THE BLOTTO EFFECT
The stories and memories contained in my memoir Blotto have been swirling around in my head for over thirty years. Some of these tales I’ve shared at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, others I’ve told family and friends. Organizing these thoughts, reviewing the experiences of a lifetime and then putting them down in black and white, has been a real joy, a true labor of love.
As people who practice journaling are aware, there can be something therapeutic, even magical about transferring their thoughts into the written word. That has been my experience. In addition, the possibility that when publicized, these words have the potential to affect others in a positive way, by inspiring, teaching, providing identification, or simply entertaining, is icing on the cake.
Blotto was published only a few weeks ago, but already I’ve heard from a number of people who have read the book and been inspired by it. Particularly gratifying to me is the fact that all of these people are non-alcoholics. Although one of my main goals in writing this book was to reach and hopefully help those dealing with alcoholism and addiction, I also hoped that it would not speak exclusively to alcoholics, that it might have a broader appeal. Problems encountered living life and the solutions to those problems are not exclusive to AA. These are human problems. The principles that AA espouses are universal, and anyone can benefit from their practice. The difference for the person trying to get and stay sober is that he or she has to practice these principles or return to a life of “incomprehensible demoralization.”
Alcoholism is known as a disease of loneliness, but that doesn’t mean only alcoholics are lonely. For everyone, a life lived entirely alone is seldom satisfying. And the alcoholic discovers that it is virtually impossible to stay sober alone. Most people thrive on human interaction, connection, support, and identification. Alcoholics, particularly, need to know that they are not alone.
A failed stockbroker and a down-on-his-luck proctologist met in Akron, Ohio in 1935. Two men who simply could not stop drinking. At the time, there was no effective treatment for alcoholism. These men found that by sharing their stories with one another, and especially by carrying their message to others whose lives were being destroyed by alcohol and could not stop drinking, they were able to stay sober. These two men, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous, which currently has over two million members. I am one of those members. My hope is that my memoir Blotto can be a small part of the effort to continue the carrying of Bill and Bob’s message, to alcoholics and anyone interested in a better life.