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Alcoholism and Powerlessness

There has always been a lot of confusion about this matter of asserting the will. When the twelve steps say “we admitted we were powerless over alcohol” we assert what has always been a fact about that malady. Namely that a frontal attack by the will on the desire to drink almost never works. This hard fact is the premise upon which we must start. The recognition that actual lunacy cannot be subdued by straight will power. God knows drunks have tried hard enough to do just this and have generally failed. Nobody would expect much result were every kleptomaniac to take the pledge not to steal. Repeating stealing, the kleptomaniac is as compulsively nutty as he can be. Though this compulsive condition is not so generally recognized in the alcoholic, because drinking is socially acceptable, it is never the less true that he is just about as crazy. Therefore our first is realistic when it declares that we are powerless to deal with the alcohol hex on our own resources or will.-pg. 273 from The Language Of The Heart

It is clear that we cannot get sober on our own or by willpower alone. If we could the majority of alcoholics in this world would probably opt for getting sober that way resulting in a huge number of success stories regarding sobriety. However the fact is that willpower or our wills have nothing to do with it. It wasn’t because we were weak willed that we could not stop drinking or could not rise above this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body that we suffered from. In fact, our will if anything kept us drinking and using longer. Therefore no matter how strong or weak our will and mind was we surely could not recover using the same tools we used to get loaded. We could not fix the problem with the problem. Instead what we needed to do was ask for alcohol addiction help and work a program. Some of us might have even needed extra help through places such as a drug addiction detox, AA, or 30 day rehab program. Again needing these places in order to recover is not a matter of being weak willed. There are positive ways to incorporate our wills into our lives as well as negative ways. When we look at different ways to stay sober we are using our willpower to the best of our ability. We pray and meditate so that our will is aligned with our higher powers will for us. It is then and only then that we can be freed from the bondage of self.

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