Can the White House Risk Hiring a Recovering Addict?

•September 17, 2010 • 10 Comments

This summer I found myself engaged in the public policy universe in DC and Vienna, with The White House Office of Drug Policy and The UN Office of Drugs and Crime. You may have noticed my tweets. Kind of lame but it was a beginning. I must tell you – those of us in recovery are needed in this universe. There is great opportunity to make a difference and create change. By getting involved at the level of government and civil society it is possible to become invigorated about and engaged in a type of service different from what we find in the normal ways we carry the message of recovery. I had no idea before I inadvertently found myself involved with people who were interested in trying to solve some of these problems on a macro level. It’s not for everybody, but if you have an interest, it’s worth taking the plunge and, god knows, there is a lot to do.

I was asked by the White House Office of Drug Policy to participate in a press conference about the 400% increase in the use of prescription drugs. I know a lot about abusing prescription drugs. I spent years doing it and for all of you out there who know what I am talking about, you know what a nasty dead-end street it is. And it’s only getting worse. Prescription drug abuse is epidemic especially amongst our youth and service men and women who are coming back from war to lives of addiction to prescription drugs. It is estimated that one in four GIs suffer with prescription drug abuse and not enough is being done for them.  I did the press conference with Director Kerlikowske, who is the current Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Deputy Director, Thomas McLellan one of the smartest people in the country when it comes to addiction and recovery. Director Kerlikowske asked my son Matthew and I to drive with him from the White House to the press conference in his motorcade, which was cool, and spent 20 minutes with me in his office, where I argued for increased access to treatment and care for more Americans, as well as the importance of following through on the White House goal of establishing an office of recovery at the ONDCP.

The press conference went off without a hitch and I was grateful and proud to represent our community at this level of the national dialogue. It was afterward that I began to think about the job of running the office of Recovery, which had been suggested to me after an earlier trip to Vienna with the folks from ONDCP. I was told that the White House was looking for someone more bureaucratic or institutional to run the office, which I believe and understand. But the thought occurred to me: If I were in a government position where I was ultimately concerned with credibility and not being embarrassed, would I hire a recovering person and give them a position of such visibility and responsibility. It’s not that I wouldn’t believe they could do the job, but in the back of mind, I would have the fear that they might relapse. That is an enormous chance to take. This disease is different than other diseases. If someone has diabetes or cancer you don’t have the possibility of that person relapsing and doing some of the things that alcoholics and addicts do when they relapse. When we go out, some of us attract a lot of attention, and, NOBODY, in Washington wants THAT kind of attention. Now, I’m not saying any of this is, actually going on – except in my head. I believe those in our government, responsible for generating and overseeing public policy with regard to substance abuse, respect our community and would not hesitate to appoint individuals to positions of responsibility. But, in our nasty, salacious political culture it could be very embarrassing for the White House to have someone in a position of authority who, sober yesterday, drinks or uses drugs and starts swinging from the chandelier, naked with a lampshade on his head.

Just the twisted musings of a high revving brain in long-term recovery, but I think it begs the bigger question, which is: What do normal folks and society in general think about the possibility of long-term recovery? Can recovering people ever really be trusted? Isn’t it just a matter of time before they drink or drug again? What if someone is sober 15 years and they suddenly go out for a year and create a lot of wreckage, what does that mean? I think, maybe, this is why there is no national recovery movement and doesn’t seem to be many politicians who will do anything about this problem in a meaningful way.

Sensationalizing Recovery

•August 19, 2010 • 13 Comments

Ok All, this will be my last posting until after Labor Day. I am going to Hawaii for some R&R and to finish my novel. A little hiatus from the world of addiction and recovery may do me some good? But can you ever get away from the wonderful, wacky road of recovery? I wonder.

I was on the plane to paradise at LAX when I got a call from The Joy Behar show asking me to appear and discuss Lindsey Lohan’s imminent release from wherever she’s been biding time since her last flame out. No, it wasn’t a joke – they were serious.  How is it possible we are still talking about this poor, unfortunate drug addicted girl? What drives our popular preoccupation with this boring and repetitive soap opera? Why do we care? Maybe we don’t, and are being force-fed this salacious redo because the media can’t help itself. It’s as if those who are covering the story are as unable to put the drug down, as Lindsey seems to be.  If this is what we are talking about in our culture, I fear we may be doomed. I told The Joy Behar Show that when they are ready to get serious and do a show that examines the more substantive aspects of this disease, I would be delighted to be involved. They didn’t give up easily, promising me that if I agreed to participate they would talk about “the bigger picture”. I didn’t believe them.  It’s not their fault; these television talk shows are at the mercy of the ratings game. Despite their good intentions, they will never talk about Addiction and Recovery without sensationalizing it. Their last pitch was to tell me that Dr. Drew would be on the show. This was their credibility play, after all — he is a Doctor!  Drew Pinsky works hard to promote understanding and to diminish stigma, but sometimes his methods have a different effect — see Celebrity Rehab. I’d prefer to watch Nora Volkow from NIDA on these shows talking about the brain science of addiction. That’s the kind of medicine and conversation that could be a game changer. The sad truth is nothing will change until addiction ceases being a circus act, and when those of us who are asked to be ringmasters, consider our motives, and say NO! We live in a culture where it is easy to justify short cuts and compromise in the pursuit of what we believe to be the greater good. My experience in the movie business, politics, and now healthcare, has demonstrated to me that those who compromise principle are doomed to be compromised. If we want to be taken seriously, if we want real action, real policy change and results, we must be serious and there is no way to be serious while discussing Lindsey Lohan for the 3,000th time.

Hesaid/Shesaid

•August 5, 2010 • 5 Comments

HeSaid/SheSaid

HeSaid by: Christopher Kennedy Lawford

Why alcoholics and addicts have difficulty with decisions.

I think the reason that I have difficulty with decisions has something to do with my mind. I don’t have to tell you that my mind moves too fast. It reacts to everything and never lets anything go. It explodes with possibilities constantly. You once said it’s like a pinball machine, balls, flippers, lights, bells, dings, all screaming for attention and I have to explore them all. That’s the way it is for me when I’m deciding what to do.  As soon as I choose something my mind screams, “Hold on there, slick, what about that other thing, it might be more fun, you could be missing out on something.”

My appetite for the experiences of life is voracious. I don’t stop. I’m like a shark, always swimming, looking for the next thing to take a bite out of. Sometimes my mind drives me crazy, but I love being on this planet. I want to do as much as I can every single day. So, when I decide to do one thing, I can’t forget about the other thing that’s going to give me a whole different experience. I have a hell of a time staying in the moment; my mind is comfortably entertaining the possibility of being in two, three or four places at the same time. My mind is undisciplined, doesn’t care much for structure, never developed a systematic approach to making choices. I’ve always let my feelings and attitudes, in the moment, decide what I should do and these things can change as quickly as, well, the weather on Nantucket.

You tell me that I can’t make up my mind, that I am plagued by buyer’s remorse and the grass is always greener syndrome. You’re right. I think it has something to do with my inability to sit with who I am, what really matters to me, and the desire to find the necessary discipline to structure my path through life. I fell in love with you and didn’t give a whole lot of thought to whether or not you and I match. The political or prudent choice never interested me unless it was aligned with what I felt I wanted to do. Desire is a much more attractive filter when determining what to do in life. The other thing is, I often don’t know what I want to do. My feelings and desires leave me conflicted and unwilling or ready to decide what to do. Maybe there is a fear of growing up. Being certain about where you are going and what you want to do is a characteristic of being an adult and I resist that. It’s charming in one’s 20’s and early 30’s but can be exasperating in ones 40’s and 50’s.

When I got clean and sober I woke up from a long nightmare. I was 30 something and had been looking at a bottle, syringe, or joint for 15 years. I had a lot of catching up to do in the living life department. I want to do everything that I missed and then some, but don’t think I have enough time to do it all. So, I choose to do it all, which is impossible, and when I have to prioritize it can paralyze me.

And then there is: THE FEAR.

THE FEAR that after having been delivered from the hell of addiction, I am bound to screw it up. I’ll make a mistake, make the wrong choice, which will bring failure or misery and then I’ll have to use again. So, I vacillate, figuring if I don’t choose or commit I can’t make a mistake or fail. I told you it wouldn’t be easy being in a relationship with an alcoholic, but you already knew that didn’t you?

Shesaid by: Adele Slaughter

Why is it so difficult deciding what to do?

Let me count the reasons.

Maybe the first reason is that we both have commitment phobia? You know, there is the disappointment of making a decision, what if it’s the wrong one. Make a commitment and go down the wrong road. That would be a disaster. I exaggerate, of course. But the fear trigger is there. We both have a similar wound.

One of my main blocks to helping us decide what we ought to do is being a people pleaser. My parents fashioned me into the girl-who-does-your-bidding. Maybe you remember that life-sized doll, Chatty Cathy? You pulled a string in her back and she said things like: Please take me with you, or Let’s play school. And I distinctly recall her saying I LOVE you. She was a popular doll in the 1960’s capturing the imagination of a generation of girls. Dolls like Chatty Cathy and Barbie helped to fashion our ideas of ourselves. Of course there were the feminists, but that came later, in college. All these “dolly” influences helped to make me want to please you . So for example, every time we go to a movie I choose and you don’t like it, I’ve failed. Therefore, I have to get you to choose the movie, the vacation, the restaurant, etc.

And here’s where we get into more trouble. There’s an art to being a people pleaser. You have to get it just right. Those of us who have to make sure the world is pleased with us find ourselves stuck in the Goldilocks syndrome we can’t be too sweet, or too sour. Not too romantic, not too violent, we have to find a movie or the way of being that is just right.

Of course this is impossible so you have to make the decision about what movie we see or the thing we’re going to do, because in my universe I am not allowed to get it wrong.

And then the next stumbling block…no one always wants to make the decisions and so you get irritated. Now, I’m in deeper trouble. No one likes to be with someone who doesn’t care what we do, either. You want your partner to have ideas and opinions. But I do have feelings about things…I just don’t like to communicate them clearly. I hate displeasing you, and I can’t always know what you want.

See the pitfalls. The whole thing is rife with land mines.

So we stumble around trying to decide what to do. Sometimes we have so much trouble deciding that we have another picnic in bed and buy a film on pay per view. On a bad night we can’t even agree on which lame movie to rent, so sometimes I’ll actually pretend to want to watch Magic Knives of The Ninja Vampires.

Hesaid/Shesaid

•July 26, 2010 • 4 Comments

Hesaid by Christopher Kennedy Lawford

An Addict Responds Positively

Remember when I stumbled into recovery twenty-four years ago and that therapist we went to see who didn’t know shit about relationships asked me to describe myself and I said, “Well, I guess I’d say I’m a nice guy who never meant to hurt anyone.” And he asked me if I thought other people in my life saw me the same way and I said that I guessed most of them did. You probably disagreed, although I don’t remember. Granted, it was a generic, one-dimensional assessment – but I think it pretty much summed me up at the time – I was pretty shut down and unaware. I’m sure you’d agree that this is not how I or anyone else would describe me today.

Today, I’d say the best of me is my unrelenting sensitivity, which often makes life and this world difficult to bear, but is the source of my passion, empathy, search for higher meaning and my need to connect to others on a deep level.

Cut to the continuing chatter of the voices in my head:

Voiceinhead #1

Man, this focusing on the positive is a bitch!

Voiceinmyhead #2

You can turn any positive into a negative

Voiceinmyhead #1

And visa-versa. It gets confusing…sensitivity can lead to isolation, intolerance and inability to trust.

Voiceinmyhead #3

Stay focused fellas, we’re doing positive – remember?

What? Right… I know…I went into my head again. It drives you crazy, doesn’t it? It’s my process. I have to examine things from every angle. It drives me nuts but it’s also the way I get to deeper understanding and that’s important to me. There’s so much going on in the world, between all of us, how can you possibly understand the intricacies of the human condition and experience if you aren’t interested in nuance and exploring the depths. You can’t see behind the curtain without relentless investigation. And it’s so fucking interesting – don’t you think?

By the way, I know you’re probably wondering how I’d describe myself today, and how I think others see me. Well, you and I both know that nobody would leave it at nice guy. I’m not even sure nice would come up. What do you think? You know why I ask what you think all the time don’t you?

Voiceinmyhead #1,#2,#3

Because your insecure?

Shut up! It’s because it matters to me what you think. I know I don’t express it very often, but I like it when you support me. I like being connected to you, feeling you’ve got my back and we’re in this together. Anyway, today I’d say I’m searching and complicated, with a strong need to experience all aspects of myself. That sounds pretty narcissistic, I know, but it’s kind of like an amusement park – you’ve got to go on all the rides to figure out the ones you like – then you can just ride them. You’re not buying it are you? I don’t care, this is my blog, and the truth is I’m closer to the full spectrum of adjectives one might use to describe a human being then I’ve ever been in my life. I think I know two things: I’m nearer to my true self than I have ever been and I have a good heart – like most of the drunks and dope fiends I’ve run into trudging this bumpy, exhilarating road of recovery.

Shesaid by Adele Slaughter

How do Alanons react to things, positively?

Some 20 plus years ago my (then) mother-in-law told me that our character defects are our assets gone overboard. At the time that was a radical idea to me as I imagined that my personality was like Swiss cheese, riddled with holes. The idea that there was something positive about my controlling, smug, arrogant, self-righteous qualities gave me some hope. Of course I didn’t make it to a 12 Step program for another couple of years and the devil I chose to dance with was my own arrogance. But this blog is meant to be about the positive ways someone with codependency issues might react.

I, who have lived with active alcoholism, have some recovery at turning bitterness into sweetness.

Often my first reaction to conflict is: “What’s wrong with me?”  Thus, I look at my faults first, and own up to my mistakes, most of the time. Miss takes. We all make them. It is healthy and good, to be able to say, “Gosh, I didn’t mean to insult you, please don’t take offense. I can see how you might feel that way.”  I am committed to change and growth.

I find that people who grew up in radically alcoholic families are sensitive, gentle and aware of other people’s feelings, I know I am. I am genuinely pleased at success of people close to me. I am super helpful and infinitely organized and get things accomplished. Give me a job to do, and it will get accomplished.

Generally, I am fully wide-awake…what once was hyper vigilance has been turned into being aware and fully present to the moment. I know that often I react to things the way a young child experiences life, with joy and glee at the beauty in the world around her.

But I want to talk about something a bit off the topic to bring the whole discussion home. The whole subject of “dependency” is an interesting one, because codependent has become such a negative, catch all term. We are all dependent on one another. And there are healthy dependencies like brushing your teeth for example, you can’t be addicted to brushing your teeth. I mean try not doing it for a week and see how you feel. Gross. You need to brush your teeth every day. Things that are healthy are not addictions.

Which brings me to Love; wanting to give and receive love is healthy too. Most of us want love. I want to be inter-dependent. Not leaning on someone else, but in a dance. It seems to me that the best thing about being an Alanon is that for most of us our most profound desire is to be loved and to give love.  And I haven’t given up on love no matter how many times my heart has been broken. I use the heart breaking as a way to expand myself, a broken heart has helped me develop a bigger consciousness.

I loved my father, profoundly, and he drank (a lot) and was a deeply disturbed man. He was also warm and funny, irreverent and witty.  Love is the finest thing people can give each other and perhaps it is the only thing we can really give. Most people who struggle with alcoholism and find recovery are loving, accepting human beings. This has been my challenge to learn how to accept others as they are and when I’m able to do that, I am a good friend indeed, one you’d want to keep.

Can we make AA better? Reaction

•July 23, 2010 • 8 Comments

Well, the defenders of Alcoholics Anonymous are alive and well. Not that Alcoholics Anonymous needs defending, but it’s good to know that people feel as strongly about it as I might if I could be public about my membership in Alcoholics Anonymous, if I were a member, which I am not saying that I am because the traditions prevent me from doing that. So lets just say, hypothetically, I was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I wouldn’t be able to do so on this blog because Alcoholics Anonymous is very specific even with the Internet with regards to breaking one’s anonymity. So again, lets just say I am hypothetically a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and say hypothetically, that as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous one of the most important things in my life without questions is Alcoholics Anonymous, lets say it saved this hypothetical life and that hypothetically I wouldn’t want to do anything to diminish or hurt AA – hypothetically speaking. Now what I know about AA is it doesn’t really have to rely on the hypothetical me or someone like me to take care of it. It does fine all by itself and I believe from what I know about AA it works so well because it lets people find their way. It lets them find their god, and I would have to believe that as dedicated and committed as the founders of AA were to AA they understood that it wasn’t for everybody and never would be. Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob talked a lot about things like contempt before investigation and intolerance – I’m told. So, I think everybody needs to take a step back and understand that AA isn’t going anywhere except forward, that those that treasure AA don’t have to do anything differently, kind of like President Obama’s health plan. If your happy with the program you have – fine, but if you can’t get recovery there, just like you can’t get health insurance because of a preexisting condition, or you don’t have any money or a job, maybe we should give something to those folks. Maybe there are some issues we can address that AA doesn’t spend a lot of time on. This is about more recovery; this isn’t about throwing the baby out with bath water or building a better mousetrap.  I know that spending a lot of time in church basements can transform lives and can lead to a life beyond your wildest dreams. I have seen it and know it, but there is a big world out there folks – take a look.

By the way this is my opinion, you know what they say about opinions they are like a**holes, everyone’s got one.

Can we make AA better?

•July 21, 2010 • 17 Comments

So 75 years later the experts have studied Alcoholics Anonymous and in all of that time they cannot determine with any kind of certainty which part of AA deserves the most credit for transforming people’s lives. Studies point to fellowship, the power of the group, commonality of experience and solution. One of the studies suggests the more deeply AA members are connected to the fellowship, the better they fair. So, if the most effective aspect of 12 step recovery is fellowship and 12 steps are only effective with a small percentage that try it, aren’t we condemning those people who actually get treated for this disease to relapse if there is nothing else for them to do. Those for whom the 12 step programs worked might say folks who won’t go to meetings need to find the willingness if they want recovery. But maybe we need to ask if we can do more? Can we take what we learned in AA and make it more accessible? Can we make AA better?

AA is perfect- for what it is. It’s democratic, controlled anarchy, self-supporting, unaligned with no leaders that make suggestions for recovery. People use it the way they need and want to. The issue is not AA, the issue is that there are many who need it who won’t go.  We need to take what works well in AA and create that in another environment in the hope that those who won’t go to a 12 step program might go there. Start another program. Maybe we need to come out from our church basements and start a recovery program that offers tools, fellowship and services on a visible, promotable platform for those who won’t go to 12 step programs and for those in 12 steps programs who want something more.

Hesaid/Shesaid

•July 19, 2010 • 1 Comment

Written By: Adele Slaughter and Christopher Kennedy Lawford

Hesaid How Addicts/Alcoholics Respond: The Negative.

Let’s deal with the negative stereotypes first, understanding that the stereotypes change depending on what substance you abused.  Addicts can be tricky, hard to pin down, shut down, narcissistic and self-righteous. A junkie doesn’t like to feel pain, hence their love of painkillers. But even after putting the drugs down they may have that junkie manhole cover in place for years preventing any unpleasantness i.e. confrontation, sadness, anger from seeping down below the surface e.g. neck.  An alcoholic can be emotional, angry, self-pitying, self-righteous and narcissistic.  Obviously there are great variations within both groups. These are ridiculously generalized notions about how we respond and are, well… absurdly general. But there seems to be a bit of truth in stereotypes, despite the inherent complexity of human response. Let’s have fun with this and try not to take it all too seriously – shall we? In my 24 years of self-examination and 40 plus years of dealing with addicts and alcoholics what I have come to believe about how we respond is the following:

We have very busy minds, most of us are smart and cunning in a way survivors have to be, this of course is only true if you haven’t killed all your brain cells. We are deeply sensitive to criticism, seeing it as an attack to which we have a limited repertoire of response. “So, you have a problem, concern or critique of something I’ve written? Well, fuck you. What the hell do you know anyway? You’re just jealous. Why don’t you try doing something instead of just sitting there – in entitled splendor – undermining what I’m trying to do – you lazy SOB. Try moving beyond your limited view of the world and…” You get the idea. Overly sensitive with the ability to unleash the nuclear option at the drop of a hat. Annihilating feels soooo good. Not great commander in chief material. Oh right we had a recovering (Alleged) alcoholic (documented) president – W. Lucky for us he only invaded two countries.

Addicts/Alcoholics also tend to be self-centered and self seeking in the extreme. Everything that we take in, all that we examine and judge, is driven by our preoccupation with getting what we think we need. Welcome to the wonderful, whacky, incredibly interesting world of Chris. “yeah, yeah, I know this blah, blah is terribly important to you but did I tell you that I… isn’t that sooo terribly interesting to you?” And because we are survivors (of some pretty dreadful circumstances) and have facile, compulsive, driven minds and are usually a few steps ahead of normal folks who don’t live with the same compulsions of getting over and figuring out all the angles. Many of us engage in a form of this high octane, cerebral, narcissistic chess with little awareness of our operating system, and are under the impression that we are generous, nurturing, empathic, outward looking people who care deeply about our fellows. I think most of us really wish we were that way. If we just weren’t so afraid. If we could just quiet our screaming monkey mind long enough we might avoid being driven insane by self-preoccupation and respond from the deeper goodness that I believe is at the core and in the hearts of most addicts.

We also suffer from the grass is greener syndrome. That is, many of us have deep discontentedness preventing us from enjoying the moment or circumstance of our present life. It will be better over there… I will be so much happier with someone like that… if only that would happen…if she just didn’t… These are often the building blocks addicts use to sustain misery and prevent happiness. I don’t know if this is the residue from chasing the next drink or drug, the compulsive, obsessive search for nirvana or as my good friend says, the need to touch the hand of God. Maybe the need was present from the beginning, driving us to substance addiction. I do know it’s difficult to get rid of.

Addicts are impatient. We are also spontaneous but we will get into that next week. Many of us move very quickly and don’t tolerate deliberateness or prudence well. We respond favorably to excitement and spontaneity with an unwillingness to notice any red flags and some of us idealize especially when it comes to love interests. After all, it is much easier to be in love with an ideal then a real person. Thus many of us don’t respond to relationship terribly well.

Again this is all very general, there are people who don’t idealize and see the worst in everybody. Oh right, did I forget to mention that many of us choose to focus on the negative when responding to…pretty much anything. I guess that’s why we need some kind of program of recovery…putting down the substance is not enough. But even with a program many of us can’t let go of some of our favorite responses. I am speaking from my own experience and whatever resonates great, if you have a different experience I would love to hear about.

Shesaid How do Alanons react to things?

You might have heard that hackneyed phrase “don’t be a doormat.” Well, it comes from something real. Being a doormat means you let others take advantage of you. I did have a friend describe herself as a doormat with teeth, which we all thought very witty and true. As a child of an alcoholic who disciplined my sisters and me through violence, my first response to strife is to look for whose at fault. I think that I am quick to analyze my own behavior and be self-critical. This can be a problem.

I believe everything is my fault. It has taken me years to see how arrogant that ‘self-effacing’ idea about myself actually is.

The comments on our recent blog made me feel uneasy. What did I do wrong? How could I have written a better blog, one that didn’t generate those negative responses. Why didn’t that one writer understand I was kidding around when I said “guys will be guys.” It was supposed to be taken in a light-hearted manner. How can I make it right…and so on. You can see that this line of thinking is overly self-critical. This is one of the ways many people who are described as an Alanon think.

And being self-critical is only one of the many ways I react to things. Without stereotyping or being too one dimensional, I’d like to offer a bit of an overview of the ways in which someone who has been affected by other people’s drinking can (at times) react in difficult situations. And of course I am using myself as the example, sometimes I am:

Defensive

Afraid

Need to control

Feel the victim

Respond passive aggressively

Did I say controlling?

Overly helpful

These are just some of the ways I can react to stressful, traumatic situations. And one can see how these ways of reacting are maladaptive.

A bit of back-story might help put my reactions into perspective. In the early 90s just after I’d moved to LA, I had a job as a producer’s assistant. One day as I was driving a script to a low rent production company and I had a realization. As I drove my dying Volvo station wagon over the hill, I began to sob, thinking I graduated from Columbia University, what was I doing? And I saw my life before me and I knew that what I wanted was to be in a deeply loving intimate relationship with a man and to be self-supporting by my own efforts. I could also see that the way I was going, neither of these things were going to happen. I needed to do something differently and I had no idea how. I had already been to therapy and it didn’t help me make the changes I needed to have a different life. I couldn’t figure out my way into right action.

I found Alanon and this program helped me to stop looking for the solution outside myself. I took responsibility and stopped blaming. I went within to find the resources inside, to find God, to find a spiritual solution. Alanon also helped to explain how my personality had been formed around alcoholism.

Obviously this is a longer discussion, one for a whole book, in fact. But suffice it to say an Alanon personality is very different from an Alcoholic. You can see it in the different 12 Step meetings. Alanon meetings are full of rules and very controlled. The AA meetings are fun and raucous and irreverent.  Is this distinction general? Maybe, but useful? I think so.

Next Week. How Addicts Respond: The Positive.