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- January 10, 2017 at 1:57 am #4839055
I would also agree with the paradox concept.
Why does the step one topic discuss powerlessness, surrender, etc.?
Because that’s where we need to start. If the first step started with “we gained power over our addiction” it would be end of story, case closed, no need for a 2-12. The first start is to get out of the fight. Alcohol will always be a losing battle for an alcoholic.
I will always lose a fist fight with heavyweight boxing champs, but I get peace and a better life if I just don’t pick that battle. In a sense, I win fist fights by not starting them in the first place. Likewise, I get a gift of sobriety by steps to keep me out of bottles.January 10, 2017 at 2:04 am #4839050
You’re misunderstanding my point. On my own power, I’m bound to drink again. But we promise you this, if you find that you are alcoholic, you don’t ever have to drink again. The insanity of the first drink is the nature of powerlessness. Pages 33 to 43 are designed to show you and I the states of MIND that precedes the first drink. There are some that say, “just think through the drink”. Well, if your experience lines up with the Big Book, I can’t rely on my mind to keep me sober. I can’t predict when the time or place will occur called “at certain times” when I have no mental defense from the first drink. That’s the purpose of the remaining steps…to bring about some sanity around this first drink. But the book is also real clear, that to maintain that level of sanity, I have to do something to maintain spiritual fitness. Everything I do in AA is because of what I saw in the first step. Who wants to write inventory, or make amends, or do service work? Who’s gonna take all these courses of action if they don’t need power? Now don’t get me wrong, I do all of these things to stay sober because of my connection with the first step, but today I don’t do them out of fear that I will drink again as much as I like the effect produced by doing the work. My first trip through the steps, absolutely out of fear and desperation. Today, I like what I get out of it. It gives me a sense of power, peace, and sense of direction. It gives my life meaning, depth and purpose. But that first step is the foundation. It is that truth that catapults me into the rest of the work.January 10, 2017 at 2:24 am #4839064
Does Step One “always” hold true? I would argue that it doesn’t. There are brief intervals of “success” and often we are highly functional when we first started our drinking careers. Even the Big Book recognizes this. From Chapter 3–More About Alcoholism.
We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals – usually brief – were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.
I have had many of those brief intervals, but they were just that: brief intervals. (Perhaps, I could argue that they were longer than brief early in my drinking career, when I was a highly functional drunk. Eventually, I stopped functioning in a productive manner and came undone). Nonetheless, it got progressively worse over time, despite my best efforts to curb my drinking and the negative consequences came with it.
I often view this in a childlike simplicity–there are two types of people in the world: those who can drink with impunity and those who cannot. We (i.e. alcoholics) cannot drink with impunity. We will eventually eat a s*#t sandwich and the worst part is that we make them ourselves. If that is not powerless, then I don’t know what is. No sane person would continue to eat s*#t sandwiches, after they had one or two or even a few. However, alcoholics will continue to eat them–we will continue to place our hand on the hot stove after we burn ourselves, and even burn other innocent bystanders. (Read the parable about the jaywalker in the same chapter. That is us).
Empowerment comes from learning how to not eat those s*#t sandwiches. For alcoholics, the first step is abstinence, which requires honesty, humility, and acceptance of the fact that we are alcoholic.
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