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OF SARAH, Vol. 18: 21, Jan., Feb., 1990
YOU WANT TO GET WELL?"
by Mary Snow
you want to get well?" Jesus asked the long-term invalid
the pool of Bethesda (John 5:6). Newcomers to Alcoholics
are often asked, "Are you serious about stopping drinking?
willing to go to any lengths to stay sober?" Strange
Wouldn't a paralyzed person want to be healed? Doesn't an
long to be free of addiction?
only about half of the alcoholics introduced to A.A. sober
up at once, and hundreds of thousands leave A.A. and die
Further, though it is estimated that 20 percent of American
alcoholics are female, only a small fraction of them seek
is it so difficult for women to recover from alcohol
addiction (or food or relationship addictions for that matter)?
Studies have identified some barriers to entry and completion
alcohol treatment programs for women: inability to find
financial limitations, lack of family support, among others.
thousands who have received treatment, even with the support
A.A., fail to sustain sobriety. What is wrong? Doesn't the
addict want to get well?
propose that one problem for women is their lack of self
esteem. Men generally tend to have better self-images than
Therefore women addicts generally have even less self-respect
second step in the Twelve Step program is, "We came
believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore
sanity." However, in light of a woman's low self-esteem,
may not be in accepting a power greater than herself. There
many! Instead it may lie in her sense of unworthiness to
at all. Would an alcoholic woman have been among those with
faith to "impose" upon Jesus to be healed? Not
five years free of my addiction in a Twelve Step program,
I was overwhelmed by guilt and self-loathing. I thought
I needed to
go back again to the Fifth Step, "admitting to God,
to myself, and
to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs."
confessed what I believed were the worst of my sins to an
Episcopalian priest who was knowledgeable about the program.
I bared my soul to her, she asked, "Do you believe
lovable?" In all honesty, I replied, "no."
she said, "is the first sin you have told me."
She talked to me about my system and God's system. My system
was one of continual self-hate and self-punishment, placing
in negative situations. God's system on the other hand,
is one of
continual love and forgiveness. My system obviously wasn't
maybe God's system would.
four years later, I am totally convinced that the sin
that threatens to stand between me and the full healing
God's love is to believe that I am unlovable. I pray daily
dignity, self-respect, and self-confidence. There are times
must make a conscious effort to love myself as God loves
me, but I
do it. I do it because I want to be whole.