8. Deliberately



I believe that the Big Book is meant to be used like a textbook with the help of someone who has already read and applied its contents (this person would be a “sponsor” in AA).*
Having said that, no sponsor ever pointed out to me what is written on page 37. It references Jim the car salesman who impulsively got drunk despite knowing he must never drink. The book explains that Jim and every alcoholic suffers from an “insanity”, which is described at the top of that page. After that, the book mentions two ways that the insanity can occur. The first form is “deliberately”.
The definition: “Deliberately – done or offered with deliberation (weighing and examining the reasons for the choices)”
This is a strange feeling that I have often experienced. While fully sober and thoroughly committed to remaining that way, an insane idea will gradually form somewhere in my thoughts. It is exactly the type of unwelcome thought that I worked hard to recognize and stop from happening. Yet, there it was, slowly taking root early in the day and growing gradually all day long. Instead of halting it, I carelessly permit it to linger and intensify. I still want to stay sober, but another desire has already taken hold of me and I am actively starting to plan my upcoming slip. I can only compare it to a parasite silently attaching itself to a host. It is that insidious and revolting.
After losing my sobriety in a spree (like Jim the car salesman did), I will wonder out loud how this could possibly have happened? I will vow that I had no inkling of anything being wrong. I will describe myself as being powerless over my own actions.
Yes, this is common in my experience. But I never recognized it until this type of “deliberate” slip was pointed out in the Big Book. I learned to recognize that emerging early warning signs and now immediately start working the steps, making phone calls, and praying to my Higher Power. If I do these things sincerely, the urge to surrender my sobriety can be taken from me before it builds up into a deliberate slip.
* The Big Book could possibly be read like any book by starting at the beginning and going all the way to the end. Perhaps someone has done that and was completely sober when they reached the final page, but I doubt that. Joe and Charlie (“The Big Book Comes Alive” recordings) claim it is more like a textbook. A math textbook might start out with learning to count numbers, then move to simple addition and subtraction, and eventually cover multiplication, division, and progressively more advanced concepts. Plus, no teacher would hand out a textbook, tell their students to read the entire thing by themselves, and come back at the end of the school term to take the final test.

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