Outside help is defined as any assistance or help from a professional outside Alcoholics Anonymous. This can be a physician, psychiatrist, dietician, psychologist, clergyperson, mental help therapist and many more types of professionals. The suggestion to seek outside help is voiced in many places in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The writers realized that some members may need additional help in a specialty setting.
Some members are adamant about persons not seeking help. They share that all the answers to the questions and dilemmas are in the Big Book. They discourage other members from seeking the help they so desperately need. This can be especially confusing for a newcomer who reads in the book that outside help may be necessary, and hearing from some member that it is not necessary. It’s best to talk this over with your sponsor to get clarity on the matter. If your sponsor does not believe in outside help, it may be time to get a new sponsor.
In the chapter entitled “A Vision for You” it states that “we realize that we only know a little.” We can learn from these outside persons things we may not learn from the Big Book or another AA member. One does not have to be an alcoholic to understand spiritual illness. In the case of a person with a dual diagnosis, alcoholism and a mental illness psychotropic medication may be necessary. Some would argue that this would mean that the person was not sober. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Psychotropic medications such as SSRI’S simply help to connect the synapses in our brain. This enables us to think more clearly without our thoughts racing or being all jumbled up. Certainly, before taking any medication the alcoholic should inform the prescriber that they are alcoholic. This way medication can be prescribed that does not interfere with the person’s sobriety.
Medication should be taken as directed and if any potential side effects pop up the prescriber should be notified immediately. This way they can adjust the dosage or change the medication to a more palatable one. Upon starting the psychotropic medication, it can take one to three weeks for an effect to be felt. The person has to persevere in taking the medication until they start feeling the effects from it. The effects happen in a very subtle manner and the person may just find their selves feeling “ok” one day. No bells and whistles with this type of medication. The sufferer’s thoughts start to connect, and the brain activity slows down and does not skip all over the map.
For some people this type of medication is a God send. Lots of alcoholics have a dual diagnosis and could benefit from psychotropic medication. This is just one type of outside help that may be sought by the alcoholic. Other types of help are also readily available.