He says he doesn’t want to go to AA or need a sponsor...? Any thoughts?

relapse
recovery
relationship

#1

Hi guys. So my boyfriend is in a halfway house for recovery of opiates/heroin. This house works the 12 step program and 90 meetings in 90 days. Therefore, to stay in the house he is required to attend at least 1 AA/NA/CA meeting per day. He also has a sponsor who is in the house and has worked his steps and achieving long term sobriety.

However, the other day my boyfriend and I were talking and he said that after he is done in the house he most likely won’t continue with AA. He says that he rarely gets anything useful out of the meetings and doesn’t find them fulfilling. He also mentioned that he has no respect for him current sponsor. So I asked if he was going to switch his sponsor. He told me that he doesn’t really utilize his sponsor anyways and that it would be pointless to switch (he has finished his 12 steps).

I then asked him how he plans to stay sober long term if not AA and a sponsor. His answer was that he needs to do things that are fulfilling and gave examples like going back to school, getting a dog, getting into hobbies.

This worries me because I feel like those aren’t ways of recovery when life gets tough. What are your thoughts on the matter?


#2

AA or another 12 step program is not the only way to recovery. My husband is a recovering heroin addict. He tried AA and HA during/after he was in rehab. It just didn’t work for him. He found people there to be very judgmental because the program is abstinence only based, and he relies on suboxone for recovery. He was unable to find a group that truly accepted his recovery because he wasn’t completely “clean” in their eyes, and that was not helpful to him. His recovery involves individual therapy, marriage counseling and yes, creating a happier, healthier lifestyle through hobbies, and connection with friends and family.

I understand your concern though, and I do believe that more of a support network is needed in early recovery. When he was fresh out of rehab he did have a men’s group that he attended that was not 12-step based. Unfortunately the management of the group fell apart, but he has remained friends with a couple of guys in the group and Is able to talk to them about recovery still. He also met with a recovery counselor on a weekly basis in early recovery.

Every recovery is different. I’ve had to learn that it’s not black and white, and to release my expectation or visions of what recovery is “supposed” to look like.


#3

My husband tried AA meetings while he was struggling with addiction but never liked them, and he did go to AA meetings during rehab and still never liked them.

I think AA works for some people but for others not so much. There’s a few reasons why I think. From what I’ve heard, it can be a rigid system. Abstinence mandatory. And holding onto this identity of being an addict. All these can be deterring factors. My husband never likes to call himself an addict and he doesn’t want to sit in a room and be reminded of all that stuff. It can actually be triggering.

Behavioral approaches to recovery (CRAFT is a behavioral approach for families - which we teach here) have been shown to be effective. What that means, is behavioral conditioning eg. doing positive activities and retraining ones self to implement new coping strategies in recovery is actually a great approach to healing.

There are new ways to get support like sober groups eg. Sober Grid and other local groups are popping up and becoming more common - where are you located? Maybe we can help look some up! Plus recovery coaches are an option and These don’t require 12 step models to work.

I understand the worry though. I felt the same. My husband came out of rehab with zero plan. (Cue the jaw drop!) What I didn’t realize was just waking up and getting through the day was an effort during early recovery because there’s so much healing taking place internally. I’d surround him with friends and help build the life he wants to stay sober for and be very very patient.

Note the small progress and don’t shift the goalposts - which is something I did :slight_smile:


#4

Thanks so much for sharing @momentsandlight so helpful to know other’s experiences and @LexiNico please keep us posted on how things go <3