For someone that is a recovering alcoholic, one of the biggest ongoing challenges they face is abstaining from alcohol. Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Step program recommends completely staying away from alcohol, for the rest of the recovering alcoholic’s life if necessary. Obviously, this can be a very difficult thing to do.
Alcohol in Society
Let’s stop and think for a moment about all the alcohol we consume or have available to us. Relaxing after a long day at work with a beer, celebrating something with friends and a bottle of wine, a champagne toast at a wedding, Christmas parties and their cocktails, religious rituals, fund-raising events with open bars, even popping open champagne bottles in the winning locker room of baseball’s American League Division Series. This last one might make us really stop and think about how much a part of our lives alcohol is, and how hard it is to abstain. It also illustrates the need to give and take when it comes to alcohol recovery.
Ginger Ale Celebration
This year’s American League champions, the Texas Rangers, celebrated in their post-game locker room, not with champagne, but with ginger ale. The reason they skipped the alcoholic beverage was because of teammate Josh Hamilton’s past struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Hamilton, a recovering alcoholic, was thankful for his teammates’ concern for him. This was a wonderful example of an organization realizing and being considerate of a fellow player’s commitment to say sober.
In a world like ours, recovering alcoholics can’t expect to get special favors from everyone, or to have people magically move all alcohol out of their way. No, we all still have to live in this world, and with therapy and support groups, we hope alcoholics in treatment can find a way to say no to alcohol that is in front of them.
But on the other side, friends and family can do a little giving themselves to keep temptations away. Providing non-alcoholic options at parties, being willing to go someplace other than the bar, or simply not being so dependent on alcohol themselves, can really go a long way to encourage those recovering from alcoholism.
We would all do much better if we could learn to give a little when it comes to alcohol abstinence. While having a dry locker room is certainly admirable, it won’t always happen that way, and those working at sobriety need to be strong in those situations where alcohol is in front of them. In the same way, the rest of the world should be more thoughtful and give a little when they can to make things easier for someone trying to abstain. After all, it wouldn’t hurt the rest of us to drink less alcohol ourselves anyway.