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Old 01-29-2011, 09:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Addicts in AA...


I went to an AA meeting today, stayed afterwards, got phone number and a potential sponsor, and bought a 12x12. I've only been to a handful of meetings a couple months back, but I'm ready to attempt to work this program.

The thing is, I am an addict as well as an alcoholic and I'm wondering how this works in AA? Is it taboo to talk about ones addiction/drug use? Are most people that sponsor in AA ok with a person who is an addict as well as an alcoholic?

Initially I just assumed that it would all be accepted because I thought alcohol was just another drug. BUt I've read a couple posts around here that give me the impression that maybe it's not so acceptable?

Somebody needs to start up an AAA group... Addicts and Alcoholics Anonymous.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Many in AA also had addictions. It's an issue, really, only if an alcoholic/addict chooses to make it one... And believe me, many do, as we will soon see, I am sure, in this thread.

AA is about recovery from alcoholism. Many find that working a good program in AA also relieves them of their addiction... But if it doesn't... then NA would be wonderful to do along side AA.

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Old 01-29-2011, 10:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Too bad AA doesn't stand for Addictions Anonymous. That would cover everything..and alcohol is a drug..it is mind altering.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There are also NA (narcotics anonymous) meetings. I live in a pretty small town but there are always 2 AA meetings every day and at least one NA meeting. They are virtually the same thing, the big difference I have noted though is that much younger people attend NA meetings (like myself) and older folks usually have booze troubles and attend AA. They both use the 12 steps, sponsorship, all that stuff. I don't mean to trouble you but be careful around the NA meetings. I have heard many stories of drug dealers hanging around the meetings afterword to try and get you back into it. Just be aware is all.

Find God brother and a little humility and you will be alright. I will pray for you sincerely!
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm "both," though I don't see my addiction as separate from my alcoholism. Some do. I quit trying to convince them otherwise.

AA is my primary fellowship, and I take my directions from the Big Book, though I still consider myself a member of NA, too (even though it's been years since I went to NA meetings regularly). When I'm in an AA meeting, I identify as an alcoholic. That I hold membership in another fellowship where I call myself an addict is irrelevant to my membership in AA. So, I'm not "An alcoholic and an addict." To do that unnecessarily sets me apart from the primary purpose of AA.

How do I handle my use of substances other than alcohol in AA? That's easy. I seldom find the need to specify substances when I share. The problem is me, not the substance (the symptoms), and the solution is the steps. The only times I really have to reference substances is when I give a lead, and then I do it in such a way that it's clear those are the symptoms of the problem, not the problem itself. Any discussion of specific substances is usually kept between my sponsor and me, or between me and those I sponsor (I usually end up working with the women whose symptoms include drug use/abuse as well as alcohol).

A good sponsor is going to help you to focus on the problem, not the symptoms--so, in my experience, if she's been around at all and has seen that in very few new people alcohol abuse is the only symptom of their alcoholism, then, yes, she'll be open to helping you. If, on the other hand, you don't think you have a problem with alcohol, you might have more difficulty finding sponsorship--in either fellowship.

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Old 01-29-2011, 10:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think the Third Tradition was a smart move. I know that when I read posts on the Newcomers' forum that are from people primarily interested in recovering from drug addiction, I skim right past them. Not out of any sense of superiority (I've never had a problem with drugs), but rather because I can't relate. Yes, alcohol is a kind of drug, but it is much more socially pervasive than other drugs and the issues are, well, somewhat different. The withdrawal issues are different, the societal pressure to "go ahead and have one" are different (in my world, anyway).

Drug addiction is every bit as tragic as alcoholism. One group isn't any "better" than the other, and nobody sets out to get addicted to either one.

Most of us, I think, find ourselves identifying more with either AA or NA as a primary source of our recovery. I think for the sake of others who are there for the particular issue the group is addressing, it's important to keep the focus on that issue. I have no problem with someone who alludes to his or her drug addiction at an AA meeting, but I don't like it when that person makes his or her share ABOUT the drugs instead of about the alcohol. If you need to share in detail about drugs, I think it's best to either have a sponsor who is equipped to deal with that, or to spend some time in the rooms of NA.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In the very beginning of my recovery I spent about 2+ months attending all kinds of meetings (AA and NA) multiple times a day looking for the meetings where I felt most comfortable.

I thought I found an awesome group in AA and began to attend regularly and got to know people. One day when the secretary asked if there were any announcements from the group at the beginning of the meeting a guy who attends the meeting regularly and had some solid clean time stood up and identified himself as an addict. After he finished saying what he had to say - which was an announcement about an upcoming AA function - she reminded the group that this meeting was for alcoholics and that we need to remember to identify ourselves as such.

I realize that this may be this particular person's issue or maybe it was part of the group's conscious, but I instantly felt separated from the group. My doc was not alcohol, but alcohol did play a big part in my use.

I didn't give up on AA meetings though. I am currently working the steps with an NA sponsor, have an NA homegroup and I also have an AA homegroup that is an awesome group of people who openly accept people for who they are or what they identify themselves to be. No matter what, we are all there with a desire for recovery. Of course there is never an issue with alcohol in NA because we view alcohol as a drug. The second time I work the steps it will be with an AA sponsor who I've already talked to and knows very well my history of drug use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora80
The thing is, I am an addict as well as an alcoholic and I'm wondering how this works in AA? Is it taboo to talk about ones addiction/drug use? Are most people that sponsor in AA ok with a person who is an addict as well as an alcoholic?
So I guess to answer your question....it depends.

Wishing you the best!
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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One more thing....

I grew up with an alcoholic dad. The disease took my dad's life in 2004. It is comforting for me when AA men of the age my dad would be get up and share. I can never know my dad's story, but listening to these guys share has helped me learn about my dad and forgive my dad whom I loved with all my heart and soul and whom I miss so much.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glitter View Post
One day when the secretary asked if there were any announcements from the group at the beginning of the meeting a guy who attends the meeting regularly and had some solid clean time stood up and identified himself as an addict. After he finished saying what he had to say - which was an announcement about an upcoming AA function - she reminded the group that this meeting was for alcoholics and that we need to remember to identify ourselves as such.

I realize that this may be this particular person's issue or maybe it was part of the group's conscious, but I instantly felt separated from the group.
Just for discussion purposes... (emphasis in the quote mine)

Which particular person's issue? The secretary's or the person who identified as an addict? Or yours for feeling separated?

Think about it...

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Old 01-29-2011, 12:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks Mark for pointing this out and making me see that I can only speak for myself.

At that time in my very early recovery I desperately needed to feel "a part of." My attendence at meetings was literally replacing my urge to use. When I heard what was said I instantly felt different, not accepted for what I identified with and felt sorry for the addict guy (I have no idea how he felt). You could hear a very low moan from some in the group ("what does it matter?") after the secreatry said what she said.

At any rate, I guess my point...."it depends" was my main message. What was said at that meeting on that day didn't drive this addict away from AA.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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What was said at that meeting on that day didn't drive this addict away from AA.
Good!

Sharing your experience, strength and hope helps all of us... And thanx for taking my post in the spirit intended!

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Old 01-29-2011, 12:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It depends on the particular group. Some groups are tolerant of addicts while some others are not. In my experience, most groups are tolerant of addicts. However, some are not. However, you are welcomed in either if you have an honest desire to stop drinking and using. Nonetheless, you must respect the third tradition if any groups takes a hardline stance on it.

Try different meetings and find ones that you like. Not all meetings are the same. Different meetings tend to have different personalities, which occasionally ebb and flow. Take some time and find ones that you like.

Some people have trouble relating to other addictions, so they don't like others sharing about their addictions. However, I would suggest that you find a group that tends to focus on the solutions rather than have members go on drunkalogues and drugalogues. Even though some people have been taken hostage by different drugs, we have a common solution as outlined in the 12 steps.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Another thing about that meeting is that it was a newcomers meeting and was regularly attended on that particular day and time of the week by a treatment center that brought both "alcoholics" and "addicts."

I don't know. Maybe it's just not the message I think is useful for early recovery, whatever one is trying so hard to recover from.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The thing is, I am an addict as well as an alcoholic........

Both Bill W & Bob S., the co-founders of AA were.

Is it taboo to talk about ones addiction/drug use?

Not in most AA groups......

Somebody needs to start up an AAA group...

Already did, they will be happy to come jump start your car!
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Old 01-29-2011, 04:52 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I need to be able to identify and to share my story, I am an NA member but I go to two AA meetings where they are open enough for addicts to share there story and the meetings have a strong message.

I don't consider myself an Alchoholic and an Addict, I am an addict, Alcohol is a drug.

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Old 01-29-2011, 05:02 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
It depends on the particular group. Some groups are tolerant of addicts while some others are not.
That's true of the town I live in. Some newcomers in my home group will identify as a addict and rarely will anybody mind.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for the replies! The thing is, my addiction and alcoholism are like peas and carrots. I don't have the urge to use unless I am drinking. Using is a major consequence of drinking for me, and a big fear and a lot of motivation for me to quit drinking. There are of course many other consequences to my drinking, but using is one of the biggest. When I do share and open up, it will be hard to be honest without mentioning the drug addiction aspect. I don't plan to dwell too much on the drug part, and in fact most likely won't even get in to naming the drug of choice. But I will be miffed if someone has a problem with me talking about the worst consequences of my drinking... the using. Everyone else talks about the consequences of their drinking, I don't know why I shouldn't be able to be completely honest just because drugs are involved.

Probably this won't be a problem though.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:34 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Don't let it become one......just take care of you.
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:56 AM   #19 (permalink)
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As I said, I don't think it should be a problem to mention it (though you need to be prepared for the possibility someone may take exception to it). I just wouldn't dwell on it in your shares, and it sounds like you don't intend to.

Some people I know who mention drugs as part of their story preface it with sort of a disclaimer, like so: "This is AA, not another program, so I don't intend to talk in any detail about my drug use, but it is part of my story. When I was drinking, it led me to abuse drugs as well, which was one of the ways alcohol took over my life." And then keep the focus of the share on your recovery from alcoholism.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:02 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Welcome Aurora80. At my AA meetings addicts are welcomed 100%. Many people introduce themselves as and addict / alcoholic. Don't sweat it man. Keep going and I wish you the best!!!
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