Monday, December 13, 2010

Supporting AA friends during the Holidays …

Holidays are a time of much stress and big “triggers” for many alcoholics.

The non-alcoholic can enjoy these days with cookies and cakes laced with alcohol and the cordiality of raising a glass in a toast. For we, the alcoholics, this is deadly. One of the sure fire indications that a person has a drinking problem is when they can’t stop imbibing once they’ve started. (Have you ever seen an alcoholic leave a drop of liquid in a discarded glass … while they were still conscious, that is ? Of course not !)

The AA community where I live is very aware of the pit-falls that are waiting for us and we make a big effort to give even more support to our members during this time. The picture above shows a portion of our community room where we host Holiday dinners and events, as well as our regular meetings morning, noon and at night.

One of our most successful ventures is our “Christmas Marathon” that starts this year on Sat. the 18th thru New Year’s Day. Our members sign up to commit to 3 hours shifts and we stay open until Midnight during those days, plus host a Christmas dinner and a New Year‘s lunch.

We have been doing this for quite a few years and my favorite memory centers around a long distance trucker who found himself in our area during a critical point in his journey to sobriety. He had called our Answering Service for help in finding a meeting and they referred him to us.

When the trucker arrived it was apparent that he was in a bad way. He was newly sober and his hands were trembling. He was craving a drink like crazy. It was about 2 pm and he stayed on for the rest of the day. You could just see the calm return to him the longer he remained. When midnight came and we had to close up he asked if it would be OK if he slept in his truck in our parking lot. Of course we said “yes”!

Long story short he stayed with us for the entire time … right up through New Year’s Eve and the following day. By this time we were all old friends and he had shared much of his life’s story with us. In many ways it was a miracle that he had been able to get sober and he was doing everything in his power to stay on the path. Needless to say we hated to say goodbye.

For all of my non-alcoholic readers I say: “raise your glasses, make your toasts, and eat those rum balls. Just don’t try to talk an alcoholic into doing the same … those 'triggers' are no laughing matter.” Thanks and Happy Holidays.


Blogger Syd said...

A good message Ginnie. I am glad that you were there for this fellow.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Good post, Ginnie, especially at this time when folks tend to get a bit carried away.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Wow! That story about the trucker is amazing. It's hard for the rest of us to understand how tough it must be, but when you said that his hands were shaking, I think I began to get it.

7:27 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Oh, Ginnie--this is such an important reminder. It is a sorry world when non-alcoholics can't be thoughtful, and polite.
I for one NEVER nudge, never urge, and will in fact forego a glass of wine if I am dining with a dear friend is recovering--and still counting the years. Bless her--I cherish her too much to not respect her courage.

6:32 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Excellent post and point, Ginnie.

I know you all got a wonderful feeling that you could be so helpful to that trucker and I know he is eternally grateful to all of you!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Hi Ginnie!
What a great post. We all need reminders and support for all sorts of bad habits. What a wonderful idea that your A.A. group came up with, kudos! Love Di ♥

9:56 PM  

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