Thursday, March 29, 2012
I’ve been in 6 rehabs for alcohol addiction and been to more meetings than I can possibly count and I couldn’t stay sober for very long until my psychiatrist put me in what’s call a “dual diagnosis” center.
A dual diagnosis facility helps you deal with not only your addiction but your psychological issues at the same time. When you are able to on work both problems simultaneously your chances of staying clean and sober are much better because if you are depressed, obsessive, compulsive, prone to anxiety or panic or in any way psychotic it is almost impossible to stay clean and sober even if you’re going to meetings and following the 12 steps. Some of us need medication and therapy.
Now, it is true that some people in group at the meeting will protest and insist that you’re not REALLY clean because you take meds but there are more and more people who attend who are on some type of psychological treatment so you don’t have to feel self conscious.
AA and NA work in several ways. First, it’s the fellowship of other alcoholics and addicts. For the first time in life your life, it feels you’re with people who truly understand you and your struggle. Most veteran members will go out of their way to try and make you feel welcome and comfortable. There are even members who will help you with transportation, a place to live or food to eat. No matter how low down your addiction got you there will be someone who has story worse than or just as bad as yours. Here is one place you won’t judged, ridiculed or lectured. Some of the newcomers just like you may say some stupid or condescending things but they haven’t learned or practiced the principles of the program long enough to give the best advice. That’s why it’s a good idea to listen and stay close to veterans in the group. It’s also important to find a sponsor, someone who can guide and mentor you as you begin your journey into the steps. But that comes later.
If you want to do some reading about either or both programs there two main books that are indispensible to learning all about the 12 step program, they are the AA Big Book and the NA Basic Text. These books not only explain the steps and principles in detail, but contain basic information about staying clean and sober, history of the program and stories submitted by real alcoholics and addicts. They are free at every meeting. Or I’m certain you could have one sent to by your local chapter.
(to be continued)