More About Alcoholism (comparison)

Comparing “More About Alcoholism” to the original manuscript for our Basic Text

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Rarely have we < RARELY HAVE WE > seen a person fail who has thoroughly directions followed our < path >...
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Now we think you can take it! < — — — — — > Here are the steps we took...
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11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our — — — — — — < conscious > contact with God < as we understood Him >...
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Chapter 3 < Chapter 3 > MORE ABOUT ALCOHOLISM
Most of us < MOST OF US > have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday liquor he will control and enjoy his < > drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. We learned that we had to fully concede to our inner- most selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, had or presently may be, < has > to be smashed. We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real ever recovered this alcoholic < ever recovers > control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such inter- vals – usually brief – were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incompre- hensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better. We are like men who have lost their legs; they never grow new ones. Neither does there appear to be any kind of treatment which will make alcoholics of



our kind like other men.  We have tried every imaginable      
remedy.  In some instances there has been brief recovery,     

followed always by < a > still worse relapse.  Physicians     
who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such       
thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic.         
Science may one day accomplish this, but it <         >       
hasn't done so yet.                                           

     Despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics     
are not going to believe they are in that class.  By every    
form of self-deception and experimentation, they will try     
to prove themselves exceptions to the rule, therefore         
  non-alcoholic               ,                               
< nonalcoholic >.  If anyone < > who is showing inability     
to control his drinking < > can do the right-about-face and   
drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him.  Heaven      
knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink     
like other people!                                            

     Here are some of the methods we have tried:              
< Drinking > beer only, limiting the number of drinks,        
never drinking alone, never drinking in the morning,          
drinking only at home, never having it in the house,          
never drinking during business hours, drinking only at        
parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only       
natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the        
job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off           
forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more         
physical exercise, reading inspirational books,               
 consulting psychologists,                                    
<                         > going to health farms and         
sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums –      
we could increase the list ad infinitum.                      

     We do not like to < pronounce > any individual as        
<  > alcoholic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself.        
Step over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled      
drinking.  Try to drink and stop abruptly.  Try it            



more than once.  It will not take long for you to decide, if  
you are honest with yourself about it.  It < may > be worth   
                                  thoroughly sold on the      
a bad case of jitters if you get <   a full knowledge   >     
 idea that you are a candidate for Alcoholics Anonymous!      
<                 of your condition.                    >     

     Though there is no way of proving it, we believe that    
early in our drinking careers most of us could have stopped   
drinking.  But the difficulty is that few alcoholics have     
enough desire to stop while there is yet time.  We have       
heard of a few instances where people, who showed definite    

signs of alcoholism, were able to stop < for a long period >  
because of an overpowering desire to < do > so.  Here is one. 

     A man of thirty was doing a great deal of spree drinking.
He was very nervous in the morning after these bouts and      
quieted himself with more liquor.  He was ambitious to succeed
in business, but saw that he would get nowhere if he drank at 
all.  Once he started, he had no control whatever.  He made up
his mind that until he had been successful in business and had
retired, he would not touch another drop.  An exceptional man,
he remained bone dry for twenty-five years < > and retired at 
the age of fifty-five, after a successful and happy business  
career.  Then he fell victim to a belief which practically    
every alcoholic has – that his long period of sobriety and    
self-discipline had qualified him to drink as other men.  Out 
came his carpet slippers and a bottle.  In two months he was  
in a hospital, puzzled and humiliated.  He tried to regulate  
his drinking for a while, making several trips to the hospital
meantime.  Then, gathering all his forces, he attempted to    
stop < altogether > and found he could not.  Every means of   
solving his problem which                                     



money could buy was at his disposal.  Every attempt failed.   
Though a robust man at retirement, he went to pieces quickly  
< > and was dead within four years.                           

     This case contains a powerful lesson.  Most of us have   
believed that if we remained sober for a long stretch, we     
could thereafter drink normally.  But here is a man who at    
fifty-five years found he was just where he had left off      
at thirty.  We have seen the truth demonstrated again and     
again: "< Once > an alcoholic, always an alcoholic."          
Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in     
a short time as bad as ever.  If we are planning to stop      
drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor       
any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol. 

     Young people may be encouraged by this man's experience  
to think that they can stop, as he did, on their own will     
power.  We doubt if many of them can do it, because none      
will really want to stop, and hardly one of them, because of  
the peculiar mental twist already acquired, will find he can  
win out.  Several of our crowd, men of thirty <     > or      
less, had been drinking < only > a few years, but they found  
themselves as helpless as those who had been drinking twenty  

     To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have    
to drink a long time < > nor take the quantities some of      

us have.  This is particularly true of women.  Potential      
< female > alcoholics often turn into the real thing and      

are gone beyond recall in a few years.  Certain drinkers,     
who would be greatly insulted if called < alcoholics >, are   
astonished at their inability to stop.  We, who are familiar  
with the symptoms, see large numbers of potential alcoholics  
among young                                                   



people everywhere.  But try and get them to see it!           

     As we look back, we feel we had gone on drinking many    
years beyond the point where we could quit on our will power. 
If anyone questions whether he has entered this dangerous     
area, let him try leaving liquor alone for one year.  If he   
is a real alcoholic and very far advanced, there is scant     
chance of success.  In the early days of our drinking we      
occasionally remained sober for a year or more, becoming      
serious drinkers again later.  Though you may be able to      
stop for a considerable period, you may yet be a potential    
alcoholic.  We think few, to whom this book will appeal, can  
stay dry anything like a year.  Some will be drunk the day    
after making their resolutions; most of them within a few     

     For those who are unable to drink moderately the question
is how to stop altogether.  We are assuming, of course, that  
the reader desires to stop.  Whether such a person can quit   
         non-spiritual                 somewhat upon the      
upon a < nonspiritual > basis depends <                 >     
 strength of his character, and how much he really wants to   
<                                                          >  
 be done with it.  But even more will it depend               
<                                              > upon the ex- 
tent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether 
he will drink or not.  Many of us felt that we had plenty of  
character.  There was a tremendous urge to cease forever.  Yet
we found it impossible.  This is the baffling feature of alco-
holism as we know it – this utter inability to leave it alone,
no matter how great the necessity or the wish.                

     How then shall we help our readers determine, to their   
own satisfaction, whether they are one of us?  The experiment 
of quitting for a period of time will be helpful, but we      
think we can render an even greater service to alcoholic      
sufferers < > and perhaps to the medical                      



fraternity.  So we shall describe some of the mental states   
that precede a relapse into drinking, for obviously this is   
the crux of the problem.                                      

     What sort of thinking dominates an alcoholic who repeats 
time after time the desperate experiment of the first drink?  
Friends who have reasoned with him after a spree which has    
brought him to the point of divorce or bankruptcy < > are     
are mystified when he walks directly into a saloon.  Why      
does he?  Of what is he thinking?                             

     Our first example is a friend we shall call Jim.  This   
man has a charming wife and family.  He inherited a lucrative 
automobile agency.  He had a commendable World War record.    
He is a good salesman.  Everybody likes him.  He is an        
intelligent man, normal so far as we can see, except for      
a nervous disposition.  He did no drinking until he was       
thirty-five.  In a few years he became so violent when        
intoxicated that he had to be committed.  On leaving the      
asylum he came into contact with us.                          

     We told him what we knew of alcoholism and the answer we 
had found.  He made a beginning.  His family was reassembled, 
and he began to work as a salesman for the business he had    
lost through drinking.  All went well for a time, but he      
failed to enlarge his spiritual life.  To his consternation,  
he found himself drunk half a dozen times in rapid succession.
On each of these occasions we worked with him, reviewing      
carefully what had happened.  He agreed he was a real alco-   

holic and in < a > serious condition.  He knew he faced       

another trip to the asylum if he kept on.  Moreover, he       

would lose his family for whom he had < a > deep affection.   



     Yet he got drunk again.  We asked him to tell us         
exactly how it happened.  This is his story: "I came to work  
on Tuesday morning.  I remember I felt irritated that I had   
to be a salesman for a concern I once owned.  I had  a few    
words with the boss, but nothing serious.  Then I decided to  
drive into the country and see one of my prospects for a car. 
On the way I felt hungry so I stopped at a roadside place     
where they have a bar.  I had no intention of drinking.  I    
just thought I would get a sandwich.  I also had the notion   
that I might find a customer for a car at this place, which   
was familiar < > for I had been going to it for years.  I had 
eaten there many times during the months I was sober.  I sat  
down at a table and ordered a sandwich and a glass of milk.   
Still no thought of drinking.  I ordered another sandwich and 
decided to have another glass of milk.                        

       Suddenly the thought crossed my mind that if I were    
     < Suddenly the thought crossed my mind that if I were >  
  to put an ounce of whiskey in my milk, it couldn't hurt     
< to put an ounce of whiskey in my milk it couldn't hurt >    
  me on a full stomach.  I ordered a whiskey and poured it    
< me on a full stomach.  I ordered a whiskey and poured it >  
  into the milk.  I vaguely sensed I was not being any too    
< into the milk.  I vaguely sensed I was not being any too >  
  smart, but felt reassured, as I was taking the whiskey      
< smart, but felt reassured as I was taking the whiskey >     
  on a full stomach.                                          
< on a full stomach. >  The experiment went so well that      
I ordered another whiskey and poured it into more milk.       
That didn't seem to bother me so I tried another."            

     Thus started < one > more journey to the asylum for      
Jim.  Here was the threat of commitment, the loss of family   
and position, to say nothing of that intense mental and       
physical suffering which drinking always caused him.          
  He had much knowledge about himself as an alcoholic.        
< He had much knowledge about himself as an alcoholic. >      
  Yet all reasons for not drinking were                       
< Yet all reasons for not drinking were >                     


  easily pushed aside in favor of the foolish idea that       
< easily pushed aside in favor of the foolish idea that >     
  he could take whiskey if only he mixed it with milk!        
< he could take whiskey if only he mixed it with milk! >      

     Whatever the precise definition of the word may be,      
we call this plain insanity.  How can such a lack of          
proportion, of the ability to think straight, be called       
anything else?                                                

     You may think this an extreme case.  To us it is < not > 
  far fetched                                                 
< far-fetched >, for this kind of thinking has been character-
                              our group.  Some of us          
istic of every single one of < us.               We > have    
sometimes reflected more than Jim did < > upon the conse-     

quences.  But there was always the curious mental phenome-    
non < > that parallel with our sound reasoning there inevi-   
tably ran some insanely trivial excuse for taking the first   
drink.  Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check.  The  
insane idea won out.  Next day we would ask ourselves, in all 
earnestness and sincerity, how it could have happened.        

     In some circumstances we have gone out deliberately to   
get drunk, feeling ourselves justified by nervousness, anger, 
worry, depression, jealousy or the like.  But even in this    
type of beginning we are obliged to admit that our justifi-   
cation for a spree was insanely insufficient in the light of  
what always happened.  We now see that when we began to drink 
deliberately, instead of casually, there was little serious   
or effective thought during the period of premeditation < >   
of what the terrific consequences might be.                   

     Our behavior is as absurd and incomprehensible with      
respect to the first drink as that of an individual with      
a passion, say, for jay-walking.  He gets a thrill out of     
skipping in front of fast-moving vehicles.  He enjoys         

himself < for > a few years in spite of friendly warnings.    
Up to this point you would label him as a foolish             


chap < > having queer ideas of fun.  Luck then deserts him    
and he is slightly injured several times in succession.       
You would expect him, if he were normal, to cut it out.       
Presently he is hit again and this time has a fractured       
skull.  Within a week after leaving the hospital < >          
a fast-moving trolley car breaks his arm.  He tells you       
he has decided to stop jay-walking for good, but in a few     
weeks he breaks both legs.                                    

     On through the years this conduct continues, accom-      
panied by his continual promises to be careful or to keep     
off the streets altogether.  Finally, he can no longer        
work, his wife gets a divorce < and > he is held up to        
ridicule.  He tries every known means to get the jay-         
walking idea out of his head.  He shuts himself up in an      
asylum, hoping to mend his ways.  But the day he comes        
out he races in front of a fire engine, which breaks          
his back.  Such a man would be crazy, wouldn't he?            

     You may think our illustration is too ridiculous.        
But is it?  We, who have been through the wringer, have       
to admit if we substituted alcoholism for jay-walking,        
the illustration would fit us exactly.  However intelligent   
we may have been in other respects, where alcohol has been    
involved, we have been strangely insane.  It's strong         
language – but isn't it true?                                 

     Some of you are thinking: "Yes, what you tell us is      
true, but it doesn't fully apply.  We admit we have some      
of these symptoms, but we have not gone to the extremes       
you fellows did, nor are we likely to, for we understand      
ourselves so well after what you have told us that such       
things cannot happen again.  We have not lost everything      
in life through drinking and we                               



certainly do not intend to.  Thanks for the information."     

     That may be true of certain < nonalcoholic > people who, 
though drinking foolishly and heavily at the present time,    
are able to stop or moderate, because their brains and bodies 
               warped and degenerated                         
have not been <       damaged        > as ours were.  But     

the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception,  
          absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of  
will be < absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of >
< self-knowledge. >  This is a point we wish to emphasize     
and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers    
as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience.  Let  
us take another illustration.                                 

     Fred is partner in a well known accounting firm.  His    
income is good, he has a fine home, is happily married and    
the father of promising children of college age.  He < has >  
so attractive a personality that he makes friends with every- 
one.  If there ever was a successful business man, it is Fred.
To all appearance he is a stable, well balanced individual.   
Yet, he is alcoholic.  We first saw Fred about a year ago in  
a hospital where he had gone to recover from a bad case of    
jitters.  It was his first experience of this kind, and he    
was much ashamed of it.  Far from admitting he was an alco-   
holic, he told himself he came to the hospital to rest his    
nerves.  The doctor intimated strongly that he might be worse 
than he realized.  For a few days he was depressed about his  
condition.  He made up his mind to quit drinking altogether.  
It never occurred to him that perhaps he could not do so, in  
spite of his character and standing.  Fred would not believe  
himself an alcoholic, much less accept a spiritual remedy for 
his problem.  We told him                                     



< what we knew > about alcoholism.  He was interested and     
conceded that he had some of the symptoms, but he was a long  
way from admitting that he could do nothing about it himself. 
He was positive that this humiliating experience, plus the    
knowledge he had acquired, would keep him sober the rest of   
his life.  Self-knowledge would fix it.                       

     We heard no more of Fred for a while.  One day we were   
told that he was back in the hospital.  This time he was      
quite shaky.  He soon indicated he was anxious to see us.     

The story he told is most instructive < , > for here was a    
chap absolutely convinced he had to stop drinking, who had    
no excuse for drinking, who exhibited splendid judgment and   
determination in all his other concerns, yet was flat on his  
back nevertheless.                                            

     Let him tell you about it: "I was much impressed with    
what you fellows said about alcoholism, < and > I frankly     

did not believe it would be possible for me to drink again.   
I < rather > appreciated your ideas about the subtle insanity 
which precedes the first drink, but I was confident it could  
not happen to me after what I had learned.  I reasoned I was  
not so far advanced as most of you fellows, that I had been   
usually successful in licking my other personal <   > prob-   

lems, < and > that I would therefore be successful where you  
men failed.  I felt I had every right to be self-confident,   
that it would be only a matter of exercising my will power    
and keeping on guard.                                         

     "In this frame of mind, I went about my business and     
for a time all was well.  I had no trouble refusing drinks,   
and began to wonder if I had not been making too hard work    
of a simple matter.  One day I went to Washington to present  
some accounting evidence to                                   



a government bureau.  I had been out of town before during    
this particular dry spell, so there was nothing new about     
that.  Physically, I felt fine.  Neither did I have any       
pressing problems or worries.  My business came off well,     
I was pleased and knew my partners would be too.  It was      
the end of a perfect day, not a cloud on the horizon.         

     "I went to my hotel and leisurely dressed for dinner.    
  As I crossed the threshold of the dining room, the thought  
< As I crossed the threshold of the dining room, the thought >
  came to mind      it would be nice to have a couple         
< came to mind that it would be nice to have a couple >       
  cocktails with dinner.  That was all.  Nothing more.        
< cocktails with dinner.  That was all.  Nothing more. >      
I ordered a cocktail and my meal.  Then I ordered another     
cocktail.  After dinner I decided to take a walk.  When I     
returned to the hotel it struck me a highball would be fine   
before going to bed, so I stepped into the bar and had one.   
I remember having several more that night and plenty next     
morning.  I have a shadowy recollection of being              

in an airplane bound for New York, < and > of finding a       
friendly taxicab driver at the landing field instead of       
my wife.  The driver escorted me about for several days.      
I know little of where I went < > or what I said and did.     
Then came the hospital with <   > unbearable mental and       
physical suffering.                                           

     "As soon as I regained my ability to think, I went       
                                              Not only had    
carefully over that evening in Washington.  < Not only had >  
  I been off guard, I had made no fight whatever against      
< I been off guard, I had made no fight whatever against >    
  that first drink.  This time I had not thought of the       
< the  first drink.  This time I had not thought of the >     
  consequences at all.                                        
< consequences at all. >  I had commenced to drink as         
carelessly as though the cocktails were ginger ale.  I now    
remembered what my alcoholic friends had told me, how they    
< prophesied > that if I had an alcoholic mind, the time      
and place would come – I would drink                          



again.  They had said that though I did raise a defense,      
it would one day give way before some trivial reason for      
having a drink.  Well, just that did happen and more, for     
what I had learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all.  
I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind.  I      
saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in      
those strange mental blank spots.  I had never been able      
to understand people who said that a problem had them hope-   
lessly defeated.  I knew then.  It was a crushing blow.       

     "Two of the members of Alcoholics Anonymous came to      
see me.  They grinned, which I didn't like so much, and       
then asked me if I thought myself alcoholic and if I were     
really licked this time.  I had to concede both propositions. 
They piled on me heaps of <       > evidence to the effect    
that an alcoholic mentality, such as I had exhibited in       
Washington, was a hopeless condition.  They cited cases       
out of their own experience by the dozen.  This process       
snuffed out the last flicker of conviction that I could       
do the job myself.                                            

     "Then they outlined the spiritual answer and program     
of action which a hundred of them had followed successfully.  
Though I had been only a nominal churchman, their proposals   
were not, intellectually, hard to swallow.  But the program   
of action, though entirely sensible, was pretty drastic.      
It meant I would have to throw several lifelong conceptions   
out of the window.  That was not easy.  But the moment I      
made up my mind to go through with the process, I had the     
curious feeling that my alcoholic condition was relieved,     
as in fact it proved to be.                                   

     "Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual     
principles would solve all my problems.  I have since         



been brought into a way of living infinitely more satisfying  
and, I hope, more useful than the life I lived before.  My    
old manner of life was by no means a bad one, but I would     
not exchange its best moments for the worst I have now.       
I would not go back to it even if I could."                   

     Fred's story speaks for itself.  We hope it strikes home 
to thousands like him.  He had only felt the first nip of the 
wringer.  Most alcoholics have to be pretty badly mangled     
before they really commence to solve their problems.          

     < Many > doctors and psychiatrists agree with our        
conclusions.  One of these men, staff member of a world-      
renowned hospital, recently made this statement to some       
of us: "What you say about the general hopelessness of        
the average alcoholic's plight is, in my opinion, correct.    
As to two of you men, whose stories I have heard, there is    
no doubt in my mind that you were 100% hopeless, apart from   
< divine > help.  Had you offered yourselves as patients      
at this hospital, I would not have taken you, if I had been   
able to avoid it.  People like you are too heartbreaking.     
Though not a religious person, I have profound respect for    
the spiritual approach in such cases as yours.  For most      
cases, there is virtually no other solution."                 

     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     
Higher Power.                                                 

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