Horror Stories
True Tales of Misery, Betrayal and Abuse in NA, AA and 12-Step Treatment

Rebecca Fransway
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This book is here courtesy of See Sharp Press and Rebecca Fransway, Ed.

40. Denise
They Said I Couldn't Promise Myself Sobriety!

When I went to my first AA meeting, I was in a five-day state-run detox center in Alaska. I was 29 and had been a hooker, addict, and alcoholic in that town since the age of 16. I was 23 when I met my husband and got out of the street life, although I had not given up drugs and alcohol.

When I arrived at the meeting, I immediately recognized the majority of the people present, especially the men. This meeting took place in a small town with a big memory, and everyone at the meeting knew exactly who I was and what I'd been involved in. I had slept with most of the men at the meeting at some time or another before my marriage, and most of the women knew it.

At the meeting, I said that I was an alcoholic/addict and that nothing could ever be so horrible in my life as to ever make me do drugs or drink again. The people at the meeting were hostile to me and told me I didn't know that I would never again drink or use, and so I couldn't say that.

I told them that for 29 years I'd been living down to everyone else's destructive expectations,and now that I was finally setting a healthy goal for myself they were saying I couldn't do it. I felt attacked and humiliated. I was extremely uncomfortable there, and I knew the members were squirming in their seats just thinking about me telling my drunkalogs -- they were in most of them! None of the women there would volunteer to be my sponsor. I felt the organization was negative, religious, and extremely male dominated. After the meeting, I asked my counselor to take me to the bookstore.

I felt there had to be other approaches to recovery. That's when I found Dr. Jean Kirkpatrick's books Good-Bye Hangover, Hello Life and Turnabout. The rest of my recovery is history: 11 years clean and sober, and no AA.