Is my drug addiction really that much worse than her alcoholism? - page 3

This morning I noticed something, and it didn't really upset me, it just confirmed what I've been told over and over.. and what I thought I've seen in the past. I was skimming through the posts... Read More

  1. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    7
    Folks, please! What on earth are we fighting about here??!! We all have problems...........none is "better" or "worse" than the others. Addiction is addiction is addiction!

    This forum exists as a help and support for nurses with substance abuse issues---it was never intended to be used to one-up each other. As a recovering alcoholic, ex-smoker, and food addict, I don't believe it speaks well of our progress in recovery if we are trying to make ourselves feel better by saying, in effect, "Neener, neener, neener, my addiction's more socially acceptable than yours." Copping an attitude of superiority just means that we are NOT working our steps, and I'm really sorry to see that happening here.

    I'm also sorry that some of you have not fared well in 12-step programs that weren't designed for your particular addiction, but that is no reason to paint all their members with the same brush. Generalizations are NEVER helpful, and indeed are almost always a cover for intellectual laziness. I'd like to think we are above that.

    Bottom line: if y'all can't discuss this without shredding each other, this thread will need to go away.

    Carry on.
    Roy Fokker, Elvish, shugrr22107NA, and 4 others like this.
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  3. Visit  LilRedRN1973 profile page
    4
    Recovery is recovery....no matter what your substance of choice. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, as a recovered opioid addict who attends AA meetings almost exclusively. When I overdosed in January 2007, I went to an NA meeting. I took nothing away from that meeting and wasn't compelled to go back. I made it about a month or two before my addiction grabbed hold of me once again. Fast forward to June 2007. I started attending AA meetings while in rehab because the meetings were attached to our rehab facility. I LOVED them. I took so much out of those room and learned so much. I felt like I belonged in that room and with each share I heard, I became more and more aware that I was not alone. To this day, 11 months later, I consider that to be my home group, even though alcohol was not my drug of choice. I cannot say I am not an alcoholic because given the chance, I just might very well switch addiction (I had a hard time coming to terms with that reality....I was deadset against even thinking I would ever have a problem with alcohol. I now know one drink would turn into 10, which would turn into 50, and that could possibly lead me back to my pills. No thanks. I'm quite content to drink a Coke while others are imbibing!

    I also attend weekly CA meetings that are wonderful as well. They are a mixed bag of folks...we have alcoholics and those addicted to various drugs who attend regularly. I have learned so much from these people and their stories have proven invaluable. One of the reasons I am still sober today is because of the wonderful meetings I have sought out. Now, I decided I should give NA another go since my drug of choice was not alcohol but narcotics. It was a good meeting but the majority of the people there had court cards that left halfway through the meeting and the others who were left didn't open up much. I didn't get the same feeling from that meeting as I do from my AA meetings. So it was back to my regular AA meetings and I will keep looking for an NA meeting that I can learn and grow from. My husband actually attends an AA meeting Saturday night with me (our date night..lol) and he comes away from those meetings having learned a lot.

    There are a few AA meetings I have been to that I know not to introduce myself as an alcoholic. Those are the meetings where I tend to just listen and not share. At first, it irked me that I was not welcome to introduce myself as an addict and I struggled with that "control issue" about how I couldn't do what I wanted to do! But they are great meetings and I take away a lot from them, even if I don't share. There are other addicts in those meetings with me and we all respect the group conscience in that we don't discuss our addiction nor do we introduce ourselves as addicts. I'm lucky enough to have a diverse group of meetings to choose from and attend. I go to some meetings simply to hear those with years and years of sobriety speak and I go to others knowing I can spill my guts, no matter what my drug of choice.

    Can't we all just get along?? :kiss
    Eastcoast24, jackstem, Magsulfate, and 1 other like this.
  4. Visit  Magsulfate profile page
    2
    Quote from Life_is_good_1973
    Recovery is recovery....no matter what your substance of choice. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, as a recovered opioid addict who attends AA meetings almost exclusively. When I overdosed in January 2007, I went to an NA meeting. I took nothing away from that meeting and wasn't compelled to go back. I made it about a month or two before my addiction grabbed hold of me once again. Fast forward to June 2007. I started attending AA meetings while in rehab because the meetings were attached to our rehab facility. I LOVED them. I took so much out of those room and learned so much. I felt like I belonged in that room and with each share I heard, I became more and more aware that I was not alone. To this day, 11 months later, I consider that to be my home group, even though alcohol was not my drug of choice. I cannot say I am not an alcoholic because given the chance, I just might very well switch addiction (I had a hard time coming to terms with that reality....I was deadset against even thinking I would ever have a problem with alcohol. I now know one drink would turn into 10, which would turn into 50, and that could possibly lead me back to my pills. No thanks. I'm quite content to drink a Coke while others are imbibing!

    I also attend weekly CA meetings that are wonderful as well. They are a mixed bag of folks...we have alcoholics and those addicted to various drugs who attend regularly. I have learned so much from these people and their stories have proven invaluable. One of the reasons I am still sober today is because of the wonderful meetings I have sought out. Now, I decided I should give NA another go since my drug of choice was not alcohol but narcotics. It was a good meeting but the majority of the people there had court cards that left halfway through the meeting and the others who were left didn't open up much. I didn't get the same feeling from that meeting as I do from my AA meetings. So it was back to my regular AA meetings and I will keep looking for an NA meeting that I can learn and grow from. My husband actually attends an AA meeting Saturday night with me (our date night..lol) and he comes away from those meetings having learned a lot.

    There are a few AA meetings I have been to that I know not to introduce myself as an alcoholic. Those are the meetings where I tend to just listen and not share. At first, it irked me that I was not welcome to introduce myself as an addict and I struggled with that "control issue" about how I couldn't do what I wanted to do! But they are great meetings and I take away a lot from them, even if I don't share. There are other addicts in those meetings with me and we all respect the group conscience in that we don't discuss our addiction nor do we introduce ourselves as addicts. I'm lucky enough to have a diverse group of meetings to choose from and attend. I go to some meetings simply to hear those with years and years of sobriety speak and I go to others knowing I can spill my guts, no matter what my drug of choice.

    Can't we all just get along?? :kiss
    Thanks

    I really do think that the 12 steps are helpful to me. I am also glad they are online, I have even found meetings online,, not the same, but atleast it is interaction. One thing that I do like about AA is there are the "old timers" , most of them are wonderful, and they love to share their years of sobriety experience with you.

    I think it's most important for the recovering addict/alcoholic to share with others their trials and tribulations with others who are new in recovery. Both benefit.

    As far as this thread getting heated, I don't see that.. maybe I have numbed myself to the criticism, but I have actually learned a lot from the responses.
    sissiesmama and VivaLasViejas like this.
  5. Visit  jackstem profile page
    4
    The biochemistry of addiction...whether ETOH, opioids, benzodiazepines, gambling, sex, etc. is the same. While we all have a "drug of choice" based on our specific genetic make-up, environment, and exposure, the concept of cross addiction is well known and discussed in the literature. A song from the 70's says it pretty well, "If we can't be with the drug we love, we'll love the drug we're with." There are always exceptions to every situation. While opioids are my drug of choice, I certainly used sedatives, ETOH, benzo's, etc. when I didn't have an opioid available.

    The 12 Steps are amazingly pliable and can be adapted to the various addictions known. They are actually a pretty good map for life in general. Having had numerous friends and colleagues die as a result of their addiction(s), I'm all for using methods of recovery that work for each individual addict. The 12 Steps have a track record of success since 1935. While originally intended for recovery from the addiction known as alcoholism, the 12 Steps have proven they work for other forms of addiction as well. To deny someone the benefit of these 12 Steps for whatever reason, is no different than denying someone treatment for other chronic, progressive, potentially fatal diseases because the original treatment was intended for a different disease. If the treatment is "off label" but is capable of keeping a disease in remission, does it make sense to deny the treatment?

    Early in my recovery I constantly focused on the differences between my set of circumstances and those of the people in a meeting with me. I didn't drink alcohol to excess, so I was "different" than the alcoholics. I didn't buy heroin, prepare my drug of choice by "cooking" it in a spoon, or reuse "dirty" needles or syringes. So I was "different" than heroin addicts. I never used cocaine, methamphetamine, or marijuana...so I was "different" than they were as well. I told me counselors in treatment (the 2nd time around) why I didn't go to AA, NA, CA, or any other "A's" was because I didn't have the same experiences as the other people there. George, my primary counselor, was about 15 years older than I was, was a black man who used mostly heroin and cocaine. He was clean and sober for almost 20 years. He grew up in an area of town that would be classified as a ghetto. His father left before he was born. His mother was a housekeeper working more than one job, his only sister was killed by her boyfriend when she was in her late teens. His older brother was in prison for assaulting his girlfriend's brother. He and I were as different as any two people can be. And yet, he is the reason I'm alive and in my 15th year of recovery. He took me to a different 12 Step meeting each evening during the last 2 weeks of my in-patient treatment. After each meeting he wanted me to name 5 things I had in common with the people who shared at those meetings. "Nothing" or "I don't know" weren't acceptable answers. If I was going to have the possibility of getting my license back, I had to come up with some sort of answer. If I tried to "play the game" and just tell him what he wanted to hear, he knew immediately. To say I didn't like this man was an understatement! But at the end of those 14 meetings I actually could see the similarities. My disease was no different than any of the other folks, even though they preferred different substances or activities. The bottom line was we were all powerless over something and our lives were unmanageable. The only thing necessary for attendance was (and still is) the desire to stop using our substance (or stop engaging in our compulsive activity). It's not for me to decide if the person next to me at a meeting should be there, it's up to them. If they reap the benefit of something someone shares, then that meeting was exactly what they needed.

    Every time I relapsed it was because I stopped sharing, looked for the differences, stopped being honest with myself and others, and basically ignored the principles of the 12 Steps, not because I was attending the wrong kind of meeting. George and I became pretty good friends. It was definitely a sad day when he died. But when I struggle with my recovery, he is the first person I think of. What would George say has helped me through many a difficult time. The answer to that question is..."Go to a meeting and listen to the experience, strength, and hope shared by those at the meeting...and hear the similarities, not the differences."

    Jack
    Magsulfate, sirI, VivaLasViejas, and 1 other like this.
  6. Visit  Magsulfate profile page
    0
    Quote from libnat
    You're being overly sensative.......
    I really see this as an exchange of opinions, ideas and sharing of scientific evidence. Some people are getting upset, I don't see anyone fighting.

    Like I said in an earlier post, I guess I am just used to being put down as a drug addict,, in no part of this exchange am I seeing an argument, this is all normal to me.
  7. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    4
    Quote from Magsulfate
    I really see this as an exchange of opinions, ideas and sharing of scientific evidence. Some people are getting upset, I don't see anyone fighting.

    Like I said in an earlier post, I guess I am just used to being put down as a drug addict,, in no part of this exchange am I seeing an argument, this is all normal to me.
    But it's not normal........only we addicts don't see that, because being "put down"---whether it's by the world, our families, or ourselves---is all we know. This is why we tend to use anger, petulance, manipulation and other dysfunctional behaviors to communicate. As we go further in our recovery, we learn how to get our needs met in other, healthier ways, but I truly don't believe it ever comes naturally to us; we have to actively work at it for the rest of our lives.

    We are works in progress. God isn't finished with any of us yet. :heartbeat
    blueheaven, jackstem, Magsulfate, and 1 other like this.
  8. Visit  MizChelleRN profile page
    3
    Good afternoon, sorry for the thread bump. I knew I could come to this thread today.

    I recently re-read my first post (I believe this is only my second!) I was just asking for some recommended reading, for addiction, for impaired nurses, whatever. Thanks again for the great advice BTW.

    But in that thread asking for book suggestions, I wrote something like, I'm grateful to be here and read the stories and I WANT to share but am too ASHAMED and GUILTY to talk about "my story".

    Well, I've dealt with that, and soon, I will post and talk about it, it's pretty much the same story we all have. I was still stuck in that "I am unique and the worst case possible" mindset.

    But anyways. My name is Michelle and I am an addict.

    I have seven weeks sober! Been spending all my time between AA, NA and my psychiatrist's office (substance abuse treatment and counselling, twice a week and a general support group one day a week) and all the help has been so AWESOME, everyone welcoming me with open arms, letting me realize that I AM NOT ALONE. I'm not! Nor am I a horrible person. I have an illness. Just like those around me.

    Then I read this thread and I read someone being told they were not welcome into an AA meeting they attended, and I thought "whew! I'm glad that hasn't happened to me! All the groups I've been to have been SO wonderful and welcoming!" So I didn't give it much more thought.

    I hope I'm not stirring any pots, I see where this thread has taken some nasty turns. Bear with me.

    So today it happened! I went to one AA group (one I've LOVED since I started going to the program, in fact, the group I was considering making my homegroup!) and afterwards, a (an older woman, I suppose one of the quote, unquote "oldtimers") lady came to me and basically told me addicts have no place in AA meetings. Asked me point blank if I was an alcoholic and if I wasn't then I wasn't welcome to be there. WOW. I felt like she slapped me across the face!

    I mean, really, all of our addictions make us feel different from others, "in the real world"...why would someone make me feel like an outcast among a group of addicts!?

    Crap, I have more to add but have to pick up kids from school, will finish tonight or tomorrow. But I left that meeting crying. I just don't need to go backwards in my recovery and self esteem.
    buttercup99, Magsulfate, and jackstem like this.
  9. Visit  Rascal1 profile page
    2
    Quote from MizChelleRN
    Good afternoon, sorry for the thread bump. I knew I could come to this thread today.

    I recently re-read my first post (I believe this is only my second!) I was just asking for some recommended reading, for addiction, for impaired nurses, whatever. Thanks again for the great advice BTW.

    But in that thread asking for book suggestions, I wrote something like, I'm grateful to be here and read the stories and I WANT to share but am too ASHAMED and GUILTY to talk about "my story".

    Well, I've dealt with that, and soon, I will post and talk about it, it's pretty much the same story we all have. I was still stuck in that "I am unique and the worst case possible" mindset.

    But anyways. My name is Michelle and I am an addict.

    I have seven weeks sober! Been spending all my time between AA, NA and my psychiatrist's office (substance abuse treatment and counselling, twice a week and a general support group one day a week) and all the help has been so AWESOME, everyone welcoming me with open arms, letting me realize that I AM NOT ALONE. I'm not! Nor am I a horrible person. I have an illness. Just like those around me.

    Then I read this thread and I read someone being told they were not welcome into an AA meeting they attended, and I thought "whew! I'm glad that hasn't happened to me! All the groups I've been to have been SO wonderful and welcoming!" So I didn't give it much more thought.

    I hope I'm not stirring any pots, I see where this thread has taken some nasty turns. Bear with me.

    So today it happened! I went to one AA group (one I've LOVED since I started going to the program, in fact, the group I was considering making my homegroup!) and afterwards, a (an older woman, I suppose one of the quote, unquote "oldtimers") lady came to me and basically told me addicts have no place in AA meetings. Asked me point blank if I was an alcoholic and if I wasn't then I wasn't welcome to be there. WOW. I felt like she slapped me across the face!

    I mean, really, all of our addictions make us feel different from others, "in the real world"...why would someone make me feel like an outcast among a group of addicts!?

    Crap, I have more to add but have to pick up kids from school, will finish tonight or tomorrow. But I left that meeting crying. I just don't need to go backwards in my recovery and self esteem.
    First off, Let me say Congrats..! on your seven weeks clean and sober. I admire the amount of time,work and energy you are devoting to your recovery. Way to go ! ! As for the ignoramous who approached you like that, I'm wondering if another you've heard the saying," Some are sicker than others"? That really was not her place to question you that way and she was down right rude... That probably does'nt help you much,sorry.. I know I would have been in tears myself,especially being that early in recovery. Keep up the great work. Hang in there..:redpinkhe
    catmom1 and Magsulfate like this.
  10. Visit  MizChelleRN profile page
    1
    What a difference a day makes! Thanks Rascal for the kind thoughts! :heartbeat But I guess I was just suprised yesterday, feeling much better today. But I will finish some of the thoughts I was having yesterday. I plan to talk about it with my counsellor this morning.

    Yeah....so this meeting was the very same first meeting I went to the day I lost my job. That day was just about one of the worst days of my life. Well, maybe cushioned a bit by the fact that I was called the day before, asked to "come in for a meet", (after the week's investigation following the confrontation date) I kind of knew what was going to happen. Anyways, after the official termination, I knew that either I could go home and cry in my bed, consider suicide or find some help. I had printed out an AA schedule from online and picked the next one that was going on.

    But I wasn't prepared for what happened in that room! I cried when I introduced myself as "Hi I'm Michelle, and I am an addict. That was the first time at the first meeting I've said that"....and the whole room applauded and I got so much love, hugs, and support that day. And even afterwards, a part of that group invited me to lunch where I somehow found a voice and really talked about the whole thing for the first time. And I felt like I belonged. I knew God sent me there that day.

    So I've been on a journey, trying out all different meetings, different locations, different styles (lead, discussion, big book, women's groups, etc) but always come back to that particular meeting, and usually go to lunch afterwards. I was considering making this one my homegroup.

    Oh and NA is around, I enjoy attending them when I can, but its fewer and far between but it is more prevalent about 30-45 min north. Between the kids' schedules and my therapy/counselling/group sessions it's easier to stick around here. I like both meetings.

    OH! And for what its worth, have any of you heard of DRA? Dual Recovery Anonymous, for people recovering from multiple things, I assumed it meant alcohol and drugs but the flyer I got implied addiction and psychiatric illness or anything else....so I showed up for a meeting of that last night, but no one else came! I sat in a waiting room at the local crisis center where it was held, met with three other people there for the same meeting, also for their first time, but none of the regulars showed up and 20 minutes we decided to leave. But I'm really interested in going to one of them. Maybe next week.

    So anyways, yesterday's episode with the "oldtimer" lady...I'm not feeling so bad about that today. She quoted something about the 12 traditions not including addicts but only alcoholics, that maybe I should consider introducing myself as "alcoholic/addict" just so people won't raise their eyebrows at me. She also stated that I would be welcome at "open" meetings but not in "closed" meetings, which, honestly, one: I figured closed meant closed to support people ok for addicts/alcoholics only, not closed to everyone except alcoholics, and two: since I thought the first thing, that I didn't pay attention to that on my schedule of meetings and here, most of my favorite meetings are "CLOSED" meetings! And yeah I wish NA were easier to access around here. And my soon-to-be sponsor is AA only, so when I meet with her for the first time next week, we can discuss this.

    Oh and I called another girl from the same group whom I've grown closer to, to talk about that incident and she said she'd call me back today. It just hits me in that self esteem spot...will I look around the room at all those wonderful people and worry that they're looking at me like I don't belong there? INTRUDER! INTRUDER! And all I could think was, If I wanted to feel like an outcast, "different", I could be with my clean friends and family! To be outcast by a group of outcasts?! How can a group that is guided by a spiritual power (God!) feel okay about making someone ELSE feel unwelcome!?

    Oh and I'll search for the link, but it was a huge uproar around my area recently, someone went to the local newspaper to complain about the state of AA today. I agreed with some of it, actually, about how it's being used as a court order, these younger people show up to get their papers signed, leave halfway through the meeting, don't listen or participate (not participating, I'm okay with, if you're shy or struggling, but these people I'm talking about are usually kind of rude about it) and sit there texting their friends the whole time. But the article also blasted addicts being a part of "his AA".

    Someone else may have said so in this thread, but I'm telling you right now, I will NEVER turn another addict away, no matter what their addiction. I will not judge. I will support you. I will accept you as a human being. I would never make anyone else feel unwelcome.

    I also get to attend a support group within my psychiatrist's office. It's just a general support group for everyone and most of the members are depressed, manic, bipolar, schizpohrenic, etc. In fact, so far as I've seen, I'm the only addict with depression there. And I feel welcome there too! Even if sometimes I feel like the nurse and not a participant. LOL

    So I guess my solution is to just continue on. Keep on. Don't drink. Don't use. That's the best I can do today. I will continue to go to my AA, NA meetings (and even DRA now!) I will continue to absorb knowledge and give back where I can. If I feel blatantly not welcome somewhere (and not just by one person) I won't go back, there are lots of other meetings in other places. I will try not to take that personally. And I know I can always come back on here and talk to you wonderful people. xo Michelle:heartbeat
    Rascal1 likes this.
  11. Visit  Magsulfate profile page
    0
    Thanks Michelle for sharing. Stay strong, and keep going back,, everyday will get better and better.. There is proof out there,, with me and many others in this forum. If you ever feel down,, come here... Thats what I do.. and it helps a lot. Always have support, surround yourself with it.

    As far as being told at an AA meeting that you don't belong.. that was me,, I was told that also. It really got me down for a bit, but I learned a lesson. You can also read other posts, even some of the alcoholics here have called addicts unclean,, or something of that sort,, I don't have the exact quote, but I really don't want to go back and subject myself to reading it again! lol

    Anyway, I'm glad you're here, and like I said,, it is important to surround yourself with support, in real life, and online. You can't get enough at the stage you're in.
  12. Visit  blueheaven profile page
    0
    I am posting this with my husband's permission. He has been clean for 10 years now and alcohol free (if you will for 30) He recently has returned to going to AA meetings (has not attended one since the 80s). He has been active in NA since May 1999 but felt that he need to go back to the basics of the 12 steps. No one has said anything to him about his addiction because he also is an alcoholic and has every right to be in the rooms.

    There are some really good online as well as phone meetings you can use to help and get support in your journey. Also some good yahoo groups out there too. I attend f2f OA meetings as well as call in on phone meetings when I can't make it to a f2f. I have addiction issues too, but mine are with food.

    You are always going to find those people out there who are taking your inventory and telling you that you should work the program THEIR WAY or the highway. Take what you need and leave the rest. Keep going to meetings (whatever media you use) don't pick up, read literature and use the phone.

    ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs to all with similar issues))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
    I'll keep coming back.
    Slowly recovering overeater, sugar fiend, spender of the cash lol

    Blueheaven
  13. Visit  pinfinity profile page
    1
    sounds like everybody needs to call their sponsors! (LOL!)
    Cherybaby likes this.
  14. Visit  pinfinity profile page
    0
    ...PS: Keep coming back!


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