Only 2 Alternatives (Part 1)
If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were, we believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution. We were in a position where life was becoming impossible, and if we had passed into the region from which there is no return through human aid, we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 25)
Once a person accepts that he or she is actually an alcoholic or an addict, the next question is obvious… WHAT NOW? Well, in reality, knowing you have a problem that you cannot seem to solve is only Step 1. That means that the answer to what is next is to do whatever Step 2 is.
Look at the first 3 Steps as outlined in the Alcoholics Anonymous book:
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 59)
Step 2 is a polite way of stating the fact we started with from page 25: “
…we had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 25)
The key is that the statement we started with from page 25 must be looked at first: “If you are as seriously alcoholic as we were.” So if you are as far along in your addiction to be one of the people who feel that
- Life is becoming impossible
- You have passed into the region from which there is no return through normal human aid
You may require more than what people who have not gotten this bad need to overcome your addiction. A person this advanced in addiction or alcoholism has only two choices according to this passage.
- Keep getting more and more miserable on the road to a slow miserable death or
- Accept something called “spiritual help”
If you are a person in need of recovery and you do not know if you are “that bad” then you are still at Step 1. That is why Step 1 has the wording it does. Think about the idea of being “powerless” and admitting that your life is “unmanageable” when compared to the wording used on page 25 and you see that there is far more to Step 1 than just realizing you have a problem.
Either you life is becoming impossible and you cannot find your way back through human aid or this is not true. That is Step 1.
A person who is deeply resistant to “spiritual help” or to talk of God is a person who is not finished with Step 1. This is not necessarily the end of the world (that person may just need more Step 1 work), but there is no reason for that person to be trying to work other steps.
If the authors felt that the only solution is something called “spiritual help” then everything they put together is “spiritual help.” A person who will not accept or even discuss such things does not want what the authors of the Twelve Steps felt was the only way out.
With that mindset, working steps is taking actions you don’t believe in or want and expecting the good results to come from something else completely.
The sentence sounds complicated and ridiculous because it is. The results you are looking for are supposed to come from the “spiritual help.” The whole program is supposed to be “spiritual help.” “Spiritual Help” is described as the only way out for people who are this advanced in alcoholism or addiction.
Either “spiritual help” is the only hope or it is not. If it is the only in fact the only hope, then you either are that advanced in your addiction or alcoholism or you are not. If you are, your only choice is if I want to be more and more miserable or accept “spiritual help?”
If you have accepted that you are that desperate, but are having some challenges with the ideas we are talking about, consider this:
There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 25)
It is the only option and the longer you resist, the longer you are resisting even starting your journey towards freedom. If you cannot turn the corner and still find yourself completely uncomfortable with this topic, YOU ARE STILL ON STEP ONE. It is okay to realize this if you plan to work through it. If you just want to avoid the topic and move on to other steps, you are simply running on a treadmill like a hamster in a cage running in place. You are doing stuff and getting no place.
If you are one of those people, you should probably spend some time reading all of the previous posts on this blog and reading the Alcoholics Anonymous book (where all things 12 Step found their start) before reading part 2 of this post. Part 2 will only disturb you more by belaboring the point more and by taking a far more detailed look at the facts behind Steps 2 and 3.