The chapter More about Alcoholism has a specific purpose. It is to convince the reader that they have no power to resist taking the first drink. None! They describe the queer mental twist that precedes the first drink. They ask the question on page 34 how will the reader determine if they are one of us? They then say they are going to describe some of the mental states that precede the relapse into drinking . Why? Obviously this is the crux of the problem. They then tell us about Jim and then Fred but in between they use the jaywalker to show us how absurd and incomprehensible our behavior is toward the first drink. The individual alcoholic must fully concede that they have no defense against the first drink to be ready to take the second step and begin the process of seeking the power. Let’s look at alcoholic insanity.
The jaywalker has a passion for running in front of cars. For him he gets a thrill out of this behavior. Wasn’t alcohol a passion for you? Did you not seek the release it provided? For a while the jaywalker is doing pretty well. Just a few scrapes. Isn’t that how it was for us? But eventually things start to happen to the jaywalker. Luck deserts him. He starts having consequences from his behavior. A normal person would stop at this point. Did you ignore the consequences and continue to drink? He got a fractured skull. Then broke his arm. Any fractured skulls or broken arms out there? It is hard to ignore these events. So the jaywalker promises to stop. Did you ever do that? I believe we all mean it and believe it but something happens and we repeat the behavior we swore we would never do again.
The jaywalker continues for several years and eventually he loses job, family, and people ridicule him. As a result of your drinking did the consequences keep getting worse. Unfortunately, if you are a real alcoholic consequences won’t stop us. Why? Page 24 describes it perfectly. At certain times we cannot bring into consciousness the humiliation and defeat of even a moment ago. The jaywalker goes to therapy, locks himself in an asylum, tries every means at his disposal. But he runs in front of a fire truck and breaks his back.
They ask the reader if you substituted alcoholism for jaywalking wouldn’t that fit us exactly. Where alcohol has been involved we had been strangely insane. Is that true for you? The big book is actually written as a series of statements which the reader is to turn into a series of questions for himself.
Then follows the powerful statement on page 39. The real alcoholic without exception will be Absolutely Unable to Stop Drinking on the Basis of Self – Knowledge. Do you agree? I have self knowledge but it can’t stop me from doing what I don’t want to do. Why is that? Why won’t will power work for me? Here is the key for me. Will power will never work because right before I take the first drink I can only think about what alcohol is going to do for me not to me! On my own power I will never have a defense against the first drink!
In the next thought I am going to look at Jim and discuss further the insanity of alcoholism. Welcome any comments mhurwitz50@ gmail.com
Go to episodes and find the tag for more about alcoholism and you will find several podcasts covering this material