The Doctor's Opinion (Continued)
C: I think allergy is one of the most misunderstood words in the Big Book. You know, when I came to A. A., they said to me, Charlie, you're allergic to alcohol. I said, what does that mean? They said, well, we don't know, but it means that you can't drink it. I said, how in the hell can I be allergic to alcohol. I said, I've been drinking at least a quart a day for the last four or five years, and if you're allergic to something you can't drink that much of it.
I assumed that if you had an allergy there would always be some outward visible sign or manifestation of that allergy. I knew that. I knew that if you were allergic to strawberries, and you ate them, you break out in a rash. I knew that if you were allergic to milk and you drank it you had a bad case of dysentery. I knew that if you were allergic to ragweed's, and you got around them, your eyes and nose would itch, water, and you would begin to sneeze.
And I said, I can't be allergic to alcohol, because it doesn't make me do these things. You know, it doesn't make me break out in a rash. It doesn't make me have a bad case of dysentery. Oh, once in a while it would, depending on what I had been drinking. (laughter) But usually it didn't. It never did make my eyes and nose itch, water, and
cause me to sneeze. I said, I can't be allergic to alcohol. I simply don't understand what you're talking about.
They said, you don't need to, just don't drink it. Now, that's okay for a while. But if you've got a keen, intellectual, alcoholic mind like mine is, you got to find out. So one day, I found that I had to go to the source of words, and the source which explains the meaning of these words, which happened to be the dictionary. I looked up the word allergy, to see how it applied in my life. I found four or five different definitions. But I found one that I think fits me exactly.
That definition is: that an allergy is an abnormal reaction to any food, beverage, or substance. An abnormal reaction to any food, beverage, or substance of any kind. I looked back in my life to see where I had been abnormal when it comes to alcohol. Because if I'm allergic to it, then I must be abnormal with it. You know, to my amazement I found out, I didn't know what was normal and what was abnormal. (laughter) The only thing I knew about drinking was the way I drank.