From the May 1962 magazine.

Where Will Power Comes In

The following is Bill's answer to a letter asking about the role of the will power in staying sober.--ED.

THERE has always been a lot of confusion about this matter of exerting 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. Respecting 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 nevertheless true that he is just about as crazy. Therefore our First Step is realistic when it declares that we are powerless to deal with the alcohol hex on our own resources or will.

-- Bill

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