Sobermummy’s latest post really got me thinking about this topic in earnest.
The issue discussed is that she doesn’t identify with the word alcoholic. She would rather call herself an alcohol addict. A friend of hers pointed out that this may sound like the lesser of two evils.
Let’s think about this for a second…
I don’t particularly identify with the word either. I have gone to AA meetings and said it but I would rather say I am addicted to alcohol. It’s the same thing but in my mind the term ‘alcohol addict’ puts the onus on the drug whereas alcoholic means the drug is fine and I have a disease. (I know my brain pathways have been changed but I still don’t like the word ‘disease’)
This brings me to my second point. There are so many people who are struggling with addiction to alcohol to various degrees. Back in the day the view was that there are 1) normal drinkers 2) alcoholics. These days it is widely accepted that there is wide spectrum in between these two.
The reason people especially women aren’t seeking help for addiction earlier is that the stereotypical idea of an alcoholic is a down and out bum on a park bench. We cant be alcoholics because we are ‘high functioning’ mothers, with jobs and responsibilities.
People aren’t seeking help until they are almost on that park bench due to the stigma and fear of being judged! I have many friends that are still drinking the volumes I used to drink and they won’t classify themselves as alcoholics, they are just having a good time.
Alcohol is a highly addictive drug. This is a fact but its not very well known. Professor nut conducted a study that found that Heroin, crack and crystal meth were deemed worst for individuals, with alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine worst for society, and alcohol worst overall. Read full article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11660210
Cigarette packets have massive warning labels printed all over them to warn people of the dangers of smoking yet alcohol seems to have a free pass. In the UK we have a massive drinking culture, it permeates through everything we do and you are considered really weird if you don’t drink.
It can takes years of sustained drinking to become addicted to alcohol. Yes some people fall faster down the rabbit hole than other due to a myriad of reasons but make no mistake they are falling if they are regularly drinking to de-stress or to change their emotional state. Factors that contribute to how quickly you become addicted: Your parents, your peers, how old you were when you started drinking, being a non-conformist etc. etc
My recovery really began when I had my ‘moment of realisation’.
This is when I hit the first step of AA hard.
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable – (I did this step on my hands and knees)
I am also completely and utterly convinced that I can never return to ‘normal drinking’ (whatever that means.)
I have done the steps in my own way, each and every one of them. Not in a formal AA setting mind you and this is what I am questioning.
The steps of AA, the CBT of smart recovery, the community of the sober blogs and Eckhard Tolle & Bryon Katie all have a place in my recovery.
Just because I am not doing this in a formal setting, in other word going to meetings regularly (I’m going every now and then) and using the words like ‘disease’ and ‘God’ and ‘alcoholic’, does that mean I’m doing it wrong?
I am sober and it’s taken me a very long time to get to this point of absolute acceptance. We are multi faceted human beings with different personalities so one method of recovery and one way of talking about addiction, with words that are set in stone surely isn’t helpful but rather harmful.
Shouldn’t this be an inclusive community that embraces all ways to freedom and abstinence? If the conversation and words could be inclusive and embrace the wide range of people stuck in addiction won’t more people be motivated to stop drinking earlier on?
There is a whole new thing happening out there, Annie Grace, Holly Whitaker, Laura Mackowen all paving the way for a new conversation around addiction to booze. I resonate very strongly with these women and what they have to say.
I am sober today and so happy to be, that’s a good result I think!