I love being a member of AA. Sitting in a room full of other shitheads who can’t drink worth a dam really charges me up for staying sober the following week. It’s also great fun.
As an alcoholic, you probably find yourself recognizing other alcoholics in your social circle. Whether it be your friend of a friend who you found passed out on the can at some bar you were at, trousers bunched around his ankles, having passed out mid-poop; or your grandma, who, even though she’s incontinent, goes to the bathroom way more often than she should and comes back smelling not like Listerine or hand soap or that perfume she wears that’s two parts potpourri and one part toilet disinfectant.
Like me, if you go to AA and have discovered the many benefits of talking about your feelings with strangers and attempting to listen to them talk about theirs as you focus on the bit of spinach they have between their teeth, you’re probably tempted to try to help that person. You’ve seen the light; you’re never going to drink again; and you can imagine how much more content that person would be without getting shitfaced every morning, afternoon, evening, and night. You may feel tempted to pull that person aside, escorting them to a quiet corner of the room by their elbow, and then attempting to have a conversation with them about how much they drink and what they can do to stop.
I’m going to give you the best advice you’ll ever receive on this blog, and that isn’t saying much: Don’t.
The reasons are many, and they fall into two distinct categories: 1) the selfish reasons, and 2) the bat-shit-crazy reasons.
Let’s start off with the selfish reasons:
- You may want to scream from the rooftops about your newfound sobriety and how good it is, but it won’t benefit you. Now that you’re sober, you’re like superhero. You have a superpower that you need to keep hidden. It might seem like a good idea to let Mary Jane know you can now climbs walls without the aid of a rope or an instructor clad in Lyrca, because you think it might finally get you laid, but it causes more trouble than it’s worth. If you let the cat out of the bag about your sobriety to help that the alcoholic in your social circle, the only good you’ll do is let people know you’re one missed promotion or speeding ticket away from being a shit show on wheels, which is to say you’ll do no good at all. You’ll just fuck your own shit up.
- You want as many friends and relatives on your side as possible, and to do that you’ll want to steer clear of judging people. Relationships are easily made, but they’re just as easily destroyed. Pointing out someone drinks too much and may have a problem isn’t akin to letting them know they have a spot of broccoli and blue cheese soup on their chin. It’s pointing out a major flaw they may not have been aware of themselves. There’s a reason people don’t invite their doctor to dinner parties, no matter how well they get on: No one wants to make small talk with someone that in the future may have to stick a finger up their ass.
(Forgive the goofy formatting. WordPress.com is to blame for this shit.)
Here are the bat-shit-crazy reasons:
- Talking to an active alcoholic about their drinking won’t motivate them to get sober. Chances are, you’ll just add another reason to the growing pile in their mind for why they should go get another vodka and soda, light on the soda. There’s also a good chance they may punch you or attack you with a closed umbrella—weather permitting.
- It will give AA a bad name. When Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on your door, and you make the effort to go answer it, and they’re standing there in their polyester suits, holding out a pamphlet for you to look at while simultaneously trying to have a conversation with you about the benefits of joining their religion, do you think A) wow, how proactive of that person to be spreading the word of God on a Saturday, or do you think B) go away? Right answer. Plus, how likely is it you’re talking to the one person on the planet who doesn’t know what AA is? That alcoholic in your life knows what AA is, and if they were ready or willing to go, they would’ve gone already, or would already be planning on going. Trying to be a promoter of AA is a bit like being a door-to-door airplane ticket salesman: You’ll either end up talking to someone who’s already planning to travel somewhere and has bought a ticket or someone who doesn’t even own a passport. Either way, you’ve achieved at least the minimum requirement for entry into the lunatics’ club.
So there you have it. Does it make you feel better that the best thing you can do is to do nothing, besides making sure your cape doesn’t stick out above your shirt collar? I know it made me feel great when someone gave me that advice last week, which motivated me to regurgitate it to you now in the form of this blog post. But then again, there’s a reason this blog isn’t titled Hilariously Full of Firsthand Wisdom.
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