PP 22-25 There is a Solution (Just Not Drinking?)

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
Joe H
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Post by Joe H »

We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

I am one of those drunks who went to a very low bottom, yeah I was one of those that I hear many share that they were never that bum in the street. I was that bum in the street.

I came to that point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, that is I was sick and tired of being drunk. I drank every day and I was drunk every day. I just did it. I did not think about it, I just drank.

I had heard in the AA meetings I was forced to go to that if I did not take that first drink I wouldn't get drunk. I didn't have to stop drinking just don't take a drink today. My last night of drinking was the first time I was going to drink and not get drunk, I failed. That night I was drunk and the whiskey did not take away the pain, loneliness and humiliation, it only made those things worse. I asked a god that I hated and didn't believe in to help me or kill me. I wanted what you all had.

The next day when I came to I reached for a drink and didn't take it. I was going to do what you said you did, don't take that first drink. I was in mental and physical pain for that day and the next, then my body could no longer take it and I went into severe DTs that almost killed me.

I remember the pain of those DTs, the just white knuckling for five minutes to the next five minutes not taking a drink and while I know how bad it was it still has not made me immune to a drink. I can still drink. I have not stopped drinking. I have never told those who love me or myself that I have stopped drinking. I have done it one day at a time. Each morning I have made a decision to not take a drink and asked God for His protection from taking a drink. He has removed the obsession to drink but that does not mean that my mind will not take back its free will. Therefore I make certain prayers every morning and evening dealing only with my not taking a drink today.

I am a member of A.A. because I am an alcoholic who does not want to be drunk today. I love the freedom from alcohol and serenity of living a spiritual way of life. I am only one drink from being drunk. I have only today to not take a drink. I do not have to worry about taking one yesterday or taking one tomorrow, just today.

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avaneesh912
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Post by avaneesh912 »

there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.

The program guarantees us the sobriety (10th step promise) as long us we maintain FIT spiritual condition. And for me that to pray for being devoid of selfishness and self-centeredness. Meditation has helped me tremendously. And constant thought of how i can be of use to a fellow human being also has helped me live a serene life so far. I continue to pray for willingness to do the same today.
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)

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Karl R
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A Valentine's Story

Post by Karl R »

Good Morning Everyone....

Yes--I realize it's not valentine's day....but bear with me.....

At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected.

By the time I went dry in July of 2008 I knew that I had reached the state described in this section-the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail.

As to the point when this occured, one of the first indications that this was the case occurred around Valentines day 2004. The anniversary of the first real date between my wife and I is valentine's day 1979. Shortly before valentine's day in 2004 my wife and I were engaged in a fruitless attempt at marriage counseling. I was not honest with the counselor about my drinking. The counselor asked my wife what one thing my wife wanted on valentine's day. She replied "A single day without drinking". On the appointed day I found myself drinking at 7:30 in the morning. Tragic. I still considered this a matter of choice rather then acknowledging my truly powerless condition. It took four more years to reach the point of acknowledgement that I was truly "powerless" over alcohol and lurk into alcoholics anonymous seeking a solution.

Anyone else care to share the point at which your suspicions concerning your powerlessness over alcohol came to a certainty in your mind?

have a great day everyone and thanks for letting me share,
Karl R.

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Ken_the_Geordie
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Re: A Valentine's Story

Post by Ken_the_Geordie »

Karl R wrote:Anyone else care to share the point at which your suspicions concerning your powerlessness over alcohol came to a certainty in your mind?
I came to that conclusion at my first AA meeting after hearing so many similarities between my fellow AAers and my own drinking! It was only at the point where I said 'Hello my name is Tosh, and I'm an alcoholic', did I feel safe enough to humble myself and admit (even to myself) that I was an alcoholic and powerless over alcohol.

Upto that point I'd had many indicators that I had a 'drink problem'. The first time I thought I may have a drink problem was when I was 20 years old, in the army, sat on a tarmac vehicle park awaiting to be deployed to Gulf War 1 in 1990. I distinctly remember thinking how I would cope without being able to drink and subsequently I did have many low periods on this operation, though I put this down to being 20 years old and where my friends were out 'partying', I was stuck in a desert in the Middle East.

But even by this stage, I'd had my front teeth kicked out, had gained many disciplinary charges (all alcohol related) and even spent 32 days in jail! Oh, and don't talk about the countless wet beds and UDIs (Unidentifiable Drinking Injuries).

Some years later when my drinking reached its peak I left my wife and two children and subsequently left the army after 17 years service. Even then I did not attribute any of this to my drinking; I thought all my problems caused my drinking, and if I didn't have these problems then I wouldn't drink.

So after ditching the family and career, which were the source of all my troubles (I thought) I still continued to drink, because I thought I had a new set of problems which were mainly financial, but then I received an inheritance and all my financial problems seemed to be solved, life should have been good, but I still drank.

It was just a vicious circle I couldn't break, this 'drinking problem' seemed insurmountable; personal relationships were a mess. I've had no contact with my Mother or brother for about 8 years now; in fact they could be dead and I wouldn't know. I haven't seen my children in 6 years; my ex-wife won't have anything to do with me and if I went to Ireland where they live two of her paramilitary cousins have threatened to do some serious injury to my knees.

Suicide was a viable option, and I was saving that as a last resort (but I guess it's always that). I just couldn't stop drinking but looking back, I couldn't get honest with myself. Once I admited I was an alcoholic, rather than someone with a 'drinking problem', then I knew I could never drink again. And suicide seemed a far more user-friendly option than never drinking again. Even though I knew drinking left me feeling like death, I just couldn't see how I could possibly get any enjoyment or relief out of life without it.

Eventually, after seeing a doctor and an addiction councillor - two years of more drinking followed - before I ended up in AA and within two months the obsession to drink had left and I've got this whole new positive attitude to life. I am still truly amazed!

So, as I began with, I only admitted I was powerless over alcohol at my first AA meeting, because till that point I couldn't be honest, not even with myself about my alcoholism.

Regards,

Ken (aka Tosh), a grateful and for today, a happy alcoholic!
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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leejosepho
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Re: A Valentine's Story

Post by leejosepho »

Picking up from last year for just a moment ...
jujub wrote:... so i could be comfortable in my skin.
That is why I behaved as a I did for twenty-four years before I ever drank;
That is why I behaved as I did during my seven years of drinking;
That is why I eventually had myself locked up (by walking into my home-town police station while drunk and smoking a joint) so I could not drink;
That is why I came to A.A. when someone suggested I do so, and that is still why I behave as I do today.

I always was and I still am someone who needs something outside of myself (“Alcoholics Anonymous”, the book, page 11) in order to feel “safe and protected” (page 84) in life ... and today it is the fellowship we share here (page 152) that is my “sufficient substitute” for ethyl alcohol.
Karl R wrote:Anyone else care to share the point at which your suspicions concerning your powerlessness over alcohol came to a certainty in your mind?
You really got me to thinking here, Karl, and for that, I thank you! At least at the sub-conscious level, I had always thought I was invincible. So, the idea or thought of my being powerless over anything had never even crossed my mind until I began hearing and reading about that in A.A. ... and the fact of my powerlessness finally made it into my thick mind soon after I ended up taking another drink about a year later. Before then, I knew I could not control my drinking once I got started, and I knew I could not stay sober after I had again stopped. However, I had only imagined that might mean “King Alcohol” somehow had some kind of power of me. And had it not been for a couple of Charlie & Joe tapes someone had loaned to me, I have no idea how I might have ever finally begun comprehending Step One.

Today I understand alcohol never actually had any more power over me than I had ever had over it. Rather, and with “glass in hand” (12 & 12, Step One), I had quite voluntarily given myself to it ... and my eventual suffering at its hand turned out to be exactly what I needed to ultimately drive me to my knees and earnestly begin listening to you.

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avaneesh912
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Re: PP 22-25 There is a Solution (Just Not Drinking?)

Post by avaneesh912 »

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

There are are several FACTS in the book called Alcoholics Anonymous and among them the one on Page 24 is the most important FACT that every real alcoholic should meditate upon and imbibe the truth. This is powerlessness. If one can't relate to this truth, its difficult for them to accept the remaining 11 steps of AA.
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)

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leejosepho
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Re: PP 22-25 There is a Solution (Just Not Drinking?)

Post by leejosepho »

avaneesh912 wrote:The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

There are are several FACTS in the book called Alcoholics Anonymous and among them the one on Page 24 is the most important FACT that every real alcoholic should meditate upon and imbibe the truth. This is powerlessness. If one can't relate to this truth, its difficult for them to accept the remaining 11 steps of AA.
Actually, the purpose of the book and sponsorship along that line is not to present that fact, but to simply help the suffering alcoholic put that fact into words. For example, and as you have already referenced from page 24:

"... We are without defense against the first drink.
"... There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove."

That was true in my own case in the face of my very first drink ever, and later reading the book while attending all those damnable "Just don't drink!" meetings gave me an opportunity to finally discover I was not the only one like me who knew that to be true about himself or herself.
=======================
"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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Karl R
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Re: PP 22-25 There is a Solution (Just Not Drinking?)

Post by Karl R »

an opportunity to finally discover I was not the only one like me who knew that to be true about himself or herself.
Good to read you my friend. :-) That opportunity is what I discovered here when I dropped in here on my first day of sobriety, started reading our textbook, and something clicked. I identified. I'm still grateful the opportunity was there.

regards,
Karl

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leejosepho
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Re: PP 22-25 There is a Solution (Just Not Drinking?)

Post by leejosepho »

Why does he behave like this? If hundreds of experiences have shown him that one drink means another debacle with all its attendant suffering and humiliation, why is it he takes that one drink? Why can't he stay on the water wagon? What has become of the common sense and will power that he still sometimes displays with respect to other matters?
I believe that all comes from ego, fear, pride and/or simple ignorance (not knowing). Ego and ignorance kept telling me there just had to be some kind of way for me to drink safely or "normally", and my fear (and its attendant pride) of being "different" kept driving my attempts to prove otherwise and be "successful" in life.
... Opinions vary considerably as to why the alcoholic reacts differently from normal people. We are not sure why, once a certain point is reached, little can be done for him. We cannot answer the riddle.
I have never been completely sure as to exactly what Bill is talking about there, but I suspect he had folks like Ebby in mind. Following recovery, Bill occasionally gave Ebby a few dollars to go get the alcohol he needed ... and I suspect Bill was ever hoping his own kindness might some day pay off in Ebby's life.
We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from drink, as he may do for months or years, he reacts much like other men.
Again I am unsure as to what Bill is talking about there, but it seems he says that in relation to this:
We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this.
There had been times (typically just a few days at a time) in my own life when I could seem to be fine without drinking, but then just one or two drinks would again trigger my physical craving for more alcohol while making we wonder how I had ever thought I could be okay without ever having any at all.
These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink ...
... in their hearts they really do not know why they do it.
For myself, the same kind of "insanity" is evidenced in my smoking tobacco. I have never forgotten "the sense of ease and comfort" (Silkworth) I got from my first cigarette ... and neither did I ever drink for any other reason.
... At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail ...
The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago ...
I find it absolutely amazing whenever I hear people in A.A. being told to "think the drink through". There had been times I had done that before ever coming here, but I came here because of the other times I could not do that and were killing me!
The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. If these thoughts occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove.
There goes all thought merely "thinking things through" as a defense against the first drink, eh?! Like we saw just a few pages earlier: "We see that these expressions refer to people whose reactions are very different from ours." (page 20)
When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond human aid, and unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane. These stark and ugly facts have been confirmed by legions of alcoholics throughout history. But for the grace of God, there would have been thousands more convincing demonstrations. So many want to stop but cannot.
Here we are in a Chapter entitled "There Is A Solution" and Bill is still driving the problem home.
=======================
"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: PP 22-25 There is a Solution (Just Not Drinking?)

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Marc L
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Re: PP 22-25 There is a Solution (Just Not Drinking?)

Post by Marc L »

Why do drunks do what drunks do.
Well, I'm not sure exactly, but I do have some theories and ideas... :lol:
And all that will remain a mystery for now but perhaps someday there will be a miraculous medical breakthrough
and we will all find out 'Why is this happening to me'?.
Anywho until then; :roll:

Marc
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Re: PP 22-25 There is a Solution (Just Not Drinking?)

Post by PaigeB »

At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected.
I think there was some kind of acceptance and surrender to being an alcoholic while I continued to drink... I have vague memories along the path of my drinking career where I made the choice to drink even though I knew it might go bad and those ideas solidified over time to "I drink because I am an alcoholic" - If I thought briefly about not drinking, it barely & rarely registered. I had built a realm for King Alcohol to flourish in. I needed to replace my King.

I stopped drinking once for almost a year. I was not happy camper and spent a lot of time in my darkened bedroom. Then, with no more thought of it then picking up some chips & dip, (though I sensed I was being none too smart) I grabbed a 4 pack of wine coolers. I won't go into the tragedy that the day became, but for me it was a matter of "incompletion". Life just wasn't complete without the booze. So I started back to the daily drink. Until I knew I would drink or die. Then I knew I had to find a substitute for alcohol ~ I couldn't live with it and I couldn't live without it.
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you. (Pg 152 BB)
We are not sure why, once a certain point is reached, little can be done for him. We cannot answer the riddle.
I have a friend like this. He has been one of the saddest cases I have personally seen. Treatment centers by the dozen, geographical changes, prison, psyche wards, even long stints in AA... From a man who played golf in high circles to a man who gathers lost golf balls for the next bottle. I guess it just never "clicked" for him. He now spends his days proving he can drink like other people, while knowing he cannot.

Joe offers this as an answer to the riddle, and I have found it to be so with me...
I believe that all comes from ego, fear, pride and/or simple ignorance (not knowing). Ego and ignorance kept telling me there just had to be some kind of way for me to drink safely or "normally", and my fear (and its attendant pride) of being "different" kept driving my attempts to prove otherwise and be "successful" in life.
We were all born cucumbers. Once we turn into a pickle, we cannot return to being a cucumber. I am pickled. So is my friend. Perhaps my pride ran out and willingness set in. A lot of it had to do with being different. Even though I remain "different" I adhere to the 3rd Tradition... now you can't throw me out! Maybe, if my friend lives, he too will get over his differences.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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