Schooling the mind

Got an issue with someone or something? Want to whine a little? Here's the place to do it, or to get to know folks, or ask those questions that don't fit anywhere else.
Post Reply
Greywolf
Forums Contributor
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:56 pm

Schooling the mind

Post by Greywolf » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:26 am

The thread "that quick urge to drink how fast it can play with the mind' got me thinking about how I learned to manage those thoughts about drinking. Since the thrust of what I have to say has to do with schooling the mind, not the urge to drink playing with the mind, I decided to start a new thread.

I also am unaccustomed to using the word, school or schooled, in this context. So I thought the definition of schooled might be useful here. Schooled: educated or trained in a specified activity or in a particular way.

The topic is controversial enough to stir up some thoughts -- maybe even some experiences. At least I hope so.

The old beer ads used to get my attention when I saw them. Jingles from the early 60's in New England, like "Schaefers is the one beer to have when you're having more than one." still come to mind occasionally. I've ordered a Schaefers many a time with a big smile and the demand, "Give me a Schaefers. I'm having more than one." =biggrin

Over time I talked to my sponsor and others about it, feeling guilty for thinking about drinking a beer when I saw one of those ads. Some would say, "Yeah, me too. That's the point of the ad, to make you want to have one of their beers." Some would say they learned to "school their minds" to say, "That would be good but I'm not drinking today." or something similar.

I liked the honesty of saying 'that would be good' combined with the 'what's so' of the matter, I'm not drinking today. I came to AA for help confronting my drinking problem, not to sticking my head in the sand to avoid confrontation.

"This too shall pass" is another example of schooling the mind. Schooling my mind to think a different thought was one of the most beneficial aspects of my early sobriety. I view the ability to school my mind a gift from the Spirit of the Universe to be used for my survival.

Schooling the mind is work you do, not something you learn. It also it is in the domain of mental health, not spiritual awakening or spiritual growth.

Alcoholism is said to be a 3-fold disease -- physical, mental, and spiritual. Abstinence is the main treatment for the physical aspect of alcoholism. The 12-step Program of Recovery is the treatment for the spiritual aspect. Replacing unhealthy, weak and immature thoughts with healthy, strong and mature thoughts is one way of healing the mental aspect of alcoholism.

Schooling the mind is doing for ourselves what others can't do -- a vital part of treatment for the mental aspect of this disease. Or it is in my experience.

The thought, "I wouldn't have to drink if you threw me in a vat of beverage alcohol" toughened my mind up to not succumb to thoughts about drinking. When I first heard that one, I doubted I could be tossed in a vat of alcohol without drinking. Hearing other alcoholics say that and believing I too could do that schooled my mind to know I COULD be tossed in a vat of my favorite beverage and not have to drink.

Thinking back on it, I wasn't taught these things but I learned them listening to other alcoholics sharing their experience, strength and hope. Listening to sharing is an easy, comfortable way of gaining knowledge. Many lessons in the past and in the Bible in particular were taught through the sharing of parables.

You might say that I was schooled to share my experience as a way of passing on -- well, my experience -- the message referenced in How It Works. Sharing was how the message was carried to me. One alcoholic after another sharing with other alcoholics their experience strength and hope is how AA grew at such a tremendous rate before the BB was published and mass distributed. (See the Forward to the 2nd Edition for the facts and numbers.)
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.

User avatar
positrac
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1319
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by positrac » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:30 am

Interesting topic posed. I got sober finally in San Diego, Ca 1 Nov 1989. and then moved up the coast for a couple of years and the California AA back in my early years living in the state (89-92) was pretty strong and the points given the unusually liberal area I lived in after San Diego. No excuses were spoken and staying sober was not for quitters who couldn't hack getting verbally roughed up on some lame excuse about why they decided to drink again. Being hardcore doesn't mean a lot if the community as a whole is not backing it up with support and knowledge. This too shall pass was one of my most hated quotes in AA because I wanted instant gratification! Well my gratification card has been pulled and I had to go through the hard times in order to appreciate what I had at that moment in time.

Listening to the old timers I learned that if I thought my drink through from start to finish and remembered where I came from and the efforts put in to my recovery I could over come the urge. I also haven't forgotten my last drink and this is important because my last drink was hell on earth in my aftermath! When I came to AA I was broken and scared and didn't think I needed AA any of the times I had to attend (3 separate times) and this last time it stuck and over time I've learned allot.

I have had urges come at me out of the blue and they shocked me in the beginning and later on I knew exactly what to do to fend off the thoughts and they have worked for me.

One area in early sobriety was music and in particle Guns n Rose's because of the message and I drank a lot to that group and after close to 30 years some of their music is now on the radio in the "classic" category and after I heard it some years ago it did spark that thought of so many years ago. My memories are just that and I don't wish to relive those days as sometimes some of my old navy buddies talk about our adventures and it is fun to laugh and remember when.

Sobriety is what we make it and it helps to work it and learn it because we have a lot of life to live and being sober is not such a bad thing to accomplish.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5074
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:42 pm

There is a statement in the more about alcoholism chapter where it says, "We are assuming, of course, that the reader desires to stop." I would add, there is also a big difference between if the person has the deep realization that alcohol is never going to fix anything and a person with a superficial desire. For me drinking is not a solution. As I began to work the reminder of the steps, the obsession never came back. So, when I see someone drinking beer or while walking through a wine aisle, there is no temptation.

Further the book talks about whether such a person can stay sober on a spiritual (going to meetings+working the 12 steps+service work) or non-spiritual basis (just going to meetings) depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not. I know I am an alcoholic so I have to do the steps, meetings and be in service.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

Greywolf
Forums Contributor
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:56 pm

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by Greywolf » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:54 am

avaneesh912 wrote:There is a statement in the more about alcoholism chapter where it says, "We are assuming, of course, that the reader desires to stop." I would add, there is also a big difference between if the person has the deep realization that alcohol is never going to fix anything and a person with a superficial desire. For me drinking is not a solution. As I began to work the reminder of the steps, the obsession never came back. So, when I see someone drinking beer or while walking through a wine aisle, there is no temptation.

"I used to get terribly upset when I saw my friends drink and knew I could not, but I schooled myself to believe that though I once had the same privilege, I had abused it so frightfully that it was withdrawn."

Do these words sound familiar? They should. They are from the BB, Dr. Bob's Story.

Regarding the obsession, more from Dr. Bob's Story: "Unlike most of our crowd, I did not get over my craving for liquor much during the first two and one-half years of abstinence. It was almost always with me.

Through 1940 sales of the BB were very slow and of the first run of 4730 books, the publisher was storing 4000 copies that he wouldn't release without payment. Bill (according to his own words) thought about getting drunk but held off because of what he thought his getting drunk would do to the AA movement.

According to you Bill must have had a "superficial desire" instead of "a deep realization that alcohol is never going to fix anything." Yet personally he seemed to think it might since he thought of getting drunk. It was his commitment to AA that stopped Bill from drinking, and for that I will be eternally grateful. Without Bill's commitment to others finding the way to sobriety, we likely would not be having this discussion. Bill had schooled his mind to stay sober due to the fatal damage drinking would do AA.

Fortunately at this time Father Ed Dowling showed up at Bill's and Lois's room above the AA club on 24th street in New York City. Bill was depressed and consumed with self pity. Father Dowling had read the BB, noticed how closely the 12 Steps mirrored the Catholic Church’s Ignatian Exercises and wanted to talk to Bill about other uses of the 12 steps besides recovery from alcoholism.

This gave Bill new life and he and Father Dowling created a relationship that ultimately changed how Bill viewed God. The new view was not a good match for the view described in the BB. But that's a story for another time.
avaneesh912 wrote:Further the book talks about whether such a person can stay sober on a spiritual (going to meetings+working the 12 steps+service work) or non-spiritual basis (just going to meetings) depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not. I know I am an alcoholic so I have to do the steps, meetings and be in service.
You seem to think that alcoholics must do as you do or they are just going to meetings. FYI I took steps 1 through 9 and use 10, 11 & 12 to maintain my spiritual condition -- which was one of the ways AAers in the old days shared they had worked the steps. I have NOT been converted to the Christian belief in God. God as I understand Her is not a personal God but is the Spirit of the Universe. I also believe the spirit lives in us all and after a coma induced by alcohol consumption only needed awakening. As in "Having had a Spiritual awakening..."

I further believe that She gives us the power and ability to school our minds in order to survive and prosper on the planet. My experience of recovery is being on the way having the power to carry out God's will for us. The ability to school the mind is part of that recovery. That I don't believe in a "heavenly daddy" who looks after us, doesn't preempt my having an alive and well spirituality.

You and others have taken the story that Bill wrote while on the pink cloud of new sobriety and his promoter instincts and re-contextualized it to be the basic text for sobriety. Good for you but it's not the only way to recover from alcoholism.The book was not intended as a text when written. According to Bill and some original AAers it was written as a means of reaching alcoholics who wanted sobriety and could not get to Akron or New York.
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5074
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:03 am

There are lot of hard drinkers and alcoholics with various degrees of affliction. I don't like to compare the experience, I can only share my experience.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

User avatar
Brock
Trusted Servant
Posts: 3902
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by Brock » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:02 pm

You and others have taken the story that Bill wrote while on the pink cloud of new sobriety and his promoter instincts and re-contextualized it to be the basic text for sobriety...The book was not intended as a text when written. According to Bill and some original AAers it was written as a means of reaching alcoholics who wanted sobriety and could not get to Akron or New York.
This is another occasion we are left scratching our heads, while saying please keep it simple.

So the big book, according to the first part of this statement, is not the basic text for sobriety. And according to the second part, Bill and the originals came up with a text to be sent to those without meetings, who wanted sobriety, this same big book. How terrible of Bill and those other fellows, to send a book to others looking for sobriety, that is not the basic text for sobriety!
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

Greywolf
Forums Contributor
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:56 pm

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by Greywolf » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:19 pm

Brock wrote:
You and others have taken the story that Bill wrote while on the pink cloud of new sobriety and his promoter instincts and re-contextualized it to be the basic text for sobriety...The book was not intended as a text when written. According to Bill and some original AAers it was written as a means of reaching alcoholics who wanted sobriety and could not get to Akron or New York.
So the big book, according to the first part of this statement, is not the basic text for sobriety. And according to the second part, Bill and the originals came up with a text to be sent to those without meetings, who wanted sobriety, this same big book. How terrible of Bill and those other fellows, to send a book to others looking for sobriety, that is not the basic text for sobriety!
Thank you for catching the typo where "basic" was left out of "The book was not intended as a ____ text when written. See the distinguishing "story" and "basic text" in the lead sentence.
Brock wrote:This is another occasion we are left scratching our heads, while saying please keep it simple.
Who is the "we" here? Do you have a mouse in your pocket or is "Brock" an account 2 people are sharing?
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.

User avatar
Brock
Trusted Servant
Posts: 3902
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by Brock » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:12 pm

If it “was written as a means of reaching alcoholics who wanted sobriety and could not get to Akron or New York,” then to my mind it was the ‘basic text’ of that time, and how do we know it was not intended as such, (apart from your personal opinion). This is the text they had, which to this day is recognized by alcoholics worldwide as our basic text. I only argued the point, because it was ridiculous that they would send something that was not the basic text, and this splitting of hairs instead of humbly conceding the point is boring, I have better things to do.
Who is the "we" here? Do you have a mouse in your pocket or is "Brock" an account 2 people are sharing?
You started this whole thing by saying - “You and others have taken the story that Bill wrote...” well the “we” here is me and those ‘others,’ and still scratching our heads while saying please keep it simple.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

User avatar
positrac
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1319
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by positrac » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:54 am

My experience with John Barleycorn is that if I set out for 1 or 2 drinks it always ended that I have over exceeded my original plan. If I had no plan then I could walk away with maybe a buzz, and other times I set out to get trashed and as long as I had coin in my pocket I was living the dream! I relate to the car and the street car stories because for some reason I was destined to self destruct.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5074
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by avaneesh912 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:25 am

"I used to get terribly upset when I saw my friends drink and knew I could not, but I schooled myself to believe that though I once had the same privilege, I had abused it so frightfully that it was withdrawn."

Do these words sound familiar? They should. They are from the BB, Dr. Bob's Story.
Very familiar. I have heard people way into sobriety using this to justify their daily struggle with obsession. Somewhere in the book it talks about having an alcoholic mind. Thats what it is. Perhaps it takes sometime for reality to sink in.

I have also hear drug addicts exploiting the use of sedative in Bills Story and the people who are depressed using other segments of Bills story to justify their situation.

To them, I would say, look around, find another sponsor and re-do the steps. Even yesterday a guy at the meeting with many years under the belt shared that he cant stand that his wife would leave 1/2 a bottle of beer on the counter top and went for a walk and he was drooling over it. Then he had to pray about it and dump the beer.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5074
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by avaneesh912 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:42 pm

What I don't hear is you sharing your own experience.
I thought i shared and your comment was good for you! Because it didn't match yours.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

Greywolf
Forums Contributor
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:56 pm

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by Greywolf » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:06 am

Brock wrote: You started this whole thing by saying - “You and others have taken the story that Bill wrote...” well the “we” here is me and those ‘others,’ and still scratching our heads while saying please keep it simple.
Does the position, moderator, come with the authorization to speak for or answer for "others?" Just asking...Or is this something you have take on as your personal obligation or duty?

How do I know it's a story? Because that's what the original title says. Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism.

One would think that if the BB was written as a basic text or instruction book on how to work the steps, the title would be: Alcoholics Anonymous: The Basic Text on How to Recover from Alcoholism. Or Alcoholics Anonymous: Instructions How to Recover from Alcoholism.

It isn't just my opinion that the BB was written for alcoholics who couldn't get to Akron or New York, that fact is recorded in quite a few places. Keep coming and learning. The truth of the matter will be revealed to you in due time.
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.

User avatar
Brock
Trusted Servant
Posts: 3902
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by Brock » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:16 am

Does the position, moderator, come with the authorization to speak for or answer for "others?" Just asking...Or is this something you have take on as your personal obligation or duty?
As you know people PM each other, (I see I have two more of those from you right now, which I am not looking forward to opening). Additionally, we have a separate forum for moderators discussion, so I know from these two sources what some ‘others’ are thinking. As I explained before and will again, we have a group of moderators, which can be found by going to the bottom of the page when you open the site, and clicking where it says ‘the team,’ I am the elected coordinator, which is listed under ‘administrators.’

What we at this site have historically been quite strict about, is not allowing posters to speak badly of the founders, or of AA approved literature, or any similar posts which confuse newcomers, and possibly put them off of the AA program. Over the years, very many have come here spouting so called ‘facts,’ about Bill and LSD, about the big book, Bill’s womanizing etc etc etc. Every one of them has been someone who failed at AA, and had an ax to grind, or newcomers who have read from the many sites dedicated to ill speaking AA. Never before you, has there been a person claiming to be a successful member of AA; far less a person with over 50 years of membership; who has used these forums to take digs at the founders and the literature, and we have asked you, privately and publicly, on several occasions to tone it down.
Keep coming and learning.
There is absolutely nothing I have learned from anything you have said, and I suspect this holds true for everyone else, new or old. It would serve you well to use the search function for certain words, you will see we have discussed at length here, every subject you have bought up, and discussed intelligently, with quotations from recognized sources. So your little history quips, or LSD ‘facts,’ are really ‘amateur hour,’ compared to what we have previously been educated on.
The truth of the matter will be revealed to you in due time.
The truth of the matter is this, you are the first member in a long time, (certainly the first this year), who has caused the moderators to be discussing what you are writing. With mutual agreement between them, that your posts are against the stated guidelines, and your digs at the AA founders and literature, is off putting to the main purpose of this group, or any AA group, that of carrying the message to newcomers. We, (the moderators and myself), try our upmost to work behind the scenes, and not publicly like this. It’s very rare we have this type of situation, that we have to ask posters to cease writing certain things, as we have done with yourself both privately and publicly many times. And the fact that in this case the member is not a newcomer, but rather someone ‘claiming’ in excess of fifty years sobriety, is pretty troubling.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

Greywolf
Forums Contributor
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:56 pm

Re: Schooling the mind

Post by Greywolf » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:36 pm

Brock wrote:And the fact that in this case the member is not a newcomer, but rather someone ‘claiming’ in excess of fifty years sobriety, is pretty troubling.
I wondered when you were going to play the "claiming"... card.
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.

Post Reply