When first challenged to admit defeat, most of us revolted. We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, self-confidence was no good whatever; in fact, it was a total liability.
I’ve stopped at just that little bit because of two things. First, I actually did approach AA expecting to be taught self-confidence. I thought it would help me learn to drink safely. I don’t know where I got that idea. The year was 1978, and I was sixteen years old, if that explains it. And yeah they pretty quickly told me that any confidence I had around alcohol was very misplaced. This could have to do with the fact that I was actually drunk at that first meeting and many meetings throughout my first years.
The second thing is that I meet people now with a different kind of self-confidence. For example, someone I know had her license taken away and had to serve time for a DUI. She expressed total confidence that she is done drinking. Her mother and step father, among others, are alcoholics and have just given up drinking, she says. I know there are famous people who claim to have done the same thing.
My view is terribly skewed but I know two things about this. First, I could not stop drinking without AA. I tried and failed miserably and constantly. Second, it has happened to me that I would not want to give up AA, even if I could maintain my sobriety without it. So from someone who approached AA hoping to be taught how to drink (and, when you think about it, how was that supposed to happen? drinking classes for underage winos?) I have become someone who participates because I want to.