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No shame

Old 09-04-2017, 12:39 AM
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No shame

In an age where we have to be politically correct , cant say this or do that because its racist ,sexist or somewhere in between . Anything and everey goes these days it seems . In UK high street retailer John Lewis have stopped labeling clothes seperately boys or girls they are now in the same section both boys and girls . NOTE : I am not racists, homophobic ,sexists or anything near those .
Why then I ask myself should alcoholics be ashamed of their condition .
Its an illness ,addiction,condition,disease ,call it what you like .
I think it would serve us well to come out and come clean . Ive saw too may threads ,posts where recovering alcoholics are terrified in case people find out ,like its a dirty little secret . I think its high time we stopped feeling shame .

Maybe its the mood i,m in today that made me shout this out but there you go anyway , its my two cents worth .

EDIT : In Dec last year at a family gathering when my brother died I expalined to everyone I am unabe to drink as I would keep on drinking and it makes me ill , when one of my brothers asked " so are you an alcoholic " I replied yes . This was a tremendous relief for me as now they understand why I avoided some functions they organized, it explained alot .
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:13 AM
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Thomas I hear you and often wish it could be the case. Sometimes I find myself wanting to blurt it out to friends but I don't. I think often it's the actions of the active alcoholic that many cannot separate from the moral conduct of that person when in recovery.
For example a friend of mine at work found out that her hairdresser had been convicted of drink driving. She immediately changed hairdressers and went on to anyone who would listen about how abhorrent this person was. No thoughts about the circumstances. No thoughts about whether this person had a problem. Now of course drink driving is not only illegal but it is also terribly dangerous and irresponsible of course. However, it is one of a list of things that an active alcoholic may end up doing.
That conversation I had with my friend served as a bit of a warning shot to me that whether or not I am in recovery my alcoholism would instantly change the way I am viewed by many people I know. The people I love know and the recovery community know. That I have to accept. The fall out to my life and career of others knowing could be a disaster.
Can I see this changing? Not for a very very long time no. Mental health issues and being gay are only just peeking into the realms of acceptability so alcoholism? I just can't see it.
I am not ashamed of being an alcoholic but I am ashamed of things I have done when in active alcoholism. Actually not ashamed no but I am sorry they happened and I try to use them as one of many reasons why I cannot go back.
I do think that the shame of alcoholism does prevent many from seeking the help they need. That's the worst part of it. I have put myself through some horrendous cold turkey as I was too frightened of my doctor finding out. That can't be right can it?
Time will tell Thomas I guess. I do believe that mental health and alcoholism and dementia are ticking bombs to our health service. But unfortunately I for one am not up for being an "out and proud" alcoholic as sadly the world out there isn't the safe caring environment that it is here.
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:24 AM
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Hi Thomas

As it happens my alcoholism was public and not secret by the end, but
I'm a pretty private person.

I don't announce any of my medical conditions or illnesses to most people.

I won't stop you or anyone else doing it tho

There is a problem with that though - I think, rightly or not, there is a stigma. attached to alcoholism - a Victorian idea that we're weak minded, depraved selfish individuals with no self control and we're not to be trusted cos once a drunk always a drunk....

Until that changes, I don't blame anyone for not making any public announcements.

How does that change if we're not willing to 'out' ourselves?

Well therein lies the rub...

good discussion, even tho I'm not sure where John Lewis comes into it

D
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:53 AM
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As one who does not believe alcoholism to be a disease, I address this issue with the notion that one should feel shame for their bad decisions. There is no shame in having a drink, but there is shame in driving drunk, starting a fight, wrecking a relationship, poor performance on the job, etc. It is that shame that eventually drives many people to sobriety, or at least to making better decisions. The human conscience sits on our shoulder and tells us when we've done right or wrong. It makes us feel things such as guilt and shame. Those that don't feel those emotions are commonly referred to as sociopaths or psychopaths. That, of course, is also a debate as to whether it's a "disease", or just bad eggs, bad people. There's billions of people. Some are going to be bad and do bad things.

I also don't believe in "once a drunk, always a drunk". If I had ever had a DUI, I wouldn't tell people "Oh, I have this disease, I'm an alcoholic, you see". I would instead say "I made a really poor choice and got caught, and I'll never do that again".

I see absolutely no reason to "out" oneself as gay or alcoholic. Neither are actually conditions. One is a sexuality that is actually nobody's business, and the other is a term with a very ambiguous meaning. If you choose not to drink, it shouldn't be because you're an alcoholic, but because you're sober. People love to define others into neatly packaged groups, usually for the purposes of stereotyping, judging, or otherwise making rash decisions on their character without first knowing the person.

That's just my two cents.
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:58 AM
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I get it that we could suffer if a potential employer knew you were alcoholic or in your scenario with the hairdresser . Yes definately a stigma and subject for gosspis .
I am not saying we should have an out and proud alcoholic rally.
I worked in security for 6 years and to be honest I dont know if I would have been granted the SIA licence ( security industry authority ) If I disclosed alcoholism on the form so yes I do get what your saying .
I think what I am trying to get across is that some of us just might cause ourselves unnecessary anxiety by keeping our alcoholism TOO secret ,like form everyone .
Dee I also am a very private person and only open up to key people .
John Lewis just fell into one of my examples of " don't offend ,upset anyone " .
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Old 09-04-2017, 02:29 AM
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In my personal life, having friends and family aware of my addiction is helpful and supportive. In work settings, it has bitten me in the butt a few times over the years, whether I was drinking or not. As for the label: "alcoholic" is never used as an official diagnosis by health care professionals. Some may bristle when they hear we all suffer from AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder), and call it more of the PC, don't-offend culture that Thomas59 spoke of, but I prefer that term because it is more encompassing of many types of problem drinkers, and carries less stigma than the loaded word "alcoholic."

That being said, I still wouldn't list it on a job application...
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Old 09-04-2017, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by azwakeupcall View Post
As one who does not believe alcoholism to be a disease, I address this issue with the notion that one should feel shame for their bad decisions. There is no shame in having a drink, but there is shame in driving drunk, starting a fight, wrecking a relationship, poor performance on the job, etc. It is that shame that eventually drives many people to sobriety, or at least to making better decisions. The human conscience sits on our shoulder and tells us when we've done right or wrong. It makes us feel things such as guilt and shame. Those that don't feel those emotions are commonly referred to as sociopaths or psychopaths. That, of course, is also a debate as to whether it's a "disease", or just bad eggs, bad people. There's billions of people. Some are going to be bad and do bad things.

I also don't believe in "once a drunk, always a drunk". If I had ever had a DUI, I wouldn't tell people "Oh, I have this disease, I'm an alcoholic, you see". I would instead say "I made a really poor choice and got caught, and I'll never do that again".

I see absolutely no reason to "out" oneself as gay or alcoholic. Neither are actually conditions. One is a sexuality that is actually nobody's business, and the other is a term with a very ambiguous meaning. If you choose not to drink, it shouldn't be because you're an alcoholic, but because you're sober. People love to define others into neatly packaged groups, usually for the purposes of stereotyping, judging, or otherwise making rash decisions on their character without first knowing the person.

That's just my two cents.
Responsibility regret and remorse sure - but shame just kept me drinking.

To me, shame was like wallowing in the problem - not looking for a solution.

Shame wasn't useful to me in my recovery,

D
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Arpeggioh View Post
In my personal life, having friends and family aware of my addiction is helpful and supportive. In work settings, it has bitten me in the butt a few times over the years, whether I was drinking or not. As for the label: "alcoholic" is never used as an official diagnosis by health care professionals. Some may bristle when they hear we all suffer from AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder), and call it more of the PC, don't-offend culture that Thomas59 spoke of, but I prefer that term because it is more encompassing of many types of problem drinkers, and carries less stigma than the loaded word "alcoholic."

That being said, I still wouldn't list it on a job application...
AUD ( alcohol use disorder) sounds a bit better but suggests to me that it is only a disorder when alcohol is in use IE when we are in active recovery ,sober we dont have AUD ..... Labels , who needs them but I suppose we need to use some form of identifier .
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Old 09-04-2017, 07:17 AM
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I choose not to say "I'm an alcoholic" to other people, because people seem to use that to describe a whole personality. If you want to call me an alcoholic, you can call me the other 50 things I am as well. Family man, dedicated worker, charity supporter, music lover, .. the list goes on.

I'm not perfect, but I believe I positively support my family, friends and community a lot more than people who might look down on me if they knew I'm having trouble stopping the one vice I know I have.

"Alcoholic" describes a habit, not a person. And we are a varied bunch. I suspect most of the people on this site, trying to improve themselves for the sake of themselves and others, are good people, facing a difficult problem. Until the world understand that we are not "bad people", I'll stay behind my avatar of a James Bond villain caressing a plastic duck, thank you very much!
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Old 09-04-2017, 08:24 AM
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Rubaduck nicely put .If you want to call me an alcoholic, you can call me the other 50 things I am as well. Family man, dedicated worker, charity supporter, music lover, .. the list goes on.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas59 View Post
I get it that we could suffer if a potential employer knew you were alcoholic or in your scenario with the hairdresser . Yes definately a stigma and subject for gosspis .
I am not saying we should have an out and proud alcoholic rally.
I worked in security for 6 years and to be honest I dont know if I would have been granted the SIA licence ( security industry authority ) If I disclosed alcoholism on the form so yes I do get what your saying .
I think what I am trying to get across is that some of us just might cause ourselves unnecessary anxiety by keeping our alcoholism TOO secret ,like form everyone .
Dee I also am a very private person and only open up to key people .
John Lewis just fell into one of my examples of " don't offend ,upset anyone " .
I absolutely agree with this. And for me it goes even further.

I am certain I wouldn't be sober today if I didn't say out loud to people that I don't drink anymore. The label didn't matter to me and in fact I couldn't even say "I'm an alcoholic", but until I started to identify as someone who couldn't drink I struggled to get sober. I tried and was unsuccessful multiple times when I kept my attempts to myself.

I live in a small town, the same one that I grew up in and have a very public job. I got 3 DUI's and spent 14 months without a driver's license and a car. I walked 2 miles to and from work every day and everyone knew why. It was really important for me to own that and to get used to what it felt like to "wear it." Yes, there is a social stigma. Yes, I heard a lot of things that made me and others uncomfortable. Yes, there may have been a time or two when it cost me something (nothing that couldn't easily be overcome or forgotten about).

The perpetuation of the stigma was a tremendous obstacle for me ever finding sobriety. And many people aren't even actively aware that they believe in the stigma. When I had been sober for 10 months, my oldest friend that I have known since I was 5 years old asked me "How much longer are you going to not drink?" He's not an alcoholic and so he doesn't understand why anyone would stop.

I didn't attend AA when I got sober but 10 years into sobriety I attended several meetings when a cousin of mine asked me to take him to some meetings. They resonated with me even then. I felt tremendous relief. And really, until that point I didn't call myself an alcoholic. And when I said to my mother, who had suffered the embarrassment of having a son who was such a public drunkard in such a small town, "Mom, I'm an alcoholic" she was visibly disappointed. Even after 10 years of sobriety, rehabilitation and healing from all the things I had done, she still felt shame just to hear that label attached to someone in her family.

Good thread. I am absolutely unashamed that I'm an alcoholic.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by azwakeupcall View Post
I see absolutely no reason to "out" oneself as gay or alcoholic. Neither are actually conditions. One is a sexuality that is actually nobody's business, and the other is a term with a very ambiguous meaning. If you choose not to drink, it shouldn't be because you're an alcoholic, but because you're sober. People love to define others into neatly packaged groups, usually for the purposes of stereotyping, judging, or otherwise making rash decisions on their character without first knowing the person.

That's just my two cents.
Telling friends and family helps keep you accountable in case of relapse. There's no need to tell everyone you know, but if possible, if an employer knows that also holds one accountable.

Programs with the least amount of relapse include the threat of losing a license (nurses, doctors, lawyers) and with regular and random drug testing. Again, accountability.

It also allows those close to us to offer support.

As for coming out as gay, trust me, living in the closet is hell, leads to shame, and bolsters any residual internalized homophobia. Being gay IS part of one's identity, and doesn't carry nearly the amount of social stigma and shame that it used to.

I absolutely cannot advocate for living in secret for being gay. Problem drinking should be selective, as it does carry a strong social stigma.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:19 PM
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As I have said on these forums before I am a teacher. I am an alcoholic and I am also on SSRIs for depression. Despite mental illness being supposedly ok to talk about now I will not let on that I take these meds and I would never let on to folk at work that I am an alkie (there is only one trusted individual who I have told).
When people retire or leave the school they always do a speech in the evening at a social gathering. When I retire I will stand up and 'out' myself on both counts and let people decide then if my work suffered in any way over the years.
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Thomas59 View Post
AUD ( alcohol use disorder) sounds a bit better but suggests to me that it is only a disorder when alcohol is in use IE when we are in active recovery ,sober we dont have AUD ..... Labels , who needs them but I suppose we need to use some form of identifier .
I prefer Alcohol Use Disorder, as it correlates with diagnoses such as Congenital Health Disease, Diabetes, Bipolar Disorder, Depression and a host of other diagnoses that do not label the person but instead name the disease or disorder. Also, there is a diagnoses, "Alcohol Use Disorder - in Remission." I can't wait until that gets put in my chart.

As for outing myself, this will come with time, and I believe I will eventually be 100% out there because this might help someone else. I have a coworker who says, "I don't care who knows," and I admire her self-confidence. She's an inspiration to me.

O
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:00 AM
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Thanks for your input on this it certainly made me sit up and think .
I wonder if shame and embarrasment are similar feelings .
The small village where I live has an AA meeting every Monday . The venue is a 2 minute walk from my house , in fact I can see the church hall from my front garden . While I have told many people about my drinking ( alcoholism ,AUD) I have never attended this perticular meeting ,not because I feel ashamed but because I feel embarrased and not just for me but for my family . So for my own health sake ( anxiety disorder ) I chose to not go to this local AA meeting for fear of it doing me more harm than good .
I don't want to sound like i,m contradicting my original post its just the truth .

Buk1000 this I can understand ,its a not nice but it happens . It happened with me , not with alcoholism but with stupid religeous sectairianism views that are held in Scotland ( this is another storty though perhaps not for this forum )
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Old 09-05-2017, 06:13 AM
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Ohhhh, Thomas. I so want you to go to that meeting! In my rainbows and lollipops world, I envision you finding peace, fellowship and acceptance there. But... I know sadly it isn't always that way. Can you spy on the attendees from your garden and pick one that you can confide in? Or is there someone in the other meetings you attend that sometimes frequent this one? That person could tell you what to expect and help you make a decision.

Shame is internalization of embarrassment or remorse. At least that's my take on it. Is your family embarrassed that you are in AA? Why?
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:40 AM
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Obladi thank you , at this time I am not actively attending AA anywhere .
I know some of the attendees very well and a good freind of the main organizer .
I have been to several out of town meetings in the past with these people , in fact we used to car share . My family aren,t embarrased i,m in AA (was in AA) but kind of hinted in the past that it might be better if I went outside of town . If my sobriety was threatened though I,d walk straight through the doors . I think they would want me too also rather than be the fool who picked up a drink for lack of doing so .
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:57 AM
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I agree. There ought not be any shame, but the label 'alcoholic' has an attached stigma, from my experience, in the UK.

Other folks describe themselves as 'shopaholics', 'chocoholics', even 'wineaholics' (which appears to be used frivolously to distinguish themselves as in control social drinkers, who occasionally over imbibe). But the term alcoholic, IME, appears to have darker connotations to the general public.

This isn't helped by the fact that 'Alcoholics' most public support group, is called 'Alcoholics Anonymous'. To the general public, the term anonymity implies that there's something to be ashamed of, when, there isn't.

Previously, I had an over-eating disorder/addiction, I attended a well-known slimming group. I didn't hide that fact, even the venue had huge banners outside advertising the dates/times of meetings. I wasn't afraid or ashamed to walk through the meeting doors, as I felt in AA.

The same parts of the brain are involved in all these addictions. It saddens me that alcohol addiction is singled-out as something to feel ashamed of.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas59 View Post
Obladi thank you , at this time I am not actively attending AA anywhere .
I know some of the attendees very well and a good freind of the main organizer .
I have been to several out of town meetings in the past with these people , in fact we used to car share . My family aren,t embarrased i,m in AA (was in AA) but kind of hinted in the past that it might be better if I went outside of town . If my sobriety was threatened though I,d walk straight through the doors . I think they would want me too also rather than be the fool who picked up a drink for lack of doing so .
"Kind of hinted?" In my unsolicited opinion, I think you should ask them if they would have a problem with you going to that meeting. They may not at all and even if they do, you can still make your own decision about what's best for you. My recent and horrible adventures have taught me that keeping any contents of the toolbox out in the shed until sobriety is threatened leaves an opening for addiction to take over. That's just my take on it, of course.

Forgive me if I'm being too forward. I've just got this unrelenting passion in what is finally working for me and want to shout it from the mountaintops. Grandiosity, much?
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:08 AM
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seems i was the last to know i was an alcoholic.
i dont have a problem with being called an alcoholic because of 2 things:
1- theres a word missing now- RECOVERED.
2- im not that person any more.
give it time and people will act strangely to alcohol use disorder, if they dont already.
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