12/15/08 BB To Emp. pp 138-140 (understanding the malady)

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

12/15/08 BB To Emp. pp 138-140 (understanding the malady)

Postby Karl R » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:05 am

Good Day all,

Higher Power, My spiritual awakening continues to unfold. The help I have received I shall pass on and give to others, both in and out of the fellowship. For this opportunity I am grateful. I pray most humbly to continue walking day by day on the road of spiritual progress. I pray for inner strength and wisdom to practice the principles of this way of life in all I do and say. I need You, my friends, and the Program every hour of every day. This is a better way to live.

Yesterday's reading began the section To Employers with a brief discussion of the waste in the workplace alcoholism causes-both in terms of lost productivity but in terms of loss of human life and spirit.

Today's reading continues the theme of alcoholism in the workplace. We are called to help in the workplace where we can. One of the first things we can do is be a resource to employers in understanding the malady and sickness of alcoholism. It is not a matter of will power to quit drinking; threats to the true alcoholic will not work; it is not weakness of character or "sin" that makes the alcoholic behave like they do. By helping the employer understand the true nature of our disease we can in some small way help the alcoholic worker. The chapter suggests rereading chapters 2 and 3 of the big book. The alcoholic worker needs the program of recovery as suggested in the big book but their employer must discard some preconceptions.

Anyone care to share on the disease of alcoholism as it relates to the workplace? The preconceptions of alcoholism that stand in the way of recovery?

Be safe everyone,
Karl

Here, for instance, is a typical example: An officer of one of the largest banking institutions in America knows I no longer drink. One day he told me about an executive of the same bank who, from his description, was undoubtedly alcoholic. This seemed to me like an opportunity to be helpful, so I spent two hours talking about alcoholism, the malady, and described the symptoms and results as well as I could. His comment was, "Very interesting. But I'm sure this man is done drinking. He has just returned from a three-months leave of absence, has taken a cure, looks fine, and to clinch the matter, the board of directors told him this was his last chance."
The only answer I could make was that if the man followed the usual pattern, he would go on a bigger bust than ever. I felt this was inevitable and wondered if the bank was doing the man an injustice. Why not bring him into contact with some of our alcoholic crowd? He might have a chance. I pointed out that I had had nothing to drink whatever for three years, and this in the face of difficulties that would have made nine out of ten men drink their heads off. Why not at least afford him an opportunity to hear my story? "Oh no," said my friend, "this chap is either through with liquor, or he is minus a job. If he has your will power and guts, he will make the grade."
I wanted to throw up my hands in discouragement, for I saw that I had failed to help my banker friend understand. He simply could not believe that his brother-executive suffered from a serious illness. There was nothing to do but wait.
Presently the man did slip and was fired. Following his discharge, we contacted him. Without much ado, he accepted the principles and procedure that had helped us. He is undoubtedly on the road to recovery. To me, this incident illustrates lack of understanding as to what really ails the alcoholic, and lack of knowledge as to what part employers might profitably take in salvaging their sick employees.
If you desire to help it might be well to disregard your own drinking, or lack of it. Whether you are a hard drinker, a moderate drinker or a teetotaler, you may have some pretty strong opinions, perhaps prejudices. Those who drink moderately may be more annoyed with an alcoholic than a total abstainer would be. Drinking occasionally, and understanding your own reactions, it is possible for you to become quite sure of many things which, so far as the alcoholic is concerned, are not always so. As a moderate drinker, you can take your liquor or leave it alone. Whenever you want to, you control your drinking. Of an evening, you can go on a mild bender, get up in the morning, shake your head and go to business. To you, liquor is no real problem. You cannot see why it should be to anyone else, save the spineless and stupid.
When dealing with an alcoholic, there may be a natural annoyance that a man could be so weak, stupid and irresponsible. Even when you understand the malady better, you may feel this feeling rising.
A look at the alcoholic in your organization is many times illuminating. Is he not usually brilliant, fast-thinking, imaginative and likeable? When sober, does he not work hard and have a knack of getting things done? If he had these qualities and did not drink would he be worth retaining? Should he have the same consideration as other ailing employees? Is he worth salvaging? If your decision is yes, whether the reason be humanitarian or business or both, then the following suggestions may be helpful.
Can you discard the feeling that you are dealing only with habit, with stubbornness, or a weak will? If this presents difficulty, re-reading chapters two and three, where the alcoholic sickness is discussed at length might be worth while. You, as a business man, want to know the necessities before considering the result. If you concede that your employee is ill, can he be forgiven for what he has done in the past? Can his past absurdities be forgotten? Can it be appreciated that he has been a victim of crooked thinking, directly caused by the action of alcohol on his brain?
I well remember the shock I received when a prominent doctor in Chicago told me of cases where pressure of the spinal fluid actually ruptured the brain. No wonder an alcoholic is strangely irrational. Who wouldn't be, with such a fevered brain? Normal drinkers are not so affected, nor can they understand the aberrations of the alcoholic.
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Re: 12/15/08 BB To Emp. pp 138-140 (understanding the malady

Postby leejosepho » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:32 pm

Why not bring him into contact with some of our alcoholic crowd? He might have a chance...

Presently the man did slip and was fired...we contacted him...he accepted the principles and procedure that had helped us. He is undoubtedly on the road to recovery.

I have always let my employer know of my recovery and my desire and willingness to be helpful to a fellow employee, but none have ever asked. One said they already had some kind of arrangement set up through an insurance company paying for some kind of treatment, and another said something about never discussing the business of one employee with another. One employer did once mention my experience to another employee with an alcoholic spouse, however, and I did get the chance to help him better understand her alcoholism and what would be required if she were to ever recover.

...there may be a natural annoyance that a man could be so weak, stupid and irresponsible. Even when you understand the malady better, you may feel this feeling rising.

We see that in newcomers at times. Even some of us have in the past viewed ourselves as merely weak, stupid or irresponsible while still thinking we were "dealing only with habit, with stubbornness, or a weak will".
If this presents difficulty, re-reading chapters two and three, where the alcoholic sickness is discussed at length might be worth while... Can it be appreciated that he has been a victim of crooked thinking, directly caused by the action of alcohol on his brain?

Removing the alcohol did not resolve that, of course, and then I discovered why:

"...glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of Providence can remove it from us. (12&12, Step One)
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"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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