Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Step 1: Am I an Alcoholic?

Step 1: am I an alcoholic?

I think this should be asked of every new person prior to coming to the meeting... and be asked to have an open mind to your first step.

Am I an alcoholic? Well am I? How do I find out?

One good way is to go back into my own experience. Look at how I drank booze. Not so much looking at the drama or outer circumstances, but how was it with me and booze? How was it when I tried to control my drinking? Why did I feel the need to control my drinking? How was I when I was abruptly separated from booze once I had a good drunk started?

Ultimately, could I control the amount once I started, and/or, could I stay stopped for something like a year on my own power. When I read pages 30, 31, 32, 33, etc... I start to understand why I might just be an alcoholic.

It's also good to know what an alcoholic isn't. What is a hard drinker? What is a moderate drinker? A teetotaler? Can a hard drinker cross the line and become a real alky? Well, evidently yes. And once an alky, always an alky. But not just anybody can get drunk and become an alcoholic. It's complicated, but it just doesn't work that way. Alcoholism is a very selective malady and tests have been done to support this "theory" if you will. I like what a book Under the Influence says about the matter. But I don't like the doc's plan for recovery.

That's all we need, is another plan, right?

But I was given the dignity to find out for myself whether I was an alky or not. I was not forced, coerced, rushed, etc. into AA. I was given the dignity to come to my own conclusion and act accordingly. At one point, my group had to watch me fight recovery and go out and drink again. As the book say, alcohol is the Great Persuader. For it finally and once again "beat me into a state of reasonableness."

When I came back in, they said I looked whipped. They said I was quiet, scared, and didn't seem to have a plan. For me, that was the start of my first step. But I was given the gift of "being open to my first step" and follow the path of consideration.

To partake in a spiritual excercise, you have to start with a question, not an answer.

It was not necessary that I drink again because for one thing, that's dangerous for a guy like me. I could have died or killed people. But... I got in fear and refused to deal with it. Another plan is to see how well you stay sober on your own power. If neither that nor trying some controlled drinking doesn't work, you're probably an alcoholic.

Coming to the realization that you're an alcoholic should be a scary one. It was for me. For, left to my own devices, I will drink again. And for me to drink again means




So this idea of a God personal to me becomes pretty believable. That's how the 1st step shakes out for me. It's not just the 1st step as listed on the Step Scroll or on page 60. It's everything from Title Page, preface, forwards, Dr's Opinion, Bill's Story, There is a Solution, More about Alcoholism, and a paragraph on We Agnostics... other known as the Bedevilments... "We were having problems with personal relationships..."

And if you'll notice, the first 8 pages of Bill's Story is his drunkalog. You can ask yourself "How did I drink, think and feel like Bill?" Pages 9-16 was what he did to recover.

Up to page 23 or so... that's the physical "craving of booze" when it's in my body. From right after that to about page 43, that's the mental obsession or when alcohol is not in my body, but in my mind; the mental obsession. Then the bedevilments on page 52 talk to me about the spiritual malady, or my life without God, whether I'm sober or not.

Step 1, for me it didn't happen over night.

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