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Defense against the first drink

Do I, or can I, have a defense against the first drink?
This site deals only with questions about A.A. Depending who you ask that question to you would likely get many different answers. Here, however, we will try to answer the question from the AA perspective as the subject is discussed in A.A. literature, specifically The Big Book, the main text of the fellowship.

So then, as seen from our perspective, you can have a defense against the first drink if you are a moderate drinker or a hard drinker as described on Page 21 of Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book).

On the other hand, the real alcoholic described on that same page and on other pages in the Big Book does not have a defense against the first drink. Consider the words beginning at the bottom of Page 24: "The tragic truth is that if the man be a real alcoholic...he has lost control. At a certain point in the drinking of every alcoholic, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop drinking is of absolutely no avail. This tragic situation has already arrived in practically every case long before it is suspected."

"The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink."

For a chronic alcoholic, William D. Silkworth, M.D. said the only defense for an alcoholic is to take steps that produce "an entire psychic change." In his considered opinion, "once a psychic change has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules." (page xxix)

Sigmund Freud's protégé, Carl Jung, M.D., said recovery from alcoholism requires "huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them." (page 27)

In the view of alcoholics who recovered using the A.A. program of recovery, the goal is to have the obsession to drink lifted by having a spiritual experience or a spiritual awakening. Steps 4-9, the action steps of the 12-step program, have produced the desired results for countless millions of real alcoholics.

Page 89 also gives this advice for those looking for a defense against the first drink: "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics."

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