We feel hopeless when we exhaust all our options, when we have tried every resource at our disposal and nothing has worked to control our drinking let alone enable us to stop. Self-will and other human resources are marvelously effective for certain things but are pitifully inadequate when faced with alcoholism.
The hopelessness we feel can level our pride, removing a barrier to our recovery. This hopelessness can produce in us a willingness to accept the solution offered us by the authors. The first step of this solution is the admission that we are powerless over alcohol----that our lives are unmanageable.
Bill, by admitting to himself his powerlessness, takes his first step. Perhaps we feel as hopeless as Bill. Are we able to control our drinking once we start? Are we unable to quit drinking despite our sincere desire to do so? How have the things we have tried to overcome drinking worked for us? Can we admit that alcohol is more powerful than we are? If we can, then we have taken the first step toward recovery.
More is required to recover from alcoholism than the first step. The fear of the certain consequences of drinking may keep us sober for varying lengths of time. Many of us never want to forget how horrible that last days of our drinking were, but reliance on our memories to keep us sober rarely works for long. The proof of this is that we continue to drink long after we realize the damage drinking has caused in our lives and to our health.
The inability to stop based solely on our knowledge of the consequences is described many times in the BB. The authors describe this as the insidious insanity of the first drink.
The image of being catapulted is one of no return. Once the rope is cut we are on our way. We cannot image the life we will find. Until we experience it, we believe that this way of life is unavailable to us.
We learn this new way of life by practicing the program outlined in the BB. The results of the way we are living now should make us willing to change. The authors promise of happiness, peace, and usefulness are in stark contrast with our alcoholic life.
NOTE: All BB quotes are from the 1st Edition of the Big Book
Depression is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being too strong for too long.