12-Step Coercion - page 20

the following presentation was given at the may 21, 2004 open forum of the north carolina board of nursing meeting:... Read More

  1. by   donnar232
    For one, I do not feel bad that you have to attend these meetings and that there is a mixed crowd as you wordedit strippers, street people. Well those strippers and street people are there to let you know that you can be there too. They could have been a nurse before they started using alcohol, or drugs. It can happen to you. Also if I was told to go to meetings, I would be in my glory beacause I am not in jail or have lost my liscence for good. Where is your humbleness. Be glad someone like the board gave you a second chance. Also even celebrities use AA or NA meeting beacuse they work and lord knows they can afford any type of professional treatment and are in the halls. Be grateful that being mandated to a 12 step program is all you received. Any treatment will work if you are ready and have had enough.
  2. by   serene992
    Quote from MoJoeRN,C
    Sounds like you found the same kind of AA that worked for me. And you said it very well. Denial is not something one does in a conscious state, it is part of the protection of self, based on beliefs and values. The 3 biggest tools of denial are 1) Rationalization 2) justification 3) Intellectualization. I can only speak to what my life was like, what happened, what my life is like now and what has worked for me. It is a program of progress rather than perfection. You are invited to take from the meetings only what you want and leave the rest there. I was one of those who only attended meetings because it was part of the aftercare plan and was mandated by the place I worked. I went to meetings 60 miles from where I lived for about a year. Finally as my attitutes, values and beliefs were restored to reality, I was able to attend meetings in my home town. I keep hearing that loosing your license because one does not attend 12 step meetings is not a choice. Not all choices are those we want to choose but they are choices irregardless.
    I adopted the name Serene in 1991 while attending Codependents Anonymous, trying to find myself and heal the horrendous inner wounds and the destroyed spirit from a decade of marriage to an abuser. I had gone to several counselors of varying degrees over the years trying to fix myself and fix my mate. The denial of the events occuring in my life including the fear and the desperate need for love were numbed by my pain killer - alcohol. After getting out of the marriage and still alive physically, I spent lots of money of further codependency therapy. I'd attend group sessions trying to heal the hole in my soul and the memories and then go home and have a drink or 2 to numb myself into sleep. Alcohol became my best and only friend. It allowed me to maintain and heal the wounds - or so I thought. I do not know the day I crossed the line and my pain reliever became my pain killer. But that line was crossed. All of the high priced therapists never picked up on the fact that I was using and abusing alcohol. I knew of the main AA meeting place in town because my ex rebuilt it after a fire a few years before. I had thought of going there to a meeting but No Way would I want anyone to see this proud professional RN going into a place like THAT! I was lucky that I had not gone to a meeting when the thought first began seeping in. Instead I waited and drank and numbed some more. September 24, 1992 I was spiritually dead with a hole straight through my chest that I thought was visible to the world, with the wind rushing through it. All of that false pride went out the window as a gift of desperation led me to opening that door to my first AA meeting rather than taking my life. Slowly but surely the gorilla on my back that kept my shamed head looking at the ground began to leave due to the unconditional love and acceptance I felt in those rooms. I no longer care who sees me go into a room of alcoholics. I have no dirty secrets that I worked hard to hide from the world. For the first time in 4 decades they taught me to love and honor myself.
    I have been rescued by a life raft twice in my life. Once was in 1980 after a boating accident in which my husband and 6 year old son died. The second life raft that saved my life was the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am eternally greatful for living happy joyous and free today. Thank you Bill W. and Dr. Bob and thank you everyone that continues the basics of AA so that the program will be there when my son is ready to learn to live one day at a time rather than die piece by piece, drink by drink. It is not how much you drank or what you drank it's what happens to you when you drank. I love life, I love AA and I love being a nurse. The spiritual gifts I received through the program have given me all I ever wanted -serenity.
  3. by   Big Bab's
    Quote from donnar232
    For one, I do not feel bad that you have to attend these meetings and that there is a mixed crowd as you wordedit strippers, street people. Well those strippers and street people are there to let you know that you can be there too. They could have been a nurse before they started using alcohol, or drugs.

    --------UUUmmm..FYI.....They can be nurses even AFTER alcohol and drugs......and for the record, most of us are NOT criminals, we didn't break laws, were never charged with breaking laws and we never convicted of breaking laws.....some of us made only 1 mistake, which was unknowingly asking for help in the wrong place.

    It can happen to you. Also if I was told to go to meetings, I would be in my glory beacause I am not in jail or have lost my liscence for good. Where is your humbleness.

    --------My humbleness??....what you're talking about is NOT humbleness, its rolling over and giving up all my rights as a U.S. citizen and NO, I'm not willing to do that.

    Be glad someone like the board gave you a second chance.

    --------I AM truly greatful for the second chance, BUT I do still have some rights according to the constitution and the courts that uphold it, and as such I WILL exercise them, like it or not.

    Also even celebrities use AA or NA meeting beacuse they work and lord knows they can afford any type of professional treatment and are in the halls.

    --------I frankly don't care how "the stars" handle their issues, I do however care about and know what is best for me, and its not AA/NA.

    Be grateful that being mandated to a 12 step program is all you received.

    ---------Being mandated to meetings is by far NOT all we receive, their are sooooo many things that we are required to do and not all of them are bad, I named alot of them in an earlier post on this thread so I won't go thru it all again (unless you would like me to.)...I've said this before too, but I'll say it again...I personally only have issues with the meetings, the rest of the program that I am involved in is pretty damn good, I've learned alot, I feel supported by my peers in the program and by the staff and director of the program, but I am in a very small minority, my state has good and progressive program that GENUINELY cares for us and advocates for us with the BON, and is always working toward the goal of its nurses reentering the workplace as safe and excellent nurses, but again most all other programs are NOT like this.

    Any treatment will work if you are ready and have had enough.


    ---------Now once again here I'll use an analogy and then tell me if the above statement is still as good as you thought....the next time I've got a cancer patient in the office who's having to restart treatment, when the Dr. says "lets start the chemo" and the patient replys "chemo has never worked for me, but radiation does.", I'll tell them "the chemo will work "if you are ready and have had enough."'......Remember!!...ALL of these programs work with adamant belief in the "disease theory" of addiction.....How many other "diseases" do you know of that are "treated" with punishment??
    ...............See my replies above, Thanks!.............................
    Last edit by Big Bab's on Jun 22, '04
  4. by   Big Bab's
    Quote from Dixiedi
    Call it what you want but we all know in reality forced treatment is little more than punishment that will hopefully correct the problem.
    People who abuse their driver license might be sent to driving school. Is this piddly little treatment gong to teach folks, many with years of poor driving habits, how to drive safely? NO. It's little more than punishment that the system has labeled treatment.
    The hope, I think, being that the treatment will be so disagreeable that it will serve the purpose and on paper look like the treatment was successful!

    Why does it have to be "little more than punishment that will hopefully correct the problem."??.......We (the people in the programs) PAY MONEY (lots of it!) to be in these programs to get good "treatment", so why CAN'T they help us to find an individualized program, one that works best for each person, and a plan that takes each persons belief systems, lifstyle, one that takes everything into account, why ONE program for everyone?!!.....We would NEVER let people get away with this kind of thing in other service sectors, we would NEVER allow teachers or Dr's to practice this way, so WHY should we let the BON's and Alt. programs do this??....we pay them huge amounts of money for 3 to 5 YEARS to be in it!!!....Why shouldn't we expect better "treatment" and more individualization!??!....I would truly LOVE a legitimate answer for this. :angryfire
  5. by   Big Bab's
    Quote from serene992
    I adopted the name Serene in 1991 while attending Codependents Anonymous, trying to find myself and heal the horrendous inner wounds and the destroyed spirit from a decade of marriage to an abuser. I had gone to several counselors of varying degrees over the years trying to fix myself and fix my mate. The denial of the events occuring in my life including the fear and the desperate need for love were numbed by my pain killer - alcohol. After getting out of the marriage and still alive physically, I spent lots of money of further codependency therapy. I'd attend group sessions trying to heal the hole in my soul and the memories and then go home and have a drink or 2 to numb myself into sleep. Alcohol became my best and only friend. It allowed me to maintain and heal the wounds - or so I thought. I do not know the day I crossed the line and my pain reliever became my pain killer. But that line was crossed. All of the high priced therapists never picked up on the fact that I was using and abusing alcohol. I knew of the main AA meeting place in town because my ex rebuilt it after a fire a few years before. I had thought of going there to a meeting but No Way would I want anyone to see this proud professional RN going into a place like THAT! I was lucky that I had not gone to a meeting when the thought first began seeping in. Instead I waited and drank and numbed some more. September 24, 1992 I was spiritually dead with a hole straight through my chest that I thought was visible to the world, with the wind rushing through it. All of that false pride went out the window as a gift of desperation led me to opening that door to my first AA meeting rather than taking my life. Slowly but surely the gorilla on my back that kept my shamed head looking at the ground began to leave due to the unconditional love and acceptance I felt in those rooms. I no longer care who sees me go into a room of alcoholics. I have no dirty secrets that I worked hard to hide from the world. For the first time in 4 decades they taught me to love and honor myself.
    I have been rescued by a life raft twice in my life. Once was in 1980 after a boating accident in which my husband and 6 year old son died. The second life raft that saved my life was the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am eternally greatful for living happy joyous and free today. Thank you Bill W. and Dr. Bob and thank you everyone that continues the basics of AA so that the program will be there when my son is ready to learn to live one day at a time rather than die piece by piece, drink by drink. It is not how much you drank or what you drank it's what happens to you when you drank. I love life, I love AA and I love being a nurse. The spiritual gifts I received through the program have given me all I ever wanted -serenity.
    I am soooo sorry that you had to go thru so much to get where you are today, but I am truly glad that you got here....congrats!!...How much clean/sober time do you have?....I am just shy of 3 years and am very proud of that fact!...it feels great.
  6. by   tommyperkins
    Quote from Dixiedi
    If you examine the constitution a little more closely, you will find the criminals have no rights under the constitution.
    The following is the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution:

    "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."


    Just whom do you think they are talking about here?
  7. by   Quailfeather
    I have been rescued by a life raft twice in my life. Once was in 1980 after a boating accident in which my husband and 6 year old son died. The second life raft that saved my life was the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am eternally greatful for living happy joyous and free today.
    Serene ~ your story of abuse and loss is truly heartbreaking, your descent into the hellish nightmare of psychological pain and abusive drinking is one I know well, and your recovery is awesome! I appreciate the courage and emotional strength it took for you to share such a personal journey. I am very glad that you found the faith and support you needed to pull you back from a life of utter despair. You are a living testament to the power of love.
  8. by   odatrn
    It has become quite evident that this is a very emotional topic, for all sides.

    If you are mandated to attend a 12 step program to keep your license, and you feel it violates your rights, then by all means fight that decision. If you lose your right to practice your profession during that time, so be it. That is as much of a choice as is abusing drugs. Some keep pounding on the fact that a 12 step program is religous. If that is a problem, don't go. If you can't keep your license because of your convictions, so be it. It's all about choices.

    The fight is with the BON, not with 12 step programs. To abuse is a choice. You also have a choice on how to get out of the jam you get into by abusing. Get the idea I think this is all about choices? That's because it is. People have the idea that having a choice means there is a good choice and a bad choice. Or at least a fairly good one and a bad one. Sometimes there are two bad ones. Like go to a 12 step program or lose your license. Remember, no one puts us in that position but us.

    This thread has veered all over the place. I will say this again: I don't want you there if you don't want to be there. This is a program for people who want to be there. Your actions put you into this situation, and only your actions can get you out of it.
  9. by   Big Bab's
    Quote from odatrn
    It has become quite evident that this is a very emotional topic, for all sides.

    If you are mandated to attend a 12 step program to keep your license, and you feel it violates your rights, then by all means fight that decision. If you lose your right to practice your profession during that time, so be it. That is as much of a choice as is abusing drugs. Some keep pounding on the fact that a 12 step program is religous. If that is a problem, don't go. If you can't keep your license because of your convictions, so be it. It's all about choices.

    The fight is with the BON, not with 12 step programs. To abuse is a choice. You also have a choice on how to get out of the jam you get into by abusing. Get the idea I think this is all about choices? That's because it is. People have the idea that having a choice means there is a good choice and a bad choice. Or at least a fairly good one and a bad one. Sometimes there are two bad ones. Like go to a 12 step program or lose your license. Remember, no one puts us in that position but us.

    This thread has veered all over the place. I will say this again: I don't want you there if you don't want to be there. This is a program for people who want to be there. Your actions put you into this situation, and only your actions can get you out of it.
    Oddly enough, I agree!!! ....It IS all about choices and I AM the only one that could get myself out of the situation that I was in, I'm lucky this was an easy decision for me, but its not always for others...I DO attend the meetings (and make a mental grocery list in my head the whole time to keep my brain occupied.).....I do what I have to do because for me, its an easy decision, its not for alot of people......I just wish that ALL steppers took the same view that you have, "I don't want you there if you don't want to be there."...cuz if they did, it would be alot more difficult to mandate people to the meetings, but thats a "what if" and I have no control over that!.....and you're right, this discussion HAS veered all over, but its been a good debate too, and I think both sides learn everytime we debate it and thats not a bad thing.
  10. by   serene992
    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him stop drinking or start drinking if he does not want to.
  11. by   Quailfeather
    Quote from Dixiedi
    If you examine the constitution a little more closely, you will find the criminals have no rights under the constitution.
    Anyone abusing their nursing license is guilty of criminal activity just the same as any other person abusing their license no matter what kind it is. You enter into an agreement with the state concerning behavior, break it and well it's criminal.
    We are not talking about "criminals" here. We are discussing nurses who are participants in their state boards' alternative to discipline programs. And no, "anyone abusing their nursing license" is not "guilty of criminal activity" until they are tried and convicted in a court of law. If that is the case, they will be in prison, not in an alternative program. And the topic of this thread is not about nurses in prison. However, I do want to clarify one thing; convicted criminals that are incarcerated do indeed have rights under the Constitution. Although prisoners may not have full Constitutional rights they are protected under the 8th Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, requires that prisoners be afforded a minimum standard of living and have access to adequate medical care. Prisoners retain some other Constitutional rights, as well, including due process in their right to administrative appeals and a right of access to the parole process. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment has been held to equally apply to prison inmates, thus protecting them against unequal treatment on the basis of race, sex, and creed. Additionally, the Model Sentencing and Corrections Act provides that a confined person has a protected interest in freedom from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or sex. Prisoners also have limited rights to speech and religion. The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), passed by Congress and signed into law on September 22, 2000, specifically protects the Constitutional religious rights of prisoners:
    (a) GENERAL RULE- No government shall impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an institution, as defined in section 2 of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (42 U.S.C. 1997), even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person--
    (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
    (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
    (b) SCOPE OF APPLICATION- This section applies in any case in which--
    (1) the substantial burden is imposed in a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance; or
    (2) the substantial burden affects, or removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes.

    The undercurrent of intolerance and hostility towards impaired nurses in your posts suggests to me that you may have an agenda that has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. Why do you repeatedly equate treatment with punishment and consider nurses who suffer from addiction to be nothing more than common criminals? Has someone with an addiction hurt you in the past? I ask this not as a provocation, but as a show of true concern.
  12. by   exnursie
    Quote from odatrn
    I wish the anger and frustration would be addressed to the powers that mandate people to attend the 12 step programs. I have said it before, going to say it again: I don't want to be part of a meeting where there are people who are forced to be there. I cannot say it more plainly: If you don't want to be there, I don't want you there. I am not there to help someone get back their licenses, whether it be drivers, medical, or legal. I am there for me. If I can pass this message onto others, and practice these prinicples in all my affairs, all the better.


    So all of the anger, and rhetoric about the religous part of the program? I understand you feel. Take it to the Boards who are putting you at the meetings. Give them all of these arguments, and figure out a compromise. But place the responsibility for what has happened where it belongs: On the Board that decided the course of action, and the chosen behavior that sent people to them in the beginning.
    WhaT an excellant idea !! What a concept!!

    Instead of spending time writing inflammatory and exagerated statements that misrepresent AA , why not DO something to change the current system and advocate for other choices to ne offered.

    I do not know about all the other options, nor do I know how long they have been in existance. I do know that AA has been around for a long time.Is it possible that when the states put together this currrent system that AA was the automatic choice. because it was the oldest and most established while these other options were either not around or in their infancy phases, and not appropriate to consider at the time?

    Until people get pro active and push for change , in typical fashion , no government body is going to be out there seeking new ways just for the heck of it. For all you who are feel you are forced to go to these meetings, why don't you try to get it changed? Maybe not while you are under their thumbs, but do any of you plan to take action after you are cleared?

    In TOmmy's case, he should be out there every day, instead of spending his time degrading those on here who disagree with him.
  13. by   Madelina Ballarina
    Dang this is a hot topic!!.......I'm so sorry to see so many nurses go thru such an awful thing as addiction.....If you're clean and sober and can stay that way, why does it matter what meetings you have to go to??....JUST CURIOUS!!

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