Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

In December, I announced that I quit drinking. I got a flurry of comments of support. Several of us who had decided to be sober, thought a group blog about quitting drinking would be interesting so we started We Quit Drinking, the blog. Soon, due to some weird Google magic, the blog became the first result for "quit drinking". A wide variety of people who were looking for support and help dropped in and commented. Jonas, who among other things works with addiction as a counselor, decided that a more private space, a message board requiring login might make sense so he created the WQD Forums. He announced today that WQD Forums has hit 100 members and have become a vibrant community of people who are in various stages of sobriety sharing and supporting. Since that day in December, I've received sooo much input and advice. Thank you. Some of it has been very useful and some, frankly, not so helpful. I have been to a few AA meetings and have really enjoyed them. On the other hand, I have not yet passed the first step, "Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable." At the meeting I said, "I think I have a problem, but I don't yet believe that I am powerless or that my life has become unmanagable." The interesting thing is, no one was upset. One AA'er later said, "In AA, we call that 'a quart short'". I think I will still drop into AA meetings because I love the stories and the comfortable atmosphere of sharing, but until I get to Step One somehow, I don't think I can really be a true member. It's been quite a journey hearing the wide variety of opinions about drinking. I've decided on the few advisors and approaches that I think work for me now in helping manage myself. My opinion may change and if I finally believe that I am powerless and my life has become unmanagable, I know I can always count on AA, which I now believe has an incredible power to save people from alcoholism. If you thinking you have a problem or know you have a problem, try dropping by WQD Forums and join us in our emerging community.


At the meeting I said, "I think I have a problem, but I don't yet believe that I am powerless or that my life has become unmanagable."

Chorus: “Deniaaaaaal” ;-)

MV: Think about it seriously though. The rule is not to say, that "I want help." It's saying that you're "powerless." That's a pretty strong word. Most people are taught that they have the power to overcome most things themselves. Most of my experience has been that I have the power inside me to deal with just about anything if I want to. Saying you are "powerless" in a way is like throwing in the towel. Saying that "my life has become unmanageable" is also pretty strong. Step 1 leads to Step 2 which says, "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." So you're basically saying, I can't deal with this myself, I need help. I need help from a power greater than myself.

If you truely believe this and you can get to AA meetings, it can be quite amazing. I could see it in the people who were at the meeting. There were able to share and embrace each other in an almost relgious way. (Religion in the best sense of the word.) But if you have even a small doubt that maybe you could deal with this yourself or that you don't need a "power greater than" yourself, you're being dishonest and insincere. The whole point of AA is to be honest. You should not say what you do not truely believe. Just going in and saying, "yeah, I'm and addict" doesn't really help you if you don't believe it. I'm at the point where I'm trying to manage it myself or convince myself that it is unmanageable.

Actually, I happen to find your assessments about yourself totally convincing. Based on your writings, I get the impression that you are indeed 80%+ in control of your drinking habits.
I wouldn't have attempted that kind of AA-speak humor if I wasn't confident that you were still in that safe zone, where joking about the issue can still be innocuous :-)

The Third Tradition of AA is: "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking". There are no "rules", which has a lot to do with AA's success.
Most groups I have been to emphasize, rightly, the power of the steps, but they are not a requirement of any kind.
I read many of the forum posts, and it's clear you're peforming a real service.

MV: ;-)

Hugh. True, they were very open about having me participate and were ready to give me advice and try to help me get to Step 1. It's not that you have to pass the steps to participate or be a member, it just that if you can't get past Step 1, it's unlikely that you're get to Step 2. ;-P I should participate more in those forums...

I was at a speaker meeting last night and the speaker said that in the big book it says a "honest desire to stop drinking".I don't think it reads that way,and I wonder if you can have a dishonest desire to stop??Puzzled......

I like two features of the earliest 12 Step language. In his own story, Bill Wilson said: "Alcohol had become my master."
Later, the earliest word-of-mouth idea was "We admitted we were licked." And I wish someone had focused on that instead of the twenty questions, a hundred questions, "powerless," and "disease." I came into A.A. because I was licked--licked on every front. Before long, I could see that for most in the meetings, they like me had concluded that alcohol had become their master. The understanding that we are beyond human aid is hard for the people who have not been kicked in the head enough times really to concede. But if they have hired as many lawyers as I did, undergone seizures and the shakes, observed every kind of legal and financial and criminal and health problem imaginable, maybe they don't need to be kicked in the head again. I didn't. Despite all the higher power and spirituality nonsense, I could see plainly that the program was about reliance on God. I did the A.A. thing to the uttermost, and I think we should. I also began more and more looking to Almighty God for help, strength, guidance, health and deliverance. I received it, and I'm coming up on the 22nd year of the happiest days of my lifel.

I miss the Q. :(