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Sponsor does not think I should take ANY medication. Get a new sponsor?

Old 08-25-2017, 04:10 PM
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Sponsor does not think I should take ANY medication. Get a new sponsor?

I take 10mg of lexapro and 0.5 mg per day of klonopin for severe depression and anxiety. My sponsor had discussed in the beginning that she was concerned about the benzo even if I have never abused them. My doctor is aware I quit drinking and he did not make any change to medication.

My sponsor said today that I should email my doctor and ask why I need to take a benzo if I am an alcoholic. (I told her like 3 times that I have GAD/Depression/OCD) She says "you know there are people in AA who smoke weed but...(insert God/Spirituality thing)" I know that she does have a point but I don't abuse my medicine. She is worried that it will "interfere with my 1st step". I mean I took alcohol out and taking my mental health drugs out would make me suicidal. Should I get a new sponsor? I just feel really upset right now, like I did something wrong.
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:12 PM
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If I were you I would get a second opinion from another doctor. I would also take the advise of a medical physician over a sponsor.
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:30 PM
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Your medications are between you and your doctor, not your sponsor's business. Sounds like she is playing doctor. I'd consider another sponsor who leads you thru the steps instead of directing how you live your life.
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:51 PM
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Sorry for what you are going through.

What happens between you and your doctor is nothing to do with your sponsor.

Many Alcoholics in recovery take medication for Mental Health issues,the AA programme is not a cure for everything.

I sponsor several ladies,I wouldn't dream of interfering in their medical issues.

Wishing you well.
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
Your medications are between you and your doctor, not your sponsor's business. Sounds like she is playing doctor. I'd consider another sponsor who leads you thru the steps instead of directing how you live your life.
Well, I asked her "are the medications going to be a problem and do you not feel comfortable being my sponsor" and she said "no no, i can still be your sponsor...i just worry about the klonopin and it interfering with your 1st step".

Then i felt really embarrassed having to defend my family history of depression, my physical symptoms and all of that... it was uncomfortable and I felt it was kind of pushy.

She wants me to email my doctor but I really don't want to question my doctor's expertise because it's kind of rude and I do trust him (i have already asked him, yet she wants me to email him and be direct about WHY do i need to take if it i am an addict. duh because i have anxiety) - so maybe I should just get a second opinion.
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 48heath View Post
Sorry for what you are going through.

What happens between you and your doctor is nothing to do with your sponsor.

Many Alcoholics in recovery take medication for Mental Health issues,the AA programme is not a cure for everything.

I sponsor several ladies,I wouldn't dream of interfering in their medical issues.

Wishing you well.
It is making me really uncomfortable that I already spoke with him about it, yet she thinks I should press harder in an email to him. I get that she wants to help. She also never had severe anxiety. This is just throwing my recovery off, because it's putting me in a terrible mood and making me feel bad.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:05 PM
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There's absolutely no reason for your sponsor to telephone your Dr.

I'd read this and then maybe suggest your sponsor read it too.

https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/aa-me...nd-other-drugs
linked with permission AAWS.

D
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:26 PM
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I'd vote for a second opinion from a doctor who knows something about addiction.

And I would be asking for the opinion in a different way. Like... doc, I am a chronic alcoholic and I know that some medications are more dangerous to me than they would be to ordinary people. I really don't want to be taking anything that I don't absolutely have to take. I would like to be free of all mind altering chemicals. Is there any way that can be accomplished in my case?

If I didn't want to be free of mind altering chemicals, then I would be wasting my money talking to another doctor. I might not even make too much of an issue with my existing doctor, perhaps letting him know I have quit drinking without directly raising the issue. I can stretch the honesty thing a fair way, I am analcoholic after all.
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by chiquen81 View Post
It is making me really uncomfortable that I already spoke with him about it, yet she thinks I should press harder in an email to him. I get that she wants to help. She also never had severe anxiety. This is just throwing my recovery off, because it's putting me in a terrible mood and making me feel bad.
Please try not to let this impact your recovery. There is only one thing more important than your recovery. Your health. Have your meds ever interfered with your recovery (triggered a need to drink)? If not, listen to your doctor. The only way people permanently and fully recover is when they die. Meds are presribed to keep you alive. We need you alive. Take your meds. If your sponsor continues to harp on it, look for a new sponsor. Good luck and God bless.

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Old 08-25-2017, 05:29 PM
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Ultimately its between you and your doctor. This is somewhat common in AA and it's because people do, very often, start abusing prescription drugs and say they are fine because a doctor gave them to me. I'm wondering if this has been her experience in the past so that is why she is being more forward about it with you?

When I stopped I was on Lorazapam for awhile to help with the shakes and sickness and my sponsor was greatly concerned about me abusing them. I did not abuse them ever but he asked me often if I was still taking them and if I planned to ween off of them. He was right, I did need to get off them and did just that over the course of a few weeks and I'm happy I did. He was just very concerned due to his experience with others who were on similar medications.

Maybe due to my experience I am seeing if different but I see your sponsor as being very concerned about you and doing all she can to make you successful in recovery.

On the other hand, I presume you have been working with your doctor for awhile and as long as you are being COMPLETELY honest with them than they should have you on the right track with your meds. If that is the case than tell your sponsor that your prescription medication is a subject between you and your doctor and you no longer wish to discuss it with her! Nothing wrong with that and if she's good sponsor she will understand and do her best to help you anyway even due to her objection. If she has a big ego and only wants to be right than she will not like that and will not be a good sponsor. Good luck!
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:35 PM
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AA often times is heavily anti-medication, though many of us do need them for our issues.
If your sponsor is against them, perhaps find a new one.
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Old 08-25-2017, 06:00 PM
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People in AA should not play doctor. Dee's post is helpful. I would tell your sponsor you are happy to work the steps if it does not include commentary or judgment on your medical history, but if they insist, that you'd wish to look for another sponsor. You don't have to stay with your first or even your current choice.

Just don't give up on recovery!!!
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Old 08-25-2017, 07:26 PM
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The sponsor's only role is to guide one through the steps.
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Old 08-26-2017, 03:40 AM
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I agree with the others above that it is not your sponsor's role to "play dr" - she should only be concerned if YOU bring up a concern and want to talk through your use, IMO.

To further elaborate-
I have a pretty thorough and what I imagine plenty of folks would consider heavy med regimen. I am completely honest with my psych (she prescribes all but the thyroid med which is my GP) and I also take a benzo (ativan/lorazepam) and we have kept the dosage consistent at 1-3 100 mg a day as needed; I am just past 18 mo sober. My regimen also includes seroquel for sleep nightly (it also has an anti-anxiety component which is why I take the ativan), lamictal/lamotrigine (for what are now almost negligible BPD symptoms so it is maintenance), campral/acamprosate (also maintenance, an anti-craving med- I have had zero physical cravings since I stopped so happily stay on this if it is why). I also took antabuse for the first 90 days of my sobriety; I haven't needed to (nor has she felt I do) take it again but have told my dr that I would if she ever felt I should based on my sharing with her, perhaps a danger I can't see, etc ...I am in the camp that meds are a great- and necessary- tool for some of us in our "complete recovery package" so to speak.

I also do not think it is rude to question your dr about best use, etc- you are speaking up as an advocate for yourself and your health, IMO, and honesty about concerns of any kind is legit and very, very important.

People in AA vary a lot in things beyond not drinking. The most important thing is being sober; I may have different opinions than others about use but it is not my business what anyone else does. Example, I have a friend struggling to get off some serious sleep meds and her (over) use- right now she is focusing on not drinking and reducing her use/abuse of that kind of stuff. That's her deal.

Possibly look at another sponsor if this continues to be an issue (on her end, that in turn bothers you or gets in the way of your progress through the steps with her)- ultimately as others said, you are in charge of your recovery and IMO and IME that has meant making thought out, prayed about and such attention on changing sponsors as I did last year.

Glad you shared.
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Old 08-26-2017, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by sugarbear1 View Post
The sponsor's only role is to guide one through the steps.
Well, yes, having first determined that they are working with a real alcoholic who wants to recover with all the bells and whistles that go with AA recovery.

This isn't a straight forward issue. A very dear man I know with many years of recovery was compelled to take lithium to treat his manic depression. He would have given anything to not have to take that medication, but every time he tried it was a disaster. So he had no choice. The only way he could stay out in the world was to take his medication. He made a wonderful recovery from alcoholism, had the whole spiritual experience and has helped more alcoholics than I could count. It could be said that he saved my life too.

You see the subtext here. He really would have avoided those medications if he could, now more than ever, as he is learning to live with kidney failure as a direct result of the lithium.

What I didn't pick up in the original post was any desire what so ever to be free of chemicals, or any statement by the doctor that there are no alternatives. This is where it gets harder to explain. Alcohol was my solution to life. When I stopped drinking, a higher power became my solution. I could have turned to other things like substances to replace the alcohol, our doctors call some of them solid alcohol, and a couple of the more colorful docs call it chewing ya ****.

The long and the short of it is I could not get the spiritual connection while using medication as a substitute for alcohol. It is easy to get meds these days. I can even take them exactly as prescribed, and still be abusing them if I am not completely honest with my doctor and myself.
Why do I want to take these pills. Would I avoid it if I could? Those would be the questions I would ask myself. Perhaps I honestly would have no choice, like my friend. In that event, as the big book says, people can and do recover even in the face of serious mental illness.

But I have also seen my share of folks who , for want of a better word, like taking medication and have no desire to lose its numbing effects and join the real world. I have never had any success sponsoring such individuals. They just seem to be blocked not only in a spiritual sense, but also in terms of any real connection or empathy with their fellows. And like the alcoholic who has not yet recognized his problem, they just don't see it.
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Old 08-26-2017, 04:50 AM
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Your medication needs are your doctor's responsibility, not your sponsors.

I would get a new sponsor.
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Old 08-26-2017, 05:34 AM
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But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons. Most of them give freely of themselves, that their fellows may enjoy sound minds and bodies. Try to remember that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward.

have you been honest with your doctor about the alcoholism?

email doctors- wth!?!?!?!?!?!
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Old 08-26-2017, 08:39 AM
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Is your sponsor a medical professional or doctor? Discuss the issue IN PERSON with your GP, not email. Take care.

~Bunnez
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Old 08-26-2017, 09:13 AM
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The addiction docs here are very strict about the dosage and amount of benzos used for detox and would NOT prescribe for long term use for the risk of future abuse. They include xanax as a substance to be detoxed from, even if its being taken as prescribed.

Maybe it's a case by case basis? Idk, but I would listen to your doc over your sponsor. And even if you get a second opinion and a new doctor recommends a diff medication for your anxiety, I'd still get a new sponsor if it were me.
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Old 08-26-2017, 09:48 AM
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Sort of what everyone said, which I know is sort of contradictory, but...

I definitely agree that the sponsor's role is to guide one through the steps. Period. If the sponsor has some additional wisdom/experience/knowledge and can offer that up with humility and concern, I think they should do that (at the right time) and then leave it.

As far as a second opinion goes, I would recommend seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in substance abuse. When I first went to my GP seeking help, she prescribed Klonopin and I knew from my research that was a very bad idea. In medical treatment facilities I've heard counselors describe benzos as freeze-dried alcohol. Not one psychiatrist I've seen has ever prescribed a benzo - there are better medications for what ails us. I am not a medical professional and I sure am not telling you what to do. Just offering my experience.

Regardless, if your sponsor doesn't back off this, I think you need to separate and find someone who will put their emphasis on working the steps.

O
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