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The Three Little Pigs

Many of us are familiar with the English children’s fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs.  There were three little siblings pigs that each built houses made of straw, wood, and bricks. Along came a big bad wolf that knocked successively on each home, telling the pigs to open up the door or he will blow their houses down. Naturally, the pigs don’t open the doors to their places. However, the wolf blows down the house made of straw, and then the house is made of wood. Luckily, the residing pigs managed to find refuge in the third house, which was made of brick and belonged to their brother. The wolf made his way over to the house made of brick, knowing that there were three little pigs inside, and he demanded that they open the door. The third little pig refused (while his brothers cowered in terror), and the wolf said, “Then I will huff and puff and blow your house down!” Well, it’s hard to blow down a house made of bricks, and in the end, the wolf decides to get into the house by crawling down the chimney, unaware that the third little pig has outsmarted him. The horrible wolf falls into a pot of boiling water, and the pigs eat him for dinner instead of the other way around.

Due to laziness, the first two little pigs did not build substantial houses. The third little pig worked very hard and made sure that he built a place that had a solid foundation. If we compare the story of The Three Little Pigs to Gresham’s Law and Alcoholics Anonymous, we can see an analogy between the different materials and methods that the pigs used to build their houses and various ways of working a 12-step program. And we can deduce that the wolf is a metaphor for drug addiction and alcoholism.

The three ways of working the 12-step program include a feeble way, which really amounts to not working the program at all. This could involve a person who goes to meetings but doesn’t work their steps or a person who hits a few sessions a month and manages to stay clean and sober, but according to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, suffers from being “restless, irritable and discontented.” This is a dry drunk syndrome, and it’s a miserable way of life.  A recovering alcoholic/addict who weakly works the program is like the little pig that built a house of straw! In the end, the wolf or addiction was able to blow the house down. People who ineffectively work the program are prone to relapse.

Then there are the people who work the program in a medium manner. Perhaps they go to regular meetings and have performed their steps. But other disorders might have popped up, including sexual addiction, gambling, or kleptomania. They are oblivious to these defects and still manage to stay clean and sober and consider themselves honorable members of the 12-step fellowship. Often these are the people who try to pick up newcomers at meetings or who try to use the program for their own devious motives. These people are comparable to the little pig that built a house of wood. And yes, the wolf managed to blow that house down, too!

And finally, the people who work a strong program are very similar to the little pig that toiled away and built a house made of bricks. This little pig provided refuge for his brothers and maintained serenity even when the wolf was at his door. In the end, the third little pig overcame the wolf. If we compare a person who works a strong 12-step program to that third little pig, we can ascertain that person will probably maintain their recovery while being happy and clear-headed, even when there is danger lurking around the corner.

At Cycles of Change, we offer a comprehensive 12-step approach, along with an evidence-based protocol that will help you build a strong foundation in recovery. We will teach you how to work a 12-step program the healthy way and help you learn tools that will help you find serenity, clarity, as well as lifelong sobriety.


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