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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Doctor's Opinion

Not that Doctor. I'm not that big of a nerd. My sponsor and I read "The Doctor's Opinion" from the Big Book after the meeting... I picked up my chip tonight (as seen on the right). We had an awesome topic too. Honesty. Now I'll discuss what I got from our reading after I share with you what I shared this evening at the group.

I hadn't even planned on speaking tonight, but I was getting too many "Oh Yeah..." moments from listening to the others. There was a lot of laughter from hearing some the misadventures such as when someone got a flat and changed the wrong tire. Mine was when my friend and I frequented a karaoke bar in Anchorage. We always had some kind of plan for picking up the ladies. One night I leaned in and told him that we were using our Scottish accents tonight.... because what woman doesn't go crazy for a bad, obviously fake accent. And my friend is Polynesian. It was butt-headed unrealistic thinking. Things got more serious when I moved on to the days when I would seclude myself and not want to see anyone. I built, as I call them, alternate realities. Layers of lies that I even believed myself. And maintaining these fake realities, building upon them was a full-time job and became exhausting. Inevitably, the walls would come crashing down around me and damage the ones I love most. I shared how I had found a new honesty by opening up to recovery and writing on these very pages. You, dear reader, are one of the reasons I was able to pick up that chip tonight. Thank you again.

Here's an excerpt from The Big Book that I wanted to post. From The Doctor's Opinion in the front. I've linked them in case anyone is interested. Here goes.

"If any feel that as psychiatrists directing a hospital for alcoholics we appear somewhat sentimental, let them stand with us a while on the firing line, see the tragedies, the despairing wives, the little children; let the solving of these problems become a part of their daily work, and even of their sleeping moments, and the most cynical will not wonder that we have accepted and encouraged this movement. We feel, after many years of experience, that we have found nothing which has contributed more to the rehabilitation of these men than the altruistic movement now growing up among them.

Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.

On the other hand—and strange as this may seem to those who do not understand—once a psychic change has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules."

I believe the psychic change he speaks of comes after the moment of clarity. When the realization comes upon one that he or she cannot continue without destroying his or herself and the ones they hold dear. When their eyes are finally open to the damage they've caused and are genuinely remorseful. This is when I opened up and decided to work my recovery. I have become more honest with myself and everyone around me. I heard someone say earlier that it was nice being able to tell the truth without hurting people.

It's a wonderful feeling to finally be free of the chains of alcoholism. One day at a time.


  1. Angela Melton MasseyOctober 18, 2011 at 11:52 PM


    Your words touch my heart. I never knew these things about you... but I am so glad you are sharing and helping to heal yourself. I can't say that I understand what you are going through, having never been there, but my daughter... she has some of these issues along with other challenges... I hope she will want to help herself some day.

    Love ya!

  2. Thank you Angela. That means a lot. Yep. We alcoholics are masters at hiding our problems. At least for a while. I hope nothing but the best for your daughter. All it takes is asking the right person for help.