If it’s a rumour, I hope someone will step up and make it true. Personally, I’ve never had a drink of alcohol, with one exception, as it is a law of my Faith to avoid mind-altering substances.
The exception was when a date filled my ginger ale glass with gin. I took a throat burning, choking slug, as he laughed. That was his last laugh in my presence.
The Cook Islands has the sad distinction of being the binge-drinking capital of the world. A mama at one of the rugby games talked about the lack of practice of the local team. She said, “They practice all right. They practice drinking.”
Many families here suffer from the effects of excessive alcohol in the form of domestic violence and child neglect. Paradise could use some deep healing.
AA is one of the most successful recovery programs in the world, whatever the addiction or compulsion, from gambling to sex addiction, overeating to codependence, which is the tendency to enmesh with others, allowing them to abuse us, and enabling their misbehaviors. We all have something to heal. So, AA and its 12 Steps can benefit all of us.
I have found the 12 Steps powerfully liberating, and each is based on virtues:
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable. Once we face ourselves honestly, recovery begins.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. This requires humility. People focus on whatever higher power fits for them.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God. This requires the rare virtue of surrender.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. This step requires courageous self-examination. We identify areas of past regret, embarrassment, guilt or anger.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. With deep truthfulness, we confess our past poor behaviour.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. With trust and faith, we prepare to have our higher power remove our wrongs.
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. Every person has character defects, whether they come in the form of impatience, anger, apathy, criticism or negativity.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. With accountability, we write down every wrong, from stealing to backbiting.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. With courage, humility and tact, we write them a letter or speak face to face.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. This step involves commitment to monitor ourselves for any behaviour that may be harmful to us or others and to clear it up immediately.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Step 10 requires commitment to some kind of spiritual practice. That practice includes prayer, meditation, or reading scripture.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The AA prayer says it all. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”