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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 6:41 am 
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Welcome to the forum, Smoothy! We're so glad you found us. I'm happy that you've found something that works for you.
Just because it doesn't work for me (or others), doesn't mean the program is invaluable to others.
Again, welcome to the forum. I think you'll find this forum full of support and great people. I hope you will keep posting.

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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 11:46 am 
Smoothy welcome and Junke thanks for the refresher on the 12 steps. I've been away from it so long I don't think I could have recited them from memory anymore.

Just to balance out the opinions, I DO believe in God and I do believe that God has in the past and will in the future help me to stay clean if I'm willing to do the work (as in God helps those who help themselves). Having been a church going person much of my life I have felt that the faith of those in the program is often more genuine/honest (or at least less self serving) than those I meet in church. As a believer I feel the ultimate act of faith and humility is to turn my will and my life over to the care of God - asking only for knowlege of God's will and the power to carry it out. That's my biggest stumbling block, I am extremely strong willed, strong minded, always have a plan, always has a better way, etc, etc.

Re-reading the steps does pose a difficult question of interpretation for non believers. God isn't implied, but named explicitly. I would have to believe that all living things are spiritual beings (which I do) and that collective spirit is the only way I can envision a higher power other than a transcendant God. I guess that's why they say to use the group as your higher power, but I can see how that would be difficult.

I've been struggling a lot lately and thinking about attending a meeting. My biggest issue right now is what smoothy and others were saying about meds. Twelve years ago when I was in the program there were those who said you weren't clean if you were on an anti-depressant. To me that's legalism. They're more interested in the letter of the law than the spirit in which it was intended. But, to be fair, I should probably give it an honest and open minded chance. I'm not actively in therapy. I only have my sub doc who is a psychiatrist but doesn't really counsel me, and a minister who is very open and willing to listen and help but doesn't know much about addiction. That leaves me, and we all know that an addict alone is in bad company.


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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 12:10 am 
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"Twelve years ago when I was in the program there were those who said you weren't clean if you were on an anti-depressant. To me that's legalism."

To me, that's craziness! I have to admit that it's things like this that partially have kept me away from 12-step meetings. I mean, how on earth can they justify a statement like that? I might, perhaps, if pushed enough, be able to "sort of" see their point on Suboxone. I don't agree with it but I can at least see where they are coming from. But an anti-depressant? Why on earth should someone with a chemical imbalance suffer? What possible good could come from that? And what anti-depressant gives you a conscious high? It's shit like this that just makes me nuts.

This thread is extremely interesting. I am at a place in my life where my faith is actually growing. I have always been a Christian, but just not a very good one. By that I mean I have not been to church on any regular basis in a very long time. However, my faith has been growing for about five years or so now and honestly I don't know how I've gotten through some of what I have - including everything that I'm currently having to endure, without my faith. I actually feel sad that some people have no faith at all. I almost feel like they are really missing out. But then, on the other hand, I'm anything but a bible pounding or even church going Christian, so who I am to talk. All I know is given the choice I would much rather be facing all of life's challenges with God in my corner than on my own.

Having said that, I have to tell you that joining hands in a circle and doing a group prayer creeps the shit out of me. That doesn't even happen at church - at least not at my chuch (yes I do go sometimes) God has nothing to do with my problems with a circle group prayer either. That's just not who I am. Being told anti-depressants are wrong just adds to my thoughts that 12-step programs may just not be for me. The dismal success rate doesn't add to my level of confidence with them either. I guess in the end, I feel that I have to do most of the work, much of the heavy lifting, and take all of the responsibility. I ask God to help me do these things but still think they are on me to accomplish.

In the end, why do I get the feeling that some programs, some doctors, some councilors, and some step programs seem to end up making recovery all that much harder - rather than easier? Doesn't it seem that way sometimes?


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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 8:18 am 
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I feel compelled to add a few points. First of all, I think BOTH programs, AA and NA have a LOT to offer. There are some WONDERFUL people in those halls, and you can really get quite a good program going if you work it. Get a sponsor, work the steps, go on commitments, get involved, etc. As they say in the halls, "It works if you work it."

And it does. I've seen it in action, and it even worked for me for a little while.

I would encourage anyone who is reading this board and wondering if AA or NA might be something that could help them to give it a try and decide for yourself. You have nothing to lose and plenty to gain, potentially.


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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 10:54 am 
Also I would add that 12-14 years ago there was a very poor understanding in general of anti-depressants. NA is a program of complete abstinance from all mood and mind altering drugs. Because AD's are "mood altering" I think some people thought they were happy pills, like if one made you feel better you might want to take 2 or 3 tomorrow. But I think the meds are much more well understood now, and AD's have virtually no abuse potential.
I really didn't mean to knock NA. I got a lot of support from a lot of good people there, and what I learned there stays with me to this day (even though I don't always apply it).
It's a place an addict can go and not feel so crazy because everyone there has done the same stupid sh!t we all have done in our addictions. As much as our families/friends love us and want to help us, if they're not addicts they really don't get it. It's nice to be around people who get it.

P.S. Junkie - I keep thinking about something you wrote in another thread last week. Something about how we abuse drugs with impunity for years and then we get the opportunity to be treated with sub and suddenly we're afraid we're going to get hooked. That's classic, and so true for me.


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 Post subject: thoughtful posts
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:31 pm 
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This really is a great thread, thanks everyone. I also recognize how helpful 12-step is for many people but I dont' think it's the only way to get and stay sober and I don't think it's for everyone. My psychiatrist recommended I go to meetings but also recognizes that it's not for everyone. I also have never understood the first step--saying that I'm powerless seems like the absolute worst thing I could do. People on this forum told me I shouldn't call myself an idiot...to me calling myself powerless would be just as bad or worse. If I were powerless then how would I ever do ANYTHING to improve my life? And I already struggle with that feeling, that I dont' have that much control over what happens in my life, ultimately. I have to remember that it is in my best interest to take steps to improve my life, or at least to keep things from going to hell. But, I see that this is an issue for those of us who don't believe in a God or some kind of force that we can turn to. If I believed there were a higher power to turn to, I would sure consider doing it! But as far as I can tell I have to struggle on my own. That being said, I think there is a lot to be gained from a fellowship and that is what NA and AA is supposed to be. When I have gone to meetings I have always been put off by the dogma, the prayers, etc. And the lingo, the catch-phrases. I've read posts here where people have said the same thing--they really don't like the terminology--I actually HATE the terms "clean" and "dirty." I like what I'm finding here, people using terms like "addiction remission." Of course, when I have gone to meetings I have also usually been struck by how great some of the people at meetings are. On the other hand, there will always be people who AREN'T that great too, in fact my psychiatrist warned me to stay away from people who might be, well, crazy. She also mentioned how some people get very excited and start to talk about how "we're all the same." But people are NOT all the same, and everyone has to find their own way. At the same time though, comradery is a great thing and it CAN be really helpful to talk to people who've had similar experiences to you and who want to offer support in what you're going through. Anyway, I feel like this forum is the first kind of support that's really worked for me, so i"ve decided to participate some. I feel like I'm learning a lot and that I'm getting support from people who understand what I'm going through. But maybe the distance and anonymity of being online instead of in person is helpful for me too. I don't live in a really small town or anything, but I do live in the same small city that I grew up in. And..honestly, the "anonymous" part of AA and NA really sint' exactlly secure. I always figured if I ever ended up at a 12-step meeting I'd probably run into people I know. And I've had people tell me enough times who they saw at a meeting even though you really arent' supposed to, it seems like everybody does. And sure enough, I did go to an AA meeting once with a friend, and I DID run into someone from highs school. It really wasn't a bad thing, actually, but it certainly wasnt' anonymous. Anyway, I appreciate all the thoughtful posts above. No one is knocking 12-step, just saying how and why it hasn't helped them--as well as how and why it HAS helped. At 12-step meetings usually no one wants to talk about that, so it's refreshing to find a discussion about it, especially such a thoughtful one. One more thing, someone above said something about how when they ultimately quit going to meetings, that actually severed a connection to drug culture for them. I can really understand that. I also find that 12-step is more focused on the addiction than I want to be. My problems with substances do not define me entirely, I hope, and are not the only source of my problems. I do find that some people in 12-step act like addicts have a monopoly on problems. Actually not all serious troubles involve substance abuse. My particular peeve too is that mental illnesses can very very serious and though substance issues are often involved in mental illness issues for many people, that it not ALWAYS the case. There is severe mental illness in my family--my sister is schizophrenic and many ignorant people have assumed that her illness also involves or was caused by drugs, which is not and never was the case. Sorry, that's getting off the subject --not at all to do with 12-step, since in general, it's probably more the opposite with 12-step, probably people in 12-step are more likely to have a better understanding about mental illness than others, but my point is that 12-step does tend to involve a really big focus on addiction, sometimes too much so for my taste.


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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