Dear alcohol specialists, therapists, counsellors, and the rest of y’all trying to help us.
Belle Robertson

I agree with your sentiments, sort of.

I’m 23 years sober.

Of the three sample responses you gave to somebody seeking help, I like your response the best. It is how I would talk to somebody.

But the thing is, the world is not about you. It’s not about me, either.

When I hear somebody raging about how somebody else talks, and their message, and they’ve got it all wrong, I wonder, “Does that raging person think that the world is about them?”

Because while messages you don’t like may be wrong for you, they may be exactly what somebody else needs to hear.

When somebody speaks to a room with 30 alcoholics, I think, “Maybe 5 people are really connecting with this, maybe 10 more people are interested, and maybe 15 don’t care.” I could be in any one of those groups, depending on who is speaking. But if I’m in the “don’t care” group, I don’t begrudge the message getting out to somebody who really needs to hear it.

People are different.

That applies not only to A.A., but to life. Mr. K’s teaching style might really grate on my nerves. He’s clearly an idiot, his jokes are juvenile, and nobody learns a damn thing in his class. But wait a minute, what’s that? It looks like some other students are really into the class. The world is not about me.

If you asked for help and you don’t like the message, that’s on you. If you didn’t ask for the help, then find a way to leave the interaction, and at least be respectful of someone who doesn’t have the intention to hurt you, even if their attempts at help are awkward and bothersome.

No, A.A. is not the only game in town. But A.A. saved my life. I don’t go to many meetings anymore. I know there are issues with A.A. But I’m not sure what else works. I know many, many people who have achieved double-digit sobriety through A.A. I don’t know anybody who has achieved double-digit sobriety in any other way. There are people out there, but I don’t know them. There isn’t a large enough number to be a critical mass, that I can find them wherever I go. And why bother? I know A.A. works.

I was a pretty low-bottom drunk when I stopped drinking. A.A. works well for people like me. I wasn’t asking a lot of questions. Stopping drinking wasn’t a lifestyle choice for me. Nobody intervened. Nobody rescued me when I found myself with a single change of old clothes, no home, no money, and no friends in a city far from anybody I knew. I was like, “Help!”

I found a group of people who appeared to have solved the problem I had. They told me what they did. I went with it.

If somebody asks me what works, that’s what I tell them. It’s the only message I have. If it’s the wrong message for that person, oh well. I’m not upset that they need to hear something different. Go find it.

I wish you the best. It’s a long road. Lots of twists and turns. Peace.

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