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The Benefits of Having a
Resident Recovered Person
At Your School



-by Bill Watkins,
Alcoholic Teacher


My last education article was about establishing a first name basis with students as a way to maximize service to them.

Now, as I reflect more on the errors of my own upbringing—next to meditating on solutions:

I, more and more, see the value of schools hiring not only psychologists and social workers generally, but counselors specifically qualified for drug and alcohol issues.

The best ones, I feel, are alcoholics and addicts themselves, in recovery from their illness—and ready to talk about it.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in the 1930’s, one alcoholic talking to another.  Bill Wilson from New York and a Doctor Bob from Ohio came together, shared stories, and adapted Oxford Christian group’s Six Steps to our modern 12 Steps for recovery.

12 Steps of A.A.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


The view within AA thinking has always been that no person can fully understand or help an alcoholic better than an alcoholic in recovery.

Alcoholics know the way down, the way out, and have a unique willingness to share the depths of our problems, while those who are not admitted drunks hold back.

Holding back, hiding truth, not being fully real is a turn off for a depressed or out-of-sorts person, and professed alcoholics often can cut through formalities to root out deep-seated issues, especially if alcohol is involved.



Unadulterated truth and honesty… is the first step toward remedy in the life of an alcoholic, and maybe in our schools, as well.

Are we graduating upstanding Citizens, healthy people inside and out?

Are we tracking these students?  Do we know them well enough?

Or are we content to see some grades and a touchdown, declare a child and school fine until the next tragic incident…

One that might have been discovered with an honest drunk in recovery on board!!