I had an old friend round for lunch yesterday.
She's an amazing woman, who has dealt with issues that would break many people, but has come out stronger.
For a few years, L lived with a cocaine addict. She saw, up close and personal, how drugs can destroy the lives of the user and those who love them.
As a result, once she'd found the strength to get away, she re-trained as a psychotherapist and an addiction counsellor.
I am in awe of the people who not only survive their own life traumas, but then use them to help others.
So, a while back, I gave L the name of my blog. She never told me whether she'd read it or what she thought of it.
Then, yesterday, L said "I read your blog."
"Oh yes?" I replied.
"I have to say, I don't like your refusal to use the word 'alcoholic.'" She said.
I imagine she was referring to this post: Am I an alcoholic?
Then she continued, "there are an awful lot of people who feel the same as me."
"I have no issue with anyone using the term 'alcoholic' if they find it helpful," I explained, "it's just that I don't. I think it's one of the reasons why so many people find it difficult to confess to having a problem and asking for help. We're worried about being judged."
But the truth is that anyone who is a member of, or works with, AA feels hugely strongly about the A word, and I'm not sure that I can take them all on. I don't want to have a fight with AA - I think they're an amazing institution doing an incredible job.
But I know that I, and many of my readers, feel strongly about this issue too. I am very happy (well, sort of) to stand up on national television and confess to drinking a bottle of wine a day. I'm happy to confess to being an alcohol addict.
But I'm not happy to say "I am an alcoholic." I don't believe I have a disease. I think I became addicted to an addictive drug, the same way I did to cigarettes, back in the day.
I found it much easier to say 'I have cancer' (when I was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 months ago) than I do 'I am an alcoholic.'
The truth is, people sympathise with cancer victims, but they assume that women who are 'alcoholics' are weak, diseased, and terrible mothers who neglect their children while they pour vodka on their cornflakes.
Surely the words I use are a personal choice?
It seems extraordinary that one word can cause so much trouble. But it will....
Is this really a good idea?