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“We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic. If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.”
-Big Book Page 44
I believe that about spells it out.  If you can go to meetings and stay sober without having a spiritual experience or complete phsycic change by God then my friend, pack it up, because you are not one of us.  So please be careful what you say in our meetings because our lives may be at stake that we may truly be needing a spiritual experience.

Dr. Silkworth's Classification:
In the Big Book on page XXX Dr. Silkworth gives 5 types of alcoholics.  Which one or ones are you?
A. "the psychopaths who are emotionally unstable."
B. "the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot take a drink.  He plans various ways of drinking. He changes his brand or environment"
C. "the type who always believes that after being entirely free from alcohol for a period of time he can take a drink without danger."
D. "the manic-depressive type, who is, perhaps, the least understood by his friends, and about whom a whole chapter could be written."
E. "types who are entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them.  They are often able, intelligent, friendly people.

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The Big Book Self Test:

1. At some stage of your using, drinking etc. did you or have you begun to lose all control every time you use, drink etc?

2. Are you or were you having trouble with personal relationships?

3. Are you or were you unable to control your emotional nature?

4. Are you or were you miserable and depressed quite often?

5. Are you or were you unable to live how you think living should be?

6. Are you or were you full of fear, unhappiness and a feeling of uselessness?

7. Are you or have you been of real help to other people?

If you answered yes to these questions, especially number 1 then you probably are powerless.  The Big Book uses these as symptoms to a 3 part illness...

1. "...but at some stage he begins to lose all control of his liquor consumption, once he starts to drink." Page 21

3. thru 7. "We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people" Page 52 

Are you asking "What do you mean by powerless?" or "What 3 part illness?" 

1. Physical illness, "All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon ... differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity. It has never been, by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently eradicated. The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence." Big Book Page XXX

Our physical allergy is the phenomenon of craving which means we can't stop once we start.  So if it's an allergy like being allergic to shellfish then just don't ever start again right?  WRONG....next is....

2. Mental illness, "Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body." Big Book Page 23

So at some point in time our minds will overcome (or obsess which means an idea that takes over every other idea to the contrary) us in thinking we will be ok just to have one or a little bit.  Then we start the physical allergy which in turns deteriorates the mind, it's a never ending downward spiral. We have no mental defense when the obsession occurs spontaneously.  So what is making my mind wacky?...

3. Spiritual illness, "When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically." Big Book Page 64

Wow!  So there it is.  We must be willing to believe beyond human power in order to find our solution through the program of action, the twelve steps.  There is a solution for even the most hopeless.  "It works-It really does."  Big Book Page 88

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