Addiction in Society

Addiction—the thematic malady for our society—entails every type of psychological and societal problem

Bisexuality and Recovery: How We Label Normalcy

There were no gays, there were only gays, now middle people need a label…

First, there were people who were gay and were despised and had to hide it—the closeted man or woman we all know about.

Then there were proud gays and lesbians, who banded together for their protection, and who sometimes outed the closeted gays.

Then there were people who refused to fall into one category or the other.  What were they to do?  They formed an organization too, the American Institute of Bisexuality (A.I.B.).  This has led, according to a man who has written about his gay sexual identity, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, to "The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists."

Here's the problem: We all learned that gay men, in particular, are so afraid to acknowledge and to reveal that they are homosexual that they pretend to be heterosexual, or now bisexual. Commenting on a man who was in a relationship with a man, but who said he could easily also be with women, as he had in the past, the columnist Andrew Sullivan claimed that the man would “never have a sexual relationship with a woman again, because his assertion that he still fancies girls is a classic bridging mechanism to ease the transition to his real sexual identity. I know this because I did it, too.”

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

In other words, this man and others like him were just like Sullivan—there was no other way to be.  As one bi opinion leader observed, “Gay men seem to have a hard time fathoming that someone might have an honestly different trajectory.” Gosh, I have known intimately people who have had sexual relationships dissimilar from theirs and mine. Is that really a surprise that no one knows about, just as heterosexuals once believed that there could be no "normal" homosexuals.

But that's not a perspective problem limited to people's sexual orientations. Alcoholics who feel that they can never recover disbelieve alcoholics can recover and drink again. Where are those alcoholics and addicts who recover, they ask. Well, surveys show that they are in the majority, but they never reveal themselves, so we don't hear about them.

Marijuana and cocaine addiction mainly afflicted young people in the national surveys. An average of about three-quarters of those who at some point had heavily consumed either of these two drugs had cut back markedly or stopped using completely by age 30. Just 5 percent of cocaine addicts remained hooked into their 40s and 8 percent of marijuana addicts remained devoted pot smokers into their 50s.

As for alcoholism, according to the massive national study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NESARC, three quarters of alcoholics achieve full recovery.  Yet only 1 in 8 attends AA or goes to rehab.  And, amazingly, most of those alcoholics in full recovery drink at low-risk levels.

But that can't be, according to self-identified alcoholics in recovery. The recovery movement tries to claim Drew Barrymore as one of its own, as I wrote for PT, quoting the Orchid Recovery Center:

Drew Fights For Sobriety And Keeps It

Though Drew certainly went through some very rough years, she seems to have kept her sobriety for a long time. Though she has done some quirky and questionable things as a celebrity, there have been no reports of her relapsing into drug use. She seems to have found good work that matches her talents, service and charity efforts she believes in, and good people around her.

As I then asked, what about the winemaking, Orchid?

Now read a typical response to my blogpost:

I've been living a fabulous life clean and sober for 30 yrs and that means not drinking and not doing drugs. Period. Sure. Occasionally you think, " I would love to sit on the deck in Newport and have a martini" but the reality is the name of my disease is MORE... I will eventually want MORE booze, more drugs, more business.. Even a wine company !!

Sadly, drew is a CLASSIC example of alcoholism raising it's ugly head and is out to ruin Her wonderful life. She has several wonderful successful businesses. she's happily married. a newly wed! BUT, She Still has to open her OWN WINE LABEL!?! Are you kidding me??LOL

I wonder how Benoit (whom I sometimes correspond with), a famous self-identified addict, reacts to the vast sea of unknown alcoholics-addicts. As he writes:

Bisexual activists told me that much of what gay and lesbian people believe about bisexuality is wrong and is skewed by a self-reinforcing problem: because of biphobia, many bisexuals don’t come out. But until more bisexuals come out, the stereotypes and misinformation at the heart of biphobia won’t be seriously challenged. “The only ‘bisexual’ people that many gays and lesbians know are the ones who ended up gay,” a bisexual woman in Columbus, Ohio, told me. When she tells her gay and lesbian friends about studies showing that bisexuals outnumber them, “they look at me funny and say, ‘That’s strange, because I don’t know any bisexual people.’ ”

Now, here's the larger problem: People like Drew, and all of those former college and 20-year-old binge, problem, and dependent drinkers you knew, don't think of themselves as unusual or deserving of a category. This is exactly the same with bisexuality, as Benoit relates: "But biphobia doesn’t tell the whole story of bisexual invisibility. According to the 2013 Pew Research Survey of L.G.B.T.-identified Americans, bisexuals are less likely than gays and lesbians 'to view their sexual orientation as important to their overall identity.'”

Those poor people need to realize that they have a special identity that needs to be labeled.  What is that identity? They're typical!

So, there you have it: just as the majority of people who feel sexual urges towards both genders don't have their own union, so do all those people who have gone beyond their addictions, the majority that I and Ilse Thompson write about in Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life with The PERFECT Program.

Stanton Peele, PhD, JD, is the author of Recover! He has been a pioneer in the addiction field since publication of Love and Addiction in 1975.

more...

Subscribe to Addiction in Society

Current Issue

Love & Lust

Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?