National reports estimate over 25 million Americans have a substance use disorder. This includes illicit drugs, prescription medications, and alcohol. In fact, when it comes to alcohol it is estimated that one in eight American adults have an alcohol problem.
On December 11, 1934, while under treatment at Towns Hospital for alcoholism, Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, experienced a profound and lasting spiritual experience. This intense and life-changing spiritual awakening left Bill with an overwhelming sense of well-being and freed him from his obsession and craving for alcohol. Bill said this about his “hot flash”, “I knew I was a free man”.
A definition of the word sponsor published at a time when the A.A. program was in its infancy states: “Sponsor - One who assumes, or one to whom is delegated, responsibility for some other person.” Webster, circa - 1936
At the beginning of April 2020, I’m writing this blog at home. I am on a leave of absence from The Retreat due to the Covid-19 virus. I’m not sick, but I’m in the ‘high risk group”. I’m 71 years old and have long term asthma that is easily activated. My wife, Priscilla, who almost never gets sick, may have had an incredibly short case of this disease. She ran a fever for less than a day, she was confused, had aches and pains, and slept. In one day, it was gone. She’s 81 years old.
One of the difficulties I have with staying sober is that I like to drink. I also like my drugs: Valium, Percodan, and other opiates, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates. For me, drinking and drugging is forever natural. Being clean and sober is forever unnatural. Even though my sobriety date is July 4, 1989, and I have been sober for 11,173 days, a day at a time, sobriety has never become natural for me. I rely on the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous and I do what it says to do.
Step One of Alcoholics Anonymous tells me that I am powerless over alcohol when I drink it. Step One of Al-Anon tells me that I am powerless over alcohol when other people drink it, or when other people want to drink it. Both treatment programs, and The Retreat (which is not a treatment program) are powerless over alcohol and addiction when the people in them want to drink.