The Doctor's Opinion (Continued)
C: In those days though (when the Big Book was written), they didn't know much about metabolism. They didn't know much about the breakdown of food, beverages, and other things we put in out bodies. They didn't know about these things we call enzymes. Today, we know this information. Today, the medical profession has proven to us beyond any shadow of a doubt, that The Doctor's Opinion is absolutely true.
We want to share a little bit of that information with you before we leave this portion of the book because I think we'd be remiss if we didn't. Now, what we're going to talk about for a little bit, is not A. A. information. A. A. doesn't care. A. A. is not about to get involved in any controversy over why we're allergic. A. A. is satisfied with the fact that we are allergic. But I think maybe we ought to look at some of this newest information. I think it would explain to us exactly why we cannot drink like other people.
You've got a chart in your book called The Disease Concept of Alcoholism. Let. look at it for just a few minutes. Now, in this chart, you'll notice in the center column. This is the nine people who drink safely. They are at ease. When the normal drinker puts alcohol in their system, their system does exactly what it would do with a piece of beefsteak. The mind and body can recognize what it is. The mind signals certain organs of the body to produce enzymes which attack the beefsteak or what ever it is, and breaks it down into materials that can be used, and materials that the body cannot use. The body uses what it can, and then it dissipates what it cannot use, gets rid of it, throws it off, normally through the urinary and intestinal tract.
The body does the same thing with alcohol that it does with beef steak. The normal social drinkers put a drink in their system. The mind and the body senses what it is. The mind signals certain organs of the body to start the enzyme production. The enzymes attack the alcohol and begin to break it down into usable and unusable items. In the first stage, it's broken down into a material called acetaldehyde. In the second stage, it's broken down into diabetic acid. In the third stage, it's
broken down into acetone. Then in the final stage in the normal social drinker, it's broken down to a simple
carbohydrate... water, auger, and carbon dioxide. Now the auger can be used by the body. Sugar is energy. It has calories in it.
It is an interesting fact, though, that they are empty calories. There's none of the amino acids, none of the vitamins, none of those things necessary for life. But it is energy and the body will take the sugar and burn it as energy, and store the excess as fat to be used at a latter date. The water will be dissipated through the urinary and the intestinal tract. The carbon dioxide will be dissipated through the lungs. In a normal social drinker, the average metabolic rate, or breakdown rate for alcohol is one ounce per hour--in the normal drinker.
This will vary some, of course, in the size of the body and the condition of the body, but the average is one ounce per hour. Theoretically speaking, the normal social drinker could drink one ounce per hour forever and not get drunk because their body can break it down and dissipate it and get rid of it. The only thing is, that if they try to drink more than that, they get that slightly tipsy, out of control, nauseous feeling. They either go to sleep or they puke, one of the two.
(End of side B of Tape 1)
(Begin Side A of Tape 2) C. Very seldom do they ever get too much alcohol. Now let's look at the left hand column. The left had column is the one who does not drink safely. Or, who is at disease with alcohol. That's all the word disease means. It is something that separates you from the norm. Nine people are at ease with it. One person is at dis-ease with it. He's said to have the disease of alcoholism. The alcoholic takes a drink, puts it into the system the same thing begins to occur. The mind and the body recognizes what it is. The mind signals certain organs of the body, the enzyme production begins. The material is broken down to acetaldehyde, then to diabetic acid, and then to acetone.
It seems as though, at the acetone level, the enzymes necessary to break it down from the acetone to the simple carbohydrate are not there in the same qualities and quantities as they are in the body of the nonalcoholic. Therefore, the breakdown rate from the acetone to the simple carbohydrate occurs at a much slower pace, or (longer) period of time. For instance, where the normal social drinker can dissipate, get rid of it, an ounce an hour, maybe the alcoholic is doing it three quarters of an ounce per hour, maybe a half ounce per hour, maybe a quarter of an ounce per hour, maybe a tenth of an ounce per hour, depending upon the shape of the body, the enzyme production, et cetera. It varies with different alcoholics.
The phenomenon of craving is more pronounced in some people than it is in others. Now, it is a well know fact today, that acetone ingested into the human system that remains there for an appreciable period of time, creates an actual physical craving
demanding more of the same. In the body of the nonalcoholic, it goes through that stage so rapidly that the phenomenon of craving never develops. In the body of the alcoholic that breakdown is so slow, the acetone remains there for a long enough period, that an actual physical craving is produced by the acetone itself. We have three drinks, and then we take another drink, and then we take another drink, and then we take another drink. We end up drunk, and sick, and in all kinds of trouble.
We go through the well know stages of a spree. Let's take one of our drinking escapades for instance. Let's say we've been working all day. We've promised the wife (that) when we get home this evening we're going to clean up the yard. I used to say mow the grass, but I don't see a hell of a lot of grass out through here. (In Arizona) So we (need to) clean up the yard. We've been putting it off and putting it off, and the old yard just looks like a junk heap out there, every thing in the world laying in it. It's hot, and we're tired. We say, well, when I get home I've got to clean that damn yard up. I believe I'll stop in here and have one drink. Just one drink, now. Then I'm going to go home and clean up that yard.
So we get in the bar. We sit down on the stool. We order a drink, and we're setting there visiting with somebody. As we're drinking the drink, the mind says, we've got to get up and leave this cool place, go out there where it's hot, and clean up that yard like we've been saying we're going to. Now, the craving is already beginning to develop in the body. The body says to the mind, let's don't be in too big a hurry. Let's have one more before we go. The mind says, well, okay, I agree with that. Don't see anything wrong with that at all. So we have a second drink, and we put it in our system. Most of the acetone from the first drink is in there. Now we've put all the acetone in there from the second drink. The acetone level goes up.
As the acetone level goes up, the craving becomes harder. The mind says, I've got to get up and go home and clean the yard. The body says let's don't be in too big a hurry. I already told you that once. (laughter) Let's have one more before we go. The mind says, well, okay, a third one wouldn't hurt anything at all. We put the third drink in there. We got most of the first, nearly all of the second, and now we've got all the acetone from the third drink in there. The acetone level goes up, and the craving becomes harder. The mind says, man, I've got to get up and go home and clean the yard, or I'm going to be in a hell of a bad shape with my wife when I get there. The body says, forget the damn yard. (laughter) Let's have another drink. We take a fourth drink. The acetone level goes up higher yet, and the craving becomes harder. It doesn't make any difference what the mind says.
The body overrides the mind, and says let's have one more. The guys we were talking to after three drinks, they got up, and they went home. Now, here we are and it's midnight. My God, we're drunk. We fall out the door of that bar. We step out into the street and we get run over by a car. We're laying in the gutter. Our legs are broke, and
we've vomited all over ourselves. Somebody rushes up to us and says, can we help you? We answer, God yea, give me another drink! We never get all we want. We get more than we can handle. We get more than we need. But we never get all we want. This craving is so strong, that it overcomes the mind completely.
I think there's two very interesting facts about this information. It's also a well know medical fact today, that acetone ingested into the human body over an appreciable length of time, is an actual destroyer of human tissue. It begins to destroy and damage certain or organs of the body. Usually the first ones that it attacks and begins to damage is the liver and the pancreas. They know today that the enzymes necessary to metabolize alcohol are being produced by the liver and the pancreas. As the acetone itself begins to destroy those two organs, the enzyme production becomes less and less and less and less. Therefore, as we drink over a longer period of time the phenomenon of craving becomes more and more and more and more.
Some of you drank for years without any trouble. But somewhere in there, this damage became so great, that the enzyme production went down so much, that you were no longer able to drink safely. Therefore, we're in the gripe of a progressive disease. It never, never, never gets any better. It never stays the same. It always gets worse. Also, as we get older, we know that everything that the body produces begins to shut down on us. Now, I wish that were not true, but it is.
As we get older, our ability to produce the enzymes necessary to metabolize alcohol becomes less and less and less, whether we drink or not. I haven't had a drink in seventeen years. But if I took a drink today, I would not start where I left off seventeen years ago. Because my body's ability to metabolize alcohol today is less, due to the aging factor, I would be in worse shape today than I was when I stopped seventeen years ago. We are in the grip of a progressive disease. It never gets any better.
The medical profession today has absolutely proven The Doctor's Opinion. Joe and I have looked at and studied countless numbers of studies of alcoholism that's been done by the medical profession. They all point to the same thing. They may use different words to describe the breakdown, but every one ends up with the basic idea that the alcoholic's body is abnormal when it comes to alcohol. Therefore, we are allergic to alcohol. Every successful treatment program for alcoholism in the world today is based upon this idea. We'll never be able to safely drink like other human beings. Therefore, the only relief they offer to us is absolute abstinence. No drinking of alcohol in any form whatsoever.
This is absolutely great to know. I understand today why I can't drink like other people. I understand today why I can never go back and drink like I did when I was nineteen or twenty, twenty-five or thirty. I understand today why I'm different. Now, the only thing that I've got to do then, to take care of my alcoholism, is to just not drink. If I don't take a drink, I can't trigger the allergy. If I don't trigger the allergy, I cannot produce the phenomenon of craving.
If I don't produce the phenomenon of craving, there's no way I can end up drunk and sick and in all kind. of trouble. But, you know, I've got something else wrong with me too. He hasn't talked about that yet, but he's getting ready to in just a minute. I've got something up there in my head that keeps telling me it's okay to drink, when it's obvious to everybody around me that I can't drink, when it's obvious to me from time to time that I can't drink.