I was all ready to write about Step Three this week because it is one of my favorites and I felt so inspired after my Monday meeting having heard so many thought-provoking shares. But something more timely came to my attention and I really wanted to share it with all of you.
Do any of you remember the movie “Sleeper” with Woody Allen? For those of you who are younger in years and have not, the basic premise is that Woody Allen is frozen and he wakes up years later. What I remember about the movie is that when he wakes, he finds that science has made these fantastic strides and had proven that chocolate and smoking are healthy and good for you. We laughed at the absurdity.
Today I have to wonder what is the purpose of some of the research done today and what kinds of messages are the results of research sending. One of the conclusions I have drawn is that I think that those of us who are alcoholics and/or addicts are far ahead of the average guy or gal in more ways than we may think. Without sounding righteous, we have learned very important lessons about alcohol and drugs that “normies” will never fully comprehend.
I’m going to start with an article that I saw online a couple of days ago. I can’t actually give you the link to the website because it isn’t something I am permitted to do in my articles but I will give you as much information as I can. It was in the Lifestyle section of MSN by David Granger and the title of the article is “Can 30 Days Without Drinking Make You Feel Better?” The subtitle is “Surprising answers from an excruciating experiment on alcohol-free sleep, cravings and happiness”.
For whatever reason this article made me crazy. I wish I could just give you the whole article but I’ll have to select “key” phrases like when you decide not to drink and you say to the bartender, “Club soda on ice, with a piece of lime.” “It’s a little embarrassing.” Embarrassing? Who the heck is this guy? He continues to go through how “difficult” it is not having a drink at 11:00 pm when you are watching TV; or the “times when having a drink would just make the situation better”. And to paraphrase, when you smell a drink and you are not drinking, you “realize the moment actually could be better”.
The author says that “Overall, the first eleven days are the worst” but then it does get better. There are some positives, he claims, for not drinking. “You have no trouble falling asleep…your mood is better; you feel more optimistic…at the end of a night, not to have to think about whether to drive home or not…you’re hungrier…and each of the positive effects gets a little more pronounced.” Bottom line to the article is that “the month teaches you that not drinking is an option. Just not an option that you will choose all that often.”
Perhaps this article bothered me because I don’t think he understands that the reasons he cited for drinking are, in fact, really reasons why many of us did drink and couldn’t stop. He may not be an alcoholic but he is drinking for the very same reasons; to relax, to fit in, to help sleep, etc. He calls 30 days of not drinking “excruciating”. I called it salvation. Mr. Garner states that “Without a drink in your hand, your doing nothing. You’re just sitting there. People will worry. With a drink at your side, though, you are doing something. You are having a drink.”
I’m grateful I don’t have to think that way anymore. I recognize that I felt that way at one time and the sad thing is, alcoholic or not, this is exactly the attitude of many people who drink. Pretty sad but perhaps a commentary on society today and what is a social norm.
So as I finished reading this article, the next is “Is Wine Good For Your Waistline?” Now I had just heard that on the news and basically it is this: “A new study finds women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol are less likely to gain a lot of excess weight through adulthood than non-drinkers.” This one really got me. They didn’t have to do a study that took time and money. All they had to do was go to the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous meeting place, interview a bunch of women who started drinking moderately and we would have told them, “yeah, I haven’t gained any weight and the more I drank the less weight I gained.” Who needs food when you can drink! Of course, add all of the latest research about the benefits of red wine and if moderate is beneficial, than more than moderate should be great and I should be as healthy as a horse! Of course, as each of these studies is published there usually is some sort of caveat that they are talking “only” about two-three drinks a day or whatever.
Lastly, and I only remember hearing this so I have no solid article behind these words, but the latest on marijuana is that it is harmful, addictive, and fries your brain (I know. Very unscientific). Well, ask the person sitting in AA or NA what got them in the room and many will tell you a combination of alcohol and weed. So what do we as alcoholic/addicts know that scientists in their infinite wisdom just can’t seem to understand?
So, my friends, this article is a bit tongue-in-cheek but it legitimately bothers me when something is printed that romances, promotes (even moderate use) and dignifies alcohol and/or drugs. Personally, I know where I stand and today with the grace of God I am sober. I hope if you are reading this, you can say the same about yourself. We can be grateful that when we do read about drugs and alcohol we are no longer part of the problem but helping those in need find the solution.