Why are we able to stay sober? Is it meetings? Is it service work? How about prayer, meditation or getting and using phone numbers? As important as all these activities are- A.A. says the real reason is because we have been placed in a “position of neutrality.”
“We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us…” Pg. 85 Alcoholics Anonymous
For the newcomer, taking a position of neutrality toward alcohol is very easy- simply put off drinking instead of trying to choose to not drink. Here is how A.A. puts it:
“If we feel the urge for a drink, we neither yield nor resist. We merely put off taking that particular drink until tomorrow.”
Why can’t the newer member choose to ‘just not drink’ today? A.A. says it’s because “an alcoholic has lost their power of choice in drink.” Pg. 24 Alcoholics Anonymous. If they try to choose, they lose.
However, they can put the drink off until tomorrow because this does not require the power of choice over drink. This neutral approach to alcohol leaves a newcomer safe and protected while the urge passes. With this practice they begin to build a psychic change in their reaction to the drink.
As a newcomer, you cannot expect me to be able to stay sober by the power of choice or by resisting the drink. I can’t even shield myself by replacing it with meetings, service work, my home group, sober friends and all the other good A.A. activities. That may work for a time, but usually ends up in a bigger explosion than ever.
Every newcomer deserves to have a solid foundation to their recovery. They can begin developing A.A.’s position of neutrality from day one if they “just don’t drink- by putting it off until tomorrow”.
You can read more about this A.A. practice on page 14 of the A.A. pamphlet titled “This is A.A. – An Introduction to the A.A. Recovery Program.” It’s part of A.A.’s 24 Hour Plan. We have these pamphlets here for anyone to take and share the message. “Just don’t drink- by putting it off until tomorrow” is the A.A. way that works for those that are still powerless.
The meeting is open for 10 – 15 minutes for sharing about this practice or questions focused on this practice. The timer is set for 3 minutes, Then it beeps please try to wrap up your share with the next minute.
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