I haven’t yet gone into my feelings on my first Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting. Before I do, I want to say that I obviously can’t give an opinion as to what its overall benefit will be in my life. I must wait until I have experience, and the only way to gain experience is by attending meetings-which I plan on continuing. Still, I am a thinker. I am often accused of thinking shit to death. I’d like everyone to keep that in mind as I give a few of my first thoughts about my first meeting. It will be interesting to come back later to see whether I think my first impressions were correct.
First, I feel there is no substitute for being around others that can relate to the being an addict. The love and support from others that have been in similar situations is hard to describe-it was awesome really. It was also very uplifting to hear the stories of those that have overcome, and are in recovery. The stories and storytellers are better than the best reality tv ever shown. I should know, I’m a reality tv junkie. What’s more is that there are thousands of these stories waiting to reach my ears-to lift me up. All I have to do is “be there”. My first impression is that the stories are where the true heart and soul of AA/NA resides. At the very least, it has to be a significant portion of what AA/NA is about.
I will write now about what I feel was a problem (at least with me). If there is anything I know for sure about recovery from addiction, after reading ever piece of info I can find on the net, no one true way is better than any other. While at the meeting, I was speaking with a guy, and told him that I was in the process of a methadone detox. This is how the conversation went-
Guy: “so how much (methadone) are you on now?” Me: “35mgs” Guy: “per day? ouch! dude, let me tell you, you need to just go ahead and cold turkey the rest.” Me: “well, for me that just isn’t an option, I…” Guy: cutting me off in mid sentence “Dude, just do it. It will be painful, but you will always remember those symptoms, and you will never want to be there again.” Me: “yeah, maybe your right” At that point, I just wanted to get out of the conversation.
If he had let me finish, I would have been able to tell him that I have a family to support-mortgage and car payment to make-full time job to work. Laying in bed for weeks recuperating from a massive rapid detox just isn’t an option for me. Furthermore, I would have explained that it’s everything I can do to come to work some days decreasing the way I am, much less if I were to quit “cold turkey”. I also wasn’t able to tell him that I honestly believe, in my heart, the biggest mistake I could make is to throw myself into rapid detox with no way of easing the physical symptoms.
I would have nowhere to turn when the pain became unbearable. I have been to doctors with withdrawal symptoms before, and believe me when I say, there is very little sympathy on their part for a junkie in detox. As much as I loathe that clinic and the way they run it, I can at least lower myself slowly. What it came down to is that I felt the NA members should tell their story-it is their power to pass on. However, listening to what others say is of equal importance. I felt at that time, at that meeting, it was lacking.
There was one other thing that struck me. I will say up front that it is trivial, but I did already mention that I think things into the dirt, so. The first step in the “12 steps to sobriety” reads as follows: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
What if I want to believe I am not powerless over my addiction? What if I, by nature, have a mind of my own, and believe that my addiction is actually what is powerless under me? Is it wrong for me to feel that we, as humans, have the power to do whatever we “believe” we can accomplish? Am I dooming myself right here at the start? Because in my mind, I need to feel that I am chewing the bones of my addiction- that I am whipping its ass. I fear believing anything else because it runs directly against the grain of my being. Don’t misunderstand and think I am discounting what addiction is, and more importantly what it has done to me. I don’t-at least I think I don’t. And I respect addiction in that way. To say that though, just feels too much like I am bending my knee, and giving a leg up to this mother fucker before the war has begun.
My wife, bless her heart, tells me that sometimes when I try to explain my point, I come across as a dick. She says that the message, no matter how good the point, is many times lost due to this. Knowing this, I really wish to impress upon anyone that reads this that these questions I have about NA/AA are not my attempt at being witty, and I most definitely am not trying to be a dick. I am simply being honest about my feelings. I, like most recovering from addiction, am only trying to find my path to freedom.