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Friday, October 22, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 44

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Where have all the alcoholics gone?

By Duy Dao

Every Wednesday afternoon for the past two semesters, there has been an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. I know this may not seem like much of a concern for the average student.

For those who have to deal with alcoholism/drug addiction on a daily basis, however, it is a matter of importance. I am writing in response to a friend, whose identity I will keep confidential. Let us call him Al B. Sober for narrative purposes.

His concern is the lack of attendance at the weekly meetings. He pointed out that there used to be at least six or eight students attending the meetings weekly, but the numbers decreased as each semester went by. With the exception of some blind guy and his seeing-eye dog, the attendance was nil.

My first response was to assume that some of them graduated, but he informed me that many of them are still on the UH campus.

I reasoned that some of these students were unable to attend due to their conflicting class schedules. Not everyone can show up on Wednesday afternoons at that particular time, and I fully understand. I also figured that if the students were really concerned about their sobriety, they would keep Wednesday afternoons free when signing up for classes during the semester.

I looked at the big picture and figured that it made sense that if only one recovering alcoholic showed up, it gives hope to some newcomer who may be reluctant to ask for help.

Al B. Sober went to school the following semester to find out the meetings convened at the Catholic Center instead of the A.D. Bruce Religion Center. This time, no "blind guy" was there, and attendance was sparse. Again, I do not know much about AA, but I think it would make sense to have at least one person carry the meeting each week.

According to Al B. Sober, the program offers a 12-step program that guides a person through his or her recovery. The 12th step states, "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to other alcoholics and to practice these principles in all of our affairs."

This step especially emphasizes the need for people with multiple years of sobriety to sponsor newcomers and to be available for those who may feel the need to take a drink. The way I look at it, some people on campus have not touched a drink in years, but are still practicing the same behavior that got them that way in the first place.

I don't mean to be an AA guru, but I have heard this saying: "Faith without work is dead." It simply means that recovery is based on sharing your experience, strength and hope with a fellow alcoholic.

If you lose that ambition, you have forgotten that you, too, were in their shoes once. Someone must have cared enough about you that they were willing to find time in their busy schedules to save you.

My message to you all (wherever you may be) is, stop being so self-absorbed and remember the AA singleness of purpose.

You did everything in your power to get that last drink at 1:59 a.m. when the bars were closing, but if you really cared, you would be over at the Catholic Center for one measly hour to give hope to others.

Listen, Al B. Sober. I cannot offer too much advice on this matter, but listen closely. Don't bother picking up a Daily Cougar for AA announcements. Look up AA Intergroup in the Yellow Pages.

Take the Capital Metro 42 bus downtown and hit a meeting elsewhere. Maybe you'll run into that blind guy again, and perhaps he'll give you more direction on how to find a meeting on campus.


 
Duy Dao, a senior media production major,
can be reached at Dweevil@hotmail.com.
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