What is the goal of the 12 Step Program known as Alcoholics Anonymous? The answer that may immediately come to mind is abstinence from use of alcohol. But, abstinence alone is not enough. Most individuals with the disease of alcoholism have been able to achieve periods of abstinence; only to relapse into alcohol use despite knowing that such use will restart the destructive cycle of addiction. Ceasing to drink based on will power, the help of other human beings, including medical science, will, in most cases, not suffice. Paraphrasing the words of the basic AA text, “… no human power could relieve our alcoholism…”
“Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly. Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power? Well, that’s exactly what this book [Alcoholics Anonymous] is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 45).”
So, the goal of Alcoholics Anonymous is to help the alcoholic to find a source of spiritual strength, reliance upon which will ensure long-term, emotionally balanced abstinence from alcohol use. Many alcoholics have enjoyed years of sobriety, facing the usual life problems (e.g., illness, loss of relationships), without the escape of alcohol use. The key to such long-term sobriety is reliance upon a source of spiritual strength.
The author of this post will have, God willing, 40 years of continuous sobriety in August of 2017, through reliance upon spiritual principles.
As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams, 06/20/2017.