Billiette Calling! Fun In Your Little Brown Jug

AA FROM THE WOMAN’s SIDE

Fun In Your Little Brown Jug by Billiette S.

What fun can you have now that you can’t drink anymore? Gee, Billie, it’s too bad you’re an alcoholic – no more fun and games.  They feel sorry for me – I feel sorry for them, for it is a lonesome old road they’re traveling. If you are looking for fun out of life, then you will find it in the little brown jug. Isn’t it fun to have a few “high balls” so that you can make love to someone else’s spouse and destroy a few marriages and families? Isn’t it fun to “role out of the barrel” so you can perform as a clown? Have another drink, Billie, so you can be funny. Isn’t she fun? The life of the party! People aren’t laughing with you my friend – they are laughing at you. And, when the party is over, you are left alone, because there is nothing worse than a drunken clown! Who wants you now? Isn’t it fun to wake up in the morning wishing you were dead? Your head is bursting with pain as it hangs over the ‘john’. There goes all your fun down the drain. What you need now is another ‘high ball’ when you feel as if a ‘low ball’ has just hit you in the gut…

   Isn’t it fun to have a ‘few’ so you can fight, argue and hate making life miserable for your children and for those who listen to your ‘fun’. Isn’t it fun to lose your job, your family, your friends, to be alone in the world – just you and your little brown jug?

   Isn’t it fun to wake up to the fact that you killed a man because you had to have ‘one’ more for the road? Man – that’s fun? Isn’t it fun to find yourself in jail or the state hospital, or in the gutter with cars whizzing by you, avoiding you as if you were a stray dog with rabies? That’s living? – Yep, that’s the fun one finds in the little brown jug!  Fun in the little brown jug. You may call it fun, but when the bell tolls you, you will look at all the fun you had and discover it wasn’t fun but tragedy in your little brown jug.

   Fun! What fun is Billie having now? I threw away my little brown jug that was full of so much fun. I no longer have to seek fun for I have found joy. The joy of living each day, the joy of being alive, the joy of accomplishing the tasks set before me, the joy of my children, the joy of my many friends, but most of all the joy of God who helps me to carry the ‘message’ that there is joy in being a recovering alcoholic. Billiette S. June 1971

Receiving Billiette’s Call – Fun In Your Little Brown Jug

Billiette begins with the fundamental issue facing every alcoholic, “What fun can I have now that I am not drinking anymore?” She also provides us with an essential image of ‘the drinker’ – that of a stud with a jug slung up onto his out-starched elbow as s/he gups down its brown booze. What can I possibly find interesting to talk or do with a group of non-drinkers? Can we imagine an evening at the Elks without booze! Boring! However, Billie is quick to remind us that “there is nothing worse than a drunken clown! Who wants you now? Isn’t it fun to wake up in the morning wishing you were dead? Your head is bursting with pain as it hangs over the ‘john’.” Stop and let this sink in – just thinking about is gives me a headache!

Billiette studied Victor Frankel’s logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy that searches for a meaningful life as the central human motivational force.[3] Logotherapy is part of existential and humanistic psychology theories following in the footsteps of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler but not exactly.[4] Victor’s best-selling book is his autobiographical Man’s Search for Meaning, which is based on his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. A Library of Congress survey found Victor’s book belongs to the list of “the ten most influential books in the United States.”[1] At the time of Victor’s death in 1997, the book had sold 10 million copies and had been translated into 24 languages (Wikipedia). So, what is Victor’s central message for everyone and especially AA members stuck tightly in brown mud?   Victor’s psychotherapeutic method, involves identifying a purpose in our lives to feel positive about, and then immersively imagining that outcome. Immersive imagination is what we need to understand and live – this is the issue we are hiding inside our brown jugs. According to Victor, “the way a prisoner imagines the future affected his longevity”. The book intends to answer this question, “How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner?” Part One is Frankl’s analysis of his experiences in concentration camps, while part two introduces his ideas of meaning and theory called logotherapy, which Billie addresses in her column. We can also begin to understand logotherapy by defining immersion journalism, which is the style journalists use – immersing themselves in a situation, with the people involved. This is the experiential learning process of a successful writer and an AA member set on recovering. A recovering AA member is an experiential writer and acts on the following suggestions.

The following list of tenets represents Frankl’s basic principles of Logotherapy:

  • Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
  • Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.
  • We have inalienable freedom to find meaning.

We can find meaning in life in three different ways:

  • by creating a work or doing a deed;
  • by experiencing something or encountering someone;
  • by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. (Wikipedia)

Reflecting on these three different ways of finding meaning in life, using your computer or pen, write about the meaning you see in your life!  Do what is called “free-writing” just write not stopping to correct spelling or punctuation. We are interested in your ideas on finding meaning in your life!

Steven S. February 2, 2022  

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