Letters

Ted H.
Manhattan


'CLEAN AND SERENE'

I spent five years in AA and kept relapsing whenever the pot ran out. I did not hear that this is a disease and it was about my thinking and behavior. I heard that the problem was booze. I found NA and am working on my 16th year.

Keep up the great work.

R.H.
Phoenix, Arizona


QUALITY OF SOBRIETY

I'm a journalist and screenwriter who has been sober in AA 18 years. While alcohol was my drug of choice, I have known for years that it is a drug. I can think of perhaps two meetings in this area where anyone would try to prevent drug usage from being discussed. It would be like saying you can't talk about your problem with bourbon in this meeting—just scotch. The saddest thing about those who try to stop all discussion of drugs is the quality of their sobriety. They've missed the point of recovery.

John M.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


DRINKING ALONE

AA's General Service Office is risking becoming irrelevant with its insistence that members stick to sharing about alcohol only. As M.T. points out, alcohol is a drug.

Fortunately, AA is also self-correcting, and the groups are autonomous. Most will do the right thing and accept discussion of drugs. Those that don't will be populated mostly by "bleeding deacons" masquerading as elder statesmen, as members vote with their feet.

Clean and sober over 25 years,

Anne W.
San Diego, California


M.T. replies: I am gratified by the sheer number of responses, with their diversity, and that the piece received so many positive replies. With any controversial story there are always a majority of negative letters—most readers who like a story tell others to read it, and they don't write. So the fact that my piece has gotten so much support indicates that there are many more out there who liked it and related. Even the critical letters reinforce one of my main points: that AA today is overwhelmingly filled with dually addicted members. For the dissenters who say this discrimination doesn't exist in AA, I say: It has happened to me in New York City, Los Angeles, in 15 other U.S. cities, and on other continents (I have attended thousands of meetings since 1988). This has also been the experience of those quoted in my piece, and the many others I spoke to while researching the story and since it was published. And you only have to read the letters of those who confirm this prejudice, published here, to know that it is a real and current problem. More importantly, if even one addict has relapsed or died as a result of this kind of discrimination in AA meetings, it is one too many.

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