I had a delightful experience last week going to see the play Bill W. and Dr. Bob at the San Jose Rep with friends. We started with a wonderful delicious and fragrant meal at a Thai restaurant. We chatted up a storm, nearly missing the curtain with our eating and visiting. Fumble-rushing out of there and across the street we made it to our seats in time to admire the fabulous stage setting and to get settled for the play. The incredible actors brought this delightful play to life as they told the story of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. The play begins in the depth of despair and ends with the forming of the first group. The torment and role of the wives was depicted realistically as well.
Let me begin by saying that I know full well that all alcoholics are as different as they are similar. That not all men drink alike, nor do they get sober alike. In fact Bill was a carouser, and Dr. Bob was a solitary drinker. They both ended up the same way; full of confusion, pain and hopelessness. They came to find healing in AA the same way: through a spiritual experience, mutual support and helping others (along with the early versions of the steps.)
I was however, struck once again how different the path to recovery can be for many women. For the most part we don’t have the “support” that provides us with meals, clean clothes, and the constant urging that we “are better than that”. Most often we do the behind the scenes work of food, shopping, cooking and so on, as well as drinking ourselves into oblivion. And yes – the food, cooking and so on become more and more perfunctory as time, and disease, go on. It is one of the ways I have found the woman’s experience can differ from the men’s.
We women in the program are used to “translating” the Big Book to be more gender neutral (and still struggle with “To the Wives”). We are grateful for the expanded examples in the back of the book in the 4th edition. I am, I know. What I would love to see is a play about the women. We have a special shame and a special course to self love and healing. Many of us find different challenges in right sizing our egos, the types of self forgiveness, and the creation of boundaries and autonomy.
I know I am going out on a limb here; and this isn’t true for all women, and I do not mean that some men don’t have a similar trajectory. I would like, though, to see struggle of the early women and the course of their rise to recovery, healing and self love.
What are your thoughts about this?
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path”, a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training she holds with her good friend Kent Bond E-RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com