M(3), 7/7: Women Suffer Too

Happy Monday to all.  For those in the US, hope everyone had some spectacular fireworks over the weekend (literal, not metaphorical)!

As it is the first Monday of the month, we covered a personal story in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and this week I selected the story “Women Suffer Too.”  The author of the story, Marty M., was a pioneer of Alcoholics Anonymous, went on to author two different books on alcoholism, and founded the National Council on Alcoholism.  She is also one of the very first female members of Alcoholics Anonymous to achieve long-term sobriety.

Which, if you have ever read her story, is an absolute miracle considering how low the disease of alcoholism took her.

What’s great about meetings like the one I run is hearing the different parts of the reading selection that stood out for people.  For me, reading Marty’s story, I marveled at how descriptively she painted her alcoholic bottom.  Although I share little in common with her story, I could relate to so much of the feelings she experienced while in active addiction.  Reading her story reminds me what active addiction is really like, and why I never want to relive it.

I also appreciate how compellingly she writes of life in recovery.  The 12 steps, she claims, did so much more than keep her sober, they gave her a peace of mind that she had previously never experienced.  I can relate to this viewpoint, and why I can now be grateful for the disease of addiction, as it has provided me with a set of coping skills for life.  This past weekend, I read a wonderful blog post over at Process Not An Event where Robert presents a rebuttal of sorts to an article that criticizes the effectiveness of AA.  My predominant response to articles that criticize AA is sadness:  it makes me sad that there is any kind of need or desire to criticize a program where the membership is free, the only requirement to be there is a desire to be a member, and there are no rules whatsoever, just suggestions to improve your life.  Take what you want and leave the rest… tell me what there is to criticize here!  Marty M.’s story reminds me why I am so privileged to have found this program.

So that was my take-away from the story.  From my share, we veered in as many directions as there were people in the room.  One person’s take-away was how impressive he found Marty’s ability to go from being unable to believe in a Higher Power (she originally fancied herself “too intellectual” to accept any kind of spirituality in her life), to being such a strong advocate of AA.  Her story will resound with the many beginners who struggle with a belief in a power greater than themselves.

Along those lines, another attendee found Marty’s ability to transcend the inherent selfishness of addiction to be the highlight of the story.  The key for all of us in finding our spiritual path is to first disavow ourselves of the notion that the world revolves around us!  Once we can start looking outside of ourselves, rather than perpetually seeking to satisfy our every perceived desire, we will find ourselves heading in the right spiritual direction.

Yet another attendee found the section of the story where Marty describes herself (and the rest of us who call ourselves alcoholics) as a “long-time escapist.”  He considers himself very fortunate to have never had a desire to drink since entering the program (some quarter of a century ago!), but through his years he has certainly found other means of wanting to escape some of the harsher realities of life.  He is able to put these lesser “escape hatches” into perspective by continuing to work his 12-step program and staying on solid spiritual ground.  It’s less about the disease of addiction, and more about the human condition, he thinks, to want to temporarily escape life problems from time to time!

Finally, a gentleman newer to the program appreciated the author’s evolution from a person full of self-loathing, life in shambles, and a physically wrecked,  to a person who has contributed so much to our 12-step program, and to the world in general.  He sees this evolution as something to which he can aspire.  His motivation for entering the 12-step program was how he felt he could no longer live with himself as a person, and he aspires to be a person of respect, first with himself, and then hopefully with others as Marty has done.

One story, endless viewpoints, and so much to learn from one another!

Today’s Miracle:

Just returning from an amazing mini-vacation with the family, and still reveling in the gratitude for all the wonderful memories we made!

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Posted on July 7, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I always love visiting your space, Josie. You are truly a kind, warm and special woman. Thanks for sharing such a great message…I love seeing your miracles 🙂

    (PS: comments are fixed over at 6 songs. Thanks for alerting us!)

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  2. I’ll never get the bashing, but believe it comes from a place of fear. AA is definitely the most visible, accessible, and affordable (!) program of recovery out there. I know I’m very thankful it’s there. When I get back home, I’ll read her story. It’s been awhile and I’ve heard her name come up recently. Thanks, Josie!

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  3. I haven’t read that story in a while, so I can’t remember it vividly. But I certainly know who she is, and if I’m not mistaken, she did the Marty Mann (sp?) test, no? It’s the “take two drinks a day. No more, no less, for one month. If you can do it, you might not be an alcoholic”. Or something like that…i have to check my friend Google on that one.

    As for the bashing…oy vey. Most days I am okay with it. On ocassion I lose my spiritual fitness and get annoyed and frustrated. I think that it’s just the biggest and most known recovery program, plus it has to do with God (as we understand Him), so it’s wide open for targetting. Cult, religious, fanatical, thumpers, Bible worshippers, doesn’t work, etc. I just never understood why one needs to bash it. I mean, I do understand, but I still don’t (does that make sense? lol)

    Great post…and great they included that story…there weren’t many women in the fellowship at the time, so a great one to have others identify with.

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    • Somehow I lost this comment, Paul, and am just reading it now. Sorry about that! Hmmm, I don’t remember that in the story, but now it’s been close to two weeks later, and I generally forget things that I read two minutes ago. On the flip side, things continuously amaze me, so there’s the silver lining in the forgetfulness cloud!

      Yes, the bashing thing can frustrate the hell out of me. And I really do understand, I remember feeling the exact same way myself, so what you say makes perfect sense to me. Then again, what you say always speaks to me 🙂

      Thanks for the comment, and sorry again for the delayed response!

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  4. Great post Josie! I wholeheartedly agree! What’s there to critisize. Like Roger Ebert, would say, about AA, if you don’t like it, don’t go! But you know, like anything else, people misunderstand and judge, and I am not sure what AA has done to them! But the bashing may deter someone seeking help from ever trying it, and that saddens me! Ugh. I guess we just need to keep spreading the word 😀.

    Thanks Josie! Love reading your Monday posts, well, and all your posts! Hugs!

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