An Education in the Art of Living
December 19, 2019
The Meeting After the Meeting
December 19, 2019

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.

Like this story? Join thousands of other A.A.'s who receive new stories each month delivered right into their inbox.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.