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    Need some perspective.
    melly2210 posted:
    From previous posts, I said the bf finally admitted he had a substance abuse problem and had wanted rehab. In asking for it, he was found to be in violation of his parole and landed back into the system for another 96 days. Of course, he got absolutely no help with the substance abuse in doing so. Where he orginally landed, they were holding AA meetings and religious services and so he started to attend those meetings. This is what has happened over the next few weeks:

    Not only is he fully committed to recovery (which I am thrilled about, btw) but he found God. As in fundamentalistically (not so happy about). Let me explain. Communication with him has gradually shifted from what he's missing from the outside from food to freedom to the relationship to nothing but God, prayer and being saved. As in, there is little else mentioned. If I've written to him about an issue I am having, his response isn't necessarily practical advice or thought, it's "I'll pray for you" or "Give it to God." In the most recent letter I received, he berated himself for sleeping through services last Sunday and deemed that "BAD." Don't get me wrong, I am highly spiritual, but definately not religious. I'm having a hard time swallowing this swing in his faith.

    So, I am curious. Is this something a lot of 12-Step recovery program participants go through? Or is my perspective that there's an extreme shift in belief system on the money? I know when traumatic things happen, the mind, body and soul struggle to recover and cope with what is going on, and I just don't know if this is one of those times? Or maybe it's simply being a part of the penile system and they're influencing it? Or a combo of both? Is it something I am just not understanding because I haven't gone through it? Help!?!!

    (And I FINALLY found an Al-Anon meeting nearby. Go to one on Monday)
    Kayap responded:
    The twelve step program encourages addicts to hand over control to a higher power. To most this is God. He may find that the situation he is facing right now lends itself to this accordingly. I have found AA works best for those who do embrace this with a 100 percent belief. So for him to overcome his addictions and to serve his time it is probably the best outcome. Just give it time. He may have also found a "safe" place is with his fellow religious inmates. Let this work itself out and be encouraging.

    When he returns and you have him back home you can see where it goes. You know there will be changes. Hopefully they will be positive ones and you can build back a loving healthy relationship based on true love.
    Al-Anon will help you understand what is going on in AA.
    Betty Ford Center
    Johanna O'Flaherty, PhD responded:
    Congratulations on getting yourself to Al-Anon, where you'll regularly be reminded that you didn't cause this (his addiction, his religious leanings and/or his recovery behind bars or when he's out,) you can't control it, and there is no cure for it.

    You're right to note that people often, as a reaction to the messes they find themselves in, embrace religious systems which promise to answer all questions and solve all problems. What you described as your boyfriend's fundamentalist religious conversion may not sound like the AA way of life, but it is a very common form of jailhouse religiosity, and is often the only "spiritual" community available to prisoners. Hopefully, he is also able to attend 12 Step recovery meetings where he may encounter a more tolerant spirituality which recognizes that "we know only a little - God will constantly disclose more to you, and to us."

    While you sound delighted with your boyfriend's newfound commitment to sobriety, your own recovery must come first. One Day At A Time...
    melly2210 replied to Johanna O'Flaherty, PhD's response:
    I have gone to 2 Al-Anon meetings, and I will continue to attend them. They're not really helping me learn how to help him, but they're helping me to learn about the best ways I can cope. They're also doubling over to help with my own mental illness challenges. I can't say how happy I am to have found these meetings.

    As for his religious beliefs, we've communicated about those. And I think his walk has a lot to do with where he is physically located. We're coming up to the last 4-5 weeks of his incarceration, and the topics in letters become more and more serious. The approach he has taken has been linked to the AA's 12 Step program. In addition, he's found solice and peace which he'd been lacking for some time. I think those he has been housed with have given him a clearer picture of what his life would be like if he doesn't make some changes and better choices.

    My attendance to Al-Anon has been wonderful. The group is mixed and there are women there who are either going through similar situations to others who have been coping with the disease for over 20 years. I've found hope which I was slowly loosing during this separation. I've also been able to redirect my own personal plans and agenda for when he does return home. I can't be the policeman, and for a while there, it is the role I was assuming. It was the role I had before. And I would get angry when I failed in that role.

    Thanks to both of you for your continued support.

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