PP 30-31 More About Alcoholism (Concession)

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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PP 30-31 More About Alcoholism (Concession)

Post by Karl R » Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:28 am

Good Morning,

We closed "There is a solution" yesterday with the phrase ""Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing."


We now start the chapter "More about Alcoholism" with the phrase "Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics."

I've posted today's selection below.

For 26 years I thought I was drinking like other people. It was only when I realized that my body and mind were different then other people and my drinking was not normal that I was able to make the first step in the program outlined in the BB. 'Normal' people have power over alcohol. I had none. Every day was the same. Come home from work-and get drunk with predictably chaotic results for myself and family. I had the allergy of alcoholism. Toward the end-there was no thought involved it was simply obsessive behavior leading to wreckage in life.

Other's view of their acceptance of being true alcoholics?

have a great day,
Karl


Chapter 3
MORE ABOUT ALCOHOLISM

Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.
We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals - usually brief - were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.
We are like men who have lost their legs; they never grow new ones. Neither does there appear to be any kind of treatment which will make alcoholics of our kind like other men. We have tried every imaginable remedy. In some instances there has been brief recovery, followed always by a still worse relapse. Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn't done so yet.
Last edited by Karl R on Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Blue Moon
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Post by Blue Moon » Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:32 am

"bodily and mentally different"

IMO almost too much of AA focuses on the spiritual aspect of attaining a solution, yet doesn't focus enough on the physical.
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Post by dwelling » Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:46 am

Hi Blue moon,
Could you expand on what you mean by the physical solution?

dwelling,If a repetition is to be prevented, place the problem, along with everything else, in God's hands.

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Post by Blue Moon » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:19 am

One of the first things Bill W ever did for Dr Bob was give him a drink. Bob needed it, physically, just to function. Later, sober AAs far and wide would put a drunk on a train bound for Akron, and give them a bottle to take along with them, knowing that would make it less likely they'd get off somewhere else to go hunting for a drink.

In sobriety, the book talks of using chocolate: "One of the many doctors who had the opportunity of reading this book in manuscript form told us that the use of sweets was often helpful, of course depending upon a doctor's advice. He thought all alcoholics should constantly have chocolate available for its quick energy value at times of fatigue. He added that occasionally in the night a vague craving arose which would be satisfied by candy. Many of us have noticed a tendency to eat sweets and have found this practice beneficial."

Nobody in AA meetings was talking about this. My sponsor told me some of it, and I had to figure much out for myself from experimentation and learning stuff online about the alcoholic body's dependency on sugar.

I also worked out that if you're feeling thirsty for a drink, something like fruit juice or soda would quench the thirst. After many years of drinking a beer whenever I felt thirst, this concept was a novelty.

AA meetings seem hell-bent on discussing the spiritual, sometimes promoting the avoidance of alcohol being in the same building, and the only physical aspect being "just don't drink".

I'll leave the last word to the Doctor's Opinion: "...he confirms what we who have suffered alcoholic torture must believe-that the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. It did not satisfy us to be told that we could not control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us. But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete. "
Ian S
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Post by Karl R » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:27 am

Thanks Ian.

One of the first things my sponsor shared with me was the bit about fruit juice and water. Also sugar to replace some of the carbs beer had been providing. He also shared that I should expect weight loss as my calorie intake dropped by 1200 calories a day. Because of this I wasn't totally alarmed by losing 30 lbs in 60 days although my boss was concerned until I shared the reason why.

I'll keep thinking about this subject as I attend F2F meetings. What you say about concentrating on the spiritual is true. I'm grateful that my sponsor mentioned some of the physical abnormalities of being an alcoholic. It has eased the transition to a new life somewhat.

cheers,
Karl

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Post by jujub » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:10 am

hi all,

i used to believe that i knew i was a real alcoholic from very early on in my drinking career--oblivion was always the objective. in reflecting on that today, i think that is inaccurate. if i am a real alcoholic i have absolutely no power over alcohol. but somewhere in my mind i've always thought it was my idea to get drunk. i was drinking because i wanted to. and i'll therefore quit when i want to. what's more, i believed i could control the consequences of drinking.

today i see a bit more clearly that i was drinking to calm the spiritual dis-ease, the mental obsession. or if i was in the middle of a binge, i was drinking as a response to the physical craving. it wasn't my "idea" at all. alcohol owned every thought, feeling and action. i was enslaved. and i could not stop.

i like the line about conceeding to our innermost selves that we were alcoholic. having a bit more honest view of what being a true alcoholic entails has helped me reach that concession. for today at least.

thanks for listening,
judi, alcoholic

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Post by ann2 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:48 pm

I love hearing the beginning of chapter 3 read in a meeting. For me this is real step 1 stuff and it's always a relief to hear it: I can forget about all those frustrations at trying to "get over this" "get it under control" "drink like everyone else" -- that's just not going to happen. I am physically unlike those people and I need a different way of handling alcohol than others.

Maybe I like being part of a randomly-chosen club. Maybe I just like having the excuse to follow certain simple directions that make everything a hundred times more workable in my life. Maybe I just sense way down in the bottom of my self that this is the truth, perhaps the one truth that I can be sure of. Maybe it's just a way to explain all those hideous experiences with alcohol

I don't know, and I don't have to figure it out. Who cares? I decided that I'm alcoholic because that meant I could get the help that worked for all of you. By gum it works for me too, and another day went by when I didn't need to drink. Thank you A.A.
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Post by Karl R » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:25 pm

"We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics"

Many ask why they can't seem to "get" the program. Seems that "getting" this program involves a concession to the idea and a surrender to the idea in our deepest innermost selves that we are alcoholics. We are not in a position to take that first drink. Once we "get" that idea much more is possible.

I have a physical allergy of craving for more should I take that first drink. I once had a mental obsession to drink along with a general brokenness of spirit or innermost self which kept me blind to this basic idea and left me with a reservation that I was drinking like a normal person-not an alcoholic.

Thanks to a higher power and the program of alcoholics anonymous the cycle has been broken.

cheers,
Karl

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Re: PP 30-31 More About Alcoholism (Concession)

Post by 1012 » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:51 pm

Hi Karl,

I'm new here today and loe that there are folks studying and practicing the Big Book. I'm now turning around my fears, and have been working on the proces of recovery for months. It's been a lot of hard, hard work but it pulled me back froma depressed, suicidal state in sobriety.

I think it's a common question that people don't talk abou tin meetings - "Am I really an alcoholic?!" I always had this question. I thought maybe my problem was a psychiatric one, but now that I've had a sponsor explain what alcoholism actually is, I realize that yes - I have a disease of the mind - of thinking! The solution is the 12 steps and God, not meds or therapy necessarily, although those things kept me alive and functioning somewhat.

Anyway, I have diagnosed myself as alcoholic - absolutely - because I couldn't stop drinking when I had one or two, almost all the time (phen of craving) and I couldn't stop altogether when I tried. I had crossed the line somewhere along the way during drinking and become alcoholic. And then of course, I identify greatly with the mental and spiritual maladies that alcoholics have - really simply human character traits that we alcoholics have in excess!

It is such a relief once I found out what was wrong with me - and that There Is A Solution!

PS Does anyone know how I can respond to posters below, or can I not?

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Re: PP 30-31 More About Alcoholism (Concession)

Post by Karl R » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:07 pm

It's great to have you with us here today 1012 !!

I love your clear statement of the alcoholic dilemma and the statement of the solution you've found.

If you would like to reply to a specific post in a thread just click on "reply" and your post will be added on to the thread.
If you would like to respond just to a specific poster in private just click on their username and there will be a place to send them a private message.

Drop me a PM if you have further questions.

In any case---glad to have you here. You're needed.

cheers,
Karl

Jim 725

Re: PP 30-31 More About Alcoholism (Concession)

Post by Jim 725 » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:58 pm

IMO almost too much of AA focuses on the spiritual aspect of attaining a solution, yet doesn't focus enough on the physical.
Perhaps because they knew that the physical allergy doesn't begin until we put alcohol in our bodies. Therefore, if we have a spiritual awakening as the result of the steps and change our mental process, we won't be obsessed with drinking.
Jim S.

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Re: PP 30-31 More About Alcoholism (Concession)

Post by Mike O » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:49 am

1012 wrote:.... the mental and spiritual maladies that alcoholics have - really simply human character traits that we alcoholics have in excess!
I'm not sure that we have them in excess so much as we are unable to bear them without recourse to alcohol because we have discovered that drinking gives us relief from them.

Non-alcoholics have these "faults" too - sometimes more than us sometimes not - but they appear to be able to either deal with them without drinking , or pretend they don't have them.

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Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:53 am

Blue Moon wrote:"bodily and mentally different"

IMO almost too much of AA focuses on the spiritual aspect of attaining a solution, yet doesn't focus enough on the physical.
I'm no BB guru, but I'm sure the BB says that if we fix the spiritual side of us, the mental and physical will follow. I believe that to be true; however I do understand that some chronic alcoholic may require a medical detox (since we now have the medical knowledge to do such things; we've come a short way since Dr Bob was feeding drunks honey and sauerkraut* ).

Also, with regards to us drunks being 'different', as has been pointed out that many 'normal' people have their 'problems', just ours manifests itself as a symtom in our drinking; because for us it is our solution. For my Missis, whose almost tee-total, when she's suffering 'unmanagability', instead of reaching for the bottle, she reaches for the hoover and she cleans everything in the house; it's not an obsession that would require a 'Cleaner's Anonymous' since it's not life-threatening and she doesn't end up in jail for it (it is annoying though). She also runs (she's currently running 22 miles as I type in preparation for a marathon; but she takes it to the extreme).

Other people may use food, sex, work, gardening, etc as their solution.

So by focusing on the spiritual aspect, and that's where the problem is, it fixes the problem at its root.



*Reference: Joe and Charlie!
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

samantha

Re: PP 30-31 More About Alcoholism (Concession)

Post by samantha » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:07 am

Regarding the spiritual aspect, once someone has read and studied the the big book cover to cover, has a sponsor, completed the steps, goes to regular meetings,had a spiritual awakening and continues doing steps 10, 11 and 12 on a daily basis, what does this mean for people in this situation regarding the detail of their day to day lives? What I mean is, without quoting the big book which we have all read and know (except newcomers), can it be explained by others what it means to live this program in daily life, without regard to the above, which is already taken as given and without saying we are 'happy, joyous and free' and other words and phrases we have all read so many times. I am asking for an individual response to individual situations. What is the detail of ppls lives once they have done all the above?

Sam

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Re: PP 30-31 More About Alcoholism (Concession)

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:53 am

samantha wrote: what does this mean for people in this situation regarding the detail of their day to day lives?
Sam
Sam, that was a top though provoking post for me. Here I am, sat at my computer, supposedly enjoying some rare peace and quiet when really I'm fearfull about some financial problems (I have four different government departments want a lot of money I haven't got; I haven't seen my two girls in nearly 7 years; and I think if it wasn't for AA, I'd have comitted suicide by now).

So, given that it's a programme of action, what action can I do?

Well, I keep on turning it over to God, but then I keep on taking it back when I sit and think about it. So how do I stop that? Worrying isn't going to help is it? Well, I keep on whining that I don't get quiet time to meditate, I've got a dog that needs walking, I'm hungry, and my neighbors wife died recently and he likes company. Oh and I've got to phone a newcomer about a meeting tonight.

So, I could do the next right thing in front of me in the following order:

Eat some food.
Meditate for 15 minutes.
Walk the dog; I'm feeling lazy, but I know I'll feel better because my dog will enjoy it.
Call round to my neighbors house for a chat; even though I don't really want to do this; but I'll feel good about myself after.
Go for a run.
Organise tonights transport for a n00b to an AA meeting.

So, I guess by doing Step 3, on a minute-by-minute basis; letting go and letting God; as they say, I may not get through the day all 'happy, joyous, and free", as they say, but I'll certainly get by feeling good about myself; therefore spiritual; and I won't pick up a drink today.

Right, God says it's time to get my fat ass off the computer and start on my list!

:mrgreen:
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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