This is a reprint of an earlier post. It still works.
People sometimes have questions concerning their drinking patterns and whether they might constitute signs of alcoholism. Typical among them are the issues of drinking alone, to relax, to “kill the pain,” and so forth. Many of these could apply to the non-medical or recreational use of drugs, as well as most process addictions.
First of all, lest drinkers object to being lumped together with drug users, let me point out that alcohol (ethanol) is a drug, and that drinking beverage alcohol is recreational drug use. Ethanol is not only a drug, it is one of the most lethal ones when used to excess. Simply withdrawing from alcohol, once addicted, can be fatal without medical supervision. So drinkers who like to tell themselves that they’re better than people who use drugs need to think again. The only differences are that their drug is cheaper, more easily acquired, and legal.
There is a quote attributed to one B. Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Certainly, there is nothing wrong with a couple of beers at the end of a hard day, and for 80 to 90% of the population, that’s all that drinking amounts to (if they bother to drink at all). But pointed questions need asking if we become uncomfortable when denied the beers. Continue reading →
It seems that addicts, especially in early recovery, are exceptionally inclined to find fault with other entities, whether people or organizations. This is especially true early on when we’re in denial about most everything and our fellowships are beginning to strip some of it away as we kick and scream. But it’s also true about the world at large, and not only those of us who admit to addictions are guilty. Psychologists believe this is partially because it enables people to feel better about themselves, but also due to the human tendency toward binary thinking: wrong v. right, good v. bad, black v. white, our tribe v. them, our warriors (teams) v. theirs, and so forth.
Binary/black and white kinds of thinking may come from upbringing by caregivers who thought that way, religious influences, our desire–perhaps need–to believe we are superior to others and counteract our own doubts, or other reasons. Actually, regardless of the reasons, we’re stifling our ability to understand others and broaden our own horizons. Continue reading →
Every now and then I’ll run into one of two situations at a 12-Step meeting:
Someone will read a statement about “our primary purpose” requesting that sharing be confined to such-and-such a topic; or
Someone will comment “We don’t talk about that, this is ____ Anonymous”.
Generally speaking. I don’t have an issue with the first, although I think it ignores reality to a remarkable degree. But if the issue is carried over to the second it’s another matter. If a group has a problem with talk about other issues, the proper way to handle it is for someone to take the so-called offender aside after the meeting, and gently explain the rule and why it exists (if they can). That should be a policy arrived at by the group conscience, not an individual or the service office. As AA puts it, “Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.” [Emphasis mine.]Continue reading →
“The tides of populism and nationalism currently sweeping many developed countries have been accompanied by demands that unwelcome and inconvenient voices be removed from public discourse…
…Intolerance of alternative viewpoints is spreading to places that make me, a moderate and a liberal, most uncomfortable….I find almost everything that Mr Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine….
“If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed the line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”
~ J. K. Rowling
How does this apply to recovery?
Am I open-minded about the recovery ideas of others in the rooms, or do I preach the gospel of my fellowship and suggest that those who disagree with what I consider the True Way find recovery elsewhere? Am I offended by the way some speak, or how they dress? Do I raise holy hell if someone mentions drug abuse at an AA meeting? Are my tirades tolerated; my right to my opinions honored, despite the fact that I advocate curtailing the rights of others?