Per the rules of my contract I have to attend AA or NA at least 3 times weekly for the duration of my contract. I am struggling with the meetings, let alone the others in attendance there. I am not saying I'm better than anyone let me make that clear! I have no desire for the meetings, do not find them helpful, and a waste of my time. I feel like a fraud among them. I find myself wanting to use sitting around all these dry drunks if you will. The fact I'm being forced to do so or lose my licensure is not fair at all. I have found intensive outpatient therapy helpful and think it's a far better fit for learning and re-learning coping skills. But to be sentenced to a meeting that I can't find anything good in is killing me and I feel like my first amendment rights have been violated. Not to mention there are NO proven, evidence based studies that show AA works. Yea they say it, but if you look at their drop out rates they don't correlate! I know I can get an attorney...this is more food for thought, because I don't want to drink the cults kool-aid...
Mar 2, '13
If you are required to attend meetings, have you looked for groups that are all nurses? I've heard that they are out there but they're normally closed meetings. Maybe if you could find one it would be more relevant for you.
I am still in nursing school, in my psych class we just talked about AA/NA and how they have groups just for medical professionals.
Mar 2, '13
There are no groups that I have yet to find that are, I do have a list of Caduceus meetings although they do not qualify as AA/NA. I'm glad to hear you're learning about addiction in school. What little I did learn, I can fit into half of a half of a thimble! It's interesting to learn and feel this side of it, gives me a new direction in life....literally!
Mar 2, '13
I do not know how you would find meetings for nurses but I hope that you find one that is a better fit.
We actually learn alot about addiction. Our time in Psych clinicals has alot of variety. We spend a few days in inpatient and the rest is spent with addiction nurses, suicide prevention nurses, Palliative Care nurses, Hospice etc. But we are required to attend at least 2 NA and AA meetings. I met a few nurses at them. Listening to the people talk at the meetings gave me a new perspective on addiction and the struggles that they go through everyday. At all the meetings that I attended, fortunately, there were people that wanted to talk to me. (I let the group know who I was and why I was there before the meeting) Learning by listening to people that are overcoming addiction has been more enlightening than reading any book.
I wish you well in your recovery!!
Mar 2, '13
I agree with you. I hate the meetings. Everyone is so bitter and angry. They are very cold, to me anyway, when they found out that I am a practicing RN because most of them can't find a job over min wage. It's almost like there is a resentment against me because I have a college education. I don't find them useful other than sittin there thinking "I'm so glad I didn't end up where they are."
Mar 3, '13
I was forced to attend AA for the first year of my contract. I let my case-manager know at EVERY opportunity how much I hated AA and emphasized that I felt it was actually a trigger for me. As a non-religious person I felt extremely violated. I did manage to find one local meeting that was comprised of a pretty solidly functional-alcoholic kinda group so at least I could relate to them more or less. I hated and still cringe when I think about calling myself an addict or an alcoholic. Ugh!
My husband kept telling me to just keep quiet and not make waves but I would feel almost sick with stress when I had to go--which was three freaking times a week!
Finally, finally, FINALLY I got a letter in the mail stating that they had adjusted my contract (without me officially suggesting) so I no longer had to do a 12-step but could do meetings online which are based on REBT therapy (SMART Recovery Online is the program). What a weight was lifted off my shoulders! I mean, I had my letters to the ACLU and Freedom From Religion Foundation and the only thing that kept me from sending them was fear of reprisal. I hope to send them off right after I graduate--being forced to attend a faith-based meeting as a condition of keeping a license bestowed to you by the state IS a constitutional violation.
Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself in your recovery. Let them know concisely why AA is not working for you and that there are alternatives. You may even have face-to-face SMART support groups in your area; unfortunately there are none near me.
Mar 4, '13
I have let my program manager know and my therapist as well know that it is not helping me at all. I feel like a fish out of water, and all they keep saying is just keep going and be open to it! I am more likely to use being around the groups than not! Ugh!!!
Mar 4, '13
i would encourage you to try different meetings if you can- to find one more to your liking. i, too, did not like AA- & don't go anymore- i totally understand your feelings- but while in the program, i found a couple of groups i could tolerate, to fulfill my requirements, did not want to "rock the boat" or draw attention to myself by complaining to CM. AA works for some, not for others. i did get a lot of benefit from working the steps, was always told to "take what you need, & leave the rest". hang in there- you're worth it!!
Mar 4, '13
As much as I support 12-step, I'll be the first to admit that it's not for everyone. Yes, it has a great track record but it's not 100%. And I know people who have remained clean and sober with minimal to no 12-step participation.
However, you are under the gun in that you have to attend these meetings if you want to keep your nursing license :/
I would try to find different meetings--sometimes just finding a different set of faces may make attendance at the meetings more tolerable. I don't know your age, but I've found that NA tends to attract a younger crowd than AA, and you may feel more comfortable there even if your drug if choice is ETOH. Then again, NA is pretty hard-line against all drugs and sometimes members who are taking other medications (ones they are not abusing) may feel alienated by the attitude.
Point being, shop around and see if you can find a meeting that you feel more comfortable--or at least OK--to attend. You only have to do this for the duration of your contract.
The other option would be as another poster suggested: see if SMART or another recovery group is a viable option. Where I am, SMART is frequently chosen over 12-step, though you have to sell your BON/monitoring program on the idea.
Best of luck!
Mar 5, '13
You aren't crazy. Your rights are being violated. Many courts have found this to be the case. I think it's only a matter of time until SCOTUS will take it on.
In the mean time, it wouldn't hurt to send anonymous letters to the ACLU et al. It may not help in the short term, but it may pave the way for a less punitive course of "treatment" for other nurses with dependency issues.
But seriously, go to the meetings for now. You might be doing the right thing if you complain, but you won't be doing yourself any favors career wise.
Mar 5, '13
First I'm very thankful that there is a program out there that allows a nurse to keep thier license without charges on it. A requirement of attending 2 step meetings is a small price to pay when weighing a clean license to one with charges on it for the rest of your career. I do not like having to pay 76.00 every time I get pop for a drug screen and still have 2 years left on my contract, but at the end the case is closed and no charges displayed on my record. I do not care what others in the meetings do or do not do it is not them its about me. As far as the GOD thing it says we came to believe in power greater than ourself or a god of our understanding. My fromer higher power was captain morgan and i could not live with him but I also could not live without him. Please quit looking at all the things that are wrong and focus on what is positive. It does get better, but you HAVE to jump through certain hoops to get to the other side. Hope you find peace within and finish this journey.
Mar 5, '13
I too am thankful that this program allows me to keep things in more of a private format. I am also doing exactly what I am being told to do and trying to take what I can from these things. With all that being said I am still not able to agree with AA/NA. I will do what is needed and asked of me, but doubt that I will ever agree with it.
Mar 8, '13
At first, I felt violated, but in time, I learned the meetings helped a lot. Perhaps you haven't found the right meeting for you. There are nurse meetings so that you will feel more comfortable around your piers. To locate these meetings, you can go onto the state board of nursing website, navigate to the recovery program's website and there should be a list of nurse meetings located throughout the state. Also, based on your post, I gather your recovering from alcohol. Have you tried NA meetings. I attend both NA & AA meetings and have found that NA meetings are more interactive and the members are very inviting regardless of what your recovering from...drugs or alcohol.
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