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MIP Old Timer

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Cross addiction
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I wanted to find out what thoughts you all have on people coming into AA cross addicted (concurrent drug or poly substance dependence). Obviously the BB is not outdated and there's been some discussion of not wanting AA to blend with other programs. I do see how it inevitably is going to blend with or be used sometimes in favor of NA. How do you guys respond to drug talk in AA? It's so frequent in the groups I go to that I almost don't think about it. Have any of you sponsored addicts? In NA they would call all of us "addicts" but I do know that there are some things unique about alcoholism and an alcoholic bottom. So...The BB is surely not outdated but some times I wonder if AA and our literature is trying to be a panacea.  I have literally heard people in my local AA meetings say things like "my problem has never been alcohol. It is crystal meth" and nobody even seems to care. I'm kind of wondering if the days of the pure alcoholic are dwindling.  Clearly we want to help all alcoholics but are we equipped to be the main program for people with concurrent drug problems or primary drug addiction? Wondering what you guys think.  I know some might say they should go to NA but that's not gonna happen so what do we do? 



-- Edited by pinkchip on Tuesday 24th of December 2013 04:19:17 PM

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I have one experience in that arena. About 15 years ago, roughly, a guy came in and said he was a drunk and wanted a white chip. A week or so later he asked me to sponsor him. Ok.

Rewind a bit, I visited NA a few times since once in a while I would dabble in recreational pharmaceuticals. Not for me really so never went back.

This new guy was a bit squirrely. I could not connect with I'm like all others I have sponsored. I think he needed NA, where his true addiction was. In the same way I needed AA. We parted ways and as far as I knew he was still using then. He got kicked out of the halfway house, i know for sure. I could not help him.

I don't try and sponsor drug addicts. I do not have the message they need. Lesson learned. I was indeed powerless to help.



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MIP Old Timer

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Every recovering alcoholic I've ever sponsored has had plenty of experience with various drugs as well.  Any time anyone has ever come to me sincerely asking me for help to work the 12 Steps, I have always helped them...as long as I see enough honesty, openness, and willingness.  I'm pretty certain that if I limited myself to sponsoring only "pure alcoholics", I would diminish my opportunities for 12 Step work and would carry the message to only a few.  Blessings, Mike D.



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MIP Old Timer

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I am only alcoholic so I only help alcoholics - but I have also been affected by alcoholics - so I help others who have been affected alcoholic or not. It's all the same 12 steps and principles :) Like we mentioned - they go waaaaaaaay back and are for everyone, but I do desire to seek out where I am MOST useful through prayer and meditation. Those people who are the most completely spiritually bankrupt like I was - are the ones with the willingness - who ever they are in my human family. If I was the only person standing with this message - I wouldn't be so picky as to who I tried to help. GRATEFUL I'M NOT THAT!!!!!!! Wow. Considering all the old timers went through to get us here... I appreciate my nice warm fuzzy cushy road today.

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MIP Old Timer

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I'm with Mike D here ... I do not limit myself to 'pure alcoholics' ... as long as a person is asking for help, and doing the work, I'm there for them ... Having said that, I have witnessed the general attitude in AA groups that shun anybody that professes dual addiction, or other drug addiction ... it is common for them to be told to go to NA or other appropriate groups other than AA ... I'm not sure I agree with that, cause if what I learned in the principles tells me I should always be responsible for the alcoholic that is asking for help, then why should I turn my back on the druggies ???

I tried smoking pot a few times, a long time ago, always got sick, so I don't even want that stuff anymore ... (it made me 'hear' things ... I mean it made my hearing extremely sensitive ...) ... and I've had 9 hand surgeries ... always told the doctor that I was in extreme pain, for a longer time than normal ... always got more pain med scripts ... (they went down easy with my vodka ...)

So, am I 'cross addicted' ??? ... Alcohol was always my 'drug of choice' ... why ??? ... cause I thought I was always in control of it, LOL ... ... ...

So AA or NA ??? ... ... ... I don't give a flip as long as a person is sincere and works the program as laid out in the BB ... AND seeks the 'spiritual experience' we get by working the program ... if I see a guy drowning and I don't like his color, or say his sexual orientation, or whatever else you wish to hold against someone, do I just put the life preserver down and leave him to die ??? ... or do I at least try to throw him a 'life-line' ???



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MIP Old Timer

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I live in a big city and we have plenty of NA groups here. We do have drug addicts attend AA meetings and they introduce themselves as either "My name is ......and I'm an addict" (I am assuming that is a drug addict? or ".....and I'm a drug addict" I have never heard anyone treat them any differently than everyone else in the meeting. I met a person who told me he is a drug addict and he doesn't like the NA meetings. He didn't tell me why, and although I was curious, I didn't ask him, as I am working on listening and not prying into others' business. There are those who are addicted to both alcohol and drugs who attend the meetings. I just feel as long as any of them are in a meeting trying to get help for their addictions that is the main thing. And Bless those posters who said they would or have sponsored drug addicts. Of course, I am not qualified to sponsor anyone now. When I am able to, I am not sure if I could handle that as I'm a big chicken and unless by working the steps I get over some of my preconceived notions about drug addicts being more dangerous than alcoholics, I don't know how I would be able to. But of course, I will be so different in so many ways by the time I work the steps (I hope and pray...), if my Higher Power leads me to do that, then that is what I need to do :)


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MIP Old Timer

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It usually doesn't bother me all that much, but there are certain instances that may cause someone to second guess A.A. altogether. Here are some of my concerns.

One example that comes to mind is the so called 'respect' factor -that would be a deal breaker for me. What about certain  mannerisms, like 'rewriting the bylaws to include both 'AA' and 'NA' terminology', or perhaps it's something completely off the wall, like 'changing the shades to include both alcohol and drugs' -which did happen by the way. Either/ or would make my head spin.  

It may even be something more disturbing, like 'having little or no respect for A.A.'s traditions' -that's something I can't understand, or how about 'cross sharing', shouldn't that be a concern as well? And what about those folks who share their drug-a-logs and forget about alcohol altogether, shouldn't that also be our concern? And we can't forget about those aggressive types who at the very least 'try' to instill their own set of beliefs, which may interfere with  A.A.'s primary purpose. Either/or would cause me to speak up, but that's just me.

The bottom line, if they're not breaking any of A.A.'s commandments then I'd be okay with it. It's only when they try to 'rearrange the furniture' that I need to step in.  

 



-- Edited by Mr_David on Wednesday 25th of December 2013 02:07:31 AM

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MIP Old Timer

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When anyone anywhere reaches out for help...I want the hand of AA to always be there and for that I am responsible.  The first verion of the 12th step I worked didn't have the word "Alcoholic" in it...instead it used the word "others".   I have no prejudices and my college education lists alcoholic among other mind and mood altering chemical which may be addictive.   For me it has been.  When faced with the opportunity to help anyone who reaches out for help my first question is to my HP "if there is anything here you see that I can do lead me".   My next question is to the person reaching out "How can I help you"?   Keep it simple.  The question regarding AA reaching out to others was asked and answered long ago and the response was "do not withhold".   The only meetings I was asked to leave were AA meetings early on because I was looking for answers and would not identify as "an" alcoholic...I didn't know...I was not welcomed.  No problem...no resentments in time I found my answers outside of the rooms and fellowship of AA and walked back in knowing.  My first meeting knowing I was alcoholic I didn't want to identify...hear my self say I am alcoholic...and that meeting gave me grace.  They stopped the meeting and held silence until I did and then went on as normal.  All in attendance knew me cause many had or were clients which I counseled and others knew me from the program which wouldn't keep me out.   

Cross addiction was a clinical term for me only...inpatient/outpatient, written on treatment charts and rarely given much attention outside of the treatment rooms.  Yes I have heard the statements and responses regarding "others" in the meetings of AA (not my home groups) and I respect that they were only responses.  The spiritual 12step programs I have received by serenity, sobriety and sanity in "rarely" kick anyone out anymore...certainly not me anymore.  (((hugs))) smile



-- Edited by Jerry F on Wednesday 25th of December 2013 02:01:53 AM

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MIP Old Timer

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I just wanted to 'note' that we always start our meetings asking that our discussions at the meeting be limited to our problems, or ESH, regarding alcohol use ... this is a must, I think ... other issues may be discussed, but only as it pertains to our overall addiction to self-destructing behaviour, of which, alcohol is a part ... more or less ... ...



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I love the idea of being open and helpful. Unfortunately, as an occasional drug user, not addicted to anything but alcohol, I really could not relate. The guy was living at the halfway house, where they have an NA group. I probably should have seen that as odd.

Meth is just evil. I hope he did find a sponsor that could reach him.

I have been to 3 or so NA meetings. Not my thing. I did hear some great things that resonated with some AA things. I see them as sister organizations. It did seem to me, I observed that meth was very unforgiving. Alcohol was bad enough, and I was pretty mangled... But the meth made people look like zombies.

I have enough compassion to know I can't be of much help, and admit it.

And as always, but for the grace of God, that could be me.

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MIP Old Timer

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"My first meeting knowing I was alcoholic I didn't want to identify...hear my self say I am alcoholic...and that meeting gave me grace. They stopped the meeting and held silence until I did and then went on as normal".....
Jerry, I've never had a problem admitting I was an alcoholic, but if I did early on and a meeting was stopped while others waited for me to say I am, then I would have to find another meeting. I have never gotton kicked out of a meeting, but that would be devastating to me and at least for me, if it ever does happen, I imagine I would have a hard time going back to any more meetings. I have heard of people getting kicked out, but maybe nowadays it happens when someone gets verbally or physically violent.
Good for you, Jerry, that you went back.

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If you go to a closed meeting, it is for alcoholics only. I have seen people be asked to leave a closed meeting if they did not identify as an alcoholic.

It isn't mean.

Not any different than driving up to a meeting when on a business trip and finding out it is a woman's meeting! :)


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a lil of what tradition 3 says in the 12&12:
THIS Tradition is packed with meaning. For A.A. is really saying to every serious drinker, "You are an A.A. member if you say so. You can declare yourself in; nobody can keep you out. No matter who you are, no matter how low you've gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications-even your crimes-we still can't deny you A.A. We don't want to keep you out. We aren't a bit afraid you'll harm us, never mind how twisted or violent you may be. We just want to be sure that you get the same great chance for sobriety that we've had. So you're an A.A. member the minute you declare yourself."

How could we then guess that all those fears were to prove groundless?

Why did A.A. finally drop all its membership regulations?

On the A.A. calendar it was Year Two. In that time nothing could be seen but two struggling, nameless groups of alcoholics trying to hold their faces up to the light.

A newcomer appeared at one of these groups, knocked on the door and asked to be let in. He talked frankly with that group's oldest member. He soon proved that his was a desperate case, and that above all he wanted to get well. "But," he asked, "will you let me join your group: Since I am the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism, you may not want me among you. Or will you?"

There was the dilemma. What should the group do? The oldest member summoned two others, and in confidence laid the explosive facts in their laps. Said he, "Well, what about it? If we turn this man away, he'll soon die. If we allow him in, only God knows what trouble he'll brew. What shall the answer be-yes or no?"

At first the elders could look only at the objections. "We deal," they said, "with alcoholics only. Shouldn't we sacrifice this one for the sake of the many?" So went the discussion while the newcomer's fate hung in the balance. Then one of the three spoke in a very different voice. "What we are really afraid of," he said, "is our reputation. We are much more afraid of what people might say than the trouble this strange alcoholic might bring. As we've been talking, five short words have been running through my mind. Something keeps repeating to me, 'What would the Master do?'" Not another word was said. What more indeed could be said?

read more in the 12&12

we really have no right to tell someone if they belong or not.

about 4 or so months onto recovery, a long timer( 30+ years) was gripin about addicts comin to meetings and talk of drugs at meetings. I didn't have to say anything, but what came out of my mouth was,"ok, then get yer big book and tear dr bob's, bill w's., and a few other stories out of it."

I don't recall a time I did drugs without drinking.

 

 

closed meetings aren't for alcoholics only:

This is a closed meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. In

 

support of A.A.'s singleness of purpose, attendance at

 

closed meetings is limited to persons who have a desire

 

to stop drinking. If you think you have a problem with

 

alcohol, you are welcome to attend this meeting. We ask

 

that when discussing our problems, we confine ourselves

 

to those problems as they relate to alcoholism.

 

 

(The 1987 General Service Conference made this statement available as an A.A. service

 

piece for those groups who wish to use it.)

 

 

 



-- Edited by tomsteve on Thursday 26th of December 2013 07:35:12 AM

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MIP Old Timer

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(Sober Strummer posted: "If you go to a closed meeting, it is for alcoholics only. I have seen people be asked to leave a closed meeting if they did not identify as an alcoholic.

It isn't mean. "

I attend closed meetings and understand how they work. Funny how I assumed someone meant "kicked out" rather than "asked to leave" which is what they do at closed meetings which are only for alcoholics rather than the public, other addicts, etc. That's just my mind and how it preconceives the worst scenario sometimes.


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MIP Old Timer

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Nice post Tomsteve :)

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MIP Old Timer

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This is a good subject PC and some interesting views have been expressed. There is often a rush to the third tradition with the claim that one doesn't have to be alcoholic, just have a desire to stop drinking, as if this is the final word.

The full version of trad 3 states our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism and then goes on to say that we may exclude no one on any other grounds. Grounds like other addictions, professional status, race, religion etc. It is very clear that the door is open to all alcoholics regardless of anything else. It also says any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety, may call themselves an AA group.

Trad 5 states a group ought to have but one primary purpose, that of carrying it's message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Trad 8 states we may employ alcoholics..

Step 1 alcohol, step 12 we try to carry this message to alcoholics...

Bill wrote something along these lines for the pamphlet Problems other than alcohol .. " Sobriety, freedom from alcohol, through the practice and teaching of the 12 steps, is the sole purpose of an AA 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 non alcoholics into AA members. We have to confine our membership to alcoholics and we have to confine our AA groups to a single purpose. If we don't stick to these principles we shall almost certainly collapse. And if we collapse, we cannot help anyone."

What this really makes clear is that cross-addiction is not an issue. When I came into the rooms there were no other 12 step fellowships in existence in NZ. It was common to meet cross addicted folk, and still is, and they were able to apply the AA program to treat their alcoholism, and overcome their problems with pills. Most CAs were prescription meds back then. We went through a turbulent phase when both over eaters and drug addicts began attending AA, and I have to say there was not a lot of unity in this period. But eventually OA and NA got started and AA was able to return to its primary purpose, helping alcoholics and cross addicted, with OAs and NAs frequently attending open meetings.

Occasionally someone will give a good drug talk, and I just look blank. I don't understand the terminology or motivation around these substances. I just don't speak that language. But I find I can converse with both NAs and OAs about the 12 step program of recovery, and we have a great spirit of cooperation between the fellowships.

God bless,
MikeH

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I can assist you. My tale can also be of use to you. I was treated with the utmost respect and kindness as a client of Caron Detox Program Reviews. Working on my prior traumas and why I used substances to cope with life was a big part of the program. The therapists assisted me in being a better son, brother, and uncle by addressing my underlying difficulties and family concerns. They taught me effective communication and provided me with the tools I needed to live a successful sober life. I'll be eternally grateful to Caron for not only saving my life but also providing me with a life better than I could have imagined! Thank you to Caron's entire team.



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I have been to many meetings where people will say Im a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and I have found most people dont mind. You can always substitute the word to substance being many. So like many of us in these programs, we have cross addiction whether its alcohol, drugs, sex/porn, gambling. Its the thing of being out of control because theres a hole inside of us. The program helps fix that.

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