Listen to Chris Raymer, a recovered alcoholic addict from Texas, talk about the Big Book of A.A. definition of a “real” alcoholic addict.
Take this self-assessment test and determine what type of drinker, user, or obsessive-complusive you might be. If the question does not apply to you – leave it blank. These behavioural characteristics can be found on (page: xxviii, 20-22, 24, 30, 43, 44 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, 2001)
Men and women drink (use or act-out) essentially because they like the effect (body allergy) produced by alcohol (drugs, obsessive-compulsive acts). Is this your experience – yes-no?
The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious (yes-no?), they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false.
To them, their alcoholic (addict) life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented (bored, depressed, anxious), unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort (body allergy) which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks (drugs, acts) which they see others taking (doing) with impunity.
After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do (Is this your experience – yes-no?), and the phenomenon of craving (body allergy) develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink (use or act-out) again. Is this your experience – yes-no?
This is repeated over and over. Is this your experience – yes-no?
…and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of their recovery.
Analogy: 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. So we look for some kind of power to keep us afloat. We notice there are “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 we can only hold on for maybe a day, a week, a month, a year, maybe longer, but at some point, the logs fails us as a power and we slip and drown.
“Logs” are best described as “easier softer ways,” “middle of the road solutions,” half measures” and “human aids.”
|My Log List: STEP ONE (PART ONE) Admitting powerlessness: Check those strategies that failed to keep you permanently abstinent.||My Loser List: STEP ONE (PART TWO) Admitting life is unmanageable. Check what you’ve lost as a result of your inability to stay stopped.|
| will power
resolutions, oaths, promises, contracts
controlled using, drinking
harm reduction, substitution strategies
ill health, sickness
ominous warnings from a doctor, judge, lawyer, employer
change of environment, trigger lists, avoiding people, places, things
counselling, therapy, group therapy
detox, treatment centres, spas, spiritual retreats
war stories, fear, horror
relationships, friends, spouse, children, family, sex, pregnancy
getting a pet (dog, cat)
church, prayer (faith without works)
having a sponsor
going to meetings, 90 meetings in 90 days, “meeting makers make it”
yesterday’s spiritual experience
self-help books, personal development courses
“Big Book” reading / studying
intelligence / education
frothy emotional appeals, interventions, threats, ultimatums
positive thinking, affirmations, self-talk
poetry: “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow,” “The Man In the Glass”
guilt, shame, remorse
good days/bad days
money / no money
memory strategies “remember when,” “think, think, think,” “play the tape all the way through”
good reasons to stop, sufficiently strong reasons to stop, consequences
moral & philosophical convictions, reputation, behavioural modification
suffering, humiliation, pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization
exercise, holistic medicine, acupuncture, hypnotism, healthy diet, vitamins, fasts, cleansings
home / residence
careers, jobs, employment
licence (vehicle, professional)
quality of life
respect from others
responsibility for myself
reponsibility to others
volition & agency
spirituality / God
peace of mind
If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely (Do you honestly want to stop drinking, using or acting out – yes-no? and, based on your log list, have you been able to stay stopped – yes-no?), or if when drinking (using or acting out), you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic (addict). (Do you exhibit little control, when drinking, using or acting out – yes-no?) If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. (AA p. 44)