Health & Exercise


This week’s HTYH is a continuation of an Alanon lady’s story: What brought me to the Alanon program was the first part of the first step. I was powerless over my husband and his alcoholism. What has kept me in Alanon is the second part of step one: my life had become unmanageable. Alanon and A.A. are not programs for people who need it; our world is full of people who need it, the surly waitress, the grouch, the arrogant executive, the control freak, the rude driver and others with crappy attitudes. And the program is not necessarily for those who want it. Many new people come and say, “Gosh people in A.A. and Alanon say such wise things and they’re so full of wisdom, I want what they have. That is, until they get to Step Three and then they tell us we’re full of crap. They want to skip right over step three: We made a decision to turn our life, and our will, over to the care of God, as we understood him. They want to get by with just doing step one, step two and then go directly to step 12. That’s called the Alanon Waltz: We know the problem; we know the answer; let us tell you about it. All the steps and stuff in the middle are not that important so why worry about it?

We tell new people that if they are willing to work Step Three and surrender to this principle their lives will change. They are aghast, they say things like, “Who me, you don’t really think I need to change my life do you? You’re asking me to change? There’s nothing wrong with my life it’s almost perfect the way it is. Which brings up the next question, “If your life is so perfect what are you doing here?” But they insist that their life is not that bad it’s their spouse, son, daughter, mother, father or anybody other than them that’s causing the problem. And even if they’re willing to turn the unmanageable part of their lives over to God they nevertheless maintain a death grip on the rest of it–God wants the whole enchilada. Beginners say, “Ok God, you can have the bad stuff in my life, but I’ll keep control of my money, sex relations, and power over my family and etc. They’re up to their ears in crap, but when we tell them they don’t have to live like that anymore they insist, Oh, No, it’s not that bad. This is but yet another “fear-based” excuse for not wanting to change what’s killing us. Step Three takes faith and other people in the program, especially our sponsors will help us with that if we will but let them. We no longer have to face this fear alone.

We laugh a lot in A.A. and Alanon but while a person is still suffering nothing is funny and our laughter drives some people off. We must, if we want to get better, hang around meetings long enough for the miracle to happen but when you hear us laughing, it’s a sign that our wounds are healing. Love and laughter are the two greatest healers and both are readily available in the A.A. and Alanon programs. But no matter what, we must keep the focus on us and on our recovery—not on others. We want to fix the alcoholic who’s driving us nuts but we’re totally powerless over them. We whine that our significant other is pushing our buttons…Hello–who’s responsible for allowing them to be pushed? Everybody wants to play the blame game and point a finger at other people, but practically nobody wants to take a good honest look at his or her part in the problem. If we do sit down with our sponsors and get honest about who’s at fault then we are faced with the ugly fact that it is our job to cleanup our mess and our side of the street, or worse we might even have to change…

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