I’ve never been wild about the AA line where you admit you’re powerless over alcohol. It feels defeatist to me, tail between your legs, almost victim-like.

BUT. In a podcast yesterday, the host made the comment that it’s ok to admit that you don’t have power over certain things. Her example was, if you pick up a flame, you don’t have the power to keep yourself from getting burned.

The whole issue with alcohol is that it makes people become physically addicted to it. I am powerless to change that. I have become addicted, and I have no power to change that.

What I DO have power over is not picking up the flame, not opening the wine bottle, not even entertaining the idea that I can drink. So, I’m not powerless over my behavior, but I’m powerless over the results that happen when I misbehave (if I have one drink, I WILL have five drinks. I will never stop sooner except in the rarest of circumstances).

Thinking of it this way gives me more peace about admitting I’m powerless in the face of alcohol.

The challenge remains, for me, to set my boundaries far enough away from the edge that I never even entertain a thought about drinking. For me, once the thought is there, it’s almost impossible to stop the train.

Does anyone out there have any insight on training yourself to actually truly not want to drink? Not to just want to want to not drink? Can anyone even follow my convoluted questioning?

7 thoughts on “Powerless

  1. I’m not sure what the answer is. I couldn’t bare myself any longer. Alcohol meant lack of control, guilt, shame and anxiety. I just couldn’t cope with all that and though there are times I want to drink, I know that one glass will lead to me having to hang out with that nightmare woman again … the ‘other’ me. I’d rather she was left out of things from now on.

    I have to admit for the first few months at least I thought about drinking, not drinking, sober, drunk … ALL the time. Obsessed about it. That does fade I promise. I realised yesterday that a few days back I hit 8 mths sober and I hadn’t even clocked it. At the beginning I knew how many hours I’d been sober! Now all I need to do is take the same approach with chocolate! Xxx


  2. You’re going to have different viewpoints on everything in AA depending on who you talk to, however, the principles are the same – if that makes any sense. So you do make sense to me 🙂 Simply put, “When I put any amount of alcohol in my system – bad things happen.” Nothing stands between the drink and I – period. Thus, I am powerless over alcohol (once I take that first drink I can’t stop) but I’m also powerless over a lot of other things. When I was drinking I was a complete control freak. If you didn’t do what I say, exactly how I said it and didn’t have it done two weeks ago I was pissed at you. Yet at home, deep down, I knew what a jerk I was and drank to oblivion to get rid of my guilt. Even without alcohol, I can still be that jerk. I still have that alcoholic mind – selfish, self-centered behaviors. If I don’t get rid of them, I will drink again. If we don’t change various aspects of our lives (behaviors), we’re going to drink again. Why? Is the alcohol the problem or am I the problem. I was the problem creating all the chaos in my life. In our literature, we say, “Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.” Providing solutions to people about their problems who don’t want to drink is the whole purpose of AA. We are in this together and together we will get through [whatever] without drinking “one day at a time” 🙂 How do I do it? If I feel like drinking, I go to a meeting and/or call someone and tell them the truth, “Hey its Mike, I want to drink.” Eventually, I’ll open up about what’s going on in my life where I think a drink is going to solve all my problems. They help me get through the situation without drinking. I couldn’t and can’t do it alone. It never worked the 1000 times I tried before. When I involve others in my sobriety and we, together, keep each other sober it’s a miracle. They showed me, through their own experiences, ” a new way of living”. All I did was follow in the footsteps of hundreds of others before me.

    And this is my problem – I never get straight to the point LOL.

    I wanted to touch upon defeat. I was defeated. Alcohol was my master. I didn’t know how to eat, sleep nor even breathe without alcohol. It beat me down so hard, nothing else mattered in life. I had to have alcohol to survive. I lied, cheated, stole, begged, borrowed, etc. There came a point in my life where I was done. I couldn’t live the way I was living. Something had to change. I had to learn how to live life without using alcohol. This is what lead me to AA and the 12 Steps. Honestly, it’s a simple program for complicated people – us alcoholics. That is what we do – we complicated the shit out of everything (at least I do)!

    I’ll end with this. Remember, in early sobriety it’s very hard NOT to think about drinking. Even years later, we still have occasional thoughts. It was suggested to me (in rehab) to change people, places and things. No more drinking buddies, no more going out with the guys/gals – this is the time for introspection about you and how to change your life. The party is over – your true life is about to begin!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so true – it’s the times when I don’t protect my baby sobriety and change out of situations where I know I’ll be triggered that I end up relapsing.

      And I am thinking more and more about finding a good community that’s “live”, so to speak. I love the blogging world but think I’d benefit from having that person or those people, like you can say, who I can call when I say I want a drink and get an immediate response.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Each person’s approach is usually very customized. Having said that, what helped me was to acknowledging all the negativity alcohol had brought into my life over the years. Once that switch was turned on I was able to climb out of the neural network trench formed and create a new healthy pathway without alcohol.
    This Naked Mind by Annie Grace helped tremendously along with her 30 day experiment:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I do love Annie Grace, and also Allen Carr (sometimes she feels like a modernized and researched version of him, which is great!). I just did a journaling exercise last night where I wrote a letter to myself about all the ways alcohol has negatively affected my life. Super helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

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