An article for the November 1989 Deep Cove Crier
Back in the 1930ís, all medical doctors agreed that Alcoholism was incurable.  Then along came A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous), a self-help group of recovering alcoholics who had discovered a way to stop.  Against all the facts, all the research, all the weight of respected medical opinion, a miracle had happened.  There really was an answer for the devastating disease of alcoholism.

This October we had a non-practicing alcoholic priest come to speak to our youth group.  He told a shocking story of how his whole life had been washed down the alcoholic drain, until finally he turned to A.A.  This priest told us that through A.A., God opened up to him in a way that he never expected.  He regained his self-respect, stopped drinking, and began to rebuild his life.  Such a miracle, he said, could happen to any person struggling with alcoholic abuse.

Popular Statistics
Statistics show that the most commonly abused drug in Canada is not cocaine or heroin; itís alcohol.  Contrary to popular myth, most alcoholics are not on skid row.  Only 5 percent of the 1,300,000 Canadian alcoholics are actually found there.  B.C. residents, in particular, suffer from the effects of alcohol abuse.  In 1980 B.C. had the highest alcohol related death rate of all Provinces in Canada.  In 1983, B.C. had the highest per capita consumption of wine in Canada.  In 1985, per capita Canadian consumption was 109.7 litres (age 15 and over).  The police force has been reminding us for years that approximately 50 percent of traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.  Health and Welfare Canada has found that alcohol abuse costs Canadians $550 million per year.  All this adds up to the conclusion that we as a Nation have a problem in this area.  I am not suggesting that all consumption of alcoholic beverages is necessarily evil.  After all, did not Jesus turn water into wine?  But alcohol abuse and alcoholism are clearly serious problems that are destroying our families, our jobs, our homes, our work.  Alcoholism, left untreated, will destroy everything that we value most.

Genuine Solutions
A.A. teaches that alcoholism is a disease that, left untreated, can only get worse.  They believe that only an ex-alcoholic can really help another alcoholic.  They believe that the only real solution to alcoholism is a spiritual solution (not religious, but rather spiritual).  They are convinced that the 1st Steps to Recovery are admitting oneís total powerlessness over alcohol, and oneís need for a Power greater than ourselves.  That Greater Power, of course, is God.  If you have been affected by alcohol addiction in your family or life, I encourage you to call Alcoholics Anonymous in your local phone book.  God Bless.

The Reverend Ed Hird
Rector, St. Simonís Anglican Church, North Vancouver

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