They picture the homeless man stumbling down the street, holding a paper bag surrounding a bottle among other stereotypical ideas.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Alcoholism is no respecter of persons. The business person, the stay at home mom, the CEO, the teacher grading papers next door may all be wrestling with this debilitating illness.
The thing they all have in common, according to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, is “the obsession of the mind and the phenomenon of craving.” “Normal drinkers” do not suffer with this. They don’t plan their social interactions around whether or not they can drink. They do not obsess about the moment they will pour their precious drink at the end of the day. They don’t hide how much they drink or have to make excuses for their drinking. Normal drinkers can leave a glass half empty. Problem drinkers would laugh at the thought.
The other defining characteristic is the inability to stop once they start. They may not be daily drinkers (yet). They may go a year with moderation; however, one day, it will get the best of them, and they will find themselves powerless over that first drink. Powerless to stop. As Alcoholics Anonymous states, “go out and try some controlled drinking” as an experiment. Most true alcoholics will not be able to do so for any length of time, controlled drinking that is.
For those who disagree with AA, I would offer: never have I been a part of a more non-judgmental, unconditionally loving organization (including the church). The qualification for membership is an admission of powerlessness. We have hit the bottom. We have been confounded by our lack of willpower. In AA you will hear the most comforting words for all humans, “me too.” Different stories and experiences but the same themes, similar thinking patterns, and ways of managing pain.
The way of Alcoholics Anonymous is the way of connecting (if one truly works the program). People uphold one another and are knit by the 12 Steps, which they endeavor to complete with the desperate spirit of a drowning man or woman.
Desperation becomes a gift.
Pain a pathway to peace.
Serenity a way of life.
If you are curious about whether or not you have a problem with alcohol, take inventory. What is your relationship with alcohol like? Do you have an ever-growing tolerance? Do you make decisions based around your drinking? Are you honest? Do you hide your drinking? Are people beginning to question your use of alcohol?
There is another way. An answer. There are souls who are living a better life without the crutch of alcohol. Many have become “happy, joyous, and free!” You may meet some of us as we trudge the road of happy destiny.” (Pg 164 in the Big Book).
Reach out for help today. It is there for the taking.
If you are curious about your relationship with alcohol, you can take a quiz here.
If you want to learn more about the author, Maggie Jobson, visit here.