it is beleived that nearly 90% of all those who admit to having had problems with alcohol(drugs) seem to correct themselves with no 12 step help. those people in AA will tell you that they are not truly alcoholics. I guess their definition of an alcoholic is someone who was only able to get sober through AA.

    and if you've been to AA and stop going for whatever reason and you see someone from the rooms, they will surely tell you that you are destined for the road to hell if you don't get your ass to a meeting soon. this dynamic does work for some poeple I will not argue that. if your the kind of person that feels you need to tell everyone all the little worrisome details in your life it is probably the right place for you.

    glitterfly, be careful about using and then lying about it in the meeting though. this is not healthy for you. oldman knows where you're coming from, he's been there. just think about who you're really lying to though. when you lie to yourself it's that other voice that is taking over. the one that says it is okay if you just get high (shoot up, whatever) this one time for now. that's the monster you need to learn how to control. better to go to the meetingsand spill the beans. you will feel better than if you just got away with b.s.-ing everybody. it takes guts but you may actually help one of the others out by being honest. you're better off not going if you're gonna lie. remember their creed only asks that someone has the DESIRE to be sober. you won't get whipped or anything. you may not like what you hear (or you may). you don't have to go back. it's not like a gym membership that you keep paying on for 2 years. read trimpy's book I mentioned above.
     
  9. Voices

    Voices Titanium Member

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    Glitterfly
    Oldmans post above says what I intended to say much clearer (and less pretentious sounding; my appologies for coming across that way sometimes).

    Swim attended AA for the last time about 15 years ago. Swim never has been a drinker; being drunk is not all that appealing to swim: it's boring and I am a sad drunk.

    I went to AA meetings because the NA meetings swim attended had swim smoking herb during the breaks with other people who didn't think they needed to be there. I found AA to be a little more mature, if that makes sense. This was in Florida, again, 15 years or so ago; maybe NA meetings in your neck of the woods are better.

    AA and/or NA can really help you. IF you really want to be helped.
     
  10. INodHardOhYeah

    INodHardOhYeah Gold Member

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    Ok there are just a few misnomers here about AA/NA that need to be cleared up.

    Well lucky neither do they! In fact, at the begining of the NA book it states,
    "We cannot change the nature of the addict or addiction. We can help to change the old lie that 'Once an addict, always an addict,' by striving to make recovery more available."

    What this means is that the nature of addiction cannot be changed but, changes in yourself can bring about recovery. Thats what the whole program is about.

    Thats not a relapse, thats active addiction. A relapse is not using drugs, using is the end of a relapse. Let me explain, a relapse begins in the mind, it is when one who has been sober and has begun to change his/her way of thinking and behavior, slips back into that manner of thinking or behavior.
    Relapse does not come on suddenly it is a process over time.

    And relapse is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact relapse is part of recovery, not saying that you should or have to relapse, but if you do, you learn from it.

    When one has been in the program a relapse may be the jarring experience that brings about a more rigorous application of the program.

    Remember that there are a lot fo good meetings and a lot of bad meetings so I would look around and find some you like if you think AA might help you.

    It really takes a bit of time to find out what its really about, I hated it at first. There are some people there just to try and get ass and there are some of those I'm Jesus Christ types, but you'll meet a lot of really good people if you give it shot.

    I gave up on it a few months ago, becuase well I gave up, its a lot easier to shoot dope than it is not to shoot dope. I'll get it back one of these days:)

    What Voices and Oldman said was good advice. I don't want to sound like an asshole just wanted you to know that almost nobody likes it at first, but it seems like right now your not quite ready to quit, which is ok, its there if you need it, bunch of assholes drinking coffee in a basement ;)
     
  11. oldman

    oldman Gold Member

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    INOD sorry to hear about your stumble, but it is your life, you're the only one who has to live it (heard that in a meeting once), so you know what to do when you need to. I don't like to come across as anti-AA either. there are some good folks there who would give a total stranger the shirt off their back if he needed it. you are right about trying many different meetings before making the decision that it ain't right for you. tried NA also, agree with you on that. I don't kow why but they're just more toxic and there are fewer people with long term sobriety. some people I kow like going to them now and then because they say it keeps it green for them to hear some fresh toxic people. As I said before if you don't like it, don't go, but don't waste these peoples time and thoughts with lies and BS. at least give them (and yourself) that much respect.

    hope you're okay INOD.
     
  12. Bajeda

    Bajeda Super Moderator Platinum Member & Advisor

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    The reason they have that is alcoholism is an incurable disease. So once an addict (alcoholic is a better word) always an [alcoholic].

    I don't really see how it applies to drug use though. AA is good for alcohol but I don't think it would really transfer over that well to other recreational drugs.


    I find the "bible" of AA to be pretty interesting though. AA is quite spiritual as back in the 30s around when it was formed there wasn't much support for addicts of any kind in fixing their problem, including alcohol, so finding god helped many people with their addiction. I don't know if I personally would become very spiritual if I developed a serious dependency problem to some substance, but its a possibility.
     
  13. oldman

    oldman Gold Member

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    dude alcohol is a drug, just happens to be legal. don't confuse this with it not being a drug though. just more readily available and acceptable to the masses. it still affects you in the same sense (altered perceptions) as an illegal drug.
     
  14. Bajeda

    Bajeda Super Moderator Platinum Member & Advisor

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    I recognize that its a drug, but its just that the AA program is designed in particular for alcohol, which presents a different set of problems that many drug addictions.

    I think a more specific drug program would be better than sending them to AA.
     
  15. oldman

    oldman Gold Member

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    well, there's NA and CA, sex addicts anon.., and so on, they're all modeled after the twelve steps pretty much. the only difference you get in going to a non aa group is usually the number of very toxic (newly sober and very quickly going back out. I know this probably varies in certain areas and I'm not being judgemental I swear, I speak of nearly 6 years sobriety at one point with a lot of experience in these areas (meetings). It's just what I saw, the turnover was greater in groups geared more specific to just (illicit) drug use. there were plenty of drug users at AA meetings, it really doesn't matter if this is the route you choose. works for some but personally whenever I did outside things with people in the fellowship (golf or getting a ride with them in a car), they showed the worst rage I thought for people who came to these one hour meeting proclaiming to have all this serenity in there lives, seemed like they were just kiddding themselves about being so happy to me. well I'm not in sobriety any longer and I am still very happy. I know where to go if I need a dose of that world. they're not going anywhere.
     
    1. 3/5,
      Informative, Concerned, Helpful
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  16. Sklander

    Sklander Silver Member

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    oldman - SWIM shares a similar experience. I am having to go to AA for court brownie points, and I have noticed the same thing about rage, impatience, and selfishness. I have noticed a sense of false happiness, too. When people share and say "I am genuinely happy now", it is always accompanied with that small head nod of "I'm full of shit and wish I could drink normally". Whatever, its just what SWIM sees when he goes to meetings.

    AA can help you if you work their program, though. It sure scared SWIM into seeing what he could become if he didn't stop living the risky lifestyle that he was living which lead to him getting in trouble. So, in that sense, AA has helped SWIM; however, some of their principles seem to be down right nutty.
     
  17. oldman

    oldman Gold Member

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    yeah, it's like a good dose of reality isn't it sometimes. nothing like some toxic people to keep it green for you and show you how it could end up.

    my sponsor (well before he fired me) had 20 years sobriety. this dude wanted to fight everybody. strngers on the road that weren't driving fast enough, and this dude drove like a nut. guys the golf course that criticized the way he would hurl a club after an errent shot. told me finally if I wasn't going to work the program the way he thought I should, there was no reason for him to be my sponsor. haleluya. there also seems to be a trend that a lot of people after periods of sobriety their marriages fall apart. their spouses I think keep waiting for this monster to dissolve and it never does.
     
  18. Voices

    Voices Titanium Member

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    I knew a guy, when I was going to AA meetings, whose wife left him because he would NOT start drinking again. She said he was way easier to deal with when he was drinking and or drunk. She said at least then he'd pass out and she didn't have to deeal with his shit. They referred to that living hell as a 'dry drunk'; a very miserable thing indeed.

    AA can and does help people. And I know that Oldman knows this but, CHANGE DOES NOT COME OVERNIGHT. The saying "it has to get worse before it gets better" may damn well be a truism. I saw folks say they were happy to be free from liquor and I saw some folks mean it. The ones that meant it had to work at it.

    I got my 5 year chip from AA before deciding to act in such a way that negated said chips worth; but, in no way, and I mean in no way do I consider the experiences I had while attending those meetings worthless. I may very well owe the last couple decades of my life to the coffee halls of AA.
     
  19. London_Bloke

    London_Bloke Gold Member

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    I remember seeing an episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! where 12 step programs are discussed and the person who was making the counterpoints made some excellent arguments against 12-step programs for many people. Two books I do remember hearing about are Sex, Drugs, Gambling, & Chocolate : A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions by A. Thomas Horvath . Another is
    Overcoming Your Alcohol, Drug & Recovery Habits: An Empowering Alternative to AA and 12-Step Treatment by James DeSena. Both are available used for dirt-cheap from that big-ass online bookseller named for a big-ass river in Brazil, and both are geared to people who are not good candidates for 12-step.

    It may require a bit more research, but there are alternatives to 12-step. As an atheist, so I could never feel comfortable, no matter how much they prattle on about how there are as many definitions of "higher power" as there are people defining it. The bullshit factor would be too high for me, too.
     
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  20. glitterfly

    glitterfly Newbie

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    wow, thanks to everyone who has posted. i just moved and haven't been around the internet for a while. but i can't wait to read all this more thoroughly and respond. take care everyone