When the ideas of the ability to choose and the ability to control drinking come into the same conversation, that conversation gets fairly heated fairly quickly. By the very definition of how alcoholism functions, a man who has become alcoholic can no longer control or manage his drinking. No matter how many times he tries to choose sobriety, he cannot keep. No matter what choices he makes to try and limit, control, or manage his drinking, he doesn’t seem to be able to. Yet, there is a caveat to this seeming impossibility. On the day a man chooses to get sober, he chooses to get sober. Some part of him, on that day, consistently chooses not to pick up another drink or a drug. From that day forward, some part of him, every day, consistently chooses not to pick up another drink or a drug. Of course, the fact that he isn’t still drinking and puts many days between himself and his last drink help him to make this constant choice. However, the phenomenal event of suddenly being able to choose to not pick up another drink cannot be denied. Out of all the impossibility of stopping drinking, an alcoholic man simply stops. Then, with great effort, he stays stopped.
How is it that the very same man who cannot control his drinking or make the choice not to pick up another drink suddenly can? Some call it a spiritual experience. Some call it “God”. Some call it a miracle. Others call it “hitting rock bottom”. The truth is, it is an inexplicable moment, but it happens. By way of logic of alcoholism, a man who is struggling with active alcoholism will wonder if he can control his drinking by choice in the same way that he might be able to suddenly choose to stop. Decades of anecdotal experience have proven this not to be the case. Many men can and do control their drinking, regularly making healthy choices in regards to alcohol. Alcoholism is an abnormality of drinking. Men who have developed alcoholism cannot make healthy choices when it comes to controlling their drinking. There is where the secret is – the choice to stop is the choice to stop most often because a man has realized he no longer has control over his drinking. The choice to control drinking perpetuates the delusion of control and the drink itself.