Good new kids!
You can drink and drug until you’re in your 40’s, and run around and be crazy, and even neglect your children. Then, when you start feeling tired and old, just go to AA. Discover you have a disease, have a spiritual awakening, seek forgiveness from everyone you hurt, meet a good man there (don’t forget the 13th step!), and all is well again. It’s a great life!
Again today we heard this inspiring message at the Old-Timer’s meeting. Our distinguished speaker was a 60 y/o woman with a stage presence much younger than her years. Now she is an accomplished health professional with a loving family, but you wouldn’t expect that based on her childhood experience: there was a lot of violence in the home, and dad was super abusive. The girl was a nervous wreck most of the time, but also a born rebel, fighter, and self-proclaimed ‘purebred liar’. This is a dangerous mix — so when she discovered alcohol, and it was like she felt ‘OK’ for the first time in her life — it was off to the races. Thus began a wild childhood of running the Hollywood streets, having fun and going crazy. It was one big party and mom and dad were nowhere to be found. The kids had the run of the house. Big bro was a pyro who dealt drugs from his bedroom. She was expelled from school for selling drugs. She was just being stupid — she didn’t know this was wrong, and how could she?
But she had a great childhood doing the club circuit, and there were hot boys and travelling up and down the coast, and 60’s hippie communes, and everything was going great. She got married to a man who suggested ‘quaaludes and alcohol’ for the first date (love at first sight), and they had 2 kids together. But she was still at the time admittedly “very selfish” — it was all about her even when it wasn’t. She doesn’t remember the children growing up, and her husband left her to be on his own. She was still more interested in the drugs and drinking. She went to a few AA meetings, but they just didn’t make sense to her. The 12 steps thing was really weird, and plus they never talked about drugs, only alcohol; whereas she was doing both. The people were old and didn’t understand her. I guess in the 80’s people didn’t have drug problems. Anyway, she wasn’t interested — but she does remember they were a happy group. (Mental note.)
Finally in her mid-40’s she decided she’d had enough. She had recently graduated from school in the health professions, but otherwise she was ‘done’, and alone, and no more favors from anyone. The boys at the bar were not as interested as they used to be, but she was still ‘hot to trot’. It was time for a change — perhaps time to get sober? She went to AA again, and this time it made more sense. The first step: “I am powerless over alcohol.” What a relief! All this time she thought it might have been her selfishness or mendacity, but really it was that evil bottle of alcohol that kept draining itself down her throat that made her and her family so miserable and drove everyone away. She accepted God into her life. She met her future husband. One memorable speaker talked about doing drugs as well as alcohol. She could identify: you didn’t have to be just alcoholic to go to AA. She broke down in tears — finally she found a place where she belonged. Yes, she would have to give up her beloved pills and alcohol. But she was ready. It was time. Demons be gone!
Now she has almost 2 decades sober. She has gone through different periods with her new-found religion, including the evangelical period and the super spiritual guru. But now she’s just a traditional hard-nosed stepper with sponsees of her own. And she still makes time to teach the new generation of drug addicts that sobriety only works when you are good and ready.
Until then, just remember that you have a disease that is not your fault. So get out there and have fun!