Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Helping Hand

Alcoholics Anonymous has been helping people stay sober since 1935. (Not all people, of course. About 95% drop out before the first year.)

But of those who stay, a new study has found that their chances of remaining sober are helped by ... helping others. It's an official part of the program and it's called 'AA-related Helping.'

AAH includes public outreach programs, sharing personal stories with other addicts and acts of good citizenship.  Any A.A. member is free to become a helper, too. There are no restrictions regarding how long you have to serve or how long you've been sober. You just have to lend a helping hand - and it'll help you stay sober, too.

Dr. Maria Pagano of Case Western Reserve University was the researcher who found that adults in A.A. were more likely to abstain if they engaged in AAH activities. And recently, she conducted an experiment on 200 adolescent addicts and found that younger people are more likely to stay sober if they're helping others, too.

I've never been to an A.A. meeting, but I often think of going to one to tell people about cleansing. After all, if the vast majority of new members drop out before a year, there must be lots of people in those meetings teetering on the brink of a relapse. And I believe a more moderate approach to treatment - like cleansing - could help those individuals get their lives back ... without having to abstain forever. I could picture myself handing out Ms. Functional cards and saying: "Hey! If you're happy sober and it's easy for you, congrats! But if you're worried it ain't gonna work for you, try this!"

Of course, then I have these images of a room full of sober people throwing cookies, cigarette packs and empty styrofoam cups at me, hissing and booing until I slink out of the room. Because there's one thing A.A. people don't like ... and that's people who encourage drinking.

Of course, Ms. Functional encourages healthier drinking. Not alcohol abuse. I think everyone - even people without a problem - should be aware of the effects of alcohol and how to avoid uncontrollable addiction.

Speaking of which, I've got another 28-day cleanse coming up in about a month. (The exact start date is TBA because some travel plans that are up in the air.)

Knowing the cleanse is coming up doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I'm starting to feel 'ready' to cleanse. I'm actually looking forward to it. Because I know how great it makes me feel and that it keeps me happy and healthy. Once you've started cleansing, you realize it actually is 'fun' to be with yourself sober for four weeks. It becomes a really special time of year.

It seems crazy to me that I'm actually looking forward to not drinking for a month. Ten years ago - and for many years before that - I couldn't picture even one day without a drink. Let alone twenty-eight in a row. But that's how much cleansing has helped me. It's given me back control. And I think it could help others, too.

Speaking of a helping hand, here's someone else who likes to help out.  Eek! The Cat. Eek was a 90s cartoon I used to watch on Saturday mornings (hungover) while the hubs slept in bed beside me. Twenty years later, we still love quoting Eek.

Especially his most famous line ... "It never hurts to help." :) Here's a little peek at Eek!