The Doctor's Opinion (Continued)
J: This is what we're talking about in the First Step. If you have a physical allergy to alcohol, you can't safely use alcohol. And if you have this little game going on with you, in the mind, then the problem over here is: you can't quit. Sometimes I look at this a little different lately. I really don't know--I was pretty good at quitting. But I couldn't stop starting. (laughter) Now, if you can't drink because of the body, and you can't quit because of the mind, then you are powerless over alcohol.
C: And if your life isn't unmanageable, it soon will be, if you keep this up.
J: You are powerless. These two things make us powerless over alcohol. Now, this is Dr. Silkworth's work. Once we solve this, this is the foundation of recovery. Once we understand the problem, there is--once you see, I don't care how difficult it is--there is some answer here. There is a way to beat this thing. Obviously, we don't know anything about (curing the physical allergy.) Therefore, (if) we believe that we're powerless the solution would be power, a Power working in the mind. For many years I tried--I don't know if anybody here... did, you probably did--I tried to control my drinking, while drinking. I didn't do much good. I'm going to stop at three or four. But I didn't know this. I realize now... why I failed. After many years, I finally realized that I, couldn't drink.
After about thirteen years of trying to drink, I said, I don't believe that you can drink. (laughter) So I decided to quit. Every alcoholic comes to that point. When the alcoholic means to quit, he really means business. And when he means business, he gets out his number one weapon. He puts a block in here. He puts will. Boy, when he gets will, he means business.
C: That's his ultimate tool.
J: Ultimate tool. Will power. I was still restless, irritable and discontented, and I still had an obsession to drink, but I blocked them with will power. Finally, one day, one of those little devils got through! and I was gone again. (laughter) So, we will never be successful over the long haul with will power. It's a funny thing. We need to talk about will power. Will power only works when we see something wrong. As long as we see it's wrong, will power works. But every once in a while, the alcoholic mind tells them, it's alright to drink. Then will power goes out the window. Will power only works when there's something wrong in what we're about to do. So, what we're talking about, what we're proposing here, is a solution.
He said, once these people '... can experience an entire psychic change. ' (p. xxvii, par. 1) It talks about a personality change sufficient to recover. (Appendix II, p. 569, par. 1 third edition) If we can do some work in here (the obsession part of the disease , if we can make some changes in our personality, if we can live below this tolerance level (on the emotional barometer), which is triggering this obsession, if we can live down here (where it's not necessary to drink), we will never reach this point (where it is necessary to drink).
We will never trigger the obsession. We will never take our first drink. We will never set off the craving in the body. This is what we're... talking about: believing that a Power greater than ourselves, through the application of these Steps, a spiritual experience produces a personality change sufficient, good enough, to recover from alcoholism. But it'. based on: what is the problem? The First Step is the foundation of all the other work. Our book shows us the exact nature of our problem.
C: The doctor said: (p. xxvii, par. 1) '... unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery. ' The instant he used the word psychic, he left the body and he surely went to the mind. Because the terms he talked about: restless, irritable and discontented those are not feelings of the body. Those are emotions that the mind heat We can put more words in: shame, fear, guilt, and remorse. Those are all things of the mind. We run around feeling that way. We don't like to feel that way, and the mind begins to seek relief. It begins to seek that sense of ease and comfort which come. at once by taking a few drinks (p. xxvii, par. 1), drinks which we see other people taking without getting drunk.
Finally, the relief that we're after, that idea, becomes so strong that we believe we can drink. We take the drink, and then we go through the well know stages of a spree. Unless we can experience an entire psychic change, a different method of thinking, unless we can find way to live where we're not restless, irritable and discontented, where we're not filled with shame, fear, guilt, and remorse, our mind is always going to go back and seek that relief. But if we could find a way to live where we don't feel that way emotionally, in our head, then the emotions will never build to the level that requires that we take a drink in order to change the way we feel.