It’s not ALCOHOL-WASM …
The first time I heard that saying in a meeting of Alcoholic’s Anonymous I thought I’d heard it incorrectly. After the meeting I approached the speaker and he assured me that I’d heard it right. I was too new in the program to truly understand the full impact of those words.
Now, after almost 22 years sober, I’ve come to not only under-stand that saying but to firmly believe it. Time and again I’ve seen people hit rock bottom. They come into the rooms of AA sick, bedraggled and desperate. They “will do anything” to stay sober.
But, more often than not they are “well” in a matter of months. They‘ve regained their appetites, they‘re starting to look and feel good and recovery goes out the window. “Alcoholic?,” they say, “Not me. I can take it or leave it. I’ve proved that by not drinking for X amount of days.”
We feel bad as we watch them go. They’ve caught the dreaded “alcoholwasm” syndrome and all we can do is leave the doors open for them and hope that they will be lucky enough to find their way back in before it‘s too late … for them, or sadly too often, for others.
The first thing I had to have drummed into me when I started my AA journey was that stopping drinking is actually the easiest part of recovery. It’s facing the “ism” that’s hard. The “ism’s” are the psychological and personality issues that crop up and that we couldn’t get through before without drinking. We need to face them and put them behind us.
The process of changing how we deal with life and all of it’s problems is a critical part of recovery and I work on it daily. The results are well worth the effort … and it’s really not that hard once I set my mind to the fact that I have alcoholism, not “alcoholwasm.”
As a dear friend in AA puts it: “Getting and staying sober is a cinch. All you have to do is … don’t drink, go to meetings, and change your whole damn life”.