Page 37 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous talks about a type of insanity that is unique to alcoholics and addicts. The writer, Bill Wilson, openly admits that he did not take the definition out of a medical or psychological diagnostics manual.
“Whatever the precise definition of the word may be, we call this plain insanity. How can such a lack of proportion, of the ability to think straight, be called anything else?”
To put the above sentence into context, I offer the two paragraphs which follow it:
“You may think this an extreme case. To us it is not far-fetched, for this kind of thinking has been characteristic of every single one of us. We have sometimes reflected more than Jim did upon the consequences. But there was always the curious mental phenomenon that parallel with our sound reasoning there inevitably ran some insanely trivial excuse for taking the first drink. Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check. The insane idea won out. Next day we would ask ourselves, in all earnestness and sincerity, how it could have happened.
“In some circumstances we have gone out deliberately to get drunk, feeling ourselves justified by nervousness, anger, worry, depression, jealousy or the like. But even in this type of beginning we are obliged to admit that our justification for a spree was insanely insufficient in the light of what always happened. We now see that when we began to drink deliberately, instead of casually, there was little serious or effective thought during the period of premeditation of what the terrific consequences might be.”
Please read the entire chapter yourself. These 1930s definitions cast this “insanity” into an entirely new light for me.