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.