The disease of alcoholism touches everyone, in one way or another. You are not alone.
You either deal with it yourself, or in your family, or you know somebody who has it. There is help and support available, and no organization has been more influential in treating the disease than Alcoholics Anonymous, the granddaddy of them all. “Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. They are not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion Even though the treatment is not about religion and does not affiliate or endorse any group, its concepts in the Twelve Step process resonate with people of faith, as they talk of a very real relationship with God, as they understand him.
Many people believe that it’s primarily a disease of the spirit Alcoholism is disease of the spirit. We have “lost control.” The disease has taken control of our lives. We begin innocently, we figure “we can take it or leave it” and many people can, but some can’t. If you are going to be healed, your spirit must be healed. You can try to overcome this on your own. Some can do it, many can’t. Healing of our spirit is offered as a gift from a “power greater than ourselves.”
This is where you can truly recover from your addiction! When you are sick in the mind you need someone or something from the outside to help. As you face life, you can do it solo, without help from the outside. Or you can face it together with your higher powers as your friend. Do you want to go solo or have a partnership? This program has been an effective process for fighting and managing the disease of Alcoholism since the 1930’s, and through the years over 250 self-help groups have used its concepts and methodologies.
We encourage you to visit their web site. Download the electronic version of the “Big Book” there, so you can learn about the journey and gain an appreciation for why Alcoholics Anonymous has been such a blessing to alcoholics and their families.
By Ned Wicker
One of my hot button issues has been our epidemic of drunken driving in Wisconsin and the lack of courage and responsibility on the part of our state law-makers to take action.
You can complain about the “nanny state” all you like, but if people are not willing to take personal responsibility for their actions and not drive after having a few drinks, then the problem must be handled by government. Currently there is a potential bill that is receiving support from top party officials, the powerful Tavern League and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) that would mandate that ignition interlocks be installed on the cars owned by offenders.
There are details yet to be hammered out on this legislation, but it is certainly a step in the right direction and shows, thankfully, that at least some law makers are aware that Wisconsin highways are anything but safe because of the drunks.
I also have to add that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has done outstanding community service by publishing its series “Wasted in Wisconsin,” which has featured stories from counties throughout the state. You can read all of them by going to http://jsonline.com and scrolling down to the series logo.
The bill under consideration in the assembly calls for the ignition interlock, which is essentially a breathalyzer test before starting the car, to be placed on cars owned by individuals who are repeat offenders, or first time offenders who test at .15 (twice the legal limit) or higher. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Tony Staskunas (D-West Allis), told the Journal-Sentinel that states such as New Mexico have experienced the locks as “one of the most effective ways of stopping drunk drivers.”
The bill would also require that the offender pay the freight to purchase the ignition interlock and a fee to administer the program. This is a good idea. The article also said other bills are pending, such as one that would mandate that a third offence be charged as a felony. Currently the fifth DUI is a felony, but only if the court recognizes previous offenses and does not make retroactive rulings about technicalities in the law.
While the state assembly considers its version, the state senate is thinking along the lines of requiring ignition interlocks for a driver’s second offense if the person has a blood alcohol legal twice the legal limit. While I am not personally wild about this bill, one aspect has grabbed my attention and that is a provision for enhanced treatment opportunities. I don’t know what that means yet in terms of how the program would be implemented, but the discussion about treatment needs to be a part of the process.
This debate in Wisconsin government is long over due, but I support the effort and hope, like so many others, that the legislature doesn’t lose courage or its conviction to make our roads safer. Many times I have used this blog as a pulpit to preach personal responsibility, but if people are not expected to be responsible, or if they do not suffer the consequences of not being responsible, the community pays a huge price.
Some folks might assert that having to install an ignition interlock after a first offense is harsh. After all it’s only one offense. However, that is the one time a person gets caught. Think about it. For every time a repeat offender might get caught, how many other times has he/she driven drunk and not been caught?
I’m one of those people. In my youth I routinely drove drunk, but was never charged. I was stopped once, when I was 22, but the police officer didn’t cite me for my alcohol consumption, nor did he administer any breathalyzer test. He cited me for driving too fast for conditions, after I backed into a car in a parking lot. I appreciated his leniency, but I deserved much worse.
The Wisconsin Legislature has an opportunity to make a giant step forward in creating effective and responsible laws for drunk driving. Watching from the sidelines like an eager baseball fan, I wait for someone to step to the plate and hit one out of the park. We’ll see.