Asking the Why Question

luminoussunriseI was in a discussion group of non-alcoholic folks the other day.  The topic for the discussion was asking the “Why” question along the lines of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and so forth.  All of the questions focused on why negative stuff happens.  The leader of the group noted we tend to only ask the question why bad things happen.  The negative focus struck me as odd. For the past 10 years or so, the “Why Me?” thought has been in my head as well.  In fact, I have a half-formed series of essays for a book I had already titled – “Why Me?”  But the “Why Me?” I had been thinking about was asking why I have been blessed with now over 30 years of sobriety through the 12-Step recovery process of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I am reasonably new to the discussion group of folks and wondered if I was somehow missing the point.  I hesitated at first, but then I decided to speak.  I noted how fortunate I considered myself, when noting that the success rate in addiction recovery is notoriously poor.  I continued about how I knew recovery had nothing to do with intelligence or even an objective need – there were plenty of smart people who were dying of the alcoholism.

I like the odd person out.  Only one other person out of 20 commented along a similar positive line, and noted their activity in an Alanon Program.

On reflection 24-hours later, I am more convinced than ever of the correctness of answering the question in the affirmative as well.  I certainly don’t want to dismiss my co-participants as somehow only dwelling on the negative, but giving priority to the positive is an incredible gift I have been given in recovery.  For that I am grateful.

5 thoughts on “Asking the Why Question

  1. Maybe it’s a glass half full thing or a recovery thing, but I also don’t know if I believe the statistics. Isn’t it supposed to be 10% who stay in recovery? that always seemed low to me. No matter, we’re lucky beyond belief.

    • Not certain on the stats either. I know the cohort I went through detox with, after six months out, there were only 2 of us still sober out of 40. Not a good rate, regardless. But yes, the gratitude for the program is beyond immense.

      • When I think of how many sober bloggers I met starting out and who are still sober, it’s a lot if not most. Same for the sober in-person folks I still keep in touch with from meetings. Not all, but most. With the bloggers, there could be a number of explanations. It’s a larger sampling and doesn’t take into account those that dropped off (that I don’t know if they stayed sober or drank). I know it wasn’t your point, just always found the statistics interesting.

      • I agree re the bloggers and even folks who I know from meetings. It seems to a large extent it is either folks get active right away or relapse. It’s not that difficult to do the “dry drunk” routine for a while, and then relapse. Something I did lots of times. But when I went through detox, made a firm commitment to move forward, was very active in recovery, and got a few years of sobriety in, the obsession or really pretty much even the thought of drugs or alcohol were gone.

        I am curious too if when I got sober back in the mid-1980s, insurance companies were paying for 30-day detox programs at will and I wonder if there was not a lot more court-ordered attendance of AA meetings in the past. It seems when I chaired meetings back then, there would always be two or three folks who would come up to get their slips signed saying they had attended for court purposes. Once the legal mandate was no longer there, the attendance went away too. And then there is the argument that AA is the problem, and that is a whole different can of worms, which I personally don’t buy, but another rabbit hole to go down . . .

      • All good points. You’re probably right about the court ordered link, though maybe more people in general get to AA now compared to 30 years ago? I remember taking a survey at a meeting in my first month but never again so I wouldn’t have shown up as “still sober”. As for AA being a problem, there are many other options available, and no pressure to stay if you’re happier elsewhere (my own experience).

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