AA and meds

Most of us who recovered with AA's program did so with the help of a "sponsor". But what is sponsorship? How do I get one? Who can be a sponsor? What makes a good sponsor?

AA and meds

Postby EssentiallyB » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:12 am

Good morning!
It is day 5 and I'm feeling pretty good. Though I'm having terrible headaches ....
I have a question about choosing a sponser and them accepting me. I've attended 3 meetings now which are incredibly empowering. I've meet lots of great men and women, but one woman has really guided me in these few days. I like her a lot as well as her sponsees. I asked her to be my sponser last night which felt like such a HUGE deal for me. She asked if I were on any pharmaceuticals of which I am. I take a low dose antidepressant/anxiety med for the last two years but have off and on for much longer than that. She kindly asked if I'd be willing to (with a doctors guidance) go of off it. This makes me so nervous! I actually tried to go off of it a few weeks ago, while still drinking mind you, and felt horrible !

She won't sponser me. I respect her opinion on the matter but still feel a little sad. She did give me a few names of gals who have experience with this so I'll be make big some calls today.

What are your thoughts on all of this?
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Chelle » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:38 am

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Last edited by Chelle on Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Layne » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:40 am

My thoughts on sponsoring are that I should show and tell the sponsee exactly how I worked the twelve steps. I don't think that I should mandate what the sponsee must do or must not do. What they do with the information that I pass along about my experience is strictly up to them. That is what works for me.

I only know what works for me and what doesn't work for me, beyond that, my expertise is severely lacking. It is reduced to perceptions, not practical hands on experience. :wink:
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Tosh » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:57 am

Layne wrote:I only know what works for me and what doesn't work for me, beyond that, my expertise is severely lacking. It is reduced to perceptions, not practical hands on experience. :wink:


I agree, but I also see the lady sponsor's point of view too. I sponsor a guy who has been taking a cocktail of prescribed medications for many years.

I've taken him through the steps, twice, and he's still relapses. I believe he's been honest with regards his Step 4 and he's been willing to make amends. He's a nice guy too. But with his anti-psychotic drugs, anti anxiety meds and sleeping tablets, I suspect the chemical barrier between him and 'God' is too great.

I think we have to 'feel' this program; he's just numbing himself out.

He's a few weeks sober after his last 'relapse' (which ended up with a short stay in a pysch ward) and the plan is that he - with help of this doctor - come off some and reduce the others of some of the medication he's on.

Then we'll have another go at the Steps.

I think my point is that I have experience of taking a guy through the Steps who takes multiple prescribed medications and it doesn't seem to touch him.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Layne » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:08 am

Tosh wrote: I have experience of taking a guy through the Steps who takes multiple prescribed medications and it doesn't seem to touch him.


I am a fixer, except that whole concept is a total oxymoron if there ever was one. I say the serenity prayer a lot. I am still waiting on the wisdom.
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Re: AA and meds

Postby PaigeB » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:34 am

Discuss the matter with your doctor. Take the Big Book with you and ask if they are familiar with it.

It DOES say in there that this program can help us with every problem. I know a gal who quit taking all meds after starting this program. I know a gal who continues without problems. I also know a gal like the kind that Tosh speaks of, who cannot seem to grasp this much while taking several medications. The Book also says that there are some who have mental disorders but can recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Only you can say what is right for you. Now you know that meds may interfere, you can be self-aware and be honest with the doctors and your sponsor. Here is an AA pamphlet on Medications & Other Drugs
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/aa-liter ... ther-drugs

No matter what, keep coming back.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Db1105 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:16 pm

She did you a favor by not agreeing to sponsoring you. Anyone giving out medical advice without a medical degree is a prime example of self will run riot. It's one thing to suggest someone talk to their doctor to re examine an issues, but suggesting someone stop medication is pathetic.
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Patsy© » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:29 pm

Db1105 wrote:She did you a favor by not agreeing to sponsoring you. Anyone giving out medical advice without a medical degree is a prime example of self will run riot. It's one thing to suggest someone talk to their doctor to re examine an issues, but suggesting someone stop medication is pathetic.


BINGO!

Any AA member who tells another AA member to stop taking their medication, is NOT working their own program. I do not take medication and never have, but I have attended more than a few funerals of those who went off their prescribed medication due to a sponsor telling them that they are not sober if they continue to take meds!!

If the medication is prescribed by their doctor, the only thing that we AA's can or ought to do is tell them to talk with their Doctor. I personally find it appalling that anyone without a Medical Education, a Medical Degree and a Medical License who has not examined and accessed a patient, should be giving out MEDICAL ADVICE to anyone........ that is dangerous, deadly and illegal to do so.

SO, if an AA member or an AA sponsor tell you to get off your medication, GET AWAY FROM THEM, because that is NOT what we do here in Alcoholics Anonymous!
Failed 12 Step Call? Not if we walk away sober!
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Noels » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:05 pm

Good morning. Totally agree with Patsy. You are on an antidepressant for a reason. It is however something you should take every day as prescribed and not when you remember to take it. Continue with your meds as prescribed and find another sponsor. One who is human.
If no medication is supposed to be taken then the person taking blood pressure tablets should stop taking their meds also and the cancer patient should stop receiving chemo. Very narrow minded thinking that is dangerous.
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Re: AA and meds

Postby clouds » Wed Apr 20, 2016 5:25 am

I think the prospective sponsor just said she didn't sponsor people on psychiatric meds. She wasn't asking anyone to go off meds. She made it clearshe isn't able to sponsor people on medications for psychiatric disorders. I think thats fair enough.

She left sponsorship open in that if the sponsee wanted to have her as a sponsor they could, if they wanted to go off the meds. Its always a personal decision to take antidepressants. Just like its a personal decision to accept a person as a sponsee or not to.

I haven't been put in that position myself. No one I have sponsored was on meds for a psychiatric disorder or depression. I myself would probably not feel qualified as a sponsor for someone in the same situation because I have no experience to share about meds or psychiatric disorders, or clinical depression. I think the prospective sponsor did the right thing there and was honest.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Patsy© » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:42 am

clouds wrote:I think the prospective sponsor just said she didn't sponsor people on psychiatric meds. She wasn't asking anyone to go off meds. She made it clearshe isn't able to sponsor people on medications for psychiatric disorders. I think thats fair enough.


A sponsor's whole job is to be of service and take a newcomer or any AA member through the 12 steps, one step at a time, that is it and THAT IS FAIR. When we begin to make judgements on whether we will take another alcoholic through the 12 steps based on someone being on meds, or who has done jail time, or who doesn't like blondes, or who doesn't like a particular side of town or ..... then they ought not be sponsoring anyone, due to their own program being off.

I believe that the famous old question needs to be asked......"What Would The Master Do?" Yes, WE know the answer to that question and if we don't, then we need to find a good sponsor and be taken through the 12 steps of Recovery for our own well being.

There are alcoholics who NEED to take their medication because if they don't, they are not able to understand, work, or apply the 12 steps in their own life, never mind passing them on!

When we as alcoholics begin to determine who we will help or not help based on our own prejudice, its our own sobriety and recovery that we put in danger.

Tradition 3 says it the best .... "Who dared to be judge, jury and executioner of his own sick brother!"
Failed 12 Step Call? Not if we walk away sober!
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Re: AA and meds

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:13 pm

Patsy© wrote:
A sponsor's whole job is to be of service and take a newcomer or any AA member through the 12 steps, one step at a time, that is it and THAT IS FAIR. When we begin to make judgements on whether we will take another alcoholic through the 12 steps based on someone being on meds, or who has done jail time, or who doesn't like blondes, or who doesn't like a particular side of town or ..... then they ought not be sponsoring anyone, due to their own program being off.

I believe that the famous old question needs to be asked......"What Would The Master Do?" Yes, WE know the answer to that question and if we don't, then we need to find a good sponsor and be taken through the 12 steps of Recovery for our own well being.

There are alcoholics who NEED to take their medication because if they don't, they are not able to understand, work, or apply the 12 steps in their own life, never mind passing them on!

When we as alcoholics begin to determine who we will help or not help based on our own prejudice, its our own sobriety and recovery that we put in danger.

Tradition 3 says it the best .... "Who dared to be judge, jury and executioner of his own sick brother!"


Exactly! Great post!
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Noels » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:29 pm

I agree. Nite nite ladies. I'm off to my happy place :D
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Re: AA and meds

Postby clouds » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:02 am

Anyone can refuse to sponsor a person if they don't feel they would be the best person to do that.

I think the proposed sponsor was right to be honest and explain as she did that there were other members of the group who had experience and knew how to sponsor people who are on psychiatric medication. I know I wouldn't know how to go about it and I also would give the suggestion for the newcomer to seek out someone with the experience and knowledge to do that.

Its nothing to do with liking or not liking people, I do like some of the people who are on meds. I think you knew that.
No reason to escalate this into a dramatic divisive event by misrepresenting what I wrote.

My sobriety was about getting sober and clean from all mood altering substances and I had an attraction to over the counter medications. I had also done street drugs. I dropped all those along with alcohol at my first meeting. I just don'thave anything to offer people who are prescribed meds. I have nothing to share, or experience with taking meds and sobering up. I culdn't sponsor people who have psychiatric disorders and or clinical depression, I have no experience at all with that and I'm not a psychologist or docto or psychiatrist. I would be afraid to sponsor someone with these disorders who was on meds. I have noticed that many members now are taking meds and I have no opinion on that at all. I believe they are under doctors supervision and that their illness, as was said above, requires medication. I really think members who have had the experience of sobering up in AA while they were taking psychiatric medication would be better sponsors for newcomers with prescribed medications than those AA members who don't have that experience.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: AA and meds

Postby Noels » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:25 am

:D Love you Clouds :D I agree with your post as well. Personally I stopped taking bipolar meds last year January 2015. I just decided I no longer want to experience bipolar or the meds and I'll be honest, I don't know whether it was withdrawals as apparently after 12 years one should be " weened" off the stuff and I just stopped dead but last year I was constantly sick but only had 1 " attack " where I knew it was bipolar. This year absolutely nothing and I feel better than ever. So by the time I walked in at AA I was med-free :D But ... not everyone is me so I get hectically upset when anyone - (not you as you didn't say anything) suggest someone must go off their meds. I agree with you. The sponsor did do the right thing theoretically. It just makes a person who is on meds feel so " judged" or I don't know if this is the right word - discriminated against as it feels like that person wont help you cause you have a medical condition.
In any event, I always suggest people stay on their meds. Eventually when the time is right they themselves will know if they can stop the meds but best not take chances.
So nice to see you posting regularly now. At one time I was wondering where Clouds was hiding :D
Have a lovely evening. Its my meeting night so I better run and get dinner going for my 2 monsters (hehehehe hubby and son :lol: )
Mwah xxx
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