Choice over the first drink
Can the alcoholic ever regain the power of choice over the first drink?
Whether the true alcoholic has a choice over their next drink is a matter of opinion (and folks who hold a strong opinion on this question may even disagree with the premise that it is a matter of opinion).
Some read a quote like the following and conclude that they don't have choice: "It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition." (Big Book page 85)
Others read things like the subtitle of the Big Book itself and conclude they are recovered ex-alcoholics and do have full control over their next drink.
The full title of the Big Book is:
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism
For many, the use of the word "recovered" indicates a condition that is in that past and has been overcome. The first printing of the Big Book also called us "Ex-Alcoholics" instead of "Ex-Problem Drinkers" as it reads now.
There is also the wording of the 1st Step; that we WERE powerless over alcohol - not that we will stay powerless over alcohol.
A third way of looking at it is that we were powerless over alcohol while drinking but after a period of sobriety the next drink becomes a choice.
Some of these things can only be decided by the individual and provide fodder for endless debate. Fortunately the semantics don't effect our recovery - it is the same program of recovery whether or not you believe you have a choice to drink.