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Surrender – The First Step to Recovery

“We know that little good can come to any alcoholic who joins A.A. unless he has first accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences. Until he so humbles himself, his sobriety–if any–will be precarious. Of real happiness he will find none at all. Proved beyond doubt by an immense experience, this is one of the facts of A.A. life. The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered. When first challenged to admit defeat, most of us revolted. We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, self-confidence was no good whatever; in fact, it was a total liability. Our sponsors declared that we were the victims of a mental obsession so subtly powerful that no amount of human willpower could break it. There was, they said, no such thing as the personal conquest of this compulsion by the unaided will. Relentlessly deepening our dilemma, our sponsors pointed out our increasing sensitivity to alcohol–an allergy, they called it. The tyrant alcohol wielded a double-edged sword over us: first we were smitten by an insane urge that condemned us to go on drinking, and then by an allergy of the body that insured we would ultimately destroy ourselves in the process. Few indeed were those who, so assailed, had ever won through in single-handed combat. It was a statistical fact that alcoholics almost never recovered on their own resources.”

– From the chapter on Step One from The AA Twelve and Twelve


As alcoholics trying to get sober the first step whether we plan to go to an alcohol rehab, AA, or other alcohol programs is to admit that we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. It isn’t until we admit complete defeat that we can move forward. If we do not surrender to the fact that we are alcoholics many of us will not be willing to go to any lengths to receive help and stay sober. We must realize we suffer from an allergy of the body and a spiritual malady that no amount of will power can fix.

If we are to recover from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body we must be rid of the things that bind us through doing this work on ourselves.

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