Powerless Over Alcohol

Powerless Over Alcohol

Alcoholism is a progressive disease.  Without treatment it always gets worse, never better.

Alcoholism - A Two-Fold Problem

Powerlessness over alcohol arises from a two-fold problem:

Problem 1: The Mental Problem: Obsession and Insanity

Alcoholics who have yet to accept their alcoholism suffer from the obsession that they can drink like normal people.

The insanity referred to in Step 2 is the alcoholic's belief that he/she can drink normally, when almost every previous attempt has proven otherwise.  Sometimes heard at AA meetings, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. "

Problem 2: The Physical Problem: The Phenomenon of Craving (Addiction)

The decline into alcoholism may result from the steady deterioration of the alcoholic's liver and pancreas, likely as a result of the effect of toxic alcohol metabolism byproducts.

Peculiar to alcoholics, drinking alcohol triggers a craving for more alcohol. So the alcoholic becomes addicted to alcohol. Some believe this to be caused by a physiological issue.  It may be caused by the liver/pancreas of the alcoholic not producing sufficient quantities of the enzyme needed to metabolise the acetone produced as alcohol is metabolised.  Acetone generates an irresistible craving for more alcohol. And more acetone accumulates in the alcoholic's body as more alcohol is consumed.  So the cycle of drinking causing craving and craving causing drinking becomes catastrophic.  No amount of personal willpower can prevent it.

Prior to coming to AA, my doctor indicated that my liver function tests were poor. A bonus of my recovery from alcoholism is that my liver function tests have returned to normal.  Overall I feel 25 years younger! Nevertheless, I have no reason to believe that my body's ability to produce the acetone-eating enzyme has changed.  I feel that becoming alcoholic is a one-way trip, much the same as becoming diabetic. No amount of healthy living can reverse the disease of alcoholism.  My recovery, through practising the 12 steps, has brought me to a state better than any I have ever before been in my entire life. I'm what is know as a grateful, recovering alcoholic.

The Solution: Acceptance of Powerlessness

Step 1 of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous requires that alcoholics recognise that their lives have become unmanagable.  This isn't normally too difficult to see. The tough part of the step is that the alcoholic must accept that he/she is powerless over alcohol.  Armed with the knowledge above, a few more attempts at controlled drinking normally help alcoholics achieve step 1.