What are your thoughts about addicts in AA instead of NA?

There is absolutely no reason why addicts shouldn’t attend AA meetings.  However, AA has traditions that are important to the fellowship and to many of the members.  One of those is that they generally confine their discussions to alcoholism and recovery from alcoholism.

Disregarding the fact that alcoholism is an addiction like any other, and disregarding the “a drug is a drug is a drug” of NA, keeping drugs out of the conversation is the custom at the majority of AA meetings.  Everyone attending — cross-addicted people like me, and people not addicted to alcohol at all — should follow that custom in most cases.  It’s simply good manners.

There are, however, situations where a person is in crisis, and simply needs a meeting of whatever kind.  In that case it is perfectly proper — hell, it’s a life-threatening emergency — to say whatever we need to say in order to get whatever kind of support we need.  What I would do in that situation is simple.  I’d raise my hand and say “I’m not an alcoholic, but I really, really need help because I’m about to use.  Will someone come outside and talk to me about it?”  I would probably be invited to stay and say what I need to say, and if not I’d have a horde of people headed for the door with me.

Really, the substance has nothing to do with it.  What matters are the emotions, the behaviors and the solutions.  Those are the same for all addictions, and anyone should be able to talk about them in any meeting without ever mentioning alcohol or any other drug.

Comments

  1. Anyone regardless of what is going on with them, is welocme. Yes, over the years, pople from sides have complained about people who have had other problems being in the rooms. Well my friends at AA used to let the people into our meetings from the group home. They came faithfully, and had some coffee and plenty of cigrettes. Sometimes it was draining to me. One Day I was in Akron Ohio visiting on Founders Days. A man was walking up the street….remember me, My name is Chailes. One can call me Charlie. These people got alot out of our meetings and so did I. I came in using both mixtures of Alochol and Drugs and was affected from living in a Alocholic home before I was eight years old. Quite frankly the guys at AA just did not know what to do with me. It took me asking 30 guys before a I got me a sponsor. It took years of meetings for me just to understand that I too am just another chronic drinker as well. I did not mix, the up the lingo, Program Talk, at all. I just discuss AA at AA. NA stuff at their meetings. And most of all my life was saved…and I owe it all to AA. Cannot be greatfull enough about this. Going on in June on the 4th, 1980 One Day at a time, comming up on my 33 rd year. In the Pa. meetings of AA around Pittsburg, Pa, they take whoever walks into the doors, it just doesn’t matter. We are to be helpfull. In my area in Ohio, we had had problems over the differences, and this led to us starting NA in Ohio way back in the 1980’s. People from AA often come to our meetings today also. The disease of addiction affects every area of our lives. Mentally, psysically and most of all spiritually. We can eat too much. Laugh to much. Have too much fun. Anything we do can be too much…shopping ect. I am thankfull for all the help that I did receive, regardless of where it came from. People were betting on me that I was not going to make it…glad that my higher power saw fit, otherwise… Paul

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Paul. We pretty much agree, I think.

    Bill

  3. AA is for “alcoholics“: Tradition “Three—Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover (from alcoholism) …”

    Drug use is an outside issue contemplated in the 10th Tradition: “Ten—No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues—particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.”

    Bill W. wrote an article for the Grapevine supporting the proposition that persons who have substance abuse issues other than alcoholic cannot be members (or attend closed meetings). “Problems Other Than Alcohol: What Can Be Done About Them?” by Bill W. — A.A. Grapevine, February, 1958.

    NA teaches alcohol is a drug, but googling the definition of a drug finds that that is not universal. For example: “chemical substances prepared and sold as pharmaceutical items, either by prescription or over the counter.” The intent is to show that a drug addict is not sober if he/she uses alcohol. Likewise, AA doesn’t consider a member sober if he/she uses “mood altering substances” generally dugs.

    Let’s not overlook, as an extreme example, because an extreme example is the best illustraion, someone who is not dually addicted cannot identify with someone who shares their story at an open speakers meeting whose story mostly consists of drugs, I cannot not.

    While drug addicts and alcoholics share some common behavior, the extreme dishonesty and unlawfulness, the weapons, violence, and related crimes that drug addicts engage in are not shared with alcoholics who are not dually addicted. One of the Big Book stories talks about identifying and not comparing, I cannot identify with the drug culture. I live near a large Midwest city rife with drug use, so many AAs here can identify with the drug culture, but that is not true throughout jus the U.S. What about the rest of the world?

    Look at it this way, just because you drink alcohol doesn’t mean that you are an alcoholic; otherwise virtually everyone who drinks in a bar is an alcoholic. Another extreme example (and profundity).

    Look at the blogs, drug addicts feel entitled to violate the principles and traditions of AA to then participate in them. Isn’t there something wrong here? NA is not enough, drug addicts have to be special. Among others, there are Heroin, Cocaine, and Marijuana Anonymous. Ever hear of terminal uniqueness? Conversely, this is an admission that an alcoholic is in fact different from a drug addict. I had a self-identified “addict” at my table the other day justify his presence at an AA meeting stating that a 12-step program is a 12-step program. So why not go to Sex, Overeaters, or Gambling Anonymous or Adult Children of Alcoholics? Thus, drug addicts hang on to their character defects and feel entitled to engage in any conduct that makes them feel better. Sounds like addictive behavior to me!

  4. Martin Cleary says:

    Could not agree more with the above comment ………am sick of drug addicts taking over AA meetings …i travel abroad a lot and i assure you this is a petulance american issue ….in other countries you will be told to shut up or leave if your talking about drugs at a AA meeting….I think they do not go to NA meetings because other addicts will see through their BS ….

  5. Steve G,

    You are all over it! The justification of addicts for attending AA instead of where they belong, NA, is out of hand where I live-Cincinnati. I believe that most addicts are hiding in AA. They really don’t want to confront their addiction. They can feel unique in AA. Most addicts don’t stay clean in AA. In fact, most heroin addicts die. It’s tragic and a travesty that AA allows this to happen. Addicts need to be told the truth-whether they like it or not.

    That truth is that NA is their 12 step program. AA does not need to apologize for being for alcoholics. It’s are primary (and only) purpose. Deviation from it has wrought disaster on both alcoholic and addict alike. Cemeteries are loaded with “alcoholics” who died of heroin overdoses while attending AA meetings. I’m afraid that it will continue unabated as most AAs either know nothing about or dismiss our Singleness of Purpose.

  6. Thank you guys for standing up for our Singleness of Purpose. It was those such as yourselves who saved my life.

  7. mandy grady says:

    UNITY, SERVICE, RECOVERY. TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE. HANG IN THERE FELLOWSHIP. WE ARE TOGETHER IN SPIRIT. THIS TOO SHALL PASS. GOD BLESS.

  8. Anonymous says:

    After 15 years of continuous sobriety in Las Vegas AA I have had enough. Myself and other AAs have literally been thrown of of our own meetings by drug addicts or threatened by them because we refused to allow them to violate AA Traditions which they NEVER abide by. I have stopped financially supporting AA and I have stopped going to meetings all because of the drug addicts. The local Las Vegas central office and will not do anything about it and neither will World Services they just want to keep the gravy train of money coming in. Drug addicts have driven out members like me and old timers who just can’t take these people anymore and I do not see this ever being reserved.

  9. I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict. If I introduce myself in a meeting as an addict, who there is to say I am not also an alcoholic? There is no rule about how we identify ourselves. To impose such a rule is very much against the spirit of our organization. The purpose of AA is to carry the message, not alienate those who need it.

    Tradition three, the story of Ed, the story of the man with the second stigma, is very clear. There is indeed a requirement for membership and it is very simple. To say anything otherwise is to indulge yourself in the selfish self righteousness of alcoholic thinking.

    I once asked a man who sounded very much like the above posters why he felt the way he did. He said that he couldn’t relate. Relating isn’t his job. Carrying the message is his job. AA isn’t about you. It’s about others.

  10. Sobriety — freedom from alcohol — through
    the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps is
    the sole purpose of an A.A. group. Groups have
    repeatedly tried other activities, and they have
    always failed. It has also been learned that there is
    no possible way to make nonalcoholics into A.A.
    members. We have to confine our membership to
    alcoholics, and we have to confine our A.A.
    groups to a single purpose. If we don’t stick to
    these principles, we shall almost surely collapse.
    And if we collapse, we cannot help anyone.

    Please go to NA where you can relate. It’s all about the relation of alcohol. Mouth to bottle, feel of liquor in my mouth and throat. Puking the next day. I can’t relate to pill or needle or snort.

  11. It’s a sensitive topic, and of course, that’s how the trick is played. Yeah addicts have issues, and I do believe they need to be helped. However, from my perspective, it’s gotten out of hand. It’s all too common, and I’d say there are more addicts in AA than alcoholics at this time, and if it’s not that way yet, I believe it will be. I personally have nothing against addicts in general, and would wish them to be well.

    However, I would say most alcoholics and addicts have issues with boundaries and ego, “where do I begin and end, and where do you begin and end.” Intimacy issues in general. dealing with the emotions of relating to other people. Respecting the boundaries of others, and standing up for one’s own boundaries.

    With this fundamental issue, we’ve got a weakness in the system. That being, where does one stand, when does one take a stand. An issue with morality.

    I’ve come to the conclusion, that if an addict lacks the integrity to respect the “will and testament” of a deceased man, that being Bill Wilson in respect to his legacy, that being of AA, these specific addicts certainly can NOT respect those of us who are still living, nor can they be “fully” trusted with those of us who are still living.

    No matter how innocent they may be or may be perceived to be. No matter how bad of a shape they me be in. From my eyes, it really is that simple. What is right and what is wrong. I believe it’s wrong to stand by idly and emotionally support those who simply do not acknowledge and do not respect, knowingly or unknowingly, the “will and testament” of a deceased man, or would feel so entitled that they can simple step on and piss on the rules of an organization. It’s really that simple. What do people not get about that?

    IT’S WRONG. That’s what this comes down to. It’s wrong. And it’s wrong to stand by idly and support this wrong behavior. Sitting there idly just twiddling your thumbs is supporting this behavior is just as wrong. It’s wrong. It’s not morally right. It’s not the right thing to do. That’s how I see it.

    I get the idea if there aren’t enough meetings, yeah, I get that. However, I think that’s less of the case these days, and this behavior stems from ulterior motives. Perhaps hiding, perhaps the idea that AA has more sobriety but is that a legitimate reason? Should we take from our neighbor simply because we do not have enough?

    The fundamental issues, from my perspective, is that all these problematic behaviors stem from hiding in one way or another. Hiding from ourselves or hiding ourselves from others.

    Perhaps allowing addicts to participate in AA is actually doing more harm than good? Never mind the fact that it’s symbolically the same as pissing on a deceased man’s grave.

    There is a difference between what is right and what is wrong in this world. Doing the right thing isn’t always pleasant, it isn’t always easy. And this isn’t just with the AA program, look around, this is a global issue. Speak up, speak your truth. Sometimes people just simply need to be reminded that their behavior is inappropriate/wrong. And I would say that the people who really want to be good, they are the most susceptible to support those around who do not have the best intentions. Good people have been brainwashed/indoctrinated to not speak up, “it might hurt someone else’s feelings”. Good people need to put that nonsense to the side, that lie where it belongs and start speaking up no matter what immorality is being shown.

    This isn’t an issue about whether addicts need help, they do. But AA is not the place for them, and openly supporting their behavior is doing more harm to than good, not only to the addict, not only to the AA organization, not only to other alcoholics, but to society at large. Inch by inch, this chaos, this lack of order, will spread like a plague.

    If you disagree with what I’m saying, again I wish addicts all the best, so why don’t you create an NA program or something of that nature, instead of blatantly supporting behavior that is against it’s creator’s “will and testament”? That is against the rules of the organization itself. Do you have the integrity to do that, to do the right thing? If so, then I support you and wish you many blessings.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Amen.

  13. Okay, I read all the above comments, and agree with most. I am an AA without question, though most of my friends in recovery have co-isms. I attend AA regularly at a designated meeting house, most (95% guess) have co existing conditions. It seems conflicting to me, it is hard to relate and be related to. BUT when I ask my HP what to do, the feeling I get is that, if there is a person with their hand outstretched, that I could possibly help, it IS in fact my 12th step to help. So does help mean take them to an NA meeting? What if they are already embedded in the AA program? It is a violation of Traditions and our singleness of purpose, but lets be real, no one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

  14. james Lamson says:

    I have been in AA for almost 17 years now, and sober all the time. I have a serious problem with the idea that no one not drinking but using other mind altering drugs as substitutes for alcohol, are not permitted in closed AA meetings, and not allowed membership.
    There is serious conflict between NA and AA persons and the programs both suffer as a result. Hey, NA uses the same steps as AA, only modified to Narcotics. But there is real anger that exists between the two.
    I did attend a meeting as an alcoholic and this meeting the topic was smoking! Out of 42 people , male and female, 40 stated they used to smoke and stopped! But in another closed meeting the same issue of smoking in a comment was condemned, and the speaker was told later to “shut the hell up, Name,,,,,” and that was very rude and the person would not talk to me after the meeting and tell me why he acted that way toward me.
    I know the rule that bans non alcoholics from AA, but I do NOT agree with it. I asked one alcoholic if he had ever been to an NA meeting, and he said “no, I’m not an addict.” All alcoholics are addicts, which have an addictive personality the same as other drug addicts. I think the AA persons except for me and countless others do not agree or are not hard core on the subject because we all know that the addiction is the same in all drugs, some more difficult to deal with of course.
    I know that before NA, drug addicts went to AA meetings. Later formed NA.
    It’s like religion in a way, like denominational, and that is the problem. The whole programs of recovery in the 12 steps needs to seriously reconsider and become interdenominational, and respect one another. I got interrupted in an NA meeting at the very mention of AA, and even so had already said my opinion of alcohol IS a drug, and NA has no problem with my opinion on that subject.
    The only question I have on NA was when I asked the leader of the group about smoking and stopping. He simply said “You would have to talk to your sponsor about that.” Wow. And also, NA persons are discouraged from having a sponsor in AA and NA. One or the other but not both.
    Now how does anyone think about what I have written?

  15. james Lamson says:

    I made comments about smoking in my last comment. How is it that I have not found any interest or very little on this subject when smoking is the number one killer with preventable diseases. It is harder to quit smoking than it is to stop drinking. Per my quit counselor at VA,, There is only one Nicotine Anonymous group in my area but hundreds of AA groups, and dozens of NA groups. And why is this subject so touchy? I think too many people like myself who held on to that last puff before I realized how hard it was getting to breathe. I quit after several tries. July 8th, 2013, start date, followed by relapses and twice in the hospital, and diagnosed at VA with COPD.
    I think and I know in all meetings, NA, or AA that smoking is definitely a character defect and especially because of second hand smoke! It kills other people by the multiplied thousands. I rest my case, CDC is my info source.

  16. There is so much confusion about something which is really very simple. The 5th tradition clearly states “Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” As an organization the purpose of AA isn’t to help people with gambling addiction, sex addiction, heroin addiction etc. Our purpose is to help alcoholics. If you are an alcoholic with other issues (which is and has always been fairly common – at least in my experience during my 27 years in the program) that’s perfectly fine however you’re not adhering to the tradition by focusing on those other issues at an AA meeting. While at an AA meeting we should focus on our alcoholism.

    When an alcoholic attends an AA meeting they need to be able to identify with other alcoholics – that’s the foundation of how AA began – with Bill talking to Bob. They need to be able to listen and think “That’s me. That’s me. I’m the same as that person” which then leads to the connection that they too can have what that person has – a sober life! If I attend an AA meeting and people are talking about their addiction to drugs I don’t identify. I don’t make that connection. It’s not a game of semantics – it’s the foundation upon which millions of alcoholics have built sober lives. As a sober members of AA it’s our responsibility to see to it that we adhere to the 5th tradition.

  17. Jo McClain says:

    My AA home group includes many addicts. Far from detracting from our
    Meetings, they enrich them. The urge to draw boundaries and shut
    People out because you can’t relate to them is very human, but also very
    Selfish and destructive. A sort of bigotry in my opinion.

  18. Alan states above: “I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict. If I introduce myself in a meeting as an addict, who there is to say I am not also an alcoholic? There is no rule about how we identify ourselves.”

    Alan is wrong and exemplifies the discord and problems drug addicts who don’t leave their drug addiction and ego at the door bring to A.A. The long form of the A.A. Third Tradition suggests that we need to identify as “alcoholics”, though the the short form suggests that we only need to identify as having a (legitimate) desire to stop drinking. Identifying as an “addict: only qualifies one for N/A membership and attendance at closed N/A meetings and being shown to the door at A.A. meetings!

  19. Alcohol is a drug. Regardless of how we all identify ourselves we are all drug addicts. It is nice however could be able to say alcoholic. It feels more acceptable doesn’t it?

  20. Anonymous says:

    I just want to tell my story. I am a addict, I have been clean from drugs for a little over 3 years. I live in a very populated area that has hundreds, if not thousands of AA meetings offered, In my same area there in very few NA meetings (3 to be exact), and most of them are only one certain day at one certain time a week. There is one NA meeting that is two days a week also one certain time and also a 45 minute drive for me. Then last but not least there is a NA meeting that is three days a week and it is from 10:30pm-midnight, that is also a 30-40 minute drive for me. So I have attended each of the 3 places here that offer NA even though they were at inconvenient times . I don’t know about you, but for me I wanted (needed) to attend meetings everyday at least in the beginning it would have been nice. I had a friend at the time one day reached out to me for some sort of help (I was still very new to any program at that time) and not knowing what to do I thought lets try an AA meeting since at that moment she needed it the next NA meeting was 4 days away. All the research I did on AA meetings seemed to be extremely similar to NA and it sounded so good. So I picked one out of the soooo many AA meetings and picked her up and we went. It was an Open meeting for “newcomers”. While we were there I could feel the animosity as soon as I said my name and that I was an addict. That’s just where it started. We were explained the “rules”, told we could attend open meetings, but would never be allowed to speak or offered a sponsor. It wasn’t so much the rules we didn’t understand. we are both able to follow the rules and be respectful etc. both of us were and still are respectable people. I would never want to be in the way or jeopardize an “alcoholics” path to sobriety and neither would my friend. Yes both of us also drank alcohol at the time to but I guess because we didn’t “identify as alcoholics” then this program was not really for us, but we were welcome to sit and listen. So that is what we did. We were also told from AA members that we should” look into NA meetings.” So I did explain about how there wasn’t any at the time of for that matter the next four days. We were then told, “Oh I’m sorry to hear that, maybe the two of you could start a NA program”. Well yes that was a thought, but my friend has never been to a meeting, I had only been to the few offered in my area and both of us were new to all of this. At the time all we knew was we needed help, a shoulder to lean on or just to be loved cared about, how were we going to start a NA program and help others when we didn’t know how to help ourselves nor were the resources available for us to. Anyhow we remained respectful to the AA members after all there was for sure more things we had in common than differences. From listening to others speak and etc it sounded oh so familiar, it seemed to me the only difference I had with the alcoholics was my drug of choice. Though yes I did drink and a lot, it was not my first drug of choice. So the meeting concluded in prayer (that part did make me feel a little better, I knew God was listening and understood I wanted and needed help) and we helped clean up chairs and stuff and we left. Not one member said I hope you return, see you soon, nothing, and that was fine. As much as we felt that AA may have helped us, as much as we felt we can relate to so many here, as much as we both needed or wanted it, due to the “rules” of AA we did NOT belong and for sure did not feel welcome. I felt so bad for taking my friend to sit thru that, I really think it made things even worse for her, and deep inside I was hurt, scared, confused, just completely lost at what to do now also, but I tried so hard to keep it together for her. Point out the positives we got out of the AA meeting, but it was really hard when so much negative was told to us. We got to the car and my friend actually said to me, maybe we should just give up, no one cares about us after all we are just junkies right?.. From that day forward we have never even attempted to attend an AA meeting. I have nothing bad to say about AA programs, according to statistics it has and continues to work for many people needing help, and I truly believe that is fantastic! But sadly for my friend it did not work!.. HERES THE SHOCKER that gets me in this story EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE we both managed to successfully become sober from drugs (it was the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life), but my friend a year later (the same friend I dragged into that AA meeting) turned from complete sobriety to ALCOHOL!! Imagine that!! Even worse when she got really bad off, showing all the signs of Alcoholism, I would have given anything to be able to go back in time and not took her to that AA meeting, because then maybe she would not have been so reluctant to go back to AA and got the help she so desperately needed, but wouldn’t because she was so scared of the same thing happening as did the first one we turned to for help! First impressions can make huge impacts on peoples lives! If I hadn’t dragged her to that AA meeting with me since we were “Addicts” and according to the rules of AA we were clearly told by the members we did not belong and the AA program was not for us we were different, not accepted, not welcome, ashamed, confused, lost, and just plain scared and hurt. Then maybe my friend would be here today and not 6 feet under because she had become an alcoholic, and after a 4 day alcohol binge thought she was ok to drive to the next bar, but NEVER made it!. God rest her soul, I miss her everyday! But I can not go back in time, nor can I predict the future so NO ONE will ever know if AA might have saved her life!. That to me is what hurts the most everyday!…. Thank you for reading my story. I wish ANYONE that struggles with addiction whether it be drugs or alcohol the best and chose your own path to recovery, what works for one may not for another. I did not share this story to influence any ones thoughts toward AA or NA I believe anyone that truly wants help with their addiction whatever their drug of choice be (including alcohol) should seek help everywhere and anywhere that offers! if it is not the right fit for your path to recovery and sobriety then please don’t give up, like my friend did. It may take more time and patience to find the right program that works for you, but eventually you will find the way, the special person/people/group you need to support you and believe in you. I did, and still continue to!! I give everything I have to achieving and maintaining my ultimate goal of sobriety!!. If I am able to touch one persons life that is struggling with addiction through my experiences in any way, then I believe my friend is looking down on me from heaven and smiling and hopefully proud of me! I may not have been able to help her the best when she was alive, but as time passes I have learned so much about myself, and what addiction is about and one thing is for sure I want to stay this way! I am the happiest I have ever been. It is still a struggle everyday, it will never go away but at least I have found what works for me and have built a support system that I cherish! The people that have helped and continue to help me are amazing and I can never thank them enough!! … You have to give it away to keep it!! Together we change our lives for the better!

  21. This whole debate is irrelevant.. AA adheres to the principle of Singleness Of Purpose. “Only alcoholics are permitted at closed meetings”…Dope fiends, pill heads, and other non alcoholic drug addicts, have a fellowship called NA, yet they consistently attempt to defile AA’s guiding principles for their own selfish ends. “We see no way of making a non alcoholic drug addict into an AA member”, Bill W., 1958. At the 2017 AA, General Service Conference, this Singleness Of Purpose was reaffirmed, as it is stated in the AA pamphlet, “Problems Other Than Alcohol.” In addition, NA has their own statement of SIngleness Of Purpose. In their World Service Board of Trustees Bulletin #13, it states:
    “Both fellowships have a Sixth Tradition for a reason: to keep each one from being diverted from its own primary purpose. Because of the inherent need of a Twelve Step fellowship to focus on one thing and one thing only, so that it can do that one thing supremely well, each Twelve Step fellowship must stand alone, unaffiliated with everything else. It is in our nature to be separate, to feel separate, and use a separate set of recovery terms, because we each have a separate, unique primary purpose.”
    “Shoemaker, stick to thy last”. End Of Story.

  22. Alcoholism is not
    An addiction.. there never gana
    understand Cuz they don’t have it
    The idea that we are like other people has to be smashed!,

  23. Thank you for this discussion! I myself am a new commer with both alcohol and drug addiction. My very first AA meeting was a closed one I was told not to share and given a when and where that I couldn’t even read yet due to my other health issues. Directly after the meeting I was told to go somewhere else. I was devastated but my hp lead me to a open AA meeting that saved my life. After the fogg had lifted and I had a better understanding of my addictions Im a very grateful member of both AA and NA.

  24. This a really good site for me to read. I have been sober in AA for 40 years and sometimes have a hard time trying to figure out what 12 step group I am in.

  25. If you take 100 people, any 100 people, and give them heroin for a month, you will have 100 heroin addicts. On the other hand, if you take any 100 people, and give them booze for a month, you will only on average, have 10 alcoholics, or 10%. Everyone can be an addict. Alcoholics are bodily and mentally different than our fellows. The “I’m an alcoholic and a…” started in the seventies when the first treatment center only had one van and told everyone to get in because “it’s all the same”. If the newcomer can’t identify, he’s a gonner. When I was new, and filled with my own intelligence and denial, it was hard enough for me to identify, even with 100% of the group being alcoholics. You start watering this down and more people will drink again. The good news?? There are programs for everything these days. Narcotic addicts sometimes have an air of entitlement about where they can recover.

  26. No, alcohol is not a drug, it’s actually a foodstuff: it has calories and is in fact a carbohydrate. So no, I do not agree that all alcoholics are addicts, as I am not. I am an aklie who did drugs, but I was able to put those substances down (and leave them down) when really wanting to : not so with alcohol. No matter what happened to me, no matter what I eventually inflicted upon others– I always returned to drink.
    I don’t care who likes this or not. As the point has already been well made by many here: WHY are drug addicts insisting upon coming to AA? You have NA, CA, MA, and by this stage I am sure a whole host of new ones I am not even aware of. WHY is it not enough for you? Greedy and selfish is the answer, one I am sure you won’t like.
    The greatest gift I got in AA was to finally understand what alcoholism is. After a good few years of relapsing, 16 years ago I GOT IT. And since then I have enjoyed a life– recovered and free.
    I will do all I can to keep our group an AA meeting, and if we do get taken over by addicts, as some are in the process of trying to do to us now, I will simply grab my big book and start a private meeting for myself and some fellow drunks. Simple 🙂 AA is not a place, it’s about being a member of the Fellowship of the Spirit, and no one but me can remove me from that.

    M.

    Ps: the original post reminds me yet again of what a truly catastrophic effect Treatment centers have had on AA.
    Sad.

  27. AA Is for alcoholics only. Though drug addicts are welcome (at Open meetings EVERYONE is welcome) they should confine their discussions/sharing to issues with alcohol. AA is a private organization. It can set its own rules and traditions as it sees fit. No one (not even an alcoholic!) as any “right” to speak his/her/their mind on ANY addictions they decide the traditions SHOULD cover. Free speech doesn’t apply within ANY private organizations. So, only AA, through its Group Conscience, gets to decide what is or isn’t proper for AA. Of course, as per the Traditions, groups are autonomous- but still bound by the Traditions! Any group can decide for itself how or what is or isn’t allowed in its meetings; however, if what that group allows is against the Traditions then they are, by default, NOT AA and should have the courage to act as such. Further, and perhaps most important, we are not built around not prepared to claim that we can ALSO help gamblers stop gambling or over-eaters control their cravings or sex-addicts find peace or drug addicts get straight. In fact, to do THAT is a grave dishonesty that could lead those with “problems othat than alcohol” straight to the grave! And if that happens aren’t we responsible for such grave failures in some way for claiming that the AA 12 Steps and the AA meetings are “just as good” for any addiction and should allow its message to be “massaged” to accommodate these problems? We can identify easily with an alcoholic who fails to “thoroughly follow OUR path,” but are we being “rigorously honest” to say we can identify with ANY addiction? Can alcoholics with no real identity with drug addictions honestly SPONSOR a Meth addict? Is the even fair to the Meth addict? Isn’t that just grandiosity and pride? We are NOT “entitled” to our recovery. We are responsible for it. And our responsibility is to learn how to live according to the terms that LIFE sets. One of these “terms” is that AA has a “singleness of purpose” and THAT purpose is to stay SOBER (from alcohol) and help other ALCOHOLICS to achieve sobriety!

  28. Michelle says:

    Wow! Im going on 42 yrs old, started using a week before i turned 10. Only experimentally ofcourse but, we as people,who have problems with sobriety know all to well that i put my age and start date of “unsober” living as a mathatical equation for a reason…
    Does the solution of that problem produce how many years ive used or how many years ive been sober?
    Would the drug addict be the one to answer or the alcohol addict?
    Either one, would the answer be correct?
    Ill say this and not because im being impartial to one or the other but,
    I FEEL like a person with only a chemical dependacy issue, not of an alcohol drpendacy issue, would answer my question appropriately(the word correct alone isnt apprpriate, {none of us are wrong, afterall}so,ill stick to appropriate);anyhow, the alcoholic tends to pride on their years in recovery, the addict is known for adhereing to the “one day at a time” concept.
    The theory is simple bit why is it that the alcoholics are so quick to accuse or for mention that the addicts piss on and break all the aa traditions when the alcoholics dont “live by tradition” strictly themselves”?
    You see, i havent mention whether i a user or a drinker. A junkie or a drunk! What im merley trying to convey is that i have a problem and, if anyone reading this took time to read thusfar, wouldnt of had to do any math to understand the SUM or DIFFERENCE of my problem, if so ill gladly end the confusion for you…
    Im a mother of 2,2 grand children.
    I am dual-diagnosis with duel-isms.
    I am bipolar/manic depression, multiple
    personality disorder with identity crisis,ptsd.
    Im an alcoholic/drug addict who suffers from one or the other when one or the other isnt avaiable and both if they are equally&readily available at the same time.
    Meth was the drug along with marijauna&cigerettes i tried at 9 years old! Still hate weed to this day, nevercould control it/dont like its feeling. Alcohol came for the first time age12,not again til 14,my last drink aprox 9pm last night. A twisted tea, had two 24 oz cans yesterday. I used yesterday too and the day before as well as the day before that! You see, i limit myself however that doesnt make me in control. Still, im an addict, just a functional one but, not all the time and theres no guess work in figuring out whether today or tomoorrow will be a functional day or one where i lose all reasoning or abolity to control my limitations as it just happens. Maybe because of my lack of mental stability. My wiring is wrong which i think the drug addict as well as the alcohol addict would agree… Im also epileptic so withdraw is severely dangerous for me without professional detox!
    I apoligize as im not even close to trying to gllrify my addiction, nor am i trying to rub in a person of sobrietys face that im a unsober person or am i attempting to tempt any entity thats in recovery, however i feel its the other way around and heres why: I was surfing the internet for help, or some encouragement due to the fact that upon waking this morning i strongly thought about taking my life, mainly because of all my addiction related issues as well as the emotional toll my mental disorders press upon me and, i was hoping to find that one word or advice or something on thes websites to ring a voice in my head, a sound one hopefully but,insted i was led here with you all who are fighting about what type of adict should conform to what meeting they should go to ect. Isnt one of the reasons religion or creed and things as such are openly prohibited to nothing more that admitting you have a higher power is because of all the contriversies of religion and denomination? I mean that is what keeps us segerated partly, right?politics too!
    But whats any different from that and keeping sobriety and recovery seperated?
    Its one and the same… If we are to conform to anything, here on earth anyhow and for the better, and quality of life, i feel a life of sobriety would be that purpose yet alcoholics are going to shun a fellow brother or sister away from getting the help they need because theyve identified themselves other than an alcoholic? Like get over and save the seantics already, have any of you heard theres people dieing each day due to addiction and one more helped is one more saved?
    Some of you spoke on individual behaviors while under the influence of drugs, can yu prove that as facts that those behaviors exists solely in drug addicts? What if I said something like “damnit i cant stand tripping over a homeless drunken bum whose laying pissed&shit on himself on the sidewalk because he drank a bottle of thunderbird and a bottle of listerine to get his fix? Wouldnt that be offensive to you especially since the person that commented way above, decided to leave common alcoholic behaviors out of their part of the discussion!
    Because the addiction cycle, no matter to what you are addicted to, addiction being key here, has negative behaviors no matter how a person or group or even drs might tie them to a specific addiction or group ofaddicts. Thats why addiction is a problem, it has negative outcomes that cant be conteplated yet not controlled alone by the addict without help! Yet some of you, alcoholics or drug addicts rather turn this fellowship into something else or misjudging ots purpose altogether, tweaking it to hoe you see fit as the fit purpise was toserve each and every addict who walked thru the door admitting he or she had a problem and could not go at it alone! Not unless your a boozer get out of here stick to your own!
    I agree birds of featger flock together but havent we evolved from that close mindedness by now? (no pun on evolution, i should of chosen a better descriptive word, but am sticking with that)…
    I mean, what next? Gender strict meetings, caucasion aa, aa for african americans and the list would be ever never ending, its ridiculous and very religion-eskie… Come one, come all as we all come together for and without doubt,to serve a better purpose!
    For ouselves, our families and our comminities and ultimately our HP. Better ourselves here on earth now so as our time comes to go elsewhere, we can go clean, sober and guilt free with good hearts and of sound mind. Help thine neighbor, even if he is a junkie as id help wipe the puke from the face of my alkie neighbor then take him to a meeting!
    After all of this,my day is quite topsy turvey. Im angry, sad, confused more than before and at the least, very undetermined in any direction. A very dangerous situation for myself as i set out to reach out today now onoy wany to recluse!

  29. When I was very young, sipping beer foam was fun and made me happy.. Time passed and the 60s arrived. Well, Katie-bar-the-door, it was ALL there! I was either drinking or doing drugs. My 3 year addiction ended at 17 years old. Everyone told me I could still have fun if I had one or two beers. So I was off again! I was always a black out drunk and am pretty sure as long as a needle wasn’t involved, anything set in front of me was taken. And this continued until I was 46 years old and couldn’t drink enough to get past the DTs, but was able to find something that managed to keep me from disintegrating. I walked into a room where no one asked me if I was an alcoholic or an addict. No one. What would have happened to me if I had no met the qualifications of AA I keep hearing about? I’d be dead.
    I became a miracle.
    I am so grateful for that small group that just wanted to tell me there is a solution.
    With serious physical problems as a result of my drinking, medications became something that really concerned me, mainly due to an old-timer of AA who became grossly addicted to pain medication, but didn’t drink so according to her was still sober. I was absolutely terrified. But there is a program which has taught me the steps can be applied in all my affairs.
    The end result for me is there was no questionnaire or qualifications for crossing the threshold of AA. Who is going to be the greeter at the door with a clip board?
    The darkest moments of my experience has become gold in my being able to help others. I am no going to lie and act like the solution I was offered has qualifications for others.
    I am not the AA police.
    I am responsible.

  30. I’ve learned that my opinion on life matters but my opinion on how to recover in Alcoholics Anonymous does not. The only thing that does matter is what Alcoholics Anonymous tells me in writing. My experience practicing what Alcoholics Anonymous has saved me from a horrific alcoholic life and likely death of alcoholism. AA does not stand for Anything Anonymous. Bill W. made clear “Problems Other Than Alcohol” pamphlet and for those who feel that’s old AA and not relevant today, there are plenty of new AA pamphlets that underscore the very same thing as well. The Preamble we read at each meeting: Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking . AA has no dues or fees. It is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. Does not wish to engage in any controversy. Neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. There are hundreds of twelve step programs, many directly based on AA’s steps and traditions. The difference is the addiction, our stories become our most valuable asset in helping others, so the suffer may first identify with and hopefully find hope that they so may recover. Newcomers often come into a 12 step program hoping not to identify (my experience) and looking for a reason to continue to remain sick. When they cannot identify because the speaker is qualifying about another affliction may very well provide the excuse for the new comer to scoot back out the door. Primary purpose in AA is to stay sober and help other alcoholics. That is my job as a sober person in AA to carry AA’s message, not my opinion. For those who say ‘a drug is a drug’, just try sharing at an OA meeting, or a GA meeting or just about any other 12 steps program meeting and see what happens. They will shut you down, again my experience., those groups that follow their traditions that is. I’m not special. I’m a drunk who no longer drinks because of Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12 steps, 12 Traditions and 12 Concepts. I’ve accepted my truth and ceased trying to change the world to match my opinion of how it should be. AA is what is says it is in writing – THANK YOU AA!

  31. Rhonda B says:

    ALCOHOLICS anonymous is for alcoholics. The step are composed for alcoholics, the traditions clearly say alcohol, alcoholics and sobriety, all of the literature is specific to alcohol and alcoholism, so where is the confusion? Drug addicts can attend open meeting to listen but not share, closed meetings are for ALCOHOLICS only (says it in the definition). If you are an Alcoholic and an addict, then you are a member of AA, and respect the house you are in, by sharing about your problems, as they relate to alcohol. I Have been a member of AA in good standing for 16 yrs. Lately, I have been leaving meetings frustrated and angry, due to all of the drug talk. I have never abused illegal or prescription drugs, and quite frankly do not care to be educated on the effects of their abuse. I go to AA meetings to hear how to stay away from a DRINK, one day at a time. It seems as if the addicts are flipping off AA and the AA traditions, most of the members are too afraid of the conflict to speak up. I understand the fear, because, when I have spoke up and said “enough”, it has been met with aggression, in and outside of the meetings. I don’t care to hear “a drug is a drug is a drug”, I identify as an alcoholic therefore, AA is my fellowship. Addicts have several of their own fellowships but seem to want to reform AA to fit them. The name of the fellowship is ALCOHOLICS anonymous.

  32. Jennifer says:

    Hi my name is Jennifer, I am an addict, with a desire to not drink today or should I say I desire to stop drinking. I better make sure I say it right or I’ll get kicked out of this blog just as (some of) you wish me to be kicked out of AA as well apparently.
    Technically I’ve been coming to AA meetings for 48 years now, I was 5 years old when I attended my first meeting. I recently returned to the rooms announcing as an addict with the desire to not drink today. Who are you to tell me I can’t be there or shouldn’t be there? If it wasn’t for Alcoholics Anonymous and the many available meetings in my Town I honestly don’t not know where I would be today. I am so grateful that the alcoholics in my now home group do not share the opinions of the majority of people on this blog! Thank you God, my Higher Power, for accepting me and bringing me to Alcoholics Anonymous where I feel at home where I feel comfortable where I feel wanted. The place that saved my butt when I needed it and that continues to save me with every meeting, every chair, every share, every story, every comment, every pamphlet, every book, and every AA member that opened up their arms and their minds to help a “druggie” like me!!
    How dare some of you sit in such extreme judgement of someone you see different than you, lower than you, someone like me, the “addict”. You have no idea what started someone’s addiction and what kept that addiction alive. Perhaps a car accident, followed by a prescription pain killer Doctors orders of course!), followed by a dependence on that medication, followed by the mental obsession of an addict/alcoholic mind, followed by all that obsession and chaos and destruction it brings along with it, followed by the abrupt end of the prescription by the Doctor without a plan of detox causing a whirlwind of new trouble and ultimately the desperation of obtaining something, anything (even alcohol) to help the aflicted soul to not have to suffer such horrible and painful withdrawals of their newfound addiction , street drugs. A professional law-abiding upstanding member of society reduced to a desperate and hopelss child of God in search of help through ANY means necessary including Alcoholics Anonymous! !
    I’ve been to NA meetings, I’ve heard through Hospitals and Institutions the CMA message, the HA message, etc but because of my upbringing and my mother’s 48 years of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous I feel safe and a familiarity that I don’t feel anywhere else.
    I can respect (some, perhaps most) the concerns I’m reading here about the traditions of AA, the issues about discussing drugs or other addictions at meeting level in an AA meeting, etc however (BUT) what I don’t respect here is the reverse disrespect spoken here especially the hypocrisy and condescending attitudes so blatantly written.
    It’s sad and very much NOT in the spirit of AA or in the spirit of the Holy Spirit whom by the way I’m sure would never deliver His message the way some of you people are doing. Think about it, WWJD?? Jesus may say yes there are “requirements”, yes there are “traditions”, and yes to keep what we have we need to “give it away” , BUT would He deliver that message the way it’s delivered here today? And would He tell a desperate hopeless sinner in desperate need of help no you are not welcome here because I’M a selfish egotistical judgemental highbrow alcoholic and you are just a dirty scum on my shoe junkie and I can’t relate because I’m so much better than you good bye! (?) I think NOT!! I hope some of you reconsider your ideas and comments and in the future not be so harsh or judgemental because Lord knows those not aflicted with alcoholism can and do certainly do unto you as you are doing unto me (the addict, with a desire to not/stop drink(ing) today!!
    Jennifer, grateful addict
    P.S. my apologies , sincerely, for the “example” name calling in my post.. just wanted to show some of you how you sounded as I read (and cried) hoping that the fellows in my AA home group do NOT share in secret your feelings towards me as well :/

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