Expressions commonly heard in Alcoholics Anonymous are “If you don’t take that first drink, you can’t get drunk” and “One drink is too many, but twenty are not enough.”
Many of us, when we first began to drink, never wanted or took more than one or two drinks. But as time went on, we increased the number. Then, in later years we found ourselves drinking more and more, some of us getting and staying very drunk. Maybe our condition didn’t always show in our speech or our gait, but this time we were never actually sober.
If that bother us too much, we would cut down, or try to limit ourselves to just one or two, or switch from hard liquor to beer or wine. At least, we tried to limit the amount, so we would not g et too disastrously tight. Or we tried to hide how much we drank.
But all these measures got more and more difficult. Occasionally, we went on the wagon, and did not drink at all for a while.
Eventually, we would go back to drinking — just one drink.
Instead of trying to figure out how many we could handle — four? — six? — a dozen? — we remember, “Just don;t pick up that first drink.” It is so much simpler.
The habit of thinking this way has helped hundreds of thousands of us stay sober for years.