The disease of alcoholism and addiction shows up in our lives in the form of a voice in our heads. That voice is like a channel of discouragement that is hard to totally eliminate. The addictive voice doesn’t have to make any sense to be effective. Because it has been there so long, and because its messages are so consistently depressing, we come to accept it, just because it wears us down.
Our national drug policies are being set, and re-set recently on the basis of popular opinion, rather than on the basis of risk of addiction or risk of death. There is no national drug policy, just a confusing and contradictory set of policies that are constantly changing, as those who want to cut the death rate are in conflict with those who want to make addictive drugs more available. There is very little science, and lots of politics.
The Presidential campaign this year may appear to be uniquely trashy. It isn’t that unusual, set against the full sweep of American history. The 1884 campaign of the Democratic President Grover Cleveland against the Republican James G. Blaine was trashier. Blaine was accused of profiting from sales of railroad bonds and Cleveland was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock. Crowds at campaign rallies shouted down each candidate: “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the State of Maine” and “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa? Gone to the White House, ha! Ha! Ha!” Ugly politics is nothing new.
On July 18th, I received my 27 year AA medallion at the Summit Hill AA meeting in Saint Paul. It’s a big meeting, about 150 people, but I’ve been there most Monday nights since moving to Saint Paul in 2004. Staying sober over the long term is mostly a matter of relapse prevention, because for us, relapse is natural.
My sobriety date is July 4, 1989. I planned it that way. It became clear that I needed to get sober, but I was taking a lot of drug as well as drinking a lot, and detox was difficult, at age 40. I chose to detox myself, gradually, over a period of six weeks. The timing worked out to July third, but I stretched it a bit, because I thought that the Fourth of July, Independence Day, would make a better sobriety anniversary.