There is a story in the Big Book, “Alcoholics Anonymous” that tells of a man who came from a family headed by a minister. Despite strong 'religious' ties and being heavily dosed with religious education the man's immediate family was still besieged with business failure, insanity, fatal illness, suicide – the sorts of things from which a clerical family really ought to be liberated - one who think.
Then despite his horrific background and hypocritical religious upbringing; and despite that he came to suffer from alcoholism, depression and lived a bitter life plagued with serious suicidal ideation – the man still became sane. How did it happen?
Uh . . . . AA. That's how.
His return to mental health began when he was “approached by an alcoholic who had known a spiritual experience.” (56:1)
The co-founders commented, “What is this but a miracle of healing?”
The "miracle of healing” implies that an alcoholic can actually be restored to mental, physical and spiritual health by supernatural means - not natural or human treatments.
The co-founders of AA - those original promoters of the Twelve Step solution - referred to alcoholism a “common” peril. They didn’t mean that it was trivial. "Common", back in the 30s, meant belonging to or shared by more than one.
Your alcoholism is exactly the same as my alcoholism -- if you are one. (And if I am too)
There is no "my disease" and "your disease". If you have what I have - then we have it! If your problem with alcohol is not exactly the same as mine - then one or both of us is not a real alcoholic.
Together we are a “distinct entity” called alcoholic which sets us apart from the rest of the population who do not share this particular commonality – a broken mind and body we call ‘alcoholism.’
It also means we are share something else, ". . . we have discovered a common solution” and that solution is the spiritual awakening , the sole outcome of the Twelve Steps ‘well performed’, turning life and will over to God. In short, only a miracle can reverse the damage of this hideous two fold malady and that miracle is available to some of us.
Yes, “The age of miracles is still with us.” (153:1)
The example of the minister's son shows that alcoholics do indeed recover from alcoholism as well as answering their other problems (Or what some folks with only cursory knowledge of the Traditions sometimes erroneously refer to as "outside issues" ) get answered as well - and they live happily whole and useful lives without the sauce, without depression, without thoughts of suicide, without bitterness or any mental or physical disorder.
“We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.”
Oh, so that is the miracle. Shoot! I thought it was "Just don't drink" and then everything will be OK!
Peace & Love,
Danny S – RLRA
Real Live Recovered Alcoholic