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"Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict"
O., MD, Laguna Niguel, California.
(p. 439 in 3rd edition, p 407 in the 4th editiion.
In the 3rd edition it was entitled ".Doctor, Alcoholic,
Stopped in Time
physician wasn't hooked, he thought - he just prescribed
drugs medically indicated for his many ailments. Acceptance
was his key to liberation."
story is one of the most frequently quoted in the 3rd edition
because it talks so much about acceptance (pages 449-450).
original date of sobriety was December 1966, but he slipped
until July 1967. He didn't think he was an alcoholic, he
just had problems. "If you had my problems you'd drink too."
His major problem was his wife. "If you had my wife you'd
drink, too." He and his wife, Max, had been married twenty-eight
years when he entered A.A. He said she was a natural Al-Anon
long before they heard of either A.A. or Al-Anon.
story in the Big Book, and tapes of his talks, show that
Paul had a great sense of humor, and was a very humble man.
had begun to drink when in pharmacy school to help him sleep.
He went through pharmacy school, graduate school, medical
school, internship, residency and specialty training and,
finally went into practice. All the time his drinking kept
increasing. Soon he began taking drugs to pep him up and
tranquilizers to level off.
occasion he tried to stop completely, but had convulsions
from withdrawal. When he went to Mayo Clinic he was put
in the locked ward. Another hospitalization was in the psychiatric
ward of a hospital, on which he was on the staff. But there
he was introduced to A.A.
took him awhile to get off the alcohol and pills, but when
he wrote his story he said: "Today, I find I can't work
my A.A. program while taking pills, nor may I even have
them around for dire emergencies only. I can't say 'Thy
will be done,' and take a pill. I can't say, 'I'm powerless
over alcohol, but solid alcohol is okay.' I can't say 'God
could restore me to sanity but until He does, I'll control
myself - with pills.'"
started Pills Anonymous and Chemical Dependency Anonymous,
but did not attend them because he got all he needed from
A.A. He did not introduce himself as an alcoholic and addict,
and was irritated by people who want to broaden A.A. to
include other addictions.
wrote an article for the Grapevine on why doctors shouldn't
prescribe pills for alcoholics, and because he had a dual
problem was asked to write his story for the Big Book. It
was originally published in the A.A. Grapevine with the
title "Bronzed Moccasins" and an illustration of a pair
of bronze moccasins. It was eventually renamed and included
in the Big Book. His book, "There's More to Quitting Drinking
than Quitting Drinking," was published in 1995 by Sabrina
Publishing, Laguna Niguel, CA.
complained in an interview with A.A. Grapevine that the
story might have "overshot the mark." One of the most uncomfortable
things for him was people run up to him at a meeting and
tell him how glad they are the story is in the book. "They
say they were fighting with their home group because their
home group won't let them talk about drugs. So they show
their group the story and they say, 'By God, now you'll
have to let me talk about drugs.' And I really hate to see
the story as a divisive thing. I don't think we came to
A.A. to fight each other."
he denied that there is anything in the story he would want
to change. The story "makes clear the truth that an alcoholic
can also be an addict, and indeed that an alcoholic has
a constitutional right to have as many problems as he wants!
But that doesn't mean that every A.A. meeting has to be
open to a discussion of drugs if it doesn't want to. Every
meeting has the right to say it doesn't want drugs discussed.
People who want to discuss drugs have other places where
they can go to talk about that."
did he work his program? "Pretty much every morning, before
I get out of bed, I say the Serenity Prayer, the Third Step
Prayer, and the Seventh Step Prayer. Then Max and I repeat
those prayers along with other prayers and meditations at
had a special meeting format for early morning meetings.
He called them Attitude Adjustment Meetings. They consisted
largely of readings from the Big Book, prayers from the
Big Book and 12 & 12, and a short session of positive pitches.
The meetings were at 6:30 am or 7:00 am each day.
died on May 19, 2000. Max, died on July 1, 2001.
of the information about Dr. Paul is taken from his book
"There's More to Quitting Drinking than Quitting Drinking,"
and from his tapes.