What Bill W. and Dr. Bob went through to stay sober

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Greywolf
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What Bill W. and Dr. Bob went through to stay sober

Post by Greywolf » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:51 am

My respect for Bill W. comes from what he endured sober and did not find it necessary to drink. It's not in the BB because his bad times mostly occurred after it was published. It's too bad more is not allowed to be said about what Bill went through without drinking. That is truly inspirational.

I just read in Dr. Bob's story that he endured 2 and a half years of craving before that subsided. He's not just a co-founder, to me he's a hero -- an ordinary man with an extraordinary commitment. Imagine every day experiencing cravings yet doing whatever he could to help another drunk achieve sobriety. And without charging a single one of them for his assistance.

I sometimes wonder what the BB would sound like if the roles were reversed -- Bill helping other drunks and Dr. Bob writing the BB. With Dr. Bob pleading with Bill to "keep it simple" I don't think it would be quite as long.
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PaigeB
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Re: What Bill W. and Dr. Bob went through to stay sober

Post by PaigeB » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:25 am

My sponsor gave this to me early in sobriety:
This is the substance of a revealing letter which Bill Wilson wrote several years ago to a close friend who also had troubles with depression. The letter appeared in the "Grapevine" January, 1953.

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY
"I think that many oldsters who have put our AA "booze cure" to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA, the development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God.

Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect security, and perfect romance, urges quite appropriate to age seventeen, prove to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven and fifty-seven.

Since AA began, I've taken immense wallops in all these areas because of my failure to grow up emotionally and spiritually. My God, how painful it is to keep demanding the impossible, and how very painful to discover, finally, that all along we have had the cart before the horse. Then comes the final agony of seeing how awfully wrong we have been, but still finding ourselves unable to get off the emotional merry-go-round.

How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result, and so into easy, happy and good living. Well, that's not only the neurotic's problem, it's the problem of life itself for all of us who have got to the point of real willingness to hew to right principles in all of our affairs.

Even then, as we hew away, peace and joy may still elude us. That's the place so many of us AA oldsters have come to. And it's a hell of a spot, literally. How shall our unconscious, from which so many of our fears, compulsions and phony aspirations still stream, be brought into line with what we actually believe, know and want! How to convince our dumb, raging and hidden ‘Mr. Hyde' becomes our main task.

I've recently come to believe that this can be achieved. I believe so because I begin to see many benighted ones, folks like you and me, commencing to get results. Last autumn, depression, having no really rational cause at all, almost took me to the cleaners. I began to be scared that I was in for another long chronic spell. Considering the grief I've had with depressions, it wasn't a bright prospect.

I kept asking myself "Why can't the twelve steps work to release depression?" By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer ... "it's better to comfort than to be comforted". Here was the formula, all right, but why didn't it work?

Suddenly, I realized what the matter was. My basic flaw had always been dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and the like. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.

There wasn't a chance of making the outgoing love of St. Francis a workable and joyous way of life until these fatal and almost absolute dependencies were cut away.

Because I had over the years undergone a little spiritual development, the absolute quality of these frightful dependencies had never before been so starkly revealed. Reinforced by what grace I could secure in prayer, I found I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people, upon AA, indeed upon any act of circumstance whatsoever.

Then only could I be free to love as Francis did. Emotional and instinctual satisfactions, I saw, were really the extra dividends of having love, offering love, and expressing love appropriate to each relation of life.

Plainly, I could not avail myself to God's love until I was able to offer it back to Him by loving others as He would have me. And I couldn't possibly do that so long as I was victimized by false dependencies.

For my dependence meant demand, a demand for the possession and control of the people and the conditions surrounding me.

While those words "absolute dependence" may look like a gimmick, they were the ones that helped to trigger my release into my present degree of stability and quietness of mind, qualities which I am now trying to consolidate by offering love to others regardless of the return to me.

This seems to be the primary healing circuit: an outgoing love of God's creation and His people, by means of which we avail ourselves of His love for us. It is most clear that the real current can't flow until our paralyzing dependencies are broken, and broken at depth. Only then can we possibly have a glimmer of what adult love really is.

If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependence and its consequent demand. Let us, with God's help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love: we may then be able to gain emotional sobriety.

Of course, I haven't offered you a really new idea --- only a gimmick that has started to unhook several of my own hexes' at depth. Nowadays, my brain no longer races compulsively in neither elation, grandiosity or depression. I have been given a quiet place in bright sunshine"
Bill Wilson
Attitude is Everything
It was also a Thread here in the Forums
http://www.e-aa.org/forum/viewtopic.php ... t+Frontier
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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PaigeB
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Re: What Bill W. and Dr. Bob went through to stay sober

Post by PaigeB » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:38 am

Bob & Bill both went through a lot. We all do I guess. I sat in a woman's meeting this week where we talked about Faith in the Solution no matter what we were going through. Several women spoke of losing spouses and children to death. It is not something I have lived through. It was a difficult meeting for me though as my mind wants to project to the inevitable time when I too will face something like that.

They taught us a lot. I may know in my mind that I can go through it too, but until it happens and I have a similar experience, I have only a whisper of Faith that I can get through it sober.
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

Greywolf
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Re: What Bill W. and Dr. Bob went through to stay sober

Post by Greywolf » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:05 pm

[quote="PaigeB"]
Depression as I understand it has ups and downs -- mania and depression. About 30 years ago my ex-wife called for some reason or another and after talking for a few minutes she said, "You are thinking about killing yourself, aren't you?" The short form of my answer was yes, but I'm not going to do it. She then shocked me by saying she was going to call somebody and have me hospitalized. I talked her out of it by promising I would go to a doctor the next available day.

Then she said, "You haven't been eating have you?" What the eff, is she reading my mail? She insisted I come over to her house and eat. Why I did I don't know. I ate and fell asleep. She woke me at bed time and told me it was time to go home. I did with a promise to go to a doctor on Monday.

Over the weekend I shared this with a couple AAers I trusted and one made arrangements, insisted really, to take me to the doctor. Later I asked why and he told me because he knew I wouldn't go if he or somebody didn't take me. He was right. After telling me I had probably been suffering with this for over 30 year the doctor, psychiatrist really but I don't like to admit it, gave me a prescription to treat what he called a chemical imbalance. He did advise me that it might not work and I would have to try a different one.

My friend told me about a lot of people in our AA community who were taking a non-addictive med for this imbalance. I still resisted. I wasn't taking a substitute for a drink until he asked me when was the last time I considered taking a drug that would make me feel better in about 3 weeks. I laugh thinking about it but the answer was, "Are you kidding me? Never."

That's more than you needed to know but I felt like telling it. =wink I don't take the full prescribed dosage. I want to be as close to being me as possible. I sometimes have mild episodes of depression or mania because of that but the episodes only last a short time.
.....................................
I suggest you not read any further.

This is what Bill calls emotional sobriety or lack thereof. That was Dr. Bills diagnosis 65 years ago. At one time the best medical minds thought that drilling holes in people's to let the evil spirits out was the way to cure mental illness. Must have worked. Nobody complained about evil spirits in their heads after that.

I suppose the 75% who don't have depression have "emotional sobriety" and the 25% of us that do have depression, don't have emotional sobriety. Doctors say it's depression. Bill says it's a matter of emotional sobriety. I go with the medical professionals. At best it's a superstition that it's emotional sobriety. At its worst the concept, emotional sobriety, is hog wash -- a pure fabrication.

Go tell a psychiatrist that his patients with depression just don't have emotional sobriety, and see what he says. If he is condescending enough to ask, tell him the 12 steps is the answer -- that Bill W. said so. When the "doctors" in AA start talking about it, I mostly smile and ask questions which usually ends the conversation.

If you or anybody else thinks depression is a lack of emotional sobriety, that's okay by me. I have my own view that I'm happy with.
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.

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Re: What Bill W. and Dr. Bob went through to stay sober

Post by Brock » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:03 pm

It's too bad more is not allowed to be said about what Bill went through without drinking. That is truly inspirational.

I just read in Dr. Bob's story that he endured 2 and a half years of craving before that subsided. He's not just a co-founder, to me he's a hero -- an ordinary man with an extraordinary commitment.
I don’t think anyone is stopping people from talking about these things, but the question is, why talk about them publicly in a forum or a meeting, when the main purpose is to make AA attractive to newcomers, and leave them with a sense of hope for a happy future.

The information about Bill Paige posted says - “This is the substance of a revealing letter which Bill Wilson wrote several years ago to a close friend who also had troubles with depression.” And people who have come here complaining about depression, have been told to read about Bills struggles, because it might help them. And I can see in Paige’s case, her sponsor giving this as an example of him explaining his higher power and emotional ups and downs, since these were things she struggled with as well. And if someone says they have done the steps and still have cravings, we say read Dr. Bobs story, and it will help them.

We are trying to ‘sell’ the AA program to newcomers, and just like a salesman for Tesla motors would not mention the cars that caught fire, we should not mention those cases which are exceptions to the rule. Nobody knows the figures, but I would bet in excess of 99% of those who do the steps as written, find a complete release from craving, why would I be telling them Bob’s story when they are new. Or maybe 1% will suffer depression, again, why tell them this is a possibility upfront.

We showcase the excellent results the vast majority of members achieve, the ones who had to struggle we keep quiet about, because as I asked at the start - why talk about them publicly in a forum or a meeting, when the main purpose is to make AA attractive to newcomers, and leave them with a sense of hope for a happy future.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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avaneesh912
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Re: What Bill W. and Dr. Bob went through to stay sober

Post by avaneesh912 » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:49 am

Apart from the obsession there is another statement Dr. Bob included in his story creates a doubt on whether he had a good understanding of step 1.

So it doesn't behoove me to squawk about it, for after all, nobody ever used to throw me down and pour any liquor down my throat.

He believed that he did it do himself. Isn't this opposite of powerlessness. Yes we started it but slowly as drinking progressed we reached a point were our will power gave in. We couldn't stay stopped.

There are several people in the fellowship who do a great job applying the principles of the reminder of the steps without a clear understanding of what is to be an alcoholic. I have a gentleman who always says he read the doctors opinion and realized our body is corrupted. He came to know that putting one drink would trigger the allergy. And thats all he had to know. He has been sober 10 years. He never talks about the mind and the spiritual malady.

Maybe Dr. Bob had a better understanding later and the obsession went away. Perhaps he desire to stay sober carried him that far and then benefits he drew from the program took the obsession away. The story goes, he helped more than 5000 people before his death. An incredible feat. Bill on the other hand got sucked up into keeping the fellowship from crumbling and he sacrificed his life and spent time in creating the 12 and 12. I wish he just wrote a book on Traditions, left out the essays. Because there are lot of people who work out of 12 and 12. You could see a start difference.
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)

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PaigeB
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Re: What Bill W. and Dr. Bob went through to stay sober

Post by PaigeB » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:07 am

If you or anybody else thinks depression is a lack of emotional sobriety, that's okay by me. I have my own view that I'm happy with.
I should have been more clear. I do NOT think that Clinical Depression is lack of emotional sobriety!

I was pointing out that, back in the day of drugging folks to slobbering conformity, Bill had his own LONG dark days in which he did not drink. Like Dr. Bob - Bill also suffered during sobriety and did not drink.

Also - I think anti-depressants are WAY over prescribed and we are still drugging folks to slobbering conformity. I am always careful to not press this idea on newcomers - but I let them know that doctors OFTEN mis-diagnose alcoholism for many things, but mainly depression and bi-polar disease. It is up to each person to be honest with themselves and their doctor and be an active participant in their medical care and prescription drugs.

Thomas Merton wrote a book about his dark days ~ "The Dark Night of the Soul is a period of spiritual dryness when God seems far away and you can't reach him... "
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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