The following edited excerpt is compiled from Chapter three, page 30 and page 43 of the Big Book.
Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. Nobody likes to think we are bodily and mentally different from our fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday we will control and enjoy our drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.
We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals-usually brief-were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to an individual that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.
Many doctors and psychiatrists agree with our conclusions. One such staff member of a renowned hospital, recently made this statement to some of us: “What you say about the general hopelessness of the average alcoholic’s plight is, in my opinion, correct. As to two of you men, whose stories I have heard, there is no doubt in my mind that you were 100% hopeless, apart from divine help. Had you offered yourselves as patients at this hospital, I would not have taken you, if I had been able to avoid it. People like you are too heartbreaking. Though not a religious person, I have profound respect for the spiritual approach in such cases as yours. For most cases, there is virtually no other solution.”
Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, no human being can provide such a defense. Our defense must come from a Higher Power.