Great opinion piece by IsaacX, Why You Shouldn’t Recognize as an Addict in an AA Meeting And while I respect everyone’s opinion (well I try), i gotta disagree here. I think that more inclusive the better, and if you are worried about people leaving a meeting, i would worry more about people leaving who have drug problems and recognize as addicts instead of alcoholics.
I have been clean from opiates for nearly 6 years, and i took a 3 year break on drinking, even though i knew i never had a problem with alcohol. I cant tell you how I knew, i just did. But I needed support in my early sobriety, so i played the game, until I got “booed” enough for calling myself an addict or talking about drugs, that i decided I had 3 years under my belt, i’ll find a more inclusive group, and that group which meets at my house is not 12 step based, but it has kept clean and kept me a productive member of society for years.
To separate an alcoholic from a drug addict is like saying there is a difference between a heroin addict and an oxycontin addict.. I think it sends a message (maybe subconsciously) to the people that want to recognize as addicts but dont out of fear, that maybe they are coming from a different place.. I think it adds to the stigma of addiction, and i think its time AA looks at some of their principles and traditions to adapt to a more modern society.
Thank you Isaac for you courage to stand on the firing line. My gratitude lines up with the traditional type of identification. I too, am never specific about my drug using while in AA meeting. I really don’t believe an alki would relate to me shooting coke into my spinal column, however they certainly could id with the madness and insanity of it all.
This is what has been passed on to me — My name is Chris Freeman and I am a recovered alcoholic. And a whole lot of other things!!!
I drank like a junkie and did dope like a drunk —-into oblivion and beyond.
Although some folks tend to not separate their specialties, in my own personal experience I have learned that alcoholism and drug addiction can be 2 totally different monsters. They may have many separate features to their wrath, but the main issue of both, is that of the relentless and merciless obsession of which both addict and alcoholic suffer from.
Our “powerlessness” is not what happens to us after we drink or use. The powerlessness of it all is what occurs when we are stone cold clean and sober. It is all about the insanity of the next drink, the next shot, the next hit, rock ,pill ,or line, ect, ect, ect……..!!!
I can get carried away on this subject way too much, so I let it go with what another friend related to me om what the ISM of alcoholism might stand for “INTERNAL SPIRITUAL MALADY”, I don’t thing “drug-ism” is a word but it ought to be!!!! thanks again for all you do and be safe, and always remember this –
There’s still time to change the road your on. Chris PHRC
Alcoholism and drug addiction are basically the same thing. In all honesty who is anyone to say whether or not a person who became an addict is allowed at an AA meeting let alone when they share they are afraid to say addict because that’s not respecting the AA tradition. However, what does it really matter because I feel that alcohol is the gateway drug. Alcohol and heroin pretty much break down the same way in the brain. People are dying from drugs and alcohol so if AA can offer a safe haven to these addicts why not embrace that idea. Allow they to call themselves whatever addict or alcoholic. The reality is there’s longer soberiety in the rooms of AA than in some of the rooms of NA and I have been in that position. I have earned my seat in any meeting because the only requirement membership is a desire to stop using.
I’ve been clean and sober for 27 years, one day at a time. I always identified as a drug addict first. Before claiming my 12-step seat, whenever I stopped using for any period of time but kept drinking, I always ended up using again. I rationalized that I was in control of the drug use because I was able to stop. When under the influence of alcohol I had no filter, it seemed. I would think about getting high and go off and do it! When the consequences of my using and drinking got bad enough, I had the desire to stop both. Since the desire to stop is the only requirement for membership in AA, I voted myself in. Yes, this is the long way around to singleness of purpose. Once when I told my story I made no mention of drugs and afterward I didn’t feel like I’d done a good job. When I tell my AA story now, I always mention drugs in a general way. I never specify which ones or how much or the like. Usually, just a few words make it abundantly clear that I’m dually addicted. Many times when people come up to talk afterward, they identify with the fact that I wasn’t sure if I was an alcoholic when I first came to the rooms. I don’t feel I’m disrespecting the tradition by talking about drug use in general when I’m telling my story. However, when I introduce myself in an AA meeting, I identify as an alcoholic to respect the tradition.
AA was founded to help alcoholics. Their program has what is called a singleness of purpose. There literature states that they are to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. It is not being disrespectful towards addicts, only sticking with what they know best, alcohol. I personally go to another fellowship that deals with addiction to any substance. Alcohol is a drug to me and my fellow addicts. I have to respect the guidelines of AA if I attend their meetings. I have been drunk twice in my life, but have shot more dope than I could ever remember. If I need a meeting and my fellowship is not available, I will go to an AA meeting. Although I am not an Alcoholic, I could be one if I pick up alcohol so I simply state “My name is Rip and I have a desire not to drink today.” I stay true to myself because I do have a desire not to drink today, but I do not lie and say that I am something that I am not. I also stay true to AA’s guidelines that say anyone who wants to be free from alcohol is welcome.
Great topic. Personally, I’ve seen a shift in the rooms as of the last few years. As drugs have become more prevalent, there are more and more drug addicts entering the rooms of AA. Of course, this depends on where you live in the country but for me I live in one of the “recovery capitals” of the world so there are a ton of “addicts” in AA and NA.
The rooms of AA or NA should be all inclusive. I feel that it makes no difference whether the people of the room relate to you shooting up dope or whether you’re drinking 750ml of Jack Daniels everyday…It makes no difference because the underlying story and struggle is the EXACT SAME THING. I was more of an “addict” per se than an “alcoholic” but I find myself relating to 70 year old men who’ve been in the rooms of AA for 30 years now. It’s about the overall problem, the common denominator. I could give two Sh*ts how you identify yourself, what you were using, how you ended up in the rooms…what I care about is that you DID END up in the rooms and now need the help.
I think people place too much emphasis on the problem and their DOC (drug of choice) and not enough emphasis on the fact that they now have their ass in the seat in the a meeting and are seeking a better way of life.
On another note, the term “alcoholic”, in my opinion, has evolved to be a more all-inclusive term. I’ve never felt people should get too caught up on how they identify themselves, whether its “addict” or “alcoholic” because essentially they mean the same thing!