I’ve been posting lately about some of the dysfunction I encounter among people in AA and OA. I name no names, because our anonymity is vital. But some things are worth a rant or two.
I’ve ranted about folks who shove passages from the AA big book down my throat even when it’s obvious that they’re still messed up (See: Readings from the Book of Crap).
I’ve also ranted about folks who let their program of recovery become just another addiction. (See: When Recovery Becomes The Addiction).
This line of writing may seem harsh. And at the end of the day I know I have to pay attention to my own side of the street instead of getting fixated on what other people are doing.
But what the hell. As someone working the 12 Steps, I have to live with these people, and for those who are in the abyss of addiction and want to clean up, it’s useful to know about some of the quarks the program has. As long as it doesn’t scare you away. I don’t want to do that, because I owe my life to my recovery program, and I love the folks I share meetings with to death. They’ve helped me in so many ways — by sharing their stories, offering me guidance and just being friends.
I should also note that even for those who turn recovery into another addiction, it sure as hell beats the shit out of the old addictions that made their lives utterly unmanageable.
This post and the ones I mentioned above are about the few people who can screw things up for everyone else.
I’ve gotten a ton of feedback from folks in various LinkedIn forums, especially those who read the post about recovery becoming addiction. Some of that feedback simply must be shared.
I think the biggest point to be had is that recovery should be about helping an addict clean up, gain wisdom and then live life to the fullest.
It should also be about getting clean so you can be there for friends and family in need.
If you decide it’s more important to attend six AA-OA meetings in a week instead of doing your job or helping your kids with their homework, there’s something wrong with you. Sorry. That’s how I feel.
One of the folks on LinkedIn, Taunta Beanie Taylor, agreed, writing, “I have the same kinds of feelings about AA. I love it in that it works GREAT for some people, but I also hate it in that some people become so attached to the program that they allow it to interfere with the rest of their lives. ‘My Sponsor suggested I not go so I’m not, even though it will hurt people in my family’ kinds of attitudes. Or they HAVE to do a meeting, so they don’t give aid to a friend in need. They often lose the line between suggestion and requirement. Recovery (from whatever addiction) becomes a form of religion, and like religion, some people get confused about the fact that we were all created unique and individual, therefore having unique and individual needs.”
Not everyone will agree with that statement. Some will tell you that recovery is a matter of survival, and if they choose an extra meeting over some dysfunctional family events, that’s how it has to be.
I understand that point of view fully. One of the reasons I’m not on speaking terms with my mother is because she’s too big a trigger. I don’t want it to be that way, but yeah, it’s survival.
Indeed, there are many difficult balancing acts to be had in recovery.
I’m not the voice of perfection. Lord knows I got my own issues.
But this is another challenge on the journey that’s worth being aware of.