Narcotics Anonymous Member Tells Woman Not TO Take her Psych Medication WHAT ARE THESE Nutjob, Non-professionals THINKING?

A new blogger here posted this story that I think is very important for us to talk about at every level, including when we visit our private physicians and therapists. There is a book that each of us could buy and bring to our Doctors. I will get the title and post it later .Its about the Sinclair Method. Or we could all order Pamphlets from Smart or SOS or create our own. IN THE MEANTIME…

Here is her story 

Here is a letter I’m sending to the doctor that took care of me when I was in the hospital in October after a suicide attempt:

Dear Dr. Kelly,
First I want to thank you for all of the care and support you gave me during my stay at (name of hospital) from October 24 through November 8th. You were truly kind and caring, and I would not be on this road to recovery without you. But there is something I wanted you to know. If you remember, my problem is that I became addicted to prescription sleep medications. I attempted suicide when that addiction became overwhelming and consuming. You put me on antidepressants, which completely changed me and how I look at life. They in fact gave me a life. I was never able to feel happy before this. You pushed me to, actually, insisted that I get “hooked up” with a 12 step program and sponsor before you would allow me to be discharged. In fact, during my entire stay, 12 step programs were the only recovery support options mentioned. I wanted to let you know what happened to me after I left the hospital, and why I want you to strongly consider suggesting other recovery options.

I attended the (name of group) Narcotics Anonymous group on Thursday night at 8pm at (name of church). A woman there told me that she would sponsor me, but that first I would have to get off all mind altering substances. I shared with her the medications I was on – medications that you, Dr. Kelly prescribed for me, and medications that I truly believe have given me back my life! She told me TO GET OFF THOSE MEDICINES. And she said that she would help me. She is not a doctor and has NO medical experience. In fact, she is a factory worker with no medical training whatsoever. These are the types of groups you are sending your patients to! They are undoing all of the good you are doing your patients!

I would like you to seriously consider this information and think about it. Please visit the site where you can learn about many other problems within 12 step groups, and also alternative recovery solutuions. I for instance am researcing Smart Recovery. I am not asking you to stop recommending 12 step all together – at least not yet. But I would urge you to consider recommending other secular, non 12-step recovery options. As you know, Narcotics Anonymous is not held responsible by any trained professionals. Had I followed this woman’s advice, I might not have been so lucky this next time in the hospital. You might have been putting a tag on my foot rather than writing me a prescription for an anti depressant that would stabalize my condition.

Thank you for your time and attention, and thank you again for helping to save my life.

All the best,

I really hope I get a reply…

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72 thoughts on “Narcotics Anonymous Member Tells Woman Not TO Take her Psych Medication WHAT ARE THESE Nutjob, Non-professionals THINKING?

  1. What happened to Katherine is certainly something I recall people saying a lot, especially years ago. I have known people in AA who would have said exactly the same thing, that they would not sponsor anyone on anti-depressants.

    I am glad she did not heed this non-medical advice. If Katherine had quit taking her medication and had committed suicide that same sponsor would have said she died because she just didn’t work the program right.

      • I have gone to NA for a number of years, and i am one of them what has mentle illness I was into LSD and pot and drinking beer,
        I went to NA and i did get clean, they told me that NA was not a nut house and it means all mind alternating drugs what includes drugs from a nut doctor,
        I did take there advise and i was totely clean,
        I was a real silly talker but the members were ok with that
        I have been clean from illgal drugs for over 30 years and 15 year sober, I was not really a alcholic I was just a
        person with mental illness what need a way to do my own thing
        I do not feel accepted at AA or NA
        they seem to be different from me so i just stay to my self
        but I will not take any drugs at all
        NA is not for people with mental illness
        and they tell you that
        it is better to keep that one to your self
        NA is open to anyone how can they no who is comming to the meetings they can not turn people away
        NA is not a mental illness clinic
        it says no DRUGS….

        • That means it says “YES” to suicide by depression for people who NEED mental illness medications. It obviously is making itself about mental illness if it is telling people they cannot take medication. That’s practicing medicine without a license.

          • when I went there they said not to take drugs, and that is all,
            I know all kinds of people what take meds for mental illness, and they still do, and go there, but they are looked at as non addicts, amoung the inner circle,
            you are free to do as you please.
            it is just like going to a bar or what
            it is the same kind of people
            you have to be carefull when you go to AA or NA

    • illbefree, katherine, bcm @ The meds issue is one of the major dangers of these 12 step programs; unqualified, admitted alcoholics and addicts doling out medical advice. INSANE! It is a HUGE liability for AA & NA actually. Victims & their families should be encouraged to sue.

      This is exactly what I think needs to happen. We just need a full staffed non profit!

      so dumbaa what are you saying here. NA is a bunch of regular people filled with sexual and violent predators and random pedophiles. Who the hell are they to tell anyone what to do about ANYTHING?

      • massive
        the NA program is for anyone who calls themselves a addict,
        it is just like going to a bar or a coffee house.
        or what
        who knows who shows up to coffee houses or bars
        dont you think that dope heads are crazy
        I saw the movie called flieght and it is a true movie about drug addicts,
        they are liers thives immoral people
        and they could have mental illness
        NA has alway told me that we are not a mental health clinic
        but they said be clean and sober NO DRUGS at all
        and i listen to them
        I did not go to a nut house or what
        everyone has a choice in life, meds do not cure anything at all

        • You are wrong. And unfortunately I’ll informed. And being on meds does not make me a nut case. Fine for you to call yourself that but not me. And if NA is not a mental health clinic they should not be giving advice on mental health. I can’t tell if u are a troll or just confused or both.

          • Look! they are just a bunch of sick addicts what are in need of anything they will say anything, havent you ever visited bars and the streets or watched movies about hippies and freaks and dope heads
            I am a mentally ill person and i just get along just fine with out drugs and meds and beers and
            if they would just legalize POT
            I think that I would go back smoking it
            after all
            that is what i did used to do best
            I like the old days back in the 1960s
            I wish I was a teen ager again
            I just had so much fun
            but may next time around

        • So you are saying that “choice” is to choose which problem you get help with because NA is a jealous lover and will NOT tolerate it’s membership getting help for documented mental illnesses, which are diseases of the brain btw. Is it fair to tell a person you MUST NOT get help for a real medical problem or we will not lend you support for your addiction? That should be illegal under the “Americans with Disabilities Act” for one thing; immoral and ignorant for another.

          • look at it this way NA does not give out advise, it is just for dope heads what want releaf from addictive addiction that is all
            what do you think addicts are like???
            I am a NUT and I have to be carefull of what I listen to

      • @dumbAAmember
        I am not a NUT. If you are having problems with your mental health then you should go to the doctor. An internet blog is not the place to find serious help. Seriously. It is ok to have mental health problems, provided you own it, and do something about it. Go to the doctor.

        • I am not asking for any help and i am not having any problems of any sort. I am just telling you that NA is a drug free program, and everyone what goes there says they are dope addicts, so that means the members will say not to take drugs, it is not there fault that mentally ill people go there,
          they can take meds NA people are not any differnet than any other freak on the street,

          • I went to an NA meeting. I believe that if you are new in town it is the best place to find a dealer. Other than that it has no worthwhile purpose.

          • So what about people who have to take medicine for a heart condition, cancer, or diabetes? Are they also “on drugs”? Don’t you understand how ridiculous you sound?

          • Nope. I don’t think he/she does understand how ridiculous the sound is.
            It is like he/she walked on to the blog with no pants on.
            Great. Another ‘spiritual nudist’.

          • Steve,

            I have reason to believe this person is a she. Take it from me; it’s best to ignore her. Attempting to have a sensible conversation is a waste of time. I think she has found a way to blog with a straight jacket on.

            My concern is people just leaving aa and new to the blog reading her insane rants.

          • dumbaa- NA is NOT A DRUG FREE PROGRAM! some are clean, but many are so full of it. and they act like they know what every one should do. In fact many heroin addicts can drink moderately. Its not their DOC. Kate is not a freak on the street.

            Back off…..

  2. Awesome letter! The meds issue is one of the major dangers of these 12 step programs; unqualified, admitted alcoholics and addicts doling out medical advice. INSANE! It is a HUGE liability for AA & NA actually. Victims & their families should be encouraged to sue. And that letter is SPOT ON… it should be used as reference material in the development of an Open WARNING Letter to all doctors & health care professionals who might send patients to 12 step programs. It seems like almost every system of our society is tip toeing around AA; churches, mental & medical health, the media, entertainment & even our government are all tip toeing! It is impossible to quantify the many people that these programs have driven to worsening symptoms; even suicide due to abuse & incompetent, illegal medical advice. It is sad & scary! I’m sorry but maybe if doctors start being threatened will malpractice for knowingly referring patients taking anti depressants to an overtly anti-med 12 step program-shyt would shift real quick!

    • In my experince, I have mental illness, I do not take meds at all a lot of the AA NA people believe that I do not belong there and they tell people to stay away from me because i am not a addict or alcholic but just a goofy person. because of the things I say at the meetings, I have made some of the men madder than hell, and I have threatened to call the police on them.
      when i see any of the members out in the public, if I do not like them I stay away from them even if I have to be rude to them,.
      since I have been on your message board I am starting to find out why I do not fit in and now I am doing different things out there in the world

      • Sue a non-for-profit organization that clearly states it has no opinion on the use of medication for treatment, or sue the individual who gives their opinion (which is THEIR opinion, not NA / AA’s)?

        The NA / AA program is clearly written in the basic text / big book and has no opinion on the use of medication. The big book (AA) says not to deny medical advise from a good doctor / pysch. Anything else is the opinion of the individual. So really you would be suing the individual.

        I know of many long term members that have been on or off medications and all a lot of us long term members do is support them in there recovery.

        And please consider the success stories from people sent by doctors who are on medications and weren’t ill advised. There are many.

        If I could wish one thing here, it would be that those who need to be on medication and are addicts or alcoholics continue to go to meetings.

  3. We talk about this over at check out link below.
    AA is fully aware of the fact that AA members have played a role in suicides and they do NOTHING about it. Sponsors are allowed to do this in both AA and NA.


    This is AA General Service Conference approved literature

    Some Alcoholics require medication

    We have heard, too, from members with other conditions, including schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, epilepsy and others requiring medication, that well-meaning A.A. friends discourage them from taking any prescribed medication. Unfortunately, by following a layperson’s advice, the sufferers find that their conditions can return with all their previous intensity. On top of that, they feel guilty because they are convinced that A.A. is against pills.

    Link to complete brochure-

  4. dumbaa – this is not a place to promote NA in any way. Kate clearly was told by a stupid NA member to not take medication that a REAL Dr prescribed.

    Kate , Steve and sue have a valid point. They (NA Members) do not know what they are doing, and NA is not a place for even an addict to go anymore in my opinion.

    Im really close to deleting these crazy posts. So keeping it real is better then spewing pro NA stuff here.

    Sorry Kate. For this ridiculous rebuttal from dumbaa.

    • No worries Monica – I just can’t figure out what in the hell dumbaa is trying to say. It’s not making any sense to me, but she gave herself that name…not me, so maybe it’s fitting…

  5. My mama always says, “Consider the Source…and ain’t nothing said…”

    What is great about this site is that even when some of us have differing points of view, we can express them in a thoughtful and intelligent way–without insulting one another. Adults can do that.

    The only time I read abusive, insane, angry, obnoxious, non-sense is when comments come from those who are pro-AA’s or pro-NA’s. And it’s strange cause they are the ones who do so much so-called “work” on themselves and are self-proclaimed walking “miracles” praying to God on the reg.

    What gives?

    Of course people who have been prescribed medication by real doctors should be taking their medicine as prescribed instead of listening to what unqualified AA members prescribe. I was not in AA long but many of the people who spoke at tables had mental/emotional issues and were seeing therapists. Some secretly told me that they took medication for their conditions…but just did not say anything at “the tables”… (Some with years of sobriety even secretly told me that they took prescribed pain meds, but that we just can’t say it at the tables!) wink-stink 😉

    My sponsor consistently called me a drug addict because I used Kava-Kava, an herbal supplement. That was one of the main clues that showed me that she was a very ignorant, fanatical woman.

    Kate’s letter is spot on. All doctors ought to get a damn copy of it!

      • I have always been afraid to mention herbal remedies I have taken. Before I finally bit the bullet and got real help for depression I would take something like Kava or St Johns Wart then torment myself in my mind about whether I was “really sober” or if someone would tell me I had to take a white chip if they knew? That fear was extremely painful.

        Thank God I got actual help for a very real problem and started coming to my senses.

      • I know Massive, right?

        Kava-Kava became a HUGE and ongoing issue with my sponsor and me until FINALLY I had to put my foot down. It’s an herbal supplement. Yes, it helps to calm my nerves but it is not a drug.

        SHYTE! I’ve never been a “get HIGH” gal… I’ve just enjoyed a drink or two…(or hell, maybe too much) 😉

        On the day she called to fire me she REALLY zeroed in on saying that I was “going to meetings HIGH!”

        I said, “What are you talking about?! I don’t do drugs. I tell you EVERYTHING. I would have damned told you if I was getting high for dog-damned sake.
        “You are an alcoholic and a liar so NOTHING you ever say can be trusted one way or the other!” she insisted.

        “But I have NEVER gone to any meeting high! I don’t do drugs” I swear I wanted to call her a blitch right then; so FRUSTRATING.

        She was like, “WHATEVER!”

        The woman seriously equates taking herbal supplements with drug-taking behavior or something. So, I know what you mean about the anxiety over mentioning herbal remedies Border Collie Mix. I went thru undue STRESS and STRAIN over just this issue. Those AA people are just head-flucker-crazy-makers-from hell… Blitch made me wish I could cop something!


        Glad I’m gone! 😀

        • You may not realize, but you are laying insults to millions of people for whom the program has and continues to work… many of whom, take prescription medication.

          I’m sorry you’ve had a bad experience. Many more haven’t.

  6. NA Groups & Medication – the Offical View appears to be giving Sponsors the OK to “sort of” get their Sponcees off prescribed medication……
    This is Board-approved service material.
    © 2007 by NA World Services, Inc. All rights reserved.
    19737 Nordhoff Place Chatsworth, CA 91311
    ISBN 978-1-55776-721-9
    Item No. 2205

    “As outlined in In Times of Illness, the choice to take prescribed medication is a personal decision between a member, his or her sponsor, physician, and a higher power. It is a decision many members struggle through. It is not an issue for groups to enforce.”

    Note the SPONSOR comes before the physician….

    • First NA tells you that “groups” can not influence the taking of prescribed medicine. Then they go on to tell you how to have a “group consensus” on it. Of course no 12 Step “literature would be complete without mentioning court mandates that are on “replacement therapy” and what service positions they should be eligible for…

      “The courts have mandated NA meetings for those on drug replacement. Some of these addicts are sharing at our meeting. Is this an outside issue? What about our message of complete abstinence? We want to do the
      right thing, but we are concerned that the newcomer will get the wrong message. It’s life and death we’re talking about!”


      “Opening our doors to these members means that
      groups take the time to discuss this issue and find ways
      to make everyone feel welcome. Each group is autonomous, and a group’s conscience will ultimately determine the level of participation of those on drug replacement.Some groups may decide to encourage those on drug replacement to serve as coffee or tea makers, or as a clean-up person, instead of holding leadership positions. These commitments may encourage a desire for complete abstinence through allowing these members to feel a part of NA.”

      I’m kind of getting mixed signals here. Groups can not determine about people on prescribed medication, but the group shouldn’t let them have leadership positions. Coffee maker and cleanup person is OK though….

      • OMG…that is the classic double-speak, language-raping, BS crazy-making monkey-shines that drove me to intense anxiety with them! They say everYthIng and notHiNg all at once…so that they can always try to find a way to cover their asses later…NASTY!

      • Holy crap!
        Well done JR.
        Yes I did note that the sponsor came before the physician.
        There you have it. Years spent crapping your pants behind a dumpster, then more years chanting crazy religious stuff in endless meetings qualifies you to tell other people how to live. Not going to medical school and being accountable.

        • The concepts are why Area meetings sound like a Zombie convention, OMG, talk about stilted, scripted speech! It’s easier to communicate in a foreign country since there will be someone there that speaks English.

      • One of my favorite past guests from Massive’s Safe Recovery Radio Show, Tom Horvath of SMART Recovery did a very interesting piece on AA Sponsorship…

        It explains a lot about their general state of being, their intensely affected manner of being and why some feel they MUST go to meetings continually in order to deal with life on a day to day basis. The article really helped me to see some things. From the article:

        “It was the first researcher’s impression from attending meetings that AA members’ affective responses to difficulties, be they day-to-day hassles (e.g. commuting to work) or interpersonal problems, were often intense. It is possible that AA members have unusually strong affective responses to life events, and this may be one explanation for the need for ongoing support through meetings.”

        I had admired my sponsor because she seemed to have such a calm, wise nature, HOWEVER, after 20 years she is going to 5 to 6 meetings a week because she feels she has to.

        She literally told me that “we are fighting for our lives!”

        And when she called me the last time, she sounded uncharacteristically CRAZY and upset. I was really taken off guard. I had not seen her in almost week. We had not had any cross words between us, but suddenly she was all wired up…agitated and defensive. I took it as ALL MY FAULT…at the time?

        One time, she called me out of the blue to go to a meeting with her because she had words with a furniture moving man and he made her angry…and you KNOW “anger” is not allowed… So, she called me up and took me to an EXTRA meeting with her.

        This was her showing me her experience, strength and hope—I guess.

        At the time I was happy (even honored) to go with her…but now on second thought…

        What a desperate FEARFUL person she must be deep within…

        She is afraid to FEEL…

        No wonder I was too much for her.

        Bah ah aah haahaa….

        I am an intense, artist, poet, singer, healer, teacher, spiritual, wanna-be-but-born-just-a-tad-too-late-HIPPY

        Oh Lord!

        I had no fluckin business in with those ya-hoodles…

        Anyway…the article is great. Keen insights.

        Tom is such a cool dude!

        • Thanks for the link! I just wish researchers would entertain the thought that they have it backwards though, that addiction to AA after addiction to alcohol might be causing these intense emotional reactions to everyday problems rather than the person with the reactions helping themselves by attending more meetings. The more meetings I attend, the more I pick my every thought apart to the point where just about anything will make me fall apart.

  7. Well, this is sad…

    I got a call from my doctor’s receptionist…not even him. “Dr. Kelly received your letter and wanted to thank you for writing. He is glad to hear you’re doing well. He suggested you TRY ANOTHER MEETING.” And that was it.

    I am very saddened by this. Does no one care that these people are suggesting that others do something TERRIBLY DANGEROUS?

  8. Hello, I’m wondering: does leaving AA make one a recovery talent? I’m going to try and leave the Twelve Step Galaxy. Is it appropriate to ask for help here?

    My opinion is that medical issues should be addressed between the person in question and their “health care professional.” To me, that’s my doctor. Recovery vs. Medical issue? Ask a doctor. Of course when I was “active” I tended to down play my situation to doctors, well wishers, busy bodies, and most everybody. I wanted sympathy but not too much…. I liked only the solutions offered that I liked.

    Now I have additional perspective, some good, some maybe not so bad.

    Remember AA/NA is the elephant in the living room. So it’s natural that these questions get raised there. I recall these issues also come up in bars, crack houses, and party venues generally. I was vulnerable to “advice” in these places too!

    Using hedonistic substances necessarily alters the metabolism of medicines, so wisdom asserts that doctors should be consulted. My experience is doctors generally advise caution and moderation and perhaps abstinence with alcohol; extreme caution and probably abstinence with not “used as directed” pharms and street drugs and mixtures thereof. Of course medical marijuana clouds the issue.

    Perhaps it’s a problem of combating naivety in general. Especially in the rooms!


    • Hi and Welcome!

      Yes this is the place to be if you need helping leaving the galaxy BS world of AA and NA. There are many of us. AA and NA sponsors and members need to be sued for giving members advice about medication.

      Their arrogance is ….huge…..I Left 2 years ago. Blog away. Do you have a plan for leaving? Are you deprogramming?

  9. The main thing I am left with from all the BS I somewhat swallowed in AA is this lingering desire to KICK myself for being so fluckin STUPID.

    I cannot even understand how or why I ever allowed those idiots to get me to even CONSIDER any of the non-sense they said. It was OBVIOUS bullspit! OBVIOUS! I knew & know that they had no business giving any advise on medication…treatment…or even life in general. They were overt bullies which always indicates WEAKNESS…

    I guess pain just makes a person vulnerable to more pain.

    But no more over here…no more…

    I used to trust people until they gave me a reason not to…now I do not trust; I do not mistrust.

    I just BE…

    I am open to people unfolding before me as…

    A flower…

    or as…

    An onion…


  10. Theres a reason there are many groups of aa and na. Some people are very opinionated not understanding some people need medication to correct a chemical imbalance. They see people getting hooked to medications prescribed by a doctor and think that all medications are bad. In some cases people are prescribed medications they don’t need but in just as many cases (probably more) when the right medicines and dosages are found they are more likely to live a more satisfying life with no need for harmful drugs that caused them to seek help in the first place. One person or one group does not speak for aa or na. Most long timers i know from meeting would say recovery is about taking advice including your doctors and if you find someone who is giving you faulty advice then its time to find a new group or if you stay clean on your own God bless you, maybe your not an addict but someone who used the wrong drugs for years trying to fix your mental illness. Theres no one right answer for everybody

    • At least you admit that unqualified medical opinions are a problem in the rooms. How is a person fresh from rehab supposed to know good advice from bad? Your solution is no different than the way sexual harassment is handled in the rooms; just send the victim down the road to another meeting.
      Why not just read a clear statement at the start of EVERY meeting reminding everyone in attendance that members are NOT qualified or authorized to give medical advice?

      • Thanks Rick. I agree. This was just more stepper talk from “nobody is perfect”. Telling people to not take meds has cused suicides in AA and continues to. AA does nothing to stop this practice and they admit that this happens.

        • i once told NA in a meeting in my share that i was feeling suisidal…
          not one person did or said anything and no one spoke to me after the meeting..
          i only ever said it to them once, never again after the looks they gave me.They hammered me with more guilt trips after i shared it.

          “We were bad mothers we were not fit to be mothers,
          they would repeat it…

          i thought at that i was not fit enough or good enough person to be around my kids and grandkids…i recall thinking i shouldnt touch my grandkids or go near them..i was very confused…

          i was on the line to the samaritins a lot.
          i left and phoned my key worker at turning point she helped me.

    • pap- sounds like a stepper handle.

      NONE OF THEM EVER ! should be giving medical advice ever !!! they are not Doctors. There should be a warning read at the beginning of every meeting,. after Karla ‘s case gets going again, there will be many families who will sue for wrongful death with this issue. They need to cut it out! Period.

  11. AA NA told me “We,(They were including me in that ) we didnt love our children…
    we didnt know how to love….we hated everyone….

    i did not hate everyone PREAA.
    And how do they know how i felt about
    my children family friends or partners.

    I made lots of mistakes in my life and i will make more.
    But i always had love in my heart for my kids and others
    i knew.I love my mam and sister i have loved some men.
    i have cared about friends.i loved my dog.
    i did this all pre AA

  12. Narcotics anonymous is a program of complete abstinence from all mood and mind altering substances and isn’t for everyone. People who take/need mood changers should seek recovery else where. * My opinion only.

    • “Americans with Disabilities Act” protects people with disabilities, people suffering from mental illness have disabilities. I’m no lawyer, but it seems that shunning them or excluding them from the only recovery system our country currently will tolerate would be in defiance of ADA? Not that I personally believe 12-step is all that beneficial for people with mental health issues (I stayed sober, but had to suffer depression and anxiety in silence, and the steps reinforced my anxiety).

      Anyway, shunning people with illnesses has been declared completely wrong in our society since the first Bush administration so it might be time to leave the cultism behind and get into the 21st century.

    • Well, Dave, if thats truly the case, the NA-rooms would be quite echoing empty, now wouldnt they ?…or filled with people with very little clean time …

      No more mugs filled to the brim with black coffe, no more breaks for the “clean” ones to ingest the smoke from a cig or two…and no more sugary snacks and soft drinks to cope with the struggle of “being in recovery”.

      Nicotine, caffeine and sugar all falls under the category of mind/mood altering substances …good luck enforcing a zerotolerance stance on those in your fellowship…

  13. You realize hence tremendously when it comes to this disorder, taught me to be independently think it is from your lot of various angles. Their including women and men will not be concerned except in cases where it’s something related Lady gaga! Your very own items excellent. Usually manage it up!

  14. I agree with the people that suggested that a warning/notice should be read at the start of every meeting, reminding everyone that no member should play doctor. I don’t have mental illness or take mood altering meds but I think it is wrong to try to drive people who are ill/on meds out of AA/NA.

    I also strongly agree with the person who pointed out that caffeine, nicotine and sugar are mood altering substances. Look how many members continue to consume one or more of them (often they are on all three). AA/NA exist to help everyone who suffers from addiction to alcohol/drugs, it was surely not created for a select, elite group and stuff everyone else. As it says in NA literature, the only requirement for membership is the desire to become abstinent from drugs.

    Prescribed meds are not included in this. It is explained in detail in a booklet called ”IN TIMES OF ILLNESS”. I strongly recommend anyone who is ill or on prescribed meds and goes to AA/NA get themselves a copy and keep it handy. I am quite new to NA, and on prescribed pain relief (which i have never abused, it is street drugs i have problems with). Within my first month in NA I was bombarded with questions and opinions, edicts even, from old timers. Several of these people have been given too much power in the form of them being moderators on the popular NA chat room. When I dared to politely point out to them that their advice/orders to me were going against what was said in the IN TIMES OF ILLNESS NA booklet, they kicked me off the chat room permanently. They are supposed to give warning first, then a temp ban, then permanent. The reason they gave for banning me was that I was ”poison, for repeatedly talking about acupuncture and giving out links”. The links were to an online NA meeting so I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. I talked about acupuncture a lot on the chat room because it is the one thing that has helped me reduce my drug use significantly (both prescribed and street drugs).
    I didn’t tell anyone to go and get acupumcture themselves, I merely mentioned that it worked well for me.

    These old timers seemed grossly offended by the idea that anything except NA/AA is needed to solve the problems we addicts face. But in my experience, many addicts suffer from multiple health problems. Where did this idea that AA/NA is the answer to any and every single problem we face come from? The way these people practice AA/NA feels cultish to me, and blooming dangerous.

    The difficulty I face in NA is that they keep telling me/us (at meetings and in the lit) that many of our ideas are wrong and our thinking is faulty. It leads to the feeling that I cannot trust my own thoughts anymore. Like, I have to run every little thing past my sponsor before making a decision. And that decision should of course be in agreement with her way of thinking. She (my sponsor) may have years of clean time under her belt, but except for that, how can I know that her ideas are always for the best? There is no online review system for sponsees to browse when looking for a sponsor. It would be so useful to have an style ratings and reviews section for sponsors. You could read what other people thought about each sponsor, and check their rating before becoming their sponsee.

    I have found my sponsor trying to get me to go against what my doctor has advised. This gets on my nerves and concerns me. I think NA is encouraging me to turn over far too much power and critical thinking to a group of people I barely know, and who have not proven their skills.

    . At first i believed everything the old timers told me. Then I found the booklet mentioned above (In Times of Illness – NA).. I discovered that much of what I had been told, or rather, ordered to do went directly against what was in the booklet. It seems that there are a number of old timers who have taken it upon themselves to interpret, or even rewrite the ‘rules’ in AA/NA. What I cannot understand is how and why they keep getting away with such disgusting and damaging behavior.

    Having said all of this, I do think NA/AA have a lot of good aspects, and a lot of good ideas. They appear to have helped a fair number of addicts turn their lives around 100%. That is no mean feat. What I don’t like though is the culture of ignoring bad, even downright abusive behavior from a small but powerful group of (usually) old timers.

    Goodness knows how many people have been harmed and driven away by these bullies (aka AA/NA Nazis). If only NA/AA would grow a little and dare to be self critical and stronger on self governing. Why can’t they do their own studies and statistics on which aspects of AA/NA help people the most, and which ones are unhelpful? I don’t understand why there is this lack of interest in making these groups better.
    For instance, it was found by studying the numbers, that people who went to AA did -more- binge drinking than those who did not attend. I think the reason is obvious. In AA/NA clean time is the big thing, the one that counts. You are taught that if you have a relapse, it doesn’t matter if it is one drink or 20, it counts as a relapse and you have to start your precious clean time clock all over again. So, when members do relapse, they think to themselves, ”Oh sh%t, I have lost all of my clean time, I have to start again from zero. Oh well. I might as well have another few drinks before I restart the clock. Whereas a non member of AA might say to themselves, ”OK, I have had one drink, but at least if I stop now, then it has not become a binge. That counts for something.”.
    We all know that binge drinking/drugging is significantly more dangerous than using in moderation. So anything that encourages bingeing should be weeded out of the NA/AA program.

    Personally I still attend NA. However, this is mainly because there don’t seem to be many alternatives. If NA was more open to self improvement, and if it did more to protect the vulnerable against abuse, then I would be glad to stay and to do service. As things are, to be frank I am always on the look out for something better. When I find it, then I will move.

    Thanks to whoever made this site, It offers a valuable, potentially life saving resource to those of us who have been treated badly by a few bad apples in NA/AA. (by the way, there is a web site called THE ORANGE PAPERS which has lots of articles in it telling some truths about the 12 step movement too)..

    • Hey peter,

      I have a weird take on this as I am 5 years + free of psychiatric medication. I think it is far far far worse than taking street drugs. But it was not anti-depressants that mangled me.

      I hate psyche meds, and think they should only be a method of last resort. The very last resort of course would be suicide.

      But. I was treated like a compleate pile of dogshit when after 6 years of 12 step, I went compleately insaine. People keep telling me that the issue has improved within the rooms, insofar as people are more understanding. I think to some extent this is true.

      But. When I returned several years back after a 5-6 year 12 step hiatus, I was alone in the room with the worlds biggest jerk who used to be my sponsor, and ruined 12 step for me. When I walked in the door to my first meeting, he said:

      “There’s a lot more people like you arround here now!” refering to my med use. Which to I replied, “I’m not really on the med wagon any longer.”

      and then I got my finest 10th step apology ever… he said… “Sorry, I am a real asshole sometimes.” Which I already knew. But it was nice to hear him say it.

      Then to punish him, any time he was present in the room, I would share about bad sponsorship and tell war stories of being sponsored by him. I would code word it so most people did not know who I was talking about…. oh what fun.

      But, the way people are treated is simply cruel, even though I am so anti med. I did a lot of informing medical/psychiatric docs about the reality of 12 step, and how they treated us. A lot like this letter above. I hope it did some good.

  15. hi Peter and Welcome !
    Glad to have a sane voice that stills attends here on my blog. My name is massive.
    My story is on the front page welcome to Leaving AA. I left AA after 36 years. almost 4 years ago. AHHH the freedom I feel.

    Anyway…Welcome again! ..

  16. Good to hear a lot of things here that I agree with,
    I have 8 years of recovery and NA did help, but after a while the narrow minded and ignorance of untrained members became intolerable and cultish.
    I was ostracised by my sponsor just because I mentioned I was thinking of being prescribed antidepressants and the rest of my home group followed that opinion like sheep. I was made to feel weak and was told that I was looking for a “chemical fix”
    I wanted to be honest and share honestly. It all felt toxic and unhealthy. I am not “sick” and since I have left NA, there is more balance in my life and have never been happier. I was also becoming afraid of becoming addicted to meetings!!! I made the choice to not get antidepressants in the end, but so much for support and understanding, that was all was needed really.
    It is ironic that I came to realise that my sponsor has untreated mental health issues – who 20+ years clean still finds it necessary to attend daily meetings!!…I knew I had to get out and deprogramme and quickly.
    To the issue of the online forums and groups, I have never met a more predatory and narrow minded and damaging bunch of people in my life (the long timers mainly)

  17. HI Michelle – Welcome!

    The irony about the NA and AA, is right now in the The Atlantic and Huff Post and Daily Beast are these pieces about 12 step. and when even Gabrielle Talked about sponsors and members telling other members not to take their meds they acted shocked. We all know who were in it that this what they do.

    I feel your pain, but Im glad you left….Im glad I left. I wish I would have left and seen it for what it is sooner.

    But I did not. SO …here I am with a blog , a radio show and a film almost ready to premier here and in France.

    I am just so sad today. 🙁

    • Thanks for your reply, Massive,
      The media are sadly and ill informed for sure..(the traditions lol..big secret lol, outdated lol)
      Sadness comes doesn’t it despite the good and bad…but look at the success you have made…Radio and film and blog! that is a hard slog and work!

  18. After reading all these comments aa/na people are crazy an I will never go to a meeting. Don’t they know addiction is a mental disease in its own? I am in recovery and I wouldn’t be where I am today without my medication. Ive been told by a couple of my drs to stay away from na meetings because all you will do is end up with a couple new dope dealers an that’s it. I think if I try any group it will be smart recovery.

  19. Just for the record. These people DO NOT represent Narcotics Anonymous as a whole. Our literature even states that sometimes we do need outside help. Our traditions also state that we have no opinions on outside issues: medicine. We are NOT doctors and WE HAVE NO OPINIONS on these matters. These specific members are members who DO NOT KNOW the traditions or literature. DO NOT discredit members of NA who are actually following steps and traditions as “nut jobs.” I have sponsees on antidepressants. 😉 Y’all just picked the wrong “winners.”

    • WE know- I know exactly what goes on in AA and NA meetings. There are all kinds of people who will say they know what someone should do as they “share” their experience” .

      And Kristin A – you are not leaving AA are you so why are you here on my blog.

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