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Big Book Study - Post #9

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  • Jim
    Good Morning! We re on page 17 - Chapter 2 - There is a Solution. One of the literary devices that Bill employs on this page relates to events that are
    Message 1 of 75 , Apr 17, 2013
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      Good Morning!

      We're on page 17 - Chapter 2 - "There is a Solution."

      One of the literary devices that Bill employs on this page relates to
      events that are familiar to the reader. Remember that the book was
      published in 1939 when the Titanic was still a relatively recent
      memory for many.

      "We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue
      from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the
      vessel from steerage to Captain's table. Unlike the feelings of the
      ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not
      subside as we go our individual ways."

      "Steerage" was the bottom of the ship - the cheap seats -
      accommodations for lower-class passengers. Of course, the elite
      gathered by invitation only at the glamorous "Captain's table." The
      two extremes would never mix with one another. But to those who were
      miraculously rescued from the icy, terrifying ocean, these
      differences became nothing more than unimportant details.

      Now here's the message -- the WARNING -- that Bill and the first one
      hundred wanted to pass on: "But that in itself would never have held
      us together as we are now joined."

      So, what is it that binds us together? Look at the following
      paragraph:

      "...we have discovered a common solution [a spiritual awakening
      through the 12 Steps]. We have a way out on which we can absolutely
      agree, upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action."

      It is The AA Program of action that binds us together.

      Page 20, paragraph 1:

      "Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of
      expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a seemingly
      hopeless state of mind and body."

      The top of the next paragraph is the answer:

      "It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions
      specifically."

      In other words, we should be using this book as a text book or set of
      directions for in these pages we will be shown how to get, and stay,
      sober.

      The following four paragraphs go on to describe the misconceptions of
      alcoholism held by the public at large and to describe people who
      have drinking problems but who are not real alcoholics: moderate
      drinkers and certain types of hard drinkers.

      Page 21: "The real alcoholic" - In paragraph 1, Bill discusses the
      craving and lack of control that the real alcoholic develops. This
      repeats ideas presented in "The Doctor's Opinion."

      Turn to page 22, paragraph 2 - Here the powerlessness and insanity of
      alcoholism
      is defined.

      "What has become of the common sense and will power that he still
      sometimes displays with respect to other matters?"

      In short, the human will is not operative. We drink, continuing to
      expect different results. Alcoholics do not have the power of
      choice –
      common sense and willpower are useless.

      What is it that causes alcoholics to drink when they don't want to?
      Broken shoelace? Not enough meetings? Page 23, paragraph 1 -

      "These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend
      never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in
      motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in the
      mind rather than in his body."

      It is our struggle with the mental obsession that we will lose that
      causes us to drink; the circumstances themselves matter little.

      Turning to page 24, we have italicized writing, used sparsely in the
      book, always used to emphasize a point –

      "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost
      the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes
      practically nonexistent. 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."

      The following paragraph - "There is the complete failure of the kind
      of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove."

      Let's pause here to consider this: How many times has this point, the
      lack of common sense regarding alcohol or the lack of defense against
      the first drink, been made?

      We must also note that in the last paragraph on page 24 we are told
      that the alcoholic "...has probably placed himself beyond human
      aid... ." Is fellowship enough? Going to meetings morning, noon, and
      night? Talking to a sponsor everyday? Daily telphone calls?

      Here's our situation: The mental obsession to drink is relentless;
      human power is ineffective against it. What will help us to overcome
      this obsession and prevent us from picking up the first drink?

      More with our next post!

      Jim

      Weekend Big Book Studies with Jim & Dave - visit:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Big_Book_Seminars
    • Jim K
      Good Morning! We re on page 17 - Chapter 2 - There is a Solution. One of the literary devices that Bill employs on this page relates to events that are
      Message 75 of 75 , Jul 6
      • 0 Attachment

        Good Morning!


        We're on page 17 - Chapter 2 - "There is a Solution."

        One of the literary devices that Bill employs on this page relates to events that are familiar to the reader. Remember that the book was published in 1939 when the Titanic was still a relatively recent memory for many.

        "We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain's table. Unlike the feelings of the ship's passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways."

        "Steerage" was the bottom of the ship - the cheap seats -accommodations for lower-class passengers. Of course, the elite gathered by invitation only at the glamorous "Captain's table." The two extremes would never mix with one another. But to those who were miraculously rescued from the icy, terrifying ocean, these differences became nothing more than unimportant details. Now here's the message -- the WARNING -- that Bill and the first one hundred wanted to pass on:
        "But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined."

        So, what is it that binds us together? Look at the following paragraph:
        "...we have discovered a common solution [a spiritual awakening through the 12 Steps]. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action."

        It is The AA Program of action that binds us together.

        Page 20, paragraph 1:
        "Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body." The top of the next paragraph is the answer: "It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions specifically." In other words, we should be using this book as a text book or set of directions for in these pages we will be shown how to get, and stay, sober.


        The following four paragraphs go on to describe the misconceptions of alcoholism held by the public at large and to describe people who have drinking problems but who are not real alcoholics: moderate drinkers and certain types of hard drinkers.

        Page 21: "The real alcoholic" - In paragraph 1, Bill discusses the craving and lack of control that the real alcoholic develops. This repeats ideas presented in "The Doctor's Opinion."

        Turn to page 22, paragraph 2 - Here the powerlessness and insanity of alcoholism is defined.
        "What has become of the common sense and will power that he still sometimes displays with respect to other matters?" In short, the human will is not operative. We drink, continuing to expect different results. Alcoholics do not have the power of choice – common sense and willpower are useless.


        What is it that causes alcoholics to drink when they don't want to? Broken shoelace? Not enough meetings? Page 23, paragraph 1 -
        "These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in the mind rather than in his body." It is our struggle with the mental obsession that we will lose that causes us to drink; the circumstances themselves matter little.


        Turning to page 24, we have italicized writing, used sparsely in the book, always used to emphasize a point –
        "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. 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."

        The following paragraph- "There is the complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove."


        Let's pause here to consider this: How many times has this point, the lack of common sense regarding alcohol or the lack of defense against the first drink, been made?

        We must also note that in the last paragraph on page 24 we are told that the alcoholic
        "...has probably placed himself beyond human aid... ." Is fellowship enough? Going to meetings morning, noon, and night? Talking to a sponsor every day? Daily telephone calls?

        Here's our situation: The mental obsession to drink is relentless; human power is ineffective against it. What will help us to overcome this obsession and prevent us from picking up the first drink?

        More with our next post.

        Have a great day!

         

        Friend me on Facebook - search for "Sotto Voice" 

         

        Jim

         



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