11/27/08 BB To Wives pp 110-112 (the heavy drinker's wife)

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

Postby dwelling » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:24 am

I'm trying to understand your definition of the hard drinker.

is this close?

Hard drinker= an alcoholic, who is not yet powerless over alcohol.


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Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:31 am

Hard drinker= an alcoholic, who is not yet powerless over alcohol.


My understanding is, he does not have the Spiritual Malady: being restless irritable and discontent once he quits on his own. A person who can withstand lot of pain, the internal discomfort (the un-manageability of step 1).
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 Blue Moon » Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:35 am

dwelling wrote:I'm trying to understand your definition of the hard drinker.

is this close?

Hard drinker= an alcoholic, who is not yet powerless over alcohol.


Maybe. Or he may be a non-alcoholic who just needs to quit. Unless and until he really decides to quit on his own resource, even he cannot really know.

In many cases, folks arrive in AA who, I'm convinced, never really tried to quit without it.

For a long time I was able to quit for periods at a time. Days, sometimes even weeks, months in the real early days.

But towards the end of my drinking, I was not able to quit. I was full-blown alcoholic who needed a drink, both physically and emotionally.

Arguably, alcoholism is a learned condition for many. Through experience, we learn that alcohol makes us "feel better". Over time, we drink to try and stop feeling bad. Then, with end-stage alcoholism, we feel bad whether drinking or not so drink for oblivion - to try to not feel at all.

Many alcoholics do not reach end-stage alcoholism, are able to arrest the condition before this stage and learn other coping skills instead. Much depends on the individual, on their background, on their support network, etc. etc.
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Postby dwelling » Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:28 pm

Hi,
From "More About Alcoholism" right before the "man of thirty,
"Though there is no way of proving it, we believe that early in our drinking careers most of us could have stopped drinking. But the difficulty is that few alcoholics have enough desire to stop while there is yet time."

I think that this quote ties in nicely with what you are saying, bluemoon.

I am stuck on the "Though there is no way of proving it"!

Sort of like, I could have been a brain surgeon if only..!

I believe I was always powerless over alcohol, I always went back to it.

Bluemoon wrote:" Through experience, we learn that alcohol makes us "feel better".
I once heard it put this way: We get a supraphysiological dose reward of dopamine.

Nothing in my life up to the point of getting drunk the first time, could compare to the feeling of getting drunk. There was never any suitable substitute.

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Re: 11/27/08 BB To Wives pp 110-112 (the heavy drinker's wif

Postby leejosepho » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:57 am

Karl R wrote:Anyone care to comment on the circle of involvement between AA, a newcomer, and a newcomer's family or spouse today as compared to what was common in the early day's. Or...the spiritual awakening of family?

... the simple sense of what the author was getting at with this description of 4 types of drinkers and 4 ways that a spouse is to help the drinker?

While considering all of this, I like to begin here:

"... scarce an evening passed that someone's home did not shelter a little gathering of men and women, happy in their release, and constantly thinking how they might present their discovery to some newcomer. In addition to these casual get-togethers, it became customary to set apart one night a week for a meeting to be attended by anyone or everyone interested in a spiritual way of life." (pages 159-160)

Then we also have this to keep in mind:

"Though an alcoholic does not respond, there is no reason why you should neglect his family. You should continue to be friendly to them. The family should be offered your way of life. Should they accept and practice spiritual principles, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover ..." (page 97)

Most folks would likely say that is Al-Anon's job today, but it did all get started right here.

Let's now go back to husband number one ... enjoys drinking ... stirs his imagination ... never be angry. Even though your husband becomes unbearable and you have to leave him temporarily, you should, if you can, go without rancor. Patience and good temper are most necessary.

Rancor, n. (Webster, 1869)
1. The deepest malignity or spite; deep seated and implacable malice; inveterate enmity.
2. Virulence; corruption.

Bill is presenting an ideal here, and rancor never brings anything good into anyone's life.

Our next thought is that you should never tell him what he must do about his drinking. If he gets the idea that you are a nag or killjoy, your chance of accomplishing anything useful may be zero. He will use that as an excuse to drink more.

Lois once threw a shoe at Bill, but her better-spent days included trying to help him find a solution.

He will tell you he is misunderstood.

There were people who occasionally hounded me about my drinking, and that just led me to further suspect they knew nothing at all about my actual problem even I could not identify.

Be determined that your husband's drinking is not going to spoil your relations with your children or your friends. They need your companionship and your help. It is possible to have a full and useful life, though your husband continues to drink. We know women who are unafraid, even happy under these conditions. Do not set your heart on reforming your husband. You may be unable to do so, no matter how hard you try.

I knew some friends' mother like that when I was young, and I watched her continue on as a committed mother and friend in spite of anything. The years took their toll and many people cried for her as well as with her, but she never wavered in her faith that God would provide ... and He did. Her husband ultimately sobered up and remained that way within the faith she had never abandoned.

We know these suggestions are sometimes difficult to follow, but you will save many a heartbreak if you can succeed in observing them. Your husband may come to appreciate your reasonableness and patience. This may lay the groundwork for a friendly talk about his alcoholic problem. Try to have him bring up the subject himself. Be sure you are not critical during such a discussion. Attempt instead, to put yourself in his place. Let him see that you want to be helpful rather than critical.

"To be helpful is our only aim" (page 90), and we A.A.s first learned that from other people trying to help us.

When a discussion does arise, you might suggest he read this book or at least the chapter on alcoholism. Tell him you have been worried, though perhaps needlessly. You think he ought to know the subject better, as everyone should have a clear understanding of the risk he takes if he drinks too much. Show him you have confidence in his power to stop or moderate. Say you do not want to be a wet blanket; that you only want him to take care of his health. Thus you may succeed in interesting him in alcoholism.

Who but the alcoholic must be allowed to believe s/he did not have to learn anything from anyone else?! A bit of so-called "reverse psychology" can go far with many of us.

He probably has several alcoholics among his own acquaintances. You might suggest that you both take an interest in them. Drinkers like to help other drinkers. Your husband may be willing to talk to one of them.

With another wink: Who but the alcoholic would only read a book to try to help someone other than himself or herself?! Like I once heard a grand long-timer say, "Our message was given to us ... and they tricked us into it!"

If this kind of approach does not catch your husband's interest, it may be best to drop the subject, but [after a bit more drinking] after a friendly talk your husband will usually revive the topic himself. This may take patient waiting ...

Let alcohol become the great persuader ...

... it will be worth it. Meanwhile you might try to help the wife of another serious drinker.

In principle: "This takes us out of ourselves. It quiets the imperious urge [to try to manage our own lives into what we believe they should be], when to yield would [only] mean [more] heartache." (page 70)

If you act upon these principles, your husband may stop or moderate.

... and I think Bill should have added "... if he can." After all, the drinker in question just might be a real alcoholic.
=======================
"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: 11/27/08 BB To Wives pp 110-112 (the heavy drinker's wif

Postby PaigeB » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:12 pm

Be determined that your husband's drinking is not going to spoil your relations with your children or your friends. They need your companionship and your help. It is possible to have a full and useful life


The AA program and my sponsor (who also identifies as Alanon) helped me do this and believe that life could still be full once I cut off certain enabling behaviors I had concerning my adult children. I have yet to go to an Alanon meeting. I use the AA tool of "I only control me and what I do" when it comes to Actions and I had to Act my way into a new way of thinking about their problems, alcohol included.

Joe said: There were people who occasionally hounded me about my drinking, and that just led me to further suspect they knew nothing at all about my actual problem even I could not identify.


I am still pretty sure that unless they are alcoholic, they do not understand the full nature of my dis-ease. This fact to an active drinker is fuel for the fire... I am alone... But today, in sobriety, it is fine with me that they do not understand; I do not need them to understand in order for me to act appropriately.

Joe said: Let alcohol become the great persuader ...


This is what worked with me. My family had long given up on the hounding. In fact my husband came back while I was still drinking and said that I could continue on, he loved me anyway. Then one night, alone & drunk in the dark, I knew that I had to quit drinking or die. Not that I had to quit drinking or lose this, that or the other. I knew inside me, that I would die if I didn't quit. My old friend Alcohol told me himself, "I will kill you. Sooner than later."

FYI - My daughter celebrated one month of sobriety yesterday. Her last drunk caused her to leap out of the window of a moving car and land on her face. Prior to this I spent several different nights in the ER with her for drinking related issues. It took putting a scar on her face and whatever else it took inside of her to cause her to quit. And I know there may be more in her - just like there is for me. One day at a time.
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: 11/27/08 BB To Wives pp 110-112 (the heavy drinker's wif

Postby leejosepho » Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:37 am

Karl R wrote:Anyone care to comment on the circle of involvement between AA, a newcomer, and a newcomer's family or spouse today as compared to what was common in the early day's. Or...the spiritual awakening of family?.

In that particular department, there seems to me to be very little (if even any) similarity between what is described in our book and what I have observed and experienced over the years. Bill, Bob and others used to sit together for what they called "morning devotions" with Dr. Bob's wife, Anne, often being the one leading the way, and then spouses of alcoholics would have adjoining meetings of their own in the kitchen while the alcoholics were working with new people in the living room. Then in situations where alcoholic and spouse had yet to each accept the program, there are suggestions in our book such as "Let the alcoholic continue his program day by day" (page 99) and "We urge you to try our program, for nothing will be so helpful to your [alcoholic spouse] as the radically changed attitude toward him which God will show you how to have" (page 117)...and a goal there, of course, was for either to be able to be helpful to the other with hope of eventual commonality.

My own home group has in the past had gatherings for our members and families together during holiday seasons or as summer picnics, and we have certainly seen some families grow closer together and even become "a bright spot in [religious] congregations." (page 132) However, and possibly for a wide variety or reasons, it seems today's mindset for many people, alcoholic or not, is more of each family member having his or her seemingly separate program rather than all of us sharing and living the same one together.
=======================
"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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