A wildly imaginative dianoetic rambling concerning the the “basic text” of Alcoholics Anonymous (viz. the Big Book) (our comments in red print)
Chapter 2 There Is A Solution (pp. 20-22)
“You may already have asked yourself why it is that all of us became so very ill from drinking. Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body. If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking—“What do I have to do?’’ [Note: “What do I have to do” - NOT 'What do YOU have to do'. This is an invitation – NOT an instruction]
It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions specifically. We shall tell you what we have done [but NOT necessarily what you should do]. Before going into a detailed discussion, it may be well to summarize some points as we see them [but again this does not imply you should agree with this particular perspective].
How many times people have said to us: “I can take it or leave it alone. Why can’t he?’’ “Why don’t you drink like a gentleman or quit?’’ “That fellow can’t handle his liquor.’’ “Why don’t you try beer and wine?’’ “Lay off the hard stuff.’’ “His will power must be weak.’’ “He could stop if he wanted to.’’ “She’s such a sweet girl, I should think he’d stop for her sake.’’ “The doctor told him that if he ever drank again it would kill him, but there he is all lit up again.’’
Now these are commonplace observations on drinkers which we hear all the time. Back of them is a world of ignorance and misunderstanding. We see that these expressions refer to people whose reactions are very different from ours.
Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. They can take it or leave it alone.
Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair him physically and mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficiently strong reason—ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the warning of a doctor—becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate [ie. he possesses sufficient will-power], although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may even need medical attention [not all who drink apparently to excess are chronic alcoholics].
But what about the real alcoholic? He may start off as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he begins to lose all control [ie. insufficient will-power] of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink.
Here is the fellow who has been puzzling you, especially in his lack of control . He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking. He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He is seldom mildly intoxicated. He is always more or less insanely drunk. His disposition while drinking resembles his normal nature but little. He may be one of the finest fellows in the world. Yet let him drink for a day, and he frequently becomes disgustingly, and even dangerously anti-social. He has a positive genius for getting tight at exactly the wrong moment, particularly when some important decision must be made or engagement kept. He is often perfectly sensible and well balanced concerning everything except liquor, but in that respect he is incredibly dishonest and selfish. He often possesses special abilities, skills, and aptitudes, and has a promising career ahead of him. He uses his gifts to build up a bright outlook for his family and himself, and then pulls the structure down on his head by a senseless series of sprees. He is the fellow who goes to bed so intoxicated he ought to sleep the clock around. Yet early next morning he searches madly for the bottle he misplaced the night before. If he can afford it, he may have liquor concealed all over his house to be certain no one gets his entire supply away from him to throw down the wastepipe. As matters grow worse, he begins to use a combination of high-powered sedative and liquor to quiet his nerves so he can go to work. Then comes the day when he simply cannot make it and gets drunk all over again. Perhaps he goes to a doctor who gives him morphine or some sedative with which to taper off. Then he begins to appear at hospitals and sanatoriums.
This is by no means a comprehensive picture of the true alcoholic, as our behaviour patterns vary. But this description should identify him roughly. ”
Coming next – Chapter 2 There Is A Solution (contd)
The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)