XXXI-XXXII The Dr's Opinion (A Solution)

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

XXXI-XXXII The Dr's Opinion (A Solution)

Postby Karl R » Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:20 am

Good Morning all,

I've posted the last selection from Dr Silkworth's second letter from the Doctor's Opinion in the BB. Thanks to all who keep sharing and I would encourage all-newcomers and those who have been on the path for a while-to share or ask questions. There is a wealth of experience, strength and hope here at e-AA.

The big book is available online at http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/
Tomorrow we will start on Bill's Story.

The Doctor closes his letter with two brief stories of alcoholics he knew who became completely changed following a spiritual solution.

Anyone care to share their experience of complete change in others or themselves resulting from the program Dr. Silkworth has been talking about?

What is the solution? Perhaps I can best answer this by relating one of my experiences.

About one year prior to this experience a man was brought in to be treated for chronic alcoholism. He had but partially recovered from a gastric hemorrhage and seemed to be a case of pathological mental deterioration. He had lost everything worthwhile in life and was only living, one might say, to drink. He frankly admitted and believed that for him there was no hope. Following the elimination of alcohol, there was found to be no permanent brain injury. He accepted the plan outlined in this book. One year later he called to see me, and I experienced a very strange sensation. I knew the man by name, and partly recognized his features, but there all resemblance ended. From a trembling, despairing, nervous wreck, had emerged a man brimming over with self-reliance and contentment. I talked with him for some time, but was not able to bring myself to feel that I had known him before. To me he was a stranger, and so he left me. A long time has passed with no return to alcohol.

When I need a mental uplift, I often think of another case brought in by a physician prominent in New York. The patient had made his own diagnosis, and deciding his situation hopeless, had hidden in a deserted barn determined to die. He was rescued by a searching party, and, in desperate condition, brought to me. Following his physical rehabilitation, he had a talk with me in which he frankly stated he thought the treatment a waste of effort, unless I could assure him, which no one ever had, that in the future he would have the “will power’’ to resist the impulse to drink.

His alcoholic problem was so complex, and his depression so great, that we felt his only hope would be through what we then called “moral psychology,’’ and we doubted if even that would have any effect.

However, he did become “sold’’ on the ideas contained in this book. He has not had a drink for a great many years. I see him now and then and he is as fine a specimen of manhood as one could wish to meet.

I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through, and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray.
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Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:33 am

I can now walk into any bar or any party and don't have to be fearful that I will pick up a drink. I do have to follow the simple rule: be not selfish or self-centered. When i am not thinking for myself, i am good. The higher power will protect me. I am closing-in on my 2 year anniversary, so, what-ever i am doing so far is working. The spiritual malady has vanished. Thats the fourth step promise.

When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.

Physically i would say yes. Mentally, i am still working on it :roll:
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 jujub » Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:19 pm

hi all,

i can't speak of my own transformation, although 7 days without a drink would classify as a miracle for me in my book.

but i'm thinking of a young woman i knew several years ago--we went to the same meeting, and she hung around for a few months. she was a drug addict, alcoholic, had a lot of psychological issues--one being that she was a "cutter". she rarely spoke at the meeting, never looked anyone in the eye, never ever did i see her smile. she was so cloaked in depression.

around 2 years ago i saw her at a meeting for the first time in a couple years. i knew she looked familiar, but i couldn't put my finger on where i knew her from. then i saw the scars on her arms and i knew it was the same woman. she had her little boy with her--cute little redhead. her husband was at the meeting as well. she was smiling, laughing, interacting with people. taking good care of her son. she had gotten sober and stayed that way. she had a family, regularly attended meetings. she truly was a different person. i was floored. it was an amazing sight.

i don't see her often, but when i do i watch her. she is a testament to change that can be had from sobriety and living the steps.

judi, alcoholic
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Postby martin08 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:36 am

Thanks Judi,

This is a great observation of the attraction of AA. When I finally met my Sponsor, I wanted what he had. He did not have to advertise, his example said it all.

Many more 'miracle' women and men are out there. And we can be attracted when we want it enough.
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Postby Karl R » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:11 am

The miracle of change in my life. Saying No to drinking was good for a start in my life. The miracle in my life has been the power to say yes to things. Time with my children. Time for myself. Time for other people. I get huge rewards from saying no to drinking and yes to the manner of living that this simple program suggests. That new dynamic of what I say yes and no to is the miracle of change in my life today. All without fear.

cheers,
Karl

Brenda gave us this from the NB's list this morning. Thanks Brenda.

Keep It Simple(deleted by author-thank you JAK-let me know how I can make it up to you. I take responsibility for my thoughtlessness)We addicts were great at saying no. Our spouse asked us to help around the house and we said no and went drinking. Friends tried to care, but we said, �No, mind your own business!� Our parents or our kids begged us to stop drinking, but we said no.We were also ask to say yes. We always said yes when asked if we wanted to have a drink or get high. Addiction really mixed us up. When we said no, we should have said yes. And when we said yes we should have said no.In recovery, we do things better. We say yes when others ask for help. We say yes when somebody wants to give us love. We say no to alcohol and other drugs. We finally answer yes and no the right way---the right way and at the right time for us.Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, help me to always say yes to You, even when I�m tired or angry.Action for the Day: In today�s inventory, I�ll ask myself if there are any ways I�m still saying no to my program and Higher Power.
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Postby jak » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:12 am

'Just say no' doesn't work for my recovery either. I need inner change.

Thanks Karl

jim k
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Postby Karl R » Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:37 am

My sincere apologies Jim.

My thought was not the "just say no" message that was conveyed by her.
My thought was the miracle that has happened in my life by saying yes to the pathway of the steps after I was helped by my HP to say no to drinking.

Again-I apologize for bringing politics into AA-that was not my intention

I also want to thank Jim for a lesson in the tenth tradition. I need all the help I can get.

Karl
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Postby Karl R » Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:23 am

This last passage speaks of "complete changes" in people.

From a trembling, despairing, nervous wreck, had emerged a man brimming over with self-reliance and contentment.

For many years while I was drinking change was not a part of my life or the life of those around me. Being static meant going backwards in the progressivity of my disease. Upon deciding to work the program of AA positive changes began occurring in my life. Some of these changes were slow in coming and some happened quite quickly and by surprise. Relationships began to heal, that overwhelmed hopeless feeling left, and friendships began to develop and a certain contentment with life developed.

For today, I would be interested in hearing of changes in people's lives. The what we were like before, what happened, and what we are like now thing. Thanks for your interest.

cheers and have a great weekend everyone.

Karl
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Postby ann2 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:15 am

I have changed that completely. And not just from the day I entered into AA -- from just 8 years ago as well, as just one example, when I first got to Sweden and identified a fear of going outside (agoraphobia). And along the path of a couple of decades spared from the necessity to drink, there have been many more "issues" if you will identified and . . . grown through.

But if I had tried to make all the changes at the instant I stopped drinking -- if I had even identified all the things needing change at that time -- I would have given up immediately. The blessing was in being able to see the problem just as I found help for it.

So, here's a list:

1. Ended years of back and other body pain through stretching exercises
2. Treated a mental illness which is now in remission
3. Went from living in debt to learning how to save money
4. From lonliness to the blessing of a husband and children
5. Went from direct warfare with parents to a full and sincere appreciation and love for them today
6. Abandoned my clinging to security and familiar places (as I write from Estonia)
7. Accepted that I'm no social queen but I can cook and people seem to respond to my natural enthusiasm and willingness to pitch in

But so much more -- learned that meditating will have a direct impact on the quality of my life and interaction with others; learned that service to others can mean something other than being a doormat or a dictator; seeing the differences between me and others not as an impediment but an opportunity; and most of all being able to understand that things going wrong often can be a very good thing for me.

I'm on an entirely different level of existence, and if I keep following the directions I read in the BB, I believe I can stay there, without the need to drink, one day at a time. And what a miracle that is.

Thanks Karl.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
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Postby Joe H » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:23 pm

This last passage speaks of "complete changes" in people.

As for myself there has been a very definite change, noticed by myeslf and others (so I am told). However I believe I am a work in progress, I am not completed nor will I ever be.

The longer I stay on this chosen spiritual path more is revealed and more changes made. I am not complete nor am I a saint.

There is today one complete change, today I do not have the obsession to drink. Today, this alcoholic has accomplished something totally unnatural for this alcoholic, I have not had a drink. For that I am grateful.
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Postby samantha » Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:09 pm

Ann, the positive changes you identified are inspirational.

Already I have experienced the following changes:
I have a hp in my life (huge)
My relationships with family members have greatly improved
I have a much stronger sense of who I am and am more at peace with myself
I am better able to manage my day to day life
I consistently look after my health
I am more tolerant - live and let live
I understand the dangers of resentments and the paramount importance for me of dealing with them immediately they crop up
I have a lot more hope for the future

Would love to hear from others on this.
Sam
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Re: XXXI-XXXII The Dr's Opinion (A Solution)

Postby leejosepho » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:10 pm

Karl R wrote:Tomorrow we will start on Bill's Story.

Yes, and please forgive me for being late with this thread today!

Karl R wrote:The Doctor closes his letter with two brief stories of alcoholics he knew who became completely changed following a spiritual solution ...

... a man was brought in to be treated for chronic alcoholism ...

He accepted the plan outlined in this book ...

When I need a mental uplift, I often think of another case ...

... he [also became] “sold’’ on the ideas contained in this book.

"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)

So, at Step One, I gave up the fight and stopped trying to stop drinking and just moved along in the Steps and put all my efforts into recovery ... and now ...

"... We are not fighting [alcohol], neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our (A.A.) experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition." (page 85, emphasis added)

So very grateful here that not even the good doctor ever tried suggesting "Just don't drink." Rather, he said ...

I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through, and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray.

William D. Silkworth, M.D.
=======================
"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: XXXI-XXXII The Dr's Opinion (A Solution)

Postby PaigeB » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:10 am

So, at Step One, I gave up the fight and stopped trying to stop drinking and just moved along in the Steps and put all my efforts into recovery ...


It sure was this way for me. Not drink? HA... NO WAY. I tried all the things they list in Chapter 3 - and I tried abstinence. One time I stayed off the drink for an entire year. I have to point out that I spent those 365 days mostly homicidal. I stayed in a dark room, no radio & no TV laying in bed for fear I would hurt myself or someone else. Then the day came when I drank. I didn't think about staying sober - I thought about my misery and I drank.

When I completely gave up the fight with alcohol - I embraced the 24 hour deal. When I feared the lack of everything (because alcohol was everything) I filled my schedule and my life and my heart with AA and the love & hope & encouragement I found in the rooms of AA and with online AA. To this day, my insides and my outsides are weaved in with the program's principles and hope.

Avaneesh said:
The spiritual malady has vanished.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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Re: XXXI-XXXII The Dr's Opinion (A Solution)

Postby WHO » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:35 pm

Pg. xxxi
a) Removal/Recovered not Relief/Recovering. Removal / recovered
b) What is the solution? He frankly admitted and believed that for him there was no hope / Elimination of alcohol / the plan in this book
c) What plan did the hopeless, chronic alcoholic accept? The plan in the book
d) Is this plan singular or multiple? Singular
e) Where is the plan? In this Big Book
f) What were two results from accepting the plan in this book? Brimming over with self-reliance and contentment
g) Why didn’t anyone assure him of having sufficient “will power”? A waste of effort
h) What was the only hope for the alcohol problem and depression? That we felt his only hope would be through what we called “moral psychology


PERSONAL QUESTIONS

1) Do I see I can I best explain the solution by relating my own experience? Yes
2) Have I been brought to a place to be treated for chronic alcoholism? Yes
3) Have I had serious physical side effects from my chronic alcoholism? Yes,
4) Did I seem to be a case of manifesting symptoms of unstoppable mental deterioration? Yes
5) Have I lost everything worthwhile in life? Yes
6) Do I see I was basically living to drink? Yes
7) Do I admit and believe that for me there is no hope on my own power? Yes
8) Has there been at least, presently, the elimination of alcohol? Yes
9) Have I accepted the plan outlined in this book? Yes
10) Was I a trembling, despairing, nervous wreck? Yes
11) Am I now a man brimming over with self-reliance and contentment? No
12) Has a long time passed with no return to alcohol? (the first members considered two years sober as substantial) Yes
13) Did I get to a place where I decided my situation hopeless? Yes
14) Did I become isolated and determined to die? Yes
15) Was I rescued by recovered alcoholics while in a desperate condition? Yes
16) Did I think the AA “treatment” a waste of effort? No
17) Did I want to be assured I would have the “will power”, (without a higher power involved), to resist the impulse to drink? Yes
18) Did I believe my alcoholism was so complex, and my mental and emotional condition so great, in the face of some hope, that I doubted that the spiritual awakening they spoke of in this book would have any effect? Yes
* …brimming over with self-reliance and contentment.
* …no return to alcohol.
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Re: XXXI-XXXII The Dr's Opinion (A Solution)

Postby WHO » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:39 pm

Pg. xxxii
a) What did the desperate, complex, depressed alcoholic become “sold” on? The ideas contained in this book
b) What book are the ideas the doctor speaks of contained in? This book
c) What were two results of being sold on the ideas in this book? Elimination alcohol & moral psychology change
d) What is the Doctor’s two recommendations here? Becoming sold on the idea and to read through this book through and remain to pray
e) Does the doctor seem offended by alcoholics that scoff at this book? No
f) No member had more than four years sobriety when the book was published.
g) No member had more than three years sobriety when the book was completed.
h) Two years was considered by the members to be substantial sobriety.
i) Bill W. was six months sober when he approached Dr. Bob, and they both set out immediately.
j) Ebby T. had two months sobriety when he approached Bill W. with the practical program of action

PERSONAL QUESTIONS
1) Did I become “sold” on the ideas contained in this book? Yes
2) Did I scoff at first? I do not think I scoffed at it, I just did the things I thought I needed to do thern I met someone who showed me how to go through the big book, I had not had an experience with it
3) Did I read this book through and do what it said? Found out when I was 16 years sober what was to be done
4) Did I remain to pray? Yes
5) Have I not had a drink for a great many years? Yes

*…has not had a drink for a great many years.
* …as fine a specimen of manhood as one could wish to meet.
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