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Author Topic: Addiction questions and answers - 12 step program  (Read 6785 times)
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theboyzmom
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« on: August 03, 2013, 08:41:34 PM »

So, I am not sure I did this right or now. Sister suggested that I start a thread where people could ask questions about addiction and 12 step programs. I will give the disclaimer that I am only a member of one of them - AA. I do not presume to speak for AA in general or claim to be an expert. What I will say is that I have been in the program for over 8 years and run many meetings. I wish to help answer any questions you may have.
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We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. - John Stuart Mill On Liberty, 1859
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 12:45:56 AM »

That's wonderful.  Thanks for offering your time and knowledge.  I work as a Screener/Social Worker/Group Therapist on the Mental Health/Addictions recovery unit and we have introduced CA and NA to the patients.  I personally feel that a twelve step program can help ANYONE...addict or not...especially Borderline Personality disorders and such.  Anyhow, I am sure that I will have some questions at some point.  It's too late for me tonight.  Thanks again.
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 12:37:59 PM »

I too will later today or tomorrow ask some very pointed questions.  TBM, as you know, I am looking to help my sister.

 an angelic monkey
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theboyzmom
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 05:30:57 PM »

I look forward to sharing what wisdom I have with you guys. 
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We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. - John Stuart Mill On Liberty, 1859
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 09:10:32 AM »

TBM, my sister Connie had a massive stroke in July 2009.  Her right side was effected and she has no use of her right arm/hand and must use a brace and cane in order to walk.  She also cannot speak.

Her history includes using alcohol to numb "life's pains."  I don't think, at this point, it is necessary to go into what they were/are, but suffice it to say, she has never moved from victim to survivor.  When she had her stroke, the pain was/is excuriating (sp) and she has been put on pain meds.  She takes enough to put down a gorilla.  I think she is using them not only for legitimate pain but as part of her "numbing" mind-set.  I believe I need to get her to a pain management doctor and I really don't know how else to help her.  Not being able to speak does not help this at all.  She no longer has friends, etc. and lives a pretty lonely life.

Any insights would be appreciated.
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theboyzmom
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2013, 12:25:06 PM »

Sister - I am so sorry she and you are going through this. IMO, you hit the nail on the head when you said that she is stuck in victim mode. Many of us in the program are. We somehow get it stuck in our mind that the entire world is out to get US and forget that sometimes poop happens. When we enter the program (and actually work it) we discover that we have spent our whole life running away from normal things in life. We drink because we are happy, sad, lonely, overwhelmed, overjoyed ect. We think this is normal. What happens then is that we make mountains out of the molehills in our life - we form resentments (which means we run through the situation again and again until we are just innocent bystanders and the other person/event is all at fault). Think of it as a two year old that is angry because the cookies are all gone - they are sure you ate the last one just to hurt them. But as we get stuck in our own head, we turn to alcohol more and more to overcome the racing mind that comes from always being the victim. that makes us feel worse because we feel depressed and remorseful for drinking and the cycle continues. But the drinking (or using) is only a symptom. Our real problem is that we think we are the center of the world. If I were working with your sister, I would tell my story - how I had serious problems (some real some not) and I DESERVED to drink. Then I would point out that it did not work - and why. Hopefully this would peak her interest in what I did to get better. Then we talk about the program. But this approach only works if she is tired of her life as is.

An important thing for families to know and remember, is that they cannot stop the drinking (or using) and they can not make the person drink. They also need to know that the only way for the person to come to the realization that they have a problem is to let the pain get bad. This is so hard for family to do, I know because I work with families. We all want to ease the pain for people we love, but the only way in this case to do so is to let them get in so much pain they want to change.
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We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. - John Stuart Mill On Liberty, 1859
- George Bernard Shaw
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 12:40:13 PM »

I think that I need to put my story out there for you guys and some basic information. I have been sober for eight years - I have done this with the program of AA and the grace of God. I work with a lot of women in the program to guide them to the solution. AA is not the only way out but it is the only way that worked for me.  I did not start drinking until I was 20, and I started out like a normal person. I drank after work and on the weekends with friends. Gradually, the drink took over my life. I always thought it was normal or something I earned living with the azz that was my ex.  After my divorce I quit for a bit, my current hubs and I met when I was sober. Then I went back to one or two drinks a couple of nights a week sure I could handle it now that I had a wonderful man and a great life. Yea right. Soon I was drinking more than ever and could not stop. I drank (albeit much less) while I was pregnant for my angel baby. The doctors told me that the drinking had nothing to do with his death - I will never be sure of that. Still I did not quit. I got worse. Eventually, I was never sober. I was hiding drinking and thought I was clever. I drank almost exclusively at home so I figured what was the harm. My wonderful hubby almost left me. My children where tired of me. I finally got the hint - I decided I wanted to stop - and could not. So I went to a few days of treatment (since you can die from alcohol detox) and then entered the program of AA. I did my steps rapidly and have lived happy joyous and free since then.

As a background, AA believes an alcoholic has three specific parts to the malady (I do not like to call it an illness since it gives us an out - I am just sick). First is the physical part, that is what we all see - I could drink more, stay "sober" longer than anyone. When I took that first drink there was no telling where I was going to end up. The only thing that could stop me was passing out, being unable to find more booze or some other huge event.  Then there is the mental obsession - most people that are not one of us can not understand this one. We think about alcohol most of the time when we are in the madness - when can I drink, where can I get some, how will I not get in trouble. Also, we have the idea that someday we will be able to control our drinking - changing where, when or what we drink, how we drive home, eating before drinking ect. There is no way for us to control either of these - we are beyond human aid. (Think of it as having a stomach bug and someone telling you not to go to the bathroom - not happening)  Then there is the third part - the spiritual malady - or the I got myself into this, I will get myself out. We are unable or unwilling to look outside our selves for help.  The Program of AA is designed to remove what is blocking us from the Sunlight of the Spirit (or God) so we can allow Him to solve all of our problems. Amazingly when you do this your craving and mental obsession are lifted and you find it easy not to drink again. But make no mistake, untreated alcoholism is a progressive and fatal disease - I see people way too often that do not want to do what is suggested in our program and they die. Sad but true.

This ended up being long! Sorry about that.
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We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. - John Stuart Mill On Liberty, 1859
- George Bernard Shaw
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2013, 11:46:21 AM »

TBM, thank you so much for sharing parts of your story.  I understand so much of what you are saying because our Dad was also an alcoholic but thank goodness in his later years he lived a sober life.  Unfortunately for him, the damage done to my siblings was irrepairable with everyone except me.  I forgave him and learned to love him in a different way.

One of the problems with Connie is her motivation to get/do better.  Her life following the stroke will never be the same and I can't get her to see anything better.  Maybe it does need to get worse for her to see how good it is, all things considered.  Her life is dependent on the good will of others, basically one of her sons and me.  We have had her in all kinds of rehab, etc. but as soon as it is finished, she reverts back and in her loneliness her "pain" becomes more acute so she takes more drugs to deaden the pain.  Her quality of life is horrible and it gets harder and harder to be around her.  She is expecting perfection in her life and not only can this never happen, it wasn't perfect in her life before the stroke.

Again, thanks for the input and I will be thinking about what you are saying.
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Bearlyhere
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 07:04:30 PM »


Just want to tell you guys I love you and I hope Connie will see some good in her life.  I realize it is hard for her.  Harder than many of us might think.  

Sister, I am in pain management and I don't know if I can help you with any questions I may be able to answer for you.  I can tell you that pain can control your life.  I can also tell you that sometimes you cannot even stand up without some medicine.  I can also tell you that people expect pain management to stop all pain.  It does not do that.  In the best case scenario they try to get your pain to a manageable level so you can function at whatever your functioning level is.

I tried to resist pain management for years because my Mom has been taking pain meds forever, but they were not under pain management, just a family doctor.  I finally convinced her to go to pain management instead of just telling the family doctor what she wanted.  She had a lot of us fooled by what she needed.  She still has the ability to do that.  Pain management did not change that.

Connie may be waiting for full relief from pain.  It's not going to happen.  She needs to get the pain level to where she can live with it.  I am not trying to tell you or her to let it get to an intolerable level so that she is having to ignore the "freight train running through her head."

Pain management is tricky.  With AA and NA, you give up all alcohol and narcotics, but with pain management, it is a bit like OA (Overeaters Anonymous).  You still have to eat to live, your goal is to get your eating under control, you cannot give up food altogether. It is the same with pain management, you still have to take treatment to have a life, but you need to have it under your control, not let it control you.

« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 07:06:17 PM by Bearlyhere » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 08:08:58 PM »

Bearly, thanks so much for your insights.
I think Connie is looking for that "pain-free" existence and that is not going to happen to anyone.  I agree with what you are saying.  I just don't know how to get her to learn to "work through" her pain, take the meds necessary, but strive to go with less meds and not more.  Motivating her is the key issue.  It is so frustrating for me because I know she can be a very determined person.
Thanks to you and TBM for sharing -- maybe through these discussions I will find the breakthrough for her.  And that's the other part, she can't even read a paragraph.  She looses her train of thought and gives up.
But I believe there has to be an answer.

And TBM, thank you for sharing your personal struggles.  It helps.
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theboyzmom
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2013, 05:30:06 PM »

Bearly - just so you know (and not to argue) but in AA we understand we are not doctors and many of our members are using narcotics and have no problem. But that is a call that a doctor must make.
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We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. - John Stuart Mill On Liberty, 1859
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2013, 05:48:09 AM »

Bearly - just so you know (and not to argue) but in AA we understand we are not doctors and many of our members are using narcotics and have no problem. But that is a call that a doctor must make.

I was just trying to say that she may need something to get pain under control, but to control what she takes and not let it control her.  I was also trying to say that in AA, you are supposed to give up all alcohol.  Am I wrong here?  The people I know in AA cannot drink, but some of them do take narcotics for pain relief.

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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2013, 06:57:12 AM »

Bearly - just so you know (and not to argue) but in AA we understand we are not doctors and many of our members are using narcotics and have no problem. But that is a call that a doctor must make.

I was just trying to say that she may need something to get pain under control, but to control what she takes and not let it control her.  I was also trying to say that in AA, you are supposed to give up all alcohol.  Am I wrong here?  The people I know in AA cannot drink, but some of them do take narcotics for pain relief.



You are correct - some of our members do you narcotics or other things for pain. A pure alcoholic will have no problem with the use of narcotics - but many are cross addicted and it will be a problem.

As far as alcohol, AA says that a recovered alcoholic will not want booze. But new people do not have to be sober to come in. Abstinence is just the beginning of our journey.
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We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still. - John Stuart Mill On Liberty, 1859
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2013, 10:00:05 AM »

Bearly - just so you know (and not to argue) but in AA we understand we are not doctors and many of our members are using narcotics and have no problem. But that is a call that a doctor must make.

I was just trying to say that she may need something to get pain under control, but to control what she takes and not let it control her.  I was also trying to say that in AA, you are supposed to give up all alcohol.  Am I wrong here?  The people I know in AA cannot drink, but some of them do take narcotics for pain relief.



You are correct - some of our members do you narcotics or other things for pain. A pure alcoholic will have no problem with the use of narcotics - but many are cross addicted and it will be a problem.

As far as alcohol, AA says that a recovered alcoholic will not want booze. But new people do not have to be sober to come in. Abstinence is just the beginning of our journey.

It is a tough tough journey.  One my fiancé did not win, unfortunately, and one big first step.  I admire anyone who can take it.

 

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There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.
Time spent with monkeys is never wasted. 
I believe in miracles!
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