The Doctor's Opinion (Continued)
C: Let's go over to roman numeral twenty-eight. Here Dr. Silkworth is going to describe five different kinds of alcoholics. He said: (p. xxviii, par. 3) 'The classification of alcoholics seems most difficult, and in much details outside the scope of this book. There are, of course, the psychopaths who are emotionally unstable. We are all familiar with this type. They are always "going on the wagon for keeps." They are over-remorseful and make many resolutions, but never a decision.'
J: This is type one. This is the first type.
C: (p. xxviii, par. 3) 'There is the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot take a drink. He plans various ways of drinking. He changes his brand or his environment.'
J: Type two.
C: p. xxviii, par. 4) 'There is the type who always believes that after being entirely free from alcohol for a period of time he can take a drink without danger.'
J: Type three.
C: (p. xxviii, par. 4) 'There is the manic-depressive type, who is, perhaps, the least understood by his friends, and about whom a whole chapter could be written.'
J: Type four.
C: Now, the next type, type five I've always thought fit me real good. (p. xxviii, par. 5) 'Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them. They are often able, intelligent, friendly people.'
J: Type five. (laughter)
C: I used to read that, and I'd say, how did he know so much about me. Now, he makes a point. He says: (p. xxviii, par. 6) 'All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which
differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity. It has never been, by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently eradicated. The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence.'
If every alcoholic in this room tonight should take a drink of alcohol, God forbid that happen, but if we did, we would not all act exactly the same. In a few minutes, one of us would be over in the corner, and we'd be crying in our beer. Oh, boo hoo hoo, the world's not treating me right. In a few minutes, one would be right out in the middle of the floor, up on top of a table, whooping and hollering, and cutting up, and dancing, and having a hell of a good time. In a few minutes, two of us would be over in a corner, and we're going to get in a fight just as sure as anything. In a few minutes, there will be two in this corner putting the make on each other. (laughter)
We tend to do that also. Now, even though we would do different things after we had the one, two, or three drinks, there is one thing that each of us as alcoholics would do. As soon as we had the one, two, or three drinks, we would start looking for a fourth drink,
and a fifth drink, and a sixth drink, and a seventh drink. We would have triggered our allergy, the phenomenon of craving would have developed, and we would simply be unable to stop drinking. Now, I know this is true. Because if we could drink safely without getting drunk, we wouldn't be setting in this room tonight. We never would have come to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
We would still be out there drinking safely, if we could drink without that craving developing. I don't think it makes any difference whether it developed the first time we ever took a drink. Mine did. I drank alcohol twenty-sex years, I never remember taking a drink, one drink, of anything that had alcohol in it. When I had one beer, I had to have two. One shot of vodka called for two. One drink of whiskey called for two. One glass of wine called for two. I don't think I ever had one drink of anything with alcohol in it. I've always had the phenomenon of craving. Now, some of you I'm sure drank two years, four, five, six, eight, ten, maybe fifteen or twenty before you lost all control and this became apparent in your life.
But it really doesn't make any difference whether we're born with it, or whether we drank ourselves into it. The fact remains, that's the way we are tonight. We're all in the same boat. That's why we're here in this room. I don't think is makes any difference how long it takes us to get drunk. Now, I'm the kind of alcoholic that if you give me a drink right now, at five minutes after nine, by midnight I've found me a cop and I'm in jail somewhere. (laughter) Some of you may have one or two tonight, three or four tomorrow night, five or six the next night. It may take you a week, ten day, or two weeks to get back on a fifth, and end up drunk, and sick, and in all kinds of trouble. But again it doesn't make any difference, because the one that triggers it, is that first one we take tonight.
And that's the thing we've got in common in A. A. Some people say, I don't fit in A. A. That guy, he's been-in prison fourteen times. I've only been there three times, so I'm different than him. (laughter) That woman has had seven divorcee. I only had five and I'm different. (laughter) Or those old geezers are in their fifties. I'm only twenty-two, and I'm different. No, none of that counts at all. The only thing that is important, the only thing we've got in common, is what happens when we have one, two, or three drinks. And I know that we can't safely drink it. Because if we could, we most certainly would not be here tonight.
This is what Dr. Silkworth gave to us, back in 1934 -- 1933 really -- when he talked to Bill Wilson in the Towns Hospital. Today, we don't have to take this as an opinion anymore. In the doctor's days it was an opinion because he had no way to prove it. He called it the
phenomenon of craving. Simply saying, as Joe said, I don't understand why it happens, but I know it occurs because I see it day after day after day with these people I'm working with. He treated something like 50,000 alcoholics. He most certainly had to learn something from them.