Definition of Alcoholism:
Habitual or excessive drinking of intoxicants, a physical compulsion, coupled with a mental obsession.

Synonyms of Alcoholism:
Intemperance, drunkenness, insobriety, intemperateness, etc.

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs.
Readers are encouraged to click the external link for more detail.
We hope you find them helpful.

Love in fellowship.


An alcoholic is a person. Alcoholism is the illness An alcoholic is a man or woman who suffers from the disease of alcoholism.

If you want to drink… that is your business. If you want to quit… that is our business
It can be described as a physical compulsion together with a mental obsession to consume alcohol –1970s advert

Life is difficult because life is difficult.
Alcoholism is everything that’s left after alcohol is removed.


I’m the type of alcoholic that when I stop drinking,
for all practical purposes, that’s where my alcoholism begins. –Bob D.

I was waking up with someone I didn’t like – and I was sleeping alone. –Anon/Alkiespeak

One of the main differences between an active alcoholic and a recovering alcoholic can be expressed as a matter of tense.
The active alcoholic tends to live in the future or in the past. The sober alcoholic strives to live in the present. –Came to Believe / Go to page 113

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. –Big Book. p.30

Emotional sensitivity may even be part of our alcoholism. Most important, we must ensure that emotional binges do not become binges involving real booze. –Walk in Dry Places/Mel B. | More…

‘Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.’
Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. –Big Book p.33


The Sick Alcoholic
Alcoholism is a chronic acute malady. The alcoholic wants to be right first. –NIH | More…

 AA is not a Self-Help program, Why would you want to help the enemy (yourself) –Barefoot Bob | More…

Our parents are not dead. We are children of Father Time and Mother Nature –Anon | More…

Hurt people will hurt people. Our program purpose is Self-Reduction removing Self-Reliance –Anon.

Member to newcomer: Take the steps, the elevator is broken –Heard at a meeting

Alcoholics don’t have a normal reaction to alcohol… OR abstinence –Anon

Alcoholics are too bad at being good and too good at being bad. –Anon

People will buy you a drink for clinical depression but not for self-pity. –Anon


Alcoholism will cut your family out of your life
Wake up, Me poor me, why me

I don’t know indicates the person is not open
An alcoholic’s craving is not qualified. He just wants more, more of what ?

When we put down the bottle the problem starts
Abstinence: what it does for me, what it does to me?

Nothing left – read Big Book P.25
Insidious thoughts: How little respect we had for ourselves

 Insidious: Working or spreading harmfully in a subtle or stealthy manner
Alcoholism without action is fatal

Resentment is contagious
The more I sought the less I achieved, and the more disappointed I was.


Illusion: The condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief
Responsibility: Your response to God’s ability.

A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight nor do twisted thinking and depression vanish in a twinkling. –Big Book p.133

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. –Big Book p.85

The alcoholic is a sick person. Under the technique of Alcoholics Anonymous he gets well – that is to say, his disease is arrested. There is nothing unpredictable about him any more than there is anything weird about a person who has arrested diabetes. –Dr. William Silkworth | More…

In both professional and lay circles, there is a tendency to label everything that an alcoholic may do as “alcoholic behavior.” The truth is, it is simple human nature. –Dr. William Silkworth | More…

The answer to the problem of alcoholism seems to be in education. This means factual education, properly presented. Heretofore, much of this education has attacked the immortality of drinking rather than the illness of alcoholism. –As Bill Sees It / Go to page 180 | More…

Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power. –Big Book p.43


Alcoholism is rat race.
Our goal in recovery is stop acting like a rat and join the human race again.

We live by human values: honesty, respect from others, fairness, openness, self-respect.
We work at just being ourselves.

We learn that this is enough.
We are enough. –Keep It Simple 11/08 | More…

The reason so many alcoholics have died looking for “the problem” that made them drink.
They died seeking a reason.

Alcoholics Anonymous clearly states that alcohol is the problem for alcoholics.
Alcohol is the problem! A statement that is so simple yet so profound in its healing.

Today thousands upon thousands are choosing not to die by not taking the first drink.
To see the problem clearly and honestly is the beginning of wisdom.–Father Leo | More…


We don’t need complex information to stay sober
All we have to know is that we have a very compulsive problem that can be arrested by eliminating the first drink. –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. | More…

I have 2 problems with alcohol
1: What happens when I drink it
2: What happens when I don’t drink it.
Other than that, I have no problems with alcohol

Understanding alcoholism
One of the old theories about alcoholism was that we drink because we had deep psychological problems. Another theory was that staying dry for a long period of time would dislodge one’s alcoholic tendencies. Both theories sound plausible, but in practice neither has worked.

What we eventually learn about psychological problems is that they may intensify our troubles, but they are not the real cause of our alcoholism. The cause may be rooted in some physical problem that enables us to achieve unusual highs from drinking. We also know that one drink acts as a trigger for more drinking—at least for us.

Our answer has been, first and foremost, to eliminate the first drink. Even if it doesn’t square with theories, it works. –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. 25/11 | More…

It is important that recovering people understand the NATURE of alcoholism. It is deadly, it is compulsive, and it is progressive. It is not necessary that we define alcoholism perfectly or precisely.

What’s more important is that we remember we’re powerless over alcohol and cannot safely pick up a drink. No definition will change that reality for an alcoholic who has had an unmanageable life. –Walk In Dry Places/Mel B. 06/12 | More…



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