This week’s “Here’s To Your Health,” is a continuation of Scott’s story: As a result of working the Tenth Step: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it,” sponsoring other people and following a few simple suggestions made by a loving sponsor, the companies I cooked for asked me to go into business with them. A couple of years into my sobriety a man was standing in line separating pocket lint from change trying to find enough money to buy a beer. I asked him, “How are you doing?” He blurted out, “You don’t know how I’m doing, you have no idea how I’m doing and you don’t care either, only the people in AA know how I’m doing.” I told him that I was an AA person and we started talking and exchanged phone numbers. The man called me later that night and said that he wanted to get detoxed. I called a guy with more time than me in AA and I went with him on my first 12 Step call. Instead of dumping the man off at the door of a hospital emergency room and leaving we stayed with him all the way up to their alcoholic ward. The man said, “I feel like I’m dying.” My friend said, “That’s because you are dying.” I thought to myself, what an insensitive thing to say to this poor guy. But, it was the truth because he had a lot of blood in his urine and the alcohol level in his blood was close to fatal. He felt like he was dying because that’s what dying feels like—he was feeling it. He wasn’t having a bad day he was dying.
I’m sure the drunks around him were saying that AA is a crutch for weak people, but that’s like telling diabetics insulin is for weak people–they’re dead without it. Chronic alcoholics and diabetics both suffer from a potentially fatal illness if its left untreated–without medication they’re dead. The only glimmer of hope for the majority of chronic alcoholics is the program of recovery offered by Alcoholics Anonymous. There are no dues or fees for AA membership and the medications are free of charge or co-payment—the 12 steps, the meetings, studying the Big Book, sponsorship and sobriety is absolutely free. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking and if you say you are a member—you are. Our leaders are but trusted servants and the only enforcers we have in AA are booze and drugs. No member of AA can cast any other member into outer darkness, and all members have the God given free will to separate themselves from AA if they so desire–many members do and many die. Most of them never intended to die, but that first drink, or drug led to the next until their obsession for more simply stopped their motor—they are murdered by self-will. We are powerless over alcohol, we were where no human power could help us, but God could and would if He was sought.
Sobriety must be worked for. Many alcoholics are lazy to the bone and the word “work,” frightens them away, but there’s no alternative other than insanity and death. Working the steps, going to meetings, reading the book, sponsoring others is work but after a period of time it becomes a labor of love and laughter—the two greatest healers for the human soul.