Posts tagged smoking

AA Members Who Smoke Are Not Sober

It was only recently that I realized the word “sober” had been so thoroughly co-opted by 12-Step recovery — it’s so tightly packed with implications — that it can’t be used normally. In AA, “not drunk” is the last thing they mean when they talk about sobriety. What they mean is: spiritually awakened, humble, abstinent from all mind-altering substances, working a good program, whatever. If the term “sobriety” weren’t so loaded, the term “dry drunk” would be irrelevant. So, how do AA’s call themselves sober and continue to smoke?

I just want to say right off that this is not a rant against smoking. It’s a rant against the paradox and silliness that enjoys a place at the forefront of addiction treatment. I’m not being judgey about smoking; I’m speaking from personal experience.

It is a plain fact that cigarettes are mind, mood, and life altering. Smokers have to factor smoking into every activity they want to pursue, and some will bow out of things they’d genuinely like to do (spend time with family, travel, old age, etc) in order to smoke. The habit drives people to betray themselves in countless ways. Still, AA’s have argued that cigarettes don’t alter one’s ability to function. That’s nonsense. Of course it does. When you smoke, you can’t just do whatever you want to do without figuring out how to accommodate cigarettes. Stopping whatever you’re doing to stand outside in the rain and pollute yourself several times a day sets a really low standard for functional. Continue reading AA Members Who Smoke Are Not Sober

Charlie Wilson’s War Against The Rules

Here is a fun story about an AA, Charles Wilson of Indian Lake, New York – who I will refer to as “Charles W” to respect his anonymity. It seems like Chuck was smuggling smokes into his fellow AAs who are spending time in the joint:

AA counselor accused of smuggling tobacco into upstate NY jail:

“Authorities say Wilson was an AA counselor volunteering at the county jail in Fort Edward. Deputies say he brought tobacco products into the jail and gave them to inmates he was counseling. Smoking is banned in New York’s jails and prisons.”

What is it with AAs and smoking? They smoke A LOT. Why don’t higher powers™ work with tobacco addiction? Can’t they just add “tobacco” to the end of step 1?