“As we look back, we feel we had gone on drinking many years beyond the point where we could quit on our will power. If anyone questions whether he has entered this dangerous area, let him try leaving liquor alone for one year. If he is a real alcoholic and very far advanced, there is scant chance of success. In the early days of our drinking we occasionally remained sober for a year or more, becoming serious drinkers again later. Though you may be able to stop for a considerable period, you may yet be a potential alcoholic. We think few, to whom this book will appeal, can stay dry anything like a year. Some will be drunk the day after making their resolutions; most of them within a few weeks.” (page 34, emphasis added)
Many people do not find the “combined experience and knowledge” (page 19) or “experience, strength and hope” in our Basic Text very appealing, and we certainly understand. As implied above, some have yet to try to stop drinking altogether and discover they cannot. In other cases, even some of us first thought or hoped we might yet find a more palatable plan elsewhere for achieving and maintaining “entire abstinence” from alcohol. Wondering whether we might have been making too-hard work of a simple matter, it made sense to believe one-day-at-a-time sobriety ought to suffice, and especially if we had a bit of “support” of whatever kind from others like ourselves trying to do the same.
To help others discover whether they might have already gone beyond the point of will power being sufficient to “Just say ‘No!'”, here is our suggestion from within A.A.:
“Try leaving liquor alone for one year (and see what happens).” (page 34)
If you wish, and while mustering all the will power you possibly can, try avoiding or staying away from the first drink just one-day-at-a-time, one-drink-at-a-time, one-moment-at-a-time, one-temptation-at-a-time or whatever. Having tried those things ourselves, we will not criticize you. Rather, we simply say the pains we again suffered as results eventually helped make “Alcoholics Anonymous”, now our Basic Text, much more appealing to us!