This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Polly’s story.
What I know today is that many people in A.A. have other issues, tragic issues, besides chronic alcoholism, and they need professional help with those problems. If you need professional help please don’t hesitate to get it. As an A.A. sponsor, I cannot prescribe medication, practice psychiatry or give advice about anything other than chronic alcoholism. If you are a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and you have any questions concerning “outside issues” please turn to our textbook, Alcoholics Anonymous and follow its instructions. Alcoholics Anonymous specializes in the treatment of chronic alcoholism. We can tell you our personal stories, explain the Doctor’s Opinion, walk you through the program of action outlined in the first 164 pages of “Alcoholics Anonymous,” and we can suggest some simple daily actions that will save you from a progressive and potentially fatal malady, but only if you’re willing; a willingness the size of a mustard seed.
My father was an angry person who sometimes screamed, cussed and pushed my mother around and that was a tragic thing. Although dad never did that to me, he did them to mom and I looked at him and said, “There’s no way I’ll be like you,” but I became like him in several ways. My mother was a woman who would not stand up for herself. She let dad and others like him walk all over her and I eventually became like her too. When I first came to Alcoholics Anonymous, I had the worst traits of both parents. “Angry wimp.” I felt deep inner rage, and harbored resentments, fears, guilt and shame, but I wouldn’t stand up for myself, and they built up inside me; imploding or exploding depending on the circumstance. I’m the person in the Big Book who manipulated other people with kindness because I absolutely needed approval. I was addicted to alcohol and approval; I needed approval because I had ultra-low self-esteem. My motive for doing nice things was to please other people; not for unselfish or altruistic reasons but rather to get something in return and if you didn’t approve of me or thank me properly, I became angry, full of spite and resentment; after all I did for you and it wasn’t appreciated? My soul was in constant chaos, and totally tormented because deep down, I felt like a big-fat zero. What I learned from Alcoholics Anonymous is that I suffer from a “Spiritual Malady.”
A long-time-sober member of A.A. named Sandy Beech (recently deceased) said, “When we first come to A.A., our receiver’s are broke.” My receiver was broken in childhood because although I was showered with love, I couldn’t receive or accept it. When I first came to A. A. I would’ve sworn to you that my parents didn’t love me, but one of the most valuable things I’ve learned from Alcoholics Anonymous is that I have a “Spiritual Malady” a soul-sickness that cut me off from the sunshine of the “Spirit.” We cannot feel love so long as our “Spiritual Malady” is left untreated because our hearts and souls are separated from the love of God, parents and anybody else who attempts to help us! A.A.’s Step 12 says: “Having had a ‘Spiritual Awakening,’ as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics who still suffer and we practiced these principles in all our affairs;” then, we can feel love (Eureka!). I am eternally grateful that I know my problem is me and not my parents. When I first came to A.A. they told me that I had to be accountable for my feelings and actions past and present. What an order! I learned from “Alcoholics Anonymous” and the “Bible” that I had to “Know the truth” and it would set me free.” At first it really “ticked-me-off,” but it did indeed set me free. To be continued.
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