Overcoming Drug and Alcohol Sickness in 1986
What Would You Have Found?
By Dick B.
© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Let’s suppose that you, like I did, entered the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous in April, 1986. Hopelessly wedded to the bottle. Unknowingly addicted to pain pills and sedatives. Shaking like a lear. And in more trouble than you had ever experienced in your life—in the Army, in the cross-hairs of the police and district attorney, threatened with loss of your law license, beset with tax problems, financial problems, domestic problems, and physical and mental wreckage from doing it all too long.
Let’s also suppose you had willingly sought help in A.A. Did you find any doctors or nurses on hand? Did you find any clergy or Bible teachers on hand? Were there any trained or licensed counselors to help stay the course? Did anyone tell you that if you quit without medical help you might have seizures, fear, bewilderment, and forgetfulness. As well as confusion as to what you were supposed to do in this barren arena of well-intentioned fellow-sufferers, uninformed speakers, and inexperienced sponsors?
Let’s suppose too that your new-found friends were telling you to get phone numbers, never drink, and go to meetings daily, as well as getting a Big Book and a sponsor and following directions. Some were belittling you and your questions. Some were urging you “to take what you like and leave the rest.” Some were telling you, “This too shall pass.” Some were telling you to take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth. Some were saying you had a disease. Some that your problem was sin. Some that you must take the Twelve Steps as soon as possible. Some that you would do best if positioned like a door mat and “accepting” whatever came your way. Some that you needed to have a “higher power” which could be a tree, a chair, a radiator, Santa Claus, or just about anything “greater than yourself.”
Were all these good starting points? Would any or all get you sober? Would any wipe away your depression, troubles, fear, and confusion?
In one sense, this unlikely cadre, course, and group of untrained helpers and help actually worked for me from the beginning—I not having died from three gran mal seizures, having followed the mixed suggestions, having seen the word “God” in the Steps and prayed to Him, and vigorously searching for and helping others—however inept and feeble my efforts were.
But how many others drank or used again? More than I could count! And the chronic relapsing was continuing to this very day. How could I carry a message as mixed as the one I had been given? With higher powers, acceptance, and meeting mania! What should a sponsor tell and do to aid his newcomer? How reliable was the sponsor’s help when he didn’t know his Big Book or how to “take” a newcomer through the Steps; when he didn’t really believe in God or kept referring to some nonsense higher power like a rock. When he had never learned A.A.’s roots in the Bible. Or when there was virtually no information circulated on where A.A. had come from, when there was no discussion of the many changes that taken place in the recovery ideas between 1935 and 1939. Or when people in meetings mentioned the Bible, religion, Jesus Christ, or God and were insulted and reprimanded for even making mention of such things.
There was and is a way out of the foregoing mixture. It is producing literature, speakers, panels, conferences, and members who have taken a broad view of the program and its roots, who have had the humility to look up and learn what had worked and what had not worked, and what the pioneers had done that is missing today.
Lest some conclude that I don’t know the things suggested, I would point to three authoritative sources to start with. First, to read Bill W.’s comments about the Lord on page 191 of the Fourth Edition of the Big Book. Second, to read Dr. Bob’s comments about our Heavenly Father on page 181 of that Fourth Edition. Third, to dig into my book, Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts, 2d ed, (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006) www.dickb.com/cured.shtml. And then to obtain a copy of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet P-53, The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks, pages 13-14.