Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Recently I listened to a young man lead a discussion on “Spirituality In My Life”. He was released from prison a little over a year ago but he has almost 4 years of living a clean and sober life. This means that he learned about sobriety while still in prison. It made me think of all the selfless members of Alcoholics Anonymous that I know who week after week carry the message to the inmates.

The recovery rate of prisoners is very low. But, then the recovery rate is low for all of us…only one in 10 will stay sober, according to some reports. As another young friend of mine says “I feel sorry for the 9 who don’t make it but I want to be the one who does.”

The AA program is extremely simple…just 12 Steps that, if practiced faithfully, will change a life. It is almost impossible to explain the program to a non-alcoholic so I never try. Everyone has to find their own path and I feel that I’ve finally found mine, and have for the past 17 years. I listened to a nun tell her story once and she had this great line. She said, “If you spot it, you’ve got it!” (If you don’t get that it’s a pretty good bet that you’re not “one of us”).

I looked around the room this morning and marveled. We were a group of perhaps 60 people from every walk of life represented by all colors, races and genders, with an ex-prisoner leading the discussion. Among our audience were 4 doctors, 3 lawyers, a priest, a dog trainer, 4 counselors, 4 or 5 from the nursing profession and a multitude of ordinary workers. It also included a fair amount of retirees (myself being one of them) and some men and women from the seedier side of life who were just starting the journey.

Some people say AA is a cult and some say it is a religion. Both descriptions are wrong. I am not a religious person but I have found a faith in a Higher Power “of my understanding” in AA. That basically means that I believe there is some sort of power that I can’t define but I know that it is NOT ME.

There are no restrictions to becoming an AA member and the “ONLY requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

AA is a wonderful organization. It has helped an amazing amount of people.

Great job on your list. Take care,

5:25 AM  
Blogger Mortart said...

Re your comment on my blog posting...
Your brother-in-law's parents were bigots. They come in all sizes, shapes and persuasions.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Betty said...

Ginnie: Congratulations on 17 years of sobriety. AA is a wonderful organization. I have had friends who went to AA, and turned their lives around.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My whole family is very versed in AA, via my dad who was one. His definition of an alcholic was: you're either thinking about drinking, you're thinking about not drinking, or you're drinking.

There is still so much struggle and stima around this addiction/illness.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great post, Ginnie. And so honest and open. I'm very familiar with the 12-step program, because of being in OA (Overeaters Anom.)for many years....same DISease, different substance. I joined when I was about age 40 and that is when my spirituality began...and still continues. I think AA is an amazing organization and many times upon meeting somebody for the first time...I can tell they're heavily involved in a 12-step program. They exude a sense of serenity that is missing from so many other people.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Thanks, everybody, for all your comments. It's always a bit scarey to reveal one's self but I've been taught to take risks and reap the benefits ... one of the biggest of these benefits being the friendship of all of you. Ginnie

11:23 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Micky: Your words are clever and you have every right to believe as you do. I, however, (a non-believer in the traditional sense) have found AA to be the only path that I can follow that leads me to a worthy and giving life. Jesus may have been a saint but hypocrisy runs rampant in his followers. Peace be with you. Ginnie

7:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home