He (the alcoholic) can be assured you do not intend to lecture, moralize, or condemn; that if this was done formerly, it was because of misunderstanding. If possible, express a lack of hard feeling toward him. At this point, it might be well to explain alcoholism, the illness. Say that you believe he is a gravely ill person, with this qualification – being perhaps fatally ill, does he want to get well?
If he says yes, does he really mean it, or down inside does he think he is fooling you, and that after rest and treatment he will be able to get away with a few drinks now and then? We believe a man should be thoroughly probed on these points. Be satisfied he is not deceiving himself or you. Either you are dealing with a man who can and will get well or you are not. If not, why waste time with him? This may seem severe, but it is usually the best course.
After satisfying yourself that your man wants to recover and that he will go to any extreme to do so, you may suggest a definite course of action. For most alcoholics who are drinking, or who are just getting over a spree, a certain amount of physical treatment is desirable to thoroughly clear mind and body of the effects of alcohol. In competent hands, this seldom takes long nor is it very expensive. Your man will fare better if he can think straight and no longer craves liquor. We believe it should be made plain that any expense will later be deducted from his pay for him to feel fully responsible.
If your man accepts your offer, it should be pointed out that physical treatment is but a small part of the picture. Though you are providing him the with the best possible medical attention, he should understand that he must undergo a change of heart. To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude. We all had to place recovery above everything, for without recovery we would have lost both home and business.
Can you have every confidence in his ability to recover? (Continued next week)
Reprinted from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page #141-142, with permission of AA World Services, Inc.
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DNA Newspaper Mumbai Edition Published Date: Jan 15, 2013