This week’s “Here’s To Your Health,” is a continued story titled “Me An Alcoholic?” Today we begin with…”After my last binge I came home and smashed my dining room furniture to splinters, kicked out six windows and two balustrades. When I woke up, my handiwork confronted me. It’s impossible to tell of my despair, I can only list a few of its elements.”
I’d had absolute faith in science, “Knowledge is power.” Now I had to face the fact that knowledge of this sort, as applied to me, was not power. Science took my mind apart, but it couldn’t put it together again. I crawled back to my analyst, not so much because I had faith in him, but because I had nowhere else to turn.
After talking with him for a time I heard myself saying, “Doc, I think I’m an alcoholic.” “Yes,” he said, “you are.” Then why in God’s name haven’t you told me so, during all these years?” “Two reasons he said, “First, I couldn’t be sure. The line between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic is not always clear. It wasn’t until just lately that, in your case, I could draw it. Second, you wouldn’t have believed me even if I told you.”
I had to admit to myself he was right. Only through being beaten down by my own misery would I ever have accepted the term, “alcoholic” as applied to myself. Now, I accepted it fully. I knew alcoholism was irreversible and fatal, and somewhere along the line, I’d lost the power to stop drinking. “Well, Doc,” I said, “What are we going to do?”
“There’s nothing I can do,” he said, “and nothing medicine can do. However, I’ve heard of an organization called Alcoholics Anonymous that has had some success with people like you.” They make no guarantees, and they are not always successful. But if you want to, you’re free to try them. It might work?”
Many times in the intervening years I have thanked God for that man, who had the courage to admit failure. I looked up an AA meeting and went there and I found an ingredient that had been lacking in any other effort to save myself. Here was power! Power to live each day, power to face the next day, power to have friends, power to help people, power to be sane, and the power to stay sober. That was seven years ago –and many AA meetings ago-and I haven’t had a drink during those years. Moreover, I am deeply convinced that so long as I continue to strive toward the principles I first encountered in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, that remarkable power will continue to flow through me. What is this power? With my AA friends, all I can say is that it’s a power greater than myself. If pressed further, all I can do is follow the psalmist who wrote: “Be still, and know that I am God.” My story has a happy ending, but not the conventional kind, because I had more hell to go through.
But what a difference between going through hell without a power greater than one’s self, and with it! As might have been predicted, my teetering tower of worldly success collapsed. My alcoholic associates fired me, and ran the business into bankruptcy. My wife took up with someone else, and took my remaining property. Perhaps there was a flicker of decency that shone through the fog of my drinking, maybe a clumsy affection for my children, but then one night when my son was sixteen he was tragically killed. The Higher Power was there to see me through, sober. I think He’s on hand to see all of us through whatever may come to us…Anonymous