The Difference Between an Alcoholic and a Drug Addict?
I'm a recovering alcoholic. When I would refrain from drugs, not knowing I was an alcoholic, I would think alcohol was ok for me. The results were always the same - once drunk, which is where I always ended my drinking I would start drugs again and always end in jail.
I was reading the "Dr. Opinion" in the big book of AA and it talks of a phenomenon of craving which exactly describes my drug use the craving was all explained to me. My question is am I still an alcoholic? I identify as an alcoholic because AA has absolutely saved my life ... I've been through NA but didn't get the understanding like I do in AA.
I've heard it said there is a difference, but I believe alcohol is where it all started for me so am I being honest in identifying as alcoholic even though I don't remember having the craving for alcohol as much as I did for drugs?
There is no real different between alcoholic and drug addict, other than the substance of choice being different. The disease/illness - addiction - is the same. To a drug addict, alcohol is simply another drug - and that's why if you suffer from an addiction (alcohol or drugs), cross-subsidization does not work because you'll simply find another substance to replace that which got you addicted in the first place.
Therefore for an addict, abstinence from all habit or dependence forming substances (including alcohol and all drugs) is the only way. So I wouldn't worry too much about trying to put yourself under the correct label - you suffer from the disease of addiction first and foremost.
If you identify more strongly as alcoholic and prefer using AA as your program of recovery
, that's okay. It sounds like alcohol played a large part in your drug addiction too, so whether you remember the cravings being more intense for the drugs shouldn't matter. Keep doing what works for you - and if that's AA, then keep at it.
Many people at AA have also got drug addiction backgrounds, so the position you're in isn't unique. Yes AA wants people who attend to specifically have a problem relating to alcohol (not just drugs) and to refer to themselves as alcoholics, so that others, especially newcomers can identify with them.
But since alcohol has been such a large part of your addiction and where it all started for you, you don't need to feel uncomfortable or unsure of yourself when you call yourself Alcoholic at AA meetings. In truth through, alcohol and drugs are simply different substances that can result in the disease called 'Addiction.'
Hope that helps.