References within “More About Alcoholism”


“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!


2 thoughts on “References within “More About Alcoholism”

  1. SarahJo

    Many years ago I tried to stay sober while expecting a child, and that was probably the longest nine months of my life! I tried to stay sober again three years later, and found I could only tolerate five one-day(s)-at-a-time without the relief alcohol afforded. I suffered for five more years with the sense of guilt and the confusion I had at being unable to stop drinking and stay stopped. The preoccupation with wanting to stay sober while drunk and wanting to drink while sober were near-daily occurrences for me.

    I immediately identified with the Big Book and the recovered alcoholics who shared their similar experience(s)! I could never have even pondered any sort of permanent, contented sobriety without accepting and doing what is in the Big Book. A precarious, hanging on one day at a time would be impossible for me. I was much relieved to hear that I would not need to try to do that — I failed miserably at staying sober one day at a time before I had ever even heard it worded that way!

  2. JoeO

    “The preoccupation with wanting to stay sober while drunk and wanting to drink while sober were near-daily occurrences for me.”

    My own case was nearly identical. Drunk or sober, I used to stare at the bottle or can and wonder what in the world was going on! I knew I needed only a few drinks “to knock the edge off” my sufferingly-sober state of “irritable, restless and discontented” Dr. Silkworth has mentioned, but then those few drinks would send me to an even worse place of some kind where I ended up wanting to just be rid of alcohol altogether. I only needed to be sober for two or three days before having to go back to the drink and even with a shudder, but today the Steps and the spiritual fellowship we human beings can all share together have brought me and continue to hold me well beyond the reach of “irritable, restless and discontented”.

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