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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Do Not Simply "Think! Think! Think!"

After the description of the "real alcoholic" in the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous, we read that, "the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind rather than in his body."

Is this true? One way of diagnosing the reality of this statement is to take "The Johns Hopkins Twenty Questions: Are You An Alcoholic?" test that was developed in the 1930s by Dr. Robert Seliger, a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and substituting the word "thinking" for the word "drinking." (The "Twenty Questions" are often found at AA meetings in pamphlet form, published and distributed by various Intergroup and Local Committees.)

Ready? Don't think too hard about it!

Here goes:
1. Do you lose time from work due to your thinking?
2. Is thinking making your home life unhappy?
3. Do you think because you are shy with other people?
4. Is thinking affecting your reputation?
5. Have you ever felt remorse after thinking?
6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your thinking?
7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when thinking?
8. Does your thinking make you careless of your family's welfare?
9. Has your ambition decreased since thinking?
10. Do you crave a think at a definite time daily?
11. Do you want to think the next morning?
12. Does thinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
13. Has your efficiency decreased since thinking?
14. Is thinking jeopardizing your job or business?
15. Do you think to escape from worries or troubles?
16. Do you think alone?
17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your thinking?
18. Has your physician ever treated you for thinking?
19. Do you think to build up your self-confidence?
20. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of thinking?
  • If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may have an alcoholic mind.
  • If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you have an alcoholic mind. 
  • If you have answered YES to three or more, you definitely have an alcoholic mind. 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

If your answers are in any way similar to mine, you have likely proved to yourself that you have an alcoholic mind. This need be neither alarming nor disheartening, because as you go through the 'Big Book' you will repeatedly see that various manifestations of "self" (i.e., the human ego) are the "basic root of our troubles." ('Big Book,' page 62.)

Moreover, you will find that there is an inner spiritual solution to the basic mental problem of the seemingly ever-present and  insipid "self" consciousness and the destructive drinking that ensues from it. You will find that there is also within you, a higher level of consciousness that is the essence of a Power greater than your "self" that will enable you not only to stop drinking, but to lead a happy and productive life, whatever life circumstances are presented to you.

In the "Spiritual Appendix" to the 'Big Book' (Appendix Two), which was included in the 2nd Edition of the 'Big Book' when there were approximately 150,000 members of Alcoholics Anonymous you will read that: "With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves."

"Most of us," it continues, "think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it God-consciousness."

Our problem - the human ego and its egoic self-consciousness - is a common human dilemma, which the alcoholic addict tries to snuff out by drinking, unlike the non-alcoholic who copes as best he or she can with the suffering caused by the ego. When alcohol (and/or drugs) fails to squelch the punishing inner dialogue of thought, the alcoholic addict has neither a choice in drinking and/or drugging, nor a solution for the suffering caused by his or her thinking. It is then, if he or she is willing to admit to their "innermost self" powerlessness over booze (and/or drugs) and the inability to "manage" life in order to continue, that recovery from alcoholic addiction becomes possible. He or she is then ready to begin the inner journey to a consciousness of Wholeness that will expel the mental obsession to continue drinking and/or using.

Through the process of examining one's "self" (i.e., learning to become conscious of one's egoic self-conscious thinking), practicing meditation and utilizing prayer to expand the depth of one's consciousness and being, one becomes aware of a higher level of consciousness that is available beyond the ordinary arena of one's compulsive and obsessive stream of thought. Think - or, rather, don't think - about that possibility! And do not, simply "Think! Think! Think!"

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