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My soul is troubled this afternoon. Someone I know is drinking herself to an early death. She has two choices: to continue drinking or to accept a spiritual life-line to recovery—-one that has been repeatedly thrown to her. She is periodically forced by circumstances to stop drinking momentarily and go through detox; at those times she tentatively grabs hold of the lifeline of recovery.  Inevitably, she soon lets go and once again returns to drinking. Is she weak willed? Immoral? Hopeless? Evil? Manipulative?  Perhaps and perhaps not. However, one thing is certain—— she is suffering from an illness and should no more be blamed for the symptoms of that illness than a child with a cold should be blamed for having a runny nose and a hacking cough.

Here’s what the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous had to say about the situation my friend finds herself caught up in:

“If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.”

Wilson, Bill; Smith, Dr. Bob (2011-07-21). The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous   (Kindle Locations 542-545).  . Kindle Edition.

This is exactly the dilemma my friend is facing—-she can continue drinking herself to death or she can accept spiritual help. For those of us who have chosen God’s spiritual help one day at a time and are experiencing the gift of recovery, it is extremely difficult to watch someone we care about consciously and deliberately choose to follow his or her alcoholic path “to the bitter end.”

I wish I could force my friend to “hit bottom” and choose living—–but I cannot. God gives each of us freedom of choice. I pray for my friend to want recovery bad enough to seek  it and keep it; and I know many others are praying the same prayer. The most supportive thing we can do now is “back off” and let her experience the consequences of her actions in the hope that they will motivate her to choose recovery.  In the back of our minds, though, is the knowledge that our friend might rather “drink to the bitter end.”  It is hard to stand by and let someone make that choice, but we truly have to release the situation into the care of God’s hands.

Thanks for letting me get this “all out on cyber paper.” Just writing it helps. I hope some of you can join us in praying for our friend to make the right choice this time and to continue making it. May God bless and keep you.