Our Old Ideas – Grapevine Article August 1952 by L.M.

What did they have to do with our drinking?

“SOME of us tried to hold on to our old ideas, but the result was nil until we let go absolutely.” I think this statement raises a question in the minds of many of us. The question of “what could our old ideas have to do with our drinking and our becoming alcoholics?”

First, it seems to me that the most damaging condition they nurtured was a fear phobia. . .a fear that life was but an empty dream; a boring, unbearable existence without the close association with liquor. Our character governs our actions and the root of that character is our complete personality, which is highly susceptible to the artificial, to subterfuge, to the refusal to face facts and to the illusions of pretense. How we alcoholics love to pretend and dodge reality.

Those of us who had agnostic tendencies believed our ego and our great forebrain was the Alpha and the Omega. . .the beginning and the end of everything that was of concern to us. We failed to make any allowance for faith, honesty, tolerance and other necessary traits of good character. We carefully built up the illusion that we were sticklers for facts and that we knew all the answers. But the incongruity of this line of reasoning lies in the point that most of us were usually so “petrified” we could not have recognized a fact if it had jumped out and bitten us on the posterior.

When we felt inadequate in any of our affairs, we presumed all we had to do was to take to the bottle and “hocus pocus presto chango” we escaped the crisis. Just so much “malarky,” because this maneuver was similar to an ostrich burying his small head in the sand and leaving his large rear-end exposed to danger. What really happened was that alcohol removed our common sense and slipped us into a state of temporary insanity. This made it easy to drape the uncomfortable in tinsel and hide under a cloak of pretense.

All of this was eventually followed by a deficiency which gained a staggering influence over us. . .the fateful loss of the ability to profit by experience. The sense of immediate well-being became paramount and we lost all regard for the consequences. Who truly understands us?

How easy to place a veil of deception between ourselves and the rest of our fellow men. How natural to turn our minds inward and become cynical introverts living behind a wall of self-pity, loneliness and resentment. How simple to forget the ideals of our childhood and to lay aside spiritual beliefs, our faith in ourselves and our faith in everything and everybody.

Without consideration for ourselves, for society or for our loved ones, we built personalities that ignored the most simple laws of common decency and reality. By acquiring these habits, we replaced practical effort with deception; earned ability with the cleverness of the “chiseler ” and the fine standards of achieved worth with stupefied pretense. In this manner each of us became our own God; our own Supreme Power. Such moral decadence left no room for a decent balance of give and take and offered no technique of living. Over a period of time such conduct and ideas can leave nothing but mental, moral and spiritual instability.

The penalty for all of this is the mental obsession for the only comfort left. . .drunken hours. The escape from this mental slavery is a complete acceptance of the AA philosophy, which blacks out those old ideas.

“Our problems, whatever they may be, must be faced in the light of today, not in the dim, remembered glow of yesterday.”

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