We know that little good can come to any alcoholic who joins A.A. unless he has first accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences. Until he so humbles himself, his sobriety-if any-will be precarious. Of real happiness he will find none at all. Proved beyond doubt by an immense experience, this is one of the facts of A.A. life. The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered.
I’m struggling to help someone right now, and this I believe explains her problem. Accepting the consequences of the weakness, of being alcoholic, is a mammoth, life-changing event. I still remember, to a certain extent, the cold stark fear of admitting the fact that I couldn’t live with alcohol any longer. I already knew that I couldn’t live without it. And so, I thought, I really couldn’t live.
If only . . . If only I could find the words that would ultimately be convincing to someone who struggles. If only I could somehow give the hope that you can live without alcohol. I am living without alcohol, and so are so many happy, serene people in the program. Lots of the people are unhappy, too, but not usually at the soul-crushing level that alcohol makes us happy.
It’s a fact of A.A. life. Unfortunately, I see it proven again and again by people who can’t accept the weakness and all its consequences. An alcoholic who continues to drink is just not headed anywhere good.
Complete defeat. That has brought life to me, and I’m here to say it is worth it.