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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:26 am 
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Hi All, I am so sorry that my previous post was not clear! I in NO way feel that everyone should be in a 12 step program! I have always given my clients the option of working any recovery program as long ss the goal is abstinence. The point I was trying to make is that I agree with harm reduction. I love Smart Recovery and Women In Recovery and think both are great ways of living life in recovery. I am a firm believer in that you have to find what is going to work for you! Again, I apologize! I value TeeJay's knowledge and experience too!


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Mel, I can't tell you how sorry I am for your sister's death. I have only a sister and if she died I would be heartbroken too. I'm so proud of you, though, for getting through this year's anniversary in recovery! You could have used it as an excuse to relapse, suboxone or no, but you held strong! I know that the sub helps us to be strong, but there is still an element of you that fought through. And you let yourself experience the painful emotions that go with such a loss. Good for you!

Michelle, I value your experience so much and I appreciate your thoughts on AA & NA. Your mother sounds like she was extremely difficult to please and most likely did have a personality disorder along with her substance abuse. I admire the fact that you have come through so much adversity and you've used whatever was available to improve yourself and get into recovery. You are a beacon of hope to your clients and struggling people here on the forum. I love how kind you are, especially since I challenge people quite a bit. I just wanted you to know that TJ has a history here that goes back farther than mine and he has been through so many challenges in trying to treat his opiate addiction and his bipolar disorder. He has been through periods of depression that might have broken a weaker person. I'm always relieved to hear when his regimen of medication and other activities are providing him with the stability he deserves. I hope you know that in being supportive to him I did not mean to leave you on your own. :)

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:18 pm 
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Hey Mel. I'm also an Aussie. Currently have 4 take-aways, which is pretty good considering I've only been back on Suboxone a couple of months. What city you hail from?

Thanks Amy and Lilly for your kind words. Of course everything I said was my opinion. In all honesty, looking over my recovery history, my attitude towards 12-step fellowships has been quite changeable. There was a time early on when I was a big believer in the steps. I'd get on my knees every morning and pray, had worked the steps twice, and felt deeply connected to some kind of deity who I even called God. But after 7 or 8 years of 12=step recovery, with a 3 year (2010-2013) break on Suboxone where my main source of support was this forum and SMART, I've decided NA isn't really for me. My most recent attempt at NA I tried to the ol "take what you need and leave the rest". While I was working the steps, I didn't have much of an opinion on the higher power stuff, and was quite averse to the dogma. I was mainly there for the fellowship, the people, the support, and for something to do. But the longer I stayed in the rooms, the harder it was to walk this tightrope of attending meetings but ignoring the God stuff. People started to suggest I "didn't have a program", which was wrong. I just didn't have a 12-step program.

Mind you I had some good times while doing 12-step recovery. 18 months clean off Sub at one stage, another time 13 months clean, a number of 3-6 months stretches. As a relapser in the rooms, one thing I noticed though is that a 12-step relapse, for me, is much more dangerous than a harm-min (or drug-replacement) relapse. Once a person picks up in NA, there's a lot of shame and guilt over losing one's clean time and a sense of failure that can lead to more dangerous using. In meetings you have it drummed into your head that to relapse is to die, so once you pickup you can be reckless because you're screwed anyway. Also generally your friends in the rooms keep their distance from you when you pickup, so there's instant isolation. And your tolerance is dangerously low. In 2015 alone there's been 9 members in my city die (2 of those were suicides while clean). 2 of those were friends of mine. And the reality is, and studies have shown, that all those opiate overdoses had a good chance of being prevented if Suboxone / methadone were prescribed instead of total abstinence. It's widely acknowledged in medicine that the biggest protector against mortality for an opiate addict is being on drug-replacement.

Oh yeah and Michelle I have a lot of respect for your opinion. Actually, despite people coming in to bat for me, I didn't feel like my post was attacked by what you said in the slightest.

One thing I'm a firm believer in is that there's no one way to work recovery that works for everyone. Just as people have different personalities, and different reasons for turning to drugs, there are many different paths to recovery. Different things work for different people.

I'm also a believer that a person's definition of what's "clean" to themselves is all that matters. Who am I to suggest that a person isn't in recovery if they've quit heroin but still smoke a joint before bed, or have the occasional beer with friends. For this reason I believe that I'm clean on Suboxone. Believing I'm clean keeps me from using, which leads to the best quality of life for me in the long term. To believe otherwise, I've found from prior experience, puts me in dangerous territory. I've lost 2 good friends (I'd say they were my best friends even) in the last 2 years to overdose because they didn't believe themselves clean on Suboxone, and reduced when they weren't ready, and dropped within a month of coming off Sub.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:56 pm 
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I actually didn't see Michelle's post as attacking you either, TJ. I just wanted her to understand the broad context you are coming from. :)

Amy

BTW, I saw this article on The Fix today: https://www.thefix.com/harm-reduction-new-narrative

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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:13 pm 
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TJ, thanks for that post....its dead on in so many ways..glad your doin well.....


Razor


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:09 am 
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You guys are all so supportive and respectful of each other, its great to read/see.

TJ, Im from Melbourne down on the Mornington peninsula area. Where are you from??

I had an NA meeting last nigh and it was really good. I too have a problem either the whole god thing in the rooms but down here its so much more about spirituality than religion. I do think some spirituality is what I need I need, to fill the gap that drug abuse has left.
Anyway, whatever the best result is im happy for, just for today!

'Thanks guys x


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:14 am 
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Hey Mel. I'm in Melbourne too. If you do NA we'd probably know a few of the same people. The recovery gig is a small world hey.

I'm glad you're enjoying NA. When it works, it works really well.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:41 am 
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TJ, I couldn't agree more with the fact that relapses in NA tend to be much worse than out of NA. I was a chronic user all my life, not a rip and run, crash and burn user. I went to school, went to work, kept a low profile and used every day. It wasn't until I had several months of clean time in NA that I relapsed and felt it was a "total loss" and I went in a big run and almost OD'd.

That's a huge issue, the all or nothing approach. It doesn't matter what type of program we're doing, if we use the most important thing is to get right back to working our recovery. I fell prey to the thinking that since I "lost my clean time" I might as well make it worth it - much to my detriment.
That's one one of the reasons I didn't mention above that I'm not a fan of counting clean time. I'm clean just for today.

NA/AA are painfully slow in changing with the times. But I can see a big difference now compared to when I was in the rooms 18 years ago. I can identify as an addict in AA now without anyone batting an eye. Half the people in there are addicts. People like us with more progressive ideas need to stick around. Since there's no official leadership, it's just addicts like us passing our experience down to the next person.


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