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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:19 pm 
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I just want to briefly share my abbreviated history with "the program" and the way I now feel about it. I have been in and out of detox and treatment (at least 15-20 times inpatient) and have had alot of stunted attempts at throwing myself into the Twelve Steps over about 20 years. It never quite felt right for me. Let me make this very clear....I AM NOT A TWELVE STEP BASHER!!! I have alot of respect for the program and know alot of folks that it has saved their lives. Having said that....a few of the things (and there are many!!) which didn't fit for me are the fact that they claim it is not a religous program but a spiritual one. Anyone who has been to a meeting knows that most people do in fact bring alot of religion into it and I have felt awkward not being one of those people. I know the diff btwn religion and spirituality and.....well I already shared on that. I also do not subscribe to the theory that I am incapable of making ANY decision on my own without first consulting my sponsor. "Your best thinking got you here!!" That particular saying drives me nuts. Yes, my life has been effed up seemingly beyond repair for many years and I know I needed help but my "best thinking" didn't get me there. I know right from wrong and I always have. When I was using I was choosing to do wrong......choosing to do drugs.....choosing to do felonies etc. But once clean, I am quite capable of making good decisions for myself and distinguishing right from wrong. I don't mean that to sound arrogant. I recognize and respect the need for fellowship and peer advice but I still always go back to my gut instinct and it is usually right. I hope somebody understands what I am trying to say about this. The whole thing also that you are constantly inundated with the idea that as soon as you stop going to meeting YOU WILL RELAPSE!!! I feel that things like that can become self-fulfilling prophecies ya know??? I feel as an addict with many issues and much baggage, FOR ME.....I need to find strength within myself and trust myself as I always did on the streets. I also feel the people in the program are so judgemental about so many things (i.e. SUBOXONE!!) I could elaborate about that one but I won't. Just look at all the posts on this forum about people not feeling comfortable enough to talk about their sub use at meetings. 'Nuff said. I also really don't like the way they make you feel like any other method of recovery or any other ANYTHING WILL NOT WORK and you just want "the easier, softer way". Never any support on exploring other methods or programs. I hesitate to use this word, but I have always found that sort of "cult-like". Anyways...let me re-iterate that I DO respect the program and have seen it work miracles in many lives, it's just a shame it almost is "the only game in town" as the other programs I have investigated are few and far between or Internet only etc. Thanks for letting me rant. If anyone can relate to any of this please let me know b/c I felt shame for along time about this and wondered about the "constitutionally incapable" CRAP. But I know better now and am comfortable and secure in my knowledge that I can stay clean with the medication and program (or lack there of) of my choice and IT IS OKAY!!!! I have many other things I could mention but these are the biggies!!!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:10 am 
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I was going to write, but I have been staring at your avatar for the past 30 minutes, mesmerized, and now I can't see... but thanks for your comments!


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 Post subject: Cracking up Doc
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:30 am 
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suboxdoc wrote:
I was going to write, but I have been staring at your avatar for the past 30 minutes, mesmerized, and now I can't see... but thanks for your comments!



Doc - I can't stop laughing after reading your comment...thanks so much for the laugh.... I'm also laughing because several times I caught myself staring at Monica's avatar. It is pretty wild!!! I'm still laughing...

Anyways, Monica, I am going to reply in detail most likely tomorrow evening... I'm with you 100%. I was desperate the first time around when I entered the program (No Suboxone, Didn't even know about it) and it worked well for me but I also dedicated myself. 90 in 90 and after that 5 meetings a week at least. I also was in a completely different frame of mind the first time around. But after having a year clean and not feeling so desperate anymore, I began to see exactly what you were seeing. Now for ME being on Suboxone this time around my desperation was extinguished immediately. For me I couldn't even deal with the program now, as I feel so normal. I do see a therapist on a regular basis but our topics are no longer about addiction but rather different aspects of my life... Not meaning to go off topic, I will post in detail tomorrow my feelings which are very similar to yours... I also hope Doc posts again, as I'm really interested to hear what Doc has to say. I did read something in the past from Doc about this topic and it hit home for me....

Talk to you soon...SuperBuper


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:29 am 
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Monica, I can totally relate to those issues. I've had many of the same ones when I tried NA several years ago. I feel the program is religious in nature and I too was very uncomfortable with that. I remember reading the "chapter to the agnostics". It essentially said that if you do as we do, soon you'll believe like we do...Something like that. I found that to be cult-like as well. I also could never bring myself to make my dog, cat, etc., my "higher power". But I think my main issue was that I didn't have control over stopping. I choose to believe I am the one responsible for my recovery. Now I am an atheist so maybe that made it especially difficult for me what with all the praying.

On an aside, did anyone read about the guy that refused to go to 12-step meetings for his probation or parole and was jailed for it? Well, he sued and won! The judge said he couldn't be forced to attend something religious in nature. I only say this because we've talked on this forum previously about court-ordered 12 step programs and being court-ordered to cease suboxone. Sorry for the digression, but I thought you might find that news interesting.

Thanks for starting this thread, Monica. See, you're not alone.

Melissa

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:57 am 
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Monica,

I feel the same as you and Melissa. The praying turns me off and it feels very cult like to me also. I am learning to become spiritual. Religion turns me off entirely. I have always felt extremely uncomfortable at the end of the meetings where people hold hands and say a prayer. It doesn't mean anything to me and I feel like I am being inconsistent with who I am. If I was planning on getting off suboxone, I would probably go however. It has been a while since I was really a "member" of NA but don't they also say to take what you want and leave the rest?

For me, if I was going to get into any type or form of religion it would be Buddhism and I say this with caution because I don't know much about that either. I don't think that mixes with NA very well though.

Finally, I will say that I wish there was something out there in my area aside from NA. I do feel a need to learn from other people and be around other addicts and to find a support system that can supplement my suboxone treatment. There just isn't anything so I am trying to figure out what else I can do. Right now it is therapy, learning meditation, and focus on my physical health. There isn't any structure to it which is bothersome though. I feel a little lost at times.

Cherie


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:01 am 
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Cherie -
Check the SMART recovery website - they may very well have meetings in your area. I live in a small town and there's a few around here. IF that's your thing. Also, check Meetup.com - they list all kinds of meetings and/or support groups in your area. You might be surprised at how many resources they have. Or you could start your own, again, IF that's your thing. The first meeting of my new Suboxone recovery group is the second week of May.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:49 am 
When I attended NA 12+ years ago I did everything they required including changing my friends. So I was working, owned a home and had cut off contact with all my drug aquaintances. After a while it hit me that the only connection that I still had with drugs was NA. There are very few meetings in my area, there were about 3 that I could get to reasonably and one of them went "rogue" and people were hooking up there and going out and using. It was crazy. By getting away from NA I cut all ties with the drug culture.
I do have to say, though, that 6 years later i took percocet after giving birth - I never would have taken it if I had still been working an NA program. When I had my son while I was in the program I refused all the pain meds and I was fine on 800mg ibuprofen. Taking that first percocet woke up the sleeping monkey.

I was naive enough to think that when I got a doctor that was approved to prescribe Sub that it would be part of a program where I would be in group therapy with other Sub users. I really wish that had been the case - I have not stepped foot in a meeting since I've been on Sub. I sort of use this forum as my meeting - but someone just pointed out you can easily drop out and there's no accountability. Mel, I like that you started your own meeting - maybe that is the option many of us are looking for.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:51 pm 
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I never expected others to feel as I did. I kind of expected to be "slammed" for my comments about the program. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one that feels this way. Jackcrack is right....the program says "Take what you need and leave the rest" and I have tried that but I usually end up feeling like a fraud somehow. I do want to mention that I HAVE also found some useful tools thru my experiences with AA/NA. The "one day at a time" concept slows my crazy a** down alot of times and I find concept behind The Serenity Prayer to be my bottom line about almost every crises in my life. I consider myself agnostic with athiest leanings. Hatmaker510 mentioned "Chapter to the Agnostics" and it basically saying "stick around and soon you'll believe like we do". Yeah I get that feeling too. I feel sometimes the Big Book and NA Basic Text (and the meetings) send mixed messages. You are supposed to feel free to find your own Higher Power (which in and of itself is a problem for me) but I feel like the underlying feeling is "but you DO believe in God, right??!!! Anyways thank you all for making me feel like I am not such a freak for not "feeling" the 12 steps.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:41 pm 
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I must admit the number of times I heard the word "God" the last time I went to a meeting was difficult to deal with. As soon as people say the word my mind draws a blank. It doesn't do anything for me and if they are all relying on God, and I don't have a God......what am I supposed to do with that? Not only that......but I don't like all of the steps either. I remember in college, this guy I dated (maybe 2 dates EVER) and he called. Since I had been in NA before, I knew he was "making ammends" for something. Only I wasn't sure what because as far as I was concerned......he didn't owe me any. I think sometimes there is so much obsession about it and focus on it that people end up blowing some things out of proportion. As far as I can recall these days...the guy had gotten drunk and passed out once but I don't really think he owed me any kind of "ammends" for that. Anyhow...people seem to get themselves in a lot of trouble over that and I can understand if something is weighing you down that you need to make ammends. But from my experience....the sponsor often has you dig up any and every little thing from your past that could have harmed someone and then you feel bad over things no one else even cared about.

And they do say "take what you want and leave the rest" but I am pretty sure they also have several other sayings that essentially tell you if you don't take it all in that you will relapse and die so there are some mixed messages there in my opinion. I can't recall of of the sayings anymore but I do recall thinking very similarly as I did when I went to church when I was a kid. Here is a short story.....

I HATED dresses. Was a super tomboy. EVERY sunday we had to get dressed up into a dress and these too small tights and then get carted around the church with all these old smelly people smiling and touching our faces, blah blah (I was about 3 in this memory). So my parents would drop me off at sunday school and I remember them singing that song about jesus loves you and the whole red, yellow, black or white thing. All I could think was...."If Jesus loves me if I am red, yellow, black, or white.....why does he care if I am in a dress or not?" So I used to bail out of the sunday school room and run all over the church because I hated it there. Always did.

Feel the same about NA. It confuses me a little.

Cherie


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 Post subject: Meetings
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:36 pm 
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Monica - Hey there... well like u before I start my post I want to state that I also highly respect the program. I know if I stopped Suboxone now, I would have to try my best at getting back into the program. Without Suboxone, I really think I would relapse in time.

I relate to all of your post... I will say at my old home group we had a few members that were religious and would try and spread the 'word' when they share. Certain members would get really upset, I have even seen heated conversations in regards to the shares.. Anyways..

When I quit using my drug of choice (Oxycodone), I usually don't sleep very well for several weeks even a few months sometimes... I would take over the counter Tylenol Sleep Aid. Without even acetaminophen. I had a few members tell me I wasn't clean because I was using these sleep aids.. One member actually told me 'lack of sleep will not kill one'. Man, that really aggrivated me especially for the fact this member didn't even have children. For a father of two young children and a wife that works sometimes 6 days a week and late nights, I needed my sleep. ..also worked a full time job! If I didn't take a sleep aid, I would just stare at the walls the entire night and maybe sleep a few hours tops...I know I didn't sleep, I watched the clock go by. These sleep aids helped me get by...there is no dependacy to them, I would quit them without any issues and go back to my normal sleep pattern. I even knew when I didn't need them anymore.

Also, if I ever had a cold or something, I had a few people giving me suggestions not to use cold medication. Yes, I know cold medications can be abused. I really couldn't stand going to work sneezing and coughing the entire day. I never got anything out of cold medication anyways... But I felt guilty for taking anything over the counter when I had a real good reason too. These same people would sit down though and smoke a fat cigar loaded with nicotine. Not that I cared...

As soon as I started Suboxone I quit going to meetings immediately. I knew if I was given grief for taking an over the counter sleep aid, I would really be judged taking Suboxone. As, I said earlier in my post, I still highly respect the program. It is nice knowing it's available if I ever need it again. SuperBuper


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:40 pm 
Well, I've been thinking about this topic since Monica started it. I agree with most of what has been said here. I was required to attend 12-step meetings multiple times each week while I was in the Peer Assistance Program for impaired nurses. I attended regularly for around 8 months. After I voluntarily withdrew from the program, I told myself I might continue attending NA, maybe once a week or so. I never went back. It wasn't because I hated it. I met some nice people and I feel like I gained some knowledge and insight there. I guess I just kind of felt like I had gained all I could from it. I had started working the steps and I had a sponsor (other requirements of the program I was in.) I had a feeling that if I kept attending, I would be required to immerse myself deeper and deeper into it and I just wasn't comfortable doing so. A lot of the people there were just so hard-core. It did remind me somewhat of a cult. It certainly reminded me of church (in an odd sort of way) and I already had a church. I already had a Bible and a belief system. Not that NA was necessarily contrary to all of that. In a lot of ways it was actually pretty in line with biblical teachings. So again, I felt I already had core values and beliefs and a 'code' to live by. I didn't need NA for that. I just needed to get my own spiritual life back in line. I felt I would gain more ground by reading my Bible and immersing myself in my own spiritual practices than I would by reading their literature and immersing myself in their teachings and practices.
For me, spirituality has very little to do with religion. In fact, I find it sad to admit, but I feel like organized religion has done as much or more to hurt Christianity than it has to help it. Many people have been turned off of Christianity because of experiences like Jackcrack shared about. Of course Jesus doesn't care if you wear a dress!! But there are many churches out there that are doing great things and they have leaders that are authentic and are truly reaching out to people in need. I suppose it's much like the 12-step groups.....It's up to the individual. If it works for you and your life is made better by participating.....who are we to argue that?
For me, spirituality plays a huge role in my recovery. My faith and my beliefs make me better. It is not about my religion or my church. It is about my personal relationship with God. I'm very grateful that we all have the right to choose what and how we believe. I may not always agree with the beliefs of others but you will not hear me judging anyone else for what they choose to believe or not to believe. I refuse to get into debates or arguments about it either. We can all present what and how or why be believe the way we do. But in the final analysis, the proof comes in how you live your life and how you conduct yourself as a human being. I have no problem respecting others when they are deserving of respect whether they believe the way I do or not. I personally find great comfort in knowing that there is a God out there who cares for me and wants the best for me. At times, that has been the only thing that's gotten me through.
Well, I guess this has gotten a little off track. But I just felt the need to throw my 2 cents into this conversation. Isn't it interesting how addiction shows no mercy on any of us. We are all just as susceptible as the other. When it all boils down, whether it's the 12 steps, medication assisted recovery, or other alternative methods, what matters the most is that we find a means to get this disease into remission and keep it there. Hope everyone is finishing up a nice weekend and thanks for letting me share!!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:08 pm 
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Well said SMF -

I'm also a Christian, but in the eyes of religion - probably not a very good one. The 12 step programs here are tied pretty closely to religion around here (maybe spirituality somewhat, but religion mainly). I am glad they are there, and for those that work the program - need that structure - I am excited for them.

On the other hand, I also felt like a fraud - like Monica or someone mentioned. I was sitting there in a meeting, and contrary to what some people have felt - I felt like the outsider.

Some have suggested not to mention their suboxone use at meetings. I could not do that - and here is why.

One of the biggest issues I have with my own addiction is the lies, manipulation and the cover up. In my active addiction phase - there are plenty of 'lies of omission' where I let a lie be believed by not saying anything.

Enter me into a 12 step meeting. I want to be honest and open. I want to start a new life out where there are no secrets. Secrets kill me personally. They hurt our family and our relationships. So, I have faced that demon. Admitted my dependence/addiction to my wife. I have worked through (and still do) - trust issues. Then I go to a meeting - and what do I feel like I have to do? Lie by omission. Don't say you are on suboxone - keep a secret.

I don't run around to all of my coworkers, or acquaintances telling them I am on suboxone in recovery. BUT - if I go to a meeting - to be there for peer support - i DON'T WANT TO KEEP SECRETS THERE. I need a place like this forum to be open and honest as part of my recovery.

Guess that's it. I have tried for a long time to figure out why meetings were so off target for me. This thread helped me realize that meetings are fine, but for me, lying or lies of omission only reinforce my bad behavior. I need a place to be honest - and for me that is counseling/therapy, and this forum.

As for the higher power stuff - I didn't have a problem with that - as others have. I have times where I look at all the craziness and go - wow - where are you God? Then there are other times - where I look at the complexity of one single thing, something living, and see huge complexities. I see systems that rely on DNA, RNA, protein splitting for cell reproduction, and I think - just to understand that one thing is more than my mind can handle - and then I look at the fact there are millions upon millions of those combination's - all working together. I can't fathom that. Throw in there that there is a 'spark' of life that nobody can define. It's the 'thing' that is missing at a funeral as a body is laying in the casket. Where did the 'spark' come from? Anyway I digress, thanks for listening.

What is amazing to me is the wonderful support and viewpoints that members of this forum bring to bear on issues. FANTASTIC!

--LD


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:43 pm 
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I couldn't agree more with LatheDude. We should never have to lie at a "support meeting". And I truly believe that you are correct......things like that will taint our mindset and our attempts at recovery. Why go somewhere that I am made to feel awkward about remaining true to myself. And no one on the planet can convince me that Suboxone is not the right thing to do (for me). I have re-claimed my health, my sense of security, peace of mind and my relationship to the rest of the world. And those are the things I initially sought in 12 step programs. You made excellent points L/Dude about your pondering the wonders of the universe and I ponder those same amazing things. I don't have an answer but for me it seems to lean more towards science than God. But I am glad you seem to be on solid footing with your own belief system!!! And this forum is awesome!!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:36 pm 
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I have read this thread and have thought long and hard whether I should add to this and decided I will and as always this is only my opinion and experience.

I got sober by attending treatment then immersed myself in AA. I tried NA and they were a bunch of huggers and touchers and I just couldn't deal with that. I found a guy I immediately liked from New York who had like 28 years sober and soon I latched onto him and asked him to sponser me and help me through this. He took me to meetings, got me a great home group, worked the steps with me and in 4 months the obsession to drink was taken from me.

I had a problem with GOD and was not totally comfortable with the whole GOD thing but I ended up accepting the fact that there must be a GOD and soon prayer was a daily thing and still is today.

When I left North Carolina 1 1/2 years ago to move to the Cincinnati area I had a tough time. My support group and alot of friends were left behind. They have over 600 meetings a week in this city and I couldn't find a single one that I fit in. Before I knew it ....I wanted to drink really bad instead I took off again on my opiate abuse until I found suboxone 1 year ago.

I still attend many AA meetings. I do not discuss my sub use there and I don't feel like a fraud. I am there to pass on to the newcomer what was freely given to me. A chance to work with someone who struggles with alcohol addiction and help them work the steps. Just like this site I want to share my experience with new sub users about what I can relate to.

I can say I don't love everything about AA or some of the people but it really is still about me. I am comfortable there and I have a chance to help someone. I could easily bash things in AA and call it cult like but they beleive in it because it works for them..Just like we react when someone slams suboxone or how it works or doesn't work there are many of us here that are quick to put someone in there place. Just like some do in AA.

So for me I will continue to go to AA, continue to take my subutex, work with newcomers, therapy and hopefully a productive member of this forum. I am going back to NC and I have to tell you I am excited because I made so many friends there and I know what is good for me. I know what meetings I like and the ones I don't like. AA and Suboxone has given me something today that I never had and that is freedom........freedom to choose what I want to do. Just like this site there are some I can take and others I can't.......it is the same at AA.....it's probably the same in any type of support group. So hopefully I have not upset anyone ......again this is just my experience and preference.

Jim


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:41 pm 
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ReRaise - I totally respect your feelings and I'm glad you shared. We are all on the same side regardless of our opinions. I come from NA and have never been to an AA meeting so I just can't compare. I enjoyed the program for quite some time...I can understand your love for the program. For me though, I couldn't go to meetings and hide my Suboxone use. It would personally just eat me alive....But I'm good at letting a lot of things eat me alive...with age I have gotten a lot better...oh yah and Lexapro. :o As stable as I feel on Suboxone I personally would find it hard to work a program. I really feel as if I'm not an addict on Suboxone. I will say this though. If for some reason my wife ever left me, I would jump head first into NA in a split second. I really feel my wife keeps me on track. Not that I'm whipped or anything. :lol: It's just hard to explain. We have been together for eighteen years and are solid as a rock.

Even with this site for me I find it best to Listen to the Message not the Messenger. No matter what I read here I always get something out of it regardless. For me Suboxone, my therapist, and this forum gives me my support. Of course my wife too but she's not an addict and does not understand like you all do.

SuperBuper


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I just finished seven months of AA/NA because I was ordered to but I still took it seriously and stayed clean. I've been away from meetings for two months because I couldn't fully get behind them primarily for two reasons. I just could not embrace a higher power no matter how open to the concept I tried to be (let alone a religious deity). The second reason is one I'm sure you'll recognize. I am taking credit for my resolve and determination. I do not like being told that my will hasn't played a part in my recovery. I didn't like being told how I had to think or I wasn't going to make it. On the other hand it was good to be around people who were serious about staying clean especially when I was so sick. When I get off house arrest I intend to go back to my home meeting and say "Ha, still clean" but also want to say hi to people I like and respect. I can't deny that meetings probably helped me stay clean. I could not go to a meeting and lie to them if I had relapsed, so don't relapse. I also agree about admitting to being on sub though I understand the reasons not to. I do know how resentful I would feel if some AA superstar was spewing wisdom especially during my blackest months of doubt and pain and it came to light they were still on sub. I would probably walk out and condemn the whole organization. Most people do not realize that the sub taper is where the work is just beginning. Speak at a meeting two weeks two weeks after you've jumped and pray your higher power will help you keep your shorts clean.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 12:03 pm 
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The religion/spirituality aspect of AA/NA never bothered me, I just never felt the fellowship or seemed to be getting anything out of it. I didn't hang with those people when I was drinking or using drugs and didn't want to then either.

The Big Book, The Big Book, The Big Book... I went off once and told them if the Big Book said the next time you felt like drinking to shit your pants, you'd all fill them. Now wouldn't that be a great idea? You'd have to go home and change, but one guy said he did all his drinking at home anyway so my plan was shot down. One guy was just too lazy to get up to go to the bathroom and would shit his pants. He was one of my counselors in treatment. Yeah, I'll follow your advise, guy. Tell me how to get clean.

I've been in treatment 11 times. You're forced to go then and probably what turned me against it. I was on probation for my 3rd DWI and my PO had me going to meetings twice a week. AA or NA, my choice. After a couple weeks I told her after standing on a stone floor in a factory for 10 hours I didn't feel like walking across town to go to a meeting. (I lost my license for 5 years.) She said just go when you think you need to. Well, I didn't think I needed to go at all and that was that. I walked 5 years paper with her and haven't drank in well over 10 years.

I had already gotten 3 DWI's and was lucky enough not to go to prison for it. I knew if I continued to drink there would come a day when I got behind the wheel and would get a 4th, and I'd be cooling my heels for the next 3 years in the joint, so I slowly tapered myself down till I wasn't drinking more often than I was. Maybe once a week or so. When I contracted HepC in '96 I was at the point I could stop altogether. (DUI was still a concern when I was full of Methadone.)

Now I don't even remember what I saw in it and can't stand to be around someone who is drunk. And don't know how anyone stood to be around me. I still think about it once in a while when I don't have opiates to do but have never given in to temptation.

That's really no big feat though. My opiate habit just got worse and here I am today on Sub, most likely for the rest of my life. Not that it's a bad thing. I just wasn't as successful stopping using drugs as I was drinking and have a chance to get my life back now. I don't believe in the disease concept but there's no doubt I'm an addict and always will be.

But if the program works for you, and it does for a lot of people, I'm happy for you.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 4:06 pm 
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Interesting topic. Before I go on, let me just tell you all that I have nothing but the utmost respect for 12 step programs and I think that they work for people who RABIDLY work these programs. I also do not want my views to offend any people of faith, but at the same time, I believe it's important for me to express those views, so I will be as respectful as I possibly can.

I always had a very difficult time with AA and NA because of the religious angle. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's not "religion" it's "spirituality" right? :roll:

Sorry, but when you gather in a circle and hold hands at the end of an NA meeting and recite the lord's prayer, that's very specifically religious, christian to be precise. By the way, I'm an atheist. So that part of it doesn't work for me. And in this context "part" = "almost all" because the fact is, these programs are pretty much based on religion. When you take a look at the steps, which are, in fact, the bulk of the program, they are heavily steeped in religion. Let's look at the steps for a second:

1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
Am I really "powerless" over my addiction? I did, after all, stop using drugs and get on suboxone, didn't I? I exerted power over my addiction by taking this action myself. Yes, when I am actively using drugs, they hold a powerful grip on me and my thinking and behavior, and I did some really stupid things while under the influence, but ultimately, I cannot agree with the idea that I am "powerless over my addiction" because the objective facts (me being on suboxone and living a relatively normal, stable life) do not support this "powerlessness" ideal.


2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Clearly this refers to god, although, the programs will tell you that it can refer to anything, even the group itself. I get the concept, but generally speaking this is meant to be "god" that is doing the "restoring to sanity" right?


3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
I can't go there. Since I believe "god" is a man-made construct.


4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
I think this is a GOOD step. We all do stupid, hurtful things when we use drugs, so taking an inventory of ourselves and our destructive behavior can't hurt. I've actually done this step, recently.


5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Take "god" out of it, and I'm there. I do this step with my substance abuse therapist pretty regularly.


6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
"God" is not going to change me. I have to change me. It's a work in progress.


7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
See #6

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Absolutely essential to long-term sobriety, I believe. We have to mend fences and clean up the wreckage we tend to leave in our wakes. This is something I have done and continue to do.

9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
See my answer to #8

10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Agree with this step 100%

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Not even worth discussing for me, since I don't believe in god.


12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I will always try to help another addict if I can, but I can't really "carry the message" of AA or NA because it's a highly religious message in many ways which directly conflicts with my core beliefs.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:01 pm 
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Thanks for taking the time to give us your perspective, junkie. I must say I agree 100% with everything you've said and I appreciate the effort you put into writing this.

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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 1:14 am 
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I am new to this forum but not to Suboxone and sobriety. I love all the posts about 12 step programs and I agree with the majority of them. I was very active in AA my first 2 years clean. I can honestly say it saved me and made me a better person. I never had trouble with the spiritual part of the program, it just clicked for me. I am not religous at all and have not stepped foot in a church in a decade but somehow I was able to grasp that part. It might have been the meetings I was going to, the people I was running with, or it was just the right time in my life to be open to it. I think most of us have so many preconceived ideas about God and religion that we shut down when hearing anything about it. I would see so many new people come to a meeting for their first time and completely shut down when they would hear God. I used to try and tell the old timers that they were losing people with all that talk right off the bat. Most of the people I ran with were Big Book thumpers. Big Book this and Big Book that, it used to drive me crazy after awhile. I wanted to throw that book out the window, studying every chapter and every sentence, contantly buried in it. However, I've come to realize how important the literature is. These guys 70 - 80 years ago found something that worked and thank God they put it on paper. I've heard some crazy things in meetings, things like weed is ok and a few vicodin or benzos are to use once in awhile then someone else will tell you not to take anti-depresants your Dr prescribed and forget about suboxone. The book helped me sort out the garbage. The Big Book mainly deals with making us better, productive, and happy people. This is were the program started to lose me a little. The constant war stories. I realize sharing our story with new people will help them feel welcome and hearing their story will remind were I used to be and can still be a reality but I got so sick of talking about using, overdosing, scoring, stealing, ect.... I do not feel like that same person any more and constantly talking about using is not as natural or comfortable as it used to be. I know how low I can go if I pick up and I know it's one bad decision away. I have a family now
and a business and some what happy and content. An adult living a productive life. Those are my pros and cons to 12 step programs. I think if your an addict you should try it with an open mind and you will get something out of it, some more than others. Most 12 steppers have good intentions and will be there for you when things get hard. I keep telling myself to het back to some meetings and my wife gives me a hard time every once in awhile about not going any more but honestly being a sober responsible adult is much more time consuming than I thought it would be. Thanks for letting me ramble. I am a horrible writer, never know were to place punctuation or start a new paragraph. Thank God for spell check or you would think a 5 year old posted.


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Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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