There is a Solution (comparison)

Comparing “There is a Solution” to the original manuscript for our Basic Text


Comparison Format — Colors appear here only and are — — not used in the actual comparisons. — Words above brackets are from the pre-publication version. < Bracketed copy is from our Basic Text as it reads today. > ~ Format Examples ~
Rarely have we < RARELY HAVE WE > seen a person fail who has thoroughly directions followed our < path >...
~ ~ ~
Now we think you can take it! < — — — — — > Here are the steps we took...
~ ~ ~
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our — — — — — — < conscious > contact with God < as we understood Him >...
~ ~ ~


Chapter 2 < Chapter 2 > THERE IS A SOLUTION
We, of one hundred < WE, OF > ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know < thousands of > men < and women > who were once just as hopeless as Bill. All < Nearly all > have recovered. They have solved the drink problem. ordinary We are < average > Americans. All sections of this country and many of its occupations are represented, as well as many political, economic, social, and religious back- grounds. We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. 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. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. The tremendous fact for every one of us < is > that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.

 


 18                                                           

     An illness of this sort – and we have come to believe    
it an illness – involves those about us in a way no other     
human sickness can.  If a person has cancer all are sorry     
for him and no one is angry or hurt.  But no so with the      
alcoholic illness, for with it there goes annihilation of     
all the things worth while in life.  It engulfs all whose     
lives touch the sufferer's.  It brings misunderstanding,      
fierce resentment, financial insecurity, disgusted friends    
and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives  
and parents – anyone can increase the list.                   

            This                          , instruct          
     < We hope this > volume will inform <          > and com-
fort those who are, or who may be affected.  There are many.  

     Highly competent psychiatrists who have dealt with us    
 (often fruitlessly, we are afraid) find it almost            
<             have found it sometimes             > impos-    
sible to persuade an alcoholic to discuss his situation       
without reserve.  Strangely enough, wives, parents and        
intimate friends usually find us even more unapproachable     
than do the psychiatrist and the doctor.                      

          But the ex-alcoholic who has found this             
     < But the ex-problem drinker who has found this >        
 solution, who is properly armed with certain medical         
<  solution, who is properly armed with facts about  >        
 information, can generally win the entire confidence         
<  himself, can generally win the entire confidence  >        
  of another alcoholic in a few hours.  Until such an         
< of another alcoholic in a few hours.  Until such an >       
  understanding is reached, little or nothing can be          
< understanding is reached, little or nothing can be >        
  accomplished.                                               
< accomplished. >                                             

     That the man who is making the approach has had the      
same difficulty, that he obviously knows what he is talking   
about, that his whole deportment shouts at the new prospect   
that he is a man with a real answer, that he has no attitude  
of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere      
desire to be helpful; that there are no fees to pay, no axes  
to grind, no people to please, no lectures to be endured –    
these are the conditions                                      


 

                                                           19 
                   necessary                                  
we have found < most effective >.  After such an approach     
many take up their beds and walk again.                       

     None of us makes a < sole > vocation of this work,       

nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if       
                                      the liquor problem      
we did.  We feel that elimination of <   our drinking   >     
is but a beginning.  A much more important demonstration      
of our principles lies before us in our respective homes,     
             ,                                                
occupations < > and affairs.  All of us spend much of         
our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going       
to describe.  A few are fortunate enough to be so situated    
                               of                             
that they can give nearly all <  > their time to the work.    

     If we keep on the way we are going there is little       
doubt that much good will result, but the surface of the      
problem would hardly be scratched.  Those of us who live in   
large cities are overcome by the reflection that close by     
hundreds are dropping into oblivion every day.  Many could    
recover if they had the opportunity we have enjoyed.  How     
then shall we present that which has been so freely given us? 

     We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume         
setting forth the problem as we see it.  We shall bring       
to the task our combined experience and knowledge.  This      
 ought to                                                     
< should > suggest a useful program for anyone concerned      
with a drinking problem.                                      

     Of necessity there will have to be discussion of matters 
medical, psychiatric, social, and religious.  We are aware    
that these matters are, from their very nature, controversial.
Nothing would please us so much as to write a book which would
contain no basis for con- tention or argument.  We shall do   
our utmost to achieve that ideal.  Most of us sense that real 
tolerance of other people's shortcomings and viewpoints and a 
respect for their opinions are attitudes which make us        


 


 20                                                           

more useful to others.  Our very lives, as < ex-problem >     
 ex-alcoholics                                                
<  drinkers   >, depend upon our constant thought of others   
and how we may help meet their needs.                         

     You may already have asked yourself why it is that all   
of us became so very ill from drinking.  Doubtless you are    
curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion
to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition  
of mind and body.  If you are an alcoholic who wants to get   
over it, you may already be asking – "What do I have to do?"  

     It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions  
specifically.  We shall tell you what we have done.  Before   
going into a detailed discussion, it may be well to summarize 
some points as we see them.                                   

     How many times people have said to us: "I can take it or 
leave it alone.  Why can't he?"  "Why don't you drink like a  
gentleman or quit?"  "That fellow can't handle his liquor."   
"Why don't you try beer and wine?"  "Lay off the hard stuff." 
"His will power must be weak."  "He could stop if he wanted   
to."  "She's such a sweet girl, I should think he'd stop for  

her < sake >."  "The doctor told him that if he ever drank    
again it would kill him, but there he is all lit up again."   

          ,                                                   
     Now < > these are commonplace observations on drinkers   
which we hear all the time.  Back of them is a world of ignor-
ance and misunderstanding.  We see that these expressions re- 
fer to people whose reactions are very different from ours.   

     Moderate drinkers have little trouble in giving up liquor
entirely if they have good reason for it.  They can take it or
leave it alone.                                               

     Then we have a certain type of hard drinker.  He may have
             bad                                              
the habit < badly > enough to gradually impair                


 


                                                           21 

him physically and mentally.  It may cause him to die a few   
years before his time.  If a sufficiently strong reason –     
ill health, falling in love, change of environment, or the    
warning of a doctor – becomes operative, this man can also    
stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and       
troublesome and may even need medical attention.              

     But what about the real alcoholic?  He may start off     
as a moderate drinker; he may or may not become a continuous  
hard drinker; but at some stage of his drinking career he     
begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once    
he starts to drink.                                           

     Here is the fellow who has been puzzling you, especially 
in his lack of control.  He does absurd, incredible, tragic   
things while drinking.  He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 
He is seldom mildly intoxicated.  He is always more or less   
insanely drunk.  His disposition while drinking resembles his 
normal nature but little.  He may be one of the finest fellows
in the world.  Yet let him drink for a day, and he frequently 
becomes disgustingly, and even dangerously anti-social.  He   
has a positive genius for getting tight at exactly the wrong  
moment, particularly when some important decision must be made
or engagement kept.  He is often perfectly sensible and well  
balanced concerning everything except liquor, but in that     

respect < he > is incredibly dishonest and selfish.  He often 
possesses special abilities, skills, and aptitudes, and has a 
promising career ahead of him.  He uses his gifts to build up 

a bright outlook for his family and himself, < and > then     
pulls the structure down on his head by a senseless series    
of sprees.  He is the fellow who goes to bed so intoxicated   
he ought to sleep the clock around.  Yet early next           


 


 22                                                           

morning he searches madly for the bottle he misplaced the     
night before.  If he can afford it, he may have liquor        
concealed all over his house to be certain no one gets        
his entire supply away from him to throw down the wastepipe.  
As matters grow worse, he begins to use a combination of      
high-powered sedative and liquor to quiet his nerves so he    
can go to work.  Then comes the day when he simply cannot     
make it and gets drunk all over again.  Perhaps he goes       
                           a dose of                          
to a doctor who gives him <         > morphine or some        
 high-voltage                                                 
<            > sedative with which to taper off.  Then        
he begins to appear at hospitals and sanitariums.             

     This is by no means a comprehensive picture of the       
true alcoholic, as our behavior patterns vary.  But this      
description should identify him roughly.                      

     Why does he behave like this?  If hundreds of experi-    
ences have shown him that one drink means another debacle     
with all its attendant suffering and humiliation, why is it he
takes that one drink?  Why can't he stay on the water wagon?  
What has become of the common sense and will power that he    
still sometimes displays with respect to other matters?       

     Perhaps there never will be a full answer to these       
             Psychiatrists and medical men                    
questions.  <          Opinions           > vary considerably 
 in their opinion                                             
<                > as to why the alcoholic reacts differently 
                        No one is                             
from normal people.  < We are not > sure why, once a certain  
                    nothing                                   
point is reached, < little > can be done for him.  We cannot  
answer the riddle.                                            

     We know that while the alcoholic keeps away from         

drink < , > as he may do for months or years, he reacts       
much like other men.  We are equally positive that once       
he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something      
happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes     
it virtually impossible for him to                            


 


                                                           23 

stop.  The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly        
          that                                                
confirm < this >.                                             

     These observations would be academic and pointless if    

our friend never took the first drink < , > thereby setting   
                                                real          
the terrible cycle in motion.  Therefore, the < main > problem
of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body.
If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances
are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis.  Sometimes 
these excuses have a certain plausibility, but none of them   
          make                                                
really < makes > sense in the light of the havoc an alcoho-   
                                          to you              
lic's drinking bout creates.  They sound <      > like the    
                                                 beat         
philosophy of the man who, having a headache, < beats > him-  
                                           couldn't           
self on the head with a hammer so that he < can't  > feel the 
ache.  If you draw this fallacious reasoning to the attention 
of an alcoholic, he will laugh it off, or become irritated    
and refuse to talk.                                           

                                  you                         
     Once in a while he may tell <   > the truth.  And the    
truth, strange to say, is usually that he has no more idea    
why he took that first drink than you have.  Some drinkers    
have excuses with which they are satisfied part of the time.  
But in their hearts they really do not know why they do it.   
Once this malady has a real hold, they are a baffled lot.     
There is the obsession that somehow, someday, they will beat  
the game.  But they often suspect they are down for the count.

     How true this is, few realize.  In a vague way their     
families and friends sense that these drinkers are abnormal,  
                           waits                              
but everybody hopefully < awaits > the day when the sufferer  
will rouse himself from his lethargy and assert his power of  
will.  The tragic truth is that if the man be a real alco-    
                      will seldom                             
holic, the happy day <  may not  > arrive.  He has lost       


 


 24                                                           

control.  At a certain point in the drinking of every alco-   
holic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire  
to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail.  This tragic      
situation has already arrived in practically every case       
long before it is suspected.                                  

       The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet      
     < The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet >    
  obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.  Our       
< obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.  Our >     
  so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent.       
< so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. >     
 We are unable at certain times, no matter how well we        
<            We are unable, at certain times,           >     
 understand ourselves, to bring into our consciousness        
<            to bring into our consciousness            >     
  with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and       
< with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and >     
  humiliation of even a week or a month ago.  We are          
< humiliation of even a week or a month ago.  We are >        
  without defense against the first drink.                    
< without defense against the first drink. >                  

     The almost certain consequences that follow taking       
even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter      
                                             ,                
us.  If these thoughts occur, they are hazy < > and readily   
supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we     
shall handle ourselves like other people.  There is a complete
failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his
hand on a hot stove.                                          

     The alcoholic may say to himself in the most casual way, 
"It won't burn me this time, so here's how!"  Or perhaps he   
doesn't think at all.  How often have some of us begun to     
drink in this nonchalant way, and after the third or fourth,  
pounded on the bar and said to ourselves, "For God's sake,    
how did I ever get started again?"  Only to have that thought 
supplanted by "Well, I'll stop with the sixth drink."  Or     
"What's the use anyhow?"                                      

     When this sort of thinking is fully established in       
an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably      
                       all                                    
placed himself beyond <   > human aid, and unless locked      
    is certain to       ,                                     
up <     may     > die < > or go permanently insane.          
These stark and ugly facts have been confirmed by             
legions of alcoholics                                         


 


                                                           25 

throughout history.  But for the grace of God, there would    
           one hundred                                        
have been < thousands > more convincing demonstrations.       
                      ,                                       
So many want to stop < > but cannot.                          

       There is a solution.                                   
     < There is a solution. >  Almost none of us liked the    
                      levelling                               
self-searching, the < leveling > of our pride, the confession 
of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful 
consummation.  But we saw that it really worked in others,    
and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futililty  
of life as we had been living it.  When, there- fore, we were 
approached by those in whom the problem had been solved,      
there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit   
of spiritual tools laid at our feet.  We have found much of   
heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of   
           ,                                                  
existence < > of which we had not even dreamed.               

                                                      that    
     The great fact is just this, and nothing less: < That >  
                                                      ,       
we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences < > which

have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward    
             ,                                                
our fellows < > and toward God's universe.  The central fact  
of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator 
has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed
miraculous.  He has commenced to accomplish those things for  
us which we could never do by ourselves.                      

     If you are < as > seriously alcoholic < as we were >,    
             you have                                         
we believe < there is > no middle-of-the-road solution.       
  You are                              is                     
< We were > in a position where life < was > becoming         
                    you have                                  
impossible, and if < we had > passed into the region from     
                                                  you have    
from which there is no return through human aid, < we had >   
                        one is                                
but two alternatives: < One was > to go on to the bitter      
                                        your                  
end blotting out the consciousness of < our > intolerable     
                    you can                          find     
situation as best < we could >; and the other, to < accept >  
 what we have found                                           
<  spiritual help  >.  This                                   


 


 26                                                           

  you can do if you               want               are      
< we did because we > honestly < wanted > to, and < were >    
willing to make the effort.                                   

     A certain American business man had ability, good        
sense, and high character.  For years he had floundered       
from one sanitarium to another.  He had consulted the         
best known American psychiatrists.  Then he had gone to       
Europe, placing himself in the care of a celebrated physician 

< (the psychiatrist, Dr. Jung) > who prescribed for him.      
        bitter                                                
Though <      > experience had made him skeptical, he         
finished his treatment with unusual confidence.  His          
physical and mental condition were unusually good.  Above     
all, he believed he had acquired such a profound knowledge    
                                                          ,   
of the inner workings of his mind and its hidden springs < >  
that relapse was unthinkable.  Nevertheless, he was drunk     
in a short time.  More baffling still, he could give himself  
no satisfactory explanation for his fall.                     

     So he returned to this doctor, whom he admired, and      
asked him point-blank why he could not recover.  He wished    
above all things to regain self-control.  He seemed quite     
rational and well-balanced with respect to other problems.    
Yet he had no control whatever over alcohol.  Why was this?   

     He begged the doctor to tell him the whole truth,        
and he got it.  In the doctor's judgment he was utterly       
hopeless; he could never regain his position in society       
                                                        ,     
and he would  have to place himself under lock and key < >    
or hire a bodyguard if he expected to live long.  That was    
a great physician's opinion.                                  

     But this man still lives, and is a free man.  He         
                           ,                                  
does not need a bodyguard < > nor is he confined.  He can     
go anywhere on this earth where other free men may go         


 


                                                           27 

without disaster, provided he remains willing to maintain     
a certain simple attitude.                                    

     Some of our alcoholic readers may think they can do      
without spiritual help.  Let us tell you the rest of the      
conversation our friend had with his doctor.                  

     The doctor said: "You have the mind of a chronic         
alcoholic.  I have never seen one single case recover,        
where the state of mind existed to the extent that it         
does in you."  Our friend felt as though the gates of         
hell had closed on him with a clang.                          

     He said to the doctor, "Is there no exception?"          

     "Yes," replied the doctor, "there is.  Exceptions to     
cases such as yours have been occurring since early times.    
Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what     
are called vital spiritual experiences.  To me these occur-   
rences are phenomena.  They appear to be in the nature of     
huge emotional displacements and rearrangements.  Ideas,      
emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces    
of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side,      
and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin     
to dominate them.  In fact, I have been trying to produce     
some such emotional rearrangement within you.  With many      
individuals the methods which I employed are successful,      
but I have never been successful with an alcoholic of your    
description."                                                 

     Upon hearing this, our friend was somewhat relieved,     
for he reflected that, after all, he was a good church member.
This hope, however, was destroyed by the doctor's telling him 

that < while > his religious convictions were very good,      
 but that                                                     
<        > in his case they did not spell the necessary       
vital spiritual experience.                                   


 


 28                                                           

     Here was the terrible dilemma in which our friend found  
himself when he had the extraordinary experience, which as we 
have already told you, made him a free man.                   

                                              , will          
     We, in our turn, sought the same escape < with > all the 
desperation of drowning men.  What seemed at first a flimsy   
reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God.   
A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, "a design for 
  living                                                      
< living" > that really works.                                

     The distinguished American psychologist, William James,  
             ,                                                
in his book < > "Varieties of Religious Experience," indicates
                                          found               
a multitude of ways in which men have < discovered > God.     
 As a group, we                                               
<      We      > have no desire to convince anyone that there 
                            God            discovered         
is only one way by which < faith > can be < acquired >.  If   
                      ,            ,            ,             
what we have learned < > and felt < > and seen < > means      

anything at all, it means that all of us, whatever our race,  
                 ,                                            
creed, or color < > are the children of a living Creator with 
whom we may form a relationship upon simple and understandable
terms as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try.     
Those having religious affiliations will find here nothing    
disturbing to their beliefs or ceremonies.  There is no       
friction among us over such matters.                          

                                     , as a group,            
     We think it no concern of ours <             > what      
religious bodies our members identify themselves with as      
individuals.  This should be an entirely personal affair      
which each one decides for himself in the light of past       
   association                                                
< associations >, or his present choice.  Not all of us       
 have joined                                                  
<   join    > religious bodies, but most of us favor such     
memberships.                                                  

     In the following chapter, there appears an explanation   

of alcoholism < , > as we understand it, then a chapter       

addressed to the agnostic.  Many who once were in this        
                                   ; surprisingly             
class are now among our members < .  Surprisingly >           


 


                                                           29 

enough, we find such convictions no great obstacle to a       
spiritual experience.                                         

      There is a group of personal narratives.  Then          
     <                                  Further on, > clear-  
                                      an alcoholic may        
cut directions are given showing how <       we       >       
   recover                             more than a score of   
< recovered >.  These are followed by <    forty-three     >  
personal experiences.                                         

     Each individual, in the personal stories, describes      
                     ,                                        
in his own language < > and from his point of view the way    
           found or rediscovered                              
he < established his relationship with > God.  These give     
a fair cross section of our membership and a clear-cut idea   
of what has actually happened in their lives.                 

     We hope no one will consider these self-revealing        
accounts in bad taste.  Our hope is that many alcoholic       
men and women, desperately in need, will see these pages,     
and we believe that it is only by fully disclosing our-       
selves and our problems that they will be persuaded to        
say, "Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing."     


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