I am on probation for a possession charge (marijuana and mushrooms) from 2005 (I found out the hard way that in TX that possession of over 4 grams of mushrooms is a felony, and I had 5 grams). I got ten years felony deferred (it's long because I got deferred, which I needed so that I didn't lose my financial aid...because I am putting myself through college).

All that being said, I screwed up a year into it, and got a couple dirty UA's. I know it was stupid, but I can't change that now. Anyways, a couple of months ago I was going through a lot of shit with finding out that my girlfriend who had been living with me had been sleeping with a long time friend of mine on the weekends when she was supposed to be seeing her son....needless to say I went through a lot of emotional shit because I really cared about the girl, etc., etc....Anyways, I made the mistake of drinking some beer a little too close to a probation meeting, and they UA'd me...and it came back from the lab showing that I had drank alcohol in the last few days (I discovered that they have new tests that can detect if you've drank alcohol for like 80 hours, when it used to be just around 24 hours). So, they considered that a failed drug test, and now they are making me go to this chemical dependency treatment program thing where I have to go to these 3 hr classes 2+ nights a week, which also cuts into the hours I can work, etc, etc, etc.

Anyways....I had my screening with the counselor with that program today and he tells me that I have to start going to at least 2 AA or NA meetings a week now (I have been doing 1 a week for the last couple years as a requirement of my probation), and I have to get a sponsor, work on their retarded 12 steps, and all that bullshit.

Here lies my problem, the source of what I perceive to be my agony for the next few months until I complete this program....AA and NA is all based on accepting God. The main part of their 12 steps is admitting that you are powerless over said substances, and that the only way that you can beat your problem is to accept that only God can help you....that's not exactly word-for-word, but that's it in a nutshell. And all that God shit drives me crazy. My skin is practically crawling and I want to scream when we all have to stand in a circle at the end of one of these meetings and say the lords prayer. Now it's gonna be God x 10! And I'm worried that they're going to report to my probation officer that I'm not cooperating if I don't start acting like I believe in God, which I CANNOT DO!!!

I mean it seems like this should be illegal, for them to put me in a program where I have to accept their god to pass! I used to like to smoke pot from time to time, I don't have a drug problem...I've had no problem not smoking a joint for the last couple of years....I've rarely even drank...I'm not an alcoholic, I made a mistake and drank that one time and now I'm fucked for it! I'm a psychology major, who never even went to high school, got myself in a good university on my own, doing good in my classes, and I get treated like this...it's not fair!

What can I do?

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Can you ask your counselor if he can refer you to a non-religious group? Tell him it's against your beliefs and you would happily cooperate if he can find you a group where you can be comfortable. I would think that there would be some government policy that would prevent a state agency from "forcing" you into a religious group. Maybe get some legal advise and tell them they are violating your constitutional right.
Yeah, the legal advice thing is what I was thinking....I can't afford a lawyer though...but maybe Texas A&M (the university I attend) has some type of program set up for free legal advice to students.

And there is not really another group...they want me to go to AA or NA, and it is ALL based on a religious backbone. And I guess they look at it like they are not "forcing" me, because this is an alternative...I could just go to prison.....what assholes...................

I'm not a bad person...I'm more moral than most people I know.....hell, I'm not even a drug addict or anything, I'm a successful student. This is just wrong in so many ways.

(sorry, I don't mean to vent, but I've been in a really good mood lately...and this just ruined it)
I would still check into the legality. I would assume A&M has some program for that, or at least some sort of reference. (BTW, my mother went to vet school at A&M).
Vent away...at least you can do that here without people saying they'll pray for you.
sokay...(and I will check into the legality)...I'll probably end up being known as the poor lost soul after they realize that their lectures and talks WILL NOT get me to pay their God any mind.


I'm about to leave for one of these damn 3 hour meetings here in a few minutes (and I've got another one tomorrow)...wish me luck, ha ha ha...........
Good luck. BTW, is there some law at the meetings that you have to stand in their stupid groups and pray? I'd refuse, saying it conflicts with your beliefs. I was dragged to many of the stupid AA meetings as a child (various alcoholic relatives), and I hated when they did that! I knew my own mind at a very early age and had no help realizing the truth. I have now gone through about 3 decades of having to put up with all the people around me being so deluded. I'm to the point I'd probably think prison would look better to me than having to sit through that crap and pretend everything is hunky dory again.
Yeah...I almost feel that way, lol. But I'll live....

I was just quite perturbed knowing that I'm going to have to deal with that shit constantly for the next few months. I'll make it, it's just going to be completely and utterly miserable.
And when they all stand in the circle, hold hands and pray, I stand there and hold hands...but I don't pray, I just stand there.

I'm still a bit pissed off about the whole situation.....my crime had nothing to do with alcohol. I got caught with an ounce and a half of pot and about 5 grams of shrooms, both of which grow naturally....and because of that, now they could put me away in prison for 2 -20 years if I drink a damn beer!!! That's just wrong, and in my opinion it should be a crime what they are doing to me :-(

Okay, /rant

I'd have to think A&M would have some kind of counseling program for students.
There was an article in a recent issue of the secular humanist magazine, *Free Inquiry,* that took Twelve Steps to task, labeling it a "cult." I do not think they openly demand belief in "God," per se, but "a higher power." I am a dry alcoholic. I quit without A.A. I read a great book, *How To Quit Drinking Without A.A.,* which is available online I am sure, since A.A. is to many anathema just as you have discovered that it is for yourself. But to convince the authorities that you are a "conscientious objector" (lol), you will probably encounter nothing but "Well, it's either this or prison." I am an attorney so I know. You have no choice so far as I know but to go through the program. Try simply pretending to believe. It won't be forever. I doubt the Court of Criminal Appeals would go along with your argument that A.A. is a religion and demands a belief in "God" since the "higher power" mentioned in all their literature is left to anyone's definition. The "higher power" could be interpreted as your own subconscious mind, for example. Good luck!
Yes, that's pretty much the idea that I get from this....I just have to go ahead and be miserable with this crap for the next six to seven years.

It just sucks....makes me want to escape to Canada, ha ha ha :-)
Honestly, you screwed up, but that is no excuse to be forced by the state into a religion-based program. If I were you, I would be checking every possible avenue. Check the university. Check legal aid. Call the ACLU and see if they would be interested in taking this up. There is no good reason that you have to be forced into a religious alcoholism program when there are secular alternatives out there. Here are a few:

Life ring secular recovery

Moderation Management

Rational Recovery

Secular Organizations for Recovery

Smart Recovery

Check and see if any of these are in your area. If they are, call and talk to them and see if they have been used by the court in cases such as yours as an alternative to AA and NA. If they have, offer these to your PA as alternatives and see what they say. If they refuse, you probably have a case against them and then the ACLU might be willing to pick it up since it would appear that the court is forcing you into a religious program.

Take it from here and let us know what you find out about the alternative programs and if you are able to use one. Good luck.
I like Josh's advice and would recommend that you forthrightly tell the authorities that you do wish to fulfill the terms of the court, but that you need a non-religious program.

I found a website with some interesting discussion that supports your position.


Good luck to you.
Dude...that reeeaally sucks! I'm feeling for you right now. I'd take the advice given about the secular options and see if College Station has anything to offer (which I highly doubt); I thought being forced to mouth the words "under God" during the national and state pledges was bad enough. Good luck, buddy!



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