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Big Book Study - Post #5

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  • Jim K.
    Good Morning! We re at paragraph 1, page xxvi, right after the first letter. ...the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. This was a
    Message 1 of 91 , Jan 3, 2006
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      Good Morning!

      We're at paragraph 1, page xxvi, right after the first
      letter. "...the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his
      mind." This was a radical idea for 1935. The primary reason for the
      lack of signature by Dr. Silkworth was his reluctance to attach his
      name to such radical ideas; it was The Depression and he, too,
      was lucky to have a position. Further down it is restated, "...any
      picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is
      incomplete."

      Throughout the book, Bill will restate the same idea in several
      different ways to reinforce the importance or significance of the
      idea. He does this with the allergy theory. Having an allergy means
      that we react abnormally to something; in this case we react
      abnormally to alcohol. (Some drunks claim to break out in handcuffs
      when drinking. Other claim to break out in strange spots – like
      another town, some strange neighborhood, or jail.)

      Dr. Silkworth continues to expand on his ideas on page xxviii.
      Paragraph 2 is important here:

      "...the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a
      manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is
      limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate
      drinker."

      We are different than other people. Average or normal people do not
      develop the phenomenon of "craving." We metabolize alcohol in a
      different way than the "normal" drinker. They don't experience the
      physical craving which comes after the first drink is taken. They
      can have the one or two that we, as a class, cannot. They don't have
      the mental obsession that precedes the first drink.

      Paragraph 3, at the bottom, is where "...restless, irritable and
      discontented" comes from.

      Continuing at the top of page xxix, "the sense of ease and
      comfort...drinks they see others taking with impunity" (without
      repercussions). Normal drinkers don't have this physical malady;
      that's why they can drink and we can't.

      The last sentence of the top paragraph gives us an example of what
      we will see throughout the book – what the spiritual awakening is –
      "...unless this person can experience an entire psychic change (also
      known as a "spiritual awakening") there is very little hope of his
      recovery."

      Strong words. Over and over we will see that CHANGE is the hallmark
      of recovery from alcoholism.

      Turn to page xxx - Silkworth describes five types of alcoholics:

      "the psychopaths who are emotionally unstable..."
      "There is the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot
      take a drink..."
      "There is the type who believes that after being entirely free from
      alcohol for a period of time he can take a drink without danger."
      "There is the manic-depressive type..."
      "Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the
      effect alcohol has upon them."

      Here's the important point: "All these, and many others, have one
      symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the
      phenomenon of craving...the manifestation of an allergy..." That
      first drink does get you drunk - that's the how and why of it.

      With our next post we'll start with Chapter 1 - Bill's Story. Until
      then think about this: there is only one place in the main text of
      the Big Book where the word "pot" appears. No, it isn't the kind you
      smoke. What is it's meaning? We'll reveal its meaning with our next
      post.

      Have a great day!

      Jim
    • Jim K
      Good morning! Welcome back!While we continue to study the forewords and the Doctor s Opinion, remember that we are using the 4th Edition. (The page numbering
      Message 91 of 91 , Feb 25
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        Good morning! Welcome back!
        While we continue to study the forewords and the Doctor's Opinion, remember that we are using the 4th Edition. (The page numbering prior to Chapter 1 differs from the 3rd edition to 4th edition, since a foreword was added.)

        We're at paragraph 1, page xxiv, right after the first letter written by Dr. Silkworth.
        "...the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind." This was a radical idea for 1935. The primary reason for the lack of signature by Dr. Silkworth was his reluctance to face his peers with such radical ideas. It was the Depression era, and Dr. Silkworth was lucky to have a position. No sense jeopardizing it. Further down, it is restated: "...any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete."

        Throughout the book, notice that Bill expressess certain points in several different ways to reinforce the importance or significance of that point. He does this with the allergy theory. Having an "allergy" means that we react abnormally to something. In our case, we react abnormally to alcohol.

        (Some drunks claim to break out in handcuffs when drinking. Other claim to break out in strange spots – a strange town, a strange neighborhood, or jail.)

        Dr. Silkworth continues to expand on his ideas on page xxvi. Paragraph 2 is important here:

        "...the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker."

        We are different than other people. Normal drinkers do not develop the phenomenon of "craving." We metabolize alcohol in a different way than the normal drinker. They don't experience the physical craving which comes after the first drink is taken. They can have the one or two that we, as a class, cannot. They don't suffer from the mental obsession that precedes the first drink.

        Paragraph 3, at the bottom, is where "...restless, irritable and discontented" comes from.

        Continuing at the top ofpage xxvii, "the sense of ease and comfort...drinks they see others taking with impunity" (without repercussions). Normal drinkers don't have this physical malady; they can drink "with impunity" and we can't.
        The last sentence of the top paragraph gives us an example of what we will see throughout the book – what the spiritual awakening is:

        "...unless this person can experience an entire psychic change (also known as a "spiritual awakening") there is very little hope of his recovery."
        Strong words. Over and over we will see that CHANGE is the hallmark of recovery from alcoholism.

        Turn topage xxviii. Silkworth describes five types of alcoholics:

        1. "the psychopaths who are emotionally unstable..."
        2. "There is the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot take a drink..."
        3. "There is the type who believes that after being entirely free from alcohol for a period of time he can take a drink without danger."
        4. "There is the manic-depressive type..."
        5. "Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them."

        Here's the important point: "All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving...the manifestation of an allergy..."

        That first drink gets us drunk.

        With our next post, we'll start with Chapter 1 - Bill's Story.

        Until then think about this: there is only one place in the main text of the Big Book where the word "pot" appears. No, it isn't the kind you smoke. What is it's meaning? We'll reveal the meaning with our next post.
        Have a great day!
        Jim

        Weekend Studies of "The Sermon on the Mount" by Emmet Fox with Jim - visit: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sermon-on-the-Mount
         
         
         


        It is better to be loved for what you have given
        than to be admired for what you have gained
         
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