Thursday, December 25, 2008
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve - A Member Shares (45 Years in AA and 39 Years in Al-Anon)
For about 18 years I have been “working” at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the substance abuse field as an unpaid Volunteer counselor.
I’ve been able to work in that capacity for free because I am a retired federal law enforcement officer with an excellent annuity.
The year 2008 marked my 39th year in Al-Anon, the organization for the family of an alcoholic addict…I guess that qualifies me as a member of Al-Anon, wouldn’t you say?
Year 2008 also marked my 45th year overall in Alcoholics Anonymous without relapse. That surely attests that I am deeply rooted in and knowledgeable of each side of the issue.
So, I am very aware that right now we are in THE most difficult and challenging time of the year for all of us.
This is the season that can be called the “TRIPLE WHAMMY SEASON”…that is, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve. (We’ve now made it past the Thanksgiving “whammy”!!!)
It is THE most dangerous season, especially for the recently-sober alcoholic…and for the not so recently sober one….AS WELL AS FOR THE FAMILY OF THE ALCOHOLIC…
Maybe it is the toughest for the family members…because they are the innocent, blameless ones who suffer from the trauma visited upon them by the alcoholic.
I have been in the 12 Step Fellowship for FIVE DECADES…that is, in the 1960s, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s and now the unit numbers of this decade….
Over that period of time I have seen any number of wonderful success stories unfold.
I have also witnessed many horrendous tragedies…tragedies that need not have occurred.
Many of the worst tragedies…all brought on by alcohol…have happened during THIS time of the year.
The reason for this is because there are so many parties….so many “festive occasions” at Thanksgiving, at Christmas and of course at New Years.
All such occasions involve drinking some sort of alcoholic beverages.
It is often just too tempting for the problem drinker to resist…
SO WHAT IS THE NON-ALCOHOLIC TO DO??? WHAT IS THE PERSON WHO IS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE A MEMBER OF AL-ANON TO DO???
Al-Anon has a blue “ODAT daily reader (ODAT being an acronym for” One Day At a Time”) …Page 133 and page 94 of that Reader are THE most relevant and helpful of all the pages of the ODAT…in my opinion.
The gist of page 133 says “The key figure in my Al-Anon work is I, me, myself”…and not George or Georgine the drinker!
So, the book tells family members to think of themselves first of all….
I ask family members this question….”.WHO DO YOU THINK THE DRINKING ALCOHOLIC IS THINKING OF FIRST OF ALL? “
I’ll give them just one guess…and then I ask them why then shouldn’t they think of themselves first??
They should do so!!! Absolutely.
Family members should stop “bailing out” the alcoholic from the messes he makes and stop making excuses for him to his boss when he is too hung over to go to work.
Stop paying HIS bills! Above all, I tell the wife if she has a joint bank account with him, to CLOSE IT OUT AND ALSO CLOSE OUT ALL OTHER MEANS BY WHICH HE CAN ACCESS HER OWN MONEY…HER OWN FUNDS…
If she does not do that, he can clean her out during one of his binges and later weakly say he is “sorry”…and cannot remember why he did it …but that he must have needed money!!
THIS HAS INDEED HAPPENED!!!!!
So, I tell the wife to” wise up” and protect herself…insulate herself from him, so people to whom he owes money cannot get at HER money to pay HIS debts.
She will thus protect herself and her children.
Then I say just a few words about why it is so futile and frustrating to try to “reason” with the still-drinking alcoholic.
The active alcoholic has been described as being an insecure, self-centered , ego-maniacal individual who is primarily concerned with the satisfaction of what he perceives to be his own wants and needs…to the utter disregard of the wants and needs of anyone else.
He does not think of his own drinking as a disease…and of course does not think of the trauma his drinking causes his wife and children.
His denial is too great to do that…and this is not necessarily malicious on his part…he has a disease…
In my opinion, alcoholism is primarily a mental disorder. It is impossible for me to distinguish between the active alcoholic and the sociopath, the psychopath.
This goes to the heart of the question of why it is so difficult to live with the active alcoholic.
Bear with me and let us see how psychiatry defines “ psychopathic personality”…. Next I read just a few lines from a psychiatry textbook and I will then ask the listener to decide if it fits the active alcoholic.
I read from an excerpt taken from the 1994 Third Edition of the Psychiatric Press “Textbook of Psychiatry” and I quote:
“The central characteristic of (the psychopathic) personality disorder is a long-standing pattern of socially irresponsible behavior that reflects a disregard for the rights of others”…”the more prevailing personality characteristics include a lack of interest in or concern for the feelings of others…deceitfulness and most notably a lack of remorse over the harm they may
cause others”…. “This personality disorder is associated with high rates of substance abuse….”
THEN I ASK, “WHAT DO YOU THINK??? DOES THAT DESCRIBE THE DRINKING ALCOHOLIC???”
OF COURSE IT DOES!!!!
Finally, I close by saying in my many years in the 12 Step Fellowship I have indeed seen several GENUINE MIRACLES, like those mentioned on page 94 of that Blue ODAT reader.
For example , in the other Program (AA) I have seen a hopeless, helpless drunk whose lowest point was lying face down , drunk in the gutter of a foreign city…I have seen him transformed into a functioning, contributing member of society who is looked UP to by many friends and no longer looked down upon. (I was that drunk.)
Any program that can bring about such a lasting transformation is indeed a most powerful and miraculous program.
Equally, I have seen newcomers to Al-Anon who had little or no hope for a better life, come into the Al-Anon Program and after a while BLOSSOM into individuals who are able to laugh and have fun…and who have HOPE!!!
There is HOPE both for the rummie who has lived inside his or her whiskey bottle and there is HOPE for the innocent, blameless members of the alcoholic’s family.
In the Al-Anon Program the newcomer soon senses that there IS this hope and this power.
AL-ANON MAY NOT OPEN THE GATES OF HEAVEN AND LET YOU IN….BUT AL-ANON WILL SURELY OPEN THE GATES OF HELL AND LET YOU OUT!!!
I URGE LISTNERS TO TRY TO BE AN EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS…. IT IS BETTER TO LIGHT A CANDLE THAN JUST TO CURSE THE DARKNESS!!!
- Allen Anderson. (Submitted by Allen Anderson. Thanks Allen!)
You can read Allen's book online - "Memoir of an Alcoholic American Spy"
Posted by dryblog at Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick recovers from drug addiction and bulimia
"I was an example of the cliche that says an addict can't just do a little. One line was too many, one ounce was not enough. I thought of little else until I was in a position to get more."
"It was a crazy time ... The '70s, the '80s ... an all-out drug revolution. I have a very addictive personality. I think I would have gotten addicted to drugs no matter what."
"I've made a lot of mistakes. I've been through a lot of hard things. But it's okay to be open about it. It's okay to be human, to be imperfect."
"Well, I was pretty good at hiding it ... I hid behind that smile for years."
"Being able to quit drugs and finding belief in a higher power gave me the tools to end the bulimia."
- quotes by Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick
Maureen McCormick Interviews:
MSNBC Interview with Videos
Toronto Star Interview
Surviving Marcia Brady Book Excerpt
Weird Al Satires 70's TV & The Brady Bunch
She told me we couldn't afford beer anymore and I'd have to quit.
Then I caught her spending $65 on makeup.
So I asked how come I had to give up stuff and she didn't.
She said she needed the makeup to look pretty for me.
I told her that was what the beer was for.
I don't think she's coming back.
Economic Recession = More Drinking
Andy Capp and Free Drinks
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