Sharing While High in Alcoholics Anonymous

Submitted by on Friday, May 9, 20143 Comments

Sharing and Sponsoring in A.A. while High or AddictedSome people enjoy sharing while high or addicted to drugs in Alcoholics Anonymous

I’m not talking about having eye surgery, taking a drug afterwards, and then going to your regular attendance meeting and sitting in (quietly). Neither am I talking about being buzzed up and/or drunk but showing up and/or checking out to see if A.A. might be right for you. I’m also not talking about taking an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety and going into Al-Anon. And for that matter, I’m not even talking about being on pain medication for a long-term pain management issue.

Honest to goodness, that is not my business.

This is where people seem to misunderstand and all sorts of trouble begins. We humans seem to take comfort in the lines of black and white so “on drugs” or “off drugs” might be more comfortable in dealing with others in the fellowship. We can see symptoms of insanity or chaos or physical symptoms of highness and that’s where my particular line in dealing with them is; I don’t sponsor people who are on drugs and, while in A.A., I offer them no audience. Other than that, I don’t care or have a vested interest if someone comes in high or drunk and sits there.

In short, my primary purpose for attending A.A. meetings is to share my solution for sobriety; my experience, strength, hope for a life without drunkenness (or highness, or whichever terminology you prefer). I go to A.A. to fellowship with people who are seeking a solution, not to provide an audience to people not interested in a solution. I also do not go to A.A. meetings to tell people how they may be doing it wrong

But I’m not in an A.A. meeting now so here I go:  “People who are high and in A.A. and sharing or sponsoring are doing it wrong.”

Being High is Not Sobriety

I’m talking about the people who are on drugs, drug-seeking, and/or addicted to mind-altering medication or street drugs who go into meetings and pretend to be sober or worse, the Buddha of recovery.

By sharing their vast ‘what they think they know,’ they are sure you will be impressed.

They mimic their self-help books or the great advice from Aunt Hilda they thought was so wonderful when they were 6, or the latest Dr. Phil catch-phrase as they pause at just the right moment for you, the audience, to laugh.

For some, those few moments of being the only one speaking in a room, may be the most okay they feel all day; It may be the only time in 7 days they feel as if they are being truly understood and people care.

For others, it’s an opportunity to peacock their wisdom; Their need for self-importance or to showcase exactly how much they (think they) know; To feel important as if on a pedestal.

These are the people I am talking about, who most seem to love to share while high in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or sponsor while high.

The Narcotics Anonymous meetings I have attended ask that you not share if you’ve used drugs within some certain period but in any A.A. meeting, I have yet to hear such things because, I suppose, it’s geared toward, you know, recovery from alcoholism.

Meetings Don’t Mean You’re “In Recovery”

But I am an alcoholic in recovery so I’ve grown to understand that drug-addicts apparently love to hang out in A.A. under the guise of “I’ve not had a drink in such amount of time, therefore I am in recovery.”

The truth is, they are not in recovery. They are out of it. And while ‘out of it’ and thinking that alcoholics (or addicts for that matter) who are in recovery won’t notice, they think they can share some really profound stuff.

Going to the fellowship meetings of Alcoholic Anonymous no more means a person is in recovery than parking yourself in a garage means you’re a car. But people parked in garages don’t talk in A.A. meetings and have the ability to alienate alcoholics seeking recovery from meetings. And this, of course, is why I discuss and beat to death this topic.

I want alcoholics who want sobriety to find it. With A.A. or without A.A. But if they’re desiring a support system in the form of the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship, I really desire them to find it.

But those people who go into A.A. meetings or otherwise engage in the fellowship…

  • … as if they’re sober or sane
  • … hitting on newcomers
  • … or using those meetings to feed their egos
  • … or their drugged out notions of “look at me.”

They DO have the ability to chase alcoholics who may be scared-but-looking-for-sobriety-anyway people out from meetings. I have plenty of stories of my own about that. But thankfully, I always had a true north in my Sponsor and my sober friends. And this is what I hope to pass onto others thinking about A.A. or currently new to A.A.

How to Find A Sponsor in A.A.

The first 164 pages of the Big Book do not talk about Sponsorship so we’re gonna have to let some common sense happen along the way.

Oh. Did someone in A.A. tell you that you shouldn’t think? Okay, well, there’s you’re first sensible instruction: Go ahead and cross them off your list for sponsorship.

A Few Suggested Find-A-Sponsor (or Sane Friend) Cross Offs

  1. Has said, “Who told you you could think?” and meant it.
  2. Is very handy with demeaning cliches.
  3. Nods out, sleeps, or slurs in meetings.
  4. Loves to tell others what they need to do.
  5. Controlling or vastly unpredictable personality.
  6. Tells you what’s wrong with you.
  7. Has a volatile or scary temper or seems angry a lot.
  8. Seems to live in chaos or else it follows them around.
  9. Greatly enjoys having fan clubs (or pigeons).
  10. Quotes the Big Book or Group Speak very well but lacks application.

A Few Suggested Find-A-Sponsor (or Sane Friend) Tips

  1. Is sober; Not on drugs.
  2. Doesn’t engage in shame or control.
  3. Is present, listens and has time for you.
  4. Allows for you to feel comfortable in being honest.
  5. Knows the Big Book, yes, but doesn’t worship words.
  6. Doesn’t try to convert you into their Mini-Me.
  7. Allows for your own expression and thoughts.
  8. Tries guiding you into your own Spiritual barometer.
  9. Spends more time in the solution than the problem.
  10. Has a realistic blend of ego and humility rather than all or nothing.

These are my opinions, only, and what enabled me to traverse the troubled waters of some of the drug addicted insanity I found when I came into the Alcoholics Anonymous Fellowship. For the first time in my adult life, I completely went with my HSP Sensibilities despite what people said or did (while in meetings).

I trusted my guide inside, but that’s because I wanted sobriety.

Had I gone into the meetings desiring something else, the story might be very different.

Sharing While High in Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings



  • Sam said:

    Iam an addict and began to deal with my drug of choice 15years ago my main choice was pot but whatever I do it is never enough…I have not used this drug for 15years now I still have many other coping mechanisms which I am currently dealing with recently found a description of what I had always thought was me alone and always felt unable to cope like others. I am a HSP and had so much difficulty with the exposure to other users and repetition of stories to me triggered fear and confusion and did not feel like a healing environment but a place to ferment and fester. I have all the books and used the principles without the support of another best as also highly codependant.

    I am happy AA works for many but I still feel triggered when I go past a meeting….want to go a glorify drug use.

  • Samsara (author) said:

    I think it’s wonderful you’ve acknowledged your Sensitivity, Sam, in addition to whatever your choice of escape was/is.

    And yes, there are so many times there are meetings that are not beneficial for people trying to get sober; As you say, triggering fear and confusion so many times.

    Sometimes we have to leave the beaten path in order to continue down our true one. Thank you for being a testament that meetings are not the only way.

    All my best.

  • Elizabeth B. said:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this page and it’s much needed articles. We have an issue with a couple fellowshippers who come to our meetings. Clearly they are under the influence and both slurr their words, shake and claim double digit sobriety.

    These articles have comforted me remind me of what I can do. Not change, reprimand or convince them that my way is superior.

    Just to be part of the solution, and get off my throne!

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