XXVI-XXVII The Dr's Opinion (Abnormal Bodies)

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
User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3700
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

XXVI-XXVII The Dr's Opinion (Abnormal Bodies)

Post by Karl R »

This portion of the Doctor's Opinion is located between the two letters in which the Doctor gives us his ideas on the alcoholic condition. It is once again in the words of the original 100 founders of AA.

In it is summarized the alcoholic condition-that not only our mind but our body is abnormal.
Alcoholism is not just a mental condition or weakness of morality. There is a physical basis.

Would someone else care to speak to the mental and physical nature of alcoholism, and the 'allergy' theory which the Doctor will speak of in his next letter?

“We work out our solution on the spiritual as well as an altruistic plane”

What does the word altruistic mean in terms of 'the solution' to alcohol.

The last paragraph describes the condition under which an alcoholic “has a better chance of understanding and accepting what we (the AA solution) has to offer”

Anyone want to describe when an alcoholic can start working on the solution to his alcoholic problem?




The physician who, at our request, gave us this letter, has been kind enough to enlarge upon his views in another statement which follows. In this statement 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.
The doctor’s theory that we have an allergy to alcohol interests us. As laymen, our opinion as to its soundness may, of course, mean little. But as exproblem drinkers, we can say that his explanation makes good sense. It explains many things for which we cannot otherwise account.
Though we work out our solution on the spiritual as well as an altruistic plane, we favor hospitalization for the alcoholic who is very jittery or befogged. More often than not, it is imperative that a man’s brain be cleared before he is approached, as he has then a better chance of understanding and accepting what we have to offer.
Last edited by Karl R on Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
jujub
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:40 am
Location: southeastern wisconsin

Post by jujub »

Anyone want to describe when an alcoholic can start working on the solution to his alcoholic problem?

all i know is i better start working on a solution, whatever that may be, because to be mired in the problem is becoming intolerable. people say this is a spiritual program, i don't comprehend or have much faith in that. the god of my understanding has always been "out to get me", not exactly having my best interest at heart. old ideas, i know, but how do i change them?

all i see in the dr.'s opinion is hopelessness and doom for the chronic alcoholic who can't or won't find a greater power. yes, i know..."contempt prior to investigation".

judi
User avatar
ann2
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 7938
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

Post by ann2 »

hey, Judi, welcome! Glad to read you and thanks for putting in your thoughts on this section.

I wonder if you can go back to Karl's questions and answer the first 2 ?

1. Would someone else care to speak to the mental and physical nature of alcoholism, and the 'allergy' theory which the Doctor will speak of in his next letter?

2. What does the word altruistic mean in terms of 'the solution' to alcohol.

and 3., there is some specific instruction in this text from the Dr.'s Opinion about when it is possible to start working with an alcoholic. Can you find it?

Ann

"It's a cookbook, not a novel"
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3700
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R »

By the way---welcome back here this morning Judi.

Some in the fellowship have to get their court slipped signed at F2F meetings. Ask any of us and we'll sign your sponsor slip.( :) :) :)

I was surprised to find that after I started working on the 1st step and thinking about my situation that people, things, and circumstances started popping out of the woodwork to help me along in my work. I can only call that the synchronicity of God showing an interest in my life. I hadn't thought about God for 26 years but suddenly, unexplainably he was showing an interest in alcoholic Karl. Amazing to me.

Karl
User avatar
avaneesh912
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 5375
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Post by avaneesh912 »

Hello Judi,
I know its difficult to comprehend these key elements of alcoholism with a befogged mind. We all are befogged few days/weeks. It took me 4 months to understand the Physical Craving that kicks only after you drink the 1st drink. Then you end up drunk. It well explained why i would start with a 22 oz Ice House beer (cheap sh't) at 10am and by 2pm i would have drank 5-6 of them..And the mental obsession and the spiritual malady (restless irritable and discontented).

However there is glimpse of hope in the Dr. Opinion:

This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.

On the other hand-and strange as this may seem to those who do not understand-once a psychic change has occurred (WORKING THE 12 STEPS), the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules.
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)
Paul N
Forums Contributor
Posts: 318
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:01 am

Post by Paul N »

Hey all & a special hello to Judi. Glad you're here, really.

You're comment about God "being out to get ya", brought back some old memories for me. I used to have those feelings too. Can't tell you how many times I'd throw my arms up in the air, look up and ask "why me?".

I was convinced based on the knowledge I'd twisted from what I was taught as a child, that God didn't have any use for me. My past had condemned me to that "really hot place where bad people go".

Something that provided a ray of hope, were the words Ebby had for Bill when he visited him in his kitchen, while Bill was still drinking. The part about coming up with his own conception of God. As a kid, I was taught that was a no no. But the reality for me at the end of my drinking was, what other options did I have? I didn't do this over night, it took a little time. It doesn't mean it has to be that way for you though.

Eventually, I did something that probably sounds silly. I wrote on a post-it-note, what I think God is. It had been suggested to me. I didn't have a lot of things written, but they were sincere and were unselfish. I laminated that little note and carried it in my cigarette pack. Every time I reached for a smoke, there was the card. Pull it out, read it, stick it back in the pack. The earth didn't shake, no bright light shinned above my head or anything like that. But I was doing something different than what I had always done and that was pretty key. It worked for me, as a start.

Time, the steps, being around other AA's who really do live this, have helped change my concept even more. It's not to say what I originally had was bad, it's just that it's gotten better or changed over time. Seems like the more I live and apply the steps in my life, the closer I feel to God as I understand Him. And if I think back to my childhood days and the things I was taught, isn't that what the intent was back then? Weird, right?

So you asked, when can someone start working the solution? I think the answer is, right now if you're willing.

Here's what it came down to in the end for me Judi ... I finally suffered enough pain in living the way I was, that I was willing to try anything. I swear to you, even though I felt like a giant loser and felt as if I was all alone, it was one of the best days of my life. Once I got around some AA's, I learned that I'd never ever again have to be alone or feel like a loser.

There are some awesome people here on this forum. I mean AWESOME. They're not just here, they're everywhere.

Just reach my friend, I promise ... someone will take your hand. They'll take it, because someone took theirs. The AA "solution" really does work.
User avatar
Blue Moon
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3676
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New Jersey

Post by Blue Moon »

jujub wrote:Anyone want to describe when an alcoholic can start working on the solution to his alcoholic problem?
You already are - by asking questions and seeking understanding, you're taking some action.
people say this is a spiritual program, i don't comprehend or have much faith in that
And why would you? Can you believe that they have faith?

I have no faith that a headache pill will work. Sure, I believe it works for you because you say it does, but it won't work for me because, y'see, my headache is different from yours.

But once I take the headache pill, and feel the pain subside, I then develop faith that it worked. (Of course, there's always still some nagging doubt that maybe the headache was going to ease off anyway... but no longer enough doubt to stop me taking the headache pill next time I have a headache ;) )
the god of my understanding has always been "out to get me", not exactly having my best interest at heart. old ideas, i know, but how do i change them?
Maybe you need a God of a different understanding. You can choose whatever conception of God you like, providing it makes sense to you. Clearly it makes little sense to you to choose a condemning God.

You can consider it a loving authority figure, the power of nature, conscience, "Good Orderly Direction", enlightenment (e.g. Buddhism), or whatever works. Just because AA has a Christian flavour to try and pass on spiritual concepts for recovery from alcoholism doesn't mean you must accept a Christian concept of God to benefit from, and recover with, them.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon
User avatar
jujub
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:40 am
Location: southeastern wisconsin

Post by jujub »

first off, i'd like to apologize for being rude and not thanking you guys for your responses. so...thank you.

this is very overwhelming to me. maybe that is ann's point when she asks when the book says an alcoholic should be approached--when the mental fog has lifted. apparently my clouded perceptions have not cleared in the 2 plus days of being without alcohol. i'm listening, but i don't seem to hear. but it isn't from lack of effort. i just can not hear you guys. despite being around aa for many years, it is more foreign than familiar.

as far as the mental and physical aspects of alcoholism: once i start i do not know when or if i will stop. i'm either thinking how to get through the next minute without drinking or
how to manipulate my circumstances so that i can drink. any miniscule level of frustration--whether at home, work or navigating these forums--cause my mind to drift back to and seek the solution i've always known. it owns my mind--lock, stock and barrel.

when i drink i have always sought more. no matter the physical and emotional turmoil--to myself and those around me--i have always and will always want more. i do believe that is an abnormal reaction to a substance. an allergy. it owns my body, as well.

altruism i think is concern for others without regard to self. i guess pathologic consumption with self is a part of the spiritual malady. therefore part of the treatment for that malady would be working with others, no?

really, thanks for all your comments. and karl, i think my sponsor will be snooping around checking up on me, so my sponsor slip shouldn't need a signature!! :roll:

judi
User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3700
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R »

Judi,

"karl, i think my sponsor will be snooping around checking up on me, so my sponsor slip shouldn't need a signature!! "

I apologize. One of the things that my higher power has not yet taken away from my flawed character is a tendency toward observing irony in the world around me and a somewhat strange sense of humor. Now we know that here we can use the 7th tradition basket for the 7th tradition-not for sponsor ordered slips.

have a great day Judi.

Karl
User avatar
Blue Moon
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3676
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New Jersey

Post by Blue Moon »

jujub wrote:i'm listening, but i don't seem to hear. but it isn't from lack of effort. i just can not hear you guys.
That's ok. After years of listening to nothing but my own noisy thinking, hearing anyone else was tough for me too.

The effort is enough. So long as you're not drinking and maintain an open mind, it will become easier to hear.

I just took things one day at a time. "What do I need to do today?"
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon
User avatar
jujub
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:40 am
Location: southeastern wisconsin

Post by jujub »

i thought your comment was funny, karl--i guess my sense of humor is just as warped.

i'm liking being around here a bit more than yesterday. thanks to everyone, hope i can add something to the group

i've had a tough day, but i'm sober. got a bunch of phone numbers at the meeting. and actually used a couple of them.

judi
User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3700
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R »

Have a good night and an even better tomorrow Judi.

You need to know that you help each and every one of us much more then we help you. That's part of what the fellowship and the program is about. We stay sober by helping you. And you'll stay sober by helping someone else. It says that somewhere in the BB but I'll not burden you with the quote and I'm on my way out the door.

thanks for your help today Judi,
Karl
User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3700
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R »

Though we work out our solution on the spiritual as well as an altruistic plane(From the Dr’s Opinion)

We work the solution out on an altruistic and a spiritual plane. Altruistic=showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Spiritual=relating to a person's beliefs as opposed to his or her physical or material needs.

Just two of many definitions of the planes we work out our solution on. (Definitions are from the free dictionary online). Altruism and Spirituality—initially these were like alien terms to me when considering solutions to alcoholism. Anyone care to speak from their own experience, strength, and hope on the altruistic and spiritual planes the solution takes in their life; how these terms relate to alcoholism, powerlessness over alcohol, and a possible solution? Just a conversation starter on a quiet day.

Karl
User avatar
martin08
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 606
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:37 am
Location: Western Maine

Post by martin08 »

I'd love to, Karl....

But I'm meeting with a recoverng alcoholic in action in 15 minutes. He has just finished his resentment inventory and telephoned with the question, "What's next?"

So... Fear Inventory, HERE WE COME!!!!!!
User avatar
Karl R
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3700
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Post by Karl R »

You've got it down. 8) The great "what's next"
Post Reply