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Horrible Experience In The Past

Discussion in '12-Step Support Groups' started by hunkydoire, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. hunkydoire

    hunkydoire Member

    About 10 years ago, when I first had to kick opiates, I tried going to NA meetings, and while it initially was very helpful, I ended up dealing with such horrible, back-stabbing, gossip-hooked, petty people that I never wanted to go back. I know that one of the first things they recommend to people is to find a sponsor...well I had no problems with these meetings until I was approached by a seemingly harmless woman who offered to be my sponsor. She then introduced me to my "sponsee sisters" who did nothing but spread rumors about me when all I was trying to do was the 'right' thing. I have heard from some people that there is less drama in AA meetings, but seriously, my experience with this group was so bad that I still cringe when I hear some of the 12 step prayers. The worst part of it was all three women (sponsor and two other sponsees) were still using but lying about it, and accusing me of doing the same thing when I was not, and spent more time gossiping than working steps or doing anything helpful or constructive.

    Now that I am trying to help a friend get clean, she wants to try going to meetings but I do not know what to recommend to her. I don't want to lie to her but I do not want to discourage or scare her off either. I'm sure that my experience was a isolated case. Could anyone offer some advice in this situation? I think perhaps if my friend goes and just asks questions and waits to find the right sponsor (if that is a route she wants to take) it could be very helpful to her.
  2. medievalmama

    medievalmama Community Listener Community Listener

    What do you get when you sober up a horse thief? A sober horse thief. Unfortunately you will find a lot of the disease of addiction/alcoholism in meetings. Not everyone in the rooms is there for the same reason.

    The best thing I can say is to try different meetings. Some meetings tend to focus more on the steps and have a lot of recovery. Other meetings... well, some are not so good. I would also say to listen. If the person is always talking about other people, then they are probably gossiping about you too.

    Do a person's words match their "walk"? Has the sponsor worked the steps? I got clean in NA and now have 26 years. Many years I went only to AA meetings because I found too much of the street in the NA meetings, but there are some amazing NA meetings. Keep your ears open and trust your gut.
    Sarasmiles likes this.
  3. jeremy2092

    jeremy2092 Member

    Yeah, try different meetings. Keep at it. You have come this far to be tripped up by other people's pettiness. Cut them out like you have done with your old friends that are no good for you.
  4. hunkydoire

    hunkydoire Member

    Thank you, I appreciate your input - both of you! I am still so freaked out by the nightmares that I had to deal with before, that I think I might try out online meetings first. Do you think that might be a decent place to start?
  5. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    That sounds like a really difficult and a sad situation. I'm really sorry to hear about it, and to respond to you I think you should try out online meetings or seek professional help from people you trust because I'm sure you need people around you that support you and help you.
  6. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    I haven't gone with the meeting route because this is the very kind of thing I worry about. I may reconsider after reading some of these replies however.
  7. medievalmama

    medievalmama Community Listener Community Listener

    There have been a few different times in my life when I have relied on on-line meetings. A couple times because of the extreme sickness of a small fellowship on a small island, and other times when I was physically unable to attend meetings. I have formed lasting friendships as a result of that experience. Personally, I found closed email groups more supportive because we really got to know each other and it felt very safe. I'm sure there are some great online, chat format, meetings too.

    Also, most fellowships have some form of "meeting in print." For AA, they call it the Grapevine. Narcotics Anonymous has The NA Way Magazine. It's amazing how the right article can arrive at exactly the right time.
  8. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    What a shame you had to go through all that in the past. As if you weren't dealing with enough problems at the time.
    At least you found a way to help yourself despite of all that nasty behavior around you. It's really good to hear that you found people and groups online that helped you through some difficult stages. I personally have also found more relief and peace from meeting people online and talking, or sharing, my concerns with them, than joining a group. I like the anonymous aspect of it, and the fact that I can really be myself. I can write or chat freely, whereas in groups I feel observed and often secretly judged.
  9. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    That's a good thing though. I was like you.
  10. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Community Champion

    I'm not only so sorry to hear about the bad experience you had in that group, but also can't believe those women who hurt you in such a bad way could be "helping" people still.

    Yes, it's likely that your experience and the attitude of an undesirable sponsor may happen very rarely but possible, what makes me wonder if there is no a way to report those woman with whoever conducts a support group or the authority member responsible for it, because if they did it to you, they may do the same gossiping thing to someone else falling in their paws.
  11. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I had a similar experience. But I was attending the meetings of a group targeted at overweight people dealing with food addictions... The environment there was awful, actually AA meetings much better, same with NA. The people from that awful group were so mean, so insulting and rude. They swore at all, and when you got the microphone there was no respect most of the time, there was a woman who laughed out loud at the things I said, even if they were so serious to me. Just awful.

    I also attended a group targeted at the relatives of alcoholics, people there were so kind, gentle and loving, no drama. I think different groups attract different kind of people. It's all about the people that start the group... if you start allowing members to be disrespectful to each other... then of course that will become the norm.
  12. Sarasmiles

    Sarasmiles Member

    I'm sorry you had a negative experience in the rooms. Please don't let that color your view of recovery.

    I shared similar issues as yours, and actually had to change my sponsor. I had fallen in with a crowd who may have left some addictions behind only to allow defects to grow. It was a very codependent, sick, manipulative group, and I was not a victim, I volunteered to hang out with them. Eventually I realized my sobriety was at risk after yet another painful episode with my so-called sober pals, and I detached with love.

    I have faith in you and I trust you have the power inside to achieve your goals. There are so many people, including me, who support you on your journey. Best wishes and luck to you!
  13. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    Well, I know that not all meetings are created equal, and some are definitely better than others. I think you should consider shopping around for meetings you like or maybe finding one online. That may be your best bet when it comes to finding a meeting that will work you.