Thursday, February 07, 2019

SPIRITUALITY ... AA and the sober life

Recently I listened to a young man lead a discussion on "Sprituality in my Life".  He was released from prison a little over a year ago but has had almost 4 years of living a clean and sober life. This means that he learned about sobriety while still imprisoned.  It made think of 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.  However, the rate of recovery is low for all of us with only one in 10 staying sober according to some reports.  As a 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 29 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" and if you don't it's a pretty good bet that you're not "one of us."

I looked around the room at that meeting and marveled.  We were a group of perhaps  50 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, and 4 or 5 from the nursing profession. It also included a multitude of retirees  (like me), some ordinary working people and some seedier looking men and women who were just starting the journey.

I know that AA does not suit everyone and that there are other ways to get sober but it's worked for me and I  love the way that there are no restrictions and that "the ONLY requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking". 


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

What a success story you have.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

When I was working as a counsellor, I had a friend, a young man, who was a member too. He always spoke at school, not representing AA, but telling his own story. The students always related to him and he helped lots of them over the years. AA saved his life.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

Whatever works to help people take back their lives. Congratulations to you and your achievement.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Kudos Ginnie. You have stuck with a great plan and it has worked marvelously for you. When I went to Al-anon seeking help with my father who was an alcoholic, I discovered my own problems with alcohol. I didn't have a need for the first drink but couldn't stop once I took that first one--usually resulting in black outs. I quit for him and it has been over 40 years. I know in my heart if I took a drink today, I'd be unconscious by dark.
If I ever started wanting that first drink, I'd head straight for AA.

9:18 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

Hooray for you, Ginnie. You are a brave woman and I admire your courage.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Linda P. said...

What hard work you have invested. Congratulations. I am sad for siblings who have struggled and either not embraced AA or just plain battled, many times unsuccessfully, to stay on track, even after attending AA meetings. Al-Anon has helped me understand what my responsibilities are or are not. As the oldest of my siblings, accustomed to taking on a care-taking role from childhood, sticking with the "are not" part of that has been wrenching. I am a writer and work with a list of numbers for Suicide Prevention, MHMR, Substance Abuse and Mental Health taped just to the right of my computer monitors, as well as the number to call to get local law enforcement officers out for a wellness check on a sibling. Included is that sibling's address and telephone number because I'm afraid that I won't be able to recall it or look it up if I get yet another call when he's threatening suicide or has attempted it.

4:24 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

You have succeeded, Ginnie, and thanks for sharing your story. It’s not always easy to overcome an addiction but you have done so and your ooenness in sharing is admirable and inspiring as well.

3:18 PM  

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