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

I didn't look it up. Not wasting my time trying to follow the ravings of a nutter...lol. It just didn't make any sense BSC - nothing new there...lol. What's going on Bat Shit? Enlighten us...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

I makes perfect sense! You quote Bob Dylan to make a point, I respond by quoting Bob Dylan to counter. What's nonsensical about that?

You should "follow the ravings of a nutter" because I'm gaining on you and you're beginning to look like a complete idiot.

My quote was a direct comment on your wishing someone a retarded child - "You ain't worth the blood that runs in your veins". WTF does "Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is
Do you, Mr. ben?" mean? Completely senseless. (2nd time of asking - usually takes 5 to get an answer...lol)

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

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

3rd attempt...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

I fully understood your reference. Sorry, I had dishes to do.

You keep bringing up Danny's sisters name, Diane. Diane is being humiliated on fornits along with her children. It is rumored that JR, Ben and Causeand Effect helped find the pic's on facebook and gave them to a poster by the name of Wayne Kernochan.
This is the level ben will stoop too.
Can anyone here post where Danny called you, emailed you, tech messaged you, sent you a letter, posted your address or pictures of you and your family. Can you produce evidence that Danny threatened any of you in any way shape or form. Guess what people you will not find any. What you will find is evidence on this site and other sites where ben, JR and causeand effect have slandered, lied, threatened and impersonated Danny.
All because Danny challenged the status quo here. You can also witness what these same members are doing the same thing to marietta. ben is using marietta's personal information against her to humiliate her.

I'm using information against BSC? Check the posts Danny. She the one who found out information about istj and threatened him with loss of job over it. All bullshit, but the threat was made. From then on BSC was fair game. Anyone can out anything about her that they want. She set the ground rules not us.

What part did Diane play in you being sent to Elan Danny?...lol Do tell.

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

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

marietta davis's picture

All right, let's go back, btnben, to the day when you and your Orange Papers Forum cohorts dropped in on e-aa and made a big, convoluted stink over the 12 steps. You seemed to have left your testicals over here at the Forum, because your part in the foray was "Why, whatever do you mean? I don't know istj04, I have some sincere questions for you. And why are you being so mean to him? He just asked a question!" What bullshit. It's like loading a catapult with a spitball.

So, no, I did not set the tone. I may never have known this forum was here if it hadn't been for the two of you, so everyone here has you to thank. Let's give credit where credit is due. You brought this on yourself, and I have no intention of stepping back. I have a right to be here, same as you. Fair game? You really wanna see fair game? Say the word, Attila.

I posted a link to what went on on the a-SS site. FFS - when are you going to stop moaning about that. It's all here back to day one on this forum. Can you show me one instance where istj and myself even spoke? You seem to have decided that my saying I didn't know him was bullshit. I've told you where the evidence is. Prove it - gobshite (English slang word - probably doesn't need any explanation...lol).

Nice example of troll trying to ingratiate itself. You'll soon be up to Danny's standard...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

First of all, it was and remains bullshit that you were unfamiliar with istj04. There's one lie.
It does not go back to day one here. It goes back to e-aa. You don't want to be held accountable for tipping me off to this site, but it was quite easy to find and follow you. I saw your lame apology to the forum for inviting me here. I don't think at this point many people care whether I'm here or not.

An instance when istj04 and you even spoke? What does that mean? It doesn't refer to anything we've written here. Please explain.

"A troll trying to ingratiate itself"? That's another lie.

causeandeffect's picture

That you libeled me and antidenial. And there ain't a damn thing you can do about it.

You can't come close to the evidence that is here on this site that JR and yourself posted never mind Stinkin Thinkin. Everytime JR, ben, Dennis, Decon and yourself mentioned dragging a 14 year old girl around this constituted slander. I have been busy dear and so are many others who are friends of Danny. Your friend Gunthar 2000 made sure he downloaded volumes of information from ST just before they closed, remember. I am telling you I am learning as we speak. Many of us are.
Cause, I am sure glad that because of your retched behavior I became a friend of Danny's although indirectly.
Now take your lame ass and get lost.

Why would I answer you, Marietta? There's no point. You'll just twist whatever I say around, insult me and wish horrible fates for my children. This might come as a surprise, but that doesn't make pleasant conversation (or even debate) for normal people.

marietta davis's picture

The voices telling you to serial post again?

Don't understand that?

As far as the voices are concerned, I ignore them and carry on murdering...lol

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

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

causeandeffect's picture

LOL!

marietta davis's picture

Ah, I've been duped by the Dupemeister. (Usually one posting of tripe is more than enough.)

JR Harris's picture

In my opinion the main reason I believe that there is a deep seated resentment between AA and NA is the "time" and age factor. In many areas, the cult of NA has very few people with multiple years of "time" and they are relatively young, AA has many people with a supposed clean "time" in the double digits and can be considered oldtimers. AA groups tend to be older in age then NA groups and the AA crowd tends to think of them as kids. Of course their are exceptions to all rules and I have seen people in their 60's at these meetings (me being one of them), but overall the majority of NA meetings appear to be younger in age.

Depending upon the AA group, many won't allow people to talk about drugs other than Alcohol which is deep rooted in the scripture of the 'Big Book." I have actually seen many people stifled when talking about other drugs in "shares", but again this depends upon the AA group and they are breaking the no-cross talk rule. In NA, they welcome both Alcoholics and Addicts, they don't care what your drug of choice (DOC) is. I have noticed a heavy resentment from NA members toward AA members because they have had bad experiences with oldtimers in AA who told them to go to NA when they talked about drugs. This is kind of a one up man-ship between the two competing cults for prospect hunting areas, kind of like my cult is better than yours. As time goes by the oldtimers with 20 and 30 years in AA are slowly being replaced with newer recruits who do illicit drugs also. I believe there will always be a divide between the two cults and AA being a more mature cult will try to always be on top, but many AA meeting are starting to allow the discussion of drugs at their rituals. It all depends on how entrenched the oldtimer AA members are at that location.

~You can not moderate the internet. 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.~

Pennywise's picture

Do you think any part of it has to do with the fact that Bill Wilson advocated drug use?

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

Please elaborate?

Pennywise's picture

Bill thought LSD was a great way to reduce ego so that people could augment their conscious contact with God. He even gave it to his wife. You have to know this by now.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

I do know Lois tried LSD and did not like it. I also understand that LSD was being used by Bill Wilson, the CIA, the Military and our Govt. to treat for depression and other clandestine reasons. This was all going on throughout the 50's till the early 60's. It is well documented.
I don't think you would be so cavalier with your statements if you had ever suffered from severe depression, IMHO.

Pennywise's picture

Huh? What does that have to do with anything? Bill used acid and advocated the use of acid. Personally, I don't have a problem with people using acid. All I'm saying is that if Bill used acid, and if being on acid is not being sober, then Bill was not sober ever since the day he said he saw God. NA philosophy says that using any intoxicant (legal or not) for the intoxicating effects is not sobriety. Hence, according to NA philosophy, Bill W. was not sober for the straight 35 years AA says he was. Ergo, there is a tension between AA theology and NA theology. Bill's depression has nothing to do with it, as NA would never say it is acceptable to get high for depression. Simple logic, really.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

Hmmmmm....settle down youngster. Bill joined with Heard and Huxley and first took LSD in CA on August 29, 1956. Medically supervised by psychiatrist Sidney Cohen of the LA VA hospital.
N/A was founded in California by Jimmy Kinnon originally called AA/NA.
Read the bio on Jimmy K. I sincerely doubt he would have cursed Bill for using LSD to help with his depression.

Pennywise's picture

Sure thing. I'm also sure that if I go to pick up an NA one year chip, they'll excuse my crack smoking last week because I needed it to help with my depression.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

marietta davis's picture

What if I took prescription oxycodone, as directed, for a herniated disc? Would that be a "slip"?

Pennywise's picture

Well, I have been taught that you have to ask what the purpose of the medicine is. If you are taking it for physical reasons it might be OK. But if you are taking it to alter your conciousness or perception then it is a relapse.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

marietta davis's picture

So lithium is a no-go? What about venlafaxine? What about these medications?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_psychiatric_medications

(there's that damn Wikipedia again . . .)

I was taught that it's all in the intent. I have friends who underwent outpatient surgery without taking as much as a valium or breathing a little nitrous. I don't believe we are expected to be AA or NA martyrs. If we're taking drugs differently than they were prescribed, mixing drugs, snorting prescription drugs, then that's obviously not kosher. But to fall within the normal limits of seeking pain relief, either before, during and after surgery, or just to treat a chronic condition, I don't believe that's an infraction OR a slip.

Pennywise's picture

Yeah, I'm cool with intent. The real issue is intoxication. If you are taking something and your goal is to get high, then it's a relapse. Of course, Clancy is opposed to psychiatric meds, too. But I think psychiatric meds are OK in NA as long as they are taken to "normalize" the brain as opposed to producing an intoxicating experience. Clearly LSD would qualify as the latter.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

The LSD Bill was taking was not the same as what you may have ingested. Plus the whole mind set was completely different. He was seeking relief from years of depression. This was new and was promoted as promising for depression and alcoholism.

"But I think psychiatric meds are OK in NA as long as they are taken to "normalize" the brain as opposed to producing an intoxicating experience."

What do you think morphine does....so everyone in NA and AA have relapsed if they were on a morphine drip. This is nuts.
Lithium is a good example because it can give you an intoxicating experience, adderall can do the same thing initially when you take it ect......none of which the intent was to get high.
I have to respectfully say you are way in over your head or you are busting balls.

Pennywise's picture

Bill took acid more than once. He did it multiple times and he knew what it did. He also recommeded it to friends and even gave some to his wife. He said it helped reduce ego so that one could have a better understanding of a higher power. It's not at all unlike what the hippys were saying in the 60s. And again, I'm not knocking that. I'm just saying that it is counter to NA philosophy to use intoxicating substances to achieve transcendental mental states. As far as other meds go, you're right. I'm not really qualified to speak on the matter. Nevertheless, I am qualified to draw a distinction between being on a morphine drip after surgery to numb physical pain and slamming a syringe of smack in your arm because you are depressed and want to experience God.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

What do you really know?

Pennywise's picture

Whatever. "Acid" is slang for LSD. Bill took LSD.

"I will not agree to anything which is opposed to the unity of the Universal Church, no matter who may try to persuade me,..." ~ Oath of Boniface

Just so you know my last statement was retracted because the information I quoted was anecdotal.
Honestly, I could not verify it as I thought I could.

Acid is one of the street names for LSD, dickhead. Lysergic ACID diethylamide - see where it comes from Banjo Boy? 'king thick, or what?

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

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

My point was going to be about the potency of street level Acid.

If that was going to be your point why did you say something completely different? Just don't make sense Banjo Boy...lol.

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

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

.

..

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

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

marietta davis's picture

I realize you said "lithium . . . can give you an intoxicating experience . . . " (my bold), but I can tell you I've been on lithium for over 20 years and I've never copped any kind of buzz off it.

Ironic's picture

Someone told me once that their brother was prescribed lithium, but he would save it up and take handfuls at a time because it got him high.

I was prescribed it so we tried snorting some (I was 13 or 14 lolol) and I always just figured either the brother or the sister telling the story was full of crap.

Interesting. So it has psychoactive effects for some?

That drug was no bueno (for me). It made me feel like I was in a bubble, separated from all other humanity, and my emotions just all up and went away.

marietta davis's picture

That's how I am on pot: exiled. Funny, that's the substance I was accused of carrying when I was busted and deported. I hated pot, and very rarely smoked it (if there was no booze around). But I was the only woman among ten men - the "vulnerable" one - so they singled me out (and the private coach driver) and deported both of us. Never did find out whose dope it was.

Ironic's picture

Were you deported TO the US or FROM the US?

marietta davis's picture

Busted on the U.S. side. All U.S. citizens. Ten hours at the border. Turned the coach around; busted again, two more hours on the Canadian side. Deported to the U.S. from Canada as a person of a class of citizens guilty of "moral turpitude."

They had the Shepherds on the coach sniffing for dope. They missed 2 pounds.

Ironic's picture

Officially not okay in NA (Bulletin #23) if that drug happens to be methadone or Suboxone. A stable dose of Suboxone doesn't get anyone ive ever heard of high, and most people don't get high off their done, either.

It's dangerous to make that shit anyone's business but you and the doctor.

marietta davis's picture

Agreed.

Ironic's picture

=-0 !!

I figure that maintenance is good for some people (I am personally an advocate of short or long term maintenance, not so much LIFELONG maintenance though. At least not if you are my age) because their depression/mental illness is caused by an intrinsic deficiency of dopamine or other chemicals provided by the maintenance drug.

What I actually advocate (or would, if my opinion really mattered) specifically is ULTRA low-dose buprenorphine (Subutex) because that is what works for me. I take .5-.75 mg/day (the range is just due to a possible slight difference when breaking up the pills. Even using a pill cutter it is hard, because they don't come smaller than 2 mg in the US). That is equal to about 20-30 mg of morphine daily, which any pain patient could tell you is a very small amount (for someone with any kind of tolerance). It provides me a small booster of chemicals I believe I am lacking.

I also credit it for keeping me from losing even MORE weight. Every time I eat, whatever I ate comes back out pretty fast. I get to sit on the toilet instead of kneeling in front of it most of the time lately, fortunately, but I do have vomiting spells that require prescription anti-emetics. I was taking literally 10 shits a day, and my intestines are inflamed enough that I have already done one course of steroids. It helps out with the pain. Plus, opiates constipated you (I needed a med to make it stop!!)

It doesn't get me high..but I'm sure it makes me feel happier. So what? That is a good thing

marietta davis's picture

On the Suboxone front I have no experience except for having a good friend who is on maintenance. I don't have the information or experience to form an opinion on it; but I do think we all have an awareness, maybe through the conscience, of whether we're trying to get high or just get right with the world in a sane sense. Who can really judge that? Not an outsider.

Marietta, according to a few two hatters and Big NA Bills (are those Bills?) here, yes, those are definitely no-gos. I was (we all were) told that Ultram was too related to opiates for an addict to safely take and that it was not OK. The NAers I know consider most psych meds to be crossing the line. In most AA circles I've seen around here, if you were legitimately on a medication for a real condition, it'd be considered alright. In NA circles, no. You'd be told you were wrong to be on so much as Paxil.

marietta davis's picture

To me this is funny because I don't really care if it's OK or not with any recovery wizards if I'm taking medication. I'm removed from the judgment and the consensus. Sometimes drugs are even recommended off-label for treatment of one thing or another. As long as there is a chance the drug will make me healthier when taken as prescribed I'm in.

If seizure medication was being taken for seizures or off-label for another condition that the seizure drug has been known to alleviate, it's the patient's business, the doctor's business, and really no one else's. We've all spent enough time getting high, getting down, getting blitzed. It's time to follow some of the directions, at least, and live.

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