I didn’t believe really, that it was a disease but looked upon it as more of a moral weakness.
Pride made me form this opinion and I felt that. the disease angle was only an excuse put forward by Alcoholics Anonymous of make you feel better for the life you had been living. The fact of not being able to accept the excessive drinking as a disease is in itself a mental condition made up of false pride.
Thinking that alcoholism is only a moral degeneration is to fool one’s self into thinking that he only has to strengthen his character and will power, through more prayer and good deeds, and this will lead to a permanent sobriety. But what happens with this type, of thinking is either consciously or unconsciously on attempt to side-step the first step of the program —WE ADMITTED WE WERE POWERLESS OVER ALCOHOL – THAT OUR LIVES HAD BECOME UNMANAGEABLE. A step which if not taken in its entirety a person can never really begin to get well or to commence on the road to permanent and happy sobriety.
For the disease of alcoholism is not confined to the body, nor does it manifest itself only on the physical side. If this were true a person would only need to use his willpower to control the intake of liquor. But as alcoholics we have the added two sides of the illness, the mental and/or emotional, and the perverse soul sickness which is the spiritual side of our malady.
Many times during my drinking escapades, I had experienced an unexplainable loss and loneliness within my person, a feeling of isolation, and that there was no fun left in drinking, even when surrounded by my imbibing mates and the mood of the party was one of gaiety.
This is what separates a drunk from an alcoholic. A drunk, even though he may cause bodily harm to himself by excessive drinking, never experiences the emotional or spiritual sickness of the alcoholic. Before coming to the program, I felt there was more I would have to do than just stop drinking. In the last, for short periods, I had stopped partaking of alcoholic beverages and during this time I always felt like a stranger. I didn’t seem able to communicate in any depth of conversation with those who were sober about me, or anyone who didn’t drink, and of course, my old cronies who were still drinking were in that other world from which I had just stepped out.
Inevitably, I would return to drinking back through the stages of remorse, self-pity, unhappiness and despair. When finally I reached Alcoholics Anonymous, they explained my behaviour – they didn’t excuse it, but explained it-and told me of the three sided illness which I was suffering from.
For the first time in my life I began to understand myself end could see in the past, when I was off the grog, I had only arrested one third of the disease, and I faced a two thirds defect, for I was doing nothing about the mental or spiritual side of the illness.
Today, I am convinced it is a sickness of that three-fold nurture. Physically, I am as well as ever I’ll be. But, the other two sides, the mind end the soul, will need constant attention in the changing of vicissitudes of life. Treatment is available at meetings of AA and if I do not attend, I will return to the state of just being dry, which is merely a border-line between stopping and starting drinking.