On Powerlessness in the Lives of Alcoholics and Addicts

“At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail.” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 24.

This is Powerlessness.

Our souls beg us to cut out the drinking.  There is attempt after attempt to engage our will to halt the madness of the drink and no matter how hard we try, we cannot.  The body sends signals that the drinking isn’t doing what it initially did; the mind, fully conscious that nothing but misery is at the bottom of every glass, is incapable of overriding this burning need.  Even feeling all of these feelings and intrinsically knowing that all of these more-than-obvious clues scream STOP, we continue to imbibe.  We gamble our very lives, and as we lose over and over, we watch, almost as outsiders, any and everything loved and cared for slip away.  It still isn’t enough.  We plead with ourselves; we make promises, fully meaning them at the time; we swear on all that we have or don’t have and yet, we cannot stop.

Why is this?  It’s the allergy of the body which is triggered by the drink itself and subsequently it ensnares our mind causing an obsession that overrides EVERYTHING else and that, in turn, relies on and continues our spiritual bankruptcy.  It is a threefold catch 22, which is the disease of alcoholism.  And, our very starting point is our Powerlessness over alcohol.

In early Recovery, this first half of the first step can be difficult to grasp, to truly learn how insidious this Powerlessness is.  The California alcohol rehab staff has an intimate understanding and can clarify and expound on this, going so far as to give examples of what this looks like and how it manifests.  If we don’t have a thorough comprehension, there is the possibility we may still hold to the idea that somehow, someday, we can control our drinking.  As alcoholics, we must grasp this fundamental truth.

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