I had been sober in AA a bit more than a year when Biker Ray heard me mutter about my drug use. I’d just realized I had a collection of 10 or 12 prescription bottles for codeine, each of which had one, two, or three tablets in it. Mostly these had been prescribed for tooth pain and maybe migraine. I remember I was pretty good at talking a doctor into most anything I wanted.
That was the boldest I ever was about getting drugs. The street scared me, which is probably a good thing. If someone had some pot, I’d smoke it, but I’d never seek it out or buy it, nor would I seek out other drugs. My one venture into speed had been a single dexedrine tablet given to me by a fellow college student who insisted it would help me study. It made me climb the walls and I was grateful it wore off before exam time.
Alcohol was my drug of choice. Over and over again I tried to control my drinking or drink differently or do something that would let me enjoy the high without the penalty of a hangover. So I’d come to AA knowing I was a drunk and not thinking much of anything about my drug use.
In the parking lot of the bar…
It was a minor car accident that actually triggered my recognition of my problem. Drunk as the proverbial skunk (where does that saying come from?) I’d driven my car into the back of another, right there in the bar parking lot. This was before airbags and I smashed a tooth through my lower lip and had a pretty nifty cut on my chin. The police were called and they put me in an ambulance and off to the hospital I went. I remember asking for, and getting, codeine for the pain of my cuts and bruises. And I also remember taking one not every four hours as prescribed, but everytime my chin twitched.
I’d been in AA about a week when I recognized being looped on codeine probably meant I wasn’t exactly sober, so I saved the last couple of pills and told someone at the next meeting that I’d recognized the problem. Praise was heaped upon me which I loved.
When I discovered my cache of codeine I was suddenly gifted with the recognition that I was actually hoarding the drugs in case I wanted to commit suicide. I dumped them all down the toilet.
Maybe that was the story I was telling when Ray, who claimed both AA and NA suggested I try an Narcotics Anonymous Meeting. I protested and told him a dozen reasons why I didn’t qualify. He just smiled and let me go on. While driving home I realized that I had protested too much and that there must be something in my drug use that needed looking at.
The next evening instead of AA I went to an NA meeting.
I was astounded. Here I sat, nice girl that I was, surrounded by all sorts of… drug addicts, and some of them looked like drug addicts too. (I hope you’re laughing.) By the end of the meeting I realized I had identified with every single speaker and I felt like a small hole in my program I hadn’t even known was there got filled in. I continued to attend both NA and AA meetings – my emphasis was on AA, but I never forgot my association with NA.
One of the things that struck me right away is that NA recognizes that alcohol is a drug, and if you’re drinking you can’t consider yourself clean in NA. That made and still makes a whole lot of sense to me and it avoids all the silliness about if it’s okay for me to talk about my drug use in an AA meeting.
I’m grateful to count myself recovered in both programs.
Have you had any experience with drugs and/or NA? Do you, for example, work both programs? How has that helped? (Assuming it has.)
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