Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I know what I am



I am a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. That means I do not drink. The reason I mention this and the reason I care about this is because I am an alcoholic. For an alcoholic to not drink is a pretty big deal. If I were someone with some other problem, not drinking might not be such an issue, but to me, it is an life threatening issue. So, we have established that I am an alcoholic. I am also anonymous at the level of press, radio, and film. That level also includes the internet, because the internet is public. That means I do not use my full name or a full photo of my face. That makes me anonymous. Therefore, I am an Anonymous Alcoholic.

I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am not a member of a "12 step program." I am not a member of a "self-help" program. I am a member of a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. Recover from alcoholism. This is no small goal. This is awesome and massive. And yet if you tell people that is what we are about, many will tell you that we shouldn't limit ourselves to that tiny little fraction of people - the fraction we can actually help.

Maybe the person who discovered the insulin treatment for diabetes should have gone around injecting everyone with it instead of just using it on diabetics. Why limit something so good like that? Surely it could have helped EVERYONE!

I was approached the other day about taking a meeting into a treatment facility. This facility treats all manner of people with all manner of problems. And I think that is wonderful. I was approached about bringing a message of hope to women who are being abused by their husbands, and people with problems with "drugs and alcohol" and need a "12 step program." I had to tell the person that I don't know anything about "12 step programs." I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. That is the one and only message I have to share in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am not going to bastardize a meeting to be "one size fits all." Because as we ladies know, "one size fits all" really means "one size fits no one."

Oh, you're going to love me for this, aren't you?

I probably wouldn't have such an attitude about the treatment industry if I hadn't had such a battle with them over my blog in the last 6 months or so. First one of them hijacked my entire blog and put it on their website. A website that said, among other things, that a person needed to be in a protected environment (that they could provide, for a fee) or they would "relapse." That is just SO WRONG. And now they have a new approach, every day or so, under the guise of a different name, they post some asinine comment, which links to some damn treatment center website. The other day, on my post about my friend Ron, was one of them. It was some inane comment about "working in drug and alcohol treatment, you see a lot of people die, it is a sad part of the business...." Yeah. It is a sad part of your lousy business. But my friend Ron died a natural death at the age of 70, after 37 years of continuous sobriety in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. That is one of the sad, but wonderful parts of being a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. We get to see people LIVE and LIVE WELL until they DIE a NATURAL DEATH at an OLD AGE.

I know what I am. I am a sober alcoholic. And I know I am grateful with every fiber of my being for the program of Alcoholics Anonymous which saved my life. I hope to God it is around for a while for other alcoholics who need it now and will need it later. But I do believe that if we keep bastardizing it, it will not last.

17 comments:

Ed G. said...

Tell it sister!

I so get the difference between "a 12 step program" and AA. I wish a few more of us did. I think then: 1) our program would be more effective (if somewhat smaller) and 2) others could find the help they need without having to pretend to "have a problem with alcohol too."

Please keep saying it - here and, most importantly, where AA's name is being diminished.

Blessings and aloha...

Mary LA said...

I'm with you -- I can't get the Brothers Ruiz to take my blog off their Disneyland rehab website. They call me a link partner.

Patty said...

Thanks for getting me all fired up Mary! You are right, it is a big deal! I did drink yesterday and God willing, I will not drink today. Sometimes I start to take that for granted! I am so grateful to be trudging with you in my heart today!

Patty said...

I meant to say that I DID NOT DRINK yesterday.

Mary Christine said...

Thank you for the clarification Patty, you scared the you-know-what out of me!

Pam said...

lovin' my mary.

Scott W said...

I yam what I yam. ~Popeye

AnyEdge said...

I don't personally have a problem with the concept of the treatment center. I went to one. It helped me. I'm still sober. I'm still sober, not because I went to treatment, but because I'm an active member of AA. Treament, no matter how good, does not cure anyone.

That said, there are a lot of scams out there. Treatment has a lot of them. Many of them seem to want to make you think that all you need to do is go there for $100,000 and you're cured, which is, pardon me, a sack of bullshit.

But I wouldn't tar them all with that brush. There's a lot of dirty bathwater there. But there's a baby in there somewhere too. I think.

Course, I'm often wrong.

Mary Christine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnyEdge said...

That's a perfectly reasonable thing to abhor, MC. Subterfuge and obfuscation are despicable.

Syd said...

Mary, I hope that the message of AA stays pure. I do my best in Al-Anon to adhere to the traditions and keep my part to be about Al-Anon. It is a matter of life and death for those in AA. I hear people say that one addiction is the same as another. And I tell them that I don't believe that.

Mary Christine said...

I don't have a problem with the concept of treatment centers either. But I have a problem with AA getting all muddied up in there and trying to be all things to all people who may be in the treatment center. The treatment center has every right to do anything it wants, but AA is supposed to do what it is supposed to do, and nothing else.

I do have a problem with treatment centers advertising on my blog and acting like somehow they are just regular old folks - regular old AA members. Regular old AA members don't charge thousands of dollars to help each other. We pass it on freely, just as it was given to us.

Mike said...

Thanks for the post! :)

Sorry to read about someone hijacking your blog! Craziness.

I used at treatment center, on an outpatiend basis years ago, and I've been sober ever since. I believe everything has a time and a place. Not everyone needs to attend a treatment center. They are there for those who need them.

AA is a great way to help you stay sober. Good people, good times, good message if you are ready willing and able.

Mary Christine said...

Mike, what a cool guy you are. Willing to help your fellow alkie - at $400. a day. Thanks!

wendy said...

I'm pretty sure this isn't what your post is about, but I stopped blogging largely because I think it would be impossible for me to blog about my daily life without readers eventually realizing that I was in AA. I don't think it is because I am ashamed or embarrased, I just don't need people stumbling across my blog that I know from other areans finding out through my blog.

I didn't get sober through a treatment center. Somehow my physical body walked through the doors of AA one day and it had nothing to do with me. I do know that if people weren't tolerant with newcomers (and their denial) I never would have stayed. There were many days (and I still have them 2 years later) when I am certain that I am just a codependent that likes to get drunk. The fact that I have no middle ground and only conceptualize "fast, balls-to-the wall, go-hard-or-go-home until I blackout" drinking is my reminder that I'm an alcoholic.

I don't know why I feel compelled to write this whole comment. I'm going to publish it anyway. Hopefully I don't sound like a total wackadoo, although it isn't like I'm total sane either.

Have a great Thursday Mary. I always appreciate your posts.

Findon said...

Mary, I am with you all the way. I wish you were over here in the UK. The treatment industry, the Primary Purpose mob, the I'm alcoholic / addict brigade have, the I have depression / food addiction / bi polar / abused childhood / whatever other label is around, brigade, have watered down the message to such a degree that sometimes I almost feel afraid to share. If you mention, taking responsibility for yourself, the steps, action, God, Sponsorship, determination, being self supporting by working, boy you had better watch out because you are in a minority. Stick to alcoholism and how AA helps me stay sober and I am talking to myself sometimes. I am with you Mary all the way. YOU ARE NOT WRONG

Ann said...

Backing you 1000%!!!!!!!