Judith’s Dictionary

Originally posted here. This page will be updated with more words/phrases as time goes on.


I’ve found myself referring to a lot of words/phrases that ‘normies’ might not know, so I’m going to make a post about these words and what they refer to. If you have any suggestions, PLEASE let me know!!! If you find I’m using words that you don’t know what they mean, let me know and I’ll add them here! You’re probably not the only one that doesn’t know 🙂


Note: These are MY definitions. They are not scientific and some people may not agree with how I define the following.


  • Normies: Perceived ‘normal’ people who don’t have substance abuse problems. Important word here: perceived. Examples: Occasional weed smoker, social drinker.
  • The rooms: The meeting locations of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, any other fellowship program. Example: ‘If I hadn’t found the rooms, I would be drinking myself to death right now or already be dead.’
  • Fellowship: AA, NA, CA, WFS, Refuge Recovery, etc. Example: I belong to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Fellowshipping: Hanging out with people and getting into shenanigans with those in the rooms. Example: ‘Tonight I’m going to fellowship with my people.’
  • “Don’t pick up”: Do NOT go to the liquor store, the dope man, or wherever else to buy drugs and alcohol NO MATTER WHAT! (We often say this to a struggling individual… “just don’t pick up, dude. Don’t do it, it’s not worth it.”)
  • Trigger: Any people, place, or thing that makes me think about drinking or doing something stupid. Example: Emergency Rooms, certain songs, wine breath.
  • AA: Alcoholics Anonymous
  • NA: Narcotics Anonymous
  • CA: Cocaine Anonymous
  • HA: Heroine Anonymous
  • Nic-A: Nicotine Anonymous
  • WFS: Women for Sobriety
  • IOP: Intensive Outpatient. IOP programs are usually 3-4 days per week, 3-4 hours per session.
  • PHP: Partial Hospitalization. PHP programs are usually 6-7 days per week, 8+ hours a day. Like inpatient treatment, but without physically spending the night.
  • Inpatient: Spending an extended period of time in a hospital environment. Usually 7+ days, where mandatory meetings and sessions are held 12+ hours a day, and includes one-on-one therapy and medication management.
  • Detox: 48-72 hour stay in a psych ward, usually with medication management to subdue withdrawal, or in the case of alcoholic withdrawal where one can actually die from abstaining from the alcohol, 24-hour supervision to ensure you keep on keepin’ on.
  • “Fuck its”: getting to a point of saying ‘fuck it’ to anything and everything in sobriety. Example: ‘I’m feeling a case of the fuck its because work sucks, I’m poor, and I just don’t see the point.’
  • Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Example: ‘I keep relapsing because I think I’ve got alcohol under control, but then I end up in rehab again, it’s insanity.’
  • Alcohol Withdrawal: Physical, mental, and emotional pain from abstaining from a substance that one’s body has become physically dependent on. Symptoms include: violently throwing up for hours, cold sweats, trembling, vertigo, heart palpitations, severe anxiety, suicidal thoughts, erratic/irrational behaviors, among lots and lots of other uncomfortable and sometimes fatal side-effects.
  • Delirium Tremens: Possibly fatal alcohol withdrawal, Click here
  • Program: Traditionally thought of as 12-step programs, but other programs do exist, including Women for Sobriety and HIP Sobriety. Example: ‘What program are you working?’ ‘I’m working the NA 12-step program.’
  • Dry: Living the same life without the substances. Example: ‘I was dry for a couple years before I decided to work a program.’
  • Sober: Contemplating and implementing some positive lifestyle changes and habits while dry. Example: ‘I was sober, but I wasn’t recovering, yet.’
  • Recovery/recovering: Actively self-reflecting on how to be a better version of self, making positive lifestyle changes, habits, and choices, daily work and management of being sober. Example: ‘I didn’t start recovery until I was probably 6 months sober.’
  • DOC: Drug of Choice. Many of us have several drugs of choice. Example: ‘Mike said his DOC was pills and cocaine. Tough combo!’
  • H&I: Hospitals & Institutions, usually sponsored by Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. H&I meetings are held in places like treatment centers, detoxes, and jails, to bring meetings to people who can’t really get out and go to a meeting themselves. Often times, a speaker will give a lead at the hospital/institution in efforts to try and attract people to committing to a better life through NA/AA programs.
  • Sponsor: Specifically chosen individual to help one work through the 12-step program. Sponsors usually have at least a year of sobriety before they have sponsees. Sponsors often have to get approval from their sponsor to become a sponsor. Note: Sponsors are not professional therapists or anything like that, they are just a trusted individual that has experience in recovery. Example: ‘Hey Mike, who’s your sponsor and what step are you on?’ Mike: ‘My sponsor is Jim, we’re doing the AA 12-steps, and we’re still on step 3.’
  • Giving a lead: Telling the story of one’s addiction at a meeting or at a treatment center. Usually involves mentioning the program that one is working and why it’s saved their life.
  • Burning desire: A time set aside at certain meeting to give the struggling individual an opportunity to make a cry for help. What qualifies as a burning desire? Wanting to drink and/or use, thoughts of hurting oneself or someone else, suicidal thoughts, etc.
  • Home group: A person’s ‘home group’ is a meeting that person considers the most important meeting of the week, with a group of people they have come to know and trust. Many people go with their sponsor to their home group; often times, it was their sponsor that introduced them to the meeting. Lots of times, people save certain topics to discuss during their home group meeting.


Last updated on 3/9/18