New Friends

There will be other profound changes in the household. Liquor incapacitated father for so many years that mother became head of the house. By force of circumstances, she was often obliged to treat father as a sick or wayward child. Father, coming suddenly to life again, often begins to assert himself. This means trouble, unless the family watches for these tendencies in each other and comes to a friendly agreement about them.

Drinking isolates most homes from the outside world. Father may have laid aside for years all normal activities — clubs, civic duties, sports. When he renews interests in such things, a feeling of jealousy may arise. The family may feel they hold mortgage on dad, so big that no equity should be left for outsiders. Instead of developing new channels of activity for themselves, mother and children demand that he stay home and make up for the deficiency.

At the very beginning, the couple ought to frankly face the fact that each will have to yield here and there if the family is going to play an effective part in the new life. Father will necessarily spend much time with other alcoholics, but this activity should be balanced. New acquaintances who know nothing of alcoholism might be made and thoughtful consideration given their needs. The problems of the community might engage attention. Though the family has no religious connections, they may wish to make contact with or take membership in a religious body.

Alcoholics who have derided religious people will be helped by such contacts. Being possessed of a spiritual experience, the alcoholic will find he has much in common with these people, though he may differ with them on many matters. If he does not argue about religion, he will make new friends and is sure to find new avenues of usefulness and pleasure. He and his family can be a bright spot in such congregations. We intend the foregoing as a helpful suggestion only. So far as we are concerned, there is nothing obligatory about it. As non-denominational people, we cannot make up others’ minds for them. Each individual should consult his own conscience.

Reprinted from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page #130-132. with permission of AA World Services, Inc.

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DNA Newspaper Mumbai Edition Published Date: Nov 27, 2012

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