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The "lingo"

Old 05-11-2014, 07:31 AM
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The "lingo"

Was thinking about how I really don't particularly like the language used in "recovery". Even that word - I'm "in recovery." It sounds like a big piece of bulky luggage you have to drag around. I belong to a support network (Lifering). I don't like to call myself "in recovery" except as shorthand, so people can understand easily why I enjoy attending a support meeting each week (and convening another).

Being "sober." Have problems with that one sometimes - one thing I don't like is someone can not drink or use (be completely abstinent) for years and if that person says or does something another doesn't like, they're a "dry drunk." Sobriety has become a catchall term with so much baggage. It's more than just about not drinking or using - it's become this crazy, ephemeral way to designate you or other people as having some sort of idealized state of personal growth - or it's a way to denigrate another's personal growth or behavior - regardless of whether they retain abstinence or not.

Being an "alcoholic" or an "addict." That's an easy one to dispense with - I'm an ex-addict myself. I'm a teetotaler, I'm a 'sobrietist,' but I don't personally find it helpful to me to carry around the linguistic equivalent of a mark of Cain on my arm in order to move forward. It's negatively reifying to me (e.g., seems to define me in a negative way) and doesn't seem to move me forward.

Any other language you don't like from the so-called "recovery" world? What kind of language do you prefer that's more empowering and positive?

-DrS
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:40 AM
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I say I retired when asked why I don't drink anymore. To me it sounds better.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by BuddinK View Post
I say I retired when asked why I don't drink anymore. To me it sounds better.
That's an awesome way to describe it!
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:33 PM
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Great post Doc.
I agree with what you are saying here. There is a certain type of preciousness that can develop around sobriety, sometimes we use "language" as a tool to try and live up to something or someone we want to be and bypass reality to try and get there. The words we use can represent what we really think about drinking/using but it seems more often than not they represent an ideal of who we think we should be. Personally for me I much prefer trying to explore what is real, no secret self under my addictive self, for me an attempt to observe whats going on instead of trying to create it.

Its so easy to fall into the good/bad, right/wrong script in recovery. We are left with a subtle demonizing of our old life and a head in the clouds view of a new life, it can feel good for while but falls apart when we start living everyday lives.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:08 PM
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I just say "no thank you" when I am offered an alcoholic beverage. If pushed I simply say "I don't drink".
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:13 PM
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wow - I went to a 'meeting' tonight. they read the second step from the BIG BOOK again. I don't need to get into any details, but as people were sharing for the next 45 minutes I wanted to scream. But I just sat there and listened.
How can someone after so many years still give the same woe is me speech time and time again. I could almost finish the story for them. And it seemed much of the sharing was aimed at me for some reason. Speaking in confidence to a sponsor goes out the window when you declare to said sponsor you can't buy into it all. So now I am an outcast. Until I find god I will forever be a dry drunk. That is a shame.

For me, I don't use a label. There were times in the past I didn't drink. I never needed an excuse or a label. I just didn't drink.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:06 AM
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I have been sober for long stretches (11 years, 5 years) and never had a problem with 'no thanks'. Then those who hassle me about why I don't drink, it sort of depends who they are. Anyone in a social situation who presses you on why you don't drink is a deadbeat. "What does it matter to you?" Is an abrupt but quick and easy way of giving them nothing.

The "in recovery" phrase is not what the book says. It says " we who have recovered". So while I don't dig aa at all the 'in recovery' phrase and many others are probably the result of the rehab industry, not the programme.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:13 AM
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[Fill in Recovery Method Here] will work if you do it right.

It suggests that one size fits all, and you're a screw up if it isn't working for you.

I also find You're not ready yet to be unimaginative and unhelpful.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:42 AM
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take what you need and leave the rest? Oh really so I can go there and get cookies and coffee and then leave?
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:33 AM
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Smile

do you NEED cookies and coffee, Cabo?
:-)
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:42 AM
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I do not like the language surrounding recoveryism either.
Phrases like these reflect a completely opposite mindset to mine.

Let me be clear, they are not exclusive to any program. They permeate our society on every level.

That said...these phrases really stick in my craw in a most unpleasant way.
"real alcoholic"
"powerless"
the barbershop analogy
the victim mentality
"underlying issues"
"once an alcoholic/addict...always an alcoholic/addict"

These ideas were most detrimental to me ending my addiction. I not only had to fight against my addiction, I had to fight against societal myths.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:45 PM
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Hi All,
I'm just a newbie here and newly sober but I plan to tell people, I am a non-drinker or I don't drink--and that's all. If they push the issue I may offer that alcohol and I don't mix. I don't see the need to label ourselves unnecessarily or make a big deal out of it. After all, that's why I am drawn to AVRT to begin with. All my life I have been labeling myself as an alcoholic with a "disease". I am so happy to be done with that label. "In recovery" sounds too much like AA for me, no offense to anyone that works for. It worked for my dad--he hasn't drank in over 25 years but he's still calls himself an alcoholic and believes he could still slip up. Not for me, thanks.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:56 PM
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I don't like the term "character defects" and the way it's overused. Human beings are not defective. Everyone has shortcomings whether they're addicts or not.

I'm also not a fan of calling myself an addict or alcoholic. I know I have issues with drinking. I don't need to announce it every time I introduce myself. I attend a meditation recovery group and most of the people in it also go to AA. I am usually the only person who just says "Hi, I'm readerbaby" without a "and I'm a ________". I just don't find it necessary or productive.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
the barbershop analogy
How do I not know what this is?
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:27 PM
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This is a remark made to someone who is thinking about attending a social function where alcohol would be served. 'If you keep going to the barbershop, sooner or later you are going to get a haircut.'

Now for me, I can't imagine getting a haircut if I didn't make the active decision to have one. No barber works for free and I need to pay them, that's one reason. They aren't really that sneaky, I can spot em a mile away, they have those scissors an stuff. And that cape around the neck thing is a dead giveaway too.
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Old 05-13-2014, 03:04 PM
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"it works if you work it" kind of like saying you'll be running if you run
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:49 PM
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Some of us must die of alcoholism so the rest of us can live. The rest of the recovery speak I can accept, but this one grinds my gears. Nobody needs to die for us to recover from addiction, and each of those casualties is someone's child.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by freshstart57 View Post
Some of us must die of alcoholism so the rest of us can live.
I've never heard that one, hope I never do.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:58 PM
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I thought of one, when people talk about why they aren't in a relationship they say, "My picker is broken."

Or, when someone has a problem, they're told, "You're broken."

I don't believe anyone or anything about anyone is "broken."

Do we all have some issues? Sure. That word just irks me.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:37 PM
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Yeah...the some die so we may live thing...it's been too shocking for me to respond to when I've heard it. It's almost like "did I really just hear that?!"
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