“Hello, my name’s Jamie and I’m an alcoholic”…. “Hello Jamie” they reply in unison. I’v embarrassingly uttered this phrase and heard that reply many times over the years at AA meetings. However, I have not been to any kind of support group meeting for at least 7 years. Yet I remain “sober”.
So, I am a 45 year old recovering, NOT recovered, alcoholic. I also have a prescription drug dependency; Benzodiazepines are my thing, tranquilisers, valium/diazepam. I was initially prescribed them over 20 years ago for the crushing anxiety, agoraphobia,etc… that I suffered due to my alcohol addiction. “Benzos” are very moreish to the wrong person and are the one vice that stubbornly remains, as does the anxiety,etc… These meds are all very closely monitored by my doctor and at a relatively low dose.
I finally went into detox and rehab on October 25th 2002 at the age of 29. I have over 16 years sobriety under my belt. Impressive? No. Not to me. I’d rather be able to drink booze but I had my moment of clarity and realised it was stop or die. It’s the hardest pill I’v ever had to swallow, no pun intended. It still occasionally pisses me off that I’m affected, but that’s just tough shit. I somehow found the inspiration to go for the “Stop” option and here we are.
Like countless millions of people around the world, I am an addict. As well as being born with a predisposition to addiction, my upbringing played a large part in it all too. Not an excuse, this is just how it is. In hindsight, I knew all this as a teenager because I could feel it and knew I was “different”. Things were not quite “right”, but of course I didn’t understand the significance.
I have also seen the argument in the title of this article do the rounds regularly over the years so I’v decided to give my thoughts on the subject. This will not be just my opinion, we shall look at this neutrally as much as possible and base it off both experiences and real science. (Though I am opinionated and have strong feelings on the matter). I will leave my email address at the bottom and would love to hear your thoughts.
First things first, my abstinence from AA meetings needs a mention. I hate them. I can’t think of a worse way to approach this, on a psychological level, than keeping your mind focused on the problem with others in the same boat. Some people I’v known go to an AA meeting every day, even though they may be 20+ years sober. In my opinion, they’re addicted to AA meetings. (The Downside of Self-Help Groups)
I’ll say no more on that, I know the way I feel is a minority viewpoint. If AA works for you then that’s brilliant.