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While the controversial disease model of addiction continues to provoke heated debate, Nagy discovered that “knowing addiction is a disease has helped me to confront and get over my past prejudices about alcoholics and drug addicts, and to better understand why they might think, act, and react the way they do.” “Change is tough for all of us,” says Nagy, “but it can be especially hard for an addict” because of the strong tendency to rationalize and resist needed change.

Addicts, she adds, “are also known for ‘wanting it now,’ a trait that could be related to their brain chemistry and addictive cravings.” (Or, as non-practicing addict Carrie Fisher memorably put it, “instant gratification takes too long.”) Her summation of the notion behind the AA/NA concept of a higher power is a common one these days: “Some might call their Higher Power God; others might define it as nature, the positive energy of their group, or an unnamed sense of spirit.” While that may sound naïve to some, what the addict must grasp is that white-knuckle notions of triumph through personal will may have to be abandoned along the way, if we are talking about chronic, active addiction.

Keep it simple Supposedly the last words of AA's founder, Bill W (ilson). ‘Perhaps the Day after Tomorrow’ another proverb promises. But the rules have relaxed since the patriarchs, Bill W.

Newcomers shudder at the prospect of never (ever, ever) being able to drink again. Even more importantly, if I, after 31 years, 2 months, and 4 days, fall off the wagon, what have I lost? It makes it easier to clamber back on again, and go for that 90 day chip. Respect the first tradition: anonymity Which, of course, is what I’m flagrantly not doing here.

The first is that AA as an is not responsible for screening out and separating members.