To the doubters we could say, “Perhaps you’re not an alcoholic after all. Why don’t you try some more controlled drinking, bearing in mind meanwhile what we have told you about alcoholism?” This attitude brought immediate and practical results. It was then discovered that when one alcoholic had planted in the mind of another the true nature of his malady, that person could never be the same again. Following every spree, he would say to himself, “Maybe those A.A.’s were right . . . .” After a few such experiences, often years before the onset of extreme difficulties, he would return to us convinced. He had hit bottom as truly as any of us. John Barleycorn himself had become our best advocate.
To me it’s worth Googling the things I don’t completely understand, and John Barleycorn seems to refer to a book and a song. I like the places in the literature where it tells of alcohol giving us a terrific beating, things like that. There’s no other way I would have sought help or change.
My situation was a little different from the one described. I didn’t doubt I was alcoholic, and I know people now who are like this. I didn’t doubt that I was alcoholic, but I doubted that I wanted to stop drinking or, if I did want to stop, that I could. I wanted most of all to be a functioning alcoholic. AA promised me this was not possible, and it would always, relentlessly, get worse. And it did. I knew those AA’s were right, but I didn’t think I had the ability to join them.
My bottom was low to me. I was young, still in school. I had almost but not quite flunked out. I chased alcohol to the edge of where I could function at all. I had no job or wife or children to lose. I hadn’t gotten them yet, and I wouldn’t get them, because I drank way too much.
As to the kind of person the section refers to, the one who isn’t convinced she is alcoholic, in the rooms we hear the darndest things. Like, “Three doctors and four psychologists have said I’m not an alcoholic.” Well, seven professionals aren’t likely to comment on this if there isn’t a problem. We hear that people are at an AA meeting because they had some bad luck. While it’s certainly true that many more people drive drunk than are caught, driving drunk is still not the thing to do, and it indicates a problem. “If you had my problems, you’d drink, too.” Yes I would, because I’m an alcoholic. Many people with the same or worse problems don’t drink, because they aren’t.
I feel truly blessed that I saw it and stopped it at such a young age. My sobriety is my most valuable possession. My doubt, that I could get and stay sober, was answered by the people in AA also. They said that others had done it, that they had done it, and that I could too.