06 April 2011

The Twelfth Step... By the Grace of God

Step 12 of AA says, "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."

The twelfth step, in my opinion, is probably one of the hardest steps to constantly practice. When you read what it takes to accomplish the step it may seem easy but it really isn't. As an alcoholic I walk a fine line between being an example and speaking from experience, without sounding like I'm preaching.

An alcoholic doesn't want to be preached to, whether it takes place one-on-one or at an AA meeting. They may not know it at the time but they want to listen. They want to put down their walls of denial and listen to how sobriety can be obtained.

Personally, I don't even try with the active alcoholic. They're not ready to listen and I know first hand how easy it is to be taken into the manipulative games of alcoholics and their families. While I may not try and help the active drunk, I still like listening to them and observing them. An old AA saying goes, "By the Grace of God, there go I." I can watch a drunk and see myself years ago - being that person.

I can observe the disgust of their family and how they embarrass themselves. It is through their insanity that my sobriety becomes stronger.

Toward the end of my insanity I was drinking from the moment I awoke till the last minute before I passed out. What happened in between? I really don't know. A lot of blackouts and a lot of nightmares. On my 6'4" frame I had shrunk to 145 pounds. I was living entirely on a liquid diet.

Alcohol had total control over my life. There was no escape. All I thought about every waking moment was where my next drink would come from. I look back at this insanity and see it in others. I witnessed a young man fresh out of rehab and closing in on being six months sober, go back to partying. It didn't take long for him to lose his family and his friends.

I watched a young lady move out of her home as soon as she turned 18 and had her first taste of freedom. Within a year she had a car crash, a DUI, and a life long scar on the side of her face. Till this day she lives in denial that there is a problem. Her husband hooked on crank abuses her, yet she stands by his side. She has no self-worth and views her marriage as a statement of success.

The saddest part of all is their child. Actually, her child. A son whose dad is not part of their life. Another reason for this lady to stay married - the image. Anyway this child recently turned three years old and his growth is that of a one year old. Short and thin. Undernourished and unloved. Not getting that human touch to help him develop he has stagnated into a life of being alone. Being alone at three years old. The mom clinging to her husband, while the husband clings to his addiction.

Cunning and baffling alcoholism kills. Not just physically, but in the stories of these two young adults, it also kills mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

These young people know me and they know my story. My 12th step to them is the life I live today. That sobriety can be a happy life with its just rewards.

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