Although it has become far more common in recent years, there are still some who bristle when they hear about drugs in AA meetings or alcohol in NA.
The truth of the matter is that drug addiction follows the same protocol as alcohol treatment. The only difference is the nomenclature.
The same disease is at work, following the same course of action. Really, it is no different than someone catching a cold from shaking someone’s hand that has it versus catching a cold by sitting next to someone coughing who has it.
Still, there are some people in meetings who are quick to jump all over anyone mentioning any chemical directly related to its respective fellowship. Often, they shout some drivel about it being an outside issue (a reference to the 10th Tradition).
Drug Addiction is not an outside issue when it comes to alcohol treatment
However, this is not an outside issue. It has been determined that outside issues are those that range outside the realm of drug addiction and alcohol treatment. When the 5th Tradition mentions that there are no opinions on outside issues, it is so that there are no other affiliations within a recovering group aside from helping others to recover from alcoholism and addiction.
Numerous things could be motivating these people. However, we will not go into what those may be. The ultimate irony is that they are so insistent on keeping “outside issues” out of meetings that they keep others from finding recovery by being unable to share their recovery with others who have similar experiences, which in turn is a violation of the very Tradition that they are supposedly supporting.
The same concept applies to so-called “closed meetings.” For those who do not know what a closed meeting is, it is a 12-Step meeting that is open only to those who identify as an alcoholic (if it is an AA meeting) or an addict (if it is an NA meeting). This is just one very large aspect of alcohol treatment and addiction.
Well, that is all well and good, but what if someone does not know if they are an alcoholic or an addict? Is a group really going to turn away someone looking for recovery? If so, that is anything but adhering to the singleness of purpose that is usually the default reasoning.
Sadly, there actually are groups that will ask someone to leave if they do not identify, whether they believe it or not.
Of course, all this requires is someone saying that they identify, whether it is true or not. However, with such an arbitrary requirement, why have it at all?
Many groups also ask those who are visibly intoxicated to leave meetings. Really? You’re going to ask an alcoholic or addict to leave an AA or NA meeting because they are loaded? Is that not why there are there in the first place—because they cannot stop drinking or using once they start?
No one is perfect, and these things are changing. However, it is up to the knowledgeable members of a group to include all those who are looking for recovery from substance abuse of any variety in any kind of meeting.