“A Spiritual Solution to a Mental Problem”
“Now about health: A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight, nor do twisted thinking and depression vanish in a twinkling. We are convinced that a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative. We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health.”
Big Book – Chapter nine “The family afterward” p.146 First edition.
What an interesting and intriguing statement Bill makes in chapter nine of the book. It probably raises more questions than answers?
Here are some questions it has always raised for me. They may not have answers but the questions themselves are worthy of consideration.
What does Bill mean by “twisted thinking”? I certainly know for myself where my alcoholic stinking thinking would invariably lead. It always ended up with picking up the next drink. What could “twisted thinking” mean for you? How about Depression? Did you, like me have to ask for medical help to treat Depression? If you suffer from depression, besides medical treatment, have you found a way to overcome it or at least manage it effectively?
Miracles of mental health
What could Bill have meant when he describes many of the early members of AA as “miracles of mental health”?
A spiritual mode of living
Now the most important question; what did Bill mean exactly when he stated that “a spiritual mode of living is a most powerful health restorative”?
How would you define “a spiritual mode of living”? How is it a “most powerful health restorative”? Is a “spiritual mode of living” dependant on a belief in God?
The spiritual malady
Bills statement is very similar to another that he made in Chapter Five: “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically”
Big Book – Chapter five “How it works” p. 77 First edition
Bill was convinced that a spiritual mode of living could help us with the sometimes twisted alcoholic thinking and bouts of depression in early sobriety; sometimes, in not so early sobriety? Perhaps like me you have been cynical about all things spiritual and wondered what recovery from alcoholism had to do with any “spiritual mode of living’? A very reasonable question in itself!
“Constant thought of others”
I have learned that twisted thinking and depression are symptoms of the mental aspect of untreated alcoholism. A spiritual mode of living becomes the solution. It works by helping me to get out of myself by focusing on someone else’s problems and not my own. The happiness and contentment that comes from helping someone else is highly likely to keep me sober for another day with a smile on my face.
“Our very lives as ex alcoholics depend on our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs”
Big Book – Chapter two “There is a solution” p. 30 First edition