note: This is not a post to in any way critique the pamphlet. This post is for anyone such as myself and/or for anyone trying to help someone such as myself as I was in my own time before I had ever even heard of A.A. I do not know whether this pamphlet existed at that time of my own desperation, but I do know I would have quickly dropped it and continued hoping and trying to find help from someone somewhere...and here is why:
Now that we are in A.A., we...enjoy...a feeling of freedom from even the desire to drink.
I was neither seeking nor did I even need freedom from any kind of desire to drink. I already had a desire to never again drink -- a desperate desire to stop forever -- and I absolutely could not do that. Much to my amazement just a few weeks later, I actually met and then read about many people with my kind of problem:
"For those who are unable to drink moderately the question is how to stop altogether...assuming, of course, that the reader desires to stop...a tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it - this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish." ("Alcoholics Anonymous", page 34)
...we concentrate on living a full life without alcohol today.
I had already been trying that for quite some time and my brain -- never mind my mind -- could take no more.
There is not a thing we can do about yesterday. And tomorrow never comes. Today is the only day we have to worry about.
I was long past worrying, I was looking for facts and help, not philosophy or more psycho-babble -- even Thorazine had once been more reliable than that -- I knew death was inevitable (possibly imminent)...and so it would have made no sense whatsoever to go ask for help from people still worrying about the "today" that will be forever gone and not a thing can be done about anyway even if the tomorrow that never comes might ever actually somehow get here.
And we know from experience that even the “worst” drunks can go twenty-four hours without a drink.
Had I not already done so, once again: I would have just dropped the pamphlet and walked away crying -- really -- while assuming you people had never happened upon a case like mine.
They may need to postpone that next drink to the next hour, even the next minute...
I had honestly, sincerely and repeatedly tried "One day at time, 'sweet Jesus'" (no disrespect there from this former Anabaptist who even used to sing that song for others) before I had ever even heard of A.A., and that absolutely did not ever work for me for more than about three days at a time.
...but they learn that it can be put off for a period of time.
Again, I could only had believed you folks did not understand a case like mine. At about 3AM on 09/27/81, I walked into my home-town police station smoking a joint and then handed the on-duty officer a fresh ounce as my "ticket" while asking him to "Please lock me up and don't let me out until I got help. I'm sick" -- the officer said he could see that -- "and I want to stop drinking but I can't."
I had heard about a man who was sober and I wanted to go see him, but I knew I could not possibly sober up and then also stay sober even just only for long enough to go get that done (and I saw no point in going to see him while I was drunk since I would later not remember even having been there, let alone whatever he might have said to me about whatever).
When we first heard about A.A., it seemed miraculous that anyone who had really been an uncontrolled drinker could ever achieve and maintain the kind of sobriety that older A.A. members talked about.
Not only had I never heard of A.A., but neither did I know anything at all about alcoholism. However, I did know about myself and that my inability to control my drinking while drinking had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I could ever achieve or maintain any kind of sobriety. So again, I would have found nothing even close to helpful, insightful and/or otherwise attractive either within or about that pamphlet...but that does not mean I condemn it. I simply share the highly-contrasting original A.A. experience for the sake of anyone yet remaining -- maybe the last Mohican or even yet another delusional Lone Ranger, eh?!
-- who might ever need and want it.
As best I can tell, the best place for "one day at a time" in A.A. might be here:
"...try leaving liquor alone ['one day at a time'] for one year. If he is a real alcoholic and very far advanced, there is scant chance of success." (page 34) And of course, I see nothing at all wrong with even "cheating" a bit by coming to meetings for the duration!
Once again: I honestly and truly have no issue at all with anyone over the matter of the so-called "24