Dr. Silkworth

Big Book History
Getting Started
Doctor's Opinion
Bill's Story
There's a Solution
More: Alcoholism
We Agnostics
How it Works
Step 3

Bill's Story (Continued)

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J: Dr. Leonard Strong placed Bill in the Towns (Hospital) under Dr. Silkworth. He was a great part of this in Bill's life. He actually put him in the Towns (Hospital), and he actually paid for it every time he was in there. There he met Dr. Silkworth. Dr. Silkworth explained to Bill what we talked about in The Doctor's Opinion last night. He explained to him, Bill, I believe that you have this allergy. I believe that it has nothing to do with will power. I believe you have a disease. 

Bill said: (p. 7, par. 3) 'It relieved me somewhat to learn that in alcoholics the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to combating liquor, though it often remains strong in other respects. ' Because Bill had been trying to use will power. Once he talked to Dr. Silkworth, this is when he saw where it wouldn't work. (p. 7, par. 3) 'My incredible behavior in the face of a desperate desire to stop was explained. Understanding myself now, I fared forth in high hope. For three or four months the goose hung high.' 

Now, that's slang. Young people might not understand it. That means he was doing pretty good. (laughter) The goose hung high. (p. 7, par. 3-4) 'I went to town regularly and even made a little money. Surely this was the answer -- self-knowledge.

' But it was not, for the frightful day came when I drank once more. The curve of my declining moral and bodily health fell off like a ski-jump. After a time I returned to the hospital.' Bill returned to the hospital the next time in 1934, the summer of 1934, about a year later. 

(p. 7, par. 4) 'This was the finish, the curtain, it seemed to me. My weary and despairing wife was informed that it would all end with heart failure during delirium tremens...' 

Bill overheard Dr. Silkworth talking to Lois, telling her he probably wouldn't live too much longer. (p. 7, par. 4: p. 8, par. 1) '... or I would develop a wet brain, perhaps within a year. She would soon have to give me over to the undertaker or the asylum. 'They did not need to tell me. I knew, and almost welcomed the idea. It was a devastating blow to my (top of p. 8) pride. I, who had thought so well of myself and my abilities, of my capacity to surmount obstacles, was cornered at last. Now I was to plunge into the dark, joining that endless procession of sots who had gone on before. I thought of my poor wife. There had been much happiness after all. What would I not give to make amends. But that was over now.' 

Bill, remember, had gone through the whole thing. He had talked to Dr. Silkworth once. Now here he was back again, the second time. He was beginning to a-e, really, his predicament. Listen to the next paragraph very closely. (p. 8, par. 2) 'No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity. Quicksand stretched around me in all directions. I had met my match. I had been overwhelmed. Alcohol was my master.' 

C: Now surely this is when Bill took Step One. There was no Step One written in those days But surely this is when Bill admitted defeat. He had admitted that he had become powerless over alcohol--that his life had become unmanageable. Alcohol had become his master. It had defeated him in a fair fight. If that should happen to you and me today, chances are we would leave that hospital and we'd say, well, I guess I'd better go to A. A. But there wasn't any A. A. in those days. Bill had nowhere to turn. Even though he had admitted complete defeat, and admitted that alcohol had become his master. He left that hospital with no place to go.

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Identify with Bill
Bill "Arrives"
The Crash
Bill Wakes Up
Dr. Silkworth
The Insanity
Finding an Answer
The Oxford Group
Higher Power
Steps to Recovery
Recovery Process

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