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How Honesty Helps Keep You Sober in Alcoholics Anonymous

Updated on April 25, 2017
Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah has several alcoholic relatives. She became active in Al-anon, for families of alcoholics, over 37 years ago, often helping others.

AA Can Help You Stay Sober - But It Requires Rigorous Honesty

You can get your life back on track.  You just have to be willing to be honest.
You can get your life back on track. You just have to be willing to be honest. | Source

Alcoholics Anonymous Can Work for You

Have you gone to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, but decided that there is no way it could possibly work for you? Do you think you are one of those hopeless cases? Are you certain you could never give up alcohol for the rest of your life? Do the 12 Steps look like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo which could not possibly change anything about your life? Don’t give up!

First of all, you only need to try the program for one day at a time. In fact, that is one of the best known slogans of AA ... One Day at a Time.

You have probably been sober for at least one day recently. You can do it again. Don't think about how hard it will be to stay sober for the rest of your life. Just think about how you can stay sober today. That is much easier to imagine.

When my husband first joined Alcoholics Anonymous and I joined Al-Anon over 35 years ago, neither of us ever thought we would still be active so many years later. However, gradually these programs have become an important part of our lives.

What About Trusting a Higher Power?

It is not unusual for people to feel uncomfortable with the thought of turning their lives over to a Higher Power. After all, you may not even believe in God, or you may be mad at God. You may not like the religion you grew up with, and you have no interest in returning to it.

You will be relieved to know that the Higher Power you choose is totally up to you. You choose the God of YOUR understanding. You decide what God means to you. You may even decide that the only Higher Power you want to rely on for the moment is your AA Group. It is up to you.

Some people even refer to their Higher Power as "Not Me." In other words, when things are going on that you cannot control then a power that is "not me" will have to handle it. What a relief that is!

Read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous

This is the "Big Book," as members of AA call it. The body of the book was written by the founder, Bill W. There is even a special chapter for family members, Chapter 9. As a member of the related program, Al-Anon, I found Chapter 9 to be very helpful. Many people also get a lot out of reading the personal stories at the end.


Honesty Makes it Easier to Stay Sober

Do you feel that the world is crashing down on you? Are people confronting you about the lies you have told in the past, or debts you still owe? The 12 Steps will help guide you towards becoming more honest and this, in turn, will make it a lot easier for you to stay sober.

When you are ready to do your 4th Step, you will do an inventory of your past behaviors, and the problems they have caused. You will make a list of all your defects of character. However, you will also make a list of your strengths, and the things you have done right. After all, when you do a business inventory, you make a list of everything that you have on hand, as well as the items that need to be replaced. The same is true when you do your 4th Step inventory.

Now that you have been honest about your past behavior, you will share your inventory with the person of your choice, as well as your Higher Power, in the form of a prayer. You’ll ask your Higher Power to remove those defects of character, especially the ones that have caused you to lie and deceive others. Of course, you are not suddenly going to become a saint. However, you will feel much better after you have honestly and openly shared all your defects, as well as your strengths.

Now that you have examined the issues and resentments that are causing you problems, you will make a list of people you have hurt, and become prepared to make amends to them, if possible. Finally, after discussion with your AA sponsor, you will make those amends, as long as doing so won’t hurt someone else.

Once you have completed your inventory, and made amends, you are ready to move forward in life, feeling more confident, less resentful and less troubled. Staying sober will suddenly seem much easier. You may sometimes still have the urge to drink. However, you will not feel as though you are drinking to avoid the issues in your life. In addition, you will now have fun, sober friends who will support and encourage you whenever you go through rough times.

As you proceed through life, you are more likely to be honest with others. When you do realize that you have lied or deceived someone again, you will take steps to make amends much more quickly, because you know this is necessary if you want to be able to say sober in the future.

Keep Going to AA One Day at a Time

Now that you have spent some time staying sober and working the steps, wake up each morning and privately ask your Higher Power to help you get through just this one day. Go to meetings as often as possible, and make friends while you are there. Meetings are held all around the world, and the people at those meetings know that one way they stay sober is by helping others stay sober. People will reach out to you, if you reach out to them. Gradually, you will discover that spending time to get honest has also led you to the path you need to follow to stay sober.

Good luck and enjoy your new honest, sober life in Alcoholics Anonymous.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Deborah-Diane


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    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions of people around the world to stay sober. Honesty is one of the keys to this sobriety, because so many people drink because of their guilt over past problems.

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Learning how to be honest with yourself and others is an important part of being successful in Alcoholics Anonymous.

    • ezzly profile image


      4 years ago

      Fantastic hub as always. I truly do believe in the power of prayer. Thanks for your positive writings :) voted up

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      Au fait - Living one day at a time and living an honest life are always good ideas, whether alcoholism is a problem in your family or not.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 years ago from North Texas

      One day at a time for very difficult problems is usually the best way to confront that problem. To try and look at it differently can be overwhelming and then a person often gives up before they start. An excellent article that can be helpful to someone who wants to change but doesn't know where to start. Starting with the first step and dealing with it and then dealing with the next step tomorrow, and so on, may be the best way to think about it. Sharing.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      Sharing this article again because it may be seen by someone who desperately needs it and change a life!

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orange County, California

      I agree that not everyone who is in poverty has an addiction problem. I know many wealthy people who have suffered from addiction. If you have someone in your family who suffers with these problems, sometimes it can be helpful to get through your days one minute at a time.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      This sounds like a good plan to me. Taking one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, even one minute at a time, for seriously difficult situations or problems can mean the difference between failure and success.

      Pinned this article to my "Helping People in Need' board. Not even most people, much less all people, who find themselves living in poverty nowadays are in that condition as a result of addiction, but some people are. Helping those people who are to break that habit can make a huge difference and I'm a believer in the ripple affect.

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Orange County, California

      Thank you for reading my article, and your kind comments. I really appreciate you for sharing it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Luckily I do not have alcoholics in my family, however, I have seen what happens with alcoholics and their families. I have shared this article in social medias. Thanks for this guidance. I also liked you amusing writing style.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I often wondered what AA was like. Now I know! Thanks, Deborah.

    • stars439 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Wonderful thought you are sharing. To be an alcohol dependent person is not the end of life. A person can cope with it, and live a good life while trying to fight it. My father who was a disabled war veteran would get really good and drunk once a month. As his son I never complained , or judged him. All I did was to make sure I knew where he would peddle his bicycle too, in order to go and drink. When it was time for him to come home I would pick him up from the place , and then when we got home he would go straight to bed to sleep it all off. God Bless you for a great hub.


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