Many men and women who choose to enter into a life of sobriety believe that Alcoholics Anonymous is a program solely for those who have problems with alcohol. At face-value, this makes sense, and some people in the recovery community firmly believe that Alcoholics Anonymous is for treating the disease of alcoholism, which Narcotics Anonymous is for treating drug addiction. However, when we look at the history of A.A., it becomes clear that this view is not only incorrect, but also creates a sense of exclusivity that may endanger the lives of those who seek help for a multitude of addiction problems in the rooms of A.A. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by a group of men looking for an answer to the common problem of alcoholism. What they found, however, was a spiritual solution that gave them a new design for living that extended, not only to their problems with alcohol, but to their problems with all mood and mind-altering substances. Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and author of the Big Book, did not only suffer from problems related to alcohol but also problems related to heavy sedative use. He described his experience with both alcohol and drug use, stating: “Next day found me drinking both gin and sedative. This combination soon landed me on the rocks. People feared for my sanity. So did I. I could eat little or nothing when drinking, and I was forty pounds under weight.” Much like the majority of men and women entering into the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill’s disease was not limited solely to one substance, and the program is not designed only to treat issues related to alcohol. Further in the Big Book, there are stories describing the experiences of Alcoholics Anonymous members finding sobriety. One, of these stories, “Acceptance Was the Answer”, tackles the issue of drug addiction more head-on; “For the leveling-off process, I just loved intravenous Demerol.” He later expands upon the nature of his drug addiction: “In the garage I would put the needle in my vein and then try to figure out exactly how much medication to inject to overcome the pep pills while adding to the sleeping pills while ignoring the tranquilizers.” Opiates, amphetamines, tranquilizers, sedatives, and sleeping pills are all discussions in the Big Book as co-occurring addictions along with alcoholism. Many men and women in sobriety who abused or were addicted to drugs choose to attend Alcoholics Anonymous because it offers the original, undiluted message of 12-Step recovery. Even if our primary drug of choice was not alcohol, we realize that our commitment to sobriety includes abstaining from all mind and mood-altering chemicals, and A.A. is a program designed to help us achieve this goal. The Big Book tells us that “bottles were only a symbol”. Alcoholism and drug addiction are symptoms of a disease that afflicts us all, and we find that the program of Alcoholics Anonymous provides a path toward a sober life beyond our wildest dreams, free from both alcohol and drugs.
You can make the choice to change the story of your life. Oceanfront Recovery is a treatment center with a professional and compassionate staff of detoxification specialists dedicated to making the process as comfortable as possible. For more information about Drug and Alcohol Detox Programs or other treatment options, please call: (877) 279-1777