The Myth of Willpower in Alcoholism

Willpower to Recover from Alcoholism is a Myth

will power in addiction

It makes sense that some people think alcoholics just need willpower to recover from alcoholism. It seems that will-power can be used to lose weight, get good grades or a new job – but with the disease of alcoholism self-will just doesn’t work.

What We Hear About Willpower To Recover

From Others:

If he really wanted to quit, he would.


She has always been selfish and weak-willed. You’d think she stay sober for her kids.


Why does he always overdo it when we are drinking? He has no will-power to stop when he should.

These are common sentiments we hear from people who do not understand the disease of addiction. We don’t blame people for thinking like that, it is not our job to educate the whole world about alcoholism. But, for people like you taking the time to read this little article, we are happy to shed some light on the recovery process. Trying to use willpower to recover from alcoholism is like trying to stop yourself from falling asleep when you are tired. It will work for a while, but eventually, no matter where you are, you will fall asleep.

From Alcoholics in Early Recovery:

I am going to beat this thing!


Alcohol will not defeat me, I will win this time! I won’t stop fighting.


I will never take another drink, ever, for the whole rest of my life!

The common thread in these oft-heard sentiments is WILL-POWER.  And guess what? Will-power will never never work against the disease of addiction. The truth is, by the time someone is trying to control their drinking, the alcohol already has control. Alcohol won. You can keep fighting all you want, step into the ring a million times. If you are an alcoholic, however, it will always end in GAME OVER, you lose. Unless you turn that defeat into victory with recovery.

A strange concept for people new in recovery is ‘surrender’. We say, ‘surrender to win’.  Step One, therefore, in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is about admitting powerlessness. We lay down our useless weapons. We step out of the ring. We surrender.

Surrender is deeply misunderstood as an act of weakness. Surrender is the bravest and most lucid thing a human ever does, and that’s why it’s so precious to the Divine. – Andrew Harvey

If you would like to learn more about the paradox of recovery, then please, have a look at our website or Facebook Page, give us a call or contact us by email or phone.  AA and other 12 Step programs are excellent, and probably indispensable for learning how not to drink. Having the opportunity for 24/7 immersion in the recovery lifestyle, with compassionate and empathetic teachers could be the grace you need to get and stay sober. One day at a time. Serenity Vista is a discreet, holistic, warm and effective center to recover.

Comments are closed.