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AA and mental health medications

Old 09-02-2017, 05:34 AM
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AA and mental health medications

I went to an AA meeting on Wednesday and they tried to tell me that if I'm on any mental health medications that I am not really sober. That I am just using them to mask the problem. I'm on medication for an anxiety disorder. This seems wrong to me and very dangerous I might add. Is this official AA policy? I understand maybe it was at one time but not anymore. Perhaps I am just dealing with people you never got the memo so to speak
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:50 AM
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You have to take the lead from your doctor in my opinion.
AA members maybe well meaning, but they are NOT medically qualified.
You must not stop taking any medication without the advice of your doctor.

I was on long term medication for anxiety and depression and I always drank alcohol with it.
I now realise that I never gave it a chance to work as any improved effect was limited by alcohol.

Alcohol can cause depression.
It makes anxiety worse. My anxiety was truly shocking.

Give the medication a chance to work. Don't distort or limit the medications effort by drinking alcohol.
See how you feel in a few weeks time too.

I wish you the best xx
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:38 AM
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https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-11...ersMedDrug.pdf

Read this especially starting on page 6.

linked with permission AAWS

Last edited by Dee74; 09-02-2017 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:56 AM
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Hi , I saw a post similar to yours a couple of weeks ago but it was the persons sponsor who was against medication.
what do you mean by THEY told you ?
No one in AA has the right to interfere in you PRESCRIBED medicine .
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Curtinmd View Post
. Is this official AA policy?
no. if fact, the big book says differently:
Sometimes there are cases where alcoholism is complicated by other disorders. A good doctor or psychiatrist can tell you whether these complications are serious

we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:34 AM
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I've heard that view before but I'm doubtful that it's in any way "dogma," or "official." Whether it's AA or just general society there is still a stigma concerning mental health issues and therapies. It will take substantial time without alcohol to see how your mood disorder will respond to both alcohol cessation and medication. Discuss the issue with your doctor and follow her/his advice. When used as prescribed, mental health meds do not make one "drunk." They may have some side effects but these are hardly the kind one seeks recreationally. Ignore the overly opinionated and agree to disagree. Don't allow yourself to be either marginalized or stigmatized.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:43 AM
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No, it is not.

Many of us- myself included- find that a well-supervised med regimen is one very important tool in our program for recovery and living our healthiest life in every way. My experience has been that honest, ongoing communication with my dr is key to the successful use of the meds I need.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:44 AM
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I am on AD and as far as I am concerned I'm clean,don't care what anyone else thinks ..it's right for me and if you need them then that's all ok

As I posted before I hit a brick wall after 4 months and without intervention of doctor I would be drinking again for sure

And there not a magic pill like some think or give you a high..you have to work with them to get benefits ..they help me to think more rationally about my behaviour and anxiety issues - both of these were a root cause of my alcohol problem

Can't comment on AA as not my thing

Good luck ! 😄
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Old 09-02-2017, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas59 View Post
Hi , I saw a post similar to yours a couple of weeks ago but it was the persons sponsor who was against medication.
what do you mean by THEY told you ?
No one in AA has the right to interfere in you PRESCRIBED medicine .
3 other long time AA members. We were having a little group discussion after the meeting and the topic of mental health meds came up and that was their posistion
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Curtinmd View Post
their posistion
This is it.
I don't mention my anxiety meds or occasional hit of weed with my AA people. Some that I consider 'sponsor'ish' know and have no problem with it. Maybe find another meeting or just stick to alcohol related discussions around these people. That is, as long as you're not over using your meds.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by decchemist View Post
https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-11...ersMedDrug.pdf

Read this especially starting on page 6.
Very good link.

Many people, including alcoholics and other substance abusers, have underlying mental health conditions that may even be undiagnosed. Hopefully you are seeing a psychiatrist that specialises in addiction and recovery, who should be your primary resource for treatment of any underlying conditions. Medication is but one tool in my sobriety arsenal, a pill alone is not a "magic bullet."


My personal experience is that I stopped taking a mood stabilizer for Bipolar 2, and when I review my drinking history, my drinking (and cocaine use) escalated at the same time. Now that I'm back on medications and doing cognitive therapy, sobriety is much easier, although I also go to meetings and will continue to do so to maintain sobriety. The bipolar story especially resonated with me.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:44 PM
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I agree with all of the above and have had the same experience of resuming or escalating drinking when I'm off my meds. At this time, my recovery is contingent on many things, including taking my medications as prescribed.

O

p.s. Love your avatar, Mindfulman.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Curtinmd View Post
3 other long time AA members. We were having a little group discussion after the meeting and the topic of mental health meds came up and that was their posistion
it happens.
i was diagnosed stage 3 metastatic melanoma 13 months into recovery. 2+ year battle and i was pretty suprised to hear what some of the people had to say about the meds i was receiving while going through a clinical trial, chemo, and all the surgeries. those members seemed to have thought they knew more than an assistant professor of hematology oncology with the U of M cancer center.
very glad i listened to my oncologist and not members in AA.
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:00 PM
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I'm not an AA member but I know thats not their policy!

Anxiety is a real illness that can be so severe it requires MEDICINE, don't listen to them whatsoever!

If you are not drinking then YOU are sober!
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:33 PM
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Someone is playing doctor. Ignore them. It's not AA policy, it's their own opinions. Pretty rude of them to offer "advice" that wasn't asked for about a subject that's none of their business.
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:43 PM
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Old 09-02-2017, 03:17 PM
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Some AA members need to read the Big Book. The leaflet that decchemist put the link to is excellent.You can order it for 50 pence from the AA GB website.
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Old 09-02-2017, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Obladi View Post
I agree with all of the above and have had the same experience of resuming or escalating drinking when I'm off my meds. At this time, my recovery is contingent on many things, including taking my medications as prescribed.

O

p.s. Love your avatar, Mindfulman.
Thanks Obladi!

Guessing you're a Beatles fan...
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:15 PM
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No, it is not AA policy. Doctors are the experts, that is the policy. The AA program shares experience on this subject, that has nothing to do with doctors. It is about how alcoholics like to mislead doctors. Honesty is the cornerstone of the AA program. This passage is about honesty with doctors.

"Psychologists are inclined to agree with us. We have spent thousands of dollars for examinations. We know but few instances where we have given these doctors a fair break. We have seldom told them the whole truth nor have we followed their advice. Unwilling to be honest with these sympathetic men, we were honest with no one else. Small wonder many in the medical profession have a low opinion of alcoholics and their chance for recovery!"

If medication is obtained dishonestly as described above, by telling part truth, misleading or ommitting, or exagerating, or out of fear, the even taking it as prescribed is still abuse.

I don't believe AA mebers should be telling people not to take meds. That is dangerous. I am quite incredulous that Tomsteve had members telling him not to take cancer medication. I have neever seen that happen myself.

In AA, we share experience. Quite a few members have experience with abusing other mind altering chemicals, and some may be inclined to share about that perhaps more forcefully than they should. Based on my experience, I can say I wasnt really sober while I was smoking cigarettes. I foundt that out when I stopped.

There are indeed many alcholics who need medication to stay alive. But it is not really acurate to put it that way. It paints a more acurate picture to say some of us within AA, need medication. Most of us don't.

My life was saved by a man who needed medication for life. In thirty something years I have only met a few others like him. JME
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Curtinmd View Post
3 other long time AA members. We were having a little group discussion after the meeting and the topic of mental health meds came up and that was their posistion
They don't speak for AA. They speak their individual opinions. They have the right to be wrong or misinformed, as do I. Opinions are like the internet "I saw that on the internet, so it must be right". :~) Also, three people is far from a majority.
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