A Spiritual Disease
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A Spiritual Disease
It is not a stretch to say that each person in the United States knows someone who is addicted to one substance or another be it drugs, food, or alcohol. A common misperception is that these addictions are related to body image. A woman dying from anorexia is not starving herself because she thinks she is fat. She feels so out of control in her life that the only area she can control is what she puts in her mouth and thus becomes obsessed. She gains a sense power by overcoming her bodys basic needs for survival and measures her level of success based on her level of thinness. If she were to become thin enough, she would no longer need to control her food intake and would lose her only source of power, therefore she must always believe she is too fat. This is not an issue of body image. This is a spiritual affliction. Like eating disorders, alcoholism is not an issue of body image. Instead, it is a spiritual disease. According to The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, “the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, not his body” (A.A.,23). Therefore it is not a physical disease.

Alcoholism is not discriminating. According to Alcoholics Anonymous (hereafter referred to as A.A.), it afflicts men and women of all age groups in all races despite a persons socioeconomic level. It is a disease that destroys everyone and everything in its path, including those in the life of the alcoholic. Wives become bitterly resentful after dozens of broken promises while the children become fearful and lose any sense of security. Friends look upon the alcoholic with disgust and jobs are lost while the alcoholic swallows the familys nest egg with bottle after bottle of whiskey (A.A.17-18).

For unknown reasons, an alcoholic eventually loses all self control over drinking, and frequently cannot remember the pain and suffering he caused his family last night, last week or last year. According to Joan Pores, an alcoholic will stop at nothing to have her fix, even if it means destroying her family, she forgets about consequences by locking any thoughts about them away in a dark corner of her mind. She drinks and assures herself, this time will be different. “This time I am in control.”

Tens of thousands of alcoholics have confirmed that once an alcoholic holds thoughts such as “I will stop after two drinks” or “how did this happen again? Ah well, might as well finish what I started. I will quit tomorrow” or “This time is different,” they are beyond all human help and will end up dead or insane.

Most alcoholics obsess that one day they can drink like normal people and enjoy it. They are like an adult who has stubbed his toe on the curb and continues to kick the curb to make the pain go away (A.A.23). When asked why they drink in the light of this destruction, they give any number of excuses, none of which are rational. The fact is, they do not know why they drink. Often they decide that this is their last day of drinking and vow to quit the following morning which justifies in their minds drinking three bottles of Merlot instead of two. It is their last binge and they may as well enjoy it. Unfortunately an alcoholics ability to abstain from alcohol is nonexistent, although he is frequently quite disciplined in other areas of his life according to A.A. Thus he fails each time a vow is made to quit (A.A.7). Sure, he may stay clean and sober for a few days, a couple weeks, or even months, but sooner or later he is back at the bottle.

One alcoholic shared in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that after he had been clean for a few months he stopped to have lunch a bar with no intention to drink. “Suddenly the thought crossed my mind that if I were to put an ounce of whiskey in my milk it couldnt hurt me on a full stomach.” He had one cup of milk with whiskey which led to another and another and another until he was drunk. He truly believed that having whiskey in a cup of milk would keep him from the devastating effects of alcohol. This is insanity at work. Reasoning with alcoholics is not enough to stop them. They will drink again and after their next drinking spree, they will be puzzled as to why they drank after they had vowed to quit.

Sometimes alcoholics get drunk on purpose and justify it with feelings of anger such as “I drank because my boyfriend dumped me.” The next day they still feel justified and still never think of the consequences (A.A.36-37). An alcoholic is like a jay-walker who craves jay-walking and continues to do it after being hit by a car three times. Each time he says he has had enough, but cannot overcome the urge when he sees a street until one day he is hit and killed (A.A.38). According to Dr. Silkworth in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, people continue to drink because they like the effect of the alcohol, even if it leaves their life in a pile of ashes (A.A.xxvi).

Alcoholics respond in one of two extreme ways when confronted about their behavior. They become enraged and storm off or they make a joke about it (A.A.23). Physicians familiar with this disease agree “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” (A.A.31-33).

Alcoholics are beyond all human help and will end up dead or insane if they continue to drink. They can never take a sip of alcohol, even after twenty years of sobriety for to be healed of this spiritual disease demands abstinence for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately for the alcoholic, there is no middle path down which they can walk (A.A.24-25).

Dr. Silkworth, a doctor who specialized in treating alcoholics for several years, dealt with many who, despite his best efforts, could not recover. He compares alcoholism to an allergy in the section titled “The Doctors Opinion” in the The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. He says many people can drink safely and then there are those for whom it causes an uncontrollable itch to drink. It takes only a few drinks to establish a habit in these unfortunate folks that turns into an obsession that destroys their lives utterly and from which they cannot escape. Appealing with emotion to an active alcoholic can only end in failure. To heal, an alcoholic must believe in a power greater than himself which can heal him and his life. Without a complete transformation of mind, body and soul, the alcoholic has very little, if any, hope of recovering from this

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Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous And Main Problem Of The Alcoholic Centers. (April 6, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/big-book-of-alcoholics-anonymous-and-main-problem-of-the-alcoholic-centers-essay/