In the chapter “More About Alcoholism” in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous we read that “science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn’t done so yet.” This is in reference to solving the problem of alcoholism. There have been all types of scientific studies and trials attempting to alleviate the use of alcohol in individuals. None of them have succeeded. Certainly, the newer drugs such as Vivitrol which are used to reduce the cravings work for some individuals. For others they do not work. Alcoholism remains a riddle to psychology.
The reason science cannot solve this problem is that alcoholism is not a scientific problem. One cannot apply a solution to something unless it is the proper solution. Alcoholism is a spiritual malady with a physical allergy, coupled with an obsession of the mind. The Big Book also states that once the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. So, the proper treatment lies in the spiritual realm.
The most effective treatment for the disease of alcoholism is the 12 Steps. By complete and total abstinence from all mind-altering chemicals we are not tempted to use them. If the allergy is not triggered by ingesting some illicit substance, we are not forced by our bodies to use. The main problem centers in the mind and this is how the 12 Steps treat the disease.
We have an obsession of the mind which can overcome all ideas to the contrary. When this obsession is active and in control, we have no choice but to use. This triggers the allergy, and we are off on another spree. Once the allergy is triggered, we have no choice once again but to use alcohol or drugs. The 12 Steps however can alleviate this obsession and give us the tools we need to stay sober. By realizing that our behavior when it comes to drugs and alcohol has been insane we are able to continue on in the steps to reach the solution.
Step 3 has us to “turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understand him.” This propels us into the spiritual realm which is where our solution lies. There are many tools mentioned in the Big Book to help us navigate life situations without chemical reinforcements. We can say the Serenity Prayer or any of the other prayers mentioned in the Book. We can meditate. We can call another sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous on the phone. We can work with others. The Big Book states that when all else fails working with others will help us through this rough patch. Once we have taken all 12 Steps and incorporated them into our lives, we are safe and protected from drinking and using. The Big Book states that this result just comes over us; we have neither swore off or gone on the wagon. If you are struggling with staying sober, I suggest that you get a sponsor and take all 12 Steps. It works as thousands of sober alcoholics can attest to.