Is my drug addiction really that much worse than her alcoholism?

  1. 5
    This morning I noticed something, and it didn't really upset me, it just confirmed what I've been told over and over.. and what I thought I've seen in the past.

    I was skimming through the posts here, in the recovery forum.. just like I do almost every morning. I realized... there is a huge difference when someone starts a thread about their alcoholism,, or if they start a thread about their drug addiction.

    It's in the posts,, I don't have to explain myself, just look. An alcoholic can be "thanked" numerous times for sharing their story,, and a drug addict might get thanked a few times for sharing.

    What's the difference? As nurses is it really THAT much worse to be a drug addict than it is an alcoholic? Obviously, it seems so. This may be unintended, but it is a reaction non the less.

    I don't know why it makes me twinge a little with anger. What should I care if people look farther down on drug addicts than alcoholics? I don't really care. I could care less what a person, who is uneducated about addiction thinks about me. I say that because the educated do not look down or think any worse of the drug addict than the alcoholic. And here's why... IT'S THE SAME THING. Once you are educated in both,, you understand.
    Meriwhen, gr8fulnrs, Cherybaby, and 2 others like this.
  2. 6,115 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  3. 41 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    it could be because Etoh use is so enculturated (sp) in our culture.....it could be that there are that many more alcoholics here at AN, in the closet or out, and it could be that alcohol USE is legal.......but you are correct, if you are an addict, you are an addict.....
  5. 4
    Well, they are not really the same thing, not culturally. To become addicted to drugs without the cooperation of a prescriber one must step into the criminal world.
  6. 0
    Quite frankly you may not want to read people's real feelings on this. My observation and experience (14 yrs continuously sober in AA) is thus:

    You are incorrect about educated people seeing alcohol addiction and drug addiction as the same thing. That is like saying that sex addiction and drug addiction are the same thing. If you have a frank discussion with psychologists and psychiatrists they see a difference. But this is a generalization and doesn't apply universally -- like any generalization.

    As a previous poster said, to use drug does put you on the criminal side of the fence from the off. Also, the lack of cultural acceptance puts drug users in a position where they also need to be more covert (read lie) about what they are doing. Drugs tend to be more expensive which frequently leads to criminal acts to support the habit (stealing the drugs. stealing they money for them or stealing items to sell for them).

    Also, you may find that there are simply more alcoholics posting here than addicts.
  7. 0
    Ahhh, I see,, sort of the same mentality that forced me to leave the AA group that I was seeking help from. They didn't want me there, I was beneath them. Funny now that I look back,, I was no worse off than they were and we were probably in the same boat. But still, they were too good for me, so I had to quit going.

    If I didn't want to read people's feelings on this, I would have kept it to myself. This is not going to hurt my feelings, I have gone way beyond that in my recovery.

    Here is why it is the same...... Both will drown themselves in their "substance" of choice to numb the pain of something..whether it be an undiagnosed psychological issue... the pain of losing a loved one... or just because drowning themselves makes them feel more normal.. but it is still the same.
    Last edit by Magsulfate on May 22, '09
  8. 0
    Quote from 2BSure
    Quite frankly you may not want to read people's real feelings on this. My observation and experience (14 yrs continuously sober in AA) is thus:

    You are incorrect about educated people seeing alcohol addiction and drug addiction as the same thing. That is like saying that sex addiction and drug addiction are the same thing. If you have a frank discussion with psychologists and psychiatrists they see a difference. But this is a generalization and doesn't apply universally -- like any generalization.

    As a previous poster said, to use drug does put you on the criminal side of the fence from the off. Also, the lack of cultural acceptance puts drug users in a position where they also need to be more covert (read lie) about what they are doing. Drugs tend to be more expensive which frequently leads to criminal acts to support the habit (stealing the drugs. stealing they money for them or stealing items to sell for them).

    Also, you may find that there are simply more alcoholics posting here than addicts.
    SO, you're saying that a person educated in addiction/recovery will still see alcoholism as 'better than drug addiction'?
  9. 4
    mag, it isn't a matter of being beneath anyone. It is that if you are not alcoholic AA is not a place where you belong. While I certainly wish you well in your journey, it is a different one than mine. Not everyone with any addiction - food, cigarettes, crack - belongs at an AA meeting even if they do meet the "desire to stop drinking" requirement.

    I hope that you have many vital, supportive, helpful NA groups available to you. I will not, however, see you at those meetings. I would be an intruder, and there under false pretense. Nor could I add much to the group's collective experience, strength and hope, not having recovered from the same thing you did.
  10. 0
    Quote from SuesquatchRN
    mag, it isn't a matter of being beneath anyone. It is that if you are not alcoholic AA is not a place where you belong. While I certainly wish you well in your journey, it is a different one than mine. Not everyone with any addiction - food, cigarettes, crack - belongs at an AA meeting even if they do meet the "desire to stop drinking" requirement.

    I hope that you have many vital, supportive, helpful NA groups available to you. I will not, however, see you at those meetings. I would be an intruder, and there under false pretense. Nor could I add much to the group's collective experience, strength and hope, not having recovered from the same thing you did.
    It has been a few years since this happened. At the time, I lived in a very small town with only AA,, the nearest NA was too far to drive, as I didn't even have a car at the time. It was a very low point in my life, and I was reaching out for any help that I could get.. I was turned away from people with this same attitude. All I wanted was help. The lowly drug addict, begging for help, ... And this is the attitude, actually, it was worse than this.

    I would never turn away any addict that needed help. I don't care if you're addicted to your play station. But for some reason, with alcoholics, many of them think they are better than others.. I wish I could put it into words better, but this is the only nice way I can put it.

    As you confirmed, the alcoholic will turn away other addicts. But I know that this addict would never turn away an alcoholic.

    Maybe we should have a national recovery group for pill addicts, one for marijuana, one for herion and one for cocaine.. as they all recovered from different things, right?
  11. 14
    Quote from SuesquatchRN
    Well, they are not really the same thing, not culturally. To become addicted to drugs without the cooperation of a prescriber one must step into the criminal world.
    Interesting reply. Scientifically, they are the same thing. Regardless of the substance (or activity), they ultimately cause the same thing...an elevation of dopamine in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain...a SIGNIFICANT rise in those with a genetic predisposition to developing addiction. While some substances prevent the re-uptake of dopamine and others cause an increased release of dopamine, the final result...the "high"...is all that matters. The various genetic expressions (allele) determines an addict's "drug of choice". For me, it was opioids. I didn't care much for alcohol. I'd have a beer now and then, or a glass of wine, but opioids were what got me going.

    I never smoked marijuana (still haven't), never tried cocaine or any other illegal substance. I received legitimate prescriptions for pain from spondylolisthesis. I'd had my fair share of broken bones (thanks to football) and surgeries (T&A, septoplasty, medial meniscectomy, pilonidal cyst X2) and never really had an urge to go out and buy heroin. But in late 1989 my back pain lasted longer than usual. For whatever reason my gene for addiction was activated and within 6 months I was almost dead. (Thanks to fentanyl and sufentanil. Increased potency speeds the rate at which addiction progresses).

    I didn't commit any drug related crimes until AFTER I became addicted. While many people do buy illicit substances and become addicted, criminal acts aren't a necessary part of becoming dependent. Judging whether one addiction is "worse" than another by criminal activity has nothing to do with the science of addiction. This is one of the biggest problems addicts face (including alcohol addicts) in seeking treatment. Stigma prevents early assessment and treatment, allowing the addiction to progress, making treatment less effective and long term recovery less likely.

    Alcoholics commit crimes as well. The disease of addiction causes loss of control and inhibitions. As Richard Pryor said, "Drugs and alcohol make you more of who you are...and if that's an a_ _ hole, that's not a good thing." Alcohol is involved in significantly greater incidents of violence and accidents than other mood altering substances.

    - The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in general, the heavier the alcohol use, the more likely an adolescent will be involved with criminal behaviors.

    - The U.S. Department of Justice Report on Alcohol and Crime found that alcohol abuse was a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S.

    - An analysis of dependence among trauma center patients found that the prevalence of alcoholism was substantially higher among vehicular crash victims and other trauma patients than among the equivalent general population group. More than half of trauma patients with a positive BAC at the time of the trauma were diagnosed as alcoholics, and nearly 1 in 7 patients who were not drinking at the time of the trauma were diagnosed as alcohol-dependent.

    While it generally takes years for an alcoholic to reach the same "level" of addiction as a heroin or crystal meth user, the damage done to a variety organs is significantly greater than for other drugs, especially opioids.

    Addiction is addiction.
    poppycat, rngaltx, Meriwhen, and 11 others like this.
  12. 0
    Jack, you are putting words in my mouth.

    Alcoholism does not force one underground. Out of certain situations, jobs, health - God, yes. But one is not forced out of society and into a netherworld until well into the game. My middle niece, whom I love dearly, started stealing from me at 17 and continued until I stopped permitting her into my home. She has been repeatedly arrested for shoplifting and possession and is now in prison for a short stay on a parole violation- shoplifting, to feed her habit. She is Hep C + although blessedly her viral load is low. And she is still, when she can get away with it, using and stealing to use. If you think that I think that I am "better" than her you are letting your hurt at being rebuffed while in a desperate situation skew your thinking. I do know, though, that I do not understand what impels her and have no idea how to help her. While we are both self-medicating we belong to different psychologocal cohorts.

    You are also assuming that I have turned people away from meetings. I have not and would not. However, I would prefer that there were more resources available for all of us. I don't have an alcohol detox within 75 miles of my home, let alone a place dealing with dual addiction.


Top