But upon entering A.A. we soon take quite another view of this absolute humiliation. We perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.
I think of the jaywalker story in which a man keeps jaywalking and getting hurt worse and worse. It’s obvious to everyone but him that if he keeps it up, he’s going to die. He promises to stop and tries to stop but there he is again.
The part that I don’t think is in the book is that he probably sees many successful jaywalkers all the time. The analogy of course is to how we alcoholics keep drinking even as the consequences get progressively worse. The jaywalker is insane, and so is an active alcoholic.
If I couldn’t walk, but I wouldn’t admit it, and I kept trying to walk, I’d only hurt myself more and more. If I admitted I couldn’t walk, and learned to get around by other means, I would be free from the inability to walk.
Not a perfect metaphor, but close. As long as I didn’t admit I couldn’t drink without worsening consequences, I kept doing it, and I hurt myself more and more. When I admitted I couldn’t drink, I could then start to learn to live without alcohol. To cope with life without alcohol.
Sometime back a commenter here asked me “how do you replace the alcohol?” Alcohol for me was a coping mechanism because I couldn’t stand the reality of life without it. Or maybe I could stand it, but it was rough, and I didn’t like it. As long as I stayed under the influence, I couldn’t learn any real coping skills. I stopped drinking and started to live the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. There I learned to be able to stand reality, then to cope with it, and finally to mostly love it.
So glad I was defeated. If I was able to go back, I’d have to do it all again.