Narnialcoholics Anonymous

By Tomas L.

Sometimes, allegories and metaphors derail like invisible elephants in a porcelain shop. But there is no way to break an omelet without aiming for an egg in the stars when you take your first step on a thousand-mile journey, so here it is:

I felt a bit puzzled when I came home from the meeting. Compared to the week before, I felt absolutely wonderful, but a bit puzzled. A whole week sober, that was amazing by my standards. It felt like AA was the right thing for me—but there was something about that God business that didn’t quite make sense. 

Spiritual but not religious. But there is One who has all power – that One is God. But it is a God as I understand Him, so it is not necessarily religious. I guess you can see it that way, but it seemed peculiar to me that they read the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the meeting. I’m pretty sure that prayer comes from the Bible. But apparently, the Bible is not necessarily Christian or religious. I was sober after all, so I decided to leave it be and try to do something useful.

That box in the back of the wardrobe… I was not sure if the bottle of vodka was still in the box, or if I drank it during my last binge. I had tried to not think of it, but I knew I had to get rid of the bottle if it was still in that old booze box in the wardrobe.

I started feeling very peculiar when I went into the wardrobe. Voices? Was that the smell of coffee? Suddenly, I can’t explain or recall exactly how, I found myself standing at a table with a coffee pot. It seemed the only sensible thing to do was to pour myself a cup.
”Welcome”, someone said. ” Is it your first meeting?”

I mumbled something illegible.

”Well, if you have a drinking problem, you’ve come to the right place. This is Narnialcoholics Anonymous.”

I was too confused to do anything but sit down on a chair. It was a meeting, somehow very familiar and yet different. There was much talk of a higher power, and most of the group chose to call their higher power Communism. Oddly, there was nothing political about Communism. I talked to an old-timer after the meeting, and he explained it to me.

”You can choose your own conception of Communism. Or Socialism if you prefer, some do that. Some of us are politicians, but there’s really nothing political about Narnialcoholics Anonymous. If you want to express your socialist solidarity to a doorknob, that’s just fine.”
”That bit about ’There is but One way to Socialism – Class Struggle!’…”

”Drinking made us a pitiful class of alcoholics. You need to struggle to overcome your addiction. So there needs to be class struggle to get sober and stay sober. Nothing political about that. And you can choose your own conception of Socialism. Or Communism.”

”And that song we sang at the end of the meeting. The Internationale…”

”Oh, that’s not a political song. It’s just a way to show our solidarity to the group consciousness. A tradition, sort of a team building thing if you will. But the lyrics are obviously about alcoholism. ’Of the past let us make a clean slate, enslaved masses, stand up, stand up.’ No more wishy-washy nonsense about drinking a bit less, you need to make a clean slate and not take that first drink. Sobriety liberates you from the slavery under alcohol, so you can stand up and get a decent life. I can go on if you like, but we don’t mean it in a political way. It says so in our preamble, that we’re not political.”

My head was spinning with thoughts as I left the meeting and somehow found my way back to my wardrobe behind the coffee pot. The book they gave me answered more of my questions, especially a chapter called We Liberals. It explained how those of us who thought we were liberals, conservatives or social democrats can let go of our prejudice and find our own understanding of Communism. It feels like I’m starting to see things clearer now. I am starting to have more faith in a Power greater than myself. A Higher Power, that I choose to call Karl Marx, that can restore me to sanity. To, or was it from sanity?

God bless the revolution, comrades! (I mean that in a completely non-religious and non-political way.)


About the Author

Tomas L. is from Gothenburg, Sweden where he is active in several AA groups. He is interested in starting a secular AA meeting in his city. To learn more about Tomas, listen to his podcast here.

Artwork

The artwork used for this article was created by moddb.com and the original can be found at their website.

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  1. Dennis Thompson July 4, 2018 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    “Practice these principles in all our affairs”. Great idea- massively misunderstood. “ Principles “ can only be expressed( practiced) in action. This actually means what it says! When I am not “ in action “ , I am “ in my head”( in my thinking). I have a thinking problem- that is not cureable. Just because I’m not “drinking” ( using- acting out, etc), does not mean I’m “ ok”. When I’m not “ working it”, it’s not working! If I’m not in action, I’m not practicing principles. It is simple, just difficult. Keep doing it!!!

  2. Gerald July 4, 2018 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    My kind of smart alec. Thanks!

  3. John Huey July 4, 2018 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Great Piece Tomas..

    My years in Moscow got to me too..

    • John S July 4, 2018 at 3:54 pm Reply

      Cool. I will check this out.

  4. Pat N. July 4, 2018 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Great! Don’t forget the pictures of our founders, Marx and Lenin, on the walls of the meeting room. But we’re anonymous.

  5. Thomas Brinson July 4, 2018 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Thanks for a fascinating little story with your tongue rapidly alternating in both cheeks . . . 😉

     

  6. huti uguku July 4, 2018 at 8:30 am - Reply

    I love the story. I had to look up Narni, however. Is that a Swedish/European thing?

    • Tomas L July 4, 2018 at 10:29 am Reply

      It refers to Narnia by CS Lewis. Some kids go into a wardrobe and wind up in a macic land.

      • John S July 4, 2018 at 10:31 am Reply

        That’s what I thought. Very clever, Tomas. I love this essay and your use of satire to point out some of the hypocrisy in AA.

  7. Dennis Thompson July 4, 2018 at 6:58 am - Reply

    Eggs Ackley.

    • Tomas L July 4, 2018 at 6:14 pm Reply

      Thanks! It sometimes frustrates me that we can be so poor at “practicing these principles in all our affairs”. Denial should be a very familiar concept to any sober alcoholic, and we should have learned from the First Step that it can be a very bad thing. So how about denying that the Lord’s Prayer is a Christian prayer? You might think that it would take an active alcoholic to muster that force of denial, but there seems to be quite a few sober alkies who seem to think that the Bible has nothing particular to do do with Christianity. I would much prefer to get rid of my denial than to trade it for a new set of lies, but that’s me. 😉

      • Tomas L July 4, 2018 at 6:27 pm Reply

        My computer is being a bit savage and belligerent – that was a reply to John S above. But thank you too, Dennis. 🙂

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