To Drink or Not to Drink: The Common Sense of Drinking by Carl Tuchy Palmieri and Richard R. Peabody
The book was written in 1928. And stands today as one of the most important contributions to problem drinkers. The purpose of the book is to define the alcoholic, show how he/she arrived at this condition, and by what method one can rid him/her of his/her habit once and for all. While aimed at the chronic inebriate the book will, be of interest to all who drink, more especially as it may show them where they stand on the line that separates moderation from excess. We find many parallels with and similar thinking to The Book Alcoholics Anonymous.
Both speak of the critical importance of Honesty. In The common sense of Drinking, Richard Peabody states “once the alcoholic takes up treatment, he must be absolutely honest in giving account of his thoughts and actions, and he must take great precautions against lying ingeniously (rationalizing) to himself. To Be Frank and honest in all relations especially in all relations with oneself, is the first principle of mental hygiene. In the Chapter How it works we find the following petition. “those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves” “They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living that demands vigorously honesty” “There are those, too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest”
Both books speak of the importance of literature
Peabody writes It is often helpful in influencing the trend of thinking to read books of a constructive nature whether they bear directly on the problem or whether they the appeal is through inference.” “Books which influence this manner are biographies and autobiographies of men who have become successful”
The big book speaks of literature in the Chapter into action “we sometimes select and memorize a few select prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one’s priest, minister, or Rabbi”
Writing is recommended in both the big book and “To Drink or Not to Drink”.
The big book references writing in the 12 steps. “In dealing with resentments we set them on paper” “made a list of all the people we had harmed” In Bill’s story we have bills stating “We, made a list of people I had hurt or toward whom I felt resentment” step # 8 made a list of all the people we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all etc.
Reading and writing is outlined in the common sense of drinking as a necessary step to cure alcoholism. “Writing as well as reading is of benefit to the patient. It helps crystallize in his mind the idea he has received”
“One of the tasks I set is the making of a daily schedule, which once made out had to be lived up to.”