Health & Exercise


This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Scott’s story:  My life was running between my fingers like sand and I knew it—I would soon be dead. I welcomed prison—sober in prison is better than dying homeless on the street. At least, in prison most of the people are alcoholics and addicts and I can relate to them. Finally, after everything was lost, I got drunk and stuck a needle in my arm. My Jungian therapist said, “There’s absolutely nothing more that I can do for you!” I was shocked that he had given up on me, but he suggested Alcoholics Anonymous, or some other 12-step program–there were no options left for me. For some mysterious reason, I chose an AA meeting and showed up there with a bad check and offered to pee in a cup and get started. I expected to see people wearing their underwear on the outside of their trousers with veins standing out in their necks like fire hoses, but they didn’t want my money, nor did they require me to pee in a cup–they looked like ordinary people.  I was shaking like a dog passing peach seeds and they gave me a half a cup of coffee so I wouldn’t spill it and invited me to take a seat.
Like most new people, I normally had a plan. If you’re new to the AA program you probably have a plan too and after the meeting please share it with us so we can compare it to ours, but this time, I was completely out of plans. I tried to impress on the AA’s that I was a super nice guy who was having a bad run of luck, but nevertheless, still a great intellect. When the AA’s talked to me, I’d grin and nod my head yes, but secretly, I wished their heads would burst into flames. I was, after all, a genius and they were idiots—what could they possibly tell me? It was plain to see by the looks on their faces that they had no idea how important I was, or how miserable I felt because I had to sit in AA meetings with bottom feeders like them.  I went to meetings for about three months and sort of worked the first two steps. Yes, I admitted that I was perhaps powerless over alcohol and that my life had sort of become unmanageable, but I didn’t actually believe that I was as sick as them. Their book said that after step 2, I should do step 3, but I didn’t think that pertained to me—I could do it on my own.
I believed two steps should be enough to keep a smart guy like me sober and furthermore, I didn’t need to attend anymore of their stinking meetings. After all, I had admitted that I was powerless over alcohol, my life was a mess and that I was dying, what more did they want from me?  I wondered why I didn’t feel any better, but eventually, I learned the hard way that I needed to work all 12 of the steps and attend their meetings.
Step 2 said: A power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, but it didn’t say that it would if I stopped at step 2.  
Step 3: Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God–as I understood Him. Well, I couldn’t do that step because I didn’t understand it. What did they mean by turning my “will” and my “life” over to the care of God? I was far too intelligent to ask, or admit that I didn’t know, but after I crawled back through the doors of AA again, I swallowed my false pride and asked. They said that my will is my “thinking” and my life is my “daily actions.” My thinking they said could not change unless my daily actions changed to those on pages 86, 87 & 88 of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. If however, I became willing to surrender to different daily actions, get a sponsor, work the steps and attend meetings–my thinking would eventually change. They said, I could not continue doing my old actions and expect different results. 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