Pat T. June 21, 1992
I’ve sponsored so many people who tell me how desperately they want to stay sober. Some of them have been trying for years. They all tell me they don’t want to drink.
I believe them.
Then I have to tell them that not wanting to drink won’t keep them sober. If you have alcoholism, it hasn’t stopped you in the past and it won’t stop you now.
Touch the Fire
I know that touching fire hurts – I don’t touch fire, even when I’m around it. I don’t have to remind myself, I don’t think about wanting to touch it. I just know what will happen if I do.
If my mind handled fire like it does alcohol, I’d be burnt to a crisp. (And god knows, I have been….)
Yet for some reason, my brain can’t connect the dots when it comes to booze. My drinking life was a hazmat dump and I’m still wondering if I can have a couple. Alcoholics drink whether we want to or not.
Here’s what the Big Book says:
“We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of a even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.
Alcoholics Anonymous, page 24
I can’t stay sober by just wanting not to drink – because I won’t remember how awful it got. I won’t remember touching the fire will always burn me.
So what am I supposed to do? A power greater than myself, perhaps?
Expect to be Overpowered
If I admit I am powerless over alcohol, I should expect to be overpowered at some point. My sponsor said this: Two alcoholics together are a power greater than me. When I’m thinking of drinking, I have to call someone and tell them….even though I don’t want to drink.
I had to suck it up and reach out.
I have to call these people I don’t know, even though it makes me feel like an idiot. Makes feel like I’m bothering them. Makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong because I thought about drinking. Makes me worry you’ll think I’m stupid…weak…pathetic.
If you don’t want to drink – call. We know it sucks. We know it’s hard. We know. Call us.
Call when you first think it, even it just comes in and goes out of your head. Call when you dream about it, call when you’re proud you didn’t drink when you thought it. Call when you think it’s no big deal.
Call if you’re on your way to a bar or a liquor store. Call from the wine aisle in the grocery store, in the ABC store parking lot. Call before the first swallow. There’s still time, we can do this. Just call.
That is, if you truly don’t want to drink.