We love the name of our treatment center. The term Jaywalker comes from page 37 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous; it’s a story we affectionately know as the “Jaywalker Parable.”
The story is succinct and real to anyone in the recovery community: Addiction is characterized by a cunning and powerful mental obsession that leads us back to drinking or using once again, always somehow expecting a more manageable outcome.
The Jaywalker Parable drives home the underlying truth that by itself, “self knowledge avails us nothing…” Addiction is not a moral issue, nor is recovery an abstract concept or idea – the solution to our problem is based on a practical program of action.
Our mission at Jaywalker Lodge is to help such “Jaywalkers” recover completely from drug and alcohol addiction.
The Jaywalker Parable: “Our behavior is as absurd and incomprehensible with respect to the first drink as that of an individual with a passion, say, for jay-walking. He gets a thrill out of skipping in front of fast-moving vehicles. He enjoys himself for a few years in spite of friendly warnings. Up to this point you would label him as a foolish chap having queer ideas of fun. Luck then deserts him and he is slightly injured several times in succession. You would expect him, if he were normal, to cut it out. Presently he is hit again and this time has a fractured skull. Within a week after leaving the hospital a fast-moving trolley car breaks his arm. He tells you he has decided to stop jay-walking for good, but in a few weeks he breaks both legs.
On through the years this conduct continues, accompanied by his continual promises to be careful or to keep off the streets altogether. Finally, he can no longer work, his wife gets a divorce and he is held up to ridicule. He tries every known means to get the jay-walking idea out of his head. He shuts himself up in an asylum, hoping to mend his ways. But the day he comes out he races in front of a fire engine, which breaks his back. Such a man would be crazy, wouldn’t he?
You may think our illustration is too ridiculous. But is it? We, who have been through the wringer, have to admit if we substituted alcoholism for jay-walking, the illustration would fit us exactly. However intelligent we may have been in other respects, where alcohol has been involved, we have been strangely insane. It’s strong language – but isn’t it true?…” (from Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 37).