1938 Original Manuscript for 1939 1st Edition BigBook Searchable 1976 3rd Edition BigBook On-Line
The Prescription
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The "ICK" And The "ISM"

Once you take alcohol away from an alcoholic, all that's left is the "ick".

I wanted to be able to have some integrity but I was not who I wanted to be. And this ties back into that seemingly hopeless state of mind and body because what I'm talking about now is discovering some of my own truth.

One of the things that I had to finally discover was I do not have the power to be what it is I'd like to be. No matter how much I might wish to be that way, I don't have the power. And the conflict that arises as a result of having the grandest intentions but not having the power to live up to those intentions creates more discomfort than I can bear. And so the alcoholic has no choice but when you get into that conflict, ultimately you have to drink.

If my life is lived in such a way that I can't stand it and I don't like the truth about who I am, then I have to have some kind of solution for that, and the solution was simply to drink. It was absolutely necessary to take a drink. The alcoholic mind was just a predisposition to drinking. So the insanity was already there. What I want is oblivion. That's where the dis-ease of alcoholism untreated will carry you to. It's not that I don't want to be here, it's that I don't want to be here or anywhere else either. So unless I can experience an entire psychic change, there is little hope that I am ever going to recover. -- Jerry E.

Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help. -- The Big Book, page 62

If you can't handle drinking and you can't handle not drinking, then AA is for you. -- Clancy I.

To recommend just sobriety is just about impossible for an alcoholic. The reason we drink is because we can't stand living sober. It hurts too much - it's too confusing. When I'm filled with self, there's nothing but suffering. -- Don P.

Alcohol-ISM: I, Self, Me // I Sponsor Myself // Internal Spiritual Malady (or Maladjustment)// Incredibly Short Memory // InSide Me // I Sabotage Myself.

I am maladjusted to life, in full flight from reality and an outright mental defective (thanks Dr. Silkworth). That means (drinking or not) -- although I may look like a full grown adult, I remain childish, grandiose and gravely emotionally immature. As a going human concern, my natural state is one of growing anxiety, depression and fear, coupled with an intense desire for excitement. A condition of being which is exacerbated with and complicated by an obsessive, compulsive, impulsive, excessive, controlling, demanding need for attention, acceptance and unqualified approval. A condition of being which renders me restless, irritable and discontented with life.

Mentally, my thought life is controlled by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity; all of which drive me to live my life according to selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, inconsiderate, resentful and frightened motives, motives which left unattended in me arouse and engage dangerous and life threatening levels of lust (I try not to make eye contact). Pride, anger, envy, greed, sloth, gluttony, I turn into a pig, I want it all - that renders me emotionally a bit sensitive. Which means I have a strong tendency toward taking everything I see or hear personally. I don't like criticism and I'll be damned if I can stand praise (I don't believe you). When it comes to suffering emotionally, I don't like to suffer emotionally. I don't suffer well and I don't suffer alone.

Socially, I'm a bankrupt idealist and brooding perfectionist who lives defensively and guarded in fear of being found out. As such, I tend to rationalize, minimize, justify and deny all of my actions while casting blame upon innocent people in a vigorous attempt to avoid attention. When it comes to my fellow man and woman, I demand the absolute possession and control of everybody and every circumstance that enters my arena of life. My response to you is that I am quick to anger, I'm slow to virtue, and I get a distinct and succinct delight and twisted pleasure out of judging and criticizing everybody I see.

My outstanding characteristic is defiance, and rebellion dogs my every step. Now, as a child of God, that is a list of my finer qualities (anybody want a date?). You'll hear this at every meeting you go to, but from newcomers, this is how you hear them: "I don't fit in, I don't belong, I'm not a part of, my God what's wrong with me - I must be different." And the only thing that satisfies that restless, irritable, dissatisfied nature in me is alcohol or drugs. In "A Vision For You" it tells me that there's a sufficient substitute and it is vastly more than that. So I don't have to drink and I don't need to run away anymore. -- Wayne B.

Index of AA History Pages on Barefoot's Domain

As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In AA and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!

ABC Page 60 from the Big Book



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Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and SOBRIETY