DEAR ABBY: I have been meaning to write to you for a very long time. I'm not interested in a reply. This is a thank-you note.
Eleven years ago, the following piece was published in your column. I had just taken the first step regarding "doing something" about my drinking. At that time, I was a 49-year-old woman, and honestly admitting that I had a problem with alcohol was extremely difficult.
Initially, this poem is what kept me going back to AA. I had been a prisoner, doing hard time in the high-walled prison of alcoholism.
I still have the original, almost worn-out copy from your column. It's been printed and reprinted (not for monetary gain) many, many times. I can't begin to tell you how many of us it has helped.
Perhaps it's time for you to do a rerun.
Thank you! -- ALCOHOLIC IN RECOVERY, NO NAME, ANY TOWN, DATE OF SOBRIETY: JULY 16, 1985
DEAR RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC: Congratulations on your continuing sobriety. I agree, the poem is well worth repeating.
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk rejection.
To place your dreams before the crowd is to risk ridicule.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To go forward in the face of overwhelming odds is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave. He has forfeited his freedom.
Only a person who dares to risk is free.