Our Summer of Discontent

I sincerely believe this spring/summer has given all of us a wake-up call. A pandemic, now raging out of control, and the realization that we have made little progress in the way of social justice and equalitarianism in this society since the 1960s. It is so easy to fall asleep at the wheel, resign ourselves to the idea that we don’t have the power to change things, and that if nothing terrible is happening, it must be okay. Unless we wake up to the fact that ever encroaching human disruption of wildlife environments and mixing of species that don’t normally mix, we will have another pandemic–perhaps more deadly. Further, if the systemic injustices in our society continue, we will see yet more protests, fights and animosity that drives wedges in the very foundations that this country was built, and sadly, history will repeat itself. To solve problems, we first have to recognize that there is one; and right now in the US and the world, we have several big ones. Only after this recognition, can we vote in leaders that are committed to making change, and making things better. Hopefully, we are waking up to the facts and reality that our world is in need of change.

Recovery is the same. We plod along, drinking our way to oblivion and pretending life is good, hiding behind a facade, or just retreating from life. Maybe we convince ourselves, “I still have my license, so it’s not that bad,” “Everyone drinks like this,” or whatever else contorted justification or twisted reasoning we can find to allow our selves to continue in our self-destructive behavior. After all, if there is no problem, nothing to solve, right? Yet, like so many things in history, when the underlying systemic problem is not recognized or addressed, it only rages its ugly head at a later date, again and again, ad infinitum. So there it goes, we stay trapped in the spiritual malady that the Big Book talks about. Without the help of the twelve steps, we are doomed to drink.

The program of AA only works after we own the recognition that our drinking is dooming us to drink until we die a bitter, nasty death by King Alcohol. Then, we can start the change in mindset that is required to understand what it is about this disease that makes it so cunning, baffling and powerful. We are able to put and keep the plug in the jug long enough to let the fog clear and realize the destruction wrought by alcohol. We find come to terms with the systemic cause of our disease–our thinking–and start to do something positive about it. We can find some power, not from our selves but in a higher power that can help us do what was impossible before, which is stop and stay stopped drinking. Then, we clean up our lives and get on with the business of happy, healthy, productive living. All this and more is possible with the help of AA.

Although this summer, and perhaps all of 2020 is shaping up to be a brutal year, maybe we will reach that point of desperation or will hit bottom and things will finally change for the better. I sure hope so. One thing is for sure, no matter how bad the Summer of Our Discontent may be, I do not have to drink over it, and maybe, just maybe, in a small way, I CAN effect the change that is so needed. Unless I stay sober, I shall never know.


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