Addicts are like drowning men and women. If we don’t find some way of keeping our heads above water, we are going to drown and die. So we look for some kind of power to keep us afloat. We notice some logs floating on the surface. These logs look like they’re capable of keeping our heads above water, but when we reach for one of these logs we find that they are wet and slippery and we can only hold on for maybe a day, a week, a month, a year, 5 years, 10 years, but at some point we slip and start drowning again.
We, in our turn, sought the same escape with all the desperation of drowning men. AA, pg. 28
Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics (addicts). No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking (using) careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink (use) like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking (using) is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker (user). The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. A.A. pg 30
The analogy of “logs” to illustrate the many countless vain attempts that thousands of alcoholics and addicts have tried to prove that somehow, someday, we will control and enjoy our drinking, using or acting-out behaviours like ordinary people has proven useful when speaking to suffering addicts in detox, treatment centers, and meetings.
Here is a list of “logs” tested by the experience of thousands of chronic relapsers who have tried them and failed at finding the necessary power to keep sober, clean and free from all addictive, obsessive/compulsive behaviours. Anyone could increase the list.
- Frothy emotional appeals seldom suffice. (interventions, nice guy/bad guy tactics, reading poetry i.e. “The Man in the Glass”, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow) A.A. pg xxviii
- Fear (war stories, drunk/drug-a-logs, warning of a doctor) sobered me for a bit A.A. pg 8
- . . .if a doctor is honest with himself he must sometimes feel his own inadequacy. . .something more than human power is needed A.A. pg xxix
- . . .felt his only hope would be through what we then called moral psychology (discussion groups) and we doubted if even that would have any effect A.A. pg xxxi
- Why don’t you try beer and wine (substitution)? Lay off the hard stuff A.A. pg 20
- I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots A.A. pg 42
- Drink like a gentlemen (controlled drinking) or quit A.A. pg 20
- I should think he’d stop for her sake (falling in love) A.A. pg 20
- It would all end with heart failure during delirium tremens or I would develop a wet brain, perhaps within a year (ill health, warning of a doctor) A.A. pg 7
- We are unable at certain times to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of suffering and humiliation (Consequences” i.e. “Remember when”, “Think, think, think through the drink!”, “Play the tape all the way through.”) of even a week or month ago. A.A. pg 24
- . . .he believed he had acquired such a profound knowledge of the inner workings of his mind (self-knowledge, intelligence) and its hidden springs that relapse was unthinkable. Nevertheless, he was drunk in a short time. A.A. pg 26
- It was the end of a perfect day (good times), not a cloud on the horizon A.A. pg. 41
- Some will be drunk the day after making their resolutions (oaths, commitments, promises, etc.), most of them within a few weeks. A.A. pg 34
- I (Dr. Jung) (psychiatrists,therapists, doctors) have never been successful with an alcoholic of your description. A.A. pg 27
- . . .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 (religious belief), in his case they did not spell the necessary vital spiritual experience. A.A. pg.27
- The physician (Dr. Bob) had repeatedly tried spiritual means (prayer and church) to resolve his alcoholic dilemma but had failed. A.A. pg xvi
- . . .he remained bone dry for 25 years. . .Then he fell victim to a belief which practically every alcoholic (addict) has–that after long period of sobriety (time, medallions, chips, sobriety birthdays) and self-discipline had qualified him to drink as other men. . .in two months he was in a hospital. . .and was dead within four years. A.A. pg. 32-33
- Here are some of the methods we have tried: Drinking beer (substitution) only, limiting the number of drinks (amount of drugs), never drinking (using) alone, never drinking (using) in the morning, drinking only at home, never having it in the house, never drinking (using) during business hours, drinking only at parties (controlled use), switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only natural wines (substitution), agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job (reputation), taking a trip, not taking a trip (change of environment, geographical cure), swearing off forever (oaths and resolutions), taking more physical exercise, reading inspirational books, going to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums (detox and treatment centres) A.A. pg 31
- He knew he faced another trip to the asylum if he kept on. Moreover, he would lose his family for whom he had deep affection. Yet he was drunk (high) again (consequences, good reasons to quit). A.A. pg 35-36
- Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check. (Just think through the drink) A.A. pg 37
- Meeting Slogans: “Keep coming back” (Just don’t drink and go to meetings) i.e. 90 meetings in 90 days
- In our belief any scheme of combating alcoholism (addiction) which proposes to shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure. If the alcoholic tries to shield himself he may succeed for a time, but usually winds up with a bigger explosion than ever. We have tried these methods (Trigger lists, avoidance of people, places and things). These attempts to do the impossible have always failed. A.A. pg 101
- Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense (friends, family members, sponsors, fellowship, doctors, counselors, priests, etc. are all logs). A.A. pg 43
Lack of power, that was our dilemma. we had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power? A.A. pg. 45
Faced with alcoholic (addictive) destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as we had tried to be on other questions. In this respect alcohol (drugs) was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one else will prejudiced for as long as some of us were. A.A. pg 48
There is a Solution – a way out!
…we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house. A.A. pg 98
…our personal adventure before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
- That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
- That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
- That God could and would if He were sought. A.A. pg 60
We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself? As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built. A.A. pg 47
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” that really works. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, a design for living tht really works. AA, pg. 28
Thus was our friend’s cornerstone fixed in place. No later vicissitude has shaken it. His alcoholic problem was taken away. That very night, years ago, it disappeared. Save for a few brief moments of temptation the though of drink has never returned; and at such times a great revulsion has risen up in him. Seemingly he could not drink (use) even if he would. God had restored his sanity.
What is this but a miracle of healing? Yet its elements are simple. Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker then he knew.
Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden. Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.
When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us! A.A. pg 57
What recovery “logs” have you tried but they failed to have the necessary power to recover?