Monday, October 18, 2010

Alternative Second Step

AA's second step is:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to

According to AA, then, sanity eludes problem drinkers. This seems to me a greater capitulation than necessary, no?

(I'll quickly remind readers of a previous point, concerning the Alternative first step, that alcoholism, broadly defined, is a progressive disease, so while again it may be true that hard core 24 hour type drinkers have lost their sanity to some degree (and have paid sanctions in terms monetary, physical and other) in a way that is fully recognizable to outsiders, I'm left at a cliff myself, being decidedly not a 24 hour type drinker: How can I, a problem drinker nontheless, navigate the field of sobriety on an ongoing basis in a way that doesn't diminish some of the accomplishments I already have; in other words, the positive productive and tangibly commendable traits I am in possession of de facto (a priori, even, if you like))?

AA's answer to this question throws out the entirety of human rationality.  The underlying claim must be that alcohol use takes away human rationality, and that alcoholics must seek something to replace their rationality, something else. The sticky problem that remains is one evidenced by alcoholic's behavior every single day, even the hard care type that cannot not-drink for fear of physical bodily chemical reactions: boozers the world over seek and obtain alcohol!  That means they have a goal, must obtain resources, make a plan, and execute the plan according to some strategy, wherein the result is the eventual barter of resources-non-booze for booze.   All we have to do now to re-insert a link between the ability to strategize and sanity, and we have a problem!

In that, I have a problem.  Because no matter what AA says, there are shades of meaning that both mimic sanity and insanity in all of our actions, the remaining difference between categorization falling squarely on end goal.  I might seem a hysterical lunatic if I go screaming through the center of town and endangering others until you know that I have a some sort of legitimate emergency.  No, alcohol procurement doesn't need to be legitimate for an alcoholic, but then again, it doesn't need to be insane either.  So I'm forced to admit that at some level alcoholics, even those scraggly old stereotypical men of yesteryear, function according to results and goals and damnit, that just isn't crazy.

Hence Alternative Step Two:

Come to admit that alcohol is beginning to (or has completely) replaced your default goal for any given situation (whether professional, personal, or individual) and that you have lost control of your ability to alter what you ultimately desire.

Come to believe that you can change what you desire to more healthfully impact how you behave.

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