From the BlogMeet Ron

CHUCK D.

The whole problem is to establish communication with one’s self. 
E. B. White
We are like many faceted gemstones. Each side represents a different aspect of us. We have our emotional sides with different feelings and responses. We have our competencies and strengths, hopes and desires, destructiveness and negativity, self-doubts and resentments. We also possess a drive for power and knowledge, a desire to serve, and a wish to connect with others.
Our spiritual masculinity requires that we know our many sides. We need a working relationship with our thoughts and feelings so they can be appreciated, accepted, and understood. When we tell our story in a meeting, we let others know us, and we get to know ourselves better. When we are spontaneous in what we say or do, we communicate with ourselves. We discover ourselves through meditation, journal writing, playfulness, physical activity, and conversations with others. In that way we become more honest.
Today, I will use my lines of communication with myself
and become more self-accepting and more honest.
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AA Grapevine November 1945 
 
What Is the Alcoholic’s Moral Responsibility? 
Alcoholism has been traditionally regarded as a vice, with the implication of moral responsibility that such a characterization involves.
 
The modern tendency is to consider any obsessional aberration to be pathological. Hence, alcoholism is sometimes diagnosed as a disease, and the victim is accordingly absolved of moral responsibility.
 
Do the foregoing views constitute a conflict in which intellectual honesty compels us to take sides –or may they be reconciled and integrated?
 
If alcoholism is a disease it is one of which science has found so far neither cause nor cure. Dr. Silkworth in an article in the June, 1945, issue of The Grapevine says that “physically science does not know why a man cannot drink in moderation.” The doctor also states that he is only “sure of one scientific fact –that detoxication by medical treatment must precede any psychiatric approach.” Thus, the “physical issue” is reduced to the routine of a mere dealcoholizing process, preliminary to the really fundamental matter of dealing with what Dr. Silkworth refers to as the “moral issue.”
 
The A.A. Program of Recovery is devoted principally to the resolution of this “moral issue.” The alcoholic is assisted in developing the personality change essential to permanent rehabilitation.
 
In so doing the A.A. plan proceeds on the assumption that we have “defects of character” the removal of which is requisite to a restoration of sanity. The removal is to be accomplished not alone by the revelations of psychiatric treatment (self-knowledge), but by the application of spiritual force emanating from a Power in which we have faith (Steps 6-7).
 
Defects of character cannot, of course, be rooted out by knowledge alone. The authors of Alcoholics Anonymous were well aware of the limitations of the aphorism that knowledge is power, for at page 50 of the book, they assert: “But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and reemphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience” (italics theirs).
 
Elsewhere in the same text the same thought is expressed in different form and with varied application. It is said, for example, that “the alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a higher Power” (page 55).
 
Finally, for those of us who accept it, the predominance of the moral factors in the A.A. plan is summarized in the following statement at pages 35-36 of the book:
“The great fact is just this and nothing else: that we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences, which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows, and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do for ourselves.”
 
Here, then, seems to be the answer to the question posed at the outset. Both moralist and scientist agree that there can be no blame imposed for a condition over which one has no control. Both agree that an alcoholic has been reduced to a state of powerlessness over alcohol. It follows that an alcoholic should not be held morally accountable for acts committed while in the grip of the obsession. The syllogism suggests a corollary.
 
When an alcoholic realizes the nature of his malady, and that help, human and otherwise, is at hand and that “there is a solution,” is it not reasonable to assume that an element of moral responsibility enters into the situation? Tolerance for the sinner but none for the sin is a noble sentiment. And alcoholics will probably always require understanding. But may we, who have accepted A.A. and assume to practice its precepts, continue to expect, under the new dispensation, condonation when the rules of society are broken? If the truth has made us free and the spirit has given us strength, shall we not take and maintain our places in the ranks of society without favor as well as without fear?
 
It is submitted that a lively sense of moral responsibility should be assiduously cultivated, the more so because of our newly found power to accept it and because in the very acceptance of it, we wax stronger and stronger as we “grow by what we feed on.”

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Daily Reflections
 
LISTENING DEEPLY
     How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 37
   If I accept and act upon the advice of those who have made the program work for themselves, I have a chance to outgrow the limits of the past. Some problems will shrink to nothingness, while others may require patient, well-thought-out action. Listening deeply when others share can develop intuition in handling problems which arise unexpectedly. It is usually best for me to avoid impetuous action. Attending a meeting or calling a fellow A.A. member will usually reduce tension enough to bring relief to a desperate sufferer like me. Sharing problems at meetings with other alcoholics to whom I can relate, or privately with my sponsor, can change aspects of the positions in which I find myself. Character defects are identified and I begin to see how they work against me. When I put my faith in the spiritual power of the program, when I trust others to teach me what I need to do to have a better life, I find that I can trust myself to do what is necessary.
 
From the book Daily Reflections 
© Copyright 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

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