The Big Book tells us that alcoholics drink because they are “restless, irritable and discontented.” (xxvi) Well, that wasn’t me! I even drank when everything was hunky-dory.
I recall a time, back in the 1950s, arriving home from a joyous visit with my lovely girlfriend at a nearby college and not having drank a drop. I was as exuberantly happy that a young man might be! However, I became “boiled as an owl” that night before the bars closed.
Happy or otherwise, there was a mental obsession that decided when or if I would drink—the Big Book tells us: “Alcoholics have lost choice in the matter of drink.” (p. 24). So long as that demon (I refer to is as a drunken monkey) remains active in my noggin, I am sure to drink again.
This episode took place during the 1950s when I still had sufficient willpower to choose to go home directly after ‘motel-time’ was announced at the bar. However, that was not to be the case as years passed.
The Big Book tells us that real alcoholics have a progressive physical condition (allergy) which destroys their ability to control how much they drink after they once start. During the 1960s, I became an avid attender of Los Angeles theater where they offer cocktails during intermission.
Yet, I had learned, through torturous experience, that if I drank just one of those tempting devils, I was doomed to think of little else till I got to the nearest bar. My expensive evening at the theater would be ruined! Positive proof that the good doctor Silkworth rightly described the physical allergy. (p. xxviii)
So, I was powerless over alcohol both before and after my first drink, and though I have been sober for a fairly long time, if I imbibe just one shot of whisky this evening, I may not be able to stop drinking for several days. My physical allergy landed me in several drunk tanks, through twenty-eight years of inebriated living and lost more jobs for not showing up than I can remember.
However, that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans so long as I don’t take that first drink—and this won’t be necessary so long as I remain in a “fit spiritual condition.”
(p. 85) I trust God will keep me safe from that drunken monkey so long as I live in accordance with the Twelve Steps.
By Bob S.