Page 1 of 2 [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

TheHorseandtheRider
Butterfly
Butterfly

User avatar

Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 17
Location: Philadelphia, PA

10 Nov 2011, 9:50 am

My family first became aware of my severe depression when my boss called them to ask if I was still alive. They entered my home and found me locked up in one room, peeing in bottles, eating pancake mix straight out of the box and washing it down with cold water for sustainance. Clearly there was a problem that needed to be handled.

So the first move was to have me committed for my own safety. A wise decision I think but it trailed off quickly into what would become a forlorn path away from any hope of a true long-term recovery.

I had been waking up only to go on the internet to play various online games and eat something, anything, to stave off hunger without having to go outside by any means possible. Also I tested positive for marijuana use.

The facility that I was taken to focused entirely on addiction treatment and nothing else. According to them my demon was addiction and God was the only cure. God you ask? No not God. I meant "your higher power". That's not God really. It's anything you want it to be.

They told me that NA and AA were not religions. They seemed to me to be something of a religion though. They read from just one book. They talked about an otherworldly being, whatever it may or may not be, that had the power to change you. They stood up and gave "testimonies".

But enough of that for now. "Right now you need to realize that you are an addict." I am? I hear the others talk about their experiences. Chasing the dragon. That first rush that you feel and always want to reinact. The desperation. Stealing. The withdrawl. I felt none of that. What I felt was depression. "Oh, well that's depression from your withdrawl."

Withdrawl from what? Video games? Marijuana? The video games were an escape but they didn't feel like an addiction. The marijuana actually calmed me down. It seemed to help blunt the effects of anxiety. Obessessive, yes but addiction didn't seem to match with the others' experiences.

I was myself myopic at this time but so were they. When I stood up in the meetings to speak I would beg someone to help me with this feeling of hopelessness. All I would get back was to find my "higher power" and stop "using".

So like a good little autistic I went along with it. I did what they told me to do. I cut off the games and pot. I searched for a higher power. But I did it in my own way. Heavy research. I read every holy book and book about every holy book I could find. I explored new-age religions and even touched on Scientology as well as a book from a man who wanted me to join his commune in a desert cave in Arizona for $2,500 a month plus expenses. I gained a better understanding of religion than ever before but I didn't believe in any of it. Furthermore I became aware of cults and NA acted just like one.

In fact I became the meeting's one and only non-addicted skeptic. When they made me testify I would start to debunk claims of any supernatural being taking part in my personal life and this would be promptly ended with appeals to various gods which I would then directly debunk.

The final straw was a conversation at a meeting after nearly two years of this treatment with no relief from my depression or an interest from them in defeating it directly. I stood up once more in front of the crowd and was challenged by a plucky social worker with what she thought was a deadpan arguement to "convert" me once and for all.

"So you don't believe in a higher power?"
No
"Ok so you can only believe in things that you can see?"
Yes
"Can you see that doorknob?"
Yes
"That doorknob can be your higher power!"
How is that?
"Well the doorknob exists right?"
Right. But what can it do for me?
She smiled wryly and hit me with the punchline. "The doorknob can open doors."

She was right! So I used the holy doorknob. I promptly left the meeting. And I haven't seen my higher power since. As it turns out I didn't need it. Not to cure me from depression anyway. I still use them occasionally in the proper fashion and have no interest in praying to them.

Quite useful though, doorknobs, not higher powers.

I'll take care of things on my own. I'll seek help from other human beings, animals, and safe/pleasant surroundings. They exist. I feel better knowing that I have the power to take care of things on my own and in my own way.

I only needed more knowledge and that comes from reality.



Last edited by TheHorseandtheRider on 11 Nov 2011, 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

blauSamstag
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 Apr 2011
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,026

10 Nov 2011, 12:04 pm

Plus, according to their own (mostly buried) study, AA works just as well as going it alone with no structure.



iamnotaparakeet
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 31 Jul 2007
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,091
Location: 0.5 Galactic radius

10 Nov 2011, 12:19 pm

Yeah, I've never been an alcoholic but, when my stepfather had briefly placed me in a mental hospital ten years ago, one of the nonsensically required events for all the patients was an AA meeting and, indeed, they sound like morons. The AA leaders that is and not the other patients. The other mental patients were sane by comparison. Well, actually, they were sane anyway. Pretty much everyone there was there on false pretenses due to parents being jerks and wanting to give up responsibility for their own children, but the AA leaders seemed like they actually belonged. However the idiocy of the AA cult says nothing regarding the nature of God but only speaks of the nature of the AA cult itself.



TheHorseandtheRider
Butterfly
Butterfly

User avatar

Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 17
Location: Philadelphia, PA

10 Nov 2011, 3:11 pm

I feel the need to add that I know that this system does help people. Some people need this type of service, this particular method specifically. But I detected a myopic self-preservation amongst the "professionals" that ran the program.

All other factors were excluded except addiction and the only solution was to appeal to a supernatural being. The lengths that they went to defend this method when begged to try other ways was excruciating and wasted valueable time.

I wasted time and learned more about how to prepare herion and the differences between crack and cocaine than how to recover from depression.



blauSamstag
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 Apr 2011
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,026

10 Nov 2011, 3:42 pm

it sounds like you were subjected to a team of goldbricking ideologues, which is usually a bad experience, regardless of the ideology.



leejosepho
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Sep 2009
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,011
Location: 200 miles south of Little Rock

10 Nov 2011, 3:49 pm

TheHorseandtheRider wrote:
"Can you see that doorknob?"
Yes
...
"The doorknob can open doors."

She was right! So I used the holy doorknob. I promptly left the meeting.

I hope you do not mind if I pass that little exchange along to my A.A. friends! I think that is great!

Honestly, though, those people had no business trying to push anything whatsoever at you, and I hope you do not hold that against A.A. since the *real* A.A. is actually nothing less or more than bit of shared experience:

We were dying of chronic alcoholism;
We took the Steps;
Now we are no longer dying of chronic alcoholism.

The entire program is definitely dependent upon "Trust in God (as you understand God) and clean house", but nobody is ever button-holed or brow-beaten by A.A. into doing that. Rather, we who are *real* A.A. members try to only practice this:

"If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience ...
"... be friendly. Let it go at that."

If you are doing well today on your own, my hat is off to you!


_________________
I began looking for someone like me when I was five ...
My search ended at 59 ... right here on WrongPlanet.
==================================


Pengu1n
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 2 Nov 2011
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 134

10 Nov 2011, 7:28 pm

Lol......... I am also atheist.

Happy Penguin :D



TheHorseandtheRider
Butterfly
Butterfly

User avatar

Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 17
Location: Philadelphia, PA

11 Nov 2011, 12:47 am

I agree with you LeeJosepho. I do not want to make the mistake of generalizing. I saw that this program helped many people as they shared victories in their testimonies. It must be empowering to feel that God is on your side when you fight something as looming as addiction. I also know of a group called Secular Sobriety that services non theists in a similar manner. Both also provide a crucial network of other people with the same experiences to support recovery. Both have a system to follow to success. Unfortunately this like anything else can be abused.

What I think happened was that the employees at this specific facility itself leaned on AA like a crutch in lieu of other services. They did not address my depression and anxiety at all except with other drugs and only addiction therapy in lieu of cognitive behavioral therapy. They did not go to the true source. They looked at the end result and assumed it was from addiction and not depression. When confronted with depression they surmised that the depression was the result of addiction as well. Laziness and goldbricking indeed.

I do have to reinforce my stance that AA is a bit myopic when it comes to what defines addiction. They tend to see any type of usage as addiction and generalize in this way. Keep in mind I was a depressed and anxious undiagnosed autistic and not an addict. I played video games obsessively but this was not in an addictive manner. The key was my drive. My drive was not addictive, it was avoidant. I was avoiding the real world with video games. The marijuana was habitual and linked up with the video game habit to induce what I now know was "stimming" behavior and not addictive behavior. The best example to me was that after my recovery I stopped playing video games altogether and immediately but still treat anxiety (and watch movies :P ) using marijuana occasionally.

I also differ with American Society's penchant to lump marijuana in with addictive drugs even though it lacks an addictive substance. I understand the addictive effects of herion or cocaine and especially alcohol to be much more intense and prominent in our culture. It can be a "gateway" drug but in my case, 30 years old at the time, it should have been panned as I took no "hard drugs" and am averse to alcohol in any form.

Nothing is in Black and White....it all comes in shades of grey. It takes more work to define the true nature of any problem before taking action, but I think it's worth it.



dogslife
Toucan
Toucan

User avatar

Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 266

11 Nov 2011, 1:52 am

I know the feeling; I have badly needed NA before but always felt so alienated by the cult-like enforcement of the religious element. I have no problem with other people having their personal beliefs, but I definitely don't want them forced on me, especially when I'm at a vulnerable stage of addiction/drug abuse (not that I am right now, thank... not-God, haha).



peebo
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Mar 2006
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,624
Location: scotland

12 Nov 2011, 3:42 pm

hmm, psychiatric patients are forced to go to aa meetings in the us of a? makes me glad to be in britain under the care of the nhs, for all it's downfalls.

seems like you did the right thing though. sounds like you had no reason to be there in the first place. and from what i've gathered the aa is indeed rather cultish.


_________________
?Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.?

Adam Smith


leejosepho
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Sep 2009
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,011
Location: 200 miles south of Little Rock

13 Nov 2011, 11:16 am

peebo wrote:
... from what i've gathered the aa is indeed rather cultish.

Much of today's AA is like that, but the original A.A. was not.


_________________
I began looking for someone like me when I was five ...
My search ended at 59 ... right here on WrongPlanet.
==================================


peebo
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 Mar 2006
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,624
Location: scotland

13 Nov 2011, 5:03 pm

leejosepho wrote:
peebo wrote:
... from what i've gathered the aa is indeed rather cultish.

Much of today's AA is like that, but the original A.A. was not.


i'm not so sure...

http://www.positiveatheism.org/rw/ofcourse.htm


_________________
?Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.?

Adam Smith


Poet_Morpheus
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 8 Nov 2011
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 30

13 Nov 2011, 7:24 pm

I feel like saying something random here...ready?

Robin: holy doorknobs! batman!

The doorknob thing was the only reason I kept readying.



WilliamWDelaney
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Apr 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,201

14 Nov 2011, 8:32 am

TheHorseandtheRider wrote:
My family first became aware of my severe depression when my boss called them to ask if I was still alive. They entered my home and found me locked up in one room, peeing in bottles, eating pancake mix straight out of the box and washing it down with cold water for sustainance. Clearly there was a problem that needed to be handled.
Huh? Gee, I've done worse than that. I found it to be therapeutic, really.

Quote:
So the first move was to have me committed for my own safety. A wise decision I think
Nah, you would have just turned eventually into a jogging, dieting health nut.

Quote:
I was myself myopic at this time but so were they. When I stood up in the meetings to speak I would beg someone to help me with this feeling of hopelessness. All I would get back was to find my "higher power" and stop "using".
Well, they were right. You were just hooked on your own misery rather than an external substance.

Quote:
The final straw was a conversation at a meeting after nearly two years of this treatment with no relief from my depression or an interest from them in defeating it directly. I stood up once more in front of the crowd and was challenged by a plucky social worker with what she thought was a deadpan arguement to "convert" me once and for all.

"So you don't believe in a higher power?"
No
"Ok so you can only believe in things that you can see?"
Yes
Here's the part where it's fun to change the script by saying, "no," and lead them around in circles for a while. Eventually, the social worker declares you to be an impossible, pig-headed jerk and gives up.

Quote:
"Can you see that doorknob?"
Yes
Try saying you don't see the doorknob at all next time, and claim that this is because you wouldn't want to hurt its feelings by discriminating against all of the things that you can't see.

When you are asked, "what makes you think that a doorknob has feelings," ask, "what makes YOU think it doesn't?"

This is the most direct response to the argument that is being made.

{{Note: okay, that first part doesn't actually make sense, but you get the general drift}}

Quote:
"That doorknob can be your higher power!"
How is that?
"Well the doorknob exists right?"
Right. But what can it do for me?
She smiled wryly and hit me with the punchline. "The doorknob can open doors."

She was right! So I used the holy doorknob. I promptly left the meeting. And I haven't seen my higher power since. As it turns out I didn't need it. Not to cure me from depression anyway. I still use them occasionally in the proper fashion and have no interest in praying to them.

Quite useful though, doorknobs, not higher powers.

I'll take care of things on my own. I'll seek help from other human beings, animals, and safe/pleasant surroundings. They exist. I feel better knowing that I have the power to take care of things on my own and in my own way.

I only needed more knowledge and that comes from reality.
That is Epicureanism. You see, the idea behind Epicureanism is to realize that you really shouldn't worry yourself over things that don't really have any effect on you, and focus on finding concrete, tangible sources of tranquility and specifically avoiding things that might disturb that tranquility. The Epicureans believed that you could pursue happiness by abolishing from your mind the invisible demons and bugbears that come to disrupt it.

So you do have a formal system of belief. Epicureanism is the one and only religion that is based officially on atheism.



Last edited by WilliamWDelaney on 14 Nov 2011, 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

leejosepho
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Sep 2009
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,011
Location: 200 miles south of Little Rock

14 Nov 2011, 9:58 am

peebo wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
peebo wrote:
... from what i've gathered the aa is indeed rather cultish.

Much of today's AA is like that, but the original A.A. was not.

i'm not so sure...

http://www.positiveatheism.org/rw/ofcourse.htm

I understand, and I have read all of that kind of stuff over the years.

The original A.A. is nothing more, less or other than a common *experience*:

What we were like --> We were dying of chronic alcoholism;
What happened --> We abandoned our wills and our lives to the care and direction of God;
What we are like now --> We are no longer dying of chronic alcoholism.

Not everyone who ever drinks seems to need that in order to recover from chronic alcoholism, and A.A. does not require anyone to ascribe to anything in order to be recognized as a member of A.A.

Many people have many ideas about what alcoholism either is or is not, and many people are critical of A.A. simply because they think they have something better to off the alcoholic ...

... and A.A. has no objection against any of that. Rather:

Quote:
If he is not interested in your solution ...
"If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God (or even on permanent recovery from chronic alcoholism); we merely have an approach that worked with us. ("A.A.", the book, page 95)


_________________
I began looking for someone like me when I was five ...
My search ended at 59 ... right here on WrongPlanet.
==================================


ruveyn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Sep 2008
Age: 84
Gender: Male
Posts: 31,502
Location: New Jersey

14 Nov 2011, 11:04 am

^^^^^

The traded on addiction for another. Instead of booze, it is coffee and donuts, badges, and meeting after meeting with sad maladjusted people. From a health point of view this is probably less harmful than being addicted to booze.

ruveyn