• Hi. It’s great to see you. Welcome!

    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life. Amongst our membership there is a wealth of expertise that has been developed through having to deal with mental health issues.

    We are an actively moderated forum with a team of experienced moderators. We also have a specialist safety team that works extra hard to keep the forum safe for visitors and members.

    Register now to access many more features and forums!

AA, NA, and 12 step programmes in toto.

A

Apotheosis

Guest
"I think the thing that I found most wearing after a while was the attitude of that AA was the only thing that would get you through life and that if you didn't keep on going then you would DRINK AND DIE!!!"

This is what gets me. The 12 steps is spiritual solution to a spiritual dilemma, the spiritual principles of the 12 steps are Universal, they are "borrowed" from other places. NA, AA, & CA (& the others) do not not have a spiritual monopoly on this, although some members think that they do. The meetings were great in getting me clean & sober initially, I have found that I am growing, learning & living without the need for such close contact with these groups & without doing everything they say I need to do. I do live my life according to a framework of certain principles - sharing honestly with others about how I think/feel, practising open mindedness, listening, willingness etc.

I sometimes argue a little with people who say - but your not working the steps! Shock Horror! So what, the sponsors I did have were not a great help, & I'm doing fine overall without the formal "program". All well & good for people who do religiously follow 12 step recovery, but I personally see that there are other perfectly viable & effective ways of recovering. One thing I found about the fellowships is the social support was one of the biggest helps - people to meet & chat to.

Where I live there are 7 treatment centres & a very large revolving door with people going in & out of recovery. There are the same small group of faces who you find at the meetings, but there is also a very large amount of transient wanderers, some of whom settle in one of the local towns which is frankly, for a number of reasons, an open air nut house & drug den.
 
D

Dollit

Guest
I'm also being told that I need to go back to AA because "it's a bridge to normal living" - I've crossed the bridge and I'm in normal living so why go back over the bridge? I suppose I should be selfless and spread my recovery but then would my recovery be any use if it was compromised by what I could and couldn't say because the disapproval of what I have to do to say sane lies heavy in the rooms? I'm much more valuable living in my life and doing the things I do. I get terrific support from some close friends, one in particular who (shock! horror!) treats me like I'm normal and I have a good mind of my own! There are lots of treatment centres round here too and sometimes you know they're just doing the treatment just to avoid prison and I don't think I need to be around that. AA did me a lot of good but I knew when it was time to let go. Oh yea, the spiritual thing - being a good atheist didn't go down too well especially with one guy who constantly told me that I must believe in god deep down because I was a spiritual person... :tea:
 
Rorschach

Rorschach

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
1,149
Location
W2
I opened this thread just to see the response, not expecting to see so many people pick up on it. Never mind a double whiskey, seems we all had our share of dual diagnoses ;)

There seems to be a real theme of 'it's great, apart from the step nazis'. I find people who seem to have swapped their addiction for the steps and pursue it with equal vigour hard work, in much the way I find 'evangelicals' of any description hard work. There has to be many ways to share 'recovery', perhaps using the lessons in our interaction with as many people as we can during 'normal' living?

It does seem that people, myself including, really benefitted from the change of peer group, social networking and support as well as the loose moral lessons that the steps allude to...

I've really enjoyed reading some of the input herein...
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
Hi Dollit, & all

I am not an Atheist, but I find Atheism very interesting & in many ways a highly responsible moral attitude to life, far more so than many who follow theism or monotheism. I admire the Atheist standpoint.

I have the "God Delusion" by Dawkins in my pile of books to read & I look forward to reading it, I have read parts & found it good reading. I did have a copy of the blind watchmaker but I was ill when I tried to read it & didn't get far. I am a fan of Douglas Adams as well, if my "signature" didn't give that away! He described himself as a "Radical Atheist"

I have read enough AA & NA associated literature from Atheists to know that it is no problem to follow the 12 steps with no belief in God.

My own "Beliefs" concepts or ideas on all this are wide & varied. In the simplest & most effective of terms my "Higher power" is other people to a large degree. Nature also figures strongly.

In terms of my "belief" in God I could be described as following panentheism, in the sense that I hold to the idea that "God" or a being which created the Universe is within the entire Universe & "became" the Universe when "it" created it. I also could be described as having animistic beliefs in that I see all things as containing an aspect of God or a "soul". I do have an idea that we all have God like higher selves - of which we are largely unaware & I agree with the idea of simultaneous incarnation. (The higher self is engaging in multiple 1500+ incarnations at the same time on earth). I am fascinated with ideas around a Demiurge, especially in the Gnostic sense of a "blind God" - This idea of a Demiurge is a potential answer to the problem of evil. In fact my ideas on all of this stuff can become quite complicated. :scared:

I do like Buddhism about the best of all the religions, especially of the Tibetan & Zen variety. It can realistically be considered an Atheistic religion. From 17-21 I obsessivly read & re-read the bible, I was convinced I would find a solution there. I didn't & I reached some definite personal conclusions.

Fundamentalism, especially of the Christian variety really gets my goat. I find it somewhat amusing that Christians often harp on about their Religion being monotheistic - when in reality it far more in line with a polytheistic religion, with the trinity, & especially in the case of Roman Catholicism; the veneration of the saints/Mother Mary, etc.

I have found allot of help from Reiki which isn't really a Religion, & also with the Egyptian belief systems, especially the Heliopolitian religion, which surprisingly could be called monotheistic; upon which allot of Egyptian belief was based. I do find the different faiths interesting, paganism I think as well an appealing system of ritual & belief.

All of my "beliefs" aside we realise & I think that many do - that we can live productive, fulfilling & spiritual lives in service to others - normal living on the other side of the bridge - without a dependence on the structures of AA/NA. With or without a belief in God. Many have done & do so.

I can't help thinking that Bill wouldn't agree with allot that goes on in the name of AA (NA/CA etc) - 12 step, today.

Out of inane interest the word Belief breaks down into be-lie-f.
 
ms_P

ms_P

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
3,069
Location
BeNeLux
I was going to join the local AA here about 3 years ago because I needed support. The people who were running it came to my house to interview me and tell me everything about the program and of course to find out about me.
I never went to one single meeting because those folks put me off as they were super religious and I couldn't take it. It still makes me sad that I missed out on it because of that.
 
cloudberry

cloudberry

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
410
Location
North Lincolnshire
AA and judgements from family - (personal experience)

Oh what a highly loaded thread for me...

My dad joined AA rather than die 19 years ago. Interestingly - he confsses he "never had a sponsor". OK.

My mum still crawls home from a night out at the pub with her cronies. My sister and I were rought up in a house of middle class lets drink all day boozers.

My sis drinks far too much and has been diagnosed MD / BP for fifteen years.
I drink far too much but am better than I was when I was suicidal. then there was nothing in my life to halt or care for, so a bottle (less actually but I was building up to a full bottle!) of vodka a day was minimum anaesthetic.

That was 2006. But from about 2002 my dad started telling me, in every single conversation we had - three ties a week - that I was an alcoholic.

It took me four years to try and prove him right. It was hard work. Being on and just coming off citalopram at the time I was really very agoraphobic. So would not go out, couldnt. So had to get someone else to get all the basics - bread, milk, cat food and booze.

I now just drink when I want to and have nothing to prove. Like 2yes Dad, I am an alcoholic like you - I'm in your gang" type thing. its just another form of abuse.

How do we define an alcohoic?
Well that is very personal. But for me, I've tried it. I tried very hard and in the end he sent me to a very expensive detox thing for a week. Then praised me because I chose not to do the follow up three weeks at the cost of £7000. The one week was £2800.

I took one look at this country house in North Lincs and thought - I dont think so. It was cold, dirty and all together a total rip off.

It doesnt surprise me that I got through the first week in the detox clinic with no ill effects from not drinking. As I can not drink now for days on end if I CHOOSE and have no physical or detrimental effects at all. I drink because I like it. thats the bottom line.

But I dont have to do it. Every day or anytime. i just like it. it helps me cope and I do it for boredom, loneliness and to cope with boredom and loneliness. Its a better anaesthetic for me than the wild madness of Citalopram. God forbid!

So, I was labelled an alcoholic by my dad. According to his thinking, anyone who had nmore than the odd glass of sherry is an alci.

I hasten to say - if I dont drink, I dont get the shakes. Whenn he was telling me I was an alcoholic and I tried tolive up to it I did shake by 11am unless I hit the vodka bottle. I havnt done that for over two years now.

I have attended many AA meetings and I found they made me even more depressed.

I am currently finally having psychotherapy and my doctor is not focussing on alhohol. I have only once turned up drunk to a session and that was when I didnt have the balls to tell her something really core tat I needed to get off my chest. it was a case of Dutch Courage . I'm sober as much as I want to be.

Alcohol has never ot me into debt, nor taken anything away from me that I didnt want anyway.

Going to AA meetings when i was really deply distressed and depressed - at the insistence of my father (he pays my bills). as making me worse. I quite quickly found that sharing space with such degenerate (mostly) men was har work and really rather disgusting as a woman.

And I couldnt "relate" even to the women - who described stealing credit cards for booze, ripping their family and friends off, being absolutely dishonest and basically criminal. I didnt like mixing with that sort of person.

I'm not saying I am too good for that. i used to be a therapist. Nothing shocks me. But i have never stolen to feed a booze habit and have resented this "Labelling" done by my father.

Its still going on.

Smiles - rest assured, I've enjoyed a couple of Carlesburgs this evening and I and my cats are fine. I'm up in the morning as I am every morning for my vol work.

In a word - decide for yourself.

You are your worst enemy or your own best friend.

cloudberry
 
cloudberry

cloudberry

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
410
Location
North Lincolnshire
Typos

My computer is in for mending. And I am on a friends who has been kind enough to lend it to me. The key board doesnt keep up with my typing ( I touch type). So please ignore all the typos in my thread. It looks like I am totally pissed...... ! I wish! well - you have to laugh.

s


Oh what a highly loaded thread for me...

My dad joined AA rather than die 19 years ago. Interestingly - he confsses he "never had a sponsor". OK.

My mum still crawls home from a night out at the pub with her cronies. My sister and I were rought up in a house of middle class lets drink all day boozers.

My sis drinks far too much and has been diagnosed MD / BP for fifteen years.
I drink far too much but am better than I was when I was suicidal. then there was nothing in my life to halt or care for, so a bottle (less actually but I was building up to a full bottle!) of vodka a day was minimum anaesthetic.

That was 2006. But from about 2002 my dad started telling me, in every single conversation we had - three ties a week - that I was an alcoholic.

It took me four years to try and prove him right. It was hard work. Being on and just coming off citalopram at the time I was really very agoraphobic. So would not go out, couldnt. So had to get someone else to get all the basics - bread, milk, cat food and booze.

I now just drink when I want to and have nothing to prove. Like 2yes Dad, I am an alcoholic like you - I'm in your gang" type thing. its just another form of abuse.

How do we define an alcohoic?
Well that is very personal. But for me, I've tried it. I tried very hard and in the end he sent me to a very expensive detox thing for a week. Then praised me because I chose not to do the follow up three weeks at the cost of £7000. The one week was £2800.

I took one look at this country house in North Lincs and thought - I dont think so. It was cold, dirty and all together a total rip off.

It doesnt surprise me that I got through the first week in the detox clinic with no ill effects from not drinking. As I can not drink now for days on end if I CHOOSE and have no physical or detrimental effects at all. I drink because I like it. thats the bottom line.

But I dont have to do it. Every day or anytime. i just like it. it helps me cope and I do it for boredom, loneliness and to cope with boredom and loneliness. Its a better anaesthetic for me than the wild madness of Citalopram. God forbid!

So, I was labelled an alcoholic by my dad. According to his thinking, anyone who had nmore than the odd glass of sherry is an alci.

I hasten to say - if I dont drink, I dont get the shakes. Whenn he was telling me I was an alcoholic and I tried tolive up to it I did shake by 11am unless I hit the vodka bottle. I havnt done that for over two years now.

I have attended many AA meetings and I found they made me even more depressed.

I am currently finally having psychotherapy and my doctor is not focussing on alhohol. I have only once turned up drunk to a session and that was when I didnt have the balls to tell her something really core tat I needed to get off my chest. it was a case of Dutch Courage . I'm sober as much as I want to be.

Alcohol has never ot me into debt, nor taken anything away from me that I didnt want anyway.

Going to AA meetings when i was really deply distressed and depressed - at the insistence of my father (he pays my bills). as making me worse. I quite quickly found that sharing space with such degenerate (mostly) men was har work and really rather disgusting as a woman.

And I couldnt "relate" even to the women - who described stealing credit cards for booze, ripping their family and friends off, being absolutely dishonest and basically criminal. I didnt like mixing with that sort of person.

I'm not saying I am too good for that. i used to be a therapist. Nothing shocks me. But i have never stolen to feed a booze habit and have resented this "Labelling" done by my father.

Its still going on.

Smiles - rest assured, I've enjoyed a couple of Carlesburgs this evening and I and my cats are fine. I'm up in the morning as I am every morning for my vol work.

In a word - decide for yourself.

You are your worst enemy or your own best friend.

cloudberry
 
bluenomore

bluenomore

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2009
Messages
5,532
My experience fwiw...

Started attending NA/AA meetings in Thailand. It was difficult at first because I would just turn up at meetings and start crying uncontrollably. I started to get frustrated as people just said to me "keep coming back". Also I regarded myself as an atheist and had a hard time with the 'God as you understand Him' phrase.

I persevered though, and at least I was able to be in the company of others who understood some of the things I was going through. We held meetings on beaches, inside Buddhist temples; it was a calming, safe place to share.

Eventually though, i was in such a mess I had to return to England. By some strange coincidence, I had met an English guy who'd been on holiday and who was a drug worker and ran a 12 step meeting close to where my parent's lived in England. He arranged for another member (who I'd never met) to pick me up from Heathrow airport when I returned to the UK.

I started to going to meetings (at least 100 in 100 days). I had the use of my parent's car and would give lifts to ppl. I started working through the steps with my sponsor (the guy I'd met in Thailand). I really got into the 'Big Book' but something wasn't right with me. I started to feel I was being brainwashed. Maybe i just felt an anti-group thing.

One day I had a relapse (with an addict I'd been giving a lift) and went on a crack binge that lasted a week.

Since then, I've managed to stay off drugs but I now have a negative vibe about the 12 step meetings. Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of great ppl who attend the meetings, and there's a lot to be said for mutual support among recovering addicts.

But it wasn't for me. Just my 2 penny / 2 cent / 2 baht's worth

x blue
 
Top