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12 step discussion thread Voice your opinions here!

Get2Think

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Ok guys and gals... here we go!

This is the thread for conversation about 12 step based programs, and some examples of these are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. In this thread you can voice your opinion on these programs whether its positive or negative, but lets keep it respectful and civilized. Many of us have strong beliefs on these programs, and thats fine. However, TDS is a place of respect and support, so lets keep this productive.

Most people in recovery have been exposed to the 12-step approach to recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, and most have very definite opinions about it, based on their personal experiences. This thread has been created to allow for the passionate opinions both pro and con and everything in between. The point of this thread is not to convince anyone of a particular point of view. Ideally, this thread will create a place to participate in an intelligent, civil and nuanced discussion that allows people to grow their understanding of someone's experience that is different from their own. At its basest level it may serve a similar purpose to the Vent/Rant thread. Either way, it is the thread to come to if you want to assert your own point of view about the 12-steps. It is important to note that many people see the benefits of a 12-step approach to be a literal life-saver. Others feel it actually deepens their addiction. Those are highly personal experiences and it is good to remember that people are literally fighting for their lives. So, without name-calling or shaming, but with mutual respect, everyone who feels so inclined now has a thread to debate in. If a general argument about AA/NA surfaces in another person's personal thread, it will be moderated and the poster will be directed to this thread. So play fair and have at it!

The direction where we are talking TDS is a very positive one, and the idea of this thread is to stop the derailment of other threads when the OP had a specific idea for their thread. Myself and the other mods in TDS are aiming for most of the opinion related conversation based on 12 step programs to be in this thread. So I will give a heads up to the community in TDS, and let you guys know we will use our best judgment in other threads when this type of conversation gets started. This could mean merging the posts to this thread, editing or other means of containment. That being said, we all appreciate and respect your individual opinions, so thats why this thread now exists!

*When sharing personal experiences, opinions or anecdotal information regarding treatments it is important that readers understand that what you are saying is your own valid perspective but not necessarily objective fact.

*rude or abusive posts will not be tolerated. Treatment and programs are very controversial. It is a complex subject that we all feel very passionate about for extremely personal reasons. Always keep in mind that the goal of discussion and debate is to expand knowledge, not to contract it.

Lets start the discussion...

NSA EDIT: This turned out to be kinda a messy merge so I had to repost skags intro. So anyway the debate rages on. We as addicts tend to have kinda black and white thinking so I would keep this in mind when this debate rolls on. Personally I use some things from the fellowships and a whole bunch of things from other sources. I really am totally over this is the only way, but just because I'm over that doesn't mean I'm going to prohib myself from using things from the fellowship I have found good and combine them with all the other stuff I do. Just something to think about.


Thinking about quitting AA and unsubscribing from their views.

Well the title says it all. Here is a little about me, I'm 27, and have been an addict my entire life. For the last 6 months I have been bone-dry from alcohol, mostly do to my circumstances. I progressed from weed at 16 to shrooms, to trying the harder stuff, and eventually got a love-affair with opiates. For these last 6-months I have gone to AA and admitted that I was an alcoholic. Now I drank heavily and would drink alcoholically for many years. But I was never a real alcoholic. How do I know that? Because I was the same way with pot, cigarettes, coke, anything. If I had a pack of cigarette's I would smoke every last one of those suckers even though I didn't want to.

So I'm an addict. I know that. And the last six months I've grown to become a really mature adult and I'm soon to finish my bachelors degree and relocate. The thing is, I am thirsty. I'm tired of everyone knowing about my addiction problems and being defined by them. I'm tired of AA, the steps, Bill wilson, etc. When I relocate I'm considering not going to AA at all because I don't want to have that reputation and stigma and honestly I just don't want my whole life to be about recovery and the 10 years of abuse. But thats what young people do anyways, I just let opiates ruin my life a couple of times. I have never relapsed because of alcohol, it's always drugs, esp. benzos.

So I guess my question is, have any of you been able to drink wine or beer and smoke pot occasionally without it ruining your life and leading you back to hard drugs and that cycle of misery. I want to be able to enjoy a bottle of wine at home watching a movie alone. I want to be able to drink beer on the golf course, enjoying the hot sun. I don't want AA and sober people to be everything my life is about. I'm very religious and rely on God to keep me sober, but I know that drinking again is taking a risk. I'm just over this negatively extreme way of thinking that I have a fucking disease and that I'll never be able to enjoy drinking again. I so so wish I were Italian or French and able to drink wine throughout the day and it's totally normal. I get a lot of enjoyment out of drinking and it's always the hard stuff and drugs that ruin it. I'm afraid that if I start drinking again I will eventually want to do my drug of choice, opiates.

If I could just drink wine/beer in the evenings and still have my career and be independent from AA that would be all I could ask for in life. I can't do that right now because my parents will kick me out of the house and I won't finish college. But once I get some independence and am able to live life my way, I think I'm going to incorporate wine/beer back into the picture and just make ground rules that I have to stick to. No more buying cheap 40oz. no more early drinking, etc. Just cut out all the alcoholic behavior and drink responsibly like an adult. I need success stories from you BL'ers.
 
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michael

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although i am not in a place right now where i can use occasionally, there are times in my life where i have been able to. they were marked by how willing i was to deal with my emotions - for example, am i drinking this 6 paqck because i am depressed and i want to escape that, or am i willing to put in some real work towards fixing the situations that led me to depression in the first place?

any time you use to self medicate away negative feelings is a step in the wrong direction.

i will also say this (and i think it's extremely important coming from the viewpoint of addiction) - as soon as you start laying ground rules about usage you are opening the door towards sliding back into an active addiction.
 
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Get2Think

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Well I drank oh well. 5 months and woopdie do. I don't think I'm gonna beat myself up over and think of it as a relapse because I had my fill of negativity in sobriety. I think last nights dream, doing lines of coke with my old roomate finally made me realize this was not working. I got tired of the depression and beating myself up everynight over the past before I went to bed. So today, I looked at the big picture and I took back control of my destiny. I had a great time, I drank a couple of fosters than hit up the indian casino. Ended up breaking even and riding home. My mother immediately accused me of drinking because she knows im under a lot of stress, and she said I looked funny. Shes such a cop. Anyways, it's going to be Mission Impossible to drink undercover like this but on special occasions I'm going to have fun like back in the day. Doubt I'll go back to AA anytime soon.
 

cj

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Sounds to me like you have a good mindset. Just try and stay away from the opiates as its extremely difficult to just fo those occasionally
 

Get2Think

Bluelighter
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although i am not in a place right now where i can use occasionally, there are times in my life where i have been able to. they were marked by how willing i was to deal with my emotions - for example, am i drinking this 6 paqck because i am depressed and i want to escape that, or am i willing to put in some real work towards fixing the situations that led me to depression in the first place?

any time you use to self medicate away negative feelings is a step in the wrong direction.

This was incredibly helpful. Thank you.
 

mrflowers00

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i can't drink or smoke pot if i want to stay sober i can have just a bowl or just a couple of drinks and stop but then i crave intensely i might add hard drugs like opiates mostly
 

neversickanymore

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I would keep a close watch on your drinking becoming a problem.. at least for me booze and opiates don't go together.. but I definitely want to be on one of them.. so in other words for me they don't lead to the use of the other, but when I stop one, I sure gravitate towards the other. Stopped a high opiate addiction in aug, really high mgs all day every day for years, didn't have a problem with alc. the whole time i was on opiates, clean up and now I fiend for the shit.. Just cant win for trying.. I say stay away or limit intake and if you cant stick to the limit stop immediately. good luck.
 

neversickanymore

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The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer -- Edward R. Murrow

Yep, what i love about aa/.na is they keep telling me that I can never use again, in any form.. maybe i'm an addict because I certainly need to hear that often. HA, if there was another way we all be doing it. Your doing great.
 

aussie101

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fuck AA/NA. I refuse to pretend "your higher power is a lightbulb" as was suggested to me. I am also not going to pretend the universe is my higher power, i am part of the universe so that does not make sense. Sure some people get something out of step-based meetings and power to them, and good luck. But they are not for me. At the moment my support consists of:
- SMART meetings
- Bluelight

And I am doing ok right now. Much better than when i had to "hand myself over to a higher power", fuck that man.
 

Get2Think

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Thanks for all the good responses here. Last night I almost went to the dark side in my mind, focusing on all the negativity, depression, and guilt. But then I thought about it deeply and you know what, because I drank doesn't make me a bad person. Yes I lied to my parents and sort of broke the law (open container) but if it were you and I was reading how this happened to you on TDS, I wouldn't think, "oh man, that guys hopeless, he ought to be feeling super depressed over this now." That kind of why I'm over aa/na, it made me feel like the party was over and I had crossed some major line in the sand. It was too dramatic, and honestly the cliche's, people, cigarette smoke everywhere (bleh, disgusting), bill wilson, being tied to meetings, made me re-think this entire thing. Not being able to drink at weddings, w/ co-workers after work, on the golf course, and at home playing video games is kind of a big deal. I'm ADD and alcohol is one of the few things that slows my roll. Anyways, thats enough out of me, i definitly appreciate all the responses.
 

Get2Think

Bluelighter
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fuck AA/NA. I refuse to pretend "your higher power is a lightbulb" as was suggested to me. I am also not going to pretend the universe is my higher power, i am part of the universe so that does not make sense. Sure some people get something out of step-based meetings and power to them, and good luck. But they are not for me. At the moment my support consists of:
- SMART meetings
- Bluelight

And I am doing ok right now. Much better than when i had to "hand myself over to a higher power", fuck that man.

I'm glad your doing good man. It's harder to me I think (leaving aa/na) because I'm Christian and it feels like I'm walking out on God. Which I'm not, but aa/na are so closely tied together it's hard to separate the two. I swear being an addict and having to deal with these "life changing decisions" sucks the fat one. I just want to be normal. I don' want to hear about alcoholism, 12 steps, or any of that anymore.
 

fifleman

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Get2Think:

This isn't about AA, this isn't about your parents, this isn't about breaking the law, this isn't about alcoholism, etc. This is about you.

I am happy that you decided you have power in your decisions. Whether they turn out to be good or bad for you will, in time, come to light.

At the end of the day, I have to be content with the choices I am making. If I feel guilty about anything, that's usually my mind, body, and soul telling me "hey man, if you want to be happy, I would hope we not do that again". I am trusting myself above anyone else because, at the end of the day, I will be with me.

For me, it's come down to this: I feel my inability to drink and use intoxicating substances in my bones. My mind, body, and soul simply can not handle the effects. Whether it's depression centered in the mind or physical pain centered in the body, intoxicants simply go against my body's composition.

This is my enlightenment. I don't need anyone telling me anything, because I know what the truth about myself is. To feel what my body tells me and what my mind yearns for less of is where I am in control today.

The word "alcoholic" and "alcoholism" is simply a symbol assigned in our English language to describe my inability to consume alcohol. They mean nothing to me. What means everything to me is the absolute truth. The absolute truth is that I sicken myself as a human being when I consume any intoxicants. This is my wisdom today and I am wise to avoid them.

Obviously this is my truth. What works for you and what you need is up to you and you only to understand. But please, listen to your body and soul. The mind lies to me when I'm feeding it intoxicants. However, when I stopped this last time and felt it in my bones, clarity shined through and the mind eventually remembered it is of the body as well. Freedom.

Experience is the best, and sternest, teacher. You will find your way.
 

herbavore

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The way I look at it is that we are very conditioned in our culture to see things in only black and white, polemics of either/or, this way or that way, your opinion or mine. The whole beautiful universe swims fluidly along and we attach our allegiance to one little stick on the surface. When that one won't hold us up we react by grabbing out for another. There is a middle way. For instance, I reject organized religion. It has never seemed like a positive to me and the destruction of lives is mostly what I perceive. But if I were to reject all of the beautiful teachings, the wisdom, the soul-feeding grace contained in those religions, I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face. You do not have to be owned by a philosophy or a religion or a body of knowledge or even a way of perceiving the world. You can learn to respect what does and does not resonate for you. Take what does with grace and gratitude and respect that others may draw something totally different from the same well. There is a lot of humanity in the 12-step teaching. Don't confuse what others do with a philosophy with the actual knowledge within. People can wreck anything! 8) Take love. People can start to confuse the hurt love makes them experience with love. Rejecting or accepting something outright always makes me suspicious that such a reaction comes from too narrow a view of things. Don't sell yourself short by subscribing to anyone's view of what working the steps is. Define what is meaningful for you and you will find that takes you so much deeper into life--it's not just about recovery from addiction, it is about how to live with an open heart and mind.<3
 

neversickanymore

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^^ Strong wisdom, and well said!

People can wreck anything! 8)

Is't that the Gods honest truth..

Personally i'm ignoring the madness.. working with a sponsor that does the same, and knocken off the steps.. because the cult can only dissuade me from my goal, it can't kill the truth or its power.

powerful ideas will always attract the totally lost as well as the seekers... Takn what i can get from it and I feel that it is worth it and substantial.
 
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Get2Think

Bluelighter
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Messages
297
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The West
although i am not in a place right now where i can use occasionally, there are times in my life where i have been able to. they were marked by how willing i was to deal with my emotions - for example, am i drinking this 6 paqck because i am depressed and i want to escape that, or am i willing to put in some real work towards fixing the situations that led me to depression in the first place?

any time you use to self medicate away negative feelings is a step in the wrong direction.

i will also say this (and i think it's extremely important coming from the viewpoint of addiction) - as soon as you start laying ground rules about usage you are opening the door towards sliding back into an active addiction.

I think this is the biggest thing I've learned during my 5 months of sobriety. I was drinking/using to self-medicate. Now that I'm aware of that, I feel I can avoid that because now I know I can get to the root of my depression and face life head on, I've been doing it for 5 months.
 

neversickanymore

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babysitting the argument in my head
after this and other AA/NA threads I am done. went to a meeting last night and could no longer ignore the fact that it is brain washing.. im doing great in sobriety and dont need an anonoumuse cult to guide my way.. I'll follow my heart and I already new how to live.
 
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