From the August 1953 magazine.

Willpower Is the Wrong Word!

CERTAIN unenlightened people who know nothing about alcoholism are apt to congratulate me on "my terrific willpower" which they consider has enabled me to stop drinking; and I find it very hard to convince them that they are talking nonsense. They seem to think that I have tapped some hitherto undiscovered source of immense self-control, so I am able to defeat my depraved appetite for strong drink. But I know that I have done nothing of the kind and that I had just as much willpower many years ago. It evidently is a widely held view that it requires more willpower to refuse all offers of alcoholic refreshment than to stop after one or two; whereas I know that in actual fact the reverse is true.

The mistaken idea about willpower appears to be part and parcel of the viewpoint which holds that "giving up" drink is on a par with "giving up" sweets. . .a voluntary self-sacrifice which is a virtue and not a necessity and unfortunately it is an idea to which even some AA members still cling.

-- R. P.

Dublin, Ireland

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