PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

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 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by Karl R » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:55 am

Good morning and welcome.

"God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!" (p. 63 BB)

I've posted today's reading below.

Yesterday we left the jaywalker who did the same thing over and over again until he died. When we are drinking we do the same thing over and over because we are insane (lack of proportion and inability to think straight in regards to alcohol.) This is true no matter how intelligent we are.

Today's reading speaks of those who, like myself, for many years said "that's not me" Those ragged people in AA are not me. I have a job that I'm successful at, at home, fine wife and kids, I'm functioning. That's not me.

The issue---I was not thinking straight while I was drinking. Things were going to hell around me and I ended up feeling hopeless, irritable and discontent.

Now I know that the ragged people in the rooms are me. I love every one of them. We have old, young, small children, dogs, men, and women in my home group meetings. I find myself in them. I am an alcoholic because my drinking progressed beyond the point of proportion and being able to think straight.

Today's homework---Anyone care to share about what the point in their life that they regained a sense of proportion and an ability to think straight in regards to alcohol. For bonus points-what happened? Please take your virtual prize from the selection to the side, I've brought donuts.(LOL)

Some of you are thinking: "Yes, what you tell us is true, but it doesn't fully apply. We admit we have some of these symptoms, but we have not gone to the extremes you fellows did, nor are we likely to, for we understand ourselves so well after what you have told us that such things cannot happen again. We have not lost everything in life through drinking and we certainly do not intend to. Thanks for the information."
That may be true of certain nonalcoholic people who, though drinking foolishly and heavily at the present time, are able to stop or moderate, because their brains and bodies have not been damaged as ours were. But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience. Let us take another illustration.

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Post by dwelling » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:28 pm

Hi,
This paragraph is dealing with three types of alcoholics.

The non-alcoholic, the actual alcoholic and the potential alcoholic.

We know that the non alcoholic can take it or leave it.

"But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge."

It seems that the potential alcoholic is in the same boat as the actual alcoholic.

The potential alcoholic and actual alcoholic are the same.

Sometimes the potential alcoholic can pose as a non alcoholic, and vice/versa. This is why tradition three welcomes all three of these types of alcoholics in the rooms of AA. Only when we start the steps can we discover our real situation(type). The non alcoholic in AA can remain sober for years with the fellowship alone.

dwelling, Of those who keep on, a good number will become true alcoholics after a while.

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Blue Moon
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Post by Blue Moon » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:51 am

dwelling wrote: The non alcoholic in AA can remain sober for years with the fellowship alone.
And would be extremely insulted if described as "non alcoholic" :)
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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Post by jujub » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:31 am

morning all,

i think i drank alcoholically from the beginning. if i wasn't an alcoholic, i most certainly had the "potential" from my very first drink. i had been drinking almost 20 years before the possibility that alcohol was a problem even entered my mind. and i was determined to not ever drink again. that lasted less than 2 weeks. another car accident led me to my first treatment.

nearly another 20 years has passed, and i've never been sober longer than 2 1/2 years. i was special, too smart, didn't have to do ALL the things you guys have to do to stay sober. i guess i finally surrendered to the truth--i'm no different. if i want sobriety i have to work and live the steps in my daily life. be vigilant. there is a certain amount of relief in that belief. i don't have to fight anymore. if this is thinking straight, then for today i'm restored to sanity.

judi, alcoholic

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Post by ann2 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:31 pm

When did I start to think straight about my alcohol consumption? A few days before my first meeting, it just occurred to me that I wouldn't be having my current problem if I weren't intoxicated. But I couldn't see how I could have avoided being intoxicated -- I needed the drink. I depended on it. So, I diagnosed myself as dependent on alcohol. And that gave me the wedge I needed to start getting out from under -- if I was dependent, then I needed help.

I told a friend who suggested A.A., which seemed like a pretty good idea at the time. So I would say looking back that at that point I had self-knowledge. I shouldn't drink and didn't want to. The next night, the night before the planned first meeting, I was drunk again. Utterly without the ability to stop myself, even though I didn't want to drink with all my heart.

One day I figure out that my drinking is the problem, and the next day I'm drinking again. Something was horribly out of whack. I figured I was a lost case. But in truth, I was just right for A.A.

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

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Re: 9/25/08 BB More about alc. pp 38-39 (but that's not me!)

Post by Karl R » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:40 pm

But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience.
I drank when things were going well. I drank when things were going not so swell. I drank to relieve stress; I drank and felt no stress. I had a million insane reasons to drink. But one incontrovertable fact eventually caught up with me. I eventually found myself unable to stop drinking-I was powerless over alcohol. And no amount of self knowledge regarding triggers, reasons for my drinking, or other self discovery could provide the needed power to stay sober. The needed power was not in me. It was only when I admitted I was powerless over alcohol-life was unmanageable and came to believe that a power greater then myself could restore me to sanity that progress came in my struggle with the drink problem.

cheers,
Karl

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Re: PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by LetgoJoe » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:25 am

I can totally relate. I rehabbed myself into thinking myself sober and in AA and lost site of my higher power and drank. That was "the bitter experience." Granted we start to think better as we sober up but it is important for me that I always stay mindful that it is all God given. "God could and would if He were sought." His Will be done, not mine.

Thanks for firing up the thread Karl. :) ~Joe K.
Honesty gets us sober, tolerance keeps us sober. ~Bill W.

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Re: PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by martin08 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:54 am

Karl and Joe, my experience also reflects an inability to use my own resources to remain sober.

The evidence of the veracity of this passage in the Big Book has played out in front of me hundreds of time over the past 5-1/2 years. A typical example: Newcomer states that he/she just completed a 30 day rehab and can understand the "why's" of drinking now. A few weeks go by and the newcomer disappears. If and when he/she returns there are a number of reasons stated for the fall -

1. I couldn't relate to the stories
2. Too much "God" talk
3. I thought I had drinking beat
4. I was disheartened to learn that I had to go to meetings every day for the rest of my life
5. Someone pissed me off
6. I wasn't strong enough

The list could go on. Note that the examples that I have witnessed are not people who have had a long stretch of sobriety, but the ones who have had and initial education and did not pursue any solution beyond rehab. Self-knowledge, out of bitter experience for all to see, plays out as a detrimental factor in most cases of relapse.

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Re: PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by Karl R » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:42 am

thanks Martin...

to be continued with Fred's story. http://www.e-aa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=4893a

K.

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Re: PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue May 18, 2010 10:17 am

That may be true of certain nonalcoholic people who, though drinking foolishly and heavily at the present time, are able to stop or moderate, because their brains and bodies have not been damaged as ours were. But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience. Let us take another illustration.

We are at this portion of the big book in our local big book study meeting. it was very refreshing. And had a moment of appreciation for the drunks who wrote this drunks guide for spirituality, to make it crystal clear the powerlessness over alcohol. a spectacular piece of work only a drunk can relate. hope we could keep the big book meetings alive in our local meetings so we can keep the light burning so a new comer by accident lands in such meetings can hear the fatality of the disease and if he sticks around for a while will hear the solution.
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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Re: PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by ann2 » Tue May 18, 2010 12:10 pm

. . . their brains and bodies have not been damaged as ours were.
This is a crucial part of the above for me. Why I can't stop. The word is "damaged."

Not however damaged goods, in the meaning some tell it. I am broken in the area of alcoholic consumption. Can never fix that. But I can live with it, I am blessed to do so with the 12 steps guiding me.

What I can do in life, thanks to the usual talents and enterprise found in most alkies, is only possible because I am sober. Sobriety is possible because of AA. And I have nooooo problem with that.

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

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Re: PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by Karl R » Tue May 18, 2010 2:08 pm

Yes.

I can't drink successfully. When I would take the first drink I continued to drink with always certain and always negative consequences each time. And that's an understatement. :-) That part of me was broken.

Furthermore I couldn't "not drink" successfully. The mental obsession always brought me insanely back to that first drink. That part of me was also broken. Game over.

These two ways in which I was broken got in the way of living the life which my HP, my family, those around me and myself wanted to live. Luckily, I wandered into alcoholics anonymous and found a Big Book plan for sobriety. The rest seems to fall into line.

On Big Book meetings---Our district has about 35 or 40 meetings per week. Of those, two are Big Book studies. Average attendance ranges from 2 to 5 each week at each of these meetings. An AA meeting without a big book in sight is almost not an AA meeting is it? :-)

I sometimes get asked by people who I would suggest as a sponsor. I suggest, not entirely in jest, that one criteria would be someone who has a big book that has a binding which doesn't crack and creak when they open it. :-)

cheers,
Karl

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Re: PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by leejosepho » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:40 am

Karl R wrote:... I am an alcoholic because my drinking progressed beyond the point of proportion and being able to think straight.
Or, maybe I ended up there because I am alcoholic. But either way, our overall abilities to function well as human beings has been "damaged" or made worse by alcohol, and our goal here is to try to help others see they are headed toward that very same "seemingly hopeless state of mind and body". (Foreword to First Edition)
Some of you are thinking: "Yes, what you tell us is true, but it doesn't fully apply."
How do we know others are thinking that? We have been there ourselves.
"... we have not gone to the extremes you fellows did ..."
No, maybe not yet.
"... nor are we likely to, for we understand ourselves so well after what you have told us that such things cannot happen again."
If that were true, detoxes could produce so-called "winners".
But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge.
Whether or not we have all lost all control once we begin drinking, the alcoholic mind yet seems to already be dominant.
This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience.
"There was a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it - this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish." (page 34)

And so, Step One is where we must stop trying to stop so we can put whatever energy we might have left into cooperating within the process of having our problem removed.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: PP 38-39 More about alcoholism (but that's not me!)

Post by PaigeB » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:01 am

Some of you are thinking: "Yes, what you tell us is true, but it doesn't fully apply."

Joe: How do we know others are thinking that? We have been there ourselves.

"... we have not gone to the extremes you fellows did ..."

Joe: No, maybe not yet.
Quite correct. I remember being told about the "yets" - ie; I can't start thinking,
"I haven't been there." without adding, "yet"! When I listen to a speaker tell of awful tragedies such as losing a child, I hear it with heartbreaking familiarity even though I haven't been there yet. Chances are I will need to listen even more intently.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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