Do you believe that it is helpful to tell another person that they are powerless to solve their problem? Consider that oncologists typically don’t tell their cancer patients that they are powerless over their cancer. Cardiologists do not tell their patients that they are powerless over their heart disease. Endocrinologists do not tell their patients that they are powerless over their diabetes.
To be truthful about cancer, heart disease and diabetes there are times when cancer, heart disease and diabetes have advanced beyond medical help. But that doesn’t mean these individuals are “powerless.” So long as they are still alive, for however long, they can use these hours, days, or months to prepare themselves, their families and friends for the inevitable and concentrate on being with them for as long as they can, knowing that in the end everyone dies, sooner or later. But powerless, certainly NOT! Many people who leave Alcoholics Anonymous have looked back on their experience in AA and expressed how confusing the entire ordeal was. With statements such as you are Powerless over Alcohol, it’s easy to see why they felt confused.
With that in mind, drinking alcohol to excess or using drugs excessively are not diseases, like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Although drug and alcohol treatment programs as well as Alcoholics Anonymous frequently tell people who use alcohol and drugs excessively that using alcohol and drugs excessively is a disease just like cancer, heart disease and diabetes; it’s not! In fact, using alcohol and drugs excessively is not a disease at all; it is a voluntary activity, a choice and can become a habit, like eating chocolate, smoking cigarettes, wearing short pants all winter, using the same words over and over like “at the end of the day”, “at any rate,” and so on. As human beings we all exhibit habitual behaviors and for the sake of clarity that is exactly what using alcohol and drugs heavily repetitively is: a habitual behavior.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of drug and alcohol treatment programs and Alcoholics Anonymous believe that once you cross an imaginary line and become what they claim to be an alcoholic or drug addict you are powerless to stop using. Most people who use drugs and alcohol heavily and who are acquainted with the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous think that they must admit that they are powerless over alcohol (and other drugs)—and because of their powerlessness their lives had become unmanageable. That is to say, those that used alcohol and other drugs heavily are not really at fault. Alcohol and other drugs are actually to blame. This whole idea defies logic. Alcohol and other drugs are not capable of deciding how much alcohol and other drugs are consumed by any individual human being. Only the human thought process decides how much alcohol and other drugs are consumed by the human. Alcohol and other drugs make no choices at all when it comes to how much alcohol or other drugs a human consumes—only the human can do that. What’s more they do! Most people stop using alcohol and other drugs without ever claiming that they were an alcoholic or drug addict and without ever going to any kind of treatment or sobriety program.
Alcohol is just a liquid drug, nothing more, nothing less. Some drugs are just liquids, others are pills or rocks that get crushed up and ingested or inhaled, still others are lit on fire and the smoke is inhaled, some are cooked and injected, and some are injected in their native form and some may be huffed by breathing in the smell.
Drug and alcohol treatment programs and 12 step groups, namely Alcoholics Anonymous, sell you on the idea that as a human being you have actually become “powerless” over a common liquid; a liquid by definition that has no power whatsoever. That is equivalent to you being powerless over milk, gasoline, soda, coffee, chocolate or even water. The whole idea is total nonsense. If you are struggling and you feel powerless over alcohol or drugs, you can read about a real solution for your difficulties in the book The Freedom Model for Addictions and The Freedom Model for the Family. In any case, you are not “powerless;” you are a human being—and as such you are quite powerful.