11/27/08 BB To Wives pp 110-112 (the heavy drinker's wife)

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

11/27/08 BB To Wives pp 110-112 (the heavy drinker's wife)

Postby Karl R » Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:06 am

Good Day and happy Thanksgiving,

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Yesterday's text gave us a progression of types of alcoholics. Lack of power over alcohol (for the alcoholic) or a growing lack of power (for the potential alcoholic) as well as unmanagable lives for the alcoholic or a growing unmanageable life for the potential alcoholic seem to be traits they all share.

Today's text (below in red) speaks of ways in which the spouse of "husband number" one may be helpful (the heavy drinker). Patience, lack of anger, good temper, avoid telling them what to do, lack of criticism. The hands off approach followed by a conversational concerned approach once the heavy drinker brings it up himself. This description of the spouse of "husband number one" seems to describe someone who has had a spiritual awakening themselves so to speak.

Anyone care to comment on the circle of involvement between AA, a newcomer, and a newcomer's family or spouse today as compared to what was common in the early day's. Or...the spiritual awakening of family?.

again, Gobble Gobble I'm off to cook a Turkey.

Karl-

Let's now go back to husband number one. Oddly enough, he is often difficult to deal with. He enjoys drinking. It stirs his imagination. His friends feel closer over a highball. Perhaps you enjoy drinking with him yourself when he doesn't go too far. You have passed happy evenings together chatting and drinking before your fire. Perhaps you both like parties which would be dull without liquor. We have enjoyed such evenings ourselves; we had a good time. We know all about liquor as a social lubricant. Some, but not all of us, think it has its advantages when reasonably used. The first principle of success is that you should never be angry. Even though your husband becomes unbearable and you have to leave him temporarily, you should, if you can, go without rancor. Patience and good temper are most necessary.
Our next thought is that you should never tell him what he must do about his drinking. If he gets the idea that you are a nag or killjoy, your chance of accomplishing anything useful may be zero. He will use that as an excuse to drink more. He will tell you he is misunderstood. This may lead to lonely evenings for you. He may seek someone else to console him - not always another man.
Be determined that your husband's drinking is not going to spoil your relations with your children or your friends. They need your companionship and your help. It is possible to have a full and useful life, though your husband continues to drink. We know women who are unafraid, even happy under these conditions. Do not set your heart on reforming your husband. You may be unable to do so, no matter how hard you try.
We know these suggestions are sometimes difficult to follow, but you will save many a heartbreak if you can succeed in observing them. Your husband may come to appreciate your reasonableness and patience. This may lay the groundwork for a friendly talk about his alcoholic problem. Try to have him bring up the subject himself. Be sure you are not critical during such a discussion. Attempt instead, to put yourself in his place. Let him see that you want to be helpful rather than critical.
When a discussion does arise, you might suggest he read this book or at least the chapter on alcoholism. Tell him you have been worried, though perhaps needlessly. You think he ought to know the subject better, as everyone should have a clear understanding of the risk he takes if he drinks too much. Show him you have confidence in his power to stop or moderate. Say you do not want to be a wet blanket; that you only want him to take care of his health. Thus you may succeed in interesting him in alcoholism.
He probably has several alcoholics among his own acquaintances. You might suggest that you both take an interest in them. Drinkers like to help other drinkers. Your husband may be willing to talk to one of them.
If this kind of approach does not catch your husband's interest, it may be best to drop the subject, but after a friendly talk your husband will usually revive the topic himself. This may take patient waiting, but it will be worth it. Meanwhile you might try to help the wife of another serious drinker. If you act upon these principles, your husband may stop or moderate.
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Postby dwelling » Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:25 pm

Hi,

A heavy drinker?

It doesn't say , "He is a heavy drinker".

It does say,' He may be only a heavy drinker"

He may be= He might be

The word " only" gives the impression that he could be something else.

He might be only a heavy drinker and not an alcoholic.

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Postby dwelling » Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:38 pm

Hi,

"This may lay the groundwork for a friendly talk about his alcoholic problem."

I'm guessing that if #1 falls under the "some will not stop", he would have an "alcoholic problem" and would therefore not be included in the "may be only a heavy drinker" type.

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Postby jak » Fri Nov 28, 2008 6:26 pm

I was down to 135 pounds in the days of my last drunk.

I have more than doubled that in sobriety. I am a heavy non-drinker.

It is because I have been growing in the program. 8)

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Postby Karl R » Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:07 pm

In July when I quit and started a program of recovery I went 250 lbs. I was a heavy-heavy drinker. Now at 180 lbs my wife tells me she worries about me. I am a lighter non drinker. :? Confusing?


In all seriousness guys---can someone help this newcomer get the simple sense of what the author was getting at with this description of 4 types of drinkers and 4 ways that a spouse is to help the drinker? It seems that the suggestions for all four are similar aren't they? Somehow, am I completely missing the point with my pointy addled brain? The point seems to be some simple suggestions for a spouse to help a drinking person (alcoholic or otherwise).

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Postby dwelling » Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:52 am

Hi Karl,
In my humble opinion and experience, the book Alcoholics Anonymous is written to help the alcoholic understand his alcoholic problem and to offer and spell out the spiritual solution that worked for the first one hundred alcoholics. Some of the first one hundred didn't stay sober, but most did.
The chapter "To Wives" is an interesting chapter, to say the least. Some people hate it, actually. Yes ,it was written by an alcoholic from a spousal non-alcoholic point of view to help other non alcoholic spouses deal with their alcoholic spouse. (confused yet)

What happens though is that ALCOHOLICS read it too.

In the beginning I didn't like having to figure out which one of The Four categories I had to be in, or to have others claim that husband#1 and husband #2 were not alcoholics. I started off accepting how some "alcoholics" interpreted these categories and would tell people that they were"only a heavy drinker", if they identified with husband #1 or #2.

They should try some controlled drinking.

Unfortunately, this solution is deadly for an alcoholic who" keep on".

All four categories are alcoholic.

(A lot of the early requests for big books were coming from spouses or other family members of alcoholics.)
The hope is given to the wife that maybe just maybe their husband isn't an alcoholic after all.
Alcoholics looking for some "wiggle room" to prove they are not alcoholic,(even after working the steps in their lives) can find it in this chapter and from those who don't fully understand powerlessness over alcohol and the cunning baffling, features of it.

Some alcoholics believe the insane idea that they can moderate or stop.

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Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:40 am

We don't have to spend time and energy with people who are not convinced. They can keep doing until they reach that hopeless state of mind and body. We in AA should be focussed on people who are walking in and surrendering, meaning accept the fact that they are/were powerless over alcohol and are willing to follow a spiritual path.

The book clearly says that in the chapter "Working with Others". If we are spending time on the reluctant ones, we are cheating the man/woman who is desperate.
Last edited by avaneesh912 on Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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Postby dwelling » Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:48 pm

Hi avaneesh,
Yes,what you write is true.

But What do you say to the man who tells you he fits the description of husband #1?

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Postby avaneesh912 » Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:47 pm

Our job is to tell him about the progressive nature of this disease and the tools that are available for him. If he is not willing, move on to another who is desperate.
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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Postby jak » Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:13 pm

But What do you say to the man who tells you he fits the description of husband #1?


Tell YOUR story Honestly and from the heart.
Not your philosophy, your experience. That is powerful. Try it.
That is your hope for your recovery. Your story. Others may be inspired by it to look honestly at their own stories. But let the people who want to drink again go ahead and drink again.

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Postby Blue Moon » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:55 pm

Karl R wrote:In all seriousness guys---can someone help this newcomer get the simple sense of what the author was getting at with this description of 4 types of drinkers and 4 ways that a spouse is to help the drinker? It seems that the suggestions for all four are similar aren't they?


The point is that alcoholism is progressive

One alcoholic person may pass through each of those 4 stages described.

Many non-alcoholics will hit stage 1 and quit drinking. Many alcoholics will quit drinking at stages 2 or 3, with or without AA's help.

Page 44 says "...to continue as he is means disaster, especially if he is an alcoholic of the hopeless variety."

Surely this implies there are alcoholics of the non-hopeless variety Probably alcoholics who can get sober on a non-spiritual basis. Again, with or without AA - those are the folks in AA who declare that "just don't drink and go to meetings" is a solution. For them, it is.

The book doesn't really discuss non-hopeless alcoholics, because it was primarly written for hopeless cases only, those alcoholics for whom a spiritual solution has become the only one possible.
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Postby dwelling » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:21 am

Hi,
Progressive illness.

Over time it gets worse.

One needs to have the illness of alcoholism, in order for it to progress.

heavy drinkers don't have the illness of alcoholism, there is no progression for them.
.
Big difference between a heavy drinker(some will stop or moderate), to powerless over alcohol( some will not)

Alcoholism= The illness of the body , plus the illness of the mind= powerless.

Powerless over alcohol. That is the problem defined by step one.

I was alcoholic from my first drink. I couldn't stay stopped," no matter how great the necessity or the wish.", Until I found the spiritual solution of Step 2 through working the rest of the steps, I could not stay stopped. Could you?

And yes, there are many "heavy drinkers" who are in AA and staying sober with the don't drink and go to meetings mantra. A lot of them go in and out of the "rooms" many times without dying. Why? There is no progression to worry about.

Unfortunately there are many who are powerless over alcohol who attempt to drink like "heavy drinkers", and sometimes don't make it back.

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Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:28 am

heavy drinkers don't have the illness of alcoholism, there is no progression for them.


How can you be so sure of that? If you want to understand the progressive nature of the disease you may want to listen to Joe and Charlie workshop. I found it useful. Again this is my experience, other intelligent alcoholics may have different perspective on this.

As we age our body manufactures less enzymes that is required to metabolize alcohol and that leads to more craving of alcohol after they put the first drink. This is the reason after a long periods of abstinence (as in the story of the businessman in More about alcoholism) people go dead quickly.
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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Postby dwelling » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:48 am

Hi,
I have listened to the Joe and Charlie tapes. I love those guys. I have also read and studied Joes two books, "The Steps we Took" and "Carry this Message". I wasn't able to meet with Joe before he died, but I have personally met with and talked with Some of Joe McQ's sponsees in Vermont and through e-mail. There is another book coming out hopefully soon concerning the "Instincts", you might check out. You keep referring to joe and Charlie, this is good. Joe's knowledge has been invaluable to me.

I also must talk only from my perspective and experience, and walk my talk .It is easy to become a parrot in AA.

Are you now saying that the The hard drinker is powerless over alcohol?

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Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:02 am

Me too. But you are hung up on this chapter for too long. By the way I refer to Joe and Charlie workshop because they talk about the American Medical Association study on Alcoholism/Metabolism and that was very educative.

A Hard Drinker, may become powerless over alcohol say for instance at 70. Who knows? I am 44 and already experienced the progressive nature of the disease.
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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