The Big Book
Dec. 12, 2011 3:29 pm
Updated: Dec. 13, 2011 5:12 pm
For Those of You That Don't know, the Big Book For AA Members Is The Alcoholics Anonymous book.
This is one of my Favorite Stories In The Big Book.
J&C = Joe And Charlie That Gave this Talk In 1998 (Both Have Passed On Now)
J & C Now we’re going to look in old Jim’s mind just before he gets drunk. And we’re going to see whether he is sane or insane. Joe loves Jim. Yah I loves old Jim. I identify with Jim.
Big Book p. 35, par 2 < “Our first example is a friend we shall call Jim. This man has a charming wife and family. He inherited a lucrative automobile agency. He had a commendable World War record. He is a good salesman. Everybody likes him.
J & C Typical alcoholic isn’t he?
Big Book p. 35, par 2 cont. < “He is an intelligent man, normal so far as we can see, except for a nervous disposition. He did no drinking until he was thirty-five. In a few years he became so violent when intoxicated that he had to be committed. On leaving
the (treatment.. ) asylum he came into contact with us. We told him what we knew of alcoholism ...”
J & C They told him about Step 1. The physical allergy, the obsession of the mind, the powerless condition.
Big Book p. 35, par 3 cont. “... and the answer we had found.”
J & C They told him about Step 2. The power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Big Book p. 35, par 3 cont. “He made a beginning.”
J & C Step…a little later on the book says, Step 3 is just a beginning. So apparently Jim took steps 1,2 and 3 and immediately things started to get better for him.
Big Book p. 35, par 3 cont. “His family was re- assembled, and he began to work as a salesman for the business he had lost through drinking. All went well for a time, but * he failed to enlarge his spiritual life.” *
J & C The book is going to tell us that the only way we enlarge on Step 3 is 4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11 and 12
and Jim didn’t do any of those. 1,2 and 3. ( the A.A. waltz)
Big Book p. 35, par 3 cont. “To his consternation, he found himself drunk half a dozen times in rapid succession. On each of these occasions we worked with him, reviewing carefully what had happened.”
J & C Ah these were good AA members. Jim got drunk six times in a row. Each time they went over there and worked with him, carefully reviewing what had happened. You get drunk six times in a row today and they probably won’t have anything to do with
you. These were good solid AA members. “
Big Book p. 35, par 3 cont. < “He agreed he was a real alcoholic and in a serious condition. Now he knew he faced another trip to the asylum if he kept on. Moreover, he would lose his family for whom he had a deep affection. Yet he got drunk again. We asked
him to tell us exactly how it happened.”
J & C They’re getting a little tired of Jim now. They said, my God Jim this is seven times in a row. Let’s don’t go through this any more. You sit down here and you tell us exactly how this has happened. On page 36 we’re going to see where Jim was
sane and then we are going to see where he went insane.
Big Book p. 36, par 1 cont. < “This is his story: "I came to work on Tuesday morning.”
J & C We read this book for years before we saw this. "I came to work on Tuesday morning.” Where was he all day Monday? We alcoholics are bad about Mondays.
Big Book p. 36, par 1 cont. < “I remember I felt irritated that I had to be a salesman for a concern I once owned.”
J & C Now I don’t think that’s insanity, that’s probably normal thinking. I think any of us that had to be a salesman for a concern we once owned, we’d probably be a little irritated by that fact too. That's normal sane thinking.
Big Book p. 36, par 1 cont. < “I had a few words with the boss, but nothing serious.”
J & C The boss probably said “Say Jim, by the way, where were you all day yesterday anyhow?” Nothing serious, just enough to irritate him. A little restless, a little irritable a little discontented.
Big Book p. 36, par 1 cont. < “Then I decided to drive to the country and see one of my prospects for a car.”
J & C What’s more normal than if you’re a car salesman, you want to get away from the shop for a while, drive out in the country, see somebody that we already know that we’re trying to sell a car to. That would be normal sane thinking for an alcoholic
Big Book p. 36, par 1 cont. < “On the way I felt hungry so I stopped at a roadside place where they have a bar. I had no intention of drinking. I just thought I would get a sandwich.”
J & C What’s more normal than if you’re hungry, to stop in a roadside place to get a sandwich. The fact that they’ve got a bar there is beside the point. We have no intention of drinking. We’re hungry, we’re going to get a sandwich. Normal sane thinking
for an alcoholic car salesman.
Big Book p. 36, par 1 cont. < “I also had the notion that I might find a customer for a car at this place, which was familiar for I had been going to it for years. I had eaten there many times during the months I was sober.”
J & C We’re not going in there to drink. We’ve eaten there many times during the months we were sober. We’re going to go in there, get a sandwich and maybe sell a car while we’re in there. Normal sane thinking for an alcoholic car salesman.
Big Book p. 36, par 1 cont. < “I sat down at a table and ordered a sandwich and a glass of milk. Still no thought of drinking.”
J & C What’s more normal than to sit down at a table, order a sandwich and a glass of milk? Normal sane thinking for an alcoholic car salesman.
Big Book p. 36, par 1 cont. < I ordered another sandwich and decided to have another glass of milk.
J & C Now if you’re hungry enough there’s nothing wrong with two sandwiches and two glasses of milk. Unless you’re a member of Overeaters Anonymous, you’d better look at it. But that would be normal sane thinking for an alcoholic car salesman. Two sandwiches,
two glasses of milk. Now comes the squiggly writing. That's italic.
Big Book p. 36, par 2 < "Suddenly ,...”
J & C Suddenly, that means right now
Big Book p. 36, par 2 < "Suddenly the thought crossed my mind that if I were to put an ounce of whiskey in my milk it couldn't hurt me on a full stomach.”
J & C Now this is absolute insanity isn’t it. For this guy to believe that he can take whisky, mix it with milk and take it on a full stomach and it won’t hurt him. Now based on the insane idea, he makes a decision and takes some action.
Big Book p. 36, par 2 cont. < “I ordered a whiskey and poured it into the milk. I vaguely sensed I was not being any too smart, but I felt reassured as I was taking the whiskey on a full stomach”.
J & C Now we’ve got it inside of ourselves. The physical allergy takes over. Now then we can’t stop.
Big Book p. 36, par 2 cont. < “The experiment went so well that I ordered another whiskey and poured it into more milk. That didn't seem to bother me so I tried another.”
J & C Can you imagine how he’s going to feel with whiskey and milk back and forth? What a hangover he’s going to have.
Big Book p. 36, par 3 < “Thus started one more journey to the asylum for Jim. Here was the threat of commitment, the loss of family and position, to say nothing of that intense mental and physical suffering which drinking always caused him. He had much knowledge
about himself as an alcoholic. Yet all reasons for not drinking were easily pushed aside in favor of the foolish idea that he could take whiskey if only he mixed it with milk! Whatever the precise definition of the word may be, we call this plain insanity.
How can such a lack of proportion, of the ability to think straight, be called anything else?”
J & C And if you were looking for a definition of insanity that would be it right there. The lack of proportion, of the ability to think straight to be called anything else?
Now is Jim’s real problem the fact that he has physical allergy to alcohol? Or that he has a form of insanity that tells him it’s OK to drink alcohol mixed with milk on a full stomach?
The real problem centers in the mind telling us we can drink rather than the body that ensures that we can’t.