At some point in any self-respecting booze blog’s life the blogger has to face up to the anonymous elephant in the anonymous room.
No matter the unique (seemingly) or individual (no man is an island, Ben) philosophy one might apply to the matter of alcohol’s tendency to blur, distort and exaggerate life’s highs, lows and up and down in-betweens, nobody is alone in the individual journey: many have gone down the addictive road before; books have been written, organisations formed and groups attended.
Before I laid my alcohol habits out to bare with this blog countless souls have done likewise—sharing their tragic/crazy/fun? stories about alcohol with complete strangers—with the help of a hugely successful program operating around the globe. I am of course talking about Alcoholics Anonymous.
But what more can I really say about AA and the meetings they offer, except that I’m aware how successful it is and that they do. I’ve never been to a single meeting in my life however, and all I know about AA is what I’ve seen in movies, read in the press and garnered from one ex-girlfriend who went to a few meetings. But the overwhelming vibe I get is AA is not for me.
This instinct guiding me away from group counselling sessions is the same one which led me to google for AA’s original 12 steps. I was surprised when the first three results brought up three different sets of 12 steps. There were similarities but straight away I was reminded about the non-prescriptive nature of life; how it is almost impossible to come up with a one-list-of-rules-fits-all solution for any ‘problem’.
It seems it’s not just religions which can’t agree on the exact words to obey and AA’s steps (many of which refer to God and the capital H ‘Him’) are, like religious groups, in a state of flux and evolution. So I thought why not come up with my own alternative 12 steps for the YOLS blog.
I thought it would be nice to offer something clear and concise as an alternative to AA’s 12 steps, for anyone else who might think Alcoholics Anonymous might not be what they need but would like to approach their alcohol drinking habit differently. The steps I’ve come up with are more about having an attitude adjustment and recognising that acceptance and concentrating on our power to change is more helpful than having a victim-mentality or making our personal changes the responsibility of an unknown and un-namable entity.
If it’s to be it’s up to me!
But before we get onto ‘The 12 Dipsomaniac Declarations’ it might be helpful to new readers of the YOLS blog to give a description of what a dipsomaniac is.
What’s a dipsomaniac again?
A dipsomaniac could simply be described as a ‘big-drinking non-alcoholic’. And though that’s a short n’ snappy description I quite like, you could elaborate further by saying a dipsomaniac is anyone who identifies themselves (I think a label like this should be chosen not applied) as being someone who:
- Drinks alcohol often (say, 4-7 days out of the week, ie more days drinking than not)
- Is inclined to drink more than two or three glasses (serves) of booze when they do drink
- Is open to the possibility of getting drunk regularly (or regularly open to the possibility of getting drunk)
- Does not identify themselves as being addicted to alcohol or having a biologically adverse reaction to alcohol
- Believes drinking alcohol isn’t the only way to have a good time—but feels drinking alcohol
often sometimes helps.
So if you think you might be a bit of a dipsomaniac and you’d like to have some food for thought instead of booze for comfort/excuse-to-get-naked-and-silly here are…
The 12 Dipsomaniac Declarations
1. As a Dipsomaniac I accept alcohol can affect my behaviour.
2. As a Dipsomaniac I have the power to decide not to drink whenever I choose.
3. As a Dipsomaniac I am responsible for all my actions.
4. As a Dipsomaniac I accept all my behaviour as a natural part of my personal evolution.
5. As a Dipsomaniac I admit to myself and others I sometimes drink too much and then do things I might not do sober.
6. As a Dipsomaniac I accept change as a natural part of life and, as such, understand I may not always identify myself as a Dipsomaniac.
7. As a Dipsomaniac I accept the dichotomy that nobody is perfect and everybody is.
8. As a Dipsomaniac I release any need or desire to control others behaviour.
9. As a Dipsomaniac I trust others’ are on their own perfect path.
10. As a Dipsomaniac I express myself in the moment.
11. As a Dipsomaniac I accept my part in the infinity of creation, however seemingly small, is important in the universal scheme of things.
12. As a Dipsomaniac I share my experiences openly.
This is just the beginning…
Since I appreciate the well-meaning nature of the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 Steps, and out of respect for all those who’ve been assisted by those steps, I’m going to do an individual post on each step while offering a bit more of an explanation as to what my alternative step means to me.
Doing this YOLS I’ve learnt there are a lot of people like me, people who know they drink too much sometimes but don’t call themselves alcoholics. And I truly hope no AA members will be in any way offended by me offering this alternative approach for people who aren’t ever going to front up to an AA meeting, however anonymous or well-meaning it might be.
Today is Day 313 of my year of living sober.
Little Booze Joke
A big bad bear barrels into a bar and the bartender bellows “Alliteration? Not you again!”