Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Mental states preceding ...

The Big Book, on page 35, says:

'So we shall describe some of the mental states that precede a relapse into drinking, for obviously this is the crux of the problem.'

The states are:

  • A peculiar mental twist (page 33, cf. Jim, falsely believing that milk combined with whiskey renders the whiskey safe)
  • A strange mental blank spot (page 42, cf. Fred, truthfully anticipating that two cocktails with dinner would be nice but failing to anticipate further consequences)
  • Beginning to drink deliberately not casually (page 37)
  • Little serious or effective thought (page 37)
  • Not thinking at all (page 24)
  • Two trains of thought running in parallel (page 37)
It turns out that the mental states preceding the first drink include: thinking, not thinking, thinking one thing at a time, thinking more than one thing at a time, thinking false things, and thinking true things. In other words, there is no single mental state preceding a relapse into drinking, and none of these constitutes a defence against drinking or even necessarily heralds a relapse.

The solution offered by AA is not therefore to straighten out our thinking (although that will happen) but to rely on God, which makes thinking secondary as a source of decision-making. What is primary? Direction from God as corroborated by sensible others.

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