My first sponsor began our reading at the first page of the book, not at page one. We read the copyrite, fer cryin out loud ... together.
It put an appreciation in me for all of the hard work, deep thought, and tweeking of the book as they so perfectly formulated it for ME.
"The Doctor's Opinion" was a very important prelude to the beginning of the book for me. It expressed so well the futility of not only battling this disease alone but how little medicine can do. I had to be thoroughly convinced that there was no other help. "The delusion that [I] will ever be able to drink like normal men has to be SMASHED"! And "that probably no human power could have relieved [my] alcoholism" had to be driven home like a deck screw. Let's just pull THAT rug out from under me right NOW.
Later, after page 1, it struck me that what the doctor called a "complete psychic change", the AA program calls a "spiritual change" and a "spiritual awakenning".
AHA ! says I.
The medical commumity has no authority to talk of spirit. It's not in Gray's Anatomy as a treatable organ. Psychology can allude to it as a part of the psyche if it's assumed it's part of the brain.
In a treatment facility, they did a GREAT job explaining the physics and psychology of addiction. They made mework through steps 1, 2, &, 3 (kinda) on a psychological basis. they did a great job convincing me of the disease aspect of alcoholism. I'm thoroughly convinced. But I knew that info wasn't going to keep me sober.
BUT it was a perfect primer to slide me into AA which WOULD keep me sober for the long haul. Adding the spiritual aspect, the third leg on the human-being stool (to me), is what would treat the whole me.
"Going away" to treatment was necessary for me. I just could not stop drinking. I had no one to sit with me (or ON me) all day. I like to say that treatment broke the chain that was holding me unde water. But I was still way out to sea. AA is teaching me to swim.
DO NOT neglect the reading and study of the Doctor's Opinion. Yes, it begins Step One and is a perfect prelude to Page One. From helpless to hopeful.
From there, it's also important to remember that we don't compete with, replace, or "poo-poo" medical help. We work together. (uh ... that's not an exact quote) The whole man is sick. The whole man needs treatment.
I poo-poo AAs who advise against going to doctors. I applaud the ones who say to be absolutely honest with them about your drinking.
But that's just Tim-the-alcoholic's opinion. What do I know?