Men and Women Drink Differently
PHYLLIS SMITH: I want to get into more of that as well because you also say women and men drink differently –
TERESA RODDEN: They do.
PHYLLIS SMITH: And you’re saying just because you’re drinking excessively it doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic. There is a distinction as you’re saying. When did you know you had a problem with alcoholism?
TERESA RODDEN: That’s an excellent question because I knew years before I stopped drinking that I wanted to change my relationship with alcohol, but there was no other option out there. You either identify as an alcoholic and you go the traditional path of Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-steps back in the 90’s, or try to figure it out on your own and without any type of personal development or emotional support. And there is no support out there unless you do identify as an alcoholic. You’re kind of stuck.
PHYLLIS SMITH: When you go in and identify, “Hi, I’m Teresa and I’m an alcoholic” you’re sort of making this declaration That’s part of the rendering yourself powerless and giving into it and I am what I am, what I am, what I am and one day it’s going to happen again, and I must keep coming to meetings so that it doesn’t happen again. Is that the premise?
TERESA RODDEN: Wow! Yeah and I can speak to it so succinctly what I was told is that you will always have a monster inside of you who is doing push-ups, who is getting stronger, no matter how long you abstain from alcohol. It’s always in you waiting for a weak moment so it can take you down, and I literally felt like I was on the edge of a cliff waiting for a wind gust to come through and knock me off. It’s a ticking time bomb. I couldn’t live that way. I couldn’t live the rest of my life that my core sense of self was broken and had a disease that was incurable and waiting for an opportunity to take me out. It wasn’t going to work for me.
PHYLLIS SMITH: That’s obviously a huge challenge to go against the norm but giving into the norm requires you to continue in the program.
TERESA RODDEN: It does. It absolutely says you’ll be going to meetings for the rest of your life.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Do you think that’s why? What is the reasoning behind that?
TERESA RODDEN: It’s to remind you that you have a disease and that you’re out of control. That you’re powerless. That’s the point of the meetings is that you have this community, and I do want to say, and I want to state and say this very clearly, it does work for some people. It just doesn’t work for everybody. I don’t operate with that kind of a mindset, but there are some people that do need to be reminded that they are in trouble if they drink again. That could cost them everything. It is an effective program for some people, and it’s just not for everybody. For the longest time, since 1935, it’s been the only answer.
PHYLLIS SMITH: Wow! It’s amazing isn’t it? 1935. Everything you see, even on the TV shows you’re always seeing somebody’s an alcoholic and somebody’s in a meeting. Yeah, I think it can help. Maybe it’s the community. Having people that can identify with what you’re going through but it sounds like to me it keeps you sick.
TERESA RODDEN: Well, the interesting thing is that it’s the gold standard. It’s the go to program. It’s the one that’s court ordered. It’s the one the hospitals, therapists, and counselors rely on. However, it has less than a 10% success rate. It’s been the only option out there for so many years.