The Doctor’s Opinion (part 2)

- July 22, 2023

In a letter to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Silkworth went on to explain that “men and women drink because the like the effect produced by alcohol.  The sensation is so elusive that while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false.  To them their alcoholic life seems the only normal one, Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page xxviii.  These allergic types to alcohol cannot just have one drink and be done with it.  The first drink triggers this physical allergy, and the alcoholic is doomed to continued drinking until he runs out of liquor.  

They are restless and irritated when not drinking.  Only that first drink can set the ball rolling and find for them the sense of ease and comfort that comes with taking a few drinks.  They observe normal drinkers enjoying themselves while drinking but limiting their intake of alcohol.  The normal drinker may say that they are getting tipsy and stop drinking.  We alcoholics usually drink to get tipsy follower by a black out where we don’t remember what we said or did.  Some alcoholics mix pain medication with their alcohol.  This could prove to be a deadly combination of drugs and alcohol.  One of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous did just this.  He is lucky he didn’t mis-judge the quantity of drugs and alcohol that he was taking and end up dead.

Once having taken the first drink the alcoholic will experience the phenomenon of craving and continue to drink.  They are drinking due to a physical compulsion that does not allow them to stop drinking.  Unless this person can experience an entire psychic change, they will be doomed to drink themselves to death.  

The Six Step program eventually became the 12 Step program when the alcoholics left the Oxford Group. The fellowship was growing and one night each week was set aside for a member to bring a prospective member to see the program in action.  Many a new person made their surrender that night and went on to work the program and to apply it in their lives.  These people remained sober.  Members helped one another with securing jobs, a place to stay and a small loan if so warranted.  Likewise, these newcomers when they had recovered would bring in potential members and share their story with them.  

Dr. Silkworth identified the problem, the physical allergy.  The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung came up with the solution, a vital spiritual experience.  And Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson managed to put it all together into a workable program.  Due to this course of events, we now have over two million people sober worldwide through the application of the 12 Steps.  We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Dr. Silkworth for not giving upon us.  

Written by Phillip