Some Trouble with my New AA group & Medication

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by NyroFan, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    Since you all helped me lick that 18 beer a night mixed with meds problem I wanted to ask a question. I was given a pamphlet this week from AA. It said that if a doctor knows you have a condition like the old drinking habit, letting him know is imperative and he will prescribe accordingly.

    Well, I ran into a tussle with this 'temporary sponsor' I have (to see if we get along). She said the doctor gave me Percocet to cover up on my drinking. I felt very hurt and pointed out the pamphet to her. She said it was wise to stay away from all mind/mood alterating medication.

    I tried to let her know again of my condition and she said it could be handled by the 'spirituality' of the program itself.

    As it is I have signed a contract with my doctor about only getting pain meds from him and I have drawn up a chart where someone from the weekly meeting has to sign that I attended.

    I don't know what to do. Any advice.
  2. gnanny

    gnanny New Member

    you may have the wrong sponsor.
    I applaud someones beleif that a condition can handled spiritually, however myself I would need someone I could relate to a little better. Someone with an open mind to the real issues with this DD.
    Best wishes, I think you are doing great!
  3. ImDigNiT

    ImDigNiT New Member

    You have done the right thing and you should be highly comended.

    You must get a different sponser ASAP!

    My prayers and praise to you.

  4. suzetal

    suzetal New Member

    GET another one ASAP.

    My Dad went to AA and had cancer was he supposed to give up his pain meds NOOOOOOOOO. She is completely wrong I do not think should even be a sponsor if she does not realize that there are conditions that are out there that need meds.

    She needs to educate herself.

    I'm so so proud of you.
    God Bless
  5. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    To all:
    It is nice to know that other AAers are here. It makes me feel less like a 'freak': terrible word to use, but i am still getting over the shame of what I was doing.

    Since she said she would be a 'temporary sponsor' to see how things would start out, I believe I will take your advice and call her and tell her about medications and severe illness and that I need another sponsor.

    I spotted a gal last week who seemed to have much on the ball. She, like the other respondee's father, has cancer.
    Maybe we can relate.

    I will talk to her Friday night. It is so hard to go up to a stranger and pour out your life, but I have to stay on the sraight and narrow.

    Thank you all for your support. I believe I am on the right road.
  6. sheried

    sheried New Member

    1st - I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!

    2nd - You are in desparate need of a new sponsor. Please do this. You might also inform your doc as to the problem you are having with this sponsor. This would at least cover you if your sponsor won't sign the weekly meetings sheet.

    3rd - You are not a freak and never have been. You have a disease. Lots of people are cheering you on. Can't you feel the love from this board? We are all here for you.

    Hugs and many prayers,
  7. lilac123

    lilac123 New Member

    You are doing so great Nyro and don't doubt yourself for one minute. I too have gone the AA road many times and even at a service level with the state of CT when I lived there. At this point in time in my life it is not something I need any longer. Drinking is just not an option for me at all.

    You will find so many well-intended people with alot of good advice but also you have to learn to weed out what you don't need. If it was me I wouldn't even discuss my medical condition in this group setting as the response you got from the temporary sponsor will probably be the "norm". You are there for help with your drinking and thats it. Learning to go each day without a drink. Most people cannot understand our conditions if they have never suffered. I also respect the people who can get by without the pain meds but I cannot and would not like to be in the position of defending that to AA people. The majority believe in total abstenance of any substance. In my particular case that is impossible right now. And it sounds like you suffer with too much pain also and your Doctor knows what is going on.

    Your on the right track and should be so proud of yourself. Going off pain meds could even cause a relapse of drinking. Be careful not to put any of these people on a pedistal as they are just human beings. I made the mistake of doing that in the beginning and was so disappointed. The basic thing is take what you need and leave the rest. You are there because you have a problem with alchohol not narcotics.

    My prayers are with you!! Hang in there and Keep coming back!
  8. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    Thank you for all of the love, encouragement and good advice. Your advice all seems consistent so I know it is good information. You have given me so much on this message board and suggesting I go to AA was the best thing you could have done because I never would have done it otherwise.

    I think the gal I will ask to be a sponsor will be the one I mentioned. She is pretty sick physically and can probably identify. Or at least I can with her.

    So many of you have had so much courage to share your experiences it makes me want to cry.

    You were there all along while I was alone with my beer.

    I wish I had come clean sooner.

    And yes, the group leader for the meeting signs my chart.
    (Thank God).
  9. txangel

    txangel New Member

    You need to let her know that we only share our experience strenght and hope. and if she doesn't have experience with your condition or with taking pain meds while being sober she should help you find someone who does.
  10. Rose_Red

    Rose_Red New Member

    I don't have anything to add from the AA standpoint. I do think that if we could 'heal ourselves spiritually' we wouldn't be on this website.

    What you're doing is hard. I've helped friends, held hands and offered shoulders. I've seen it from the outside and the "No - you can't even take tylenol" mindset is just so damaging.

    It is true that there are people that will abuse their meds just to be f'd up. I've seen that before. but none of them went to their docs and asked for help. I don't think anybody here thinks that's what you're doing. I know I don't.

    I'll ask God to give you strength and to help you remember that there are so many who care for you - you're not alone.

  11. mildred623

    mildred623 New Member

    I agree with everyone else here that you need to find another sponsor.

    I experienced the same thing while attending NA meetings. No one understood that the meds I take are for pain and not to get "high" on. I finally just stopped going to meetings and did it myself.

    But let me tell you although I've been clean 6 years this is the hard way to do it.
    If possible you should try the AA way and just find someone who understands.
  12. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    You are really a strong, resiliant person, and I am proud of your courage and your accomplishments. I'm just sorry that this first sponser really doesn't understand that you ARE doing the right thing even if she thinks spirituality of the program can cure you; no, it can help you with your life, but it can't cure a nervous system disease. Period!

    I'm glad you're going to get a new sponser; that's why they must be temporary to begin. I'm glad,really, that this issue came out so early so you can make a change right away and get the help you need.

    Is there a leader of your group? That leader could sign your sheet...or someone, I'm sure. It doesn't have to be your sponser but that would make it easier.

    My best and prayers as you continue to find the right person for you.

    Take care,
  13. Dee50

    Dee50 New Member

    This is a higher power thing. I'll start praying now :)Don't even switch to NA as they will make AA folks seem mellow on this subject! Been there years ago.
    Prayers going up
  14. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    Thank you:
    You have given me overwhelming support. So many of you sound like you have much experience with people in programs.
    Friday night I will tell the temp sponsor that things are not working out due to the medication issue. And I will thank her for driving me to my first meeting and being on the front line of defense.

    No, this is not easy. Thank you for your prayers. I need them. It is such a rough thing to handle: this kind of problem. Have not been drinking, though, so there is victory there.
  15. fivesue

    fivesue New Member

    Yep, it won't be easy, but you are doing the hardest part by not drinking right now. I will pray that all goes well with this conversation and that you find the best sponser.

  16. rileyearl

    rileyearl New Member

    I always think of you as Laura!

    I found a wonderful story posted here on this board by Pinkstar/Lauryn. It explains what it's like to have lupus, but applies to fm, as well. I copied it to send around to my non-believing relatives. It's kind of long, but well worth reading and sharing. You might even want to read it to your AA group sometime, after all, it's about healing you. I went to Alanon for several years and gained so much from it. Even one friend who will be my friend forever.

    Here is the story about Spoons:

    My best friend and I were in the diner talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

    As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me this time, with a kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know? I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn't seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

    As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

    At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands. I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices, or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of choice, a gift most people take for granted.

    Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

    She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?

    I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of "spoons". But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn't even started yet. I’ve wanted more "spoons" for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

    I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said " No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can't take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too." I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her a spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.

    I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s "spoons", but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less "spoons". I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on "spoons", because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.

    We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.

    When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.

    I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared”

    Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day's plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count "spoons".

    After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can't go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”

    Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my "spoons."


    One other thing about meetings, classes and dealing with strangers--some people are here to guide us and others are here to show us how NOT TO BE. This one I heard from musician Taj Mahal at a concert years ago.

  17. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    Thank you: Francie, what a unique way of describing the disease. I may try it myself one day.

    Thank you: meringue, I find myself relying on a 'power greater than myself'. I can identify with that.

    I was reading the steps and some seem rough.

    And hats off to all of you girls who broke your anonymity for me.

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