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Is AA/NA Right For Me?

Old 12-08-2009, 06:03 PM
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Is AA/NA Right For Me?

Hey guys, I'm new to the forum and basically the whole recovery process so I wanted to try and figure out if AA/NA is really for me.

I certainly use/abuse drugs and alcohol quite a bit, to the extent that I have been told by several people (parents, etc) that I have a "problem". I tend to agree that I have a bit of a problem and want to control/eliminate my use. However, I don't really have an addiction in the sense of withdrawal, using everyday, etc. I drink maybe 2-3 nights a week, smoke marijuana maybe 3-4, and recently (last 2 months maybe ) have been using opiates 2-4 days a week.

I guess I'm just not really at "rock bottom" yet, although I don't really want to get there either if that makes sense? I have seen a lot of friends start down the "chipping" road with opiates and a lot of them ended up addicted. I want to make sure that doesn't happen to me, but at the same time I'm not 100% sure I'm ready to be completely sober, i.e. not going out to bars with friends on the weekends etc. I guess I'm just not really sure if my "problem" is to the point where I need to give everything up and do 90 meetings in 90 days and so on. On the flip side, I will admit I have made several half-assed attempts at "quitting" on my own in the past and none of them worked in the long-term, so maybe it is time I stop trying to do it my way and take the AA/NA route?

Any advice/input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:09 PM
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Two questions, skroomadoom: Do you find you have trouble abstaining completely, and once you start, do you find it difficult to stop? Meaning -- one beer (hit, fix, etc) leads to a second, leads to a third, leads to a fourth, etc....even when you intended to only have one?

Being an alcoholic/addict doesn't necessarily mean you are physically dependent, nor does it mean you have to use every day. There are plenty of alcoholics who only drink weekends and addicts that can stay away for days at a time, but eventually, whether we intend to or not, we pick back up, and when we do, it's never for a little buzz. Even if all we want is a "little buzz."

Peace & Love,
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:14 PM
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I'm not in AA or NA but I wanted to welcome you, skroomadoom

If you think you have a problem, coming here is a good step IMO no matter what else you decide to do for now.

Hope to see you around some more
D
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:32 PM
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I think it's not how often you drink or use drugs, or even how much, it's about what happens to you when you do. Are you able to stop when you want to?

I hope you take a look around and read and learn.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:34 PM
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I didn't drink every day. I didn't go out to bars every single weekend, even though I did most of them. I drank mostly beer, and I could control it on occasion. I held down a job and most folks had no idea I had a problem, but my life was a living hell for me on the inside where it counts. You may want to consider one thing. People who are not problem drinkers generally don't end up in AA meetings or in recovery forums.

If you have doubts now you may have to "experiment" some more before you are convinced. Unfortunately it is that way for a lot of us. I wish you well and I hope you stick around.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:43 PM
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I guess I'm just not really at "rock bottom" yet, although I don't really want to get there either if that makes sense?

it makes sense to me, but i am an addict. <smile> and no, you don't want to get there.

i just remembered something i heard in a meeting when i was still in rehab,
YET is an acronym for
You're
Eligible
Too!

alright, it seemed brilliant at the time, but the message was clear.
I am with sugah on this one, once you pick up can you stop at will?
or do you wake up the next morning feeling like crap with bits and pieces of the night forgotten?
i hope you keep reading.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:09 PM
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I think you are wise to be concerned.....you are useing
3 addictive substances several times a week.

Fortunately...in Atlanta they have many meetings of both
NA and AA. I don't know about NA....but I do know
anyone is welcome to attend an Open AA meeting.

If you want to find one near you....Call 404-525-3178
and ask them about an Open meeting.

You won't have to speak in an AA meeting...unless you
wish to. If called on..."I'm here to listen" is okay.

Welcome to SR....
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:11 PM
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So, basically, you're using something to alter your mental state from 7 to 11 times per week. That's based on what you wrote. That in itself is not a good thing if you ask me. But I can accept that I don't know the whole story.

From what I've learned, AA is not just for people who have reached the end of the line and have nowhere else to go. I go to AA meetings a few times a week. I've met some people who were much, much worse than I ever was.

AA, in my opinion, is for anyone who is in need of reaching out for help and friendship. It's for people who want to be a part of something more than themselves. That's how I look at it. They all share a common purpose...to stop and stay stopped. I think that anyone who is comtemplating quitting should really learn what alcoholism is and how it works. There are some good books that you can read on this topic. I couldn't tell you anything in regards to the other two drugs you're regularly using. But I do know alcoholism because I am an alcoholic.

There is a stigma about AA of course that pervades our society. That of course is that it's a cult and that if you are going to meetings that you "brandish the mark". Well that's just not the case, anymore. Every time someone speaks at those meetings they smash that stigma and open up a new world of understanding to anyone who cares to partake in being sober. I should know, I've said some pretty harsh things in regards to AA. But having actually gone to meetings I can tell you that AA is a good thing and that it truly does help anyone who is willing to put some effort into being a better person. Better, mentally, spiritually and physically among other things.

The bottom line is that only you can answer the question you ask. I just hope that my input has given you a little taste of what just one person has experienced with AA. Take the time to seek for yourself that which you are so curious about. Go to a couple of meetings and see what you think.

Good luck.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:15 PM
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First of all I want to thank everyone for their responses -- I definitely didn't expect to get so many replies so quickly!

As to whether I can stop when I start, I guess the answer would be it depends. In situations where it really wouldn't be appropriate for me to get drunk, i.e. family get togethers, work-related parties, etc, I don't have all that much trouble just having a few and stopping. A lot of times if I know I have to drive home I will only have a few so I don't risk a DUI. However, I do go out drinking literally every weekened night, a lot of times including Thursdays and on a lot of these occasions I will get more drunk than I planned.

I should mention that I'm in college so a lot of these drinking behaviors are more or less "normal" for a lot of my peers. I'm not really worried so much about the drinking itself, but more the drugs (especially opiates). I definitely use more drugs more often than most of my peers. A lot of times I will plan to quit this or that but then later on I will think "oh well maybe just this one last time". I've definitely tried to quit marijuana more than a few times and failed. Recently I've said that I'm quitting opiates several times and have yet to make it more than a week without them.

As far as having a problem with complete abstinence I guess I can do it for a few days and I don't freak out or anything its just that it gets boring after a while I guess. For me and most of my friends getting ****** up is just the default activity we do together so without it I'm kind of left with nothing. I guess this is what I'm worried the most about -- that I'm not really getting anything out of life other than getting ****** up.

I should also mention that I suffer from anxiety/depression and my self-medication with drugs/alcohol I feel may be preventing me from making any real progress on this.

The problem I guess that I have is that I'm worried about this being a slippery slope. Right now I feel like I'm just a few squares south of having a "normal" life but I'm also just a few squares north of being a junkie. Recently with opiates I've had trouble controlling my use when I want to and also when I use I often I guess you could say "fantasize" about using everyday and try to figure out ways for it to be financially feasible. I want to prevent myself from falling deeper into addiction but I guess I'm not completely sure I'm willing to completely change my life, isolate myself from using friends, etc and follow the NA/AA 100% sober lifestyle.

I plan to go to an NA meeting on Friday so hopefully that will give me a little more insight on what its like!
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:52 PM
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I never really drank alot. . liked the drugs more. . . could manage to stay stopped for a while, but I always seemed to end up using again.

Problem was, if I picked up a drink, I didnt know if this was the night I would end up downtown smoking crack and shooting dope. Oh sure, chances are I would not lose control. But if I am honest with myself, I really didnt know what would happen. Therefore my drinking was unpredictable.

With that in mind, I made a decision to stop. . . well, eventually, I would, you might say, forget my decision, and try the experiment of the first drink again. And you know what???? Nothing bad happened! Made it home. Didnt spend the rent on crack and dope. "See? You're not that bad!" I would tell myself. And continue casual drinking.

And then, someplace down the road, I'd find myself right back there, in places I didn't expect to be, wondering "How did I end up here again???" I had no intention of doing what I was doing when I started out the night.

I finally realized, I was doomed to repeat this over and over again. Eventually, I would die from this. Against my will.

NA/AA ??? I dont know, I've seen them both work. . . for people who wanted to stop.
I've seen 100% success for those who really follow the program as outlined in either text.

On the otherhand, I've known people say AA/NA didn't work for them, though when reviewing their actions, we usually find they left parts out.

I have also known people who have put it down on their own, never worked a program and led perfectly normal lives.

At the same time, I have known people who put it down, never worked a program and then committed suicide.

Myself, I love drugs. I love the way they make me feel. I love the camaraderie that comes with it. But it was killing me and I couldn't stop.

Am I an alcoholic? Yes. Why? Despite not being a heavy drinker, I exhibited these symptoms -

If I took a drink, the action of the alcohol on my brain produced a craving for more. I could not get enough. This usually led me to picking up hard drugs as I enjoyed the high from them more than the buzz from alcohol

My mind was capable of telling me I could drink safely. "You can go in that bar and have a New Castle Brown Ale (Man I love the bruinies!!!) and not end up smoking rock" Sometimes that was the case, once in a while it was not. I could not, though tell whther or not tonight would be the jackpot. It was playing russin roulette. To make a long story short, my mind was out to kill me!

"WHAT? My Mind is not right??? How could that be? I'm brilliant! Studied engineering and physics in college. Working as a high level Software Engineer at major Telecom company! There is nothing wrong with my mind!!!"

"Oh yeah??? Then why would you pick up that first drink?"

"ummm. . . heh . . . I have no idea!"

f*cking insanity! Isn't it???

I don't profess to know what your problem is. You might just be sociopathic.
I don't know that AA/NA is for you. I can tell you it works for those who really do it and don't treat it as a social club.

I can tell you that AA worked for me and changed my life. I haven't had a drink or drug in almost 9 years after 25 years of heavy drug use.

If you identify with any of my story, I urge you to get serious about this. The condition is fatal. Any relapse can be the one that kills you or someone else.

As Ive said on this board before. .

"The lucky ones go out fast. But typically it is a long, slow miserable, lonely death. Hopefully we go out alone, but often times we take others, innocent ones, out with us, too"

Man, I hope that helps.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by skroomadoom View Post
As far as having a problem with complete abstinence I guess I can do it for a few days . . . just that it gets boring after a while I guess.
Restless? Irritable? Discontent?

Form the book Alcoholics Anonymous 1st Edition "The Doctors Opinion"
Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks-drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:17 PM
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Hey,
I had the same story pretty much. I didn't drink all that often or use a whole lot as compared to A LOT of people. I tried to quit many times on my own and although I couldn't in the long term, sometimes I could go a couple weeks with nothing. I usually got hangovers after drinking, but only suffered withdrawal a couple times and even then I did not want to drink to make me feel better. Only those closest to me would indicate that they thought I had a problem.
I had a lot of people around me that used like i did or worse, which made me feel like I couldn't possibly have a problem. There was another side of me that considered it though, and really did think I had a problem. I mean, I didn't really care about drinking a whole lot, but if I started to run out of weed I was in a panic. It wasn't really that I needed to do it at the time. I just wanted it available if I decided I needed it. I often set limits that I couldn't abide by. I won't do it during the day, during the week, during this duration of time etc. These frustrated people around me and myself. My drug use along with my depression really got in the way of my process of growing up. I had a lot of issues and wasn't very dependable. While in college I decided that I wanted to quit for school. I had gone on a bender that progressed through my first semester and after that I felt I needed to clean up. I started going to meetings. I didn't get it at first. I would come to meetings and share. I would pick up a white chip and stay sober until break. During breaks I would go home and party with my sisters. Eventually I realized that I wasn't getting anything out of AA while repeatedly relapsing. I finally decided I would try AA the AA way. I got a sponsor and started the steps. 10 months later I'm here and my life has improved drastically. I still have a lot of bad days, but they're getting better and I really feel like I'm growing up. I'm learning about myself and about life in general. AA is worth a try, if you don't like it they'll fully refund your misery. .
Keep coming back, fake it till you make it, meeting makers make it, let go and let god, It all works, if you work it
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:06 AM
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Nice one on making the decision to go to a NA meeting, if you can make it clear on Friday that it is your first meeting then they should share with you how their problem progressed over the years, see what you identify with and who then maybe stick around after and ask a few questions from the people you can relate to:-)

You could always check out an AA meeting too?! Please let us know how you get on at the meeting!
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:47 AM
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I will admit I have made several half-assed attempts at "quitting" on my own in the past and none of them worked in the long-term, so maybe it is time I stop trying to do it my way and take the AA/NA route?
First welcome to SR!!!

Let me respond first to the "I will admit I have made several half-assed attempts at "quitting" on my own in the past and none of them worked in the long-term" Man I can sure relate to that, I did just that hundreds of times for many years, my drinking kept getting worse every time I started again, so bad that the last 5 years of my drinking I drank even when I did not want to drink, I doubt if I drew a sober breath those last 5 years.

Now for the second part "so maybe it is time I stop trying to do it my way and take the AA/NA route?" Before I went into medical detox I knew without a doubt I was an alcoholic, I knew I did not have a clue on how to even get sober alone, staying sober I had many years of failure at that! I was a DRUNK!!! In detox they told us if we wanted a chance to stay sober to go to at least 90 AA meetings in 90 days and get a sponsor, I did just that. In AA my sponsor and the old timers shared that if one wants long term good sobriety it is important to take the steps with your sponsor. I did just that, today I am free of the bondage of my alcoholism and self.

skroomadoom you ask if AA/NA is right for you, I really do not know, for me and millions of others it has been. I would be willing to bet money that there are both AA & NA meetings either right on campus or just off of campus, brother you are not alone, the newcomers meeting I go to every Tuesday is composed a lot of college students.

skroomadoom have you had enough, are you ready to step out into the light and stop heading down the road you yourself have described as a slippery slope?

From what you have said going to a meeting every day may be a good idea. From what you have said you are either drinking, smoking dope, or doing opiates every day of the week, seems to me that going to AA & NA meetings sure is not going to do you any harm! LOL

Read the bolded again, let it sink in.

You have recieved some great replies, hang around and let us know how things are going.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:26 AM
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Welcome I agree with what Sugah said. Someone asked me once, it might have even been on here haha, "If someone only makes purges once a week, are they still bulimic?" and the answer is obviously yes, and it's the same with drug/alcohol addiction. A lot, if not most of the really addictive drugs usually don't have 'withdrawl', atleast not a physical one, esp. if the addict isn't using daily. Addiction is more about the mental aspect of it. I have never gotten any type of physical withdrawl really, and could go days without using, but like Sugah said, once I do, I never succeed at keeping within a healthy limit. Never...not once. Addiction is kind of a 'spectrum' disease, in that it effects and debilitates everyone in different ways. NA is made up of addicts from all different walks of life who have had addiction effect their lives in many different ways. It seems as though you feel you need some help and if others are telling you you need help, you probably do. I had to learn after lots and lots of trial and error that this is not something I can fix by myself, and that I am an addict and never will be able to control this part of me. As much as I wish I could control my using like so many of my friends can, I had to give up the fight and admit that I can't. I tried time and time again to get my DOC under control, or to a healthy balance, but I can honestly say, there has not even been one single time that I have succeeded. I have also learned that this disease is not even about the alcohol/drugs, those are just the symptoms of a deeper issue. If you have a problem controlling your drug/alcohol use, chances are there are deeper issues that you may not even realize are there. Coming to this forum was a great step, this is where I first came when I started to think I might have a problem.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:30 AM
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Thanks again for all the replies! I'm really impressed with how supportive and helpful this forum is!

I've decided that it's time for me to at least give sobriety a shot. I'm in the middle of finals right now but after that I'll have a month break from school being at home and hopefully that will make it easier for me to stay away from drinking/drugs. I really feel like I need to give it a real shot this time because I know if I mess around during the break once I go back to school I won't have a good chance of getting clean.

I've only been sober a few days (since last Saturday) but this time I really feel like I have some momentum behind me. Like I said I plan on going to NA on Friday and I've told my parents that I plan to take a break from drinking while I'm home during the break (they don't know about the drugs) so hopefully they can help me keep my eye on the prize as well.

Do you guys have any suggestions on where to go to learn more about starting the recovery process? I'm looking around on this forum and I'll certainly ask at the meeting on Friday but do you guys have any other tips for someone just starting out?
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by 51anna View Post
I think it's not how often you drink or use drugs, or even how much, it's about what happens to you when you do. Are you able to stop when you want to?

I hope you take a look around and read and learn.


I have to agree completely with Anna. It's not what you take or how much or how often, it's what happens to you when drinking/drugging. Also, the fact that you're asking yourself if you have a problem, and finding this alcoholism/addictions forum, you may well have a problem.

Give sobriety a good try and see if your life improves. Your anxiety will definately improve if you're not drinking/drugging, as will your depression.

I too used alcohol to medicate my anxiety and depression, but the meds I'm taking for it don't work if I'm drinking.

Welcome to SR! Glad you found us!

One good tip I can think of is reading about addiction/alcoholism. Knowledge is strength, so read up on addiction. The Big Book of AA is also a good read and contains lots of good info as well as stories of people getting sober. Worth a read.
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:17 PM
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I sat at a rehab one night listening to the residents say, they didn't know if, they'd hit their bottom yet. Many of them had lived under bridges and done prison time etc.
I hit a bottom that, was very painful to me. Everyone has their own personal hell.

I can't tell you if AA or NA is right for you or not. AA has worked for me for quite a few years. I do regret waiting as long as I did to get into AA. At the end, I looked around and saw the damgae I was causing others from my drinking. It's easier to inflict pain on ourselves, harder when, we know others hurt from what we do.

This has been the best decision I've made in my life. There's no shame in admitting you have a problem with anything. The shame comes from repeating mistakes again and again and expecting different results
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:39 PM
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Skroom

In your case I would say go to meetings and read the book till you can make a determination. Be careful though. Addiction/Alcoholism is one of the few diseases that tells you you don't have it.

Terminal uniqueness kills a lot of us.
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