"No Meds" Horror Stories

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have a long history of killing people by telling them not to take their doctor-prescribed medications, and not to see a doctor. Faithful Steppers argue that God can cure all ills, or that the 12 Steps should cure the patient, and that taking medications is just "substituting one drug for another", and that people who take medicine for their illnesses are not "really sober".

A.A. and the other 12-Step organizations, especially Al-Anon, jabber slogans like,

We have discussed and debated the "no medications" issue so many times that it is getting to be incredible. Here is the list of "no meds" 12-Step horror stories that I have received:

  1. I myself, have heard more than a handful of stories of people I KNEW in AA over the last 17 years, who, on the advice of their sponsor, stopped taking medication and as a result committed suicide because their depression was untreated. A.A.er's hardly blink at this: they claim the person simply was not working the steps right.

  2. ...the members informed me that, "unlike most AA groups", they adhere to a "no-pill policy".

  3. I have seen some of the abuses that happens in AA with 13th stepping, sponsors telling the newbie's to quit taking medications, and the like.

  4. He still has problems with his health, with depression, terrible anger problems, and he gets only AA help, which encourages him to get off his anti-depressants because they are drugs.

  5. One guy here in London is so out of control (the cult master) that he "suggested" one of his sponsees stop taking his perscribed medication. Two weeks later said sponsee had comitted suicide by jumping off a motorway bridge.

  6. I'm bi-polar and went off my meds (because of aa guilt) and ended up in a mental hospital because i was going to kill myself.

  7. He also got rather defensive/offended when I hinted that my psychiatrist was helping me with my bi-polar. I was getting counselling with the mental health department one night a week and seeing the doc every two weeks. When I mentioned to him that I was being helped, he said "but it's not a meeting." As though that settles it. Damn right it wasn't a meeting. It was therapy which I seriously needed.

  8. He points out that millions of addicts around the world have recovered without the help of medication.

  9. Carolyn See was the step-daughter of Wynn (Corum) See, who was the authoress of the Big Book story "Freedom From Bondage", and another one of Bill Wilson's paramours. Carolyn reported that during her childhood she heard the early A.A. members arguing about whether taking aspirin for a headache constituted a slip from sobriety.

  10. The Hazelden Coffee War is the funny story of anti-medication fanatics at the Hazelden "treatment center" who thought that coffee was too strong of a drug to allow to people in recovery.

  11. Quacks who are selling 12-Step "recovery" — even to non-alcoholics and non-addicts — routinely tell people not to take medications.

  12. A mental patient commits suicide after his sponsor deprives him of his medications.

  13. Last week, one AA guy I barely know pulled me aside and started asking me about the medications I was on. ... I humored him, and told him honestly that I was on Prozac. He then proceeded to talk about the "evils" of antidepressant medicine, and that I needed to find a way to get off them.

  14. I decided to leave when he began implying that I should quit taking my zoloft. When I told him I didn't think that my taking a non-narcotic medication as prescribed by a mental health counselor was his business, he came back with "See, I touched a nerve, there must be something there".

  15. Your therapist prescribes care-taking medication. Your sponsor prescribes prayer making and meditation.

  16. The Bainbridge Island, Washington, A.A. group is another sex society. And also, "When I was in detox in Everett I was kicked out with a bad case of D.T.'s because I brought up the topic of prescriptions in group."

  17. Another mental patient commits suicide after the A.A. old-timers talk him into not taking his medications.

  18. [In the Midtown Group] She says she was pressured to stop taking the medication a doctor had prescribed to manage her bipolar disorder: group members told her she couldn't be sober if she was taking any kind of drug.

  19. Newsweek magazine published an article:
    == A 15-year-old girl is told to cut off all communications with people outside of A.A., and stop taking medications for a bipolar disorder, and is encouraged to have sex with MUCH older A.A. men.

  20. There is a long discussion of the "no meds" issue in this letter, including a list of previous stories:

  21. An official A.A. pamphlet admits that A.A. sponsors telling people not to take medications has resulted in suicides.

  22. I finally went to a shrink, and he wanted to put me on medication. I told my "friend" this, and he took me out to eat after a meeting, with four other people, and they did an intervention. "We'd really hate to see you get drunk. You shouldn't take medicine, you won't be sober anymore, and you'll drink very soon."

  23. At about the same time I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder by a competent psychiatrist and I was treated with the drugs available at that time, lithium and antidepressants. As I was being treated for my bipolar disorder I mentioned this in meetings and although I naively did not understand it at the time, I was chastised and told to not take those medications, God would heal me.

  24. It is insane to tell someone like my sister who was bi-polar and suffering from so much, that she should ... Stop taking all medications

  25. Rather than going on meds, this guy killed himself...

  26. My appointed sponsor insists that I discontinue all of my medications (including those used for depression), or otherwise I would not be considered "sober." I have one year of sobriety, and my sponsor insists that I have zero, because every day I am "relapsing."

  27. She also told me "lots" of people kill themselves after 20 years or so, it is the hump thing.   ...   She also told me about her group, where they kicked out a guy because he was on Anti depressants.

  28. The big one was that he told me I should get off the meds

  29. ...my [A.A.] brother urged me to stop taking it.

  30. A.A. admits to anti-medication stance and suicide

  31. She starts screaming at me because she knew I took medication for some mental illnesses I have.

  32. ...I have to stop taking the meds and "hiding" behind my depression...

  33. The crap these people taught about medication was reprehensible. I stopped taking medication after MY sponsor called me out on my Prozac.... I was shamed into stopping it. I was informed by her, and several other pseudo-aa doctors, that I would never get the "message" if my mind was clouded with anti-depressants.   ...   I watched people die because of the anti-med propaganda being thrown at people like Sarah and myself.

  34. I was encouraged to bin my meds by NA members chanting the sacred mantra "we are allergic to all mind and mood altering substances".

  35. I got off my meds so no one would say I wasn't "working a program."

  36. The medication issue in AA has grown very serious over the past 35 years. When an AA sponsor encourages their pigeon to stop taking their meds you have a big problem. I was told the AA message would not get through the fog created by anti-depressants.

  37. ...the speaker at a meeting I was attending said to *not listen to people who tell you to go off your meds*, and that she had recieved *much help from taking anti-depressants prescribed for her depression.*

  38. After I gave birth I had severe postpartum depression. I had not healed from the birth and my sponsor told me not to take any medication. ... My sponsor had said that god would heal me and when god wanted me to sleep I would.

  39. ...my "homegroup" meeting was so against medications that this guy would announce every week that those people on a certain medication should leave. At another meeting close by, I witnessed a newcomer shivering as he detoxed off an SSRI due to a sponsor's commandment. I witnessed this type of behavior and rhetoric at ALL of the regular AA meetings I attended.

  40. This story is an unusual reversal: The sponsor felt entitled to play doctor and prescribe medications: "My sponsor told me to take the xanax daily everytime I felt uncomfortable   ...   I followed his instructions and almost died or went permanently insane."

  41. They are going into treatment facilities and telling patients not to take their doctor-prescribed medications.

  42. ...it was definitely not acceptible — my sponsor did pressure me to pressure one of my sponsees not to start some medications

  43. I don't know what meetings you have observed, but the meetings we took note of pushed attendeding college, taking prescribed medications, and sure as hell never mentioned Jesus.

  44. I was advised by my first "grand sponsor", not my actual sponsor to go off my meds for bipolar 1 disorder, but I didn't.

  45. Several years ago I sought the help of a Psychiatrist who happened to be in AA. I gave him my complete trust. His prescription for depression was going to meetings rather than "feeling sorry for myself" and "carrying the AA message".

  46. And to think I had two different people try to get me off my meds

  47. However I have recently been made aware that it has become the practice in some meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous to advise persons to stop taking prescribed medication for mental health problems.

  48. I have also never heard of anyone actually telling another not to take prescribed medications.

  49. A comment on Susan's "no meds" claim

  50. Sober almost 17 years, without taking meds that keep me in bondage and render me another statistic

  51. He told me that in order to get sober, I had to get off anti-depressants: they were dope. Against my doctor, I tapered off. I wound up psychotic and catatonic in a psych ward where they put me back on meds.

  52. I am disliked by some for refusing to stop taking my Paxil and there are some who tune me out and or cough loudly when I share and I am almost never called on to share.

  53. I'm just not convinced that a majority of the people taking those medications wouldn't have been better off to have never started and that the problem with stopping is just one more good reason never to start.

  54. The first thing the councilors said was that he needed to change his meds from Welbutrin to Cipralex. When I told him he should only take medical advice from a qualified person they told me I could not talk to him anymore.

  55. ...her sponsor had told her to quit anti-depressants...

  56. I was prescribed suboxone... Because of this I would kinda get cornered and asked when I was gonna "get off that shit" and that "I wasn't really clean".

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Last updated 18 January 2015.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-no_meds.html