Chris R. – AA Speaker – What does it mean to be powerless over alcohol in AA?
I believe that Alcoholics Anonymous was a gift to us. It is difficult for me not to get quite emotional about it because I about the time that Bill Wilson was dying in 1971, I was picking up my first drink. If it hadn’t been for some people strongly standing in the trenches explaining to us what this program was about, I wouldn’t be here today. I have to tell you guys, I got a terrific life today. I have a wonderful life today as a direct result of following the actions in this book. If you do not want to follow the twelve steps, you will not be able to stay sober hanging around the periphery. You’re welcome to be here, but I might submit something to you. I spent years in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous wondering why couldn’t stay sober. When I wasn’t working the steps, it was more painful to be sober, than it was out there drinking. See, I suffer from a thing called a spiritual malady and the depression that occurs is so thick and real that you can cut it with a knife. I started going to doctors early on. I was barely twenty when I started seeing a doctor and got my first prescription for antidepressants. I was thirty five when I found out the last fifteen years that I was taking medication to treat a symptom that could be alleviated by twelve steps and a Higher Power. That is a pretty cool thing. So here’s what we’re going to talk about.
We are going to talk about alcoholism and drug addiction. What nobody bothered to tell me for years, in and out of the fellowship, was that it was it was genetic. You see we kept wanting to spend time in therapy talking about what it was in my life that caused me so much discomfort that I had to drink. Now I’ve got to tell you there was some stuff in my life that caused me some great discomfort, and I for sure drank over that. People sometimes misunderstand what I’m saying. I am not saying my past doesn’t matter; of course it matters. But alcoholism is a genetic illness that I would have had whether I’d been raised in a rich family or a poor family. Some of you guys in this room get cranky about this message. You’ve been holding on so tight to this issue that you continue to think these external things are causing you to drink and use drugs. But they are not, and that’s what the book tries to explain.
Bill Wilson in the first hundred pages of the Big Book describes the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the first sixty pages he talks about this right here; the first step. He then spends the next forty pages he describing the next eleven steps. Bill Wilson really wants us to understand what this is about. Are you an alcoholic or not? He said when he talked to Dr. Bob, he said that he had a desperate desire to stop, but saw no way out; for he’d earnestly tried many avenues of escape, painfully aware of being somehow abnormal. You know, the man “did not fully realize what it meant to be alcoholic.” See that’s the problem we have in this room right now. We’ve got some people in this room right now that call themselves alcoholic, but if you stop them and say, “Hey buddy, you keep calling yourself an alcoholic, would you mind telling me what that means?” Well, you’re going to get some uncomfortable silences.