Was I crazy. I began to wonder. ~ Bill W., pg. 5.
Back in Bill W.’s day, alcoholics were just tossed into sanitariums or what was referred to as “nut houses.” In my day, state run hospitals and psychiatric units in hospitals were the preferred destinations for alcoholics. The state run hospitals were designated for poor people who could not afford private care or insurance for their “sick” loved ones. The disease of alcoholism was considered a mental weakness or moral sin. There was very little understanding of the disease. Society made people feel that they could not ask for help for fear that their family would be frowned upon. I am sure glad that we have had a great deal of learning and growing as a society since then. I credit AA for much of this. Their outreach into our communities and education of families and children of alcoholics has greatly paved the way to better understanding and support for the alcoholics who desperately need it.
We no longer have to fear that we have some sort of mental illness, or that we are morally defective. There is no shame or blame that will help the alcoholic. Compassion, understanding, love, and acceptance are what alcoholics find when they come into AA. This is available all over the world in 1,000’s of AA meetings. No matter how low the alcoholic has gone or how much they have lost, they are welcomed into our meetings. We have much to be grateful for. Without AA, none of us would even be here. We’d still be out there wondering if we were crazy; alone and hopeless in our own feeble attempts at sobriety. What is it today that you can do to give back to AA? Try that.