The Importance of Honesty in Recovery
November 3, 2017
2014 Membership Survey
November 9, 2017

In the A.A. pamphlet “A Newcomer Asks” it says:

In our experience, the people who recover in A.A. are those who:

  1. stay away from the first drink;
  2. attend A.A. meetings regularly;
  3. seek out the people in A.A. who have successfully stayed sober for some time;
  4. try to put into practice the A.A. program of recovery.

Honestly, if you don’t stay away from the first drink, the other three are not going to be very helpful. So let’s explore how we can stay away from the first drink.

For most of us, it’s a major challenge in early sobriety to stay away from the first drink, but without the willingness to do it, there is no sobriety. To make matters worse is to actually put a few days/weeks together because it can lead to a false sense of confidence in oneself and the next thing you know you’re back on the bar stool. Despite being morally, spiritually and financially bankrupt when I came in, it still didn’t take much for me to think “I got this.” Be diligent !

I can only stay away from the first drink if I start every day with the reminder that I am powerless over alcohol. Not taking the first drink is my main mission for a day. I need to keep this in my thought process before all other thoughts – especially in these early days.

In treatment, the counselor showed my group a picture of a shot of whiskey and asked the question “Who here thinks they are powerless over this little thing?” No one raised their hand. Today, I know that my problem isn’t due to being a “weak” willed human being. I understand this as being an illness. My mind has a mental obsession and my body has an allergic reaction. So, I obsess about drinking until I take the first one, then the physical allergy / craving kicks in and all bets are off. That’s probably why “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol” is Step 1.

In the beginnings of my sobriety, I would find myself late at night thinking about a drink or going out to the bar and I would have to use a distraction like cleaning the house or calling my sponsor or friend in the program. Also, thinking the thought all the way through until the end (not glamorizing it). I would ask myself, will I get into a fight, get arrested, spend all my money, what is it going to be like coming home, will I make it home, will I make it to work, get fired, go to the hospital, have a terrible hangover and not remember what happened, not to mention what it’ll do to my loved ones, again, etc.

For others, they may experience urges to drink more so during the summer months when it’s warm outside. Maybe, going to the local store and walking past the cooler is a “trigger.” Acknowledging these triggers and having a plan already in place for when they do occur is a life saver.

Some days were tough and I would need to take it one hour or even one minute at a time. “I’m not going to drink for the next one minute.” That seemed to break it down into a size I could handle.

I never thought it was possible to stay sober and actually enjoy life without alcohol, but I was wrong (not the first time). We alcoholics have a choice, stay in that god awful hell and die or seek out a better way to live, ONE DAY AT A TIME.

The following passage really helps put things into perspective. I try to read it every day in the morning to start my day off right.

From the book “Twenty-Four Hours a Day” – Jan. 6, 2011:

AA Thought for the Day
Keeping sober is the most important thing in my life. The most important decision I ever made was my decision to give up drinking. I am convinced that my whole life depends on not taking that first drink. Nothing in the world is as important to me as my own sobriety. Everything I have, my whole life, depends on that one thing.

Can I afford ever to forget this, even for one minute?

Meditation for the Day
I will discipline myself. I will do this disciplining now. I will turn out all useless thoughts. I know that the goodness of my life is a necessary foundation for its usefulness. I will welcome this training, for without it God cannot give me this power. I believe that this power is a mighty power when it is used in the right way.

Prayer for the Day
I pray that I may face and accept whatever discipline is necessary. I pray that I may be fit to receive God’s power in my life.

By Hazelden Foundation – Anonymous Author


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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.