By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The suggestion that in AA shooting dope is looked upon more favorably than drinking whiskey is absurd and journalistically irresponsible.
KEEP THEM SEPARATE
M.T.'s article talks about a declining AA membership. That should not be the point. AA is for the recovery of the alcoholic. I have smoked pot, taken pills, and never felt what I did with alcohol. I have friends who have done the opposite. This is a problem of individuals who need to look at themselves (which most will not do). The introduction to the AA "Big Book" states that we are "men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body." That is the key, and the Steps are the path to get to the key. Keep the programs separate, because the addict who goes to AA for help will end up doing drugs again.
San Jose, California
THE MEETING WHERE NOBODY GOES
My name is Artie and I'm an alcoholic. I moved to Florida recently from New York, where most meetings, other than "speaker meetings," are closed. Here in West Palm, there are almost no closed meetings. When I hear about shooting 'em up, sniffing 'em up, eight balls, whatever they are, I have no identification. I didn't get here because I drank too many ice cream sodas. I remember listening to a tape by a speaker who referred to one of the largest meetings in Manhattan, where they started to let people talk about other things. He noted that the meeting no longer exists. He coined a saying that the meeting where anything goes becomes the meeting where nobody goes.
West Palm Beach, Florida
SHOTS OF BOOZE
As I read "AA Unmasked," I kept thinking, "It's about time!" I'm a recovering alcoholic/addict, clean and sober since 1984. I primarily did drugs, but I am an alcoholic! And, yes, I did shoot whiskey! Thank God I got treatment where I was able to choose a program where I would feel comfortable.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Thank you for putting into words what I have witnessed for myself. As a recovering addict, I attend NA and AA. I must admit that NA gets most of my time for various reasons. One is that I felt uncomfortable at AA as an alcoholic and addict. At my very first AA meeting I was told to identify myself as cross-addicted. In the haze of not using for a few days, I had no clue, and and identified myself as an addictand received many looks. I made that my home group, celebrated my first anniversary there, and finally identified myself as "alcoholic and addict."
My sponsor is from AA. She has double-digit years of recovery. Her home group allows addicts to share and identify themselves as addicts. She refers to herself as an addict, and has helped me get over hang-ups I've encountered at AA meetings.
I was so excited when a friend sent me M.T.'s article! Thank you, and blessings for a job well done!
Sayville, Long Island
NA DOWN UNDER
M.T. exaggerates a lot. I have found that most AA members are very tolerant of addicts sharing in meetings. It is only when they talk for a long time about specific drug use that some members get restless. The answer is to let AA do its job with alcohol and alcoholics, however they define themselves, and start NA meetings for those who are not comfortable in AA and who have problems other than alcohol like food, sex, gambling, and other addictions.
I got sober in 1973, after my first AA meeting, but continued to use marijuana whenever it was a full moon or when I felt I should reward myself for not drinking. On Easter Sunday 1974, I called out to the God I was just coming to understand to please release me from my obsession with marijuana. My prayer was answered by the foundation of NA in Melbourne, Australia in 1976, and I was privileged to be one of the seven AA members who started it. Since then I have gone to both fellowships and often pondered the questions raised in this article.
If I had just been going to AA these 27 years, I would have used dope, and if I had only been going to NA I would have drunk again. I need both fellowships and there is no conflict in my mind.
I've gone to several thousand AA meetings since I stopped drinking in 1977, most of them on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Not once in the last 23 years do I recall someone being prevented or discouraged from sharing about drug use. A prevailing notion is that you can't be high and sober at the same time, so it's wacked for Terry R. to say that AA members wouldn't care if someone shoots dope as long as they don't drink. What bothers me is that someone who's hit bottom and wants to get help might read this article and be put off from checking out AA. I guess presenting a balanced picture wouldn't have fit M.T.'s agenda.