Addiction to AA meetings

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Addiction to AA meetings

Postby nomonde » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:13 am

Hi, my husband has been sober for 20+ years. He still goes to AA meetings on a worrying increasing level of 3-4 times a week. He neglects his family (kids), thinking fellow members are his only 'friends'. I tend to believe it is a network of people assisting one another in their recovery and being anonymous would not allow for friendships on an equal peer basis.
I have learned so much as people vulnerable to addictions (he tended to become addicted to gambling at a certain stage), he could easily fall into the trap of getting addicted to AA meetings as well. I find it very difficult to have an open conversation about this with him.
Anyone any ideas how to tackle this?
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby PaigeB » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:25 am

For me, becoming addicted to AA meetings is like saying I am addicted to my heart medication. I must participate or I might die, surely I will drink - for me sooner than later.

I think then the problem is not the meetings or even the Fellowship, but a person who needs some balance in their life. It is part of something I am learning as a result of practicing the principles of this program. When I asked my husband recently about me slowing down on meetings, going to less than 4 a week & spending more time together. He was adamant that I continue to do whatever I need to do to stay sober otherwise "we" will have nothing at all.

At 20+ years, perhaps he needs a new experience with the 12 Steps. My sponsor is recently changed sponsors and is going through them again and she has 30+ years since her last drink. Maybe this new level of going to AA is a burst of effort to find a deeper experience and things will balance out again. It is completely possible that he is in fear of taking a drink... these thoughts that we can drink again after a substantial period of sobriety are quite common.

I always suggest Alanon to family & friends of AA's. You can contact them through this website.
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/home
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:32 am

He still goes to AA meetings on a worrying increasing level of 3-4 times a week.


I go to about 3 meetings a week. And the sunday one to a correction facility and it takes about 3 1/2 hours. Does it all impact the family, yes but my wife is supportive of it, we work around the schedule. If we are on vacation, I do excuse myself from the sunday meetings and other commitments. She understands its part of my recovery.

I am not sure why you think 3-4 meetings a week is alarming, I would say its a norm. I know some do 90 in 90 even after 20/30 years in recovery.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby Brock » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:35 pm

I know some members who seem to need meetings regularly and some who don't. In the fellowship we often speak of steps 10, 11 & 12 as being the maintenance of our sobriety. 10 & 11 have to do with our spiritual condition, 12 is our effort to pass on the message that was given to us.

Hope I don't get in trouble for saying this, but I have come to believe based on personal knowledge of those who need lots of meetings, and also some of what I have read here, that the ones who need less meetings are basically more 'spiritual.' For them the 10 & 11 comes naturally, and they don't spend lots of time praying or stop looking at pretty girls or anything like that.

If we had to go four times a week to be happy and free of drinking thoughts, what would happen to all those living in isolated areas where meetings are many miles away, working on ships and offshore oil platforms, or like two I know who due to creaking old bones just can't physically come.

And often writing a letter of encouragement or advise on a forum like this can be very satisfying 12th step work, have a look at the post whose link is below, a lovely lady who gives great advise and goes to meetings a few times a year! Maybe you could consider nicely telling him about this site or others like it, I probably spend as much time on this as I would if I went to a meeting each day, but then I am at home and the little lady is happy to have me here, all the best to you.

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=19825&start=15

PS. Of course if 3-4 is what he needs, having a sober husband is way better than the alternative.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby Lali » Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:58 am

Brock wrote:Of course if 3-4 is what he needs, having a sober husband is way better than the alternative.


Absolutely! You might ask yourself the following questions: Other than feeling that he goes to too many meetings, how is your relationship with him? How is his relationship with the children? Is the time spent with them quality time? Do the kids feel neglected? Have you talked to your husband about the meetings - to ask him whether he fears drinking if he doesn't go as often as he does (it wasn't clear to me)? Perhaps he could spend one entire day of the weekend dedicated to the family such as a family outing or even just throwing a ball around in the back yard or a little family bar b q.

Good luck to you, friend.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby positrac » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:06 am

Addicted to AA meetings for 1-2 hours a day? So unless it is everything program and total neglect for the family would be a serious issue.

twenty years I "would" think balance would be in place on both sides of the family.


I used to make 7 meetings in the week and chaired two and took a meeting into the jail and it was my way of giving back and eventually I did throttle back as my responsibilities increased.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby whipping post » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:32 am

I go to two meetings a week and to be completely honest sometimes even that feels like a lot. With 2 kids, a very demanding job, and a wife that works more than full time it can be hard for us to connect period.

The only thing I can say is just be straight up honest with him and share your concerns. Perhaps he is struggling even after 20 years and needs the meetings to stay sober. Perhaps he just enjoys them and doesn't see it straining the family. Only he knows what is in his head and until it's out we are all only guessing.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby nomonde » Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:52 am

Thanks for the reactions so far. I appreciate it.
Some information from my side.
No, after 20 odd years he's not really afraid that he will go back to drinking. As a persons vulnerable to addictions, he fell into the trap of getting addicted to AA meetings. I have trouble understanding why AA is not taking this into account and trying to stimulate its members to stay part of society and real life. AA is not a substitute for real life, no matter how supportive.
My worry is that he thinks the AA meetings replace real life. He does not invest in relating to family or friends.
I'm a bit surprised that it always seems to be about alcoholics, never about the effect on relatives. I accept he's not drinking; however I do not accept he's destroying relationships around him, nor that he thinks every person that drinks 2 glasses a week is moving towards alcoholism. Not everybody is vulnerable to addictions, however I am getting tired of always be 'the strong one who understands everything'.
Any suggestions how to resolve this, other then separating?
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:14 am

Any suggestions how to resolve this, other then separating?


Perhaps he has a sponsor who asks him to hide in the rooms of AA instead of guiding him through the 12 steps. Have you suggested that he may find another sponsor and rework the 12 steps? So he can infuse some balance in his life?
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby Layne » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:00 am

nomonde wrote: I have trouble understanding why AA is not taking this into account and trying to stimulate its members to stay part of society and real life. AA is not a substitute for real life, no matter how supportive.

AA members are self governing and different people take different views and philosophies away as a result of participation.

I view my participation in the rooms of AA as excellent training and preparation for the moment I walk out the door after the meeting is over and venture out into the big world. To me, the hour spent in a meeting should be a tool, not a substitution nor replacement for real life. That is the view that I take away.

Learning to ride a bicycle with training wheels is all well and good, but the best fun and real freedom happens when the training wheels come off.

I would imagine your husband feels safe and secure with the training wheels in place. Falling and hitting the pavement is not pleasant. I well remember how safe and secure I felt in rehab. I also remember how scared I was as my day to leave rehab drew close.

My suggestion would be to sit down with your husband and tell him of your needs and desires, being sure to stick "your" and leaving "him" out of the conversation as much as possible. I don't mean to speak for you but as a possible example "I need friendship and companionship. I want for the kids to experience the same. I need and want for the family to engage as a unit"

I don't envy your situation, but growth is work. Hopefully you and your husband can compassionately help each other to remove blinders and by doing so to assist each other in fulfilling their desires and wants.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby Spirit Flower » Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:57 pm

I tend to believe it is a network of people assisting one another in their recovery and being anonymous would not allow for friendships on an equal peer basis.
For many, AA is a fellowship, spiritual at that. We are not anonymous to each other, but in fact close friends. We are equal and come to love each other as well. AA program is more than just not drinking. And yes many people sit and chat before and after the meeting. Just ask hubby for a little more of his time.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby Spirit Flower » Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:07 pm

Why have you not gone along to open speaker meetings and met some of the other spouses?
Or joined Alanon yourself?
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby nomonde » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:11 pm

I have attended a few meetings. however you must realise that since I met my husband he has been sober. Some of his family/friends even doubt that he ever was an alcoholic.
He's only been drinking shortly after his previous girl friend died in a car accident. I tend to call this event related temporarily alcoholism. I don't see a reason after almost 20 years of him being sober, why I should attend these meetings any longer. It is up to us to keep on feeling sorry for previous alcoholics? Isn't it about time that you learn how to take responsibility in your life again? The system of AA is designed to keep people in for eternity. It's like going to a psychologist: do your therapy, but don't be depended on it for the rest of your life as you allow the support system to take over the life that you live.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby positrac » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:19 am

nomonde wrote:I have attended a few meetings. however you must realise that since I met my husband he has been sober. Some of his family/friends even doubt that he ever was an alcoholic.
He's only been drinking shortly after his previous girl friend died in a car accident. I tend to call this event related temporarily alcoholism. I don't see a reason after almost 20 years of him being sober, why I should attend these meetings any longer. It is up to us to keep on feeling sorry for previous alcoholics? Isn't it about time that you learn how to take responsibility in your life again? The system of AA is designed to keep people in for eternity. It's like going to a psychologist: do your therapy, but don't be depended on it for the rest of your life as you allow the support system to take over the life that you live.



Maybe instead of trying to fix him you should be glad he isn't drinking and spending all of the money and not coming home and just being outta control.

If this is really that bad then you should make an agreement on family time and AA time and keep it real. I am married and my wife understands that part of the disillusionment is I go to meetings and or have people I help and it is a 24 hour deal. I have boundaries on how much work I do and so it doesn't cause friction sometimes and I need to reel in things. I remind my bride of over 16 years that it is better to have me sober and being a decent earner than in my old life.

You might not like my answer and that is ok; but finding a solution that meets both of you and actually understanding the details would do you both some good.
Last edited by positrac on Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Addiction to AA meetings

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:46 am

The system of AA is designed to keep people in for eternity.


I am sorry to say this board is for alcoholics. I think you will be better served elsewhere. Give us some space.
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