Is my drug addiction really that much worse than her alcoholism? - page 4

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... Read More

  1. by   sissiesmama
    Quote from MizChelleRN
    Good afternoon, sorry for the thread bump. I knew I could come to this thread today.

    I recently re-read my first post (I believe this is only my second!) I was just asking for some recommended reading, for addiction, for impaired nurses, whatever. Thanks again for the great advice BTW.

    But in that thread asking for book suggestions, I wrote something like, I'm grateful to be here and read the stories and I WANT to share but am too ASHAMED and GUILTY to talk about "my story".

    Well, I've dealt with that, and soon, I will post and talk about it, it's pretty much the same story we all have. I was still stuck in that "I am unique and the worst case possible" mindset.

    But anyways. My name is Michelle and I am an addict.

    I have seven weeks sober! Been spending all my time between AA, NA and my psychiatrist's office (substance abuse treatment and counselling, twice a week and a general support group one day a week) and all the help has been so AWESOME, everyone welcoming me with open arms, letting me realize that I AM NOT ALONE. I'm not! Nor am I a horrible person. I have an illness. Just like those around me.

    Then I read this thread and I read someone being told they were not welcome into an AA meeting they attended, and I thought "whew! I'm glad that hasn't happened to me! All the groups I've been to have been SO wonderful and welcoming!" So I didn't give it much more thought.

    I hope I'm not stirring any pots, I see where this thread has taken some nasty turns. Bear with me.

    So today it happened! I went to one AA group (one I've LOVED since I started going to the program, in fact, the group I was considering making my homegroup!) and afterwards, a (an older woman, I suppose one of the quote, unquote "oldtimers") lady came to me and basically told me addicts have no place in AA meetings. Asked me point blank if I was an alcoholic and if I wasn't then I wasn't welcome to be there. WOW. I felt like she slapped me across the face!

    I mean, really, all of our addictions make us feel different from others, "in the real world"...why would someone make me feel like an outcast among a group of addicts!?

    Crap, I have more to add but have to pick up kids from school, will finish tonight or tomorrow. But I left that meeting crying. I just don't need to go backwards in my recovery and self esteem.
    Hey Michelle - My name is Anne and I am an addict. On August 15th of this year, I will have 10 years of sobriety. I have left AA meetings before in tears after I had been told "If you aren't an alcoholic, do NOT come back". That to me was kind of strange. I was hoping addicts and alcoholics could be there for each other and offer whatever they had in the way of experience to a new member.

    When I went to treatment, we went to 1 AA meeting and the counselor that took us said that the leader of this group didn't like addicts and so we should just "lie", to avoid confusion. Ha ha! That didn't help me too much.

    But like you said, I don't need to go backwards in my recovery, I'm not about to toss almost 10 years down the toilet. It was kind of strange though, newbies in recovery, and one of your leaders was telling us to lie about it.

    It is nice, though, when I can share my experiences from when I was shooting my rear end full oif Demerol with someone who had gotten caught in a grocery store drinking mouthwash because he/she was out of ETOH.

    Anne, RNC
  2. by   sissiesmama
    Quote from jackstem
    Interesting reply. Scientifically, they are the same thing. Regardless of the substance (or activity), they ultimately cause the same 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" 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.
    Thank u for that, Jack!

    Anne, RNC
  3. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from Magsulfate
    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.
    I'm late to the party, I know.

    To be honest, I would not put so much weight on or read too much into being "thanked" on internet forum, because the thanks (i.e., kudos) system isn't exactly an accurate measure of the public opinion of substance abuse issues. People use the kudos system for various you can't go by the number of kudos you get and say, "oh, people must think I'm scum compared to the alcoholics." Have you seen some of the posts here that get insane amounts of thanks? I think there's one that was just a smiley posted at the right time and it racked up 30-something thanks. Correct the spelling of HIPAA--yet again--without contributing to the thread, and you're guaranteed to get 15 thanks right there. are right: an addiction is an addiction. You've come a long way in your recovery and you should be proud of your progress. Nor should you think yourself any less of a person because of the substances you abused. The fact that you abused drugs instead of alcohol does not make you any better or any worse of an addict. It just makes you an addict.