11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

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

11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby Karl R » Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:33 pm

Good Day,

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


Yesterday's text considered suggestions for the husband who wants to want to stop, and the husband who wants to stop. Thanks Jim, Dwelling, and Avaneesh for helping me come to some better understanding of this chapter.

Today's short selection (below in red) offers us a message of hope for the worst case scenario-the alcoholic for whom the spouse completely despairs and has all but given up hope. Institutions, Jail, Hospitals all are part of their lives but many of the first 100 were "husband number 4s".

Anyone care to share of their ES and H concerning 'husband # 4'?

have a great week everyone.

karl

You would suppose that men in the fourth classification would be quite hopeless, but that is not so. Many of Alcoholics Anonymous were like that. Everybody had given them up. Defeat seemed certain. Yet often such men had spectacular and powerful recoveries. There are exceptions. Some men have been so impaired by alcohol that they cannot stop. Sometimes there are cases where alcoholism is complicated by other disorders. A good doctor or psychiatrist can tell you whether these complications are serious. In any event, try to have your husband read this book. His reaction may be one of enthusiasm. If he is already committed to an institution, but can convince you and your doctor that he means business, give him a chance to try our method, unless the doctor thinks his mental condition too abnormal or dangerous. We make this recommendation with some confidence. For years we have been working with alcoholics committed to institutions. Since this book was first published, A.A. has released thousands of alcoholics from asylums and hospitals of every kind. The majority have never returned. The power of God goes deep!
You may have the reverse situation on your hands. Perhaps you have a husband who is at large, but who should be committed. Some men cannot or will not get over alcoholism. When they become too dangerous, we think the kind thing is to lock them up, but of course a good doctor should always be consulted. The wives and children of such men suffer horribly, but not more than the men themselves.
Last edited by Karl R on Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jak » Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:41 pm

Yet often such men had spectacular and powerful recoveries.


Some men cannot or will not get over alcoholism.


The good news and the bad news.

I cannot tell by looking at those who do not stay sober whether they 'cannot' or whether they 'will not'.

I was once convinced that I was a 'low bottom drunk'. After listening to the introduction page being read to the story section They Stopped In Time I found a description that fit my story. I had only felt the 'first nip of the wringer'. Even that was nearly fatal.

There are drinkers who get badly mangled yet they have become numb to the wringer. They take it to the limit. And they die from it.

And then there are those whom, it seems, shouldn't even be alive, yet they have returned to AA enough times to finally join and remain sober.

That is what I have seen and heard at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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Postby dwelling » Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:01 pm

Hi,
I only felt the first nip of the ringer when I was introduced to AA and was convinced that I required a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity concerning taking the first drink.

I did sponsor a "low bottom", or category #4 man, for eight years. The day after I gave him his eight year coin, he died sober. Billy was in 14 detoxes in his last 9 months of drinking. One time he drank for three days after getting out of detox and then spent five days detoxing in the hospital.

The reason he picked me as a sponsor was that we drank for the same amount of time. The diagnosis was the same: powerless over alcohol.

God gets us to AA. AA gets us to God

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Re: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby leejosepho » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:50 pm

You would suppose that men in the fourth classification would be quite hopeless ...

Some of the best help I have ever received came from recovered "last-gaspers".

Everybody [but us] had given them up ...

Sometimes there are cases where alcoholism is complicated by other disorders. A good doctor or psychiatrist can tell you whether these complications are serious.

A *good* doctor or psychiatrist can do that, and I know of one case where a man recovered while still in a mental ward where his psychiatrist helped him learn to hear what the A.A.s were saying to him and to trust them with his recovery.

If he is already committed to an institution, but can convince you and your doctor that he means business, give him a chance to try our method, unless the doctor thinks his mental condition too abnormal or dangerous.

Sometimes it seems some people get that backwards and "play doctor" and say we cannot help certain people. However:

For years we have been working with alcoholics committed to institutions. Since this book was first published, A.A. has released thousands of alcoholics from asylums and hospitals of every kind. The majority have never returned. The power of God goes deep!

I doubt that report of "thousands" was actually true when our book was first published, but I suspect it is today! Either way, however, this certainly seems to be true:

Some men cannot or will not [do what it takes to] get over alcoholism. When they become too dangerous [to themselves or others], we think the kind thing is to lock them up, but of course a good doctor should always be consulted.

If there is any line in this chapter that I might question a bit, it is this next one:

The wives and children of such men suffer horribly, but not more than the men themselves.

I cannot speak from experience either way there, but I believe "the power to help others" (page 132) has been given to us just as much for the sake of our loved ones as for ourselves.
=======================
"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: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby PaigeB » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:15 pm

Thanks Joe, for opening the question, because it is this very line that stuck in my craw:

When they become too dangerous, we think the kind thing is to lock them up, but of course a good doctor should always be consulted. The wives and children of such men suffer horribly, but not more than the men themselves.


When they become too dangerous, there is no time to call a good doctor, you must lock them up now - in jail. One of the things that has changed greatly since the writing of this book is the law. When this was written many men beat their wives and it was legal to do so, "with a stick no larger than your thumb" - hence the rule of thumb. Today it is considered, and rightly so, a crime. Back in 1981, when I helped our state Senator write the law that rules in my state today, many people wished to have spousal abuse fall under illness and treatment much as they now do offenses involving alcohol. I was vehemently against this, even as I was in AA at that time myself. Hitting another person is a crime whether you are married or not and in my state, it is worse if you hit your housemate or date. Alcoholism is a separate issue that requires treatment. Crimes require jail time and batterer's education classes through the parole office.

I have not yet ended my rant. We all know Bill wrote this chapter after consulting Lois and the other wives. I seriously doubt they would have said, "Forgive me, my husband has suffered more than I have." Especially when the sentence follows the idea that the man has become dangerous.

Seriously, only from the mind of an egotistical alcoholic. I share that size of an ego with Bill and I point this out for the wives who may be beaten into having pity for their poor alcoholic who still suffers. Save yourself!

Put him in jail if he is dangerous.

End rant.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby leejosepho » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:46 am

PaigeB wrote:Thanks Joe, for opening the question, because it is this very line that stuck in my craw:

When they become too dangerous, we think the kind thing is to lock them up, but of course a good doctor should always be consulted. The wives and children of such men suffer horribly, but not more than the men themselves.


When they become too dangerous, there is no time to call a good doctor, you must lock them up now - in jail. One of the things that has changed greatly since the writing of this book is the law. When this was written many men beat their wives and it was legal to do so ...

I could be wrong, but I doubt that is the kind of "locked up" Bill is talking about here. I suspect it is more something like this:

"... committed for alcoholic insanity." (page 9)
"... unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane." (page 24)
=======================
"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: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby Marc L » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:30 am

Hopeless is a matter of opinion.
Some men have demonstrated that this condition was temporary. :D
The Creator of the Universe can fix anything.
I should be dead as a result of my alcohol abuse but I isn't. Why?

Marc
Recovery won't just happen by Osmosis. You gonna' have to work at it some.
12th Step work ain't just a job... It's an Adventure.
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Re: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby leejosepho » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:33 am

MarcLacroix wrote:Hopeless is a matter of opinion.
Some men have demonstrated that this condition was temporary. :D
The Creator of the Universe can fix anything.
I should be dead as a result of my alcohol abuse but I isn't. Why?

How does being amazed at being alive lead one to conclude one should actually be dead? At least in my own case, I suspect ignorance had once been at play there. ;)
=======================
"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: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby PaigeB » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:55 am

Paige said: When they become too dangerous, there is no time to call a good doctor, you must lock them up now - in jail.

Joe Said: I could be wrong, but I doubt that is the kind of "locked up" Bill is talking about here.


I contend that "dangerous" can and does include "violent" and violent = jail. Domestic violence is not new. I suspect that Bill was just not talking about it as a matter of 'normal course' and NOW it needs to be talked about. You don't put a drunk who hits their spouse in an asylum, though they might have then, you NOW put them in jail.

Lest any woman reading this feel inclined to keep themselves "in danger" please speak with me or another woman on this Forum. We will help you find a way out of "danger".

If you men feel it is too harsh for me to advocate leaving the dangerous alcoholic, then so be it.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby leejosepho » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:40 am

PaigeB wrote:I suspect that Bill was just not talking about it as a matter of 'normal course' ...

If you men feel it is too harsh for me to advocate leaving the dangerous alcoholic ...

You have a lot of speculation going on there!
=======================
"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: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby PaigeB » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:28 am

Not too far of a stretch to say in 1934-39 Domestic Violence was behind closed doors and a dirty little family secret. Statistically, again not too much of an assumption, even within the first 100 there were some who hit their wives & children. It was another forty years before Iowa put a law on the books. The ways people talked and the things they talked about were different back then.

As for the final assumption, I apologize if I have offended you. I have no reason to believe you find me "too harsh".
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby leejosepho » Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:48 am

PaigeB wrote:Not too far of a stretch to say in 1934-39 Domestic Violence was behind closed doors and a dirty little family secret.

Possibly not, but it is nothing but speculation to suggest Bill was in any way embracing it or helping to cover it up.

PaigeB wrote:I apologize if I have offended you.

You have not. My only "complaint", and just a minor one, is that an assumption or implication had been made rather than just asking to find out what was being said.
=======================
"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: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby PaigeB » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:08 pm

Joe said: Possibly not, but it is nothing but speculation to suggest Bill was in any way embracing it or helping to cover it up.


Back then it was a way of life to not discuss these things. I do not think that Bill consciously embraced it or covered it up. It was "matter of fact" - not worth discussing, especially in light of the issue being alcohol. Not even a "sin of omission" - it just was a non issue by the traditions of society back then.
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Re: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby leejosepho » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:36 am

PaigeB wrote:
Joe said: Possibly not, but it is nothing but speculation to suggest Bill was in any way embracing it or helping to cover it up.

Back then it was a way of life to not discuss these things. I do not think that Bill consciously embraced it or covered it up ...

Cool. Bill was far from perfect, and he knew that, but he also knew better than to ever speak up for the sake of the alcoholic at the expense of someone else.
=======================
"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: 11/30/08 BB To Wives (the hopeless husband # 4)

Postby leejosepho » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:38 pm

PaigeB wrote:
Joe said: Possibly not, but it is nothing but speculation to suggest Bill was in any way embracing it or helping to cover it up.


Back then it was a way of life to not discuss these things. I do not think that Bill consciously embraced it or covered it up. It was "matter of fact" - not worth discussing, especially in light of the issue being alcohol. Not even a "sin of omission" - it just was a non issue by the traditions of society back then.

I have been looking for where I had left off in our study some time ago and just discovered this thread where I had been arrogant in more than one response. In my unnecessary defense of Bill, I had blinded myself to having long ago witnessed the very kind of thing you had mentioned. I thank your for your long-suffering patience and non-condemning tolerance here in these forums.
=======================
"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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