Recently, I was giving some more thought to this topic. I typically don't like to discuss it because of all the confusion that it creates. But, sometimes, ideas get stuck in my head like a splinter -- and until I get it sorted out, my head will keep going back to the splinter.
Here's one of the things I concluded, for myself.
When they say "recovered" and they keep in mind that we're never cured (once an alcoholic -- alway alcoholic) -- and they define it with the word "restore" -- I never seem to be able to get a clear-cut idea of what it is they mean.
So, as I was thinking about it and reading the BB, I ask myself:
1. What is my problem? My problem is alcohol-ism and not alcohol-wasm.
2. What is the exact nature of my alcohol-ism?
a. It's an abnormal physical reaction to alcohol (the Dr.'s Opinion calls it "an allergy of the body". Combined with:
b. An obsession of the mind. ("our problem centers in the mind").
Okay -- then, "as an alcoholic -- what is the problem that centers in my mind?"
a. It's my "insanity" in regards to alcohol. (Step 2)
b. I've lost the inability to distinguish the true from the false -- in regards to me and alcohol -- "all the time."
By taking the 12 Steps -- my "mental obsession" with alcohol has been removed.... (for me, that happened at Step Seven).
However, the "mental-obsession" that was removed from me -- is NOT the total of the "problem that centers in the mind" (my insanity in regards to alcohol).
At Step 10, my sanity in regards to alcohol -- had been restored. And, this is what I read in the BB, in the section for Step 10. ( Step 10, is the realization and the fulfillment of Step 2 "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
So, yes... my "sanity in regards to alcohol", at Step 10, was "restored", or "returned" or "recovered" (for those that want to refer to it as such)...
However, in Step Ten, I also read, on page 85 BB:
"We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition."
The conclusion that I come to is:
1. Yes, my sanity in regards to alcohol, has been restored at Step 10.
2. Also, at Step 10, I'm cautioned that "I am not cured" and
3. My sane sobriety -- (my sanity in regards to alcohol) -- is something that I posess "for the moment".... "provided that" I'm maintaining a "healthy and fit spiritual condition."
I also believe what I read on page 43, Big Book:
"Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective
mental defense against the first drink. Except in a
few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can
provide such a defense. His defense must come from a
This makes a lot of sense to me, and clears up any confusion that I may get.
a. Yes, I'm sober, recovered in the sense that "my sanity in regards to alcohol has been restored" and my "mental obsession with alcohol" has been removed -- as a result of "taking the Steps."
b. Since, I am not cured -- and my sobriety depends upon the mainanence of my spiritual condition:
1: There will still be "times" that I have "no effective mental defense" against that "next first drink."
2: For the rest of my life -- moment by moment, my sobriety is conditional and contingent to "my healthy relationship with God, as I understand God"
3: "Because" -- there will be times -- when, even my sane mind -- will not be able to provide me with "an effective mental defense" against that next first drink.
4: This is "why" I MUST carry the vision of God's will into my life -- ALL THE TIME -- His will -- not mine.
For me, I see this as the most wonderful blessing that I have! I'm free -- I'm happy, joyous -- and sane! I'm sober! Recovered! "As long as" I stick close to God, and I'm actively doing God's will for me. And, "if" I am doing this -- I CAN TRUST GOD -- that He will keep me sober.
If I'm NOT doing this, continually, and day-by-day, I CAN TRUST THAT MY ALCOHOLI-ISM will raise it's ugly head and destroy me.
That's how I see it. Thanks for letting me share!
And, Lenny, thanks for adding some fire to this topic again!
I appreciate you!