Updated: Oct 17
Addiction to alcohol or other substances is a complex behavioural problem and asking yourself if you are an alcoholic, or a drug addict is one of the hardest things for a drinker or user to do.
But is labelling yourself in this way helping you in your road to recovery?
Here at Start Recovery, we think not! In fact, research shows that just by using labelling words such as “alcoholic” or “drug addict” you are unconsciously reinforcing the problem by making yourself feel more helpless and more powerless. Twelve step programmes, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or AA use these derogatory words, phrases and labelling to try to instil acceptance into the individual seeking help by enforcing a rule of announcing yourself as an “alcoholic” in front of a group whenever a person shares. This kind of behaviour within a group setting is extremely outdated, and we believe it to be harmful to the recovery process within the individual.
It is, however, important to come to a point of acceptance that you do indeed have a problem, and we do believe recovery groups in general to be beneficial to recovery from addictions. There are other groups available for peer support such as SMART Recovery, these practice a more scientific and up to date approach, which would be our group setting of choice. I can remember back when I was drinking heavily and in a haze of confusion, desperately trying to find help for my drinking, after having spent a month in a twelve step residential rehab and leaving with the encouraging words from one of the counsellors there, “If you do not keep going to AA when you leave Mark, you Will relapse”!
“Mmmmmm”, I thought to myself….”I’d better go to AA then”!
The thing is that although it was great to meet fellow people with the same problems at these meetings…I soon started to feel that something just wasn’t quite right here, and when I did have my first lapse after a few months found myself justifying to myself and my wife that, “What am I supposed to do… I’m an alcoholic!” I finally found a programme that helped me to turn my life around by helping me to understand the physiological, psychological and emotional aspects of my problems through CBT, REBT and research within the field of Neuroscience and Environments. 5 years later and I have been working and training in the field of drug and alcohol services ever since I entered treatment and I now run a private counselling practice in Leeds, West Yorkshire called Start Recovery.
Start Recovery is a private counselling service that I deliver in North Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.
So if you think you would benefit from treatment, get in touch and we'll see what I can do to help.