Health & Exercise


This week’s HTYH is a continuation of an Alanon lady’s story: After having read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous 42 times I finally stopped highlighting things for my mother and turning down page corners for my husband. I had a revelation on the 43rd time through the Big Book: it was really about me, I must have the same disease as the A.A.’s except my solution wasn’t alcohol. I decided to skip the next Alanon meeting and go to an A.A. meeting instead. I imagined what an A.A. woman must look like and then dressed accordingly–skintight pants and spike heels. I learned a couple of things from my first A.A. meeting. First, A.A women look pretty much the same as Alanon women and second, Alanons wear sensible shoes for a reason, we are built for speed and not looks. If you love an alcoholic you better be ready to go in a flash and that we could hurt ourselves if we wore spiked heels.

I went to the Christian Youth Mountain Conference where I go every summer to spend time with 600 of my closest friends. That week was spent with four people who had 125 years of Alanon experience between them. I listened to them talk, I went to meetings with them, ate meals with them, and observed how they interacted with their families and their families with them. By the end of that week I had the answer to a question that had been bugging me all of my life —what do you want to be when you grow up? There had always been doubts, like deep down, I should already know the answer and OMG what if I make the wrong choice? I wanted to be free; I wanted the freedom that’s offered in Step Three, free to be what God intended me to be. And I’m grateful that God has given me a way to get there—the 12 steps of Alanon. When I got to Alanon they told me I had to quit pronouncing, or labeling other people alcoholics. I was good at it, I really am, and sometimes at a school where I worked a parent was concerned about their child being alcoholic they would have me meet with them. As a matter of fact I’d been in the program four or five years and I was a single mother raising a couple of kids and my best friend in the program was a single mother too and we needed a little extra cash. We decided to follow our heart and do what we are really good at and the money would come. She and I thought about it and well—the thing we were best at was identifying alcoholics. So we decided to open a new business and call it “Drunk Busters.” Here was the deal, if you loved somebody, for a very small fee we would interview him or her and make the call and if we thought they were alcoholic they should go to an A.A. meeting and take out a beginner chip. We thought it was a grand idea, but our sponsors nixed the idea and instead said we had to stop pronouncing other people alcoholics. They said, however, if somebody looks like a duck, swims like a duck and acts like a duck then treat them like a duck, but stop diagnosing them. If it gets too quiet, I encourage quacking; I won’t shut up a quacker. I’ve been around quacking my whole life and I adore alcoholics. What’s the point in other people and I don’t like so-called normal guys. I don’t feel comfortable in my skin if I don’t hear any quacking. The only requirement for membership in Alanon is that alcoholism exists in a relative or friend and it does not say that person has to admit they are alcoholic. All it says is that my panties are in a wad because of an alcoholic. I’m the oldest of nine children, my parent’s quack and most of my siblings quack. I was married to a quacker for nine years and I am the mother of a quacker and quacking is what’s normal to me.

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