DAVID R. ANSELM, JR.
January 14, 2002
It never occurred to me how out of control my life had become, until one afternoon I was on my way to a tent revival meeting and saw a young woman wearing white after Labor Day. I called her a commie, tree hugging, pinko, leftist democrat and suggested she pack her knee pads and head to Arkansas.
Then it dawned on me that I had hit bottom, and my life was out of control. I started to sweat and thought, "Lord, what can I do? How can I restore sanity into my life?"
Later, I realized I had taken the first step, by admitting I was powerless over republicanism, and had to join the "rabid rightness" chapter of GOP anonymous.
The meetings were held in church basements and usually were not that crowded. Of course, I later found out that the recovery rate was low and many reverted back to their hard-line stance. I was determined to be a Republicans Anonymous success story. It looked like a simple twelve step program, and I thought it would be very easy. After all, I was a republican. But, taking those steps proved to be a real challenge.
Here they are :
Step One. We admitted we were powerless over republicanism and our lives had become unmanageable.
Step Two. We came to believe that a power greater than Dr. Laura could restore us to sanity.
Step Three. We made a decision to turn our lives over to a higher power than Dubya
Step Four. We made a fearless moral inventory of ourselves and only of ourselves.
Step Five. We admitted to our higher power, to ourselves, and to one hapless human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step Six. We became entirely ready to have a higher power remove these defects of character, without a sacrificial chicken, excessive blame, or bloodletting.
Step Seven. We humbly asked a higher power than OPEC to remove these defects of character, and suggested a strong need for the “Jaws of Life” for this task.
Step Eight. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. At least as many as humanly possible, after all, there are only twenty-four hours to a day (and we are not Moses on a mission).
Step Nine. We continue to take "only" our own moral inventory and when we are wrong promptly, and without the threat of violence, admit it.
Step Ten. We continue to seek, through prayer, meditation, and without Rush Limbaugh, to improve our conscious contact with our higher power, as we understood it, and to improve our general dispositions over all, in order to live peacefully with other people.
Step Eleven. We integrate these experiences into our daily lives, and strive daily to "just get over it all ready," as if it were a Florida election.
Step Twelve. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these twelve steps, we try to carry the message of hope to other suffering GOP addicts, and without intimidation, violence, postulation, black mail, or mob grandstanding, we offer our help.
The first months were difficult for me, and it is still hard sometimes to not blame Bill Clinton for every problem in my life. But I struggle through "One day at a time." Many of my so-called friends have stopped associating with me because of this change, but I have come to accept it as a good thing and they would have impeded my recovery.
With all of the time and donation money I have saved since I stopped supporting the GOP, I will either solve the national deficit problem and take a nice vacation or retire.
I can only tell you how hard it was for me, the first time I walked into a room and said, "My name is Tammy-Faye, and I am a republican addict." And just for today, I will lead a full, happy, and surprisingly less stress-filled life as a recovering GOPer. I will spend my life only worrying about my own morality and not attempting to enforce it on society as martial law.
It is nice to realize that life is fraught with problems, but Bill Clinton alone is not responsible for all of them. It is a relief to not have to force myself to say W is a great leader or think of Texas as America's holy land. I am even starting to think each vote really should count in an election, and the constitution is not our enemy.
My story is just one of hundred's of thousands who have bravely forsaken the personal moral pedestal and overt sense of false superiority, to seek a life as an American who can think, question, and freely express their own individual opinion once again without the fear of internment camp, social isolation, physical harm, or public retribution (which is freeing).
This is a message of hope, for the millions who suffer daily with the countless hours of making excuses for Karl Rove's and Karen Hughes ' latest screw ups or W's tragic abuses of the English language.
Many people have gone on to actually take up hobbies or see movies. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Here is the serenity prayer, which is spoken as a group, usually at the close of each meeting. Many RAA's emboss it and keep it on them at all times.
“God grant me the
serenity to accept
the things I cannot dominate, control, and own, the courage to change
the channel on Rush and develop my own thoughts, the brains to recognize
a smart leader, and an idiot, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”