Understanding and accepting the powerlessness part of this step was simple – I couldn’t stop and I knew it. What made that shame palpable, however, was my perceived ability to manage my drinking. If my life was truly unmanageable, there needed to be a lot more damage. More on that later.
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
To maintain the life of a functional alcoholic, my drinking become my second job. I knew enough not to take the open tall boy into the office with me. Schedules were set and observed with the diligence of a Puritan. Though nothing was ever written down, reminders and timetables existed, as did the scientific measuring of my tolerance. 24 ounces of malt liquor meant I wouldn’t slur through morning meetings. Apply coffee, urinate constantly, and soldier on until lunch. Until dinner. Until bedtime. Rise, rinse and repeat.
The only thing that upset this pattern was vacations and holidays; happy occasions where people observed different rituals than my own.
And, point of order: I had gone through a 30-day out-patient rehab program fifteen years earlier, so this second job was also undercover.