Myths, Fairy Tales and Grim Stories From The Haunted Forest

June 12, 2017

Phil Collins, that nobody looks less like a rock star former drummer for Genesis and writer of Disney songs and the bewilderingly titled Sussudio (Su-Su-Sudio), just started drinking again after three years of sobriety. I don’t know about you, but I find myself saying, “Phil , old chap, you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the bottle faster than Aladdin’s Genie.

Then I draw myself up short. Why do I think that Phil is doomed to end up back in the filthy gutter of drunkeness? Because I’ve been told that it is the only possible outcome. Over and over and over again.  Even though I myself know people who have left their 12 step programs, after years of total abstinence, and succeeded at drinking in moderation. Even though I myself, someone who hasn’t poured herself or ordered a drink in six years, has had a sip or two of a friend’s Jack Daniels a time or two without sliding helplessly into the inevitable relapse of which recovery dogma tirelessly predicts. Even though everyone who tells lies doesn’t sport Pinocchio length noses.

I understand the reason behind the dogma and hard-held beliefs of 12 step programs, I really do. If we convince everyone that relapse is inevitable, if we make them afraid of every move that isn’t directed or sanctified by the program, we suffer less relapses and less relapses is preferable to someone going out there and finding out that they actually can drink responsibly after an extended period of not drinking or with the support of a moderation organization because if that person succeeds what is everyone else who has subscribed to the 12 step creed going to think? What happens if everyone decides to go out and try  drinking again?

That would be a very scary story, if everyone who had been sober for years decided to try drinking again, because, truthfully, many of them shouldn’t. For many, the inevitable relapse would not be a myth, especially if they’ve been told often enough and they’ve believed hard enough to make it a self-fulfilling prophesy. Also, the amount of damage, physical and emotional, that alcohol has wreaked upon an individual must be weighed. The deadly effect of alcohol on a cirrhotic liver is no myth. The metastatic devastation of alcohol abuse on family members is no fairy tale.

But there have always been and always will be people like Phil Collins, who after a while feel that they don’t really fit into the confines of complete abstinence from alcohol. They may go back out into the drinking world and manage just fine on their own. Or, they might not.  Does that mean that the 12 step organizations were right about them or does it mean, just like every good fairy tale character knows, you should never wander alone into the woods? If you’re going back into the lair of the dragon, you should take as many dragon slayers with you as you can gather.  Hmmm…here’s a riddle I haven’t quite figured out yet-12 step programs readily admit and promote that it is almost impossible to quit completely on your own, that you need the support of a community, however, they tout, if you can’t drink moderately on your own, without the support of like-minded individuals, you obviously are an alcoholic and need to quit drinking completely. What?…no what’s good for the person pursuing complete abstinence is good for the person pursuing responsible drinking? Seems to work for the dieting world because, after all, moderation is all they have to play with.

Phil-baby, If you find yourself lost in the woods, MM’s here for you.

In your own words:

“I will follow you will you follow me

All the days and nights that we know will be

I will stay with you will you stay with me

Just one single tear in each passing year
With the dark,
Oh I see so very clearly now
All my fears are drifting by me so slowly now
Fading away
I can say
The night is long but you are here
Close at hand, oh I’m better for the smile you give
And while I live
I will follow you will you follow me
All the days and nights that we know will be
I will stay with you will you stay with me
Just one single tear in each passing year there will be
                                     —Follow You, Follow Me, Genesis 1978
2 comments on “Myths, Fairy Tales and Grim Stories From The Haunted Forest
  1. Just Plain Phil says:

    How true, Kary. And Kelsey Grammar is another who is drinking moderately after a long time of abusing alcohol, including putting his show “Frasier” on hold while he went to rehab.

  2. says:

    Ex-problem drinker here, drinking in moderation when I feel like it. However. The tools I learnt in SR (couldn’t/wouldn’t work the steps) are right at the forefront of my mind to stop a potential relapse

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