XXV-XXVI The Dr's Opinion (A psychic change)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Karl R
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XXV-XXVI The Dr's Opinion (A psychic change)

Post by Karl R » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:22 am

Good Morning,

I've posted the first selection from The Doctor's Opinion below. There are several other good topic threads within the Big Book study here dealing with The Doctor's Opinion. Thanks to those who contributed to those when I needed them.

This is where most BB study starts. It was where I started finding myself in the BB while reading with my sponsor almost five weeks ago.

This chapter is composed mostly of two open letters to AA from Dr. William Silkworth. He was “a well-known doctor, chief physician at a nationally prominent hospital specializing in alcoholic and drug addiction” He attended Bill W. in 1934 during his third treatment for alcoholism. At that time treatment for alcoholism met with low success rates but this doctor is said to have witnessed many people's 'return to health'. We will see more of Bill W. in the next chapter Bill's Story.

His opinions on the nature of alcoholism created the background for my own acceptance that, indeed, I was an alcoholic, my life was quietly chaotic and unmanageable, and that I had no power over alcohol. Who would have thought that a Doctor from the 1930's could continue to reach out to a 46 year old male alcoholic in the year 2008?

The doctor presents Bill's experience that “the basis of the rapidly growing (AA) fellowship” was the presentation of our experience one alcoholic to another.

The doctor closes his first letter with two statements.

“These men (the original 100) may have a remedy for thousands of such situations”

Someone want to give a 1-2 sentence preview of just what that remedy may be?


“You may rely absolutely on anything they say about themselves”

cheers and have a great day,
Karl


The Doctor's Opinion

WE OF Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the reader will be interested in the medical estimate of the plan of recovery described in this book. Convincing testimony must surely come from medical men who have had experience with the sufferings of our members and have witnessed our return to health. A well-known doctor, chief physician at a nationally prominent hospital specializing in alcoholic and drug addiction, gave Alcoholics Anonymous this letter:
To Whom It May Concern:
I have specialized in the treatment of alcoholism for many years.
In late 1934 I attended a patient who, though he had been a competent businessman of good earning capacity, was an alcoholic of a type I had come to regard as hopeless.
In the course of his third treatment he acquired certain ideas concerning a possible means of recovery. As part of his rehabilitation he commenced to present his conceptions to other alcoholics, impressing upon them that they must do likewise with still others. This has become the basis of a rapidly growing fellowship of these men and their families. This man and over one hundred others appear to have recovered.
I personally know scores of cases who were of the type with whom other methods had failed completely.
These facts appear to be of extreme medical importance; because of the extraordinary possibilities of rapid growth inherent in this group they may mark a new epoch in the annals of alcoholism. These men may well have a remedy for thousands of such situations.
You may rely absolutely on anything they say about themselves.
Very truly yours,

William D. Silkworth. M. D.
Last edited by Karl R on Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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avaneesh912
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Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:55 am

once a psychic change has occurred (spiritual awakening), the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules. (The 12 steps of AA).
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Post by jujub » Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:42 am

morning all,

if i just take into account what silkworth's first letter is stating, it appears to me the crux of recovery is working with other alcoholics. when i'm at a meeting complaining about my sad state of affairs, invariably someone will tell me that nothing helps relieve that bondage of self more than working with others. i hate that. what about me? maybe they didn't really understand my difficulties, for if they had they would realize i was the one who needed help. i am the helpee, not the helper. and i remain a prisoner in my alcoholism.

maybe i'm more comfortable being a helpless, hopeless drunk. looking for someone to fix me. i don't know how much i can help someone else right now, other than what not to do if you want to stay sober. maybe that's enough for right now.

thanks for listening--judi, alcoholic

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Post by ann2 » Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:15 am

Hi Judi, thanks for your share. I'm afraid you can't help it, no pun intended -- you are helping, whether you try or not. Listening to you is part of the recovery process for others in the meeting. I know when I hear someone who needs help, I identify and it helps me.

But passing it on is only part of the solution -- and it's no fun, as you demonstrate, helping others without being helped oneself. My one-two sentence explanation of just what that remedy might be is: Accepting that I am hopelessly doomed to drink myself into death or worse, I still ask for something else, and I take the actions suggested by the BB because that has been put into my eager hands.

But yeah, there are tons of people who drank themselves into examples of what I don't want to happen to me. Heck, I'm one of them.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Karl R
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Post by Karl R » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:04 am

The remedy, plan and the common solution for us doomed alcoholics; what gives us a return to health and recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body is presented a bit later by the good doctor as psychic change or spiritual awakening.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps..... (p. 60) is how it was put later in the book.

The Good Doctor also presents at least one basis for our fellowship in Alcohlics Anonymous.

As part of his rehabilitation he commenced to present his conceptions to other alcoholics, impressing upon them that they must do likewise with still others. This has become the basis of a rapidly growing fellowship of these men and their families.

have a great day everyone,
Karl

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Post by harveydog » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:34 pm

I'm sure in his day, he was a great doctor. He seemed to really care. At least he really tried to help alcoholics. His opinion alone is the only valuable information in the entire book (historically). Unfortunately his inability to treat alcoholism with current medical technology, put him in the unfortunate position to not be able to debate with the hocus-pocus, 12 step, flim flam that AA offered. If you had cancer would you take the written advice of a doctor from the 1930's and trust it with your life? I would have to question my sanity if I did.

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Post by Joe H » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:56 pm

If you had cancer would you take the written advice of a doctor from the 1930's and trust it with your life? I would have to question my sanity if I did.
If the doctor recommended a course of action that put the cancer into remission and kept it there for millions of people and nothing since the 1930s has been found to produce the same results...one who had this cancer would be crazy to not follow the directions.

Now, would you care to divulge your true intentions for being here other than trying to start an argument?

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Post by harveydog » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:26 pm

It seems that people get really worked up, or get resentful when questions are raised about AA. Okay, I admit it I'm a phamaceutical rep trying to sell alcoholics medications to cure alcoholism. Yeah, Dr. Silkworth was and is the best authority in the world to this day on addiction medicine.

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tasman
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Post by tasman » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:14 am

lol :D ho,ho, ho
that's a good one, no really.... why are you here?

Jim 725

Post by Jim 725 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:43 am

Okay, I admit it I'm a phamaceutical rep trying to sell alcoholics medications to cure alcoholism.
If it removes warts I'll take some.
Jim S.

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Blue Moon
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Post by Blue Moon » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:29 am

harveydog wrote:His opinion alone is the only valuable information in the entire book (historically).
His opinion was that AA worked when nothing else did. "I personally know scores of cases who were of the type with whom other methods had failed completely."
If you had cancer would you take the written advice of a doctor from the 1930's and trust it with your life? I would have to question my sanity if I did.
I'd rather take a treatment that has been shown to work rather than adopt the latest "fad" which has not much indicator of its longer-term effects. But I'd also take the treatment, not turn up in the doctor's office, just watch other people take it or read a glossy magazine article about it, then wonder why it's not working.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

Jim 725

Post by Jim 725 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:30 am

In another thread harveydog wrote:
I'm an alcoholic, so I'm a member of the group. Unless this site doesn't follow the traditions of AA.
Not exactly. The tradition actually reads, "The only requirement for A membership is a desire to stop drinking." Notice it says "AA membership," not "AA group membership." Every autonomous AA group has the right to exclude whomever it pleases, including snake oil salesmen who have a desire to stop drinking through chemical means, those who believe that "I think I'll never drink again, therefor I will never drink again, and those who believe that religion fervor can make the steps unnecessary.
I've noticed that online AA sites, including the "iSay" section of the Grapevine site, attract those who know that AA is no good. Naturally they have the solution to all of AA's problems. I guess the reason I don't run into them at live meetings is that they can't hide behind their monitors, and that they know they will be laughed out of the rooms.
Jim S.

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Post by Canbe » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:22 am

Jim boy is this out there
Quote"Not exactly. The tradition actually reads, "The only requirement for A membership is a desire to stop drinking." Notice it says "AA membership," not "AA group membership."


TRUE FREEDOM IS AN INDIVIDUALS RIGHT- NOT SOMEONES GROUP RIGHT.

It takes individuals to even makeup a group - just watch and learn instead of guide and protect, let this one at the least, up to God.
Are we even talking about Alcoholics Anonymous ?

There is a difference between medication and drugs we should not play doctor. - Even Alcohol can know produce a psychic change if one has tasted sobriety - change what?

Jim 725

Post by Jim 725 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:37 am

Are we even talking about Alcoholics Anonymous ?
I don't think you are.
Jim S.

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Post by martin08 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:53 am

The Doctor's Opinion follows his direct involvent with his patients. His documented observations are about individuals and not medical practice.


"These men may well have a remedy for thousands... "

Had Dr. Silkworth observed the apparent remedy for alcoholism and chosen not to write his opinion of the men who were recovering against all odds and known medical means, then there might chance that we would not be here today to discuss an organization and fellowship called Alcohoics Anonymous. As written about a co-founder of AA and his fellow alcoholics:


"This man and over one hundred others appear to have recovered.
I personally know scores of cases who were of the type with whom other methods had failed completely.
These facts appear to be of extreme medical importance; because of the extraordinary possibilities of rapid growth inherent in this group they may mark a new epoch in the annals of alcoholism."

I feel fortunate and blessed that Dr. Silkworth had the guts to admit his own limitations as a medical professional and write about the men who had accomplished what he could not.

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