Before we explore the personal transformation theme, I want to introduce my approach. On my post on Toyota (here), you may have noticed that I included “12 steps” as a tag. That’s because I plan to use the 12 Steps — the original steps as laid out in the book Alcoholics Anonymous (aka, the “Big Book) — to frame some of the challenges in personal change.
Commonly, people refer to the first step in recovery as “knowing one has a problem.” Well, that’s a start, but many of us have difficulty admitting exactly what our problem is. For example, according to the Big Book, the definition of an alcoholic is straightforward:
We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control their drinking. (Chapter 3, page 30).
Admitting this loss of control is a huge barrier, for if it is a really tough problem, then we likely can’t fully control it. How many of us share the alcoholic’s delusion that control is in reach? How many times do we try to tweak our circumstances — work more, work less, change companies — instead smashing through that delusion? Do we see any of our tactics in the litany of methods alcoholics use to try to drink like other people?
Drinking beer only, limiting the number of drinks, never drinking alone, never drinking in the morning, drinking only at home, never having it in the house, never drinking during business hours, drinking only at parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more physical exercise, reading inspirational books, going to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums… (Chapter 3, page 31)