The Alcoholic and Feelings of Inferiority

“Just 10 years ago my own mother, after years of bewilderment, lost hope. Long a chronic problem drinker, I had come to the jumping-off place. A very good doctor had pronounced the grim sentence; “obsessive drinker, deteriorating rapidly – hopeless. “The doctor used to talk about my case somewhat like this: “yes, Bill has underlying personality defects…great emotional sensitivity, childishness, and inferiority.”  This very real feeling of inferiority is magnified by his childish sensitivity and it is this state of affairs which generate in him that insatiable, abnormal craving for self – approval and success in the eyes of the world. Still a child he cries for the moon….discovering alcohol, he found much more in it than normal folks. To him alcohol is no mere relaxation; it means release-release from inner conflict….As one who knows me a little, you may have heard how, ten years ago, a friend, himself a liberated alcoholic, came to me bearing the light which finally let me out of the toils. There will come a day like that for you and yours.” – Pg.101-102 from The Language of the Heart


If you have battled alcoholism then you can probably relate to the above writing. Most of us do indeed experience the childishness, sensitivity, inferiority, and we definitely can identify with finding much more in alcohol than others do. It is a release for us. With that being said prior to receiving alcohol addiction help booze was also our prison. We could not stop ourselves. As you can tell Bill W. struggled with this disease, and felt just as hopeless as we do before getting sober. Just like bill we can recover too. With the help of a drug addiction detox, AA, and/or a 30 day rehab program we all have the opportunity to be released from our toils. We can overcome this disease and go on to live the kind of happy, joyous, and free life we were meant to.

The Importance of Safe Detox

“Despite the general effectiveness of the AA program, we often need the help of friendly agencies outside of AA. Nowhere is this more strikingly true than in the field of hospitalization. Most of us feel that ready access to hospitals and other places of rest and recuperation borders on absolute necessity. While many an alcoholic has somehow gotten over his bender without medical aid, and while a few of us old the view that the hard “cold turkey “ method is the best, the vast majority of AAs believe the newcomer whose case is at all serious has a much better chance of making the grade if well hospitalized at the outset. Indeed, we see many cases where recoveries without medical help would seem virtually impossible, mentally so beclouded have they become, even when temporarily sober. The primary purpose of hospitalization is not to save our prospect the pain of getting sober; its real purpose is to place him in the state of greatest possible receptivity to our AA program. Medical treatment clears his brain, takes away his jitters, and if it is done at a hospital he is kept there under control so that everybody knows just where and when he can be visited. Moreover the atmosphere of most hospitals is extremely conducive to a good first presentation of AA.” –pg.51 from The Language of the Heart

Back when this was written in 1947 they didn’t really have 30 day rehab programs, sober livings, or drug addiction detoxes available like they do now. If you were in need of that kind of alcohol addiction help then you usually wound up in the hospital being detoxed. It was a time when bringing booze to a 12 step call was not unheard of, and the options were limited. Perhaps it was due to lack of information about this disease. Looking back through articles such as this one written in the language of the heart it is easy to see not only how much we have grown, how far we have come, or how much more information is available to us these days but mainly its clear as day that we are truly blessed and have so many more options available to us. Today we don’t have just AA, church, or hospitalization to choose from. There are many other programs out there and we all have a fighting chance to stay sober and live a happy and healthy life.

Alcoholism, Addiction, and Getting Help

“We are told there are 4,500,000 alcoholics in America. Up to now (1958) AA has sobered up perhaps 250,000 of them. That’s about one in twenty, or 5 percent of the total. This is a brave beginning, full of significance and hope for those who still suffer. Yet these figures show that we have made only a fair-sized dent on this vast world health problem. Millions are still sick and other millions soon will be. These facts of alcoholism should give us a reason to think, and be humble. Surely we can be grateful for every agency or method that tries to solve the problem of alcoholism –whether of medicine, religion, education, or research. We can be open-minded toward all such efforts and we can be sympathetic when the ill-advised ones fail. We can remember that AA itself ran years on trial and error. As individual AAs, we can and should work with those that promise success-even a little success.”- pg. 184 from The Language of the Heart

Sometimes we forget how lucky we are that we received alcohol addiction help and got sober before it was too late. It is easy at times to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and in turn lack in expressing the gratitude for our recovery that it deserves. Whether we went through or need to go through a 30 day rehab program, church, AA, or a drug addiction detox the fact still remains that we are some of the few lucky ones that got another shot at life. The sad reality for us is that many of us do not make it. We get the tools to recover and go on to live a healthy and happy life while many alcoholics have not gotten that opportunity and either drink themselves to death, go insane, or are institutionalized. It is important that we take the time to appreciate our sobriety. It is important that we remember that every day is a special gift.

The Purpose of the AA Group

“Our first duty, as a society, is to insure our own survival. Therefore we have to avoid distractions and multipurpose activity. An AA group, as such, cannot take on all the personal problems of its members, let alone the problems of the whole world. Sobriety-freedom from alcohol-through the teaching and practice of the twelve steps is the sole purpose of an AA group. Groups have repeatedly tried other activities and they have always failed. It has also been learned that there is no possible way to make nonalcoholic into AA members. We have to confine our AA groups to a single purpose. If we don’t stick to these principles, we shall almost surely collapse. And if we collapse we cannot help anyone.”-pg. 223 from The Language Of The Heart

As we talked about before no one can decide weather or not you are an alcoholic. Either you are or aren’t and that choice is up to you. When seeking out alcohol addiction help there are many places we can turn. There are 30 day rehab programs, AA, as well as several other drug addiction detox programs. With that being said it is important that if we decide to go to AA that not only do we have a problem with drinking but also that we identify as alcoholics. It goes back to our first tradition, which states “our common welfare should come first. Personal recovery depends upon AA unity.” It is important that we stick to our singleness of purpose so that we can ensure the groups survival.

Growth in Sobriety

“I think that many oldsters who have put our AA “booze cure” to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA- the development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God. Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect security, and perfect romance- urges quite appropriate to age seventeen- prove to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven or fifty-seven.”- pg. 236 from The Language Of The Heart.

When we first receive alcohol addiction help and get into recovery, a drug addiction detox, AA, or a 30 day rehab program focusing on staying sober and working the steps is enough at first. There comes a time though when we start craving more out of life, and the program we work. At that point just staying sober and not drinking isn’t enough. We must enlarge our spiritual life as well as our emotional sobriety or we will surely drink. We must set aside our ideas and expectations of ourselves, our fellows, and our higher power so that we may remain open and teachable. If we close ourselves off to learning and taking things in then we stop growing and if we stop growing we either remain stuck in the bondage of self, and become miserable or we get loaded. When we are ready we will do the work, and establish a conscious contact with a power greater than ourselves. Through that experience we can continue to enrich our sober lives not just through physical sobriety but emotional and spiritual sobriety as well.

What Do I Need To Be A Member of AA?

“The first edition of the book of Alcoholics Anonymous makes this brief statement about membership: “the only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect, or denomination nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted.” This expressed our feeling as of 1939, the year our book was published. Since that day all kinds of experiments with membership have been tried…In some cases we would have been too discouraged by the demands made upon us. Most of the early members of AA would have been thrown out because they slipped too much, because their morals were too bad, because they had mental as well as alcoholic difficulties.”-pg.37 from The Language Of The Heart.

Over the next few days were going to take a look at what it means to be an alcoholic as well as some other issues surrounding this subject. Basically we are members of AA as soon as we seek alcohol addiction help and say we are. All we need is a desire to stop drinking. The word “honest” was later taken out of our statement on membership because while many of us want to stop drinking, get help at a drug addiction detox, Go to AA, go to some sort of 30 day rehab program, and make positive decisions that support our sobriety at the end of the day who has an honest desire to stop when we would still be drinking if it still worked for us? Furthermore an “honest desire” could mean so many things to so many for clarity and to ensure everyone had a fair shot at achieving sobriety they took it out. Today as it stands nobody has a right to declare you alcoholic or non-alcoholic that is completely up to you to decide.

Alcoholism and Powerlessness

There has always been a lot of confusion about this matter of asserting the will. When the twelve steps say “we admitted we were powerless over alcohol” we assert what has always been a fact about that malady. Namely that a frontal attack by the will on the desire to drink almost never works. This hard fact is the premise upon which we must start. The recognition that actual lunacy cannot be subdued by straight will power. God knows drunks have tried hard enough to do just this and have generally failed. Nobody would expect much result were every kleptomaniac to take the pledge not to steal. Repeating stealing, the kleptomaniac is as compulsively nutty as he can be. Though this compulsive condition is not so generally recognized in the alcoholic, because drinking is socially acceptable, it is never the less true that he is just about as crazy. Therefore our first is realistic when it declares that we are powerless to deal with the alcohol hex on our own resources or will.-pg. 273 from The Language Of The Heart

It is clear that we cannot get sober on our own or by willpower alone. If we could the majority of alcoholics in this world would probably opt for getting sober that way resulting in a huge number of success stories regarding sobriety. However the fact is that willpower or our wills have nothing to do with it. It wasn’t because we were weak willed that we could not stop drinking or could not rise above this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body that we suffered from. In fact, our will if anything kept us drinking and using longer. Therefore no matter how strong or weak our will and mind was we surely could not recover using the same tools we used to get loaded. We could not fix the problem with the problem. Instead what we needed to do was ask for alcohol addiction help and work a program. Some of us might have even needed extra help through places such as a drug addiction detox, AA, or 30 day rehab program. Again needing these places in order to recover is not a matter of being weak willed. There are positive ways to incorporate our wills into our lives as well as negative ways. When we look at different ways to stay sober we are using our willpower to the best of our ability. We pray and meditate so that our will is aligned with our higher powers will for us. It is then and only then that we can be freed from the bondage of self.

A Life of Sobriety, Acceptance, and Peace

“One way to get at the meaning of the principle of acceptance is to meditate upon it in the context of AA’s much used prayer ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ Essentially this is to ask for the resources of grace by which we may make spiritual progress under all conditions. Greatly emphasized in this wonderful prayer is a need for the kind of wisdom that discriminates between the possible and the impossible. We shall also see that life’s formidable array of pains and problems will require many different degrees of acceptance as we try to apply this valued principle.-pg. 269 from The Language Of The Heart

Acceptance is defined as the act of taking or receiving something offered, as well as the act of believing. It sounds good in theory but it is one of those things that are easier said than done. On one hand we might feel as alcoholics that acceptance is something we aren’t very good at but if we look back at the time when we had asked for alcohol addiction help were we not somewhat living in acceptance? Did we not accept that we had a problem and that we needed help? Were we not beaten down enough to accept that we might need to go to a 30 day rehab program, AA, or a drug addiction detox? If you are sober the answer to these questions are most likely yes. On the other hand there have most likely been times when we have found some person place or thing completely unacceptable to us. In those situations we ask for our higher powers guidance on what his/her will for us is and the power to carry that out. Through this kind of prayer and meditation not only are we relying on our higher power to carry us through but we are getting closer to living a life full of acceptance and peace.

Fear and Seeking Alcohol Addiction Help

As the AA book says “Fear is an evil, corroding thread; the fabric of our lives is shot through with it.” Fear is obviously a bar to reason, and to love, and of course it invariably powers anger, vainglory, and aggression. It underlies maudlin guilt and paralyzing depression. President Roosevelt once made the significant remark that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”- pg. 265 from The Language of the Heart

When we are first getting sober or even before we receive alcohol addiction help we are often times full of fear surrounding many different aspects of sobriety. Some of us may be fearful of the idea of getting sober while others may be afraid of the process whether it involves a 30 day rehab program, AA, or a drug addiction detox. The thing about fear is that while it may protect us from potentially dangerous positions it can also keep us from positive things and situations in our life as well. Fear can be healthy if it aids in keeping you out of harm’s way. For example when we first get sober some of us may decide not to go into bars for a while…this is an example of a healthy fear of alcohol. However If our fears keep us from doing things like getting sober then it is an unhealthy and destructive fear. The fact is that we didn’t get sober to live in fear. Sure it’s going to crop up from time to time and that’s fine. What matters most aren’t so much the feelings surrounding the situations in your life but rather what you do with those feelings.