Tiger Woods cheats on his wife then announces he's going into rehab. Mel Gibson lets loose expletives on a police officer then announces he's going into rehab. Racist remarks? No problem, go into rehab. Anti-gay remarks? No problem, there is a 12-step program for you. Obviously in today's society any kind of unacceptable behavior is the result of some kind of addiction. Therefore, rehab and recovery it is! What if your addiction is to drama? I see plenty of that in our local 12-step chapters.

Once upon a time AA was for people who drank and Al-Anon was the companion group for those who loved alcoholics. Why did we need a sister group you wonder. Because getting clean is a long journey. Contrary to reality TV the brain does not return to normal functioning after a mere three week stint off of alcohol or drugs. The synapses have re-routed when addicts use regularly. An minimum of two complete years off of the substance is necessary for recovery to begin. Thus in the beginning, not too much changes. We head off to our recovery group, thinking big things are in store. Our spouse and loved ones can't figure out why so many of the same issues remain. The challenge for an alcoholic or drug user to make two full years clean is enormous. Most don't succeed the first time. Their sponsor and friends will encourage them to try again and again. In this limbo time, before two full years has been completed, the addict experiences a twilight period called "dry drunk."

The dry drunks may not even be aware they are dry drunks. All they know is that it is very hard to quit and they want accolades for their effort. Never mind they still see the world through victim tinted glasses, and continue self defeating behaviors. Until they've reverted to normal brain function, therapy is kind of circular. They have an excuse or a defense for every bit of crazy drama they drum up. In my small town the drunks took over Al-Anon. Citing the description read at every meeting, these alcoholics pointed out that Al-Anon was for people whose loved ones were struggling with addiction. Drunks in AA certainly fall into that category, because all their loved ones were in AA.

It was painful to see the Al-Anon group go that direction. Gone were the days when we could speak freely about our experiences. The drunks were too busy giving testimony on their wild ways, and telling their story of how they got sober. Interrupt them at your peril. They would blandly remind you that no one else could work their program but them. I finally quit going. The last day I went I realized I was the only person at the table that was not an alcoholic.

And yet I still have questions. All I want to know about drug addicts, is why can't they love themselves? Why can't they love us? Some of them find their triggers and stay alert. Mine didn't. Mine cleaned up, moved on, kicked me to the curb. If he reached the point where they make amends, he didn't feel he owed me one. I asked him repeatedly to help me with his bills, I never asked him to help me with mine, and he never did. I wonder why he is so friendly to people he wasn't married to, and so cold to me. What did I do wrong?