This week’s Here’s To Your Health is a continuation of Polly’s story: I discovered when I came to Alcoholics Anonymous that I had to be accountable for my feelings and actions. My problem wasn’t my parents, other people, or how the world treated me, my problem was and is centered in me; I have a spiritual illness called alcoholism. The Bible and the Big Book of A.A. said: “know the truth and the truth will set you free.” It might at first tick you off, but it will set you free. I’m grateful to have learned that because it’s the awakening of the spirit within that set me free.
My Dad died when he was 60. I was two years sober and he had sixty years of sobriety. My mother is still living and she is not the least bit impressed with the length of my sobriety because that’s the way she has lived her whole life. Today, I’m ever-so-grateful that I didn’t die from untreated alcoholism before the miracle of A.A. and sobriety happened in my life. Thank God for the program of Alcoholics Anonymous!
When I was 18 years old I married an Air Force officer. I found my knight in shining armor and we were sailing off into the sunset to live happily ever after. My shining knight was a SAC pilot and I knew he would be gone alot and so, I needed to learn how to be responsible. I’m a southern girl, born and raised, and I was born believing men were put on planet earth to take care of women. That’s what they are here for and for no other reason. Girls in Texas puff up. I would get angry and puff up and it was “his” responsibility to figure out what was wrong with me. It was my husband’s job to make me happy and if he didn’t do that then he didn’t love me.
I love what Clancy said, “Chronic alcoholics are people who must be treated special,” and if other people don’t treat them special they feel rejected. At all times, I needed to be treated special. I had an insatiable appetite for your approval, and all of your attention. I could never get enough approval and attention and never understood that my insatiable needs were caused by a spiritual illness that lived deep within me.
People talk about the spiritual-side of A.A. like there’s another side to it? A.A. is all spiritual? Chronic alcoholism is a soul sickness and the only known solution for getting it in remission is spiritual, there’s no other side to it. People frequently asked Bill W. and Dr. Bob, “What part of A.A. is spiritual?” Their reply was always the same, “It’s all spiritual.” By working the 12 steps of A.A. with God and another human being, we remove the things standing in the way of that spiritual solution. Step 12 says, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps we tried to carry the message to those who still suffer and we practiced these principles (12 steps) in all of our affairs.”
Anyway, I married this man when I was 18 years old and took my first drink of alcohol. I don’t remember it being a big deal and I didn’t have the same feeling my husband talked about, when he said it made his fingers and toes tingle; and that he chased that ever-elusive good feeling until he finally came to Alcoholics Anonymous. It was not that way for me. I identified more with the Big Book where it said, “alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful.” I didn’t realize what alcohol was doing for me, but whenever I drank it, I felt a super-sense of ease and comfort. I could go to a cocktail party and not be afraid. I was so afraid of everything. I was afraid of people and what they might think of me. I needed their approval and stayed locked in fear. But alcohol seemed like a turn key that set me free and I experienced a marvelous sense of confidence, ease and comfort.
To be continued.
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