Prescription Drugs and Painkillers in Alcoholics Anonymous
Prescription Painkillers are on the Rise in the United States
I see them in use at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I see drug dealers peddling their pills at A.A. I see ‘Sponsors’ of new A.A. members nodding out in meetings and slurring out their version of sobriety. I see people using their Vicodin, Percocet, Lortab telling others how to stay sober (not mentioning their Rx’d help of course) and how great sobriety is; All the while with newcomers to the land of Alcoholics Anonymous gravitating toward them for the ‘magical cure.’
And as anyone with any experience in the Land of the A.A. Group will tell you, drug addicts hide out in A.A. Easy to claim, “No alcohol in 30 days” when a little help from ‘legitimate pills’ (or any mind-altering substance; marijuana, crack, heroin, meth…) can keep this technicality a well-hidden and non-conscience bothering secret. If you are a new A.A. member or ever consider going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, feel free to use your intuitive voice, your HSP senses, or your logical mind to deduce whether you can rely on someone for guidance.
And with all that being said, this is not a post opposed to pain relief, painkillers or drugs. It’s not; I like drugs. I highly recommend them when it’s necessary or for benefit. I like my drugs in the form of coffee, artificial sweetener and preservatives in my junk food. I like drugs when I hurt my back, can’t walk, and a doctor writes out a script of Vicodin onto me. I love the drugs when I’ve just had eye surgery and the Percocet brings sweet sweet relief.
So, like I said, I’m not an anti-drug advocate but I am a disillusioning advocate.
To the universal theme, this IS a post opposed to illusions within any relationship that have otherwise sane people co-participating in relationships feeling like they might be going crazy (for no ‘apparent’ reason). So in a phrase, this is really a post about Codependent and Alcoholic Recovery, for discovering your own authenticity while trying to gain your sobriety in the process.
From the ABC Article: http://bit.ly/RxPainkillers
“It is unclear if Americans are suffering from more pain than ever, but they are definitely getting more prescriptions for it. The use of Vicodin, the most popular pain relief drug in the country, has grown dramatically from 112 million doses prescribed in 2006, to 131 million in the U.S. today, according to a national survey done by the consulting firm IMS Health.
Experts say most of those prescriptions are unnecessary. The United States makes up only 4.6 percent of the world’s population, but consumes 80 percent of its opioids — and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone, the opiate that is in Vicodin.”
This is a topic that I am impassioned about in order to raise awareness that JUST BECAUSE any mind-altering substance is PRESCRIBED by a doctor or is MADE by an FDA approved pharmaceutical company, it does NOT mean you or your relationships are SAFE if these medications are abused, misused, over-prescribed, or if they use their doctor as their best drug dealer, OR use their drug dealer as their doctor.
“My best drug dealer was my doctor.” ~ Heard in a Narcotics Anonymous meeting.
Is Prescription Drug Abuse Hallmarking Your Relationships?
The following behaviors or hints pointing to drug abuse or misuse can also be pointing to alcoholism. But because alcoholism has grown socially acceptable to ‘hide in plain sight’ people may not take the pains to hide it as well as their drug use.
Online: Do you notice when some of your online friends or family post erratic statuses or messages in social media? Do you notice personality changes for no apparent reason? One moment they are full of love, light, and frivolity while the next moment it’s like all sorts of hell has broken loose? Do they seem to have no issue starting online wars or provoking people into reaction? Have you noticed their browser cache (history) poking around at online pharmacies? Some people are more comfortable being high in the privacy of their home where they think no one will notice, but if they belong to social media it may be apparent they’re not hiding as well as they think.
Offline: Are their lives often in constant chaos? Are there tears without seeming provocation? Do they blame others for their problems? Is anger or YOUR walking on eggshells a hallmark of your relationship with them? Do they disappear from your life for periods at a time? Do you notice nodding out, slow blinking, or slurred speech? Has their make-up gotten ‘muchier’ or messier? How are their pupils looking? Has hygiene or grooming either taken a back seat or changed to reflect a stark difference for no apparent reason? Do they often have or complain of money problems? Do they look down with disdain at ‘other’ so-called drug addicts because others use ‘street drugs?’ Do you notice how often they’re at the ER or a doctor’s office?
Drug Addiction in Alcoholics Anonymous
Just because someone goes to A.A. meetings (or N.A. meetings for that matter), does not mean they are sober or even seek sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous is a public place. There are no rosters. There are no dues. There is no roll call. There is no government entity regulating anything like the “Sobriety Police.” All it takes to be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous is a desire to stop drinking. That’s it. And if someone has no such desire to get off alcohol, they can still go to every single meeting – Open OR Closed – and pretend.
With rising prescription drug use (via doctor shopping, the internet, and street dealers) and the black market of street drugs reaching middle class suburbia [See TV: Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad and Weeds], it’s sometimes seeming as if the primary purpose of some Alcoholics Anonymous groups are losing focus. There is a pamphlet for that focus entitled: Problems other than Alcohol. Don’t take my word it. [Never do that, despite what I say. Read it.]
For purposes of Sobriety (and also Codependent recovery), it doesn’t matter why other people are at an AA meeting. But for purposes of – again – your recovery, sobriety, and sanity it MAY benefit you to familiarize yourself WITH the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book and the Twelve Traditions, in tandem with Codependent Recovery literature. [I’ll post some suggested books in the closing of this post.]
Codependent recovery will teach you how to take care of yourself in the face of some of the sicker personalities you may encounter at A.A. meetings; The drug-addict pretending to be sober who has lots of helpful advice, the control freak who uses shame to manipulate you into doing something you’re not ready to do, the charismatic “A.A. Guru” whose identity is comprised of cliche and Cult Speak, the Drug Rehab ‘graduates’ who now know the secrets of the universe because they’ve not shot heroin in 14 days.
In summary when dealing with A.A. personalities: All that matters is that you not seek your sobriety or sanity through another human being who you feel, think, or see is not operating through a sane paradigm.
Trust your intuition. Trust your feelings. Trust your mind. Do not trust belittling. Do not trust weird cult phraseology. Do not trust group speak. Do not trust what a person says over what they do. If someone “suggests” a thing to you and it’s sitting like a knot in your chest, find the literature that supports it or ask someone else whose sobriety you respect. If there is no A.A. approved literature supporting an alleged A.A. tenet, AND it felt like bullshit or it stung – especially if you’re an alcohol – free HSP – disregard it.
I have zero tolerance for egos getting fat on the backs of the downtrodden. ~ Samsara
For many people, Alcoholics Anonymous is [or in my case, was] the last stop on the block. But especially because of this reason is no excuse to go in blind and trusting just anyone to help navigate the beginnings of your new life. I have seen more people leave A.A. (as a whole) due to sexual predators, drug addicted insanity, or usually some combination of the two than I want to think about. Neither do I want you going in like its a landmine with danger lurking everywhere; Simply take the words I have written out here, read them once, put them in the memory bank of your noodle, and carry on. Each A.A. Group is different but the A.A. Text and 12 Steps are the same. So if you are a member of A.A., make the distinction between the principles of A.A. and the personalities of A.A. Hold tight to those who speak the language of the heart and you will succeed in your quest.
RTFM, Read the Literature, Take Reading Suggestions
When all else fails RTFM. [Geek Acronym: Read the Fucking Manual]
If you’re in A.A. (or want to be) and someone tells you you will get drunk without A.A. or their version of God, read the Big Book. If someone speaks down to you, read the Big Book’s There is a Solution. Get familiar with The Traditions.
And if you seek a sponsor or someone to assist you with navigating this new thing called sobriety, feel them out. People cannot transmit sobriety if they’re operating from a non-sober mind. Sure they can quote the Big Book but any cult follower can quote the manual; What’s the practical application in your life, though? What’s the practical application in THEIR life?
When things get tough, do they smoke a crack rock or pop a pill to numb it out or do they feel the emotions and walk through it sober? They most likely won’t tell you their drugs are what’s helping them because that would mean losing their A.A. Superstar status. (And the Ego needs stuff, primarily for you to think it has its junk together.)
Books to Help You Navigate
Meetings and people claiming A.A. Membership deviating from the 12 Traditions – while in an A.A. meeting – is why I expanded my meetings and my network of sane people through Codependent Recovery.
In defense of my sobriety is why I read the Big Book, the 12 and 12, When I Say No I Feel Guilty, the Four Agreements and Beyond Codependency when I first got sober. Of course, I had the benefit of a sponsor who was not just sober and obviously mind-altering medication free, but also was treating me in codependent recovery fashion all along. So I was already ahead of the game I feel like.
Recently I refreshed myself with Codependents Guide Through the 12 Steps when I began seeing my A.A. group supporting drug addiction as opposed to sobriety; Supporting sexual predators as opposed to sobriety; Supporting “thought reform” and all other sorts of “group therapy” as opposed to sobriety; And often disregarding the 12 Traditions in lieu of adopting a free – for – all attitude toward any topic whatsoever and adding weird versions of “Let’s play psychiatrist” into the mix. I am loathe to add that the newer people simply do not know any better due to what I perceive as a “Strung Out Sponsorship” by strung out people pretending to be sober. And so it’s for these guys and future A.A. candidates I want to keep A.A. as safe a place as much as possible. [And keep looking. When you find the one walking the talk, follow her.]
It’s my experience and, Codie book author, Melody Beattie’s opinion also, according to one particular book of hers I read – that beneath every true alcoholic is a whole mess of codependency. And in my life patterns I have been able to see with clarity this is true to for me. I have seen my people-pleasing, eggshell walking, and naivete and confusion of people actually saying one thing but being or doing another. [I primarily ‘blame’ the HSP for the confusion since I notice not all people seem to suffer the same confusion.]
In my quest for sobriety, I had to Recover from Codependency at almost the same rate as I gained sobriety. For several reasons, I had no choice. Because this was the beginning of the end of Insanity, I was no longer willing to keep my comfort in exchange for healing my life.
“Better to walk through hell than stay chained to demons.” ~ Samsara