On page xxviii, A.A. 4th Edition, in the Chapter, “The Doctor’s Opinion”, it reads, “Men and women drink (use, act out in an obsessive-compulsive manner) essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol (drugs, obsessive-compulsive behavior). The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic (addict) life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks–drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink (use) again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of their recovery.
Our experience has shown that if a person be an addict of the hopeless variety, regardless of their addiction — alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, food, self-harm or injury, co-dependence, they all have one thing in common; they all experience the pattern of addiction that starts with a spree where they have no control over their behaviour, followed by a period of remorse, horror or hopelessness, followed by a firm desire not to do it again, only to succumb to the behavior again and repeat the cycle over and over.
Why then are some people so preoccupied with identification? How are we to cope with so much cross-addiction in the 12 step rooms today? If someone suffers from a number of addictions, should this person join every 12 step group that identifies with his or hers affliction or should they join “a” group and talk about one addiction only and keep the other ones secret? (Some fellowships do not permit the discussion of other addictions.)
Today, alcoholics are showing up in Gamblers Anonymous meetings. The A.A. rooms are filled with cross-addicted alcoholics – such as “black-out” drunks using “crack-cocaine” to extend their drinking bouts! Sex addicts are greeted with smirks and jokes about sex addiction. Gamblers think their addiction is “different”. Alcoholics apparently don’t relate to the “druggies”. Among drug addicts there seems to be cliques about who is more “addicted”.
What do you think about addict identification? Is it group discrimination to exclude other addictions? Are we not all addicts who suffer from a spiritual malady? Does the 12 step program work for any kind of addiction? Have you worked with other addicts who suffer from addictions that are not your own? Tell us about your experiences.