What are my Choices?

Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober
garden variety
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What are my Choices?

Postby garden variety » Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:39 pm

The book makes it real clear that as an alcoholic, I have lost the ability to choose when it comes to alcohol. I read the second chapter today in the book and it made me cry. I read these words out loud, and it was such an eerie feeling knowing in my heart of hearts that it is true:

"The fact is that for most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically non-existent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink."

Those words described me, Paul.

Then I thought a little bit, about our fellow here online, Debbie, and her recent "adventure" in going back out. These words described her, too. It's a creepy reality that I live with and need to be reminded about. I am an alcoholic. This is what can happen to me or you - in the twinkling of an eye. How is it that those words published in 1939 compiled by a hundred complete strangers can so accurately describe me today? That is not a coincedence. To use the words of that famous pschyiatrist Carl Jung, it's a "phenomena". What is a "phenomena"?

It's an unexplainable fact.

I went on reading, and when I got to this point, I literally broke down because it was so accurate about me.

"We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could."

God almighty. Those words describe exactly how I drank, and why I drank. That sentence gave me chills to read it out loud. It was like some invisible Force had seen clear through me - my heart, body, and soul. I mean I don't ever recall reading this and it hitting me this hard with such strong emotions. Yet I've read it a hundred times before.

I drank to "blot out" being aware of how miserable and intolerable my life had become. It's what people mean by drinking "to shut down the noise" - what a mess my life was and I couldn't bear it. And there I was drinking "to the bitter end". And God almighty was that end ever bitter!

then came those 3 words that almost every hopeless alcoholic cries out: "God help me!"

The book says it this way - it's the other alternative:

"and the other, to accept spiritual help. This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort."

For me today, those words in a couple paragraphs made it "all new" to me again. There is so much Power in that "Big Book", and it is so simple, but it is so accurate.

For me this is not "luck" or "fate" dealing out a miracle like a "Hail Mary" Joe Nameth pass to the end zone to win a Super Bowl.

This is GRACE. So much so that even non-alcoholic scientists and doctors have no other words to describe the miracle of Alcoholics Anonymous other than a "phenomena" - an unexplainable fact.

I think we are blessed. How about you?

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Postby GeoffS » Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:10 pm

Hey Paul,

Good to revisit some of what you quoted above. None of us should go too long without being reminded of that.

It keeps it salient for me, and keeps me grateful for the program, my home group, sponsor and faith in my higher power.

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Postby Tim » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:22 am

Here's my definition of phenomena as it relates to alcoholics and the Big Book passage you quoted: A phenomenon is to a non-alcoholic an unexplainable fact but to an alcoholic perfectly explains the facts.

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Postby Dallas » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:49 pm

"and the other, to accept spiritual help. This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort."

For me, grace is the fact that we were given the tools so that we could make the effort.

As I see it, sobriety is not so much a gift from God, as it is a hard won achievement with the help of the tools provided by God.

If it were any other way -- God only picked certain alcoholics to be sober. And, He was selective and only picked a few drunks to give them sobriety. And, if I were one of them -- that would be too much fuel for my Ego that separates me from a God of my own understanding.

I may have lost the choice of drink -- but, because of the gift of the tools, I have a choice to stay sober -- if I use the tools.

If I use the tools that God has provided, the 12 Steps and the Fellowship, I never have to drink again nor worry about drinking again.

If I don't use the tools and the Fellowship -- it doesn't matter how much God loves me, nor how long I've been sober -- as an alcoholic, even God can't keep me sober if I don't use the tools that He gave me to use.

It's a program consisting of a spiritual tool kit and actions and a Fellowship. It isn't a big comfortable couch and action. It isn't actions with no tools. It isn't tools without a Fellowship. It takes all three: the tools, the actions and the Fellowship to make up the spiritual tool kit.


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Postby Tim » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:22 am

Elegantly stated, Dallas! Thanks for your timely reminder that sobriety requires action on my part...Tim

garden variety
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Postby garden variety » Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:46 am

Well said Dallas!

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