XXX The Dr's Opinion (Obsession and craving)

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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XXX The Dr's Opinion (Obsession and craving)

Post by Karl R » Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:27 pm

Good Day,

The Doctor continues his second letter and get's to the nuts and bolts of what all of us alcoholics have in common.

I've posted today's selection below.

The doctor touches briefly on the 'types' of alcoholics but soon comes to focus on what we all have in common.

I myself was an alcoholic who 'planned various ways of drinking' and I thought that while I was drinking I was 'able and intelligent'. Able and intelligent was far from the truth. More like incapable and unintelligable.

The doctor continues by saying that what binds us all together is our one symptom in common-the phenomenon of craving developing after the first drink. This phenonmenon may perhaps be a 'manifestation of an allergy' which sets alcoholics apart from 'normal' people.

We can't take that first drink and not develop a craving to take subsequent drinks. The only way to avoid it is to totally avoid that first drink.

Anyone want to share their experience of this phenomenon of craving after the first drink which leads to subsequent drinking?

For bonus points does anyone want to suggest how the mental obsession to take that first drink can be overcome and thus avoid the craving to take subsequent drinks?


In summary--'The only relief we (the doctor) has to offer is total abstinence'

by for now,
Karl

The classification of alcoholics seems most difficult, and in much detail is outside the scope of this book. There are, of course, the psychopaths who are emotionally unstable. We are all familiar with this type. They are always “going on the wagon for keeps.’’ They are over-remorseful and make many resolutions, but never a decision.

There is the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot take a drink. He plans various ways of drinking. He changes his brand or his environment. There is the type who always believes that after being entirely free from alcohol for a period of time he can take a drink without danger. There is the manic-depressive type, who is, perhaps, the least understood by his friends, and about whom a whole chapter could be written.

Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them. They are often able, intelligent, friendly people.

All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity. It has never been, by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently eradicated. The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence.

This immediately precipitates us into a seething caldron of debate. Much has been written pro and con, but among physicians, the general opinion seems to be that most chronic alcoholics are doomed.
Last edited by Karl R on Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:01 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: August 25, 2008 BB The Doctor's Opinion p. xxx

Post by martin08 » Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:59 pm

Karl R wrote:
Anyone want to share their experience of this phenomenon of craving after the first drink which leads to subsequent drinking?

For bonus points does anyone want to suggest how the mental obsession to take that first drink can be overcome and thus avoid the craving to take subsequent drinks?
Bill describes this phenomenon well - "alcohol ceased to be a luxury and became a necessity."

My doctor told me in 1994 that my liver functions were off the chart. I could not curtail on my own for long. If I didn't drink at all for a day, it seemed that I had control. As soon as I took a sip, though. BAM. The craving took over.

For overcoming the obsession, I could do nothing except surrender to God and ask him to remove it. He did.

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Post by jujub » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:12 pm

hi all,

i drank as much as i could, as fast as i could--the end result being sweet oblivian. i didn't want to control my drinking--i wanted to control the consequences. and for a time i thought i did. another example of how wrong i can be. it says somewhere in the book, when i controlled my drinking i didn't enjoy it. and when i enjoyed it i didn't control it. that was me.

someone posted in the forums an exerpt from someone speaking of the precursor to the mental obssesion being the reactivation of the spiritual malady. i had never read it before, and don't really understand it totally. but i found it really interesting. i'm making a very small beginning at giving in to the absolute necessity of removing the blocks to the spirit. i don't like that idea very well. but as someone asked me recently, "how's your way been working for you lately?"

judi, alcoholic

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Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:00 am

Spiritual malady is being restless, irritable and discontented. We took a drink to overcome that state. It was a solution for us as long as it worked. Then the phenomenon of craving kicks in and coupled with the obsession we are caught in the end-less loop.

If we need serenity, we need a solution other than booze. In AA we call it spiritual experience/awakening. And that comes by working the steps of AA not just by attending meetings.
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 ann2 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:43 am

jujub wrote: i didn't want to control my drinking--i wanted to control the consequences.
Love it. Yeah, drinking was my right, and you all had just better accept whatever came out of it. I sure enough was ready to -- the wasting away of my mind, my chances for survival, my last bit of self-respect. Goodbye! I said, well, that's the sacrifice I'm willing to make in order to keep drinking in the manner to which I've become accustomed.

The first drink, and the craving -- nothing I ever put a finger on. Some people in A.A. talk about how the first drink didn't make them drunk, that it took them awhile to figure out that it led to subsequent drinks which made them drunk. For me, it was just about the first sip, and Drunk -- the sensation I sought -- was instantaneous, for at that first drink I'd already decided to pursue compulsively wherever the drink brought me.

I didn't need the chemical reaction in my body, although certainly that was a huge factor -- I just needed the "to hell with it all" option that putting the bottle to my lips signified. For me, "the first drink gets you drunk" is quite literal.

So it was the acting on the mental obsession that I identify as "drunk". And in getting sober I had that obsession, but I never ever gave it a second thought because A.A. had told me how to get through it -- NOT drinking. I'd never known that option existed. I didn't know that the discomfort, which is of course a nice way of putting it, of not drinking was something I *could* and in fact *ought to* get through.

I found out I *could* get through it because I learned it didn't last, depending mainly on what I did when the obsession started. Praying was a good recourse -- and this was exciting, learning in A.A. that I had a God who was there to keep me away from the drink, if I asked. I had that special gift because I was alcoholic, and my not drinking was something a higher power had on his or her to-do list. That was my higher power back then :)

Another good thing was meetings. Okay, I didn't achieve peaceful and purposeful sobriety attending meetings -- I had to wait a number of years until I completed my journey in the steps for that. But I did achieve a day away from alcohol, and *that* was a miracle. I

I'm so nice and normal nowadays, i wish I could set on display the horrific figure I was back then. Trust me, you'd agree as well that my not drinking for 24 hours was the mercy of God. Heh heh. Another reason I didn't have too much trouble with the God thing I guess.

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of taking the steps of recovery, I know today how much more is available in sobriety. But if I hadn't stayed away from the drink a day at a time to begin with, the result of the steps never would have been achieved.

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

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Post by KC.Chowd » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:34 am

I am fortunate that I realized that Alcohol had stopped working for me. Sure the shakes went away and I buried my problems in drunken oblivion, but the truth was that at some point it just stopped working. Maybe it was because I was drunk all day every day and my mind and body just got used to it.
I am grateful that I realized that even when I was drunk I was still living a miserable existance.
No I rely on my HP to guide me through the day and accept what the outcome of my actions are.
I also started being honest with myself, not an easy thing to do. I guess that I also ran out of lies.
There is a God, and it ain't me.

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Post by jujub » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:20 pm

hey all,

WOW!!!!! i just went through a desire to drink that was incredible. the details aren't necessary, i suppose, but the magnitude and power of the disease of alcoholism is truly unbelievable. it IS bigger than me. a simple concept, but one i don't know if i've ever internalized to this degree. paid a lot of lip service to it, but somewhere in my egotistical mind, i've always felt superior to it. eventually i would win out. not so today. my behavior while in the throes of the mental obsession to drink was psychotic-like. insanity? heck yeah! i'm a believer!!!

but for the first time in EONS, i kept trying to reach someone until i reached someone. thank you someone!! it worked. i'm sitting here sober, no alcohol in my possession. i'm going to mow my grass, then get to a meeting. thank god... thank god. :D

judi, alcoholic

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Post by Paul N » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:04 pm

Judi - thanks ... you made my day. Just got to see God working :)

Keep working it girl, keep working it.

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Post by Karl R » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:39 pm

Judi.

You rock!!!

Funny thing...

One of the first "normal" things I did when I quit drinking to fill the time was to mow the lawn. It was the first time I'd done it sober in 20 years.

We are all the same in some way.
Have a great evening and keep it up!
Karl

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Post by jujub » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:52 pm

thanks karl and paul for your kind words. you guys have played a big part in my 6 days away from the drink.

thanks, judi

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Post by Mike O » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:23 am

Well done, Judi.

Keep it here :D

-Mike

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Post by Karl R » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:57 am

Another good thread from the past.

I've been asked several times during the last week in different venues "how do I deal with the mental obsession to take that first drink every day"

From my own experience I dealt with this in early sobriety with prayer to a higher power to remove the obsession. Coupled with the action of the 12 steps to recovery that the AA program and the big book suggests the obession was removed by my higher power. I knew that my higher power wanted me sober. I asked for it-and it happened.

So...my question for today.....We know that consumption of alcohol in any form or amount is something that is incompatible with the process of working the 12 suggested steps to recovery and achieving a spiritual experience/awakening. But-a spiritual awakening/experience by working the 12 steps and getting a higher power in our life is necessary to gain relief from the mental obsession.

So...back to the question....Anyone else care to share their experience, strength, and hope concerning how they dealt with this mental obsession to drink while they commenced working the steps to recovery to achieve long term sobriety?

Maybe the question is off base but I would be interested in people's responses.

cheers and have a fabulous Friday everyone,
Karl

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Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:29 am

I clearly can't say when the obsession was removed but the fear that i might pick up a drink was always with me. Going to meeting, yet restless irritable and discontented most of the time.......Then one evening as i surfing i ran into a speaker tape in he was mentioning how pathetic for some people even with about 15 years sharing in meetings that they can't walk by the wine aisle. And then he was talking about the using the 10th step promises as a hook to fish the new-comers... then i realized that there is more than just going to meeting and its not about staying sober one stinking day at a time. Its all about power. like the paragraph in we agnostics says:

lack of power is the dilemma......But where and how were we to find this Power?

Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.

thats when i started getting in the program.......well today i can say i don't pray single moment for sobriety but live a peaceful serene life. i pray/meditate and do exactly what the bb says (10, 11, 12).
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 martin08 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:06 pm

"Do a step each year", or so the slogan goes....

I was dying at that immediate moment! How was I to wait another 11-1/2 years for serenity? The mental obsession was winning.

One night I listened to a man share about his brush with suicide earlier in the week. He had 19 years of AA Fellowship - still fighting a mental obsession to drink each day.

I couldn't go on another minute, let alone two decades....

My Sponsor-to-be shouted glad tidings, "Do the Steps and you will be free from the mental obsession."

The moment I asked him to take me through the Steps, the obsession disappeared and has not returned in over four years.

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Post by avaneesh912 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:11 pm

There are people around here who say that here too "one step a year...." "be a passenger on a bus let the old-timer drive the bus and enjoy the ride....." "too early to run a big book meeting" ......they are always worried about people going out.. but they are killing too many with that message. Hard drinkers stay but the real alcoholics cant wait for long.
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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