Saturday, March 28, 2009

Alcoholism Is A Disease

We can feel resistant to this fact, because we have so much accumulated anger, and resentments, old and new, all seething and bubbling within. I know I felt aggrieved at the suggestion that my alcoholics were suffering from a disease, because it felt like that "let them off the hook" for all their ghastly behavior.
Then I came across this line in the ODAT, page 58:

"When I ask: "Why does he drink when he knows it damages him and his family?" I really mean: "How can he justify what he is doing?" implying a condemnation I have no right to make.

Ouch. That was one of those stickleburr thoughts from program, it glued itself into my brain, and just couldn't be pulled free. I'd catch myself thinking along my usual condemnatory lines, and into my head would pop that line from the book again. I felt quite annoyed, as it made it impossible for me to feel the same self-righteous indignation and contempt, which had previously bolstered my arguments against the alcoholics.

I justified my own unacceptable behavior by pointing to theirs.

When I surrendered to the truth that they were suffering from an addiction that they had no more control over, than I did with cigarettes, I began to feel compassion. That was very painful. My sponsor, who also smoked, asked me once how I felt when someone, anyone, suggested I needed to quit smoking. I replied that I was immediately overwhelmed with a (sulkily) powerful desire for a cigarette.

She asked, could it then be possible that my extensive sermons upon why the alcoholic should quit drinking, inspired the same result? So wasn't I then, actually achieving the opposite of what I'd intended with my preaching? If all my yarping just made them want to drink, what was the point?

I felt irritated with her for that observation, but the next time I was moved to begin my usual rant, I thought of her comment, and stopped, because really, what was the point? We were well aware of all that I was about to say, I'd said it so many times already; they could most likely recite it along with me, word-for-word. I stopped, sighed, smiled, and said nothing.

In such small increments, do we learn to work our program.

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