If you could'uv you would'uv but you didn't so you can't.

The refrain of some many sick and suffering alcoholics and drug addicts is "i can do it myself if I want to."

I met a man in A.A. who taught me a lot.  Jimmy Logan, now dead God bless him, had a very congenial and friendly manner as well as a very rough and tough one.  He had worked on the Boston waterfronts and was well known in Boston A.A. circles.  I was reminded of him the other day.

I was talking with a 79 y.o., male, alcoholic who was in our rehabilitation hospitals and he was basically through with detoxification, it had lasted longer than normal, and he was still quite physically and mentally sick.  We were discussing the fact that if he were to stay longer in the hospital he would have to get involved in our seminar program, group and individual therapy, etc.  He was refusing to do anything but sit around the detoxification unit and watch T.V. and do whatever else appealed to him.  He was also pretending to be deaf and partially blind to avoid pressured and elicit sympathy from the nurses.

As we talked he would tap the side of his unshaven, sallow face.  He couldn't have weighed much more than 120 pounds although he was about six feet tall, and he would say "Its all in my head.  I can do it myself if I want to."  He didn't want to hear any "crap" from anybody else.  I remember well his horny, nicotine stained nails, his emaciated body, half his upper front teeth missing.  He was dying of alcoholism and he'd tap away at his temple and say, "I can do it myself."

Talking to him I was frustrated, enraged, terribly saddened, angry not with him but with his alcoholism, that had him so benighted that it made him say "I can do it myself." and I practically yelled back at him what Jimmy Logan said so often, "If you could'uv you would'uv but you didn't so you can't."  And for just a moment, both of us a bit surprised, we both understood and then his resistance and denial took over and he stalked off down the hospital corridor.
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