By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
I was one of the lucky ones. I walked into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous and realized that I was finally in the right place. Unfortunately, AA's obsession with alcohol impedes its ability to formulate a cohesive policy that would save lives and protect its membership in other ways.
I respect AA's wish to protect its fellowship. However, I hope and pray that they find a more loving and spiritual way to deal with those individuals who, having barely summed up enough courage to walk into their meetings, then find themselves cut off from talking about the very thing that might kill them the next day.
DON'T TAKE THE AA TRAIN
As someone who has been involved in both AA and NA, I think M.T. missed the real reason AA resists talk of drugs. I got sober in Brooklyn Heights. These are very white meetings. It has always been common knowledge that the AA meetings where drug talk is OK can be found in black neighborhoods. The "old-timers" are most interested in saving the "complexions" of the meetings. The fear is that with talk of drugs will come more people of color. There is, of course, no way to prove any of this. However, one only needs to attend for a while, and the message becomes clear. I now attend NA, and have been clean and sober for four years.
Arizona State Prison Complex
TRUTH WILL OUT
I identify wholeheartedly with M.T. I've been a member of AA for 12 years. Being dually addicted, I have experienced the same discrimination and directives to limit my sharing to alcohol, which has always confused me, especially since many times these directives came from dually addicted members! Thank you, M.T., for putting into words the story and feelings that AA has tried to suppress for so many years. The AA General Services Office may deny it, but the truth will out. I salute M.T. and The Village Voice for allowing this to happen.
I'm glad there are still AA meetings where "crotchety old men" can go and not have to identify with sticking a needle in their arm, and I'm glad there are those who have the courage to be true to themselves and express their feelings. It's important to be honest about your feelings, and if you work the Steps your opinions will change.
A small percentage of people who drink alcohol become alcoholics. How many people who try heroin become addicted? There is a difference.
Also, I was amazed when M.T., describing an AA meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote of a member who had attempted to share about drugs: "He wasn't the only person in the room that night having an issue with prescription drugs, but after what happened to him, I decided to suffer in silence."
So there were two. Here was a perfect opportunity to connect with someone. I don't know what things are like in Wilmington, but in Saskatoon they taught me to put my hand out. I've learned to keep my eyes open to see not what needs to be changed as much as where I can be of service.
North Vancouver, Canada
SUBSTITUTES FOR HEROIN
I found the article by M.T. very revealing. As an NA member, I hear many stories from people who tried recovery in AA but became disillusioned with its singular focus and intolerance toward other drugs.
As the article states, NA focuses on addiction as a whole. It is with the feelings that accompany addiction that members find identification. And in order to recover from addiction, you must break the cycle of old behaviors and thinking. I know that as a recovering heroin addict, I can still use anythingsex, food, shoppingto substitute for the drugs and feed my addiction.
But despite all of AA's faults, we do have them to thank for their revolutionary approach to recovery. Without them, we would not have the more liberal and varied fellowships that exist today.
I find your article about AA offensive. Do you have any idea what we alkies go through to stay sober? There are plenty of 12-step groups that cater to the drug addict. I don't go to Cocaine Anonymous meetings and share about the fact that I drank Colt 45. I don't go to Narcotics Anonymous and expect to be allowed to drone on and on about my use of Night Train Express. We must make our primary purpose alcohol. Do you have any idea what it is like to kick that shit? Do you know that alcohol warps the mind in a completely different way than drugs? That we use AA to learn to deal with our alcoholicminds? I smoked crack and did all sorts of other drugs, but I respect that AA is about alcohol, and while I may briefly mention drug use, I do not dwell on it.
Maybe the woman who wrote this article needs to work the steps, and stay sober, and stop complaining about this. Please go to NA or CA if you wanna talk about yer drug shit.