Doctor, Doctor give me the cure, an opinion that would endure
What Exactly Is the Doctor’s Opinion
Aug 18, 2011 10:04 pm
Nowadays it seems that those whose opinions matter the most are too gun shy to share them for fear of having their words twisted, their reputations destroyed, lawsuits brought upon them and so on. Not so with the alcoholic though, we’re generally more than eager to broadcast our opinions, especially if they are fully grounded in insanity. Fortunately, the authors of the Big Book were well aware of the general public’s intolerance for the alcoholic’s opinion and decided to focus solely on their experiences. With even greater foresight the authors sought the opinion of one of the most respected professionals of their era, the doctor.
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
With his many years of experience in treating the alcoholics and drug addicts of his time, Dr. Silkworth was able to develop a disease model for alcoholism that incorporated the physical component as well as the mental, an idea that had begun to generate widespread support amongst his peers in the medical community. Though that concept allowed them to understand the alcoholic situation through a new standard of diagnostics, it brought them no closer to finding a cure for the condition. All of a sudden one of his hopelessly chronic patients, Bill Wilson, began to put some of the pieces together and “acquired certain ideas concerning a possible means of recovery.” Some of these pieces came from the doctor, such as the physical allergy, mental obsession and vicious cycle that we will soon be reading about. Other pieces came from Ebby, such as the spiritual shortcoming and spreading the word with other alcoholics. Another piece came from his sudden and profound spiritual experience. In essence, Bill had found a cure, for lack of a better word. That cure was sharing what he had learned with other alcoholics so they could share with still more. Dr. Silkworth had seen this method work many times over for previously hopeless alcoholics and their families and instantly recognized its significance and possibilities.
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
For some of us we turn to “The Doctor’s Opinion” early on in our talks with the new member in order to show them what alcoholism looks like in their lives, and it can be easy to believe that the doctor’s opinion is all about the disease concept. That isn’t so. The doctor’s opinion is that the solution laid out in the rest of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, is the absolute remedy for the disease of alcoholism. He is the “heavy” that weighed in to give our text his seal of approval and professional, medical validation.
Charley P. Austin, TX.
See you on the radio