Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Chapter 2—Considerations—SA-adjusted version

Say this prayer (or something that expresses the same idea, if you don't believe in God—perhaps resolve to be open-minded):

"God, I hereby renounce all preconceived opinions; please set aside for me my present habits of thought and my present views and prejudices; please jettison anything and everything that can stand in the way of my finding the truth; remove my fear of public opinion and of the disapproval of relatives or friends; help me see that my most cherished beliefs may be mistaken and that my ideas and views of life may be false and in need of recasting. Let me start again at the very beginning and learn life anew."

Before you begin, make a list of the types of sexual behaviour that are causing a problem because you are engaging in them excessively or at all, despite negative consequences:
  • Fantasy
  • Flirting or hunting for sex
  • Use of dating/hook-up apps
  • Masturbation
  • Porn
  • Fetishes
  • Predatory or pressurising behaviour
  • Sex with negative consequences
  • Other: ___________
We’re going to call this ‘acting out’.
You will have to substitute ‘acting out’ for drinking when reading the passages in the Big Book.


An illness of this sort—and we have come to believe it an illness—involves those around 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 not 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 any one can increase the list. (18:1)

What worthwhile things did acting out annihilate (= reduce to nothing)?
What calamities did it bring?
This is your good/strong reason for stopping.

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. (20:5)
Then we have a certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to gradually impair 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. (20:6)

Has your good/strong reason enabled you to stop or moderate?

If not, you're not a moderate/hard ‘actor out’.

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. (21:1)

Have you begun to lose all control of your behaviour once you start to act out?
How many years ago was that?
This is how long you have been a real addict.

Now, 21:2–22:0—the Twelve Features of the real alcoholic:

(1) Here is the fellow who has been puzzling you, especially in his lack of control.
(2) He does absurd, incredible, tragic things while drinking.
(3) He is a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. [Is it like you have two personalities: the acting-out personality and the healthy personality?]
(4) He is seldom mildly intoxicated. He is always more or less insanely drunk. [This means that when you are acting out you are fully engaged in acting out and all other thoughts are driven from your mind.]
(5) 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.
(6) He has a positive genius for getting tight at exactly the wrong moment, particularly when some important decision must be made or engagement kept.
(7) He is often perfectly sensible and well balanced concerning everything except liquor, but in that respect he is incredibly dishonest and selfish.
(8) 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.
(9) He is the fellow who goes to bed so intoxicated he ought to sleep the clock around. Yet early next morning he searches madly for the bottle he misplaced the night before. [Do you resume acting out even after a terrible day or night of acting out, when you really ought to rest or attend to the rest of your life?]
(10) 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. [Do you make efforts to ensure that you have opportunity to act out?]
(11) 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. [Do you try to cope by limiting yourself just to certain forms of acting out, only then to give in and return to full-blown acting out?]
(12) Perhaps he goes to a doctor who gives him morphine or some sedative with which to taper off. Then he begins to appear at hospitals and sanatoriums. [Do you ever use chemicals to stop yourself acting out? Have you ever been in treatment?]

How many of these do you identify with? How?

NB if you identify with any of these twelve on any level, you are probably a real addict. Non-addicts identify with none of these.

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 stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this. (22:4)

In your experience, when you start, can you stop?

These observations would be academic and pointless if our friend never took the first drink, thereby setting the terrible cycle in motion. Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centres 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 really make sense in light of the havoc an alcoholic's drinking bout creates. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself 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. (23:1)
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. (23:2)

Make a list of feelings you acted out to escape (e.g. loneliness, depression, anxiety).

Did acting out, over time, make these better or worse?
Did you act out when you weren't lonely, depressed, or anxious, etc.?
Does your acting out—in the light of this—really make sense?

The tragic truth is that if the man be a real alcoholic, the happy day may not arrive. He has lost control. At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is absolutely of no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected. (23:4)

When you really want to stop, do you stay stopped? Do you realise that 'wanting' is not enough?

The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defence against the first drink. (24:1)

Is this you?

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 defence that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove. (24:2)

Is this you?

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 anyway?" (24:3)

Is this you?

When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond human aid, and unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane. These stark and ugly facts have been confirmed by legions of alcoholics throughout history. But for the grace of God, there would have been thousands more convincing demonstrations. So many want to stop but cannot. (24:3)

If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return from human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help. This we did because we honestly wanted to, and were willing to make the effort. (25:3)

Do you want to accept spiritual help?

Read Rowland Hazard's story on 26:1–28:1.

Psychotherapy plus religion failed for this addict, in the opinion of Dr Carl Jung. Has either of these failed for you, separately or in combination?

Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me, these occurrences 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. (27:4)

Can you make this happen yourself, or do you need to be shown how to bring this about?

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 ourselves and our problems that they will be persuaded to say, "Yes, I am one of them too; I must have this thing." (29:3)

Are you one of us?
Must you have this thing?

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