Keeping Things Simple

Alcoholics can make things very complicated so that we can do just one thing: drink.

At the bottom of all our stories, as many and varied as they are, seems to be the theme: we need a drink, in good times or sorrows.

At first, we chose to use – just like social drinkers. But somewhere along the line, either with the first drink or after years of “social” drinking, our choice became a compulsion.

Alcohol, who was once our best friend, now rules us — drink after drink, we forged a chain that feels as strong as iron.

Bound as I was, not with another man’s irons, but by my own will. My will the enemy, and thence made a chain for me, and bound me. For of a forward will, was lust made; and a lust served became custom; and custom not registered became necessity. By which links, as it were, joined together (whence I called it a chain) a hard bondage held me enthralled. ~Augustine, Confessions, Book 8*

Where alcohol was, our common sense was not. Alcohol ruled us with a power that was god-like, cajoling and almost commanding us to feel and do and think stupid and dangerous things.

For some of us, though, we heard a different voice, which seemed to offer a way out.

Either we read some recovery literature, or responded to someone’s urging to get help. Or, we found ourselves locked up and “required” to get help. Either way, many of us found there is help. And we can choose – no matter what booze tells us – not to pick up the next drink. Just for today.

The program suggests giving over control of what we thought was unmanageable – our lives and our will — to God. It took me awhile to figure out if booze didn’t run my life, I didn’t either. Even sober, every time I get myself in emotional trouble, it’s usually because I tried to drive – expecting God to be my co-pilot.

Someone suggested another definition for AA that sums up simply how the program can work: AA = altered attitudes. I came; I came to; I came to believe (steps 1,2,3)

But not just believe – I needed an object for my faith. I came to believe that a power greater than myself and booze, is real, powerful and personal. So far, He has never left the prayer, God help me! unanswered.

Dear friend, if you are slipping, or sliding into a dry drunk,

God’s ready to help; nobody in AA will be unsympathetic or judgmental.

We have been where you are, and done what you can’t stop doing. In the mean time, keep it simple: put down the drink, pray, and get to a meeting. It works when you work it.

What advice would you offer to someone who is struggling with alcohol?


Love in Christ,

Sober & Grateful



* from Addictions: Banquet in the Grave by Ed Welch

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Keeping Things Simple