HERE’S TO YOUR HEALTH

“When Love Is Not Enough,” to deal with an alcoholic spouse or family member there’s Alanon; a program of recovery designed for the family of chronic alcoholics. The Alanon meeting formerly held at Redeemer Lutheran Church has relocated to the Waynedale United Methodist Church on Monday night at 7PM.

This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Judy P.’s story: I was too sick to work so I contacted a guy who hung out in the bars and I went to work as a prostitute. That’s what it took for me to get enough money to survive. I wish that I could tell you truthfully that I’m ashamed, but I cannot because that’s what I had to do and I can’t change my past. In my sick, confused, alcoholic mind, I had no other choice and so that’s what I did. Sometimes when I share this part of my story at meetings, I can tell by their reaction what they’re thinking and sometimes I’ve overheard what they’re saying.

Once when I was getting ready to speak at a conference I heard another A.A. member say, “A woman with her background absolutely has no business getting behind the podium of Alcoholics Anonymous.” I don’t know about the morality of the people in your home group or about the morality of other women in A.A. but if we eliminated the women who sold sex while they were practicing alcoholics, we wouldn’t have near as many female members. I have found that my biggest critics in A.A. are the women who didn’t have the sense to sell it, or the men who had to pay for it and if my actions, years ago, still bothers them that’s their problem not mine. My moralistic critics should read the book Alcoholics Anonymous, where it says that our darkest past will become our greatest asset when we are helping others who still suffer from chronic alcoholism.

I was active in A.A. for six and a half years and attended meetings faithfully before I ever heard my story. It took six and half years before I learned there was another ex-hooker in Alcoholics Anonymous; I thought that I was the only one. That day, I made up my mind if I was ever asked to speak, I wouldn’t clean up my story because I wanted other women who were once like me to feel the same relief that I did that day. Never again did I feel alone after I learned there was another woman in A.A. just like me.

Even though it happened a long time ago we never forget how people looked at us, how we dressed, talked and acted; to do what we thought we had to do. We try to blot out our past and pretend it never happened, but we did it and we cannot forget; it’s a part of us that can never be removed. Does this mean that all the women in A.A. were ex-hookers; of course it doesn’t and many of the women who did what I did are currently married and have children and it would not be discrete or fair to hurt their family by getting behind a podium and sharing something like that but when we’re working one-on-one with another woman there’s no excuse not to share it because it can rid them of guilt and shame that’s destroying their self-esteem and serenity. When we’re sharing one-on-one with another woman and she feels like she’s the worst piece of trash on the face of this earth we need to let her know that she’s not. That’s how it works! We bare our souls in front of God and another human being and learn that we are not alone; we’re not the worst, the most disgusting, or undeserving sluts condemned to eternal hell. We all made mistakes but we don’t have to keep on making those mistakes. I have a sponsee 28 years sober who did her first Fifth Step with a distinguished, grey haired, old lady, who listened to it quietly, took it all in and then shared a story about herself. The old woman’s story completely flabbergasted and totally shocked my sponsee. She said, “After that distinguished lady shared with me what she had done, I no longer felt alone, or believed that I was the only woman in A.A. who had done disgusting things. By working the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, practicing different daily actions, going to meetings and helping others, we are no longer the same characters who once did those bad things and we gain hope. We no longer have to hang our heads because our old alcoholic characters are being transformed one-day-at-time.

John Barleycorn

The phantom writer of the column "Here's to Your Health". This writer is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and therefore must maintain anonymity. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer