M(3), 10/3/16: To Write or Not to Write?



As any regular reader knows, I thoroughly enjoy my weekly Monday 12-step meeting.  Like most everything in life, not every single experience is chock full of wisdom to share.  The question for me then becomes:  do I just skip blogging for a week, or do I attempt to find some nuggets to pass along?

Since I am of the mindset that no meeting is a bad one, I’ll attempt to write.  There were 20 people in the meeting, which is near a record high, so surely as I write I will come up with something that is a decent take-away.

The reading selection is likely what is putting me in a bad frame of reference.  We read from “The Big Book,” proper title Alcoholics Anonymous, and we read the chapter entitled “To the Employers.”  Right away the subject matter puts me at a disadvantage, as I’ve been a stay at home Mom for so long that I have no experience on either side of this issue.

I also have an issue with the dated way in which the subject matter is approached.  So as not to get into a critique of our fellowship’s most revered book, I’ll simply say that in my opinion, the chapter might have a subtitle of “HR Nightmare.”

It therefore became difficult for me to share in any meaningful way on the chapter itself, so I took a wider frame of the material and shared on the general topic of misunderstanding the disease of alcoholism.  Even with this broader theme, I still don’t have a ton of personal experience, as the vast majority of my family and friends were supportive of my recovery.  In the years I’ve attended 12-step meetings, I have heard absolute horror stories of loved ones strongly encouraging active addiction, and sabotaging efforts to remain sober.

One woman said her husband frequently would hold up a vodka bottle and announce, “Whenever you’re ready just say the word and I’m pouring!”  It’s hard to compare to that level of disrespect.

It’s hitting me a little bit more as I move into the stage of parenting where I’m dealing with kids and alcohol.  It is noticeable to me as I begin to navigate these waters that my perspective, my reaction and my plan of action is markedly different than parents I know who have not dealt with addiction.

Truth be told, I’m not even sure who’s got the right way of thinking.  In all likelihood the best approach falls somewhere in the middle, as it usually does in life.

Meeting attendees had better experiences to share in terms of the chapter itself.  Several in the group had been approached by employers regarding their drinking, and all agreed it was a warranted discussion.  One person admitted to being on both ends of the spectrum; he had been fired as a result of his alcoholism, and he’s had to fire people as a result of theirs.  The latter, he asserts, is a difficult action to take as a person in recovery himself.

Most of the people who are in charge of hiring and firing acknowledge that is is incredibly difficult in this day and age to approach an employee with respect to their drinking.  But they also believe that their understanding of the disease and its cure helps them to show greater empathy.

One special note:  for the first time in four years, my husband attended my meeting.  As George Costanza says, worlds are colliding:

Of course, I’m kidding, I was honored that he’d want to attend, and he reports being happy to, as he puts it, “see me in action.”

Today’s Miracle:

Not one, not two, but THREE different sober anniversaries in this morning’s meeting!


Posted on October 3, 2016, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Thank you for sharing….”no meeting is a bad one” here here!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I always learn from your posts.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. How cool that he went!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I too have been on both sides – fired for being a booze-pig and also firing or disciplining people because of alcoholism / addiction. I can be empathetic of course, but I also have my job to do. A tough place to be, but I also know the value (in hindsight) about consequences and bottoms.

    As for the To Employees, yeah some of the parts of the book show age. I know many, many people (men and women alike) strongly dislike the “To Wives” chapter. It is definitely the least popular chapter in these parts. But it does have a few points which are useful. To me, they are “add ons” in some ways, but they do highlight some ways that alcoholism can destroy or manifest in other unhealthy ways.

    Anyway, glad you keep writing, Josie!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, “To the Wives” gets a lot of bad press in my neck of the woods. I was the only one complaining about “To the Employers” yesterday, likely because my husband was there and I was wishing for a better reading. We had read the two Al-Anon prologue chapters in the two months prior, and I wished it had worked out better! I did like the expression whoopee drinker, and am hopeful to use it in my regular speech soon 😉

      Your story mirrors perfectly the person in the room who shared about letting go an employee who refused to quit drinking on the job. He said he actually lost sleep over it, since it felt like a conflict between his AA life and his work life, but at the end of the day the job needed to be done right, and he owed his client the best work possible.

      As always, many thanks for the comment (exclamation points are in my head still), and for reading!


  5. My wife attended a few meetings with me in my early days then said “Frankly, dear, that is your sh**. You deal with it.” I don’t think that is unfair really.

    I’ve been through the kids and alcohol, but really their issue and one I have to stay out of. I’ve been a bad enough role model around alcohol so me sticking my tuppenceworth in isn’t sensible.

    I’m an interesting case on this topic as it was via my employer I got sober and introduced to the 12 step programme. I spoke to our occupational nurse, someone I trusted. She offered alternatives. I asked her advice and she pointed to the rehab option as that which was most successful in her view. Off I went to rehab and 12 steps and being bused to meetings. However I was never again in that company given a position of managerial responsibility. I have wondered if that was since my card was marked which is something I do have a resentment I continue to work on. Firstly I was the honest one owning up to the problem, not like the coke addict everyone knew was stomping around in mania – they promoted him to a senior job at head office! Plus I owed that company a lot and was willing to pay that back.

    As you say though I’ve seen many examples, mostly within families, though where in reality the supposed victim turns to persecutor as they realise the recovering alcoholic is no longer the person they knew before

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for this comment, Graham, there is sooo much in it! I wish you had been at my meeting to share! Maybe you could hop the pond one day and be our guest?!?

      Several people in the room share your story, as it relates to getting sober via their employer. Though I’m sorry to hear there is a resentment lingering. I’ve heard plenty of stories where honesty did not get them the desired results, something that is always challenging for us in recovery.

      Staying out of it regarding kids and alcohol… I will be mulling over that one. And perhaps I’ll be writing more on the topic as a stand alone, this topic may have some legs if I’ve got parents of teens reading!

      Finally, you wife… that is classic! Yes, I am fairly confident that my husband would eventually reach the same conclusion! This is likely a one and done situation!

      Thanks, as always, for the thoughtful response, Graham!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. For most of my last year of drinking, I was self-employed. Between depression (probably drinking-induced), anxiety and physically debilatating hangovers, I often cancelled appointments with clients and failed to pursue new business…it was a financial disaster really so I guess I fired myself…ugh.
    Always good to hear from you! And how fantastic that Mr. Miracle came to your meeting with you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is hilarious… you fired yourself! Not that the situation itself is hilarious, of course, and as a stay at home Mom I can actually relate. When I think of how I handled my household then versus now, I actually shudder.

      And thank you for the compliment. Yes, it was a fun milestone in recovery for him to attend the meeting he has heard so much about!


  7. Every week you type something that resonates with me. I want you to know that because your sister here in CA said that sometimes you wonder if it does. Well, I can appreciate the teens/alcohol comment as it relates to those of us who have addiction in the family. In my family the addict/alcoholic is my husband but there are many family members on both sides and I have been sober for 7 years to support my husband. I agree, how we approach it with teens is definitely different than our friends who do not know the disease as intimately as we do. Yes, I hope that somewhere in the middle will work for both parents and teens, but I’d rather it be abstinence as that leads to a lot less worry! I too do not know the answer and I tell me kids such. My husband and I are open and honest about his issues and we share those issues with the kids and I can only hope they are listening and there is a part of them that does not want to go down that road. To sum it up, I am listening out here in PV 🙂 Keep the posts coming!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Heather, this comment means more than I could possibly say. In terms of the parenting through the teen years/alcohol minefield, we need to talk! I could use someone who speaks my language.

      We are open and honest in my house as well; I shared my story with them as they entered the teenage years in the hopes this would prevent a walk down the alcohol path.

      My husband is sober alongside me as well, and I can say is spouses like you are a true miracle! I can’t tell you the horror stories I’ve heard about unsupportive ones. Your husband is so lucky to have you!

      It is truly heartwarming to hear I’m making an impact out on the West Coast, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading!


  8. I am not looking forward to my children’s future with alcohol. I have a lot of years until I have to cross that bridge.
    I love your writing. It’s like catching a meeting in 5 minutes! And I need those brief meetings, minute vacations, to stay on the recovery track.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is excellent that you are aware (and I assume grateful) for the stretch of time where alcohol and parenting are not mixing. It ends faster than you will anticipate.

      Thank you for your kind words regarding my blog. It is this exact comment that keeps me coming back 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was lucky that I had a really nice principals who supported me when I told them about my drinking problem.
    But then again, one of them had a HUGE drinking problem himself!

    Liked by 1 person

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