Drunkalogue is appropriate because the bulk of it is a monologue detailing all the drunken debauchery and wretched ramifications from our drinking days. The theory being that we need to hear these ”stories” over and over and over again lest we forget where we came from. Meaning of course, that we have “built in forgetters” and without these daily reminders, we are destined to forget that our dependencies were so bad that we actually resorted to surrendering our lives and wills to this ridiculous cultish religion.
I don’t know about you but for me personally, I have no problem remembering the night in jail after my one DUI, suddenly finding myself living alone instead of a house with 3 children, 2 cats and 2 dogs, being asked by my employer to vacate the premises because I smelled like a vodka factory. Some of this crap happened over ten years ago and I still have absolutely no problem remembering how shitty it all was and I certainly don’t need or want to be reminded of it every day!
Now supposedly, the “Share” (drunkalogue), as per “How it Works” from the Big Book, is in place to show us how life saving this wonderful program and fellowship is by doing the following;
“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now”
These diatribes are usually incredibly long winded affairs and the part about how the rooms saved them and continue to do so, are usually very brief and say nothing of substance. Typical utterings might take the form of the following;
“So I stumbled into these rooms, and thanks to you fine people, the Grace of God and you fine people, I now have a life 2nd to none”…..
They all say pretty much the same thing and no practical advice is given on HOW this fine program actually helped them stop drinking other than when they say crap like;
“So any of you people out there that are new, just keep coming back because it works if you work it. Of course nobody ever really tells you what IT is, because there really is no IT. They might mention the Steps without telling any specifics about how those Steps actually do anything.
When the Story Teller is done, the meeting is open for commentary. Not discussion mind you because cross-talk (an actual back and forth CONVERSATION) is forbidden. So what that ends up amounting to is people generally agreeing with everything the speaker just said and saying things like;
“Thanks John, I can Soooooo relate to your story. Like you it wasn’t until I came into these rooms that I found a new freedom…..blah, blah, blah………………”
It’s all fluff, AA talk and God forbid you start to veer away from tradition and start talking about non-AA methods, the moderator of the meeting will cut you off faster than a Jihad executioner……
Thanks for your share Rolf but we’ve got other people that need to share tonight…..next…
How is any of this helpful? Beats the Hell out of me.
I wrote an example of a hypothetical share for my upcoming novel and I was going to add it here but it would have made the post way too long. Oh what the Hell, here it is......
The Drunkalogue from "12 Steps to Dead"So Jason began to share his “story” or what Sharon would later learn, that even some of the AA faithful referred to as, his drunkalogue;
“Good evening folks! Will you just take a look around this room and see all the wonderful folks who realize that on a fine Saturday night like this, that we are all exactly where we need to be. Why? Because we all suffer from the disease of alcoholism, that’s why. It’s not our fault, we were born that way and there is no cure. But as we have all learned, there is a solution and it’s in these rooms right here and by working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Don’t ever let your guard down or get the crazy idea that you’re recovered and stop showing up. We’ve all seen and witnessed what happens to folks if they start thinking that they’re recovered and leave. The slogans are all true, your disease really is out there in the parking lot doing pushups getting stronger and just waiting for us to think such crazy thoughts.
For us, to drink is to die, it’s that simple. Along the way, before it takes you, it will mess up your life boy. That’s what it did to me. What Mike didn’t tell you folks is that not only am I celebrating 30 years in this fine life-saving program next week, but I’m also turning the odometer of life and will find myself marking my 80th year on this planet. No way would any of that have ever happened if it were not for the Grace of God in leading me to these rooms. You’ve heard it said before that if you don’t find your way here, that the demon alcohol will take you down the road to despair. Insanity, incarceration or death are your final destination if you don’t surrender and follow the suggestions put forth by Bill W. Believe it because it’s true.
I know because I was on that path and my story bears it out. I was your typical All- American kid and by my senior year in high school, I was captain of the football team and made first team all-conference at linebacker. There weren’t too many opposing teams that dared run the ball anywhere near my side of the field. We played hard, both on the field and off. Lots of beer and whiskey after the games. As soon as I graduated from high school in 1938, I immediately enlisted in the army like my father before me. The Japs had been messing around in China and that whole region for years and we knew it was just a matter of time before we’d have to intervene to protect our interests over there. The writing was on the wall long before the planes attacked Pearl Harbor. We drank hard in basic and even harder when I was deployed to the Philippines just months before the attack when we declared war on them bastards. Long story short, I got shot up pretty bad over there but not before taking a bunch of those bastards out myself. That’s why I still got this slight limp and scars all over my chest. Anyway, my time there was done and they shipped me home from the hospital mid-42 it was and I came home a hero. I wasn’t in fighting form anymore but I was good to go working for my daddy’s construction company and after the war we got busy building all these big ass mansions around here. My high school sweetheart waited for me and we got married and started living the American dream. Had 3 boys to carry on the name and then my little girl. Just like in high school and then in the service, I could put em away with the best of them. We’d start with beers at lunchtime and then start on the whiskey over at Donavon’s when we’d get out of work. Didn’t think nothing of it, helped a little with the pain and Hell, I was a war hero and I deserved it!
My father died of heart attack in 62 and I went from foreman to running the whole show. We had over 100 guys on the payroll at that point and out of necessity, I had to take on a more administrative role. Didn’t care for it much and I’d find myself in the damned office more that I was out on the sites. It wasn’t what I liked to do and I’d find myself unscrewing the top of that whiskey bottle I kept in my desk shortly after I arrived at the office most mornings around 7:00. The company was still doing well and things at home were still OK. They said I ran a tight ship at work but I was even more demanding at home. I expected a lot out of those boys and sometimes I needed to use that belt to instill the necessary discipline. My wife said I was getting mean, that I was drinking too much. I didn’t see it back then but looking back, maybe there was something to it.
Anyway, the bottom fell out in the summer of 69. We were doing mostly commercial contracts at that point and we were just starting the biggest job we ever landed doing an extension on a hospital down on the South Shore. It was big enough that I felt like I needed to be down there running the project. It was the most stress I’d ever been under and me and some of the other site supervisors made one of the local watering holes down there our after work meeting spot where we’d talk about the day and what needed to be done.
Well we were there early one evening after one of those days where just everything went wrong and turned to shit. So I’m sitting at the bar and I got my WW2 jacket on and these 2 punk ass kids are just staring and pointing at me. I tried my best to ignore them but as I said, I was already in a foul ass mood so I just looked at them and said, “What the Hell you two looking at? You got some kind of fucking problem?” Now you got to remember that this was right about the time when the war in Nam was getting really unpopular and all these damned hippies and shit were demonstrating all over the place. So anyways, one of these punks says “So old man, did you enjoy raping Asian women and shooting their babies?” I lost it, I mean I just lost it and I got up so fast that my bar stool went flying out from under me. The one with the mouth was pretty big himself, probably 6’1’’/200 or so but I was still in shape at the time and I had two inches and about 40 pounds over the punk. They jumped off their stools when I barreled over and the big one with the mouth went to take a swing at me and I laid him flat with one punch. I was standing over him waiting for him to try and get up or say something when the other one, a fast wiry little shit, hits me over the head with his beer bottle. Well he didn’t hit me hard enough, because when I turned around he almost shit himself. If he had turned and ran, things would have been different. But he didn’t because I think he was in shock that I didn’t go down. So I picked up the little fuck by his shirt and hoisted him face first over the bar into the shelves of liquor. The dumb ass was still holding the bottle that he broke over my head and managed stab himself when he hit. As luck would have it, there was an off duty cop in the joint and he pulled out his piece and told me to freeze.
The stupid little pussy almost died and they sent me to Riker’s Island for 3-5 years for attempted manslaughter!
I got out after 2 for good behavior but everything at home had changed and gone to Hell. My cousin, Billy, tried to keep the company going while I was gone but he was an idiot and it went belly up 6 months before I got out. They had to sell all the trucks, equipment, all of it, just to pay the bills and make the last payroll.
Things were never the same at home after I got out. My wife had to get a job as a receptionist to make ends meet and she had turned the kids against me while I was gone. My leg had gotten worse while I was on the inside so I couldn’t even get a job doing construction. I got depressed and started drinking hard around the clock. On the advice of my doctor and pressure from my wife, it was suggested I try a meeting to save myself and the family. I loved her with all my heart and my baby girl was still only 14, so I figured I owed it to all of us to give it a shot.
Well from that day in late August of 1971 when I walked into my first meeting in this very church, my life was forever changed and I owe it all to this program. I stopped being commander in chief and surrendered my ego and learned some humility. I got a sponsor right away and he showed me the way.
At first, the wife and kids were extremely supportive and they noticed the positive changes right away. I was still having a really hard time finding work, though. I had the experience to run any site out there but all of the companies that I applied to wanted me to pay my dues doing the grunt work first. I just couldn’t do it on count of the leg and all. My wife said that I needed to suck it up and take a job doing anything, so long as I brought in a paycheck. She was still holding onto a resentment something fierce. We were just getting out of the last recession and there were no jobs. The stress of it was getting to me real bad and I was starting to gravitate to the idea of a drink real bad. I did what I was told though, I called my sponsor Ed and he met with me right away. He told me that my sobriety and the program had to come first; before anything else, a job, my wife, my kids, everything had to take a back seat to the program and my sobriety. He was right of course because I wouldn’t be standing here talking to you if I hadn’t listened. My wife and kids didn’t get it and they couldn’t understand why I had to be at meetings every night but I tried to explain it to them. They just didn’t understand it and never did. My marriage fell apart but I got through it and I became a better man for it. My kids didn’t talk to me for years but we’re OK now. I got married again several years later to a gal that a lot of you folks know and we’re coming up on 25 years ourselves. Best 25 years of my life and I owe it all to you people and those 12 steps up on that wall over there.
Well that’s all I’ve got to say to you folks tonight. For those of you new to the program, keep coming back and wait for the miracle to happen because it will. Get a sponsor and work those steps because that is the program. Today, I truly have a life second to none.”
Having finished his “story”, Jason turned the meeting back over to Mike. After listening to this guy’s spiel Sharon was waiting for the moment of enlightenment that would come at the end of it but did she miss it? Go to meetings and do the steps, that’s it? The guy dumped his family for this?
Mike opened up the meeting to the floor and for the rest of the hour people took turns raising their hands to have their say. Some just thanked Jason and reiterated the “Thank God I found this program” spiel while others bitched about something going on in their lives but of course finished by saying that because of the program, that they could handle it. Not one person actually explained what exactly about it was helping them. The whole thing was just so freaking bizarre and yet, these people all seemed genuinely happy and content.
Having endured what to her felt like the longest hour of her entire life, Sharon was relieved beyond words when Mike announced that the meeting was over and that they would now close with something called the Serenity Prayer. Another WTF moment as far as she was concerned. She glanced over at Stevie as everybody rose from their chairs and started forming a large circle.