DISCUSSION No. 1
THE ADMISSION

 

 The material contained herein is merely an outline of the admission phase of the program and is not intended to replace or supplant:
 

a.  The careful reading and re-reading of the Big Book.
b.  Regular attendance at weekly group meetings.
c.  Study of the program.
d.  Daily practice of the program.
e.  Reading of approved printed material on alcoholism.
f.  Informal discussion with other members.
 

 This meeting covers
 

Step No. 1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - - that our lives had become unmanageable.

 

 This instruction is not a short-cut to A.A.  It is an introduction - - a help - - a brief course in the fundamentals.

 

NOTE:  The Test Questions are not A.A. questions but are the guide used by Johns Hopkins University Hospital in deciding whether a patient is alcoholic or not.

 

    In order to determine whether or not a person had drifted from "social drinking" into pathological drinking it is well to check over a list of test questions, which each member may ask himself and answer for himself. We must answer once and for all these three puzzling questions :

 

What is an alcoholic?  Who is an alcoholic?  Am I an alcoholic?

To get the right answer the prospective member must start this course of instruction with:

 

  1. A willingness to learn. We must not have the attitude that "you've got to show me."

  2. An open mind. Forget any and all notions we already have. Set our opinions aside.

  3. Complete honesty. It is possible - - not at all probable - - that we may fool somebody else. But we must be honest with ourselves, and it is a good time to start being honest with others.

 

Suggested Test Questions

  1. Do you require a drink the next morning?

  2. Do you prefer a drink alone?

  3. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?

  4. Is your drinking harming your family in any way?

  5. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?

  6. Do you get the inner shakes unless you continue drinking?

  7. Has drinking made you irritable?

  8. Does drinking make you careless of your family's welfare?

  9. Have you harmed your husband or wife since drinking?

  10. Has drinking changed your personality?

  11. Does drinking cause you bodily complaints?

  12. Does drinking make you restless?

  13. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

  14. Has drinking made you more impulsive?

  15. Have you less self-control since drinking?

  16. Has your initiative decreased since drinking?

  17. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?

  18. Do you lack perseverance in pursuing a goal since drinking?

  19. Do you drink to obtain social ease?
    (In shy, timid, self-conscious individuals.)

  20. Do you drink for self-encouragement?
    (In persons with feelings of inferiority.)

  21. Do you drink to relieve marked feelings of inadequacy?

  22. Has your sexual potency suffered since drinking?

  23. Do you show marked dislikes and hatreds since drinking?

  24. Has your jealousy, in general, increased since drinking?

  25. Do you show marked moodiness as a result of drinking?

  26. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?

  27. Has your drinking made you more sensitive?

  28. Are you harder to get along with since drinking?

  29. Do you turn to an inferior environment since drinking?

  30. Is drinking endangering your health?

  31. Is drinking affecting your peace of mind?

  32. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?

  33. Is drinking jeopardizing your business?

  34. Is drinking clouding your reputation?

  35. Is drinking disturbing the harmony of your life?

 

If you have answered yes to any one of the Test Questions, there is a definite warning that you may be alcoholic.
If you answered yes to any two of the Test Questions, the chances are that you are an alcoholic.
If you answer yes to three or more of the Test Questions you are definitely an alcoholic.

 

 

 

POWERLESS

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

 

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 21

It is no coincidence that the very first Step mentions powerlessness: An admission of personal powerlessness over alcohol is a cornerstone of the foundation of recovery. I've learned that I do not have the power and control I once thought I had. I am powerless over what people think about me. I am powerless over having just missed the bus. I am powerless over how other people work (or don't work) the Steps. But I've also learned I am not powerless over some things. I am not powerless over my attitudes. I am not powerless over negativity. I am not powerless over assuming responsibility for my own recovery. I have the power to exert a positive influence on myself, my loved ones, and the world in which I live.