From the January 1948 magazine.

14 Pointers to A.A. Success

If I am to stay sober, I must:

  1. Cultivate continued acceptance of the fact that my choice is between unhappy, drunken drinking and doing without one small drink.
  2. Cultivate enthusiastic gratitude that I have had the good fortune to find out what was wrong with me before it was too late.
  3. Expect as being both natural and inevitable that for a period of time (it may be a long one) I will recurringly experience: a conscious, nagging craving for a drink as such; a sudden, but compelling, impulse just to take a drink; a craving, not for a drink as such, but for the soothing glow and warmth a drink or two once gave me.
  4. Remember that the times when I don't want a drink are the times in which to build up the strength not to take one when I do want it.
  5. Develop and rehearse a daily plan of thinking and acting by which I will live that day without a drink, regardless of what may upset me or how hard the old urge for a drink may hit me.
  6. Not allow myself to think: "Isn't it a pity or an injustice that I can't take a drink like so-called normal people."
  7. Not allow myself either to think or to talk about any real or imagined pleasure I once did get from drinking.
  8. Not permit myself to think a drink or two would make some bad situation better, or at least easier to live with. Substitute the thought that one drink will make it worse, one drink will mean a drunk.
  9. Minimize my situation. Think, as I see here and there a blind or otherwise handicapped person, how joyful such a person would be if his problem could be solved by just not taking one little drink today. Think gratefully of how lucky I am to have so simple and small a problem.
  10. Cultivate and woo enjoyment of sobriety. Catalog and recatalog: how good it is to be free of shame, mortification and self-condemnation; how good it is to be free of fear of the consequences of a drunk just ended, or of the coming drunk you have never before been able to prevent; how good it is to be free of what people have been thinking and whispering about you, and of their mingled pity and contempt; how good it is to be free from fear of yourself.
  11. Catalog and recatalog the positive enjoyments of sobriety, such as: the simple ability to eat and sleep normally, and to wake up glad I am alive, sober yesterday, and glad I have the privilege of staying sober today; the ability to face whatever life may dish out with peace of mind, self respect and a full possession of all my faculties.
  12. Cultivate a helpful association of ideas. I associate a drink as being the single cause of all the misery, shame and mortification I have ever known. I do this ad infinitum. I associate a drink as being the only thing that can destroy my new-found happiness, and take from me my self-respect and peace of mind. I do this ad infinitum.
  13. Cultivate gratitude: gratitude that so much good can be mine for so small a price; gratitude that I can trade away just one drink for all the happiness sobriety gives me; gratitude that A.A. exists and that I found out about it in time; gratitude that I am only the victim of a disease called alcoholism, that I am not a degenerate, a moral weakling, the self-elected victim of a vice or a person of doubtful sanity; gratitude that because others have done it, I can in time bring it to pass that I won't want or miss the one drink I am doing without.
  14. Seek out ways to help other alcoholics and remember the first way to help others is to stay sober myself.
-- J.S.B.

Manhattan, New York

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