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Living Sober Title Page and Forward

Posted by Dayzed on March 28, 2015 at 12:50 PM

About That Title...

Even the words “stay sober”— let alone live sober— offended many of us when we first heard such advice. Although we had done a lot of drinking, many of us never felt drunk, and were sure we almost never appeared or sounded drunk. Many of us never staggered, fell, or got thick tongues; many others were never disorderly, never missed a day at work, never had automobile accidents, and certainly were never hospitalized nor jailed for drunkenness.

We knew lots of people who drank more than we did, and people who could not handle their drinks at all. We were not like that. So the suggestion that maybe we should “stay sober” was almost insulting.

Besides, it seemed unnecessarily drastic. How could we live that way? Surely, there was nothing wrong with a cocktail or two at a business lunch or before dinner. Wasn’t everyone entitled to relax with a few drinks, or have a couple of beers before going to bed?

However, after we learned some of the facts about the illness called alcoholism, our opinions shifted. Our eyes have been opened to the fact that apparently millions of people have the disease of alcoholism. Medical science does not explain its “cause,” but medical experts on alcoholism assure us that any drinking at all leads to trouble for the alcoholic, or problem, drinker. Our experience overwhelmingly confirms this.

So not drinking at all— that is, staying sober— becomes the basis of recovery from alcoholism. And let it be emphasized: Living sober turns out to be not at all grim, boring, and uncomfortable, as we had feared, but rather something we begin to enjoy and find much more exciting than our drinking days. We’ll show you how.

Why 'not drinking'?

We members of Alcoholics Anonymous see the answer to that question when we look honestly at our own past lives. Our experience clearly proves that any drinking at all leads to serious trouble for the alcoholic, or problem drinker. In the words of the American Medical Association:

Alcohol, aside from its addictive qualities, also has a psychological effect that modifies thinking and reasoning. One drink can change the thinking of an alcoholic so that he feels he can tolerate another, and then another, and another. . . . The alcoholic can learn to completely control his disease, but the affliction cannot be cured so that he can return to alcohol without adverse consequences.*

And we repeat: Somewhat to our surprise, staying sober turns out not to be the grim, wet-blanket experience we had expected! While we were drinking, a life without alcohol seemed like no life at all. But for most members of A.A., living sober is really living— a joyous experience. We much prefer it to the troubles we had with drinking. One more note: anyone can get sober. We have all done it lots of times. The trick is to stay and to live sober. That is what this booklet is about.

* From an official statement issued July 31, 1964




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