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.

18. Joshua

I am a recovering IV drug user. Right now I have 16 months of clean and sober time.

A few years ago, I tested positive for HIV. I was informed that getting clean and sober would improve my chances of survival. I went to AA meetings looking for the right group. After much research, I picked a home group, where I saw a potential sponsor. I asked people what they thought of this man, and they told me that he was good natured and had over eight years of "quality" sobriety. So I asked him to be my sponsor, and he accepted.

About a month later, we were at a meeting where a former drug user was chairing. After the meeting, my sponsor asked me if I had even done hard drugs. I said yes. He asked if I'd been tested for HIV. I said yes. He then asked what the results were, and I told him the truth.

The guy freaked out, and he dropped me as a sponsee. Soon after, he spread the word about my HIV+ status. At one point I was threatened with physical violence if I did not leave that group.

I left the group and relapsed. It took a year and a half to get clean again. I still go to meetings far away and have had to seek professional help (therapy). Word has spread about my HIV+ status from meeting to meeting, so I cannot attend meetings in my own community. I go to an NA meeting several cities away and that's about it.