Christine Beck
Christine Beck is a writer and college teacher. She is a published poet of works such as “Blinding Light,” and “Stirred, not Shaken.” She works with writers in 12-step recovery in regular workshops called Recovery Writers. Sober for 12 years in AA and a member of Al Anon as well as Adult Children of Alcoholics, she believes alcoholism is a family disease and that writing our stories is an important tool in recovery. Her website is www.ChristineBeck.net.

What is your Vision Plan for Recovery as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic? – Christine Beck

Adult Children of Alcoholics’ first promise states that “We will discover our real identities [our True Self] by loving and accepting ourselves.” Many of the other promises contain qualities that our True Self will attain, such as being playful and fun or learning how to be both vulnerable and intimate. These and other program promises sound wonderful, but how do we attain them? For me, the answer is much more than going to meetings and working the steps.  I need to carry program principles into specific actions in every area of my life, including my work, family and relationships. And I need to write down action steps, to keep myself accountable. I looked at my life and wrote a personal vision statement for how to become my True Self in ACA, but also at home, with family and friends and with the work I do in the world: I will… Continue reading

How to Stop Drinking – By Christine Beck

No point in telling yourself that Chardonnay tastes like Windex. It doesn’t. It tastes like walking under waterfalls, like sinking backwards into bed with the guy you flirted with at the bar. It smells like a necklace made of daisy chains or the waft of Queen Anne’s lace on a summer Sunday. It always has. It always will. Even the fourth or fifth glass (and that, of course is the problem) tastes just as good as the first. Don’t try aversion therapy. Even if they showed you livers corroded into cardboard, like those stone-black lungs of tiny Chinese men splayed open in an exhibit called  ]“Bodies Revealed,” you wouldn’t stop. Face it, some smokers don’t get lung cancer. Some drinkers have livers pink as kittens’ tongues. You know that will be you. The one that gets away with it. You didn’t get caught—no DWI, no blackout at the kids’ concert.… Continue reading

If you dislike the words “character defects,” consider “traits.” – By Christine Beck

    What’s Wrong with ME? The purpose of the 6th and 7th steps in 12-step recovery is to uncover “character defects” and to pray to remove these defects.  I have two issues with this. First, the word “defect” sounds as if there is something wrong with me, something I think or do that is my fault. Second, defect sounds as if it is all wrong, no part of the defect is worth saving.  I’d like to offer a different perspective on both ideas. In working the program of Adult Children of Alcoholics, I’ve learned the word “traits” for those habits of thought and action that were ingrained in me as a response to growing up in the chaos, dysfunction, and emotional abandonment that any child who grew up that way will develop as a survival strategy.  When I read the “Laundry List Traits” of 14 characteristics of an Adult… Continue reading

Eight Daily Practices for Recovery – by Christine Beck

I believe that alcoholism is a family disease.  My father was an alcoholic, one of those unfortunates who never found recovery and died destitute and homeless at the age of 50.  I swore I’d never become an alcoholic, but at the age of 50 myself, my two glasses of wine had become 4 or 5 and I wanted to “cut back.” I tried. I couldn’t.  I also swore I’d never marry an alcoholic, but I did.  When I found the Laundry List of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA), I learned adult children marry alcoholics or become alcoholic.  That’s what we do.  Not “bad or wrong;” it just “comes with the package.” So today I need three twelve-step programs to keep me sober and sane. At the risk of being over-simplistic, I can summarize the three programs this way.  AA taught me that alcohol was not my “problem.” It was my… Continue reading

Flash to Bang – By Christine Beck

“No! Are you fucking crazy?  Put that down, right now! You’ll blow us both to kingdom come!” I couldn’t believe what I saw: my husband reaching up to the chandelier above our dining table, oil can in hand, getting ready to pour oil on lighted candles.  I imagined the coming firestorm. How could he be so stupid? He froze, turned to me and in that instant, I could see that he was not about to be challenged.  The hatred in his eyes was fierce, as if I was the enemy back in Vietnam. I fled.  Ran down the front hallway and started up the stairs, glass of wine in hand, miraculously not spilled.  He caught up with me in an instant, grabbed my arm. “Don’t you walk away from me!” Normally, I’d try to placate him, calm him down, minimize the issue.  How important was it after all? Nobody got… Continue reading