On seven week nights, groups of 30 or more local residents gather to discuss their common problem — their inability to cope with a deadly allergy. Alcoholism.
And make no bones about it, this far too often turns into a fatal illness because an illness is just what it is.
These victims must face three pertinent ideas of Alcoholics Anonymous.
• “We were alcoholic and could not manage our lives.”
• “Probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism” and
• “That God could and would if He were sought.”
New members must face their addiction and realize they were born with this weakness. The sincere desire to stop drinking must precede that first step toward total sobriety. A spokesman for one of the seven Wilmington branches cited “AA Unity” as members provide mutual support.
The plate is passed for contributions which purchase the mandatory coffee, cookies and pay the rent of the building where they meet. The coordinator-spokesman said, “I was a hopeless case — a total drunk.Then my wife and I decided that after trying everything else, AA was the last resort. I came here from out of town one night a week in an attempt to get dried out. That was in 2005 and for most of that time I have been dry. The idea of taking a drink now is a thing of the past. It has made a complete change in my life.”
“Now I can hold my head high,” he enthused. “Everyone is welcome at these hour-long meetings as AA tries to find a power greater than ourselves.”
The Wilmington branch was opened in 1959 and today AA has proven its effectiveness throughout the United States, Canada and in many foreign countries. There are no racial. religious, racial or economic requirements. Famous actors, television personalities, athletes and political leaders as well as convicts and social derelicts have attended the meetings. A prayer always opens each AA meeting. The door is always open to the AA member who falls along the way to sobriety.
Does AA work?
“You bet it does,” came the snappy reply from the coordinator. For those who attend the meetings regularly, 75 percent kick the habit for good. But if the alcoholic doesn’t want to kick it, AA is not for him.
When asked why AA does not assess dues on its members, the coordinator replied, “We’ve already paid the price.”
An old proverb is found on the first page of the AA’s monthly publication, “The Grapevine” expresses the ideal to which all AAs subscribe. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
It exists in the form of group therapy. Members talk out their problems probing the causes of their addiction. It attempts to straighten the tangled, miserable lives of the “lush” or the “out of control drinker” who realizes where he or she is headed and through introspection or advice from a minister, pastor or friend attend the first meeting.
The AA policy goes on to state, “We cannot give AA membership to nonalcoholic addicts. But like anyone else they should be able to attend open AA meetings, provided, of course. that the group themselves are willing.”
Many members have been hospitalized numerous times for “defecting” and taking that one drink that is transformed into nine or 10 or 100. Others have awakened in the drunk tank of the city jail. Walking inevitably, hand in hand, with this situation is a plummeting reputation followed in rapid order by the departure of friends and family members and a pink slip from the boss.
There is no way this can be rationalized. Now the drinking starts with a vengeance.
“This is what AA tries to avoid,” the local AA spokesman concluded.
source: Wilmington News Journal
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