This week’s HTYH is a continuation of a medical doctor’s story: When I first met Casey, my second wife, we went on one date and moved in together—for 33 years now, we’ve never been apart. We took care of our aging parents together, we drank together and all was wonderful until I got so sick from my alcohol abuse that I had to go away for treatment. After I returned, I stopped drinking alcohol altogether and she stopped drinking too. I joined Alcoholics Anonymous and she joined Alanon. We’ve traveled this path together ever since and she’s just as involved with the women in Alanon as I am with the men in AA.
For the first 6 years of our relationship, I kept Casey on my hip–she was my doll. Everywhere that I went–she went too. Everything I said, she affirmed. It was a perfect relationship—for me. She was, of course, happy too, at least, in a materia Al sense. Every spring, I bought her a totally new wardrobe and every two years I bought her a new car but I never bothered to ask what kind of car she wanted. I just sent things to her and 4 or 5 times a year we went on incredible vacations, but never once did I ask where she wanted to go. It was a wonderful relationship for me because I was in control of everything. I put Casey up on a pedestal all by herself, but the invisible hook required her to make me feel special like my mama did. My Mama patted my butt, parted my hair and made me feel like I was the king baby. That was the unwritten deal between me and the women in a relationship with me, I’d give them the moon, but in return, I expected them to make me feel like the king baby—like mama did.
It was chauvinism to the last degree, but during the 1950s, that was the way it was, at least that’s how it was in my world. Most men in the 1950s believed women belonged in the kitchen, the bedroom, or in church. It was pure male chauvinism even though the 1950s men didn’t think so. Things started to change when Casey joined AA and asked one of my women heroes to become her sponsor. Casey’s sponsor said to her, “I love Burns, but there’s more to life than him, isn’t there a career, or a profession you’d like to pursue?” Casey said, “Yes, I always wanted to be a therapist.” Her sponsor said, “OK, why not go back to school and get the necessary education to become one?” Casey came to me and said, “Burns, I want to go back to college.” I said, “Casey, that’s a great idea, it would be a wonderful experience for you,” and with my blessing she enrolled at the University of Louisville to become a therapist.
About a month later, I stopped feeling happy for her and became really ticked off about that whole idea. I found myself with a terrific resentment, but since I was only practicing the first 3 steps there was no way for me to deal with it. I went to my sponsor and said, “Jim, I’m feeling intense anger at Casey.” He said, “Pray about it,” but my anger would not leave by prayer alone. There are other actions in Steps 4 & 5 that we must do immediately after praying, in order to deal with fear, resentment and insecurity.
Casey is an extremely good-looking, sexy woman who is 13 years younger than me and she had surrounded herself by young, good-looking, men. I feared one of them was going to steal my woman, or drag her off in the bushes and rape her. My first sponsor had me walking like the elephants that walk trunk to tail, but we only worked those first three steps and I didn’t know anything different. Although, I was grateful to be sober, I was nevertheless in serious trouble and at risk.
To be continued.