When First Challenged to Admit Defeat (Step One continued)

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.

2 thoughts on “When First Challenged to Admit Defeat (Step One continued)

  1. Hi Lydia,

    As you can see I’ve been digging into your blog and this topic also drew my attention. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic but I do have an addiction, an addictive personality – the difference is that I had a different drug of choice to scape. When you talk about self-confidence here, it looks to me that it’s about drinking alcohol; thinking that alcoholics first come to AA thinking that they would be taught how to drink. In my case and I still don’t understand about self-confidence. I feel that this was working for me all the way through thinking that I did have self-confidence and was able to conquer the world but later on when I stepped into the fellowship, I have felt that that self-confidence was shattered. I am more freaking scared that I thought I was before and when I think of the actions I’d taken before when my addiction was unleashed most of them were with no hesitation. I just went ahead and get what I was looking for with my ambition. Now I feel that total liability making me look at the steps like where am I supposed to go now if the self-reliance I thought I had before is gone. I wonder how would look at based on your experience in the recovery world.Is it what is supposed to happen when one approaches a 12 step program feeling totally helpless, scare to the point that moving a foot at a time it feels all insecure and see if it’s going to the right direction?


    • Hi David, and thanks for your comment.

      Self-confidence is a total liability when it comes to facing alcohol. As long as I felt that I could handle it, I tried to handle it. Now many people successfully handle it, but I wasn’t one of them. AA had to teach me that I cannot go near alcohol. It is poison to me.

      As for the rest of it, my opinion is that most of us, myself included, didn’t know how to live. I could acknowledge high ideals and right living, but I was incapable of acting on my knowledge. Along with a release from alcohol, AA has given a plan to live by and many wonderful people to help me do it in real life. The folks in the rooms will steer you in the right direction. If you are a part of AA, you don’t have to be afraid to move your foot any more.

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