Can someone be addicted to AA?

Old 07-17-2011, 12:48 AM
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Can someone be addicted to AA?

Can someone be addicted to AA?

My husband has just had his 1 year anniversary. He has been living in an Oxford house (with no plans to work on coming home, yet says he dosen't want a divorce), going to meetings 2-5 per day, has not looked for work since he returned from rehab (previously very work oriented excutive) and the only things he does are around recovery. I feel just like when he was drinking and gambling.

During the week days he picks up the kids from school and takes them to the Oxford house instead of our home until I return home from work (we have 4 year old son and 12 year old daughter) and he cannot understand why I would worry about this situation. I have seen many house members leave due to relapse and there are many kinds of men in the house not just alcoholics (not that alcholic is better than an addict in behaviors) I simply don't want my children exposed to anything unhealthyfrom constant talk about drugs people did or anything sexual happening with all the men in the house and a dauther entering into womanhood or my son for that matter (they do not do background checks on house members) and I don't want my children hurt in any way shape or form.

As to our marriage it has been reduced to only AA gatherings or I asked if he want to spend his 1 year anniversay with the family and we were invited to see him at an AA meeting. He had already attended 4 that day prior to the meeting we attended to show our support for his anniversay. The kids went to a daycare area for the meeting.

Everytime we ask him to do things he says he is busy with this or that for AA. We don't seem to have any value. He see the kids in the week quite a bit as he picks them up after school since he is not working. On the weekends it is not uncommon for him to not even bother to call and speak to any of us.

I feel he has not made any progress from exiting rehab and finding balance in the real world. I stopped drinking (didn't do a lot before couple glasses a wine a month) long before he went to recovery as I began to hate alcohol when I watched him spirling down. We don't hang around any of the friends that we did in the past that drink so we have supported him in every way possible but I feel taken advantage of and really feel not hope that he will ever leave the enviroment of the Oxford house and take back, even if it is slow and small steps, his responsiblities of being apart of the family. I don't want him to think I am pressuring him or expect it all now but there is no progression of any kind. I get the sense he thinks I am out of my mind when I say things that would require him to have responsiblities.

I told him I want to either return to counseling and either committ to someday after working with a counselor there is a goal to live at home or otherwise I cannot continue to live like this. I feel like I am single, I don't get any of my emotional needs met in our marriage at this time (not even little ones), and I done everything I can to be a supportive wife of this process of there comes a point when you feel like recovery is now the excuse to further emotionally abuse the family. When I told him he needs to make some decision he just completely ignores me like I didn't say the words. When I asked him about 4 days later if he was going to be respectful to me and give me a reply, he said I will by tomorrow. Well of course "tomorrow" has come and gone and there have been days filled with 4-6 meetings a day and and Oxford house convention so no time for an answer.

I am very happy my husband is sober PLEASE do not think by my frustrations I am not. I know my husband he is an avoider and this is what he has not addressed in rehab or out. I have found so much peace after he went into rehab and I feel like he prefers to manifest issues to perputaite problems. How much support can one man have and yet never give in return. I am to my limit. I have done anything that would be a positive support for his recovery but I know when I lay my head down on the pillow at night he would never return any of this support to me and hence why I just can't take it.

Maybe my expectations are off and I just don't "get it". I don't attend Al Anon as it is not a good program for myself, although I do have very much respect for it. I prefer to go to a counselor and work on my issues. So that is another issue. My husband is under the impression that Al Anon helps the family understand the AA program and what the recoverying person needs in support. I have been to many Al Anon meetings may 10-12 before I felt it wasn't the best option for me but I do know enough that I understand it is about me and not him, (classic behavior, right). He told me he would go ask someone who knows better than I do who has been around longer. He dosen't seem to accept it goes against some of my personal beliefs and it is simply not for me. I have been to several AA meetings with my husband and I actually see a much more positive atomosphere in those meetings (at different locations all over our large metro city) than the Al Anon.

So after all that venting is there a point where addiction to AA is looked at by members of AA & sponsors or are they fine with that behavior?
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:54 AM
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I'd be concerned with my children visiting their father in that environment too. It's great that everyone there is working on their addictions but it's not a place for kids particularly when there are no background checks. Considering that background checks are required for virtually everything these days if kids are involved, that sounds concerning to me as a mom.

As for your question of can someone be addicted to AA. I think that anyone with an addiction probably has a predisposition to move from one addiction to the next and there may well be people who get addicted to a program in an unhealthy way as opposed to working a program and pushing themself to use it healthily... Not sure if that's the case with your H, but the fact that he's concerning himself with what he thinks you should be doing with al anon, isn't willing to make a decision or communicate at least with you about the direction of your r/s, insists on keeping his visits with the kids in a place that you have good reason to be concerned about... those seem like worrysome signs to me... But that's just my 2 cents...

Sorry to hear of your situation-- I think that during the one time my H made a seemingly sincere effort with recovery I had hoped that he'd do an about face with lots of troubling behaviors. At the time it seemed that he replaced not drinking with a bunch of other addictive, haughty behaviors and I'm not sure he ever really got on board with the recovery thing... As for your H's sponsor and you asking if his sponsor approves of or would say anything to your H about some of what you describe... what I noticed with my H is that when he wasn't genuinely invested in recovery it really didn't matter one bit if he had a sponsor. He's had sponsors and b.s'd to them to make them think what he wanted... Alcoholics are con artists (my T's description and he has worked with A's and their families for 30 yrs). They will and can con anyone and until they decide they want to live differently it really won't matter whether they have a sponsor or not-- the sponsor is there to support the willingness that has to exist in the person who is recovering.

Just based on reading what you wrote it sounds like there's a lot of addict thinking still going on with your H and addict behaviors. It sounds from reading what you wrote that your H is using Oxford house as a hideout to not have to deal with any of the parts of life that he doens't choose to and maybe that is a part of recovery but it sure sounds frustrating to be on the spouse side of...

If I were you I'd talk to someone legally about whether you can require that your H see the kids somewhere other than the rehab house. That makes me very nervous too.
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:56 AM
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I am no expert but I'll give this a shot. Your title reads can someone be addicted to AA? While reading your information I believe you mean to say my husband is negleting the family and is possibly overdoing AA or using it as an excuse to neglect us. Am I close or correct here? I like your "goal to live at home" or otherwise you cannot continue to live like that. I don't think you're being unreasonable. I do think being concerned with whether he is addicted to AA isn't getting to the heart of the matter and may even confuse the issue. I would suggest putting that on the back burner, for now.

I feel your pain. Keep posting, and I'm sure others will be along, too.
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:58 AM
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Usually when I read questions about "addictions to AA" I figure someone is exaggerating a bit or just doesn't "get it." Early recovery IS a slow process, and for some people that means heavy meeting attendance in the beginning.

HOWEVER, your husband's situation does seem rather odd. I've been "around" AA for a very long time (first husband sober 31 years) and I'm in AA myself, as well as having been in Al-Anon, and I don't remember ever hearing of anything QUITE like this.

I don't think your discomfort at having your kids hang around an Oxford House is at all unreasonable. I also don't think this sounds like much of a life for you and them. It doesn't sound from your description that he has any desire to come home and be a contributing partner. So I guess the bottom line is, are you willing to live the rest of your life this way?

You can be thoroughly happy for his sobriety and still not want the kind of life he seems to have chosen.

I'm glad you are seeing a therapist/counselor. What does s/he say about this situation??
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:51 AM
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Part of healthy recovery is finding a balance at some point. At a year sober, in my opinion, he's avoiding being more a part of the family with his AA "reasons" for not being there. I say this as a long-term RA.

I also would not be comfortable with my kids in a sober living house.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:04 AM
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4-6 Meetings a day? OMG that is way too much and not healthy. An old timer at a meeting said he used AA to get a life and he never intended to make AA his life. Recovery homes are sometimes dangerous places with sick people and having your kids there is unacceptable. I mean some recovery homes get government money to house people on parole getting released from prison. He seems to be using AA to hide from real life. It's more common than you probably think though.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:07 AM
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I understand what you are expressing, and think they we need to honor our gut feelings (feels like when he was drinking) as they indicate when something is not quite right.

I guess I am in the minority, as I was not going to see anything amiss with the kids going over to the sober house. But, as I AM in the minority, I will defer to the wisdom of this group.

I would agree that he is hiding behind the skirts of the AA/Recovery circle he is in. He is avoiding what the next logical step would be for you two, and your family. He's fearful for sure. Your plan sounds reasonable; follow through with it. I would suggest not placing judgments when you speak to him, just non-emotionally tell him that this is what you need to have happen to move forward....or to not.
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:01 PM
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I think there is healthy recovery and going to meetings every hour doesn't in itself make it so. If he is sober and this is the best he can do than it may just be that this is the best he can do sober at this time. Hopefully he will be able to venture outside that bubble because too much of anything (esp at a cost to other things) isn't good.

You said he was an avoider so perhaps that is where this stems from (not AA). But as an observer I wonder how well you are able to communicate all these thoughts to him and have an honest dialogue. Maybe there is a communication issue between the two of you if his current approach is straining your situation.

I have heard that in some SLE's, it isn't a good idea to bring children due to the backgrounds of some of the residents. Hopefully he is protective of them regardless.
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:02 PM
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FWIW, would not allow my children in a sober recovery house.

I think legally speaking, your husband has deserted you.
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Old 07-17-2011, 05:13 PM
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This type of thing seems to be more a manifestation of the fact that human beings have a remarkable ability to adapt to almost any situation. There is such a thing as getting too comfortable and finding a home in what is supposed to be "treatment". It seems that instead of being a "steeping stone" to recovery there is a danger that the treatment center can become the "recovery" as the patient has learned to function well within the structured environment but has no clue or desire as to how to apply any of it to real life.

Psych wards, rehabs and other recovery places usually strive to assure that the patient doesn't get too comfortable there. It's important that the patient never loose touch with the fact that the treatment facility is not his home and was never meant to become that. When and if that does happen the "Adults" in charge need to step in and clarify things.

This is a case where lines of professional conduct have been crossed. I know that most states have professional conduct investigators but I have no idea if they have authority over recovery houses. I also have no idea if these places receive federal or state monies.
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