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.