Monday, June 2, 2008

How's Your Immune System?

Imagine if there were a magic pill - an efficacious medicine that would produce instant immunity from the insanity that begins the vicious cycle of obsession and craving - that we know today as alcoholism? How cool would that be?

There is no such thing - yet immunity is not only possible but within the experience of millions of people who have discovered the common solution to their common problem.

"Immunity" is such a beautiful word when it's attributed to drinking alcohol. Did you know that many of us alcoholics become immune to it? That’s right. It can’t get us anymore. We are placed in a position of neutrality, safe and protected.

We get to this place through a spiritual awakening -- when the desire to drink is entirely removed. We stay there by continuing our spiritual growth.

Growth and immunity comes from working with others - by helping them achieve a spiritual awakening though the practice and teaching of the Twelve Steps. Not from prayer. Not from meditation. Not from reading spiritual books and agreeing with them. Not from AA meetings. These are great and wonderful things we do when we become practitioners of AAs Twelve Steps - they are essential preparatory activities but there is nothing that contributes more to spiritual growth that when we are actually engaging in the things for which we were created - to be of maximum service to God and our fellows.

I know many of us would like to think that we can pray and meditate and wish and will and read and meet and "share" our way toward spiritual perfection -- especially when we don’t actually do the things that do promise spiritual growth. Meditation for example - I would no sooner give up my all important meditation time with my Creator than I would cut off my right hand - please don’t get me wrong. But the learning time I spend in meditation with God has to be put to good use - not coveted and extolled for my own self-veneration.

Modern science has given us many types of 'immunities' these days. There is adaptive, innate, artificial, natural and a host of other types. I am sure Bill and the boys had in mind what any layman would - some simple and in common usgae. So let's look at an old 1938 definition since that was their time. Let's be on their page.

Immunity - Freedom from obligation. Exemption from natural, ordinary liabilities, evil or misfortunes. 2, special privileged 3. Condition of not being susceptible to a given disease, with naturally or by inoculating against it.

WOW - First word: FREEDOM.

Today with our accelerated knowledge and advances in science and medicine it is only natural that the first and most prominent definition of the word immunity would have to do with pathological disease.

Not so seventy years ago at the time of the founding of the Fellowship, Alcoholics Anonymous. Back then immunity meant a kind of ‘freedom’ and we all know - or should know - what the AA definition of sobriety is: “Freedom from alcohol.”

Should we be free anger? Yes. Enjoy freedom from self-will? Of course. But being SOBER primarily is being free from the tyranny of King Alcohol -- immunity from his iron fisted and cruel rule which demands that we drink. Please do not mistake this as immunity to alcohol - we are NEVER immune to its effect. We ARE immune from the obsession to drink it - despite its horrific effect.

The effect of which I speak is one that only alcoholic experience. Heavy, hard drinking alcohol abusers who are not real alcoholics do not experience the alcoholic experience.

If you take exception with my experience as an alcoholic who has become immune to drinking alcohol - please notice something important. I did not say that I had become immune to alcohol. I did say that I had become immune to drinking. There is a big distinction and I have no lurking notion in my head to the contrary.

If I ingest any alcohol whatever in to my system I WILL experience the abnormal physical reaction of ‘craving’. That part of the illness I don’t believe has been repaired in me. I don't know of anyone for whom this is so. Once a pickle -- always a pickle, you know. What I know has been repaired is the mental obsession part of the malady - the insanity - the lunacy if you will, of taking that first drink - not being able to bring into my consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago - being without defense against the first drink.

What I have experienced as a practitioner of the Twelve Steps is that whereas once I was powerless over alcohol - I now have so much freakin' power over it that I cannot even contain it. This is an entirely different experince than many folks are having in recovery. My experience is much more akin to the ones we read about in "Alcoholics Anonymous' - but it is my experience never-the-less.

My only choice is to give some of that power away - to pass it on - by helping others get what I have by doing showing them what I do to stay recovered from alcoholism. The only way to do that, as prescribed by the co-authors of "Alcoholics Anonymous" is to search out still puking drunks and get them to God as fast as they can get there. It is a race and when the next first-drink wins out, people suffer. Many die.

Peace & Love,

Danny S

No comments: