The Doctor's Opinion (Continued)
J: As Charlie said, they tried solutions but they never understood the problem. Finally, I think the first person--Dr. Benjamin Rush, who was the father of American psychiatry, in 1780 something--he was the first person who said it was a disease process. He said it's a disease, but he couldn't explain it. And still (they tried) all (kinds) of things. Finally, it all began in Towns Hospital. Dr. Silkworth went to work at the Towns (Hospital) for forty dollars a week. He went there because he couldn't get a job where he wanted Lt. He took a Job at Towns Hospital working with drunks for forty dollars a week.
C: In 1930.
J: In 1930. It was there at the Towns Hospital he began to-he was there every day, he never saw anybody recover. Everybody died. They got sick, and came back, and died. They got sick and came back. Dr. Silkworth worked with it every day, day in and day out. He said, I know you say these people are weak. They say it's a sin. But he said, I discern there's some force in these people. He began to discern something in them, a force of destruction.
It was there that he accumulated this idea. He said, you know, I believe part of it is in the body and part of it is in the mind. This is what he shared with Bill. This is what he wrote in front of the Big Book today. Finally, he said, alcoholism is a disease. He gave us how the disease worked, in front of the Big Book. It wasn't published in the medical journals. It was published in the front of the Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous." Finally in 1956, I believe, the American Medical Association, based on this concept and it's success, the solution and the recovery plan, based on this problem, it proved that this is a disease. They finally accepted the fact that alcoholism is. a disease. (See "Pass It On," page 304.)
The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association... and the whole world believes that alcoholism is a disease. It began with Dr. Silkworth at the Towns Hospital. This is the foundation of the Big Book, because it describes: what is the problem? The whole rest of the book, the solution and recovery plan, is based on the Doctor's Opinion, the First Step, when he tells us the exact nature of the problem of alcoholism.
C: Therefore we see the statement: (p. xxiv, par. 3-4) '... hat the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. It did not satisfy us to be told that we could not control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us.
But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete. 'The doctor's theory that we have an allergy to alcohol interests us. As laymen, our opinion as to it's soundness may, of course, mean little. But as ex-problem drinkers, we can say that his explanation makes good sense. It explains many things for which we cannot otherwise account.'
Now, if we are to use this as a textbook, and if a textbook is meant to take information from the mind of one human being, transfer it through the written word to the mind of another human being, then the way that other human being receives it will be based upon their understanding of the words that are used. If the person who receives it, if their understanding of the word is different than the person who wrote it, then the information will be garbled information. We find that there are many, many words in the Big Book--that many of us have an incomplete, or a wrong, understanding of the