A Drug Is A Drug Is A Dog Is A Dachshund

I didn't know this, but apparently there are just a few "funny" pictures with "pets" on the "internet".  I learn every single day of my life.  And waste much of it.
I didn’t know this, but apparently there are just a few “funny” pictures of “pets” on the “internet”.  I learn something every single day of my life. And waste much of it. (I hope they burned the underwear there)

We have a dachshund.  Crazy pile of bark on stumpy trunks, but he’s ours.  I have been known to walk him now and then (I am not the true enabler fusser-over of the dog – that’s my wife’s job).  The great thing is that when we talk to or run into other dog owners, we can discuss such earth shattering issues like how our dogs like to bark at squirrels.  Or drool on the pillowcases (mine specifically…I love waking up smelling like a kennel cage floor).  Or about them being the cutey-wutey-est shnoogy woogies in the whole pwanet (again, my wife).  It’s a simple way to shoot the breeze and have a laugh and see the ridiculous and wonderful nature of these animals.

Now, while we enjoy the Shnauzers, Shih-Tzus, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, Beagles, Whippets and Irish Setters that litter the neighbourhood like an old school canine Benetton ad, there is something special when we run into other dachshund owners. Now we can connect, get down to brass tacks, call a spade a spade.  We talk about the stubborn nature of our charges, the aggression they show to other dogs (namely larger dogs, which means pretty much all of them) and their tenacious yet fiercely loyal ways.  There is something about the interaction with those who know what it’s like and have been there that is soothing and centring.  A feeling of inclusion.  (I love what E.B White says about his own dachshund, Fred: “I would rather train a striped zebra to balance an Indian club than induce a dachshund to heed my slightest command. When I address Fred I never have to raise either my voice or my hopes. He even disobeys me when I instruct him in something he wants to do.” Very true.)

Sit, Boo Boo, sit.
Sit, Boo Boo, sit.

Around recovery circles, there are some who pronounce that “a drug is a drug is a drug”. The idea being that all drugs, including Ethyl alcohol (i.e. ethanol i.e. CH3CH2OH i.e. booze) are all the same in terms of what their intentions are – to alter or change one’s mood, behaviour, physical, mental and/or emotional state.  They may be used for perceived beneficial effects on perception, consciousness and personality (the key word being “perceived”). Coping mechanisms, for many of us addicted to one or more of them.  And so, the general axiom attended to here is that we’re all in the same boat and we all have the same things going on beneath the surface.

Now since we are talking addiction, I am also going to include non-chemical addictions that while do not put anything toxic into our bodies per se, do change the chemistry of our minds and blood and tissue.  So into the pile we add gambling, sex, love, co-dependency, emotions, pornography, internet, social media, eating disorders, food, sugar and any other thing that takes us out of ourselves or overrides any sort of emotional and mental checks and balances.  So there we have it – a plethora of drugs that is part Columbian cartel, part Freudian wet dream and part ABC After School Special.


Whatever floats your boat, Jean-Marie.
Whatever floats your boat, Jaques-Marie.

I’ve been hearing this “a drug is a drug is a drug” thing for a while now, and while I agree to some extent, it’s been through some contemplation and experience with others with other addictions that I find I have to draw a line at some point in the identification process.  Some may (and do) disagree with my opinion on this.  And that’s wonderful.  I would expect nothing less than a passionate discourse on something like recovery that has saved countless of our lives.  But understand I do not write this to cause derision or division between the different addictions and those afflicted with it.  In fact, I do find more similarities than differences, but it’s in the differences that I find a truer connection with those with like coping mechanism.  Like with other dachshund owners, I find a stronger and more compelling fellowship that I can relate to and identify more with.  I can open up further as I know I am preaching to the choir.  And that is never a bad thing when dealing with life and death issues.

Now I want to state for the record that I am an alcoholic only.  Drugs aren’t part of my story.  Sure I smoked a few sage-like things here and there, and maybe dropped some paper that may have been laced with LSD, but those were rare instances.  And frankly, they did nothing for me.  Luckily. I did take anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills, however, but never abused them.  I don’t even like taking headache medication. If I do have another vice (oh wait, I do) – it would be sugar.  Nothing to be locked up over, but certainly something that alters my mood, my brain chemistry, my body, my sleep, my emotions and gets me in the grip of old thinking (lying, deception, a wonderful case of the “fuck its”, etc.)  Enough that when I get caught in the grips of the granola bars, I can get all Willy Wonka on your ass.

You see, my sarcasm gene just kicked in. Thanks, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

So, like walking my dog (in this case, my alcoholism), I run into a whole other lot of others walking their little and big addictions – a French Mastiff on Facebook,  a Cocker Spaniel on coke, an Afghan Hound of anorexia…we are all in the lobbies and in the parks and on the pavements all doing our things.  We are online and in the rooms and social media and in the meeting places and squares.  We all stop and chat and compare paw prints and fluffy sweaters and dripping wagging tongues. We share our stories of pain and hurt and love, of Paradise lost and found.  We compare wounds and show off shiny badges of victory.  And for that, I am grateful to be part of larger pack, circling and protecting our own.

But there comes a time when I need to be with the weiner dogs.  It is only with my fellow alcoholics can I share the true graces and disgraces of my illness.  The dirty laundry kind of stuff.  The real way that alcohol and alcoholism worked in my life.  The offshoot branches of whisky marinated minutiae.  The bottle hiding, the shakes, the mental obsession, the dehydration, the lies, the cover ups, the vomiting (there’s always vomiting, isn’t there?) and the other accessories of alcoholism. The Pandora’s box pendants of gluttony and sloth and ambition crushed.

In treatment, I was one of the rare breeds – pure alcoholic.  Most others were drug addicts or both.  No doubt we all had some other -ism’s going on in the background – work, gambling, sex, etc.  but treatment only dealt with chemicals. A drug is a drug is a drug, remember.  And yet, listening to these other men’s stories was illuminating and brought me closer to them.  While I could identify with the guy who did Oxycontin, or crack cocaine or crystal meth, I had to leave them when it came time to discussing the particulars.  I had to break off when it came time in describing the cravings, the needs, the jonesing of that next fix. My identification only held up so long.


The differences between alcohol and drugs are certainly striking, on the surface.  For one, alcohol is legal.  I can walk into a store, tally up my chump change and walk out with something liquidy and not worry about getting busted. When it comes to drugs (not the over the counter stuff), it’s a whole other animal.  You have to know people.  You need to meet up and bring cash…public spaces need not apply.  After hours in dodgy areas, the additional weight of being robbed or raped or beat up or arrested on top of the already addled addicted mind.  It’s a whole different world, tinged with criminal elements and higher risks.

There is also a difference in cravings and effects on the body and mind.  The damage opiates can cause long term are much different than what alcohol can do.  The carnage that crack causes on the nervous system is significantly different than what too much booze can do.  Alcohol leaves the body in about three days.  It can take a year or longer for the residue of drugs to leave the system fully.  Also, alcohol, unlike most drugs, causes the cravings to kick in once it gets into the system, as opposed to losing the craving once the fix settles in.  And on it goes.  The detox from alcohol is one of the most deadly – seizures and heart stoppage can easily occur to a badly afflicted alcoholic.  But detox from other drugs can be just as brutal, but I have no idea what they are like.  I have no experience of that.

Just. One. More. Level.
Just. One. More. Level.

Also, the stigma of being a drug addict is something that I am not familiar with.  There are so-called high functioning alcoholics, but there are no functioning meth addicts out there that I know of.  There are no hardcore heroin users who can be CEO for very long.  Societally, the idea of being a pill popper or coke user or marijuana smoker seems to be pegged a rung below that of pounding back too many martinis at lunch.   It is almost more accepted to be an alcoholic than a sex addict, or bulimic, or a compulsive gambler.   Certainly no one wants to get into discourse about online porn or internet abuse. People don’t take the social media addict or video game addict very seriously.  “Just cut down” is what they would say, as they might have said to a problem drinker.

I had a call from my treatment center about a year ago.  It was a man who was leaving the house and needed someone on the “outside” to take to meetings, talk, etc.  I agreed to meet up with him for coffee, and it was only after one or two minutes talking to him that I knew he was just a bit different.  He did identify as an alcoholic, but I got the sense it wasn’t his first choice.  After a few more minutes, I cut to the chase.

“When you are thinking about going back out, what are you thinking of?  Alcohol or pills?” I asked him.

“Pills,” he answered.

We continued to talk about all the other stuff that comes along with addiction – the loneliness, the isolation, the sense of not belonging, the fears, the angers, the pain.  We did connect on that level, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sponsor him or work with him, as I just didn’t have the experience of drugs, and specifically over the counter drugs, which was his particular poison. I wouldn’t recognize someone high on back pain relievers.  I wouldn’t be able to spot someone who ingested too many T3’s.  I wouldn’t be able to detect the sickness that comes with either coming off pills or the frantic lead up to a spree of pills.  I just wouldn’t have anything to offer in that category.  But talk…we certainly could talk about the stuff on the side.

Either these guys have busted another meth lab, or they found my old hockey bag.
Either these guys have busted another meth lab, or they found my old hockey gym bag.

Just the other night someone mentioned that they had a cold and had to go to the drug store to buy some medicine. But as a recovered addict, it was difficult for her to do it, as it was in a way going right back into the belly of the beast, and there is always the slightest temptation to over medicate.  You see, that never even occurred to me.  As an alcoholic, I don’t think of those things because I have never had the experience of standing in front of the pain relief and/or cough and cold section and treating it like a liquor store shelf.   I don’t have that sort of thing on my radar.  Nor do I think of a buffet or a casino or turning on my computer or talking to a woman not my wife as challenges to my sobriety.  I don’t see them as potential associations or deal breakers or “triggers”.  Or potential relapses.  I am not wired that way.


The whole “so” of this is that while I am tattooed with alcoholism, with decals of sugar on the side, I am not necessarily defined by it.  But I do need to be around fellow alcoholics to get the vibe, to get the real juice, to feel a part of something, because my whole life was spent feeling that I didn’t belong to anything.  That is why being a part of a whole is so vital to me.  To be amongst my peeps, so to speak, is what I sometimes need to motor through this whole thing. Being alone and isolated doesn’t serve me and knowing that there are many out there who think like me, act like me, and more importantly, drank and behaved like me puts me in a rarefied company of those who have survived…and continue to survive and gives me comfort.

Get them away - vile creatures of the oven!!
Get them away – vile creatures from the depths of the deep fryer!!

But the greater joy is just being that branch on a larger tree.  A dachshund is a groovy dog, but they can’t pull sleighs or jump over fences or rescue skiiers.  Being part of a greater and glorious brother- and sisterhood is a joy beyond reproach.  The things I have learned from addicts of all kinds – compassion, generosity, inclusion, heartfelt ups and downs, love, support – have strengthened my own recovery, even if I am recovering from something else.  Or am I ? Listen, sure we all have our paths, and mine was navigated and powered by the bottle, but I can’t dismiss the fact that at the core we all have that -ism – that core thing that blocks us from the need to connect, to be loved and give love, to feel useful, to be happy, joyous and free.  To be blocked from the Creator.  It has been said that the addict is someone who is running as fast as they can away from God.

We’re all different breeds at the dog park, mixed in company, bonded by fate, energized by the light within.  My struggles and your struggles are still struggles, and while we wear different faces, our eyes are the same and our spirits all want to soar to the same majestic plane.  A drug is a drug is a dog is a dachshund.  Now tell me your story.



27 Comments Add yours

  1. Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon says:

    OH PLEASE DO BURN That Doggie G-String!!…..Gosh Paul I JUST LUV coming and spending time here reading your posts! I really love your writing style. Very UNIQUE my good friend. Yes, a drug is a drug, and an addiction is addiction no matter the form. I THANK YOU for including “Gambling” in your list. That was my drug of choice, the mind altering, zoned out, money hungry Slots & Video poker machines that always took & took and NEVER GAVE BACK!….Money that is,…LOL….

    THAT is the strange thing about addicted gambling, you really can’t tell when a person is under the “Mind Altering Influence” of shoving all ONES MONEY in those machines, not to mention your mind & thoughts are going 100 MPH even after you walk away from the card table, or slot machines! You have to worry about what you lost, how to hide it, lie, steal, pawn, sell, and it goes ON and ON, so you might as well still be behind the MACHINE or Sittin at the tables. I would never try to Sponsor someone other than an addicted gambler as well, I don’t know the first thing about AA or NA. Shoot, I have to take MEDS myself just to be Mentally NORMAL, what ever the HELL Normal is?…..LOL….Thanks for an Awesome blog post Paul! Keep Um Coming BABY!

    Blessings & Hugs, xxoo Catherine 🙂

    1. I had you in mind a lot when I was writing this, and in the thoughts leading up to it. Ever since running into you here in the sobersphere, I have run into a lot of alcoholics with gambling issues and have seen lots of ads and discussion about gambling up here in my city (just like they have liquor ads telling us to “drink responsibly”, they have a slogan for gambling – “know your limit, play within it”) So it’s becoming a bit more apparent to me, and that’s thanks to you. I might have not noticed it as much if you hadn’t shared so much of your story.

      Even what you said just now about the mind racing, thinking of what you would have pawned, etc…this is all new stuff for me. And of course it is – it isn’t part of my own experience. And this is precisely what I enjoy about all of us around…shared learning.

      Thanks for this Catherine, and all that you do 🙂


      1. Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon says:

        Thanks for the kind words Paul 🙂 “It’s JUST what I DO”!….LOL…Your so right about finding those who drink also may have gambling issues. I myself found I drank at times when I gambled. I too have come across MANY in my GA-Gamblers Anonymous meetings who are addicted to gambling, but also have Drug or Alcohol problems. Dual addictions are becoming more common now.

        And the only way to educate others is to speak out and share our own stories to help others! Your a GEM out here in Sober-Space *PAUL*! Thanks for all you do as well. 🙂 God Bless! xxoo Catherine 🙂

  2. Clare says:

    I’ll be a dachshund owner and alkie with you. Cheers to power in numbers!

    1. I always remember what you once said about these pooches (especially when he’s done some dumb thing and yet strikes a pose later) – “all majestic and shit”.

      Thanks for the power in numbers, Clare…always glad to have ya on board 🙂

      Love and light (and somewhat edible doggie treats)


  3. furtheron says:

    I’m an alcoholic.

    In my younger days yes drugs were about – I didn’t do them. Because? A little voice in my head was saying “You go near that stuff sonny, you’ll be in big trouble”. Never equated that level headed sense though with my drinking! Well not for 25 years or so later.

    At the rehab I went to they had a cross addictions questionnaire. Which was good, early on in my recovery I was presented with the concept that alcohol was more a symptom of the problem rather than the problem. I did get told off though as to the question “Do you jump at every opportunity for illicit sex?” I wrote “Chance would be a find thing”. The counsellor had a sense of humour bypass at that point… hey ho.

    But I was off the scale on alcohol, but food (binge eating) and relationships came up higher than I’d have expected but the food thing I have to work at controlling.

    I should have known all this… or maybe not. My first experience of addiction was when I was about 8 or 9. It was the Christmas holidays and the weather was awful. Grey and raining… yes English weather 🙂 So my brother and I stayed in doors. We dug out my mothers 1930s Monopoly set (should have kept that :-() and played it morning, noon and night. A couple of days into the Monopoly fest I was lying in bed unable to sleep with the board, the money, the cards, the tokens, the strategies going around my head at 100rpm. I asked the next day to get the model railway stuff out… now sadly why 10 years later didn’t I do that with booze?

    Great Post Paul

    1. Thanks Graham for the wonderful comments and share.You bring up some good points there, and that we tend to have those compulsions towards other things even when we are unaware (or too young). I too heard that voice that said “don’t bother with them”. I was afraid of drugs (still am), but I knew that it would be a slippery slope if I went near them. And so at least I didn’t get into those kind of jackpots. Glad to hear that we are all kinda normal 😉


  4. Good morning Paul!

    And a fascinating topic this is. I have to say, as someone who is cross-addicted, I find myself a little bit on the other side of the fence, although I can see perfectly why someone would feel the most comfort in speaking to “one of their own.”

    When I first sought treatment, it was recommended that, although my primary addiction was alcohol in solid form, I should still seek out AA meetings, for two reasons. First, the meetings are much more accessible, and second, they have the highest success rate. I took that advice, and I never looked back!

    For me, it is absolutely all about the thinking, and nothing to do with the substance. I can (and do) display my addictive mind while playing a pre-school computer game, so it matters not to me if you are speaking of booze, pills, powder, sugar, salt, sex, casinos, or anything else… I believe I will relate on some level.

    I will say this: if there was a fellowship to my specific drug of choice (prescription drugs), then I may have the same feelings as you, Paul. But, thank God, the rooms of AA do welcome me, and I get what I need there.

    Thank you so much for this thought provoking post! Great way to get my mind moving!


    1. I was very curious as to your take on this, Josie, as I know your background, and I am very taken by what you said. Yes! We have a thinking problem, and we turn to ______ to fill the void and to distract from that thinking. And you are correct in that – I completely agree. I think there comes a moment where the _________ we choose starts to become it’s own problem, and that is where things start to shift. But the initial *want* of a coping mechanism is still there and relevant to what we choose.

      This is a topic that I find is spoken about often by those who are cross-addicted, or at least in NA or likewise situations…

      Great comments – you have me thinking too 🙂


  5. byebyebeer says:

    In our old neighborhood, my daughter and I would always look for this little brown dachshund we’d occasionally see tottering down the street in a determined and somehow completely endearing manner. He was doing his own thing. We would cry out “Hot Dog!” though his wasn’t his name (I don’t think). No point to this “story” except to say that yes, dachshunds are a special breed.

    I have a friend who I met at a AA meeting, though her problem was never alcohol. She just didn’t like NA meetings and she helped me a lot in those mid-early days of recovery. She was the one who kept reminding me about the ‘acceptance is the answer’ reading when I was struggling with the same thing over and over again. I don’t really feel like her and I have much in common anymore, but I will never forget how she helped save me and I hope I helped her too.

    Anyway, she once said to me that she couldn’t imagine how hard it must be to stay sober because I could get in my car every day and drive to a liquor store. And here I was thinking it must be so exhausting to keep up with an addiction to pills. And both of us feeling lucky compared to the other, lol.

    Not very clear thoughts in this here comment, but you made me think and that is to be commended.

    1. My wife wants to buy a hot dog costume / coat for the dog. As much as I am against it, I know she will win out…lol.

      Glad I got the gears going there, K. It’s an interesting topic at times, and your anecdote there does show the gaps that we run into when we as addicts (in general) share and discuss things. She wonders how you stay sober and you wonder how she keeps up on the pills. And that is the core of what I was trying to get at – it’s difficult to identify at a certain point. And that’s ok. We have many ways to relate though, and that is very important and crucial.

      Ironically, I am not one to get into drunkalogs or enjoy listening to long drunk / drug stories either. Or at least a lot of. I do need to hear them, to continue identifying and to also remember what it was like. But not on a constant basis. – I prefer to be living in the solution. As we all do.

      Thanks for sharing…great reading your insights 🙂


  6. Lisa Neumann says:

    Interesting post: I think I fall both ways depending on the way the wind is blowing (who’s in front of me). At the same breath it is nice to know I am not invested either way. I like your last jpg best. I get to be on that majestic plane whenever I tackle that thing that has coral-ed (is that a word?) me.
    x Lisa

    1. I see where you are coming from, Lisa. I too was curious on your take on this. And like you, I do see both sides, but I guess I identify just a little bit more on the side of a certain singleness of identity. I don’t even know why I had to put this whole thing out there other than it’s moved me enough to go with it…but I certainly am not looking to create a sort of bubble within a bubble. Or maybe I am…ha ha. But if you were to corner me and ask me to make a case for the flip side, I don’t think it would be very difficult.

      In the end, just freeing myself of that thing (or those things) is the real deal and the work. I don’t want to get too hung up on that thing, but live in the solution of it.

      Thanks for being here 🙂


  7. There was once a time when I could only share my insecurities with my past addiction to alcohol with the one person who was my partner in crime at the time; my mother. And even though we were only able to speak about our bottle hiding, constant lying, and numerous other scandals after were finally sober, I still feel like there is so much more for me to learn now; not just from my mom, but others as well. I never joined AA or any other support group and even though it’s now going on two years sober now, the one thing I long for the most is to learn about the experiences, downfalls and success stories of others. Not to judge but to understand my own struggles a little better. We all make certain decisions in order to find comfort or cope with things we are unable to handle at different moments in our lives. Because my mother was a lost soul and my father was never around to raise me, I felt like alcohol was a way to release. I didn’t know any better. Hell, I didn’t even know I had problems with understanding what the meaning of loving one’s self meant until I stopped drinking. Go figure, right?

    The one thing I have learned from my new acquaintances, some I would even call fantastic friends, is that no matter how we got to this place in sobriety, we are here. Our legacies may be similar, the same, or extremely different; however, we are here, sharing a touch of our lives and some tales of our knowledge with each other. So I’m glad to finally be partaking in something greater than I had ever imagined in my life before.

    And what is it with alcoholics and sugar? Now that I don’t drink, I find myself eating a heck of a lot more of it. Granola bars? Forget about it! Love them; especially the chocolate chip peanut butter ones. And my butt is still burning off calories from a birthday chocolate ganache cake from last week! Not a piece, but a few days worth of topping it off!

    As always, love stopping by here Paul.

    1. Don’t even get into the alcoholics and sugar thing…ha ha. I have yet to run into a sober alcoholic who doesn’t mow down a few extra sweets at any given opportunity. Many are able to regulate after a time, or just accept it, or try to get a handle on that one. I have tried all three and haven’t come to a proper conclusion on that one.

      Anyway, Gina, I really love what you say here. There is something intangible about sharing with others the trials and tribulations of our alcoholism. That is the one thing that 12-step meetings afford – face time with others like us so that we can feel that connection and to hear and share with like. I have heard hundreds if not thousands of stories, and I do not tire of the “what it was like, what happened and what it’s like today” sort of tale. I love hearing where people have come and where they are now. I get to hear my own story in there very often, and the connection with others keeps me going.

      And I think that is why the sobersphere also works and is strong – it’s another venue for us to share and read and listen and be in contact with others…even if it’s not face-to-face.

      Thank you for being part of this community – it’s a blessing 🙂

      Love and light,

  8. Sharon says:

    Such a wonderful,thought provoking post. I truly enjoy your blog ,Paul. I couldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for this community.

    1. Oh Thank you Sharon – you made my morning by your comments…you really did! This community is fabulous, isn’t it? And thank you for being a part of it 🙂


  9. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Your blog is so valuable. I love reading it. You cover so much ground. It is awesome you are a sponsor (though you didn’t sponsor that guy).

    You know, I never thought about it – sure enough a meth addict couldn’t be functioning as a CEO. With alcohol, I have got away with working, working, working, raising Daniel, not stopping. But drugs is really something else.

    Love your thoughts Paul, your delivery. Really great post.

    1. Aw thank you, Noeleen. High praise coming from a prodigious wordsmith like yourself 🙂

      Sponsoring others is something that I truly enjoy. This blog is an extension of that – passing on what (little) I know. It helps me and hopefully it helps the guys I work with (although almost all of them have disappeared…not sure where they are or even if they are sober!) But the point is that we carry the message and hope that the person is open and willing and honest with themselves. That is the part I cannot do for them.

      Drugs – yeah, I am lucky I didn’t go down that path. I did have a good friend (who is both an alcoholic and addict in recovery) tell me once that I would have made a good pill popper…lol. I don’t know if that was a compliment or not. But my downfall would have come sooner no doubt if that was on my plate. People *do* drink and function to an extent – it depends on the person and the situation(s). Some people I know can rein it in at work. They may be hungover, but they don’t drink at work. Or some don’t drink and drive ever. Some cross lines all the time. It just depends.

      Thank you for being here…it’s a blessing having you here 🙂


  10. Well, I am only an alcoholic too! Another thing in common, Paul! 🙂 and I have only tried pot and it just didn’t do it for me. Alcohol was it because it was for the most part socially acceptable and available everywhere and made me look really sophisticated! LOL,not really, that was just in my head! Anyway, I think it’s a thinking game for me too. Yes I feel more comfortable with people that are mostly alcoholic, but I have found, strangely enough in sobriety that I still at times crave the high. I had an instance at the hospital once, when I went to the ER with Pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining around the lungs, which is associated with sharp chest pain upon breathing in (Google). So I was freaking out, thought I was dying, and I was given the morphine drip. Never had morphine before but I sure heard some good stuff about it! And OMG. Let me tell you what I was thinking…. Oh yes, I found myself fantasizing in the anticipation of a great high! After 20min of nothing, I called the nurse, I said, this is not working, she said – Are you still in pain? – I breathed in – No, I said – Well, then it’s working, she replied. Lol! So for me, I guess it just doesn’t matter!

  11. big mike says:

    What’s the difference between a drunk and an addict?

    An drunk will steal your wallet and when he comes to, will be sick with remorse…… but an addict will steal your wallet and then help you look for it…….

    Alcoholics are born…..

    Addicts are made…….

    Big difference in thinking. IMO.

    1. Ha ha…I’ve heard that one before…lol.

      I can’t say I understand fully, as I can’t say that I am a drug addict. I don’t have that experience, although I do know plenty in recovery (and not in recovery). But there must be something to it.

      The thing about alcoholics being born and addicts made…hmmmmm…I am curious about that one. How do you see that? It’s an interesting remark, and now of course I want to investigate that further 🙂

      Thanks for being here, big mike. Have a wonderful day!


      1. big mike says:

        I don’t mean to incite any public controversy. But I will say that when AA was founded there were plenty of people around with many addiction to drugs and whatever. Addictions are not a new phenomenon. That saying a drug is adrug is a drug is rehab speak. Not AA.


        To those now in its fold, Alcoholics Anonymous has made the difference between misery and sobriety, and often the difference between life and death. A.A. can, of course, mean just as much to uncounted alcoholics not yet reached.

        Therefore, no society of men and women ever had a more urgent need for continuous effectiveness and permanent unity. We alcoholics see that we must work together and hang together, else most of us will finally die alone.

        The “12 Traditions” of Alcoholics Anonymous are, we A.A.’s believe, the best answers that our experience has yet given to those ever-urgent questions, “How can A.A. best function?” and, “How can A.A. best stay whole and so survive?”

        On the next page, A.A.’s “12 Traditions” are seen in their so-called “short form,” the form in general use today. This is a condensed version of the original “long form” A.A. Traditions as first printed in 1946. Because the “long form” is more explicit and of possible historic value, it is also reproduced.

        The Twelve Traditions

        One—Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
        Two—For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
        Three—The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
        Four—Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
        Five—Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
        Six—An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
        Seven—Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
        Eight—Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
        Nine—A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
        Ten—Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
        Eleven—Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
        Twelve—Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

        The Twelve Traditions
        (The Long Form)

        Our A.A. experience has taught us that:
        1.—Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.

        2.—For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.

        3.—Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other

        4.—With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount.

        5.—Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose—that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

        6.—Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A.—and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.

        7.—The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own mem-
        bers. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.

        8.—Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional. We define professionalism as the occupation of counseling alcoholics for fees or hire. But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those services for which we might otherwise have to engage nonalcoholics. Such special services may be well recompensed. But our usual A.A. “12 Step” work is never to be paid for.

        9.—Each A.A. group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is the best. The small group may elect its secretary, the large group its rotating committee, and the groups of a large metropolitan area their central or intergroup committee, which often employs a full-time secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board are, in effect, our A.A. General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our A.A. Tradition and the receivers of voluntary A.A. contributions by which we maintain our A.A. General Service Office at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our over-all public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principal newspaper, the A.A. Grapevine. All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in A.A. are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.

        10.—No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues—particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.

        11.—Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think A.A. ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. Our public relations should be guided by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. There is never need to praise ourselves. We feel it better to let our friends recommend us.

        12.—And finally, we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. It reminds us that we are to place principles before personalities; that we are actually to practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all.

        Table of Contents | Index Page | A.A. Web site Home

        © Copyright 2013 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
        All Right Reserved

        1. You’re preaching to the choir, mike. I am in agreement – that was the point of the post – I have heard that phrase over and over again and I don’t see it that way. Most of the people who I have heard say it are in NA or CA. I don’t remember hearing it at treatment, which was 12-step based, which had addicts and alcoholics, but I may have missed it. I hold very much to singleness of purpose in AA, and agree with it, as I would with singleness of purpose at any other fellowship.

          Thanks for the long form trads – you don’t see many folks referring to them. Not even sure how many know they exist. They can be very different from the short forms (well, except for #2 …lol)


  12. 1is2many says:

    Good stuff. The thing for this recovering alcoholic is that in our nice AA room we have addicts show up that want to be “better” than a recovering addict.. their NA room seemed to ‘hard’ for them… So they show up and say that they are a addict “and an alcoholic” and then begin to spout off about needing a needle/fix/ or some jargon.. moly etc that I can not even relate to… We are pretty open to all at my group and I guess this is ok but the truth is we Alcoholics are different. I cant explain it but I am a dachshund and glad to share the yard with other dogs but the thing is I am in my room for dauschund training (AA recovery). Not some other crap/ alternative… that actually makes me interested (CRAZY i know) when some addict speaks about it.

    I want you to know how much it helped me today to read this and to know that one of my Idols growing up is on the same bus as me. God Bless from GA US.

    1. Interesting points, 1is2many (may I call you “2many”?). I have gone back and forth on this thing for as long as I have had unfuzzy thoughts and listening to the arguments back and forth, where things like Traditions and Singleness of Purpose are bandied about until everyone is blue in the face. ugh.

      I mean, I have no issues at all with those who identify as alcoholic being there and sharing, as long as it’s about alcohol. I don’t mind addicts being there, or overeaters, or sex addicts, etc. at an open meeting. I don’t like hijacked meetings where things turn to other issues. I recall some meetings where someone talks about self-medicating with food, someone else with porn, etc. And those are serious issues. But I am at an AA meeting. Sorry. That is why we have other fellowships, and hey, speak to someone before or after the meeting and I can direct you to someone who will know something about that. My sponsor is in 4-5 fellowships, so hey, I will send you to him 🙂

      It sounds a bit strict, and I know I am in one camp, but I just think of the newcomer who comes in and starts hearing about heroin, stuffing one’s face, cocaine, etc. and wonders if they are in the right place. Others will say that all are welcome regardless…and I get that to a point. As long as they identify as alcoholic and can relate / share with that, I am cool.

      Anyway, we’re on the same page, which I am very happy with. Even if we weren’t, I’d still be happy with it…love discussions like this.

      Thank you so much for your comments – love hearing from those in the rooms, 2many.

      (I am curious as to who that Idol was!)

      Thanks for being here.


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