Six Axioms of Alcoholic Thinking – Grapevine Article George T February 2012

A member gives us a rundown in plain English

Dr. Silkworth wrote that the alcoholic becomes restless, irritable, and discontent when all he is doing is not drinking. The Big Book describes us as egocentric, egotistical, self seeking, and self-will run riot even though we don’t like to admit it. These observations were documented around 1939. In 1944, Dr. Tiebout added his comments, writing that the alcoholic, as a class of people, is narcissistic, has an egocentric core, feelings of omnipotence, is intent on maintaining at all costs its inner core; that alcoholics are defiantly individualistic, display grandiosity, insist on being the master of their own destiny, and will fight to the end to preserve that position.

I began to observe those tendencies in myself soon after taking the 12 Steps of AA, but still didn’t like to admit it. When I am not spiritually fit, I tend to follow the Six Axioms of Alcoholic Thinking. They are:

  1. It’s not fair.
  2. It’s not my fault.
  3. Other people are behaving badly.
  4. I know what is best.
  5. It’s my job to straighten them out.
  6. I’m not being treated with the respect I know I am due.

While I absolutely relate these axioms to my own thinking, I am occasionally suspicious I am not alone in the way I process information.

The first axiom seems to relate to the belief that the world somehow owes me something. Other people seem to benefit from situations that don’t really suit me. I have to work harder than is reasonable to get the benefits others seem to have with little or no effort. Perhaps this relates to unmanageability and wanting to control the world around me.

The second axiom seems to say that I am a victim, that my intentions were always good, but circumstances just didn’t work out for me. It’s kind of like saying bad stuff happened when I drank through no fault of my own. I can always emphasize that I have a disease and am due some special consideration because I am impaired. It’s simply not my fault.

The third axiom lets me judge others, take their inventory, and suggests that the world would be a better place if only others would behave better. Of course, I am the proper judge for what comprises good behavior. If the other actors would say their lines properly, if the scenery were properly arranged, then everyone would be happy.

The fourth axiom is the restatement of my egocentric nature. Of course I know what’s best, and everyone would be happy if they just did as I suggest.

The fifth axiom is a statement of my rebellious nature, false pride, and my feeling of self-importance. I am not happy with the unmanageability of my life, don’t like the implications of the second half of the First Step and wish to assert my authority since I have achieved a few days of sobriety and am nearing spiritual perfection.

The sixth axiom indicates people around me do not realize with whom they are dealing, that they don’t see all the good I am doing for them, how much I am actually helping them even though they haven’t asked for help, and surely haven’t asked me.

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