The AA Sponsor: Mentor or Tormentor?

1 Comment

As someone in AA and Al-Anon, the word “sponsor” always conjures up many memories. I can still see the face of my first sponsor, Marilyn. Round face and big eyeglasses. Brown, wavy hair cut in a short, practical do. A little on the “mature” side. She had 10 years of sobriety and liked to have fun but understood the seriousness of her task as a sponsor.

Back when I was 2-3 months sober, I told her that I was thinking about finding a new group. When she asked why I would want to do that, More

Carrying the 12-Step Message in the Digital Age

4 Comments

Tradition 11 states,

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV.”

My recent search on the Internet for the words “12-step program” got 633 million hits (in .16 seconds, by the way)!  Whoa. Bill W. and Dr. Bob would be blown away with that fact, huh?

Both the AA and Al-Anon 11th Tradition speaks of maintaining anonymity “at the level of press, radio and television“.  We’ve come to add the Internet into that mix, too. In fact, both organizations (they are separate, if you didn’t know it) have guidelines in place for those who want to take the Program on to the Web. I am the “webmaster” (for lack of a better word) of my Al-Anon home group’s membership website. And there are many, many other groups that have made the leap.

So that brings up the question: are websites “promoting” the Program instead of “attracting”, like the 11thTradition states? More

The Problem of the Alcoholic…Family.

4 Comments

We’re told that for every alcoholic, there are five people who are directly affected by the disease. Logic would then follow that Al-Anon meetings would be five times larger than AA meetings, right? Sadly, if you’ve spent any time around AA or Al-Anon, you’ll agree that this is not the case. Which says a lot about the state of recovery from the FAMILY disease of alcoholism.

My interpretation is that “family recovery” is way behind in the attention and help that alcoholics and drug addicts receive. If we take a quick glance at the family situation, it’s easy to think that if the alcoholic/addict can get sober/clean, then The Problem in the family will go away. The family’s hopes are pinned to this idea. And, quite frankly, so are the hopes of the alcoholic/addict. Just ask any recovering alcoholic who has been to treatment more than once. If they work an honest program, they will tell you that (with some exceptions) going to treatment was a quick and effective way to get the family (employer, judge, etc) off their back.

So just how DOES a family hear that they, too, need recovery? More

Amethyst: The Drunkeness Protector Stone

2 Comments

Amethyst - protection for drunkenessAlthough now closely associated with 12-step recovery, legends abound when it comes to the  Amethyst. Amethyst is a variety of quartz–its violet coloring, which is its identifying feature, can vary from dark purple to pink.  It’s been said to contain certain spiritual properties that affect the wearer. While I don’t ascribe to the idea that  inanimate objects have any kind of “power”, it is fun to listen to the stories. My favorite legend of the origin of Amethyst is the Greek version (some say it’s Roman).

The Greek god, Dionysius, who was said to be the god of intoxication, let his anger get the best of him one day when he was insulted by mortal man. Vowing to have tigers carry out his sworn revenge More

IS ALCOHOL REALLY THE GREAT EQUALIZER?

5 Comments

Alcohol is the Great EqualizerAs a practicing drunk, I had put my friends into two different categories: the People I Drink With and the People I Didn’t Drink With. To avoid conflict, I kept them away from each other as much as possible. I felt only anxiety around the People Who Didn’t Drink; I laughed–a lot–with the People Who Drink.

The non-drinkers didn’t know me at all.

  • They didn’t know that I would lie to my husband about where I’d been or who I was with.
  • They didn’t know that every morning before getting out of bed, I’d be thinking back on the night before, trying to remember if I did anything embarrassing (again) and who I needed to avoid for a while.
  • They didn’t know that when I made them a promise and then broke it, it was because More

Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Play by Stephen Bergman and Janet Surrey

Leave a comment

Bill W and Dr BobHave you had an opportunity to see the play “Bill W. and Dr. Bob”?

Written by Dr. Stephen Bergman (psychiatrist) and his wife, Janet Surrey (clinical psychologist) http://www.nytheatre.com/interview.aspx?v=bergman,  I recently had the good fortune of watching the play at our local Center for the Arts.

I attended the play with my husband, who is also an alcoholic, and 15 other friends from the “Program”, both AA and Al-Anon. In fact, it sure seemed that the entire audience was in recovery as the conversation flowed easily between strangers, just as it does at meetings.

I went with reservations–how can people who are not in the Program going to be able to tell a story that is very well-known to the audience and in an entertaining way? More

Reflections on 26 Years of Alcoholic Sobriety

1 Comment

Reflecting Pool

About Sobriety

  • I have as much sobriety today as someone who quit drinking yesterday.
  • The number of years of sobriety will not help anyone stay sober.
  • God took away my compulsion to drink from the beginning but most people struggle with the obsession.
  • The “passing parade” is very long.
  • Sometimes people die before they get recovery.
  • Not Drinking is way different from Being Sober.
  • Going to treatment more than one time is a waste of money and hope.
  • It is “God as we understood Him”– it is not “god of our understanding”; there is a huge difference.
  • At 8-10 years of continuous sobriety, the ego kicks into high gear and the ears shut down.
  • Recovery only happens one day at a time.
  • The same determination to drink (thinking, planning and carrying out no matter the cost) is exactly what is needed for the recovery process. Alcoholics already have what is necessary to succeed.
  • God had everything in place for me to stop and stay stopped–I had to want it.
  • The more difficult it is, the closer the miracle.
  • There are a lot of talented, gifted, intelligent, lovely, funny, caring alcoholics.
  • There are no shortcuts to recovery.

About The Family

  • Alcoholism is a Family Disease: it’s not just about the alcoholic.
  • A person can feel so much pain it is hard to breathe.
  • Alcoholism Kills: the Love of the Family, the Hope of the Future, the Joy of Life.
  • Consequences: the alcoholic family’s greatest tool.
  • We do not need to be ashamed about who we love.
  • People quit drinking when THEY are ready and not one split second before that.
  • Detachment with love is vital to physical health, not just mental health.
  • Much of what we call Help is really an attempt to quell our own emotions.
  • A person CAN be mentally and emotionally addicted to another person.
  • Al-Anons also hit bottom and have slips.
  • Recovering alcoholics begin to drift into Al-Anon at about 18 years of sobriety.
  • There is much joy in the Al-Anon rooms.
  • There are no shortcuts to recovery.

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: