Thoughts of Recovery – No. 16 – The disease of alcoholism
We talk about the disease of alcoholism. What is the disease? I can only share my thoughts. We talk about the allergy of the body and the obsession of the mind. The allergy to alcohol that alcoholics have is a loss of control when alcohol is put into the body. This is called the phenomenon of craving. It means if an alcoholic takes the first drink he loses control of how much he drinks. He can never regain control! Ask yourself of this is true for you?
Now this would not be a problem if the alcoholic did not take the first drink setting everything into motion. So the big book says the problem resides in his mind. Note that they don’t say disease. What is the problem? That the alcoholic has lost the power of choice in drink. His mind is damaged in regard to alcohol. He can not see the truth about alcohol before he takes the first drink .We call this behavior insane. There is no known effective medical treatment for this obsession of the mind. Willpower won’t work because the will is weakened in regards to alcohol. Willpower will only work if the mind sees something wrong with the action. For an alcoholic right before he takes the first drink his mind will only see what it is going to do for him not to him. The big book says we cannot recall the humiliation and defeat of even a moment ago. The alcoholic is without defense against the first drink. W hat they are really saying is that I have no power not to drink and at a certain time will drink again! Do you believe that is true for you? Is it true today? Do I ever regain power?
The fact for me is I never regain power on my own. Fear, willpower, self knowledge, meetings, being in the fellowship won’t keep me sober without a relationship with one who has all power. My conscious contact with God allows God to restore me to sanity. It is God who tells me don’t drink michael. Bad idea.
So the disease of alcoholism occurs when I am sober. Why can’t I live sober and not drink? It is because I have a spiritual malady. I live a life centered on satisfying my needs. I play God. My life becomes unmanageable. I become restless , irritable, and discontented. My mind seeks the ease and comfort of alcohol. The solution to my spiritual disease was to take a spirit called alcohol. That solution didn’t work because when I drink I have an allergy and can’t control how much I drink. The real solution is to substitute God for alcohol. The program of recovery in the big book is designed to gain access to that power which I call God.
Tommorrow I will look at what makes up the spiritual malady and in subsequent thoughts how the steps
provide treatment for that condition.
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