I want to get clean, I have a wonderful life, wonderful family, wonderful friends, never been in trouble with the law and always get my DOC through a prescription - all legal, all legit. I guess I am one of the lucky ones?
I feel also that I have become desperate to get clean, I have tried C/T, works for a while, but not long term.
I feel my problem is this - AA is not an option for me, and even if it was, I feel overwhelmed at the the religious aspect. I am a "christian" although I dont "practise" does that make sense? I dont want to offend anyone here but I dont want my recovery to take a religious detour. I dont want to be born again, I want to be sober. Do I have to be religious to get sober? Do all rehab options only work if I pray? Accept God into my life again etc? Again, I hope I am not offending anyone. I am actually very scared to be even typing this. I know a lot of rehab options are related to the 12 steps, I have read the blue book, there is a lot of religious content....I am confused as to what I want to do. I know that my mind is in the right place. I want to get sober, I want to be done.
I guess I will start with this question. I have been on this site for a while, not posting hardly, just reading a LOT. I was happy to see this forum open because this has always been a big question of mine. And I admire atthebeach and Avisg so much, I read your words of encouragement often. And I do know that you pray a lot for all of us on here so I do have a lot of respect for you - I am just lost, very lost at the moment on which direction I need to take.
Hi Mistyyy, thanks for posting. Many ppl have been in your shoes, myself included. I started going to AA mtgs and when the subject of God came up I got very defensive. I'm not sure why, I just did. I did hear a lot of stuff at mtgs that made sense and I found a lot of it helpful. The God stuff was still a sticking point for me so I asked a friend in AA about God. He told me the only thing I needed to know about God was that I wasn't it. I laughed. I later realized that he had set me free. You see, I needed to have everything a certain way, "MY WAY". LOL! Knowing that I wasn't God meant that I was no longer in charge, no longer responsible for everybody else. I didn't have to worry about others or focus on what they were or weren't doing. I could finally let go.
I don't know what AA is like where you are at. Where I am we have the freedom to choose our own "Higher Power". We do what is going to work for us. I am not a religious person. I don't pray regularly although I do find it helpful at times. What I did have to ask myself was am I willing to put my prejudices aside so that I could get sober?
Try reading the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of AA. It is a small book and an easy read. It expains the steps a little differently than the Big Book of AA. It helped me better understand the things about myself that would trigger my compulsion to drink and drug. By focusing on the things within myself that could be changed I have been given a better way to live.
Please check out a few mtgs. Take what you need and leave the rest. Give yourself the best chance you can at getting and staying sober.
I totally understand what you are saying about the religious aspect. I too am a christian-by birth-yet I do not push my religion on anyone nor do I appreciate when anyone pushes it on me.
Having said that, I began in AA and NA some 23 years ago. I too didn't like all the talk of GOD until it was explained to me that is was a GOD of my understanding. All I needed to do was to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. That power could have been the chair I was sitting in or a picture on the wall, as long as I was not in charge. It made sense because I KNEW that left to my own devices, I would never get and stay clean. So I found that GOD that only I understood and I was able to work the steps.
So many people like you, and like me, take the word GOD literally and we run. NA and AA are NOT religious based programs so it should not be read into as such.
If you can work the first three steps every day, understand them and except them...then you are well on your way. And by excepting and understanding I mean to YOUR understanding.
The steps have helped many stay clean. They are a way of life. I know atheists that work the steps every day and a dear friend of mine recently celebrated 25 years clean. He did it by finding a power greater than him---of HIS understanding.
I feel like I am starting to ramble and I hope you are understanding me. People that know me here will tell you that it is just about an hour past my bed time so bear with me.
This is a great topic for discussion and I hope you will respond and ask questions. Others will jump in and explain how they understand it. This is a great place for that.
Thankyou so much for replying, this is such a touchy subject for some I know.
Sadly, as I said, AA/NA is not an option for me for various reasons. I see a counsellor, and Im trying to get used to them telling me my faults....I guess that is their job to get to the root of the problem. I am just so lost as where to start. I guess Medhelp is as good a place as any for now. I know I need a plan, and want a solid one in place before I take the final leap!
Sorry Mistyyy I forgot you said that. I have gone through an Internal Outpatient Patient program at the begining of my recovery. There I learned a lot about alcoholism and my disease. That lasted about three months. Since then it has been AA. I'm sorry I can't be of more help regarding what you can do. If you need to talk about something or have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. We will do our best to help and support. Best of luck and please let us know what you decide to do.
Oh that's ok. Im certain that Im taking the plunge on Friday. Im going to do a slight taper, take my time, and a LOT of research and reading. So I will be around a lot in the next few weeks. Wish me luck. And thanks for your time. Y'all are very kind people.
You can do this!!! Get a plan and stick with it. Know that this decision will be a defining moment in your life. You have your whole life ahead of you, live it on your terms. Besides the fact, pills age you and make you cranky. Who wants THAT! Let this be the year you take your life back. It is within you to do this.....Good luck!
Hello Mistyyy, I sure can relate to you regarding your hesitation on going to A.A / N.A group.I am a recovering drug and alcohol user myself and also had a very difficult time with the religious aspect of those groups. For myself, telling me I had to bring God into my life to have recovery, seems hypocritical to me.At times I felt like I was being told that I would never get sober unless I made God a priority in my everyday life. If it was that simple we would have the problem of all addictions "solved".What I have found to be the hardest part of recovery and staying sober is what was going on in my life at the time that I felt the need to use.Addiction is not a lapse of moral judgement or bad character, it is a disease and should be treated that way.Do we tell cancer patients to pray or they will always have cancer; Do we say to the man on dialysis " If you had believed in God, your kidneys would be fine ".So why do some people think it is necessary for addicts to have God in their lives, for them to stay clean and sober. Addiction is far more difficult and complex for most people to understand.There is much more to addiction than to just say no, find your higher power or going to an N.A or A.A meeting. Those meetings have helped and will continue to help millions of addicts, but it is not for all of us and it's unfair to the addict to say; If you refuse to go to 12 step meetings, you will never get clean and sober, and that has probably stopped an unknown amount of addicts not to seek treatment.Talk with your doctor, councilor, someone who you can trust and just talk. Go to the library and look up books on alcoholism, addictions, mental health and you will find something that makes you go...Wow that describes me to a tee.Addiction is a life long disease and there will be good and bad days, but with hard work, believing in yourself and talk talk talk, things do and will get better.Also, if you don't mind writing, do a journal,it helped me and still does.If you can find it, look up this doctor, he has worked with hard core addict in Vancouver's down-town east-side, he has some very insight-full things to say about the disease of addiction, and how we, as a society, should start treating it that way. His name is Dr Gabor Mate and he wrote a great book called “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction”. I am sure this will answer some of the questions you have. Good luck and if I have offended anyone, I am truly sorry for that...It was not my intentions.....Michael.F
If someone is offended by what you just wrote they shouldn't be. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, thoughts and feelings, and you have just brilliantly worded exactly mine. I will most definitely look up the Doctor which you suggested. I love to read, so thankyou for the suggestion. I find writing helps me also. I just have to keep my emotions in tact. I tend to "think" too much and it gets me too worked up and nervous and thats what has triggered a relapse for me in the past.
I certainly appreciate you taking the time to write back Mickey. I wish you well.
Thank-you for the compliment, and I hope what I tried to say gave you some clarification. We have a lot of the same issues regarding recovery. I was never comfortable going to the 12 step programs and your issue is exactly the same issue I struggled with. I could never wrap my head around the higher aspect of that program, or having " GOD " pushed on me. I have been to some very good meetings and not so very good meetings but still never felt very comfortable at any of the meetings.For myself, finding a good councilor and having a really good Doctor patient relationship helped me tremendously. We addicts, without realizing it suffer from more the just the disease of addiction.Most addicts including myself, also have mental health issues which can include; Depression; Anxiety; Bi-Polar Disorder and most likely have problems concentrating and sleeping. So we are not only fighting the disease of addiction we are most likely suffering from 1 or more of the conditions I mentioned above. Myself for an example, I am not only fighting my addiction, I also suffer from depression and a sleeping disorder.This is one of the most difficult aspects of treatment and that is also treating the symptoms of our disease such as depression. If you decide to get treatment, look for a facility that takes a multifaceted approach to dealing with the disease, treat our addiction and also the symptoms that go along with it.If you would like to continue to talk or have a question, feel free to ask and if I can answer it I will or make a good attempt at it. I hope you can find a treatment regiment that suits you and your disease and never ever give up. I look at addiction as a life long disease that I have to treat everyday with: medical assistance when needed; meeting with a councillor regularly; exercise; proper diet and rest and most of all confidence in yourself, staying positive and never being afraid to ask for help when needed.
For me, the fellowships of NA & AA are my life lines. I also did counseling for three years and that too was a very important part of my recovery.
I also agree that I do not at all like religion shoved down my throat and I don't find that at the meetings I attend. I also don't push the fellowships as the "only" way to maintain recovery because it isn't. In addition, NA/AA are programs of attraction, not promotion.
I only share with people what works for me but anything that keeps you from using is a winner in my book. I have said many times that if I was told that the only way to maintain my recovery was to sit naked in my gravel driveway, with my legs crossed, praying to African Elephants...I would be on my way out the door stripping off my clothes.
So, bottom line, anything that works is a good thing. Keep up the good work...glad you are here!!!!
Yes I have to say I have bn friends with many of aa/na members none of them have pushed me towards it know if I have question they will answer them .I see a theripist with a basis in adiction its what works for me its just finding what your fit its.
Some of as addicts have a difficult time with certain programs because of the religious or should I say the GOD factor.Not everyone out there believes in GOD or religion itself for that matter. I grew up catholic, and religion was in my life early.I went to a catholic school, where we had a class on religion, and held mass every Wednesday morning.I was baptized, had first communion and went to bible school all before reaching high school.I am not saying that for some people believing God will help them fight their addiction or believing in a higher power is a bad thing.What I am saying, is that approach to recovery may be good for some people, but for others it is not.I for one believe Addiction is a disease, just like cancer, h i v,o heart disease. I did not just wake up one day and say I am going to be an addict, just like the cancer patient did not wake up and say I am going to get cancer.There has been a lot of research done to suggest there is an addiction gene, just like most in the health care field say we all carry a cancer gene and something triggers it.There is so much we still need to learn about addiction and the complexities of the disease, that it is unfair of you and other people to suggest that if you pray and bring God into your life that you will have an 85 percent better chance of getting clean and staying clean, than those of us who don't.i would like to know where you get your facts from, because what I have come to understand after struggling with addiction for over 25 years is that 10 percent at most of people in recovery stay clean. That would be like saying the other 90 percent of addicts must not pray or have the Lord in their lives.Prayer and the belief in God can and does help a lot of addicts, but it is not for everyone.There has been a lot of advances made in the treatment of addiction over the last 10 years and there will be many more in the years to come.Some of the new things that have been discovered in the last few years in the field of addiction is that how a person feels about themselves, the environment they were born into, their living situation are all TRIGGERS that can lead to what I will call our addictive gene to be activated, and I believe we all have one.Finally, not everyone who is an addict used drugs to get their fix.Some addicts use food, or gambling as their fix others use sex or in my case drugs and alcohol. What all us addicts do have in common, weather its the food addict or the drug addict is that we get the same feeling or rush if you want to call it that once we get our fix.please don't be offended by what my feelings are on addiction or faith because all all addicts are different yet we all feel the same pain.Michael.F
You have a way of putting MY thoughts into YOUR words. Lol. Thankyou. And no offense meant by me either. That is what is great about life, we all have options and opinions on how things are done. Good thread, good information.
I've read through all the reply's to your post, and it's an interesting topic & question (re: higher-power), and one that seems to come up A LOT with the 'newbies' to the program.
I've been in recovery since 10/07/09, and when I first hit the door of my treatment center (Memorial Hermann PaRC, in Houston TX), I had very much the same fear... what if I don't have a higher-power, don't believe in one, and don't want to make my program all about God?
I am an atheist, by definition, and don't think that there is any type of God, or higher-power, or whatever you want to call it. I'm not opposed to God, or religion, or faith, and have the UTMOST respect for faith, people of faith, religion and everyone that believes. I, however, don't believe.
How do I get by, and around, the "higher power" mantra & philosophy that the program adhere's to and abides by? I "talk". I know that sounds strange, and most people would laugh at me and say, "Dude... you're praying, admit it!", but I don't place the "pray" label on it. I am simply "talking" to the sky, or the air, or wherever I happen to be when the mood strikes me to "talk". Yes, I guess one could argue that I am indeed praying, but as I am a firm non-believer, I prefer to call it "talking".
That being said, the program says that you can call ANYTHING that you choose, your higher-power. A door-knob, a shark, a toaster-oven, a brick-wall, Buddha, a monkey... ANYTHING. As long as you "talk" and "pray" to something, I don't think it matters WHAT you "talk" and "pray" to.
I simply look up (more often than not, I look upwards) and start talking, and asking for strength, and talk about my day, and how it's going with me. Am I talking to myself? Am I talking to a higher-power? Am I talking to God? Who knows... all I know is that it helps me, and has been helping me, since 10/07/09, and continues to work for ME.
ALL OF THAT BEING SAID, I've recently started to question my non-belief. I'm as stead'fast an atheist as you'll find, but I have started to think that there's too much 'order' in the chaos we call life. Yes, events are random and nothing is predetermined (in my opinion), but there IS order in the universe, and behind that order, I'm starting to think that there IS some type of power or energy, driving everything towards some unforeseen end (or beginning?).
Could THAT be considered my higher-power? I'm starting think that YES... the "order to the chaos" and the "energy" and/or "power" that's driving everything, COULD INDEED be my higher-power. I'm happy "talking" to that energy & power, and if YOUR higher-power has to be something obscure like that, then so be it. Your higher-power can be whatever you choose it to be.
Everyone has their own opinion of what "god" is and what he/she/it looks like, and what God is supposed to be. There's nothing out there, in the program, that says you have to adhere to other peoples view of God & higher-power.
ABSOLUTELY YES! That all made perfect sense and was very well said. You are helping me adjust and consider my options a lot more by helping me translate their ways to a way that just might work for me. This is indeed a good thing and I thank you for explaining your own situation. Best wishes to you and congratulations on your sobriety. That is fantastic.
AA an NA are groups that meat to stay clean an sober. You can use what every to stay clean. A God is not pushed on NO one. You will hear other people say there higher power is God but that is there program not yours. This is a spiritual program you can have any higher power that you choose. If you think you don't need one that's all right to. But for me any thing that would help me not to use I was willing to try. And if you are not ready to quit come and see us when you are. Mike L.
I'm new to forums but sadly, have come to know addiction well. I've have long periods of sobriety then a relapse hits me outta the blue. I have spent 2 months in rehab. I was mandated by my nursing union and professional licensing body. I was not a willing participant to say the least. I minimized my addiction and was only there to jump through the hoops so to speak. I did not go to a single meeting when home. I was happy to be free from the meetings. 8 weeks rehab was painful. Especially when I was not ready to make the change. Like duh, of course I'm not gonna use again..I will lose my great paying job, personal and professional integrity and likely my family. Seriously, does it get any more obvious? I just simply won't use. After 6 months home I relapsed. Simply because no consequence can keep me sober. No amount of love from family and friends can keep me sober. Only working the program and being honest with myself will keep me sober. There are a few recovery programs that are not religious based. Smart recovery is one. However with my personal experience, I have only done well emotionally and spiritually when God is active in my life. Not neccessarily going to church, but at least acknowledging His presence in my everyday living. As an addict I have hurt so many people that I care about. Mostly because I abandoned them emotionally. I have great difficulty forgiving myself and this has been an obstacle in a successful recovery. Well for me anyways. But knowing that God forgives me has been instrumental in accepting my mistakes and believing that I am NOT my behavior. I don't go to church or read the Bible daily, but I do talk to a higher power than myself. For me that's God. Everyone is different. For some, the thought of religion brings up anger and resentment. Depends on our lived experiences I guess. I have come to realize that evil forces do exist and they are working tirelessly to destroy my life. Yes, I ultimately make the choices but as an addict, I am at risk to act compulsively and impulsivly to feed the addiction that is alive and well in my brain. When I put God on the bottom of the list I fail. This has happened time and time again. Or in other words, when I'm proud I crash. When I live as though I am the higher power, I relapse. This is just my personal experience and in no way do I intend to preach or sway anyone to my way of thinking. The road to recovery must hold personal meaning otherwise you will feel empty. To most of us, what recovery "looks like" will constantly change and evolve. Just never say "never". Have an open heart and mind always. You may not embrace a higher power in your recovery today. Maybe you never will. That's perfectly fine..if it works for you. I think it would be interesting to journal your thoughts and feelings around this. I'm sure it's more complex than you realize. I wish you all the best in your recovery and am sending you a big hug from my heart.
Its not that hard. I was on duragestic patches 100mg every 2 days for 6 years. ROBBED me of those 6 years so I started on my own to wean down. The doctors would not help me said they did not want to get involved. I started to ask for a lower dose patch each month or 2 months and I did not really start to hurt until I got to the last drop from 100 to 25 when I came off the 25. It was not horrible and I was alone and did it all alone, I took it one day at a time, I would get to where I just looked for sunshine to go sit in and heal. It took months to get to feel better. Finally I got to feeling better and before long GOD I had my life back. I feel better I have felt in 20 years. I have my life back. You can too but you have to start. THE COLD TURKEY is stupid. It shocks the body too bad and sets you up for failure. Take it one day at a time and start to wean and once you wean on that one dose DO NOT GO BACK up. Stay there if it takes a month to get use to it. You can do it and when you look back you will see this has helped make you a better person and more understanding person to others.
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