One of the phrases I often hear around AA is the phrase “don’t drink no matter what” .  This is a phrase which I feel is misused especially around the newcomers.  The often terrified newcomer is being told to not drink no matter what, at the same time as they are completely baffled and beaten by the fact that they always drank no matter what. If they were happy they drank, if they were sad they drank, if they got a new job they drank, if the lost a job they drank and on and on.  So how on earth do they now do the exact opposite as this phrase suggests.  I don’t think such sayings are helpful and the newcomer needs to hear the solution which is not a bumper sticker.  The solution is how the 12 steps created a spiritual experience which led to the absolute belief that  a higher power can keep them sober no matter what.  If they could apply this they would have power over their drinking and would not need to be in an AA meeting.

Sending a newcomer home with “a don’t drink no matter what” is not going to be helpful to them.  Offering to sit or meet with them to start working the steps is the most useful and helpful thing we can do. If they are not ready to do the steps then they are not ready for AA’s solution.  Later in sobriety I can understand the phrase as I know I don’t have to drink no matter what as my higher power has my back. I have to do the work first to get there.   We must never become complacent with a lot of time and should always think of the effect our words may have on the newcomer because ultimately that is why we are in the room to be there for the newcomers.


1 Comment

AmyJune 25, 2012 at 8:15 am

That is absolutely the worst advice I have ever heard. When you tell someone NOT to do something, they will become resentful and do it anyway. Think about telling a child NOT to do something. They will be more inclined to rebel and do it anyway. A more effective approach needs to be used in order to make the recovering alcoholic motivated to not drink instead of telling them not to do it. I am no expert but I would imagine giving them profound reasons why it would create them more harm than good to drink would be a lot more effective.


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