Archives for posts with tag: Alcoholics Anonymous


Photo courtesy of K. Farwell

I once heard someone say, “If you work the twelve steps everybody else gets better.” Now, to many that may not make sense. But think about it. Alcoholics Anonymous’ twelve steps are guidelines for living a spiritual life that focuses on bettering one’s attitudes and behaviors.  Often, people learn to stop judging others and to instead focus on changing themselves. In that light, it makes sense that “others get better” as such changes in people often lead to positive changes in those around them.

One aspect of AA’s program focuses on letting go of resentments…..a challenge that may take days, years, or decades.  I recently had something happen that validated my getting better in terms of how I think and react to my ex-husband. What happened was this: During a long drive home from vacation,  I made a rest stop at a rural Wal-Mart. As I got out of my car, I noticed a man in bib overalls bent over the open tailgate of a pickup. He was putting ice into a cooler. He was a dead ringer for my ex—–whom I have not seen or spoken to since our divorce over twelve years ago. Only, if this was really him, he’d gained enough weight to equal that which I’ve lost. I did not want to stare and/or draw attention to myself so I looked the other way and walked by.

My internal dialogue went something like this: “I could speak to him and know for sure if it is him. But then after all this time, what is there left to say? ‘Gee, you’ve gained weight. How are you?’ No, I’ve let go of most of my resentment so I do not need to do that. I could stop and say something friendly about the weather.  On the other hand, I need to take care of myself in this situation and just keep walking.” I kept walking.

It felt good not to act on residual resentment, and it felt even better to take action that protected myself. I do not know if it was really my  ex or,  if it was, if he was really “better” or not. That is not important. What is important is my attitude and action. Without the step work and “resentment work” I’ve done I would have probably reacted differently—–perhaps in a way that triggered a negative response from another human being. I still have resentment work to do, but I am pleased with my progress. Thanks for letting me “free associate” about my Wal-Mart parking lot escapade.

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy fourth of July. My two rescue dogs are in thunder shirts; the sounds of fireworks in the neighborhood are driving them crazy. Sometimes, all that works to calm them is to stack all four of my dogs on top of me in my recliner. We will be happy when the celebrating is over. Alas, I have grown up and lost the sense of fun and magic the fourth of July held for me as a child.  That does not, however, keep me from wanting  others to experience that fun and magic. May God bless and keep you.



Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

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.