Four Horsemen

- February 23, 2023

The terrible Four Horsemen are found on page 151 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  We will discuss each one separately in this BLOG.


Do you ever wake up wondering how you acted as you don’t remember because you were in a blackout?  You can’t remember what you said or did.  Maybe you drove while drunk.  Maybe you made a pass at your boss’s spouse.  Maybe you took off your clothes and jumped into a swimming pool.  You desperately fear that you acted inappropriately but can’t remember what you did.  This can bring on strong feelings of terror as a result of drinking.  And no amount of subsequent alcohol can alleviate these terror filled feelings.  


We see normal drinkers drinking and having a good time.  We are bewildered too by the fact that we can’t do the same.  We often wonder why we can’t control our drinking.  But when the phenomena of craving kicks in we are down for the count.  It just totally baffles us that we can’t drink like a normal person.  Early in our drinking career it was a pleasure to drink.  We were able to socialize better.  We had great conversations with others and remembered them the next day.  But as out disease progressed we lost all pleasure in drinking. We were now drinking to satisfy an urge that we could not stop no matter what we did.  The only thing that could stop us was to finally pass out after a binge.    


We eventually become very frustrated when we finally realize that we cannot control our drinking.  We want to drink and recapture those good feelings we had in our early stages of alcoholism.  We rack our brains now the morning after a binge to try and piece together what we said or did the previous night.  Reality evades us and we cannot conjure up what the night before looked like no matter how hard we tried do this.  Our frustrations mount as others tell us of our mis-adventures of a drinking spree.  We are also very embarrassed but tried to act like it was all just a big joke.  Deep down inside of is we knew this was no joke.  We were out of control and became very frustrated at our inability to drink like a normal drinker.  


Finally, we were in a state of despair.  We tried to drink more and more in order to drown out the terrible feelings we were experiencing.  This became a cat and mouse game for us.  We may reach a point where we do not try to control our drinking.  We just try and control our behavior when drinking around others so as to protect our right to drink.  Eventually we isolate ourselves when drinking as we know how it is going to end up.  We just wish we could find the feelings we had at the beginning of our drinking career.

Possibly at the point of despair we may seek help for our drinking.  It usually takes quite a lot of the Four Horsemen for us to contemplate the fact that we need to stop drinking.  We may be black-out drinkers for years before we attempt to stop drinking and using.  But hopefully we can recover and become sober for the rest of our lives.


Written by Phillip