Recovery snobs suck!

As a drug addict looking for treatment, everyone tells you to “go to meetings.”  Countless people told me that it didn’t matter whether I went to NA or AA, a drug is a drug.  That made sense to me.  AA meetings were comfortable for me because I attended many meetings over the years with my father.  Going to AA as a child is much different than as an adult who really needs recovery.

For me making the choice to walk into that first meeting was huge.  I just knew that this was it.  Finally, I am going to get better.  Hell, my Dad got better and I witnessed just how bad his drug and alcoholism had been.  This was the place to be.

As we were introducing ourselves before the meeting a woman asked me how long I had been drinking.  No, I said, I have a drug problem.  I couldn’t believe it but she actually told me that this is AA not NA so when we go around the room to do introductions I need to say my name and I am an alcoholic.  Wait, but I am not an alcoholic.  It’s ok she said. That is just the way we do it.  In your mind just substitute your drug of choice for the word alcoholic but don’t say it out loud.  Is she serious?  Yes, she is very serious.

When it was my turn to introduce myself to the group I said my name is JoAnn and I am an alcoholic.  It felt wrong, it was a lie.  One of the biggest things I was working on was honestly and the first thing I was told to do at this meeting was to lie.  It ruined the entire meeting for me.  It sent a clear message to me that I wasn’t welcome.  Yes, I could come in and listen and even talk but only if I told a lie about why I was there in the first place.

People who are suffering from Substance Use Disorder ( Addiction ) are dealing with the awful stigma attached already.  When we walk into a meeting we think that we are safe.  To find out that you are not is devastating.

It seems like 12 Step programs have gotten a bit of a big head in the last twenty years or so. The judgments I have been subjected to in those rooms has scarred my recovery process. When I began maintenance drugs I wanted to go to meetings to begin to heal but I was laughed at because I wasn’t “clean” and I wasn’t allowed to get a key chain for the first 24 hours or any key chain thereafter.  This made me leave the meetings altogether.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to embrace anyone that has the guts to walk into those rooms and say they have a problem?

I am a chronic relapser and the Suboxone I guarantee has saved my life.  Without it, I would undoubtedly have found heroin, and I wouldn’t last long.  Why does it only count if you do it one way?  Why is there so much judgment and not just love and support?  We are all different.  What works for me may not work for you.  It is terrifying when I imagine how many of those who have lost their lives to this epidemic were turned away from 12 step groups and now they definitely won’t recover.

0 comments on “Recovery Snobs Suck”

  1. Not all AA Meetings are that way. Find the ones, and they are plentiful, that accept you for you, use your own words, most importantly do this for you! You should not have to lie about how you feel about yourself! That is absurd to say the least! If you are in the Honesdale area and want help finding meetings where you can be yourself let me know and I will be glad to help you. I had the same issue at the beginning but I just found other meetings. I don’t have time in my life for other people’s bullshit! My attitude is this is for me and I will do it the way I need to do it. Peace out and keep it simple

  2. Good morning to you, I love the smell of substance snobbery in the morning. My drug is better then yours. I have seen a few things during my 20 years of active addiction and my 30 years of sobriety. I am 12 Step trained, educated and treatment trained. I spent 15 years working in treatment, helping people I loved. The other side of that coin was evil.
    I introduce myself as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or whatever 12 Step meeting I go to. That ends the controversy. God is not a religion, I am not a religion and 12 Step programs are not a religion.
    It’s important that we are aware of what’s going on around us, to often some nut in the fellowship attempts to insert their insanity on to others. Usually it’s religion, substance snobbery, finance or sex. As a collective consciousness we end up in a cycle that turns into my way or the highway. When dealing with addiction we must be open to expanding our consciousness. New information, new people, new ideas. More will be revealed, right. It’s extremely important that we learn how to think. We are involved with a program that has taken alcoholics and addicts into sobriety. A new beginning, a miracle. Why would we want to stop there?
    We have over 80 years of accumulated evidence that we can get sober, stay sober and change our entire life. We can do anything we want as long as we’re willing to pay the price. The price, well that is infinite possibilities.
    Richard

  3. I have experienced so MUCH of the same when attending or when I TRIED to attend meetings (AA or NA) NA was by far the worst though BC after weeks of attending and feeling safe, I opened up about my maintenance meds & the shift in atmosphere was so OBVIOUS! I was then asked to LEAVE! I was told that my continued use was not in line with their practices. I was SICK! This was about 13 years ago. Ive come a long way since then. If only I knew then what I do now about Recovery. It could have been different. My response would have left quite an impact on them.

    Reading what you wrote, I related to completely. I mean one of the most important things we are moving away from in Recovery are addict behavior…..lying & deceiving being HUGE behavior to break away from. Yet BC of maintenance meds we are told to JUST NOT MENTION IT. Right away it adds to the SHAME making us feel less than. Im PROUD EVERYDAY of my RECOVERY! And MMT has saved my life! That is something no one has a right to judge! Thank you for this!

  4. I totally know this… I’d attended a.a. for 15 years…i then relapsed after a surgery…yep..the rest is in the text books…i returned to a.a. where i knew everyone about two years later..now having a drug problem as well…i was stunned…i was ignored…cold shoulder. The works….i’d known these people and been in their homes…smh..i quit….here it is cluques….it’s nothing but gossip…and they never let me admit my problem was always drugs and alcohol..i think by denying my drug addiction it surely caught me off guard post op..i wasn’t careful at all…i knew what the book said about other drugs hut yet i was somehow blinded….they tell you that you must be completely honest with self in order to maintain your sobriety…smh…would you call that a double standard or what? They talk out of both side of their mouths…also there is nothing like a addict playing doctor….when did n.a. decide they know all to know about meds….they should stick to what they know about the misery of dope and let the doctors prescribe the maintenance meds….i don’t go now…and never will..its a shame to…the step can help change lives….both group a.a and n.a. need to come of age…soon there will not be just a alcoholic….alcohol is out….opiates took over…

    • Its hard isn’t it. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Its good to know it wasn’t just me. I hate that you went through it too though.

  5. I am a heroin addict only by the Grace of God do I have Six months. I was the junkie that would pick dope over food home shoes when its cold out etc I couldn’t help it I didn’t have a choice. Suboxin worked with pills but it did NOT with heroin. So I believe truly believe when I showed up at the clinic that I go to I didn’t think it would work so I was hoping it would help me do less heroin . And when it did work and I was at a low dose and I didn’t have to put another needle in my arm omg I’m just still amazed and grateful to God. I go every day to treatment. Unless there is a holiday.

  6. I hated meetings and quit going. I did the steps on my own (not recommended by them), but it worked. Meditation, therapy and increased belief in myself (at 70 years old) is what worked. It is great to have support from friends and family. Otherwise, I’m an introvert and actually prefer not being in strange groups. 13 years on methadone. 17 months off everything. Rough beginning-great now. You can do it!!!

  7. I can tell you from experience the pendulum swings both ways. I’ve been a member of both fellowships since 1987. My first A.A. mtg. a woman from the same halfway house I was in raised her hand and said she was an addict. An oldtimer stood up and said addicts did not belong in A.A. there was a fellowship for addicts, and if she wanted to stay, she should stay seated and shut up because she had nothing to say. At that time I was strictly a Heroin addict. Alcohol was never really an issue in my life until much later. At that halfway house we were only allowed to attend A.A. Back then there wasn’t a lot of long term recovery in N.A. So I was forced to either remain quiet or identify as an alcoholic. As soon as I was able to attend N.A. I did and honestly they treated alcoholics the same way alcoholics treat addicts in A.A. They say right from the rip in one of their readings “Alcohol is a drug” members actually chime in when the person is reading just to reinforce the statement. The person chairing the meeting also makes an announcement that when people share they should use the appropriate N.A. language as to not to blur the message of Narcotics Anonymous for the newcomer. Another words, sober, sobriety, alcoholic or anything related to drinking is not welcomed. I love the 12 Steps. I feel so fortunate that there’s a set of spiritual principles to help me live as God would want me to. I think everybody even non addicts and alcoholics would be much more happier if the followed the program. With that being said, at the end of my addiction, alcohol was what almost killed me. It was the first substance and the last that I used in my addiction. Now that I think about it, it was always involved in my life since the very begining. I don’t do a lot of meetings these days because of that ridiculous tit for tat. The meetings I do attend are usually Big Book meetings because that’s where I found the solution to my problem and a new way to live. I have an A.A. sponsor who knows the Big Book and the 12 Steps who was also a Heroin Addict.