The “Bucket of Crabs” is one of our favorite analogies. Pulling crabs out of traps on Kodiak Island, we’d just toss them into a big bucket – no need to put a lid on the bucket.

Why not?

Because as soon as one crab would start to climb out, the other crabs would drag him, or her, right back down into the bottom of the bucket. There’s no escape to life back in the ocean.

And that keeps happening until all of the crabs end up in the steamer.

The point?

Pick your support group with care. Most so-called alcohol support groups are, in fact, merely a bucket of crabs that will keep dragging you back down to their level. Try and escape and you’ll be warned that it’s too dangerous to get a life, or to mingle with “normies,” or grow up. It’s too dangerous to stop building your life around alcohol.

So you stay in the alcohol bucket, drinking or not, or complaining about your spouse, or parents, or children, or……

And what’s the point of all of this?

Obviously the point is to avoid actually making any real change. That’s what groups like AA and Alanon and Alateen do best, they help you maintain the “security of familiar miseries” – as we termed it 25 years ago – instead of fixing your life.

But why would you want to trade the illusory security of the crab bucket for an actual life out in the real world?

Remember, despite all of the con men and hucksters, alcohol abuse is a choice and you are free – not powerless – to make a different choice at any time. If you’re the spouse, parent, or child of an alcohol abuser, you are also free to make choices, including the choice to get a life of your own. Not a life focused around another’s alcohol abuse.

You can always choose to be recovered, not in crippling, life-denying, “recovery.” You can choose to be an ex-drinker just as many of us are ex-smokers. You can also choose to be someone who used to waste you life on a drinker but got a grip, got over him or her, and got a life of your own.

Please, alcohol abuse is a choice, not a disease, and you can escape the AA/Alanon Bucket of Crabs. Don’t let the doomed continue to drag you back to share their misery and their fate.