Notes on an NA Meeting

(Apologies for length. Cross-posted at my dinky little blog;)

Well, mission accomplished. I went back to a meeting at my former "home group", and while I knew it would look very, very different from my perspective of not being even in a semi-chronic state of relapse (rather, from the perspective of being completely clean for an extended period), it was more of a mess than I had thought it would be.

First off, I knew this was a very "sick" group to begin with, it was widely talked about in other NA groups at the time. I was actually "recruited out" of this group by other NAers for that reason. My former sponsor was a disaster, a woman who had 12 sponsees after she and her then-boyfriend rather took over the group a few years ago. At that time she had only 1 1/2 years of "clean-time", which is actually less than I have now, yet was the only eligible female sponsor for this group, which is one of the largest where I live and boasts the largest amount of court ordered members. I say this not to judge her smaller amount of clean-time, btw, but to point out that I feel in no way qualified to try and guide a vulnerable addict through to sobriety at this point in my life, as much as I'd love to help people.

I had no real inclination to speak to this woman, and that feeling grew during the meeting. She finally shared last, a few people after her former boyfriend (and previous sponsor of every male in that group), who revealed gladly that he was now facing homelessness and was suicidal. Despite his newfound interest in suicide however, he kept saying how many people he had called "in the program" to talk to about his "racing thoughts", his hopelessness, etc. Every one of them has told them to "read the basic text, man". And hit some more meetings (he already goes to 1 per day). All I could thing was, "Holy crap, this is your friend, he's effing suicidal, and you're telling him to read the basic text and hit several meetings a day? WTF??!?!?"

But......back to my former sponsor sharing. She stated repeatedly that the only reason she was there was to wish a goodbye to an oldtimer there who was to be moving tomorrow three states away. Then she launched into telling the room how she had had to use every bit of strength she had last night to---keep from "beating the shit out of this bitch and all she was doing was stroking my hair". After explaining about 10 times that she is just a "very, very violent person", she tried to explain that this woman wasn't really doing much, just stroking her hair. But she had a problem--she didn't fully explain this bit--with gauging motives of women and whether or not different women were "that bitch who fucked me up so bad". Therefore, "those newcomer women, those fucking newcomer women" should all just "stay the fuck away from" her. And yes, at this point I was wishing to my doorknob that I had instant replay so I could run it back and record this particularly enlightening drunkologue. Or was it an assaultalogue?

What the HELL?!?!? Who speaks like this? Ever? Let alone to a group that is supposed to be gaining "fellowship" from their words? Needless to say, she was not the first person to share about their problems with previous episodes or even arrests for "violent" behaviors or offenses. While everyone else nodded their heads knowingly at each of these confessions, I sincerely wished to become invisible. I didn't feel terribly warm and gushy inside with the three men who told everyone how they only had to serve anywhere from 20-90 days in jail (for "violent" offenses, unspecified). I was wondering about the five or so 18-20 year olds sitting in there eligible for sponsorship by these people who kept claiming that they'd not only use were it not for meetings but that they'd do much worse ("I'm just a VERY violent person!"). And that doesn't even touch on the talk of suicide!

Admittedly, it does make sense now, that this woman who hates other women to such a degree would've not cared one bit (or even returned a call, though I considered that a blessing, even then) about my life or her other 11 sponsees at the time. After all, she's just a "very, very violent person". I certainly am not going to harbor any animosity towards a woman who is so messed up that she can barely make it through a night without an assault & battery charge, I don't begrudge these people their different beliefs. Not if these meetings are all they have preventing them from killing themselves. That said, people who've been clean for years and years whose daily struggle is severe depression, violent tendencies, suicidal thoughts --well, let's just say that their biggest problem at the present is probably not their experience however long ago with addiction.

Admittedly also, this could be grandstanding. But if the newcomer is the most important person in the room, what kind of hope does it give them in their own "recovery" (and there were EIGHT people there with under 30 days all in the 18-21 age group!) to hear every oldtimer talking about not being able to escape from the destructive thoughts in their heads, the dangerous thoughts of suicide, constant threats of homelessness? If this is "serenity", I must've missed the proper definition.

So, my ex-sponsor ended her share by stating that she was grateful for this county's "finest", who had arrested her (for some previous violent behavior, I was inferring), that that was a blessing in disguise. Then made a final reference to "newcomer women". I had already passed during sharing, even declined to give my name (I didn't want to seem horribly disrespectful because I did NOT go to "crash" a meeting, merely to observe--but I still wasn't about to say that I AM an addict. Oh, no.). After hearing that though, I couldn't much speak at all. I encouraged the newer members best I could, told them not to lose hope, that if I could make it anyone could. I kept free of any other message. I won't deny that I felt much better off in having refused previously to "keep coming back", though. Thank the great doorknob in the sky, my life is far better for the path I chose.

Comments

marietta davis's picture

1. Why did you go to this meeting?
2. Why did you stay?

Was this a fact-gathering mission so you could crow about being sober longer than 1 1/2 years, and that you are grateful you're not like them?

This would have been a perfect opportunity for you to speak your mind and highlight your aim to make meetings safer/more respectful/more encouraging, and to voice your objections to different facets of weak meetings, including talk of suicide and violence. (I don't give a shit about crosstalk; this is an example where it was not only permissible but preferable.) These are the trenches that everyone who hates the 12-steps complains about, and yet no one is willing to enlist in this war, move down to the front where the bullets are flying, and try to turn things around one meeting at a time - not for yourselves, but for the poor sumbitches who are there, barely clean and really struggling. You could have been a beacon and instead you were wallpaper.

I don't get it.

"These are the trenches that everyone who hates the 12-steps complains about, and yet no one is willing to enlist in this war, move down to the front where the bullets are flying, and try to turn things around one meeting at a time - not for yourselves, but for the poor sumbitches who are there, barely clean and really struggling".

Get Real

"I don't get it".

It's called bat.shit.crazy

Persephone- Thanks for a wonderful reminder about everything that is wrong with this "treatment" model and why I will never step foot in an XA meeting again. Ever.

marietta davis's picture

What's she even going to meetings for? So she can report all the bad, bad things that happen and then frany can pat her on the head, give her a Milk Bone, and say "good job!"?

If she's going to bother to go, why would it be stupid for her to a) stand up for her right to leave if she wants to, or b) be productive if she's there? Otherwise she's just a prissy little snitch.

And who gives a fuck if you never go to another meeting? That's recounted in every single post you make here. Don't you have anything else to share, like your volleyball scores or the latest news from your broker?

Marietta, it wouldn't have been a perfect opportunity for anything you mentioned. BTW, did you see the bit about my ex-sponsor saying at least 10 times that she was a "very violent person"? It was the perfect opportunity for me to be able to tell several very young people who are very new to not using drugs that they are WORTH it, they are valuable people who are more powerful than they think they are, and that they can make it! Which is exactly what I did after the meeting when everyone else was smoking outside.

You're thinking of this from the standpoint of a trouble-making troll. It would've served me nothing (nor any anti-xA cause) to stand up and seem as irrational and out of control as everyone else there was making themselves out to be.

marietta davis's picture

Why did you go to this meeting? What was your expectation?
Why did you stay? Personal endurance test? Looking for a colorful anecdote to run back here to report?

FFS Frau Uebergruppenfuehrerin, quit with the interrogation. It's none of your fucking business to ask once, let alone to keep going on about it. Bat shit crazy...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

If someone posts this kind of information to introduce dialogue, then why would it be none of my business, ben? And if it was not posted for that reason, then what reason would explain it? Applause seeking? Ego-boosting? Oh, I know: sharing. Sharing like a member of AA.

It's in my face. It is my business. This sad little waif cannot protect herself against the alleged dangers of an AA meeting. She can't get up and walk out when she's offended or unnerved. Please, ben, muster your imagined wisdom and see if YOU can help her.

You post in an aggressive way almost demanding an answer. Then you repeat it and then repeat it again. Why? If someone wants to answer they will. It's not the spoken word. Everything is there for people to read. There is no reason to badger people for a reply (quite common occurrence with you). And then, when questioned about what you are doing, to come back with such a rude reply (again - usual for you - and I know I'm going to get the "I'm a victim of everyone else picking on me" speech - yet again...lol) well, I would tell you to just fuck off. Perhaps we should adopt that as a forum standard. Whenever BSC replies in a condescending and rude manner (as above) just give her multiple replies of "Fuck off"...lol.

Lets try............"Fuck off, troll"..........added my own little bit there - did you notice BSC?...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

Looks like Persephone's check cleared.

And I only do it to you and Danny because YOU ARE TROLLS - sinking in yet?

Addition : Sorry - I forgot - Fuck off troll

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

You're not the troll? Depends on who's observing.

Even if it is your default setting. You troll, me not. Simple enough for you?

Fuck off troll - (Remembered that time...lol)

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

"You ignorant, me not." ~ Janie Weismuller

Clara's picture

I have friends in AA that choose it because it differs from NA, even though their addiction problems were not alcohol. I drove to Nebraska one time from SC to go to my uncle's funeral. The sole meeting in that little town had been an AA meeting but was now an NA meeting. They opened it up to me, but explained that I could not share since my identified problem was alcohol. I was happy to get out of there and even more grateful that drugs had never been my issue. My husband has spent time in both fellowships and prefers AA. I just don't see the two as the same program with "drugs substituted where it says acohol." The entire feel was different.

But I am finding that issue here in El Paso where most of the meetings are open and people just talk about what they want. That would NEVER have happened in Myrtle Beach. Meth is a huge problem here. So... my current solution is just not going to meetings. But I can agree with telling someone to spend more time in meetings. Perhaps they will hear something of comfort but, more importantly, it keeps them in a roomful of people and not alone where they could harm themself.

Remember Christopher Stevens when you vote.

JR Harris's picture

Only AA discriminates against NA, not visa versa. The MAIN LITERATURE even states it doesn't care what drug you do and ALCOHOL IS A DRUG. You are totally full of it, you can share about Alcohol or any Drug at an NA meeting.

~You can not moderate the truth. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and expect to get away with it without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~

Trisha K.'s picture

The discrimination comes in about meds. NA (fellowship) is very strict about what meds you can take, the intent and the time they will be taken. Whereas in AA it is not as important.

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.”
Shirley MacLaine

Gunthar2000's picture

I've been to many NA meetings and they say that alcohol is a drug. They prefer people to introduce themselves as addicts, rather than alcoholics, but no one is prevented from sharing because they are alcoholics.

AA is a religious cult dressed up to look like a treatment for alcoholism.

Gunthar2000

http://tipsforhomelesspeople.webs.com/

Clara's picture

Gunthar, let me get this straight... You are going back to February 24, 2012 to find something to address me? It is September 16. What is this about?

Okay, you were in that Nebraska meeting where I was told something contrary to what you've apparently experienced.

Remember Christopher Stevens when you vote.

Gunthar2000's picture

You are a liar! Alcoholics are welcome to speak at NA meetings. It's right there in the literature.

Thinking of alcohol as different from other drugs has caused a great many addicts to relapse.
Before we came to NA, many of us viewed alcohol separately, but we cannot afford to be
confused about this. Alcohol is a drug. We are people with the disease of addiction who must
abstain from all drugs in order to recover.

http://www.na.org/admin/include/spaw2/uploads/pdf/litfiles/us_english/Bo...

AA is a religious cult dressed up to look like a treatment for alcoholism.

Gunthar2000

http://tipsforhomelesspeople.webs.com/

Clara's picture

Well, there isn't anything like being obsessed with someone, eh, Gunthar?

I was never in NA. I don't know the first thing about it other than they were opening a closed meeting to an admitted alcoholic. Perhaps that is just how they do it THERE, Gunthar. You have nothing to prove to me.

Remember Christopher Stevens when you vote.

Morgan's picture

"You are going back to February 24, 2012 to find something to address me?"

Pretty absurd, huh?

What is it about? That's anyone's guess. But when people exclaim, "It's all about you, Clara!" I guess they're right. In some people's minds, it really is. lol.

I'll admit you post a lot--and I mean A LOT here. But I guess some see your posts as car wrecks that needs to be gawked at and revisited endlessly. Like something out of a Cronenberg film.

Gunthar2000's picture

Pretty ridiculous for you to comment on something you know absolutely nothing about.

AA is a religious cult dressed up to look like a treatment for alcoholism.

Gunthar2000

http://tipsforhomelesspeople.webs.com/

Morgan's picture

Go ahead, try to "ban" me, tough guy. LOL.

Clara's picture

Gunthar, I contacted a person that was at the meeting for clarification. While you live in a metropolis with tons of meetings for every A out there that are easily accessible, that isn't true in rural middle Nebraska where people often drive many miles to go to any A meeting at all. If you were required to go to 5 A meetings a week, you might be going to an AA meeting on Monday, and NA meeting on Tuesday in a township 30 miles away, an SA meeting on Wednesday 50 miles south of you, another AA meeting on Thursday that is in the next county, and perhaps a CA meeting that meets in someone's home on Saturday just to make your numbers for your PO. What I told you about how they choose to handle their meetings is true and within the 4th tradition even for NA. You can be there. You came even get a signature if you need one. But they ask that you not share unless it is on topic and it has to do with the fellowship of NA. I am probably not explaining it as eloquently as he did, but they want do not want fellowship overlap and this is how they choose to handle it. I did not misstate my experience.

Remember Christopher Stevens when you vote.

Gunthar2000's picture

They are all cults anyway.

AA is a religious cult dressed up to look like a treatment for alcoholism.

Gunthar2000

http://tipsforhomelesspeople.webs.com/

Clara's picture

Gunthar, you cared enough to go back 7 months to respond to a post so that you could call me a liar when I knew what had happened. I simply verified the facts because I truly don't know aything about NA. I just knew that it has this area handled it, and I was grateful to be invited in after hours upon hours of driving.

Remember Christopher Stevens when you vote.

Gunthar2000's picture

Or you are just outright lying.

AA is a religious cult dressed up to look like a treatment for alcoholism.

Gunthar2000

http://tipsforhomelesspeople.webs.com/

Gunthar2000's picture

I'd really like to put this all behind us.
Is there anything I can do that will stop you from posting your lies?

AA is a religious cult dressed up to look like a treatment for alcoholism.

Gunthar2000

http://tipsforhomelesspeople.webs.com/

becket's picture

Whether lies are encountered or not, the way you put it behind you is to rise above it. You don't ask someone else to behave differently. You have no control over that.

“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”
― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

massive's picture

You need to be banned. With that mouth of yours why not go to the street and hang out with thugs who care about nothing! Your mouth shows who and what you really are Marietta.

I will not respond to you again but this is just...rediculous

Massive

If you are not going to read all the posts and be fair about who should be banned or not then please don't pass judgement. There is enough cold callous comments going on around here for many to be banned under your definition.
This act of yours has gotten real old. You went from 13 stepping activism right on into mimicking what every one said about the BB on ST to be accepted. IMHO!! I don't buy your opinions about the BB one bit. Your opinions sound scripted and lacking depth.
Get off the butts of people in AA, you went for almost 40 years. You must of believed something was working there. Plus you are still going at times.

Your days are numbered Banjo Boy. Don't draw attention to yourself...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

Please ban (er, re-ban) the above troll, Orange.

Danny is banned. So why are you playing your nose to ben's ass games? Your better then this PIE.

"...better then this...."...lol. Get the car out Danny - we'll go for a scrape around the block...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

Geez I am gone for days at a time and come back just to see if anything has changed.
Nada. What is wrong with you people? Gluten for punishment?

Wack a troll- or mole.

"I welcome all allies in the fight against A.A. hegemony" -Orange

www.expaa.org EXPOSE AA

NA DAYTONA- Violent Criminals Being Mandated to AA and NA Meetings
http://nadaytona.org/alcoholics-anonymous-votes-no-to-protect-members-from...

Ironic's picture

Both DannyBII and Perplexity like to post subjects saying "______ knock it off!" or "Knock it off _______!"

They must have been raised in the same house.

Please tells us what personality you brought to the site today. It is the one who is inquisitive and insightful or it is the one that is cynical maybe narcissistic.

causeandeffect's picture

Really, you're not smart enough to be a sock. You keep giving away your identity. Schtupid. You are the one who brought the information here about what a monster you really are. Schtooopid Monster.

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

Read fornits cause, according to two moderators on the Elan Forum your signature is all over there.
Hey, you know what who cares what you think. Doesn't seem like many do here.

causeandeffect's picture

I've read the lies you posted about me and antidenial. I'm certainly not going to spend any more time reading that vulgarity on fornits. And I don't care what you say over there. Everybody who knows you both here and there knows you what a huge liar you are. Nobody believes you danny.

"The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
~Dresden James

This post reads like the intellectual and emotional level of a 11 or 12 year old. Am I missing something here?
WHO CARES!!!
Leave Danny alone he is not even here. My god, you are the BSC troll. Hey ben, we found her.

Slandering again...what is this the 25 time you have slandered Danny.

marietta davis's picture

Was it the "ignorant" that set you off or the fact that I switched Johnny Weismuller's gender for print without a legal contract?

Pennywise's picture

Maybe she was worried about being attacked? That sounds like a pretty crazy meeting!

Have you listened to your Arnold ZeDVille today?
http://www.reverbnation.com/arnoldzedville/songs

marietta davis's picture

If she were worried about being attacked she could have left.

live_free_or_die's picture

......in an ambulance?

When outnumber keep still and hope not to be seen...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

marietta davis's picture

Maybe she needs a concealed carry permit to attend her "home group".

JR Harris's picture

Just carry a "Big Book" and say how wonderful an Spiritual you are. Wear some AA trinkets and they will leave you alone.

~You can not moderate the truth. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and expect to get away with it without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~

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