Health & Exercise


This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Scott’s story: Once I rearrange my life to include plenty of alcohol my flight from reality began. As unlikely as this scenario must seem to people who are not alcoholic, plenty of alcohol for the alcoholic causes a total soul sickness. And until our soul sickness is addressed, no amount of physical exercise, education, psychiatric treatment, or trips to detoxification centers can restore us to sanity-we simply cannot get better. Wife or no wife, job or no job, money or no money without help from a mysterious Higher Power who saves chronic alcoholics–we are doomed. Shortly after I surrendered to alcohol, I met my wife who is a remarkable woman, beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, and generous. If somebody would have written down my life story and ask her if she could live with a person like that her answer would’ve been no, but when it was spread out over years clouded by a successful book, money, bouquets of flowers, grand intentions, chronic success and the promise that I would quit drinking alcohol forever–I fooled her. When I said, “I’ll never drink alcohol again,” I meant it, but whenever I got near alcohol my promises vanished–they became lies. My soul sickness caused her to be sick too–we became sick together. We had two children who also became terribly sick because of my untreated alcoholism.  
Fear should be classified as stealing and our lives became shot-thru with it—it destroyed the fabric of our souls. Nothing ever ended up the way it should for our family, the promises I made never came true and the rug was constantly being pulled from under them. When dad’s living in a psychological Disney World nothing good happens and when I did come home, I looked terrible—like somebody was using me for a ghastly medical experiment. One night, I opened a bottle of wine, poured the whole thing into a glass and then noticed my wife watching me. She asked, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m having a glass of wine, can’t a man have a glass of wine in his own home?” My wife noticed my accelerated heart beat when I hugged her and she quietly said, “You disgust me.” I didn’t argue because it was true and I was disgusted with myself, but I just didn’t get it. I was not able to see the connection between alcohol abuse and our family’s problems. Sometime after the money was gone, our landlord offered to lie for me if we would move out. He said, “I will gladly write, or say anything you want me to if you will just please move out.”  
I was seeing a Jungian psychiatrist at the time and I mention this because Jung was part of another chronic alcoholic’s story—one that helped AA’s co-founder Bill Wilson. Rowland Hazard was seeing Carl Jung and after Rowland relapsed again, Jung told him there was nothing more he could do for him but he could tell him his correct diagnosis. Jung said, “You have a spiritual malady and therefore it requires a spiritual solution which is outside of my profession.             
Although I swore I’d never do it again, I stuck another needle in my arm. I called my Jungian psychiatrist but he told me the same thing Jung told Rowland, “There’s nothing more that I can do for you.” I said, “What are you talking about?” He repeated himself, “There is nothing more I can do for you.” Thank God he didn’t say, “What you need is medication to restore your chemical balance” because if he had, I would probably be dead. Instead, he said, “Go to Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous because they know about spiritual awakenings and the actions and steps required to have one, but they’re your only hope.” To be continued…
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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