Unfortunately, newcomers into AA can really take a beating in some meetings -- if they've had a background of "using drugs", they may feel so unwelcome, that they have to proceed with referring to "drugs" as an "outside issue." Or, some AA purist old-timer will jump all over them.
Pretending to be an "outside observer" looking in to a meeting while it's going on, I'd have to laugh. Of course, the newcomer doesn't think it's funny -- nor, does the purist oldtimer.
I think what the real deal is: it's simply a lack of understanding. The old-timer is afraid that the newcomer "alcoholic-addict" will mess things up, according to "how the old-timer understands it." And, then, again, too -- it depends upon the situation. There have been many times when the alcoholic-addict, is really a heroin addict, or some other drug addict, and they spend a lot of time in a meeting talking about shooting snorting or smoking dope -- with very little talk about their alcohol-ism. So, there is a fear -- on both sides of the room.
A lack of understanding and fear, is what I see as the root of the problem and why it goes on. And, if there is more focus on "recovery" in a meeting, and less focus on "behaviors of alcoholism and addiction" -- the problems aren't going to come up. I mean -- if you're there for the PURPOSE of RECOVERY... simply talk about recovery.
For the AA purist -- it would help if they broadened their perception of what an alcoholic is, what a drug addict is, and what someone means when they say "I'm an alcoholic-addict." It has more similarities than differences.
You see -- according to the definitions of "alcoholic" and "addict" they are very much the same thing. How could you be an alcoholic, and not be addicted to the "drug" alcohol? And, how could you be an drug addict -- that's addicted to drugs, and not consider the drug alcohol -- as just another drug?
Probably -- a lot of confusion is over the "perception" and "understanding" about the real difference (in thought at least) that the alcoholic has a specific type of condition -- where their body does not metabolize alcohol -- like a non-alcoholic body metabolizes alcohol.
And, the surest way that I've found to be wrong about anything is: to become so convinced that "my perception" and "my understanding" is the only real and true one.
Let's focus on recovery. Scientific and academic theories and definitions will sometimes change as fast as the direction of the wind. But, we know one thing -- that doesn't change. Recovery principles do not change. The solution always works for those who work the solution. And, alcohol-ism and addiction is always a natural result of practicing addiction principles.
It's better to know more about "The Solution" than it is to know more about "The Problem." Get out of the problem. Surrender to the debate. Live and let live, with love and tolerance. Be of service, and sincerely TRY to help others -- and in so doing, we will actually be helping our selves.