Health & Exercise


This week’s HTYH is the beginning of Scott’s story: My sponsor, meetings, the Big Book, the steps and people I sponsor provide me with gratitude and serenity and every thing else I need for today. When my sponsor arrived at the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous, he was looking for a way to slash his throat below his necktie so he could still look good at the funeral. A man I sponsor was a homeless skid-row bum, but today he is on the NY City Marathon Committee and is responsible for this year’s marathon route that goes thru his former stomping grounds. AA works if you work it, it really does. How did we wind up here? If you’re new to AA you’re probably confused and wondering how you got here? This is the land of the lame; practicing alcoholics are lamer than almost anybody on the planet. The first thing I heard was that I was so sick that no human power could help me—we were where no human power could help us.

Polite society proclaims, “Don’t hit a man while he’s down,” but AA says “hit them while they’re down.” When people are lower than a bug’s belly, they’re more willing to seek a solution than when they still have money, a nice home and a family. We encourage people who are not ready for sobriety to do some “controlled drinking,” and let us know how it works out. If they’re real, page 25, alcoholics, King Alcohol will beat them into submission and they’ll become more willing to follow a few simple AA suggestions. King Alcohol should wear a “T” shirt that proclaims, “The beatings shall continue until you surrender!”

I was born and raised to an insane family who lived in the Bronx—I didn’t need God complicating my life—I could do it on my own. My wife didn’t believe the stories about my family until she met them–my aunt wore a wig backwards with a butt where her face should be. Anything free that my family had was stolen. My grandmother was suicidal and we kept a close watch on her whenever she was in the bathroom. Most of my family frequented mental institutions like bars, but that’s not what made me an alcoholic/addict. Lots of people have strange, mentally challenged families but they don’t drink alcohol and shoot heroine–I did. If you’re a drug addict sitting in Alcoholics Anonymous for the first time, keep coming back, you might catch alcoholism like I did. I didn’t believe that I was an alcoholic, but after I heard the AA people’s stories, they were like me and I suddenly understood that I was exactly like them—the Big Book is about me—I must have caught alcoholism in AA because I certainly didn’t think I was an alcoholic.

I believed that I was a dope-fiend, writer and a director but certainly not an alcoholic. Of course I didn’t know it—I was in denial. I drank alcohol because I couldn’t face being a dope-fiend and I shot dope because I couldn’t face being an alcoholic. I conquered pills with marijuana and conquered marijuana with cocaine and cocaine was good for sex–if you enjoy sex from the Neolithic period. Cocaine helps a person’s sincerity and, of course, their budget too—cocaine abuse eventually transforms people into pathetic, bankrupt, liars and alcoholism transforms them into liars, cheats and thieves.

If you’re new to AA and you’re suffering from alcoholism you’re in luck because AA specializes in people like you. AA has a simple solution for alcoholism, and there’s no dues, fees, or rules except a desire to stop drinking, and there’s no leaders except a God of their understanding as He may manifest Himself in their group’s conscience. AA’s only enforcers are booze and dope, alcoholics either surrender to the principles of AA, or they are eventually murdered by their self-will with its insatiable obsession and burning desire for more—more of everything. AA specializes in the treatment of alcoholism and is not supposed to be for all the other mind-altering substances, but I nearly died in psychotherapy before I finally found AA. I was on my way to being a well-analyzed corpse. I did great in drug therapy while I was dying from untreated alcoholism. Our Big Book says if you need professional help get it, but I would suggest you should choose a therapist who is a recovering alcoholic, or at the least, one who thoroughly understands Alcoholics Anonymous.

Therapy is great for a lot of mental quirks, foibles and etc., but not for treating chronic alcohol and drug addiction and unless your therapists are active members of AA they will not have a clue about what you’re feeling or experiencing. It’s sort of like going to a doctor with a broken leg and he says, “Hmmmm I’ve never seen a broken bone before?” At an AA meeting, the regular members will understand how you feel and know what you’re experiencing, they will say, “yes, we’ve been there and done that, we know that feeling because we’ve had that same experiene. All that it costs is some of your ego, even a piece the size of a mustard seed.

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