The First Step to Recovery

I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. She has been in recovery now for over ten years. She and I usually talk about shopping and basketball and the weather, we keep it light. But every once in a while, we talk about deep stuff. One of those times, we talked about how she stopped drinking.

For her, she said, she had to first name the problem. Seems obvious but she said it really wasn’t. She said that living in alcoholism is to immerse yourself in a living, breathing, moving lie. The Lie surrounds you, hooks you up to an umbilical cord that feeds you fantasies and distortions and projections and while it is feeding you falsehoods, it is moving. The Lie is always moving, always evading the truth. If the Lie can’t move this way, it pivots and moves that way. If the truth puts up a wall, the Lie tunnels under it. If the truth speaks, the Lie turns on the stereo and dials it up loud. If the truth is waiting for you on the sofa in your house, the Lie keeps you from going home. The Lie is always moving.

So naming the problem, speaking a truth, is not easy when the Lie is moving you around, not letting you get footing on sold ground. But you get tired when you are always on the move, not to mention a little car sick. So you start to name “A” problem. Hangovers, bar tabs, dresses with vomit stains, blackouts, DWIs, etc., are all problems, but they are not THE problem. Drinking is the THE problem. And after you run out of things that are A problem and you find yourself in room without windows or doors and just four walls of truth and a ceiling and a floor of truth, and those walls start to close in on you and the Lie can’t get you out, only speaking the truth can and then you name the problem. The walls stop and only then can you start to solve problem..

She is right, and not just about alcoholism.

I was listening to an episode of Real Time with Bill Mahr (I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes I just can’t help myself) and on the show, as Bill is apt to do, he had a self professed republican as member of the panel. The discussion turned to Trump and the creation of the persona of Trump that is setting the campaign trail on fire. The accusation was made that the GOP made a deal with the white devil to insure the bigot vote and now that deal has come back to bite the GOP in the ass. Well, the republican panel member started talking about all kinds of things.He talked about how the GOP slate of candidates included a black man and two Latino men and how diverse the GOP candidates were, He talked about how there was the GOP base and then there were Trump voters and it was Trump who was playing white identity politics and Trump who was instituting a hostile takeover of the party not the REAL Republicans.

Trump is bringing new voters into the party who are more hateful than thoughtful and that is A problem, but it is not like there were no such people already in the party. THE problem is racism and how the GOP has been appealing to racism in order to get white bigots and white people with bigoted tendencies to vote for them. But the party, like the panelist, is moving. They are moving in a lie that calls their racism an indignation against political correctness, a fear of Islamic extremism, a disdain for illegal immigration, a war on crime, a battle against the waste of tax dollars on bloated social programs, and on and on.

And now the Party is waking up to find itself in that room without doors or windows. And the walls are closing in. Speak the truth and stop the walls. Don’t and they will crush the party to death.

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