Alcoholics Anonymous and 12 Step Fellowship Alters Alcoholic Loneliness
Alcoholics are perhaps the loneliest people in the world. Over-drinking isolates a person to the extent that his only companion is the bottle. Alcoholics are denounced, coddled, damned, ridiculed and cajoled by their friends and families. They are tolerated, shunned and ignored by the public. They are questioned and observed by psychiatrists and doctors. Their loved ones plead with them, threaten them and lie about them. They are preached to and prayed over by the clergy.
Yet all of this uproar has no effect on the alcoholic’s behavior. He still finds his solace and comfort in the bottle. Here he escapes from his loneliness and finds courage to retaliate against those whom he believes to be his enemies.
But it is only a temporary release. For this temporary release the bottle exacts a terrible toll. It demands his time, his self-respect, his money, his home, his family’ his job and his friends.
When these payments can no longer be met, the bottle leaves him to wallow in his poverty, self pity and at the mercy of his craving, He stands alone, defeated and afraid, alone with his loneliness, alone with his nakedness, at one with his remorse, his doubts, his discouragement. He is burdened by his worries, a stranger in a strange land, searching for companionship. To deprive him of the bottle and give him nothing to ease his misery would be an act of cruelty.
This is where AA enters the picture. It is a substitute for the bottle that will cover his nakedness and ease his sense of futility and frustration. When the alcoholic discovers through AA that others have suffered as he and are willing to help him much of his loneliness is overcome. The companionship and fellowship of AA can be the substitute for the bottle At least it gives him a choice.
The courage an alcoholic most needs in the day-by-day battle of life is not physical, but moral courage. Moral courage is the tingly consciousness of the individual that there is something within him that makes him greater than all the forces that can be ranged in battle array against him.
Don’t let anyone tell you that alcoholics who practice the principles of AA haven’t courage. Our lives are a constant struggle, hopeless’ but for courage. It takes courage to live boldly by the truth, to speak the truth we know, to live the truth we speak. It takes courage to live squarely, honestly in accord with our principles, to move forward bravely along the road of right, when the by-paths are alluring with roses of desire and-the joy we crave tempts our hungry, out stretched hands.
But taking it would be a wrong done to ourselves to another’ a sacrifice to principle. Even a coward may have temporary courage when there are bugles and shouts to bolster him but it takes a real man or woman to fight on alone, un-noted, uncheered, with no inspiration but the voice of his own soul ringing through the darkness.