The Doctor's Opinion (Continued)
C: The people who drank with me drank the same way. So I assumed the way we drank was normal, and all these other people drank abnormally. I knew nothing about normal drinking, period. So it became necessary for me to find out: what is normal, and what is abnormal? I began to talk to some of these normal, social, moderate drinkers.
I said, will you (tell) me how you feel whenever you take a drink of alcohol? They say something like this, well, we can go home from work, tired, tense, and wrought up from the day's struggles, and we can have one or two drinks before dinner. We get a warm, comfortable, relaxing feeling. Then we'll go ahead and have dinner, and probably won't drink any more that night.
Well, I don't feel that way when I drink alcohol. (laughter) I take a drink of alcohol, and I put it in my mouth. As it passes over my lips, my lips begin to tingle and burn. As it hits my teeth they begin to chatter up and down. It hits my tongue, and my tongue begins to grow, and swell and expand. It hits my cheeks and they begin to vibrate in and out. I feel it passing up through my sinus cavities in my forehead. I get a feeling up here which is
absolutely, indescribably, wonderful. Now, I haven't even swallowed the damn stuff
yet. (laughter) I just got it in my mouth.
When I swallow it, and it goes down through my esophagus, wonderful things begin to take place. My chest begins to grow and expand, and get bigger and bigger and bigger. It hits my stomach and it explodes like a bomb. I can feel it immediately racing out through my arms, and they get longer and longer. It hits my fingers, and they begin to
tingle and vibrate. At the same time, it's racing through my legs, and my legs are getting longer and longer. I'm getting taller and taller. It the bottom of my feet, and my feet and toes get a hot, burning, exciting sensation. They want to get up and go somewhere and do something.
I don't understand a warm, comfortable, relaxing feeling. (laughter) I never had that in my life. That's one way I'm abnormal. I find out that those normal, moderate, social drinkers, which number about nine out of ten people, their reaction is the warm, comfortable, relaxing feeling. My reaction is that hot, burning, tingling, exciting, turned
on, get up and go somewhere and do something that alcohol did for me.
Now, I find another way that I'm different( from) them, too. The normal social drinker, they tell me that they can have one, two, or three drinks. They get a slightly tipsy, out of control, nauseous feeling. Now, that's a normal reaction to alcohol. We know today that alcohol is a toxic drug. We know that alcohol is a destroyer of human tissue. When you put anything in the body that destroys the body itself, the normal reaction is to get nauseous and vomit it back up. The normal social drinker gets that slightly tipsy, out of control, nauseous feeling. They don't want to drink any more than that, because they don't like that feeling.
I always thought all of my life that they used will power to drink one, two, or three drinks. But today I find out that they don't have to use will power, because they never want more than one, two, or three drinks. First drink, they get a little giggly. The second drink, they start getting a little sleepy. And the third drink, look out, they're going to vomit all over you every time. (laughter) That's (a) normal drinker.
Now, what I thought was normal was the way I drank. You see, I take one, two, or three drinks, and I don't get that slightly tipsy, out of control feeling. I get that exciting, in control feeling. (laughter) I don't get that nauseous feeling. What I do get is a craving that develops within my body. Which is a physical craving that demands more of the
same. Where three drinks is all they want, when I've got three drinks in my body it's just now turned on. The physical craving becomes so strong that the body itself demands more of the same, regardless of what the mind says. So I have a fourth drink, and a fifth drink, and a sixth drink.
The more I drink the more I crave, and I go seven, eight, nine, ten, fifteen, eighteen. Finally, I'm drunk and sick and in all kinds of trouble. That is the difference between normal and abnormal drinking. Only one person out of ten feels the way that I feel. Only one person out of ten gets this craving in their body when they drink alcohol. The only difference between normal and abnormal is what the majority of people do. Nine of them drink it that safe way, one of them drinks it the way I do. Therefore, my reaction to alcohol is considered to be abnormal, or it is a physical allergy to alcohol itself, and I didn't know that.
You see, abnormal had become normal to me. The first time you drink and vomit, that might be abnormal. But my God, if you've done it every morning for five years, it's absolutely normal to do that. (laughter) The first time you get in a car wreck is abnormal, but if you have one every week or two, that becomes normal, too. First time
you get in divorce court, that's abnormal. If you got eight or ten of them though, that's normal. So, what I thought was normal, the way I drank, turned out to be the abnormal.
Most alcoholics (who) are drinking today don't know that. They believe that what they're doing is absolutely normal. It's all these normal social drinkers which are abnormal. Therefore most alcoholics today well die from their disease, never knowing that we are abnormal, that we have an allergy to alcohol.
Dr. Silkworth is the fellow who first determined this. He told it to Bill. All successful treatment programs in the world today are based upon this one simple concept: that the body of the alcoholic is abnormal--we have a physical allergy to alcohol. We'll never be like other people. We can never safely drink. The only relief that the doctor can offer me today is: don't drink it. And you know, that's true with all allergies.
If I've got an allergy to food, and I go to the doctor, he doesn't try to fix me up so I can eat that food. He says, I believe you ought to quit eating that food. (laughter) The same thing is true with alcohol. The doctor says, I believe you ought to quit drinking it. (laughter)