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I've been lied to. Am reeling slightly and unsure how to react. Your thoughts?(66 Posts)
Ok, so full story: I'm in early recovery from alcoholism and have been attending regular aa meetings. I've made some friends there, in particular a group of four of us have become fairly close, sharing lifts to meetings and occasionally going for coffee together afterwards.
This group consists of two men, me, and another woman who I've become particularly close friends with. One of these men is banned from driving so I have been giving him lots of lifts to meetings and we have spent a fair bit of time together. As far as I am concerned our friendship is completely platonic. There are no feelings of attraction there for me at all - we're just friends.
A few weeks ago this man relapsed. He is in a very bad way apparently. I have not seen or heard from him since he picked up a drink although he has been in contact with the other man. I didn't want him to feel abandoned so I have sent the occasional text to say we're all thinking about him and will welcome him back with open arms should he want to come back to meetings.
Yesterday I had a reply back to one of my texts. It was from a woman. She said he was in a horrific state but that he was safe with her. The tone from her texts seemed slightly hostile. I had no idea who she was - the man had told me he lived in a shared house with other men and was single.
I contacted my female friend from the group who I have come to believe I share a close friendship with. She told me that the texts I had received had been from this mans partner.
She told me that he had asked other members of our friendship group not to let it be known to me that he had a partner. He has "feelings" for me apparently. And both she and this other man had decided to collude in this lie with him, although she does claim to have told them both that if it "started to affect Fuckit" that she would then break the confidence.
My problem now is that I feel rather as though I've had the rug pulled out from underneath me. I've been friends with these people for six months (a short time I know, but bonds are strong within aa as you're sharing so much personal stuff). I never imagined they would be so dishonest with me. What if something had happened between this man and me? At what point would he, or anyone else, have told me that he had a bloody partner?
My main bugbear is that this had potentially serious implications for my sobriety. If anything had happened between this guy and me and then it all turned into a bloody mess, it could well have caused me to avoid meetings out of embarrassment, or become distressed and so more likely to drink.
I'm unsure how to react. My gut tells me I need to back off a little from these people. However I'm also painfully aware of my tendency towards melodrama. So I'm posting here to get some honest reactions from other posters. Am I over reacting? Or have they all been really out of order? How best to handle things?
OP, Beyond Sugar Shock by Connie Bennett briefly addresses some of this (size 8 but addicted to sugar and also connection to alcohol (p.69, p.184).
Its a good book actually I think (though very American IYSWIM). I expect you have enough reading material now, but maybe worth looking at at a later point.
Also, another question: Does anybody else suffer from sugar addiction?
I'm not talking about enjoying the odd mars bar too many, I'm talking about a serious problem.
When I am in the pit of my sugar addiction, I live on it. Literally. Breakfast will be a couple of cups of tea with two sugars. Maybe some biscuits. I will then eat cake, sweets, and biscuits throughout the day, substituting these for proper meals.
I can pull myself out of it (with difficulty) but I have to go completely cold turkey and then watch my diet like a hawk. If I even allow myself to have just one cup of tea with sugar in it a day, I eventually get back to the stage where I am living on sugar. I even have to be careful with overly sweet condiments and dried fruit, as they just feed my obsessively sweet tooth.
People in real life laugh at me when I tell them this as I am in good shape and a size 8. They don't believe me. But I don't put on weight easily - that's just my body type. Also the thing that usually propels me to go cold turkey is the realisation that I am beginning to put on weight.
I've heard sugar addiction is common amongst alcoholics and was wondering if anyone else had any experience? I need to get off this see-saw and find some balance.
Hi everybody, just an update.
This: As helpyourself so rightly says - once you get over the shock/confusion, you turn to keeping your head down and resolutely concentrating on yourself/your own recovery.
I think that's where I've got to now. As time moves on I find I'm less bothered about losing these aa 'friendships' and more concerned about the long-term. My sponsor has been incredibly supportive (at the same time as not giving me any flannel) and we've been doing some step one/step four work together which has really helped to focus my mind.
I've been working through the Hazelden classic step pamphlets, and doing the step one writing exercises. Actually writing down answers to questions such as, 'List three things you did when using alcohol or other drugs - things you would not do when sober', is really powerful in terms of smashing through any residual denial and reinforcing that desperate desire to get sober that propelled me into aa in the first place.
I still feel a little nervous about meetings, but I'm not going to allow myself to opt out. Changing meetings will be time consuming and expensive, and like my sponsor says, I haven't done anything wrong and there is no reason I should have to change.
It seems, from what you've said, that AA is for you, just that you are having to negotiate the minefield that is (often) AA relationships.
Addicts don't turn into saints just because we've turned that monumental corner and got into recovery. All those years of shit that went into developing an addiction is still there and to be worked through - in one sense the lid is off and out it comes in all its 'glory'... ime it's only a matter of time before it pops up throwing (potential)
headfucks spanners into the works.
it does throw a bucket of cold water over everything though: makes you kind of wake up with a jolt. As helpyourself so rightly says - once you get over the shock/confusion, you turn to keeping your head down and resolutely concentrating on yourself/your own recovery. Which is not a bad thing at all ...
I remember your post about the older guy.
Keep it simple, keep your head down and concentrate on yourself. I'm nearly 3 years sober, attend meetings regularly, but don't really socialise with my AA friends. I think you're feeling maybe AA's not for you, but as other solutions aren't exactly beating your door down, I'd persevere.
All the best.
Had a read last night of the new comments and thought I'd take the time to absorb them rather than typing an instant reaction.
Baby, fair enough. I was always prepared to accept the fact that I may have been indulging my tendency towards melodrama. My sponsor has also spoken to me about the dangers of giving myself 'permission' to drink. So I do take all that on board. However my feelings of confusion and hurt are real enough and I do feel it was necessary for me to address them.
I think that's brilliant that you managed to stop drinking off your own steam - all power to you. However for some people it has nothing to do with willpower and they need proper treatment, extra support, and to be given specific tools and techniques to help them maintain their recovery. Alcoholism is an illness, not a weakness of character. There is no shame in having an illness.
However, like Solid says, unfortunately in aa all sorts of behaviours will be attributed to the persons alcoholism, even if they are exhibited while sober (because we still have the alcoholic mind-set, see). And I feel that this can allow people a lot of wiggle room when it comes to taking real responsibility for their actions. I feel that I have been encouraged to accept and 'let go' some appalling behaviour on the basis that people are "ill". As though I'm some sort of judgemental bigot for maintaining any boundaries at all.
Look, I have done shitty things in my drinking the same as everyone else. And while I can take steps towards forgiving myself and accepting that I was sick and not in my right mind, I do not expect that from other people. Because whether I was ill or not, I am still accountable, and people are entitled to protect their boundaries and wellbeing.
Having said that, I am forever blown away at how generous and accepting people are when they can see that you are trying to be better. I am lucky to have some fantastic friends and family who have stuck by me with affection and humour. However, they are people with healthy boundaries and self esteem and I know they will not tolerate shitty drunken behaviour. Quite right too.
I'm so sorry about your friend, Baby. My cousin died in the same way - a young guy in his 40s. We didn't even know he was an alcoholic until the very end <cry>
yes I know those are the characteristics but I was hoping you would go into some more detail. I recognised so much of that list in my family
not me of course...
Springy, I ment those are the general traits of someone that abuses alcohol or drugs. Usually to hide the fact that they havnt got a problem/ not drinking too much or even at all.
Just been through it with a friend. Just lost his life at 53 horrifically because of drink. He was in denial Upto the end. He was honest and hard working but extremely selfish, dishonest about his drinking and very secretive. Typically. He died painfully 3 days ago through complications related to alcohol abuse. Can see the shell of a man in his hospital bed now. Poor poor guy.
I agree with your last sentiment SG - wholeheartedly! - but I don't think 12-step is sold on the idea of forming lasting friendships. it hasn't been my experience at all and I've been around these here parts for many years. yy to people being arseholes. I did mind you sneaking in your views about a higher power though - if people believe, leave them to it: mind you own business (to use a recovery principle)
One of the reasons why the whole 12-step business doesn't work for quite a lot of people is that it's actually sort of sold on the idea of forming lasting friendships and support networks with people just like you - and also, the whole group-understanding-hive-mind-non-judgemental stuff can make it very easy for people who have problems other than their substance abuse ie that they are arseholes to fuck up other people's recovery with power games, sexual predation, drama llama stuff... Unfortunately, this can mean that people who are abused by other group members (whether that's violence, sexual abuse, dishonesty or stalking) can get told to suck it up because 'we're all equal, we've all done terrible things, it's the
imaginary friend Higher Power who has the right to judge us'.
OP: You can get your life back. You can choose to stay sober. You'll find a way that works for you. The one thing to hold on to is that anyone who tries to tell you that AA, specifically, is your last or only chance and therefore you have to keep on spending time with people who have behaved badly to you is lying or misguided. IE don't ever feel that it's a matter of putting up with their shit or drinking yourself to death. Because it isn't.
sorry to hijack but please expand on these Baby
one by one
selfishness, lying, secrecy, disapointment, humiliation and being dramatic and out of control
though I appreciate you're a bit busy at present!
(really enjoying your posts btw - breath of fresh air)
Sorry about the cock up in first paragraph. I'm ironically trying to breastfeed my youngest.
Springy, the Shitty bits in life want to make me want to reach for a drink everyday, lol, but I don't.
The OP has more to worry about than a playground fall out.
Addiction is about selfishness, lying, secrecy, disapointment, humiliation and being dramatic and out of control. That's why these people would never make good friends.
You can get through the other side. But only when your ready.
You have to be honest when your looking at a situation you can see straight through. Cruel to be kind and such like.
- you're a 12-stepper alright, Baby!! brutal honesty and all that
Apologise if this has already been said, but I think you are being very over sensitive and melodramatic here.
Sounds like you are making the whole situation about yourself, which is pretty much what these aa meetings are like isn't it? Me, me me.
It also sounds like your making what's happened a reason to feel stressed, so you can give yourself a good reason (in your mind) to have a drink.
The reason this sounds harsh is because I understand how it all goes. Been there done that. Thankfully out the other side without professional help. Just realisation of what an utter twat I was under the influence and sheer will power.
You sound like you have far to go yet. Drop the drama, and wanting to make friends with these people and concerntrate on the reason your at these meetings.
I would love to resolve this recent conflict (and tried to!) but I simply don't have the courage - being as I was pretty much ganged up on by the heavies (though I don't mean to get out the violins).
Perhaps it could be on Off The Beaten Track?
My conclusion is that I don't think it's a good idea to be 'friends' with other addicts, or addicts in the group. In the old group we were socialising now and again - planned socials - and I don't think the crossover works. You're baring your very soul in the groups and perhaps it doesn't work to then socialise together, or be friends, which takes specific skills which most addicts don't have. It could be a learning experience but only if people are committed to learning ways of healthy relating. It's a fine line and one I'd love to master but I have so far not found any takers. Plus I'm pretty crap at managing conflict if I'm the only one who is prepared to step out and risk it. Hmm just read that sentence and it's no wonder I'm 'crap' at it if I'm the only one prepared to take the risk!
Addiction, and recovery, are profoundly selfish (or self-interested) activities, and that's how it should be for recovery, at least in the early stages (and all along up to a point). learning boundaries is a mighty difficult skill if your boundaries have always been up the spout; then utilising said boundaries, fine-tuning them... well, it's a tall order! ime people get the gist of boundaries and can often come out all guns blazing and machine gun anyone who gets in their way.... which is erm a bit painful for the target [understatement]
Like an online meeting/aa thread type thing Tantrums? I like that idea
I've read all latest posts, and find it all very interesting (I don't mean the horrid situations you have been put in *OP and Springy*).
We used to have a women only meeting but it shut down....shame it was my favourite. I would say that my shares were alot more honest.
I know that we don't want the Men/Women thing to make a difference, but it does. Some of the crap in my first year was men/women related too.
I am trying to think of alternatives, maybe some sort of on-line women only meeting? The only ones I have seen have been american, maybe I will have google and see if there are any in the UK.
I think you feel that AA IS for you, but not the meetings you are going to, but you have little choice in your area.
Maybe we should have a littleAA network in a hidden corner where we could support each other? Oh I don't know, just thinking out loud.
Gotta go, of to work, but will be back later on.
I think you were very brave talking to your "friend". VERY.
Oh no Springy I'm sorry to hear you've had a horrid experience too. Glad you have a women only group you can attend - that's definitely what I would be doing as well if it was an option.
fwiw what they did was wrong imo. big time!
I have recently been badly led down in a 12-step group - interestingly, the issue was the male/female dynamic too. I have immediately started going to a women-only group as a result. I had no support when the whole horrible thing kicked off in the old group and, like you, older members ganged up when something really awful happened in which I was entirely innocent but blamed (and bullied tbf). It has been very shocking, I thought they were my friends. You don't think you're going to have to battle the group on top of your addiction; you think you're with friends who can be trusted. Not so, sometimes - everybody is fucked up, even though you think they'd have surely got the basics (especially the longstanding members!).
You have the full support of your sponsor - that counts for a lot. Go to another group if you can. Take stock, steady yourself, keep going, day at a time .
Thank you Solidgoldbrass I did have a look at that link, and have also previously looked at alternatives such as Rational Recovery e.t.c.
I had been interested in other options primarily because I am an atheist and so some parts of the 12 step programme did not sit particularly easily with me. I have found, however, that I've been able to navigate my way around that. I do not believe in god, but I do believe in the basic goodness of people (including myself) and have been able to squeeze that belief into some sort of higher power concept. It took a bit of mental gymnastics but I got there!
But I've gone off on a tangent. What I wanted to say is that unfortunately, I really think that if one wants real life, dedicated peer support with recovery, then aa is the only option. Perhaps not if you live in or near a big city (where there might be secular or Women For Sobriety meetings) but certainly if you live rurally as I do. And I honestly think it is that support, rather than the steps in and of themselves, which really helps people.
Ironically that's also the reason I'm in such a pit - because the people I relied on for support have turned out not to be reliable.
Just want to send you some support .
I think you might be better moving on from that group as you say, it sounds a bit of a mess and not a good start/safe enough place for you to be. As already said on this thread, there are other options if you need them.
Keep looking after yourself, and finding your own strength.
Look again at the links I sent you: you might find any or all of them good alternate sources of support. I think at least one offers online support rather than meetings.
I am not in any kind of recovery or anything myself but I have friends who have had negative experiences with the 12-step movement and it is definitely not the only way to recover from addiction. So basically don't feel that if AA, specifically, is not suiting you, then you have no alternative route to getting your life back, there are alternatives out there. And an awful lot of HCPs now feel that AA is not a particularly good method for a lot of people.
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