the June 1989 Northeast Regional Forum in Portland, Maine, Rosemary called
identification "the very essence of our common bond" and expressed
concern that "the way we traditionally introduce ourselves at meetings has
changed so much, the word `alcoholic' often is omitted entirely."
(Panel 39) for Central New York pointed to a new crop of introductions heard
around A.A.‑from "I'm cross-addicted" and "I'm chemically
dependent" to "I'm a recovering person." She said that she is
"always tempted to respond, `You're a cross-addicted what?' `You're a
chemically dependent what?' And `Whom or what are you recovering from?' "
Her frustration mounts, she added, because "I need to know that you're at
the meeting for the same reason that I'm there-for ongoing recovery from the
disease of alcoholism."
further believes that the breakdown in the way we identify ourselves "puts
a serious strain on our function that `I'm a drug addict and an alcoholic' or
`I'm a cross-addicted alcoholic,' I am telling you that I'm a special kind of
alky-my case of alcoholism is different from yours! I add an extra dimension to
my disease-one that, because of our singleness of purpose, should not be
addressed at an A.A. meeting. I have just cut our common bond in half and, more
importantly, have diluted my known purpose for being there."
her area, Rosemary noted, "it was thought that after a person was around
A.A. for a while, all other descriptive words would fall away and we would hear,
`I am an alcoholic.' But this has not happened. We see people sober in A.A. for
two, three, four years and more still clinging to the treatment jargon they were
first taught. They have not made the transition."
we need to do, Rosemary suggests, is to separate our issues and take separately
to the programs designed to address them: Narcotics Anonymous for drug
addiction; Overeaters Anonymous for food, and so on. When participating in these
various meetings, he feels, "we should identify ourselves
It has been
suggested, she said, "that we approach treatment facilities and, in the
spirit of cooperation and concern for the newcomer, ask that they instruct their
patients on how to separate their addictions rather than group them together
under the label of `addictive personalities'- using the catchall phrase we hear
so often, that `a drug is a drug is a drug."'
The idea of
seeking outside cooperation is all very well, Rosemary observed, "but I
wonder if the real answer doesn't lie squarely within our own Fellowship. Isn't
it the responsibility of each of us to keep our program intact, to pass it on to
the newcomer as it was given to us? Importantly, can we do this with patient
explanation, tolerance toward differences-and more patient explanation? I
believe we can, through committed sponsorship, strong home groups and active
service. That way, our new members will learn how to be a part of A.A., not a
fragment of it."
Most of us,
Rosemary concluded, "have heard it said that if A.A. is ever destroyed, it
will be destroyed from within. In my opinion, apathy, cloaked often in the guise
of `live and let live,' is one of our greatest enemies. But the destructive
force is not those members who introduce themselves as `cross-addicted
alcoholics' -it is the attitude of those members who sit back and say, `So
with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
Updated August 07, 2008 © 2001 Copyright All Rights Reserved Reading-Berks Intergroup, Reading, PA