What Useful Approach Can You Take to Help a Child Avoid Drug and Alcohol Disasters?
A Letter from, and my response to a concerned parent who wrote me
© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Dear S: Please pardon my delayed response, but my son and I have been deep into filming of our video series on Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story.
Let me give you some general points, not all of which I agree with: (1) Today’s A.A. literature and many a “professional” conclude “once an alcoholic always an alcoholic” and that alcoholism cannot be cured. But It can! http://www.dickb.com/cured.shtml. (2) A.A. does not oppose liquor, nor does it advocate such things as Prohibition. (3) A.A.’s Big Book lays claim to the idea that neither will-power, nor self-knowledge, nor fear, nor any human effort can cure the alcoholic. The thesis at times has been that the only defense against the first drink is that of an “higher power.” I do not subscribe to nonsense gods; but I do fervently believe and have proven to myself after 28 continuous years of sobriety that God can help the alcoholic stop for good; that God can help anyone avoid temptation; that God can help the alcoholic out of the self-destructive messes he creates; and that God can guide believers into a way of life which makes it unnecessary to drink and joyous to be sober. However, all this depends on the alcoholic. He will drink if he wants to; he will not quit until he wants to; and he will not be able to stop or control the amount he drinks once he starts. And the woods are full of those who cried out to God for help out of the hole. And received it!
My own experience is this: (1) There was no alcoholism in my family. (2) My father quit smoking before I was born; and that–plus some of the offensive nature of smoking–was enough to keep me from ever smoking or wanting to smoke. (3) Yet many an alcoholic will tell you his father, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and brothers were alcoholics or died of alcoholism and that such evidence did not keep the potential drunk away from the bottle. (4) Neither my two sons nor their wives are alcoholics. (5) My older son has been knee deep with me in helping alcoholics get well; and he wouldn’t drink if someone tried to pour the booze down his throat.
Some conclusions: (1) There is an adversary in the world who wants to use temptation, deception, false ideas, and self-destructive living as tools for killing God’s kids. (2) Early AAs favored the Book of James in the Bible; and James 4:7 states the defense in God’s terms–submit yourselves therefore to God; resist the devil; and he will flee from you. James 4:10 states = Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up. (3) For someone who doesn’t drink or doesn’t want to drink or doesn’t want to get in trouble drinking, that person can apply three D’s – decision, determine, and discipline. And this is what I did until I returned from the Army. Then–without knowing about alcoholism, without knowing about A.A., and without knowing the trouble the insanity of alcoholism could get the inebriete involved in, I drank, drank too much, and suffered many a disaster. (4) I have no objection to DUI classes or education of the young in the nature of alcoholism. It would appear that the millions which have been spent on stopping smoking have actually paid off; and the efforts to inform kids about alcoholism and drunks has not been emphasized enough. (5) A parent who brings a child up believing in God and urging the child to live a life obedient to God’s precepts is using the best weapon. Cautioning against or informing about excessive drinking seems unlikely to deter the risk taking that goes part and parcel with growing up–warning signs ignored, cessation put on the shelf, temptation, and the pleasure that drinking brings for a time, the strange insanity that sets in once a person is hooked, slippery people and slippery places, and some anatomical and psychological education ought to be helpful. There are many religious people who regard alcoholism as a sin. And excessive drinking is surely proscribed by the Bible. Originally, AAs held the same view. But the idolatry and shunning of the Bible in recovery today has put “sin” on the shelf among most recovery leaders.
In closing: I don’t pose as an expert. I do pose as an ex-drunk who has been cured. I did renounce liquor on April 21, 1986 after I suffered endless misery. I did and do rely on God for help. I did learn to tell the devil and his mignons to take a hike when a threat appeared. I do spend an immense amount of time uncovering for an increasingly secularized A.A. and 12-Step movement the great successes that A.A. originally achieved when it espoused the simple program of abstinence, giving one’s life to God, eliminating sinful conduct, growing in understanding of God through prayer and Bible and Christian literature, and giving a bundle of time to helping others. To the extent that people do not do these things today and yield to temptation, they can easily slip into the euphoria of drugs and booze and cast caution to one side.
Keep working with your daughter; and if my views have appeal, I have published 46 books and over 1700 articles on the history of A.A. and the Christian Recovery Movement; and I hope you spend some time seeing the value of that information. Meanwhile, thanks again for writing. Call me any time.
Richard G. Burns, J.D., CDAAC
Author and A.A. historian, retired attorney, Bible student (pen name “Dick B.”)
46 published titles & over 1,450 articles on A.A. history and the Christian Recovery Movement
Exec. Dir., International Christian Recovery Coalition
Christian Recovery Resource Centers – Worldwide
Christian Recovery Radio
PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837
Ps 118:17 (NJB):
I shall not die, I shall live to recount the great deeds of Yahweh.
From: Susan. . .
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 10:27 AM
Subject: A great alcohol abuse resource
My daughter, Mary, is at the age where she’s getting invited to parties and I know she’ll be surrounded by teen drinking at some point. I’ve started talking to her about alcohol abuse, drunk driving, peer pressure, etc. and have been using the resources on your page (http://www.dickb.com/links.shtml) quite a bit. You have some really good information – thanks!
Since we have some alcoholism in our family history, I really wanted her to be educated on the topic. I had her do some research of her own and she ended up coming across this article (http://www.sandiegoduiattorneynow.com/understanding-alcohol-abuse/). When she showed it to me I found it to be very useful and convenient…there’s a bunch of resources for teens and it discusses what alcohol abuse is, signs, effects, getting help and how to help a loved one. She learned a lot!
We wanted to share it with you as a thank you and thought it would make a great addition to your page. I think others will find the information useful and spreading awareness like this could even end up saving a life. It’s really given me some peace of mind that I’ve started the conversation with my daughter and I hope it continues 🙂 Let me know if you get a chance to add it – we’d be thrilled!
Susan (and Mary)