From the March 2012 magazine.

Keeping Spiritually Fit

An AA reflects on some of the teachings of the Big Book

After more than a dozen years of sobriety, I have finally come to terms with my own powerlessness over alcohol. For years, I could not accept the implications of the word "powerless." Of course I had power over alcohol, I thought—after all, who had poured it down my throat? I had—no one else. Thus, I practiced Step One from page 30 of the Big Book: "we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery." I had no problem with the word "alcoholic," or with fully conceding that I was one. Several doctors had diagnosed me as an alcoholic, and I had proven it to myself through repeated arrests, treatment centers, and emergency room visits due to alcohol. But powerless over alcohol? Not me!

My breakthrough finally occurred when I began thinking about the italicized passage from page 24 of the Big Book: "The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent ... We are without defense against the first drink." For me, this means that I have no power to choose what number of drinks I have— whether that number is zero, two, or 50. But further explanation is required, as this point took many years for me to understand myself.

-- Gabriela R.

Lynnwood, Washington

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