Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sandlapper impressions

The Sandlapper conference was great. The Al-Anon speaker Susan K. from Jacksonville was moving yet had a great sense of humor. I found myself with a tear in my eyes one moment, yet at the next moment I'd be laughing out loud. She read the powerful letter from the Al-Anon pamphlet "3 Views of Alcoholism". I've included it here:

"I am an alcoholic. I need your help.

Don't lecture, blame or scold me. You wouldn't be angry at me for having TB or diabetes. Alcoholism is a disease, too.

Don't pour out my liquor; it's just a waste because I can always find ways of getting more.

Don't let me provoke your anger. If you attack me verbally or physically, you will only confirm my bad opinion of myself. I hate myself enough already.

Don't let your love and anxiety for me lead you into doing what I ought to do for myself. If you assume my responsibilities, you make my failure to assume them permanent. My sense of guilt will be increased, and you will feel resentful.

Don't accept my promises. I'll promise anything to get off the hook. But the nature of my illness prevents me from keeping my promises, even though I mean them every time.

Don't make empty threats. Once you have made a decision, stick to it.

Don't believe everything I tell you; it may be a lie. Denial of reality is a symptom of my illness. Moreover, I'm likely to lose respect for those I can fool too easily.

Don't let me take advantage of you or exploit you in any way. Love cannot exist for long without dimension of justice.

Don't cover up for me or try in anyway to spare me the consequences of my drinking. Don't lie for me, pay my bills or meet my obligations. It may avert or reduce the very crisis that would prompt me to seek help. I can continue to deny that I have a drinking problem as long as you provide an automatic escape for the consequences of my drinking.

Above all, do learn all you can about alcoholism and your role in relation to me. Go to open AA meetings when you can. Attend Al-Anon meetings regularly, read literature and keep in touch with Al-Anon members. They're the people who can help you see the whole situation clearly.

I love you,

Your alcoholic"

Saturday's AA speaker was Tom I. from Southern Pines. He was an engaging speaker who I've listened to before. He had a lot of gems that he shared. He spoke about his time in prison by saying "The first place I felt freedom was in a maximum-security penitentiary. It was the first place I felt decency, integrity, and worth." After release, Tom went on to the highest command a state penitentiary ever rewarded to a former inmate. He said, "Miracles happen. Miracles happen when preparation meets opportunity, and God intervenes. If you do the work, the walls come down."

I spent some time on Saturday walking on the beach between speakers. The weather was great and since it was the off season, there were few people on the beach. I'm not a fan of developed areas but it was nice to get outside and go for a walk and at least see the ocean.

Sunday morning's AA speaker was Paul A. from Cheltenham, MD. He spoke without reservation of being an alcoholic who beat his wife, frightened his children, and was a skid row bum. He and his wife celebrated 50 years of marriage. And he went from being on the verge of death to having 35 years in the fellowship. He also shared a lot of gems and spoke from the heart.

Aside from the inspiration of the speakers, what I took away from this conference was the sight of a lot of happy people. Not even the 1:30 AM fire alarm and hotel evacuation on Sunday morning could dampen spirits! It was a fun time but most of all it was inspiring.


  1. Sounds really great. Are you attending the International Convention in Pittsburgh next July?

  2. It sounds like a great time... I love conventions or round ups...

  3. that letter is powerful huh, yet you al-anon's have to do an awful lot of work to live with un alkys huh! Glad you are here to show me what I was and would be like... from the other person

    thanks :)

  4. I love that letter.
    Sounds like a very nice weekend.

  5. Sounds like a nice weekend. Thank you for sharing that letter. Sad to say, I could have written that and am still facing the consequences of living it. Something I think I amy need to share with my husband.

  6. i wonder if i'd read that letter long ago if i would have stopped earlier...


    YOu got to hear Tom I live?!?! What a gift!!! Didn't he just celebrate 45 or 50 years or something fantastic?


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